Wed. July 15, 2015:
Check out from the hotel was at 10am, however Doogie’s Hotdogs & Hamburgers (aka our plans for the start of the day) did not open until 11am and it was only an 18 minute drive away. When we went downstairs for breakfast the turtle had just been fed and was swimming around. Knowing that in an hour and a bit we would be chowing down at Doogie’s, we had a small breakfast. Near our hotel there was a liquor store and Brent had looked up more beers to buy. We walked right past the beer he was looking for. Afterwards we went to Kohl’s across the street so I could get my requisite US-shopping done. I found a gorgeous black maxi skirt on sale.
We got to Doogie’s right as it opened. There were so many choices, even after I narrowed it down to hotdog. I eventually decided on the hotdog named after Man Vs. Food (not to be confused with the Man Vs. Food challenge meal which was two 2-foot long hotdogs, fries and a drink). The hotdogs came in three sizes, I opted for the smallest, which was still a 10 inch hotdog, which felt a little like a cop-out because 2 more inches and it would have been a foot long. It was piled high with chili, peppers and cheese. I tried to have a bite of Brent’s caveman burger, but it was far too big to get everything in one bite. The pulled pork was the clear winner, so much so they could have had a stand-alone pulled pork sandwich on the menu. There were at least two other Brent’s who had placed orders in the restaurant, it was getting confusing.
Satiated, having eaten just the right amount of food, we headed back out. We drove past a seafood restaurant and outside there was a person dressed in a lobster costume with a sign. I felt so sorry for the person, it was already boiling hot outside and it was not even noon yet. As we drove to Woodbury we took the same stretch of highway as we did during our last trip. There was some confusion as to where we were going as all the town names were similar, all ending in –bury. We stopped in Woodbury to check out the main town, and it was small. The main street literally consisted of an IGA and a few antique stores and a white church. New Preston, CT, the next town on our tour of small town Connecticut was slightly better, only because it had a candy store. The sea salt chocolate covered caramels were the best candy we got, although the chocolate covered Oreo came in a close second. It lost points for being dark chocolate not milk. We went into what we thought was an antique shop but it was more like an over-priced and glorified Pier 1. They did have some gorgeous wood cutting boards, but they were $100 and up, which was just ridiculous.
In trying to get to Lake Waramaug, we ended up driving around the entire lake before we found the park itself. We found a bench under a tree and relaxed. I had poured a cooler into a plastic water bottle and enjoyed it while reading Catcher In The Rye while Brent went for a walk. Afterwards we drove to Kent State Falls Par, to hike to the top of a waterfall. I kind of wished I had known about this beforehand, I would not have had the cooler, which on an empty stomach in the glaring sun, was not doing me any favours. It turned out to be more of a stair climb than a hike to the top, plus you could see the waterfall from the parking lot. At the bottom I was annoyed because there were people in the pool at the bottom, wrecking my photos. I joked about tossing in a log at the top of the waterfall to knock them down like bowling pins. At the top there were a bunch of teenagers eating chips and drinking beer in the pool where the waterfall begins, again ruining my photos. I had to stand there and wait for them to duck down to get food before I could snap a decent picture. Even by the water and in the shade, it was still boiling hot outside.
Driving to the second lake of the day, Bantam Lake, we took a lot of twisty and windy roads. It was difficult to write in my notebook and I wound up with a bunch of illegible scribbles. We circled the lake looking for a park but found nothing. We stopped at a gas station to grab some snacks to hold us over. I finally succeeded in getting my Cherry Coke Zero fix and I found the red-packaged Snickers bar I had seen last time I was in the States. Apparently it was full of more nuts than usual. We also grabbed sea salt and garlic Lays chips and a small package of mini Reese’s peanut butter Oreos. From there we set off for the hotel. I was in desperate need of a shower, I was covered in sunscreen and it was starting to annoy me.
The Mayflower Inn was “ritzy-ditzy” according to my travel notes. Upon arrival they offered us champagne. We turned it down as it was not clear if it was complimentary and the last thing we wanted was a surprise bill. From the moment we entered it was almost painfully awkward. They kept offering to take my bags, including my plastic bag full of junk food. Everyone was so prim and properly dressed and there were we, no rolling luggage and carrying our alcohol in a paper bag. After a while though it started to amuse me, just how out of place I felt. We were also the youngest people there, partly because we were in the heart of antique country.
Our room had a fireplace and the bathroom included a free loofah scrub (which did wonders scraping all the sunscreen off in the shower). We had a feather-pillow-top mattress that was high atop a box spring then on a frame. I could not even climb up on it. I had to use the frame as a step to get up.
We went for a walk around the grounds before dinner. We stopped at a PGA-approved (designed?) putting green to practice our golf. It was really just a small square of Astroturf the size of a patio, with five holes. I grabbed a club at random, turns out it was for lefties. I did not think it would make much of a difference, in that I am terrible at golf. The right-handed one barely made things any better. I hit one ball too hard and it went under the bushes. In trying to retrieve it I got a thorn in my thumb. That was more than enough golf for me. There were no Herons at heron Pond. The hedge maze had been taken out. We tried to walk along the path that looped around the property but it had been so poorly maintained in the woodsy part that it was impossible to walk along it. Instead we stopped and watched a woodpecker as he tried to find a good spot on the tree to peck at. I so badly wanted to see him start pecking away, but he was too indecisive and taking forever so I gave up on watching him. On our way back we passed an herb garden, it gave me high hopes for dinner. In the flower garden we saw a bunch of bumble bees. They were all concentrated in one area, apparently on this one type of flower was good. From what I gather, the rest sucked.
On our way back into the hotel I noticed in the foyer that they had the coolest antique of all time. It was a small chest/table that was made to look like a pile of books. I had a slight urge to steal it. Instead I made note of it, and will keep an eye out for one. There was no iron in our room (all the fanciness and no iron?) so Brent could not iron his shirt. Instead he opted for a polo (which meant wearing jeans), making me look over-dressed in my dress. Thankfully I had that black maxi skirt I had bought at Kohl’s. The only problem was that I only had racer back tank tops with me on the trip. I had to make do. The whole stay was already so awkward that a little more did not make a difference. Earlier a woman had brought us a bucket of ice, we had no idea why. We had not asked for it.
The waiter asked us if we wanted tap water or bottled water. But he phrased the question in such a way that he meant if we only wanted water. He did not give us a drinks menu and the next time he came back we had to ask for it. A few other people in the restaurant were also wearing jeans, but we were the only ones sitting inside. Everyone else was on the patio. I ordered the noodles with calamari. It was fun to eat the spiral noodles, but they were drenched in butter and thus prone to slipping off my fork. Brent had ordered the striped bass, even though we had been warned that it may be sold out. After a bite of it, I could understand why it had been almost sold out. It was delicious. The crème brulee however, won the evening.
After dinner we sat around the lounge. We were going to play Scrabble but there was no pencil for score-keeping in the box. We tried to take one from the Pictionary box, but they were all unsharpened and therefore useless. Brent went upstairs to grab one, and came back with a beer as well. Up next we played a game of chess. We were unsure about the set-up of the chess board, and so off Brent went again, to check the rules on the iPad. This time I ensure he returned with one of my coolers. Having lost both Scrabble and chess, I suggested we play checkers. I dominated, with my king pawn, I managed to kill three of Brent’s checkers. It was a wonderful victory. We started watching House of Cards, but I was so sleepy that by 11pm I was ready for bed.