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China Pan

Was staying in Farmington Hampton Inn for a weekend, front desk gave me a menu for a local Chinese restaurant that delivered to the Inn. Oddly enough, getting the menu is what got me thinking about Chinese for dinner. Went out to do a bit of shopping and looking for a place to eat and my head kept going back to the menu, so I decided to get Chinese Delivery. Got back to my room, called in my order and waited. It took about a half an hour, I got a call from the restaurant saying that the driver was almost at the hotel and would I like to meet him in the lobby or have it delivered right to my room. I wanted to get a coffee from the hot beverage station, so I met him in the lobby.

Brought my order to my room, checked it and had everything I had ordered as well as some egg rolls and an extra box of white rice. My order, a Beef Egg Foo Young, an order of vegetable Lo Mein, some crab Rangoon and boneless spare ribs.

There were a few things that were different than I am used to in my order. With Egg Foo Young I am used to the egg patties and the gravy being together, China Pan puts the egg patties and the gravy in separate containers. I actually liked this, it gave me the chance to put the amount of gravy on my eggs. Second, the boneless spare ribs, the sauce was a bit sweeter than I am used to. I am just making comparisons to where I get my Chinese when I am home and a restaurant away from home.

The order came with plenty of duck sauce, some plates, napkins, forks and knives and a couple of packages that included soy sauce, hot mustard and the dry noodles. The amount of food for what I ordered was a bit more than I had expected, fortunately for me, my room had a microwave and a minifridge, so I had leftovers for the next day.

If I find myself in the area in the future I will consider ordering from the China Pan again.

 
 

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A Little Literary History Weekend

Had a recent weekend trip to Farmington Connecticut to visit the Mark Twain House and Museum. My chosen place to stay was the Hampton Inn & Suites Hartford/Farmington because it was close to the museum, about a 15-minute drive away.

The Inn is located right off route 6 and a short drive off of Route 84. The surrounding area is mostly residential, making for a quiet area. Parking for the Inn was plentiful. Check in was quick and easy, a visit to the front desk, get my key cards and the clerk handed me a list of local restaurants as well as two menus to restaurants that deliver to the hotel, a pizza and sub shop and a Chinese restaurant, a quick stop at the 24-hour hot beverage station for a coffee and I was off to my room.

My room was a 1 King Bed Suite. The room was very comfortable and clean on entering. Got myself comfortable for the evening. The room had a large desk splitting the area into two sections. A television was attached to the desk, viewable from either side of the desk

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The bathroom had nice, clean and fresh towels, a collection of toiletries and a hair dryer. There was also a little nook with a good-sized counter with a small sink, a coffee maker and a collection of coffees and teas, a microwave and a mini fridge rounded out the area.

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Headed out for a bit of shopping for the evening, then back to my room and ordered the Chinese takeout from the restaurant the front desk gave me on check-in. The order was delivered in a timely fashion, I got a call from the restaurant just before delivery asking if I wanted to meet the driver in the lobby or have it delivered right to my room. I was in the mood to get a coffee, so I met the driver in the lobby.

Kicked back and relaxed, watched a bit of television, plenty of local broadcast to choose from, the to bed. The bed was very comfortable, and the sheets and comforter were clean. I heard very little sound come in from out side and the light blocking blinds did a great job keeping out all light, including the morning sun.

Morning brings a complimentary breakfast buffet. Plenty of choices to go with, fresh breads and bagels with a toaster for do it yourself, a chafing dish full of scrambled eggs, sausage patties, and home fries. Oatmeal and cold cereals are available as well as some fresh fruits. The hot beverage station is there for your morning coffee.

Headed out for my days explorations. On my return to my room I hit my first and only problem. I was booked and signed in for a two night stay. Getting to my room I found my key card would not open my rooms door. It wasn’t a real big deal, I went back to the front desk, told them the problem and they promptly reset my key card. Back to my room, and the key worked.

