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Category Archives: Weekend Trips

Relaxing Weekend

Planned a weekend trip to visit the Dinosaur State Park, Hilton Gardens Inn Hartford North was my choice for lodging for the weekend. Less than a 20-minute drive from the park. Conveniently located right off Route 91, Hilton Garden Inn is close to a selection of restaurants and shopping.

Arrival and check-in was quick and easy as I had done an online check-in the day before. Check-in desk had my key cards ready for me, I got the little amenities speech and I was off to my room. My room was the 1 King Bed with Walkout Balcony with Skyline View. The view was nice, a large panoramic view of the city and the airport was in the distance. I enjoyed sitting out on the balcony and watching planes land and takeoff for a bit.

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The room was clean, and the bathroom had nice fresh towels and a collection of toiletries for use. I noticed a lack of drawers for me to store my stuff in, but I made use of what was available. Entering the room was a small counter with a Kiering coffee maker, a minifridge and a microwave. A large counter made up most of the room. A television with a selection of local programming in the center of the counter for entertainment. On one side of the television was open area for what ever usage you could come up with, the other side of the television was a desk area with LAN ports, a desk lamp and a desk chair that was comfortable. balkin

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The bed and sofa/with pullout bed covered the other wall. Night stands on either side of the bed with lamps, a phone on one side and an alarm clock on the other finishes up the room amenities.

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I use WIFI to connect with my friends through Skype, the inn offers a complimentary level as well as a premium level for an additional 4.95 per night. I always get the premium level because of my WIFI usage. I had not issues with the internet access, listening to Pandora, watching streaming videos and such where seamless.

Sleeping was refreshing, the room was quiet overnight getting no outside sound or any from within the inn. The room darkening blinds did their job wonderfully, keeping out any light from the parking lot, as well as the morning sun.

With morning comes breakfast, and Hilton Gardens offers a breakfast buffet with a good selection of self serve items and cooked to order eggs, pancakes and French toast. I had a ham and cheese omelet with a couple of pancakes with some sugar free syrup.

Second night was as good as the first. Slept well, had a nice breakfast and got ready for my drive home. Checkout was a quick and easy, a quick visit to the front desk, turn in my key cards and off for my drive home.

Hilton Garden Inn was a great place to spend a weekend, if my plans bring me to the area in the future this will be where I will stay.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2018 in Hotel Review, Travel, Weekend Trips

 

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Rained Out Plans

May’s weekend trip has come and passed. Had made my plans to visit Dinosaur State Park and enjoy the outside activities. My stay was at the Hilton Gardens Inn Hartford North/Bradley Int’l Airport in Windsor Connecticut.

Fridays work day ended well, and I was headed for the Inn around 3:00. I had already done an online check-in, so it was just a matter of getting my key