My room was cleaned, new fresh towels and the toiletries I had used where replaced. The bed was cleanly made and the coffee and cups that I had used had been replenished. Enjoyed some leftover Chinese for dinner.

The second evening had me on Skype with a couple of my friends from Canada and Detroit. We were on to watch a Formula One race. The WiFi worked great and I had no drop outs with either the call or the broadcast onto my tablet.

Had a second great nights sleep. Morning had me getting a light breakfast because I knew I was going to be spending a few hours in my car driving.

Check out was as quick and easy as check in, turned in my cards to the front desk and an the road I was.

My visit to the Hampton Inn Farmington was relaxing and enjoyable, the next time I am going to be in the area this will be my destination. Thank you to the staff of Hampton Inn Farmington.

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2018 in Hotel Review, Travel, Weekend Trips

 

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Mark Twain House And Museum Weekend

April and another weekend away for me. This month brought me back to Connecticut, Farmington this time around.

Friday work day was smooth and easy, the team seemed like we were all in sync and the day went quick. My drive started off uneventful and stayed that way through the two and a half hours that it took me to get to my hotel, Hampton Inn and Suites Farmington. Arrival and checking in where simple, a quick visit to the front desk, my key cards in hand and off to my room.

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Got myself settled for the weekend and got ready to go out to dinner. The front desk had a list of local restaurants, so I checked the list out. For some reason, throughout the week I had Chinese on my mind and low and behold there was a Chinese restaurant local, China Pan, so that was my choice. Dinner went well, the egg foo young was just perfect and the lo mein was very tasty.

Back to my room for the night. Spent some time talking with some of my friends on Skype, sharing videos and stories of the day. Slept well, the bed was comfy and the room darkening blinds did a great job of keeping the out side light out.

Morning, had a small breakfast from the complimentary breakfast buffet. Headed out for my days adventures. Stop one, The Mark Twain House and Museum. The Museum had an exhibit running for the month called Tails of Twain. It was a bit of the history of Samuel Clemens pets, the man was a cat person but also had dogs, horses and a cow as pets. There were many pictures and stories to be read. The house itself was the first home built by Mr. Clemens and where he wrote most of his famous books. The Harriet Beecher Stowe house was right next door to the Mark Twain house so I walked over to visit that while I was there. Unfortunately the next tour was booked up. I decided to head off to the local mall, Westfarms Mall, and do a bit of shopping. When I came out I decided to go back to the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. They did not have a tour for 2:00, which is when I got back there, I did ask the attendant on duty for a suggestion where I could go locally and she suggested the Connecticut Historical Society Museum.

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Less than a ten minute drive and I was at the CHS Museum. A couple of temporary exhibits where showing. The Shakers exhibit showing some of the fantastic craftsmanship of the Shakers as well as some history of the local Shakers. Next was the That’s Weird – History is Strange, Take A Second Look. So this exhibit lived up to its name, it had some very strange parts to it. The oddest would be the section on death. There was a warning at the door before entering that section. To be honest, I did not find any of it disturbing in any way, but that is just me. I found the entire exhibit to be very interesting and entertaining.

After the museum it was back to my hotel for a bit of rest and relaxation. Played some games on my tablet, watched a bit of television, nothing really interesting there and had me some dinner. Nothing special just a burger and some mac and cheese from a local sub shop whose name escapes me at the moment.

Saturday night or early Sunday morning, depending on your point of view, was the third race of this season of Formula One. I have been enjoying F1 for a few years now. Talking with a couple of my friends who also share the joy of F1, we stayed up to the wee hours of the morning watching this race. It was a fun race to watch even if the end results where not what we had been hoping for.

A very short nights sleep followed the race. Got up and had a light breakfast, mostly because I knew I would be on the road for a while. Packed up and checked out. Headed for home, for the most part the drive was uneventful up until I was about a half hour from home. That’s when the snow and freezing rain started to fall. Slowed me down a bit, instead of a half hour it took just over an hour to get home from that point. As with most April snow, it did not stick around very long but it was a pain at the time.

Got home safely and that ended my Mark Twain weekend.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2018 in Travel, Weekend Trips

 

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I Am A Gamer

I play video games. Whew that was easy. Okay, so I have been playing them for many years. I have a penchant for playing games on a computer. I do not own a Xbox, a PS4 or a Switch. I do play games on my Android phone and tablet for mobility reasons. I make this point because I am going to start writing about some of the games I am playing. Maybe some reviews, but mostly just experiences.

For me it started out with an odyssey 200 as Christmas gift. Yup, a couple of variations of Pong, me and my brother played this for hours. I was hooked.

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Next came an Atari 2600, well a Sears branded version of the 2600 anyway. Games, games, games. Although I do not remember every game I had for the system, I do remember my favorites. Adventure was my all time favorite game for the system. An adventure game, duh, where the main goal is to slay the dragons scaring the country side. Arcade game cross-overs that where fun to play, Asteroids, Space invaders, Defender and Dig Dug where all good. Star Raiders, a space adventure game, was a lot of fun to play as well.

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Next up was an Atari 400. 8-bit gaming at its best. A membrane keyboard, joystick and paddle controllers and a cassette recorder for backup and storage. I had the 400 Star Raiders which I enjoyed even more than the 2600 version, Miner 2049er, some text adventure games on cassette as well as many other games that escape my memory at the moment.

I also had the Basic programming cartridge for the system and was teaching myself to program. I even saved up for a long time to get a floppy disc drive. Unfortunately it went bad on me and I was never able to repair or replace it. Maybe a game programmer lost to the ages, oh well.

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The Colecovision game system followed the 400. Games available where ports of arcade games, some popular games, Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr, Defender and Zaxxon, as well as a bunch of games that were not as popular in arcades. Some of my faves from this list are Lady Bug, Mouse Trap and Burger Time. Gaming was becoming ingrained in my life.

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16-bit gaming entered my life with the Sega Genesis. Amazing graphics for the time, and a library of games that rivaled any system before. I played platform games, fighting games and a bunch of action adventure games on my Genesis. The I added a Sega CD drive to the system and added a whole new universe of games.

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Everyone owned a Nintendo Entertainment System, NES for short, and so did I. It was a toss up for which franchise I liked best, Super Mario or Mega Man. I played the daylights out of both entries.

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I entered 32-bit gaming with a Playstation, the first one. I didn’t have very many games for this one as I had acquired it after its life span but before gaming stores started selling used games for the system. I got a bit of play out of it before I packed it away and purchased my first PC

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Posted by on April 19, 2018 in Gaming

 

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New England Air Museum

Plane Fun

Had a recent visit to the New England Air Museum at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. I have to say that I enjoyed my visit very much. There are plenty of aircraft with their history to check out.

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The staff was very friendly and full of information when ever I had a question about something. One thing that I thought was very interesting, throughout the museum there were speakers that had the tower chatter from Bradley International playing through them.

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I am a solo traveler and found the history of air travel to be an interesting visit, but for the folks that are traveling with younger children there are some things about to give them some interest. While I was visiting, there was a paper airplane folding instructor for the younger ones in your group. There is also a section with some other child directed entertainment as well.

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During my visit I spent a couple of hours going about, reading plaques about different planes and taking photos as well. I found the whole visit to be entertaining, interesting and educational as well. If you have an interest in air craft, air travel or the history of air travel the New England Air Museum is a great place to visit.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2018 in Attraction Review, Travel, Weekend Trips

 

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Longhorn Steak House Manchester Connecticut

Surprise Comfort Food For Me

Recently found myself in Hartford Connecticut and looking for a place for dinner. Came across a Longhorn Steakhouse and thought, steak sounds good right now. I am glad that I did

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I had a very short wait for a table, less than 15 minutes. Once I was seated it was just a minute or two before my server came for my drink order. I chose an unsweetened black raspberry iced tea and a glass of water.

Got my tea and water and placed my dinner order. Start with a bowl of the Loaded Potato Soup, then the Flat Iron Steak with a Mixed Green Salad with Ranch Dressing and the Maple Roasted Spaghetti Squash.

I got my Loaded Potato soup and Mixed Greens Salad served with fresh baked bread and butter. The bread was nice and warm and tasty. The Loaded Potato soup was just that, loaded. There was plenty of potato pieces and bacon bits and lots of flavor. The salad had a good mix of greens, some iceberg, romaine, chicory and chives, as well as some tomato chunks, slices of cucumber and some croutons with a little side cup or ranch dressing.

The Main dish, Flat Iron Steak, named so because it resembles an old fashioned flat iron, gotta love the irony. Ok so my steak came out nice and hot and cooked to a perfectly warm pink middle, medium as I ordered it. The steak is marinated in a house sauce for fuller flavor. I did enjoy the steak, the marinate has a bit of a zing to it that I was not expecting.

Seeing Spaghetti Squash on the menu was a bit of a surprise to me. I have not seen this item on a menu anywhere to date. Growing up my grandfather grew his own spaghetti squash and I enjoyed this unusual vegetable very much, so I had to order it. Maple Baked added a fantastic flavor to the squash and the texture brought me back to my childhood and good memories, it was a nice comfort food for me.

I finished the meal off with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Jar. A small jar filled with chocolate cake, whipped cream and mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. A tiny, decadent dessert perfect for finishing off my meal.

The restaurant had a very rustic feel. Exposed beam ceilings and barnboard walls as well as all sorts of western barn accessories about the restaurant.

My server, Amy, was very cheery, with a pleasant smile, adding a pleasantness to my entire meal.

 
 

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Hampton Inn Hartford/East Hartford

Here For The Planes and Some Relaxation

I was in Hartford for a weekend to visit the New England Air Museum, and the East Hartford Hampton Inn and Suites was in a great location for my visit.

Located right off of Route 84, Hampton Inn Hartford has a nice central location. Arrival at the inn in the mid afternoon and checking in was a quick and easy process. I had already done an online check-in the night before and everything was ready for my arrival. A quick orientation about the inns amenities, a cup of coffee from the 24-hour hot beverage station and I was headed to my room.

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My room was a 1 King Bed Studio Suite. The room itself had a good amount of space. Right inside the door is the kitchenette type area which includes a minifridge, a microwave, a coffee maker and a small sink, on a good sized counter. The main room had the bed, of course, a couch with a pullout bed, a desk and a bureau with the television on top. The television had a lot of local programming as well as some pay-per-view programming available.

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For me while I am on a weekend, I like to keep in touch with my friends via skype, so a good WIFI internet connection is important to me. I had no issues with the connection though out the entire weekend. Besides skyping, I was able to stream Pandora without interruption and even watched a movie, again with no problems.

After a relaxing evening .it was off to sleep, The bed was nice and clean and very comfortable, giving me a good nights sleep. I heard no noise from outside my room and the room darkening blinds did a sufficient job at keeping out the light, including the morning sun

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Morning comes with the complimentary breakfast buffet. The coffee station was open for business and flowing freely. The staff was doing a great job at keeping everything full. For me, breakfast was a couple of slices of toast, freshly toasted by me at the toast station, a bowl of oatmeal, and some ham and cheese scrambled eggs. All was freshly cooked and tasty. There are plenty of other breakfast items available to choose from, including a self serve waffle station.

After my days adventures I was looking forward to a late afternoon of relaxing before dinner, so back to my room I headed. Returning to my room I found it cleaned and refreshed for me, my bed was freshly made and towels have been replaced.

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After another great nights sleep and a nice fresh breakfast, I was getting ready to get back on the road for my drive home. Check out was a quick and easy process, turn in my key card and have a receipt sent to my email and I was on the road home.

Thank you to the entire staff of Hampton Inn and Suites Hartford/East Hartford for giving me a wonderful and relaxing weekend.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2018 in Hotel Review, Travel, Weekend Trips

 

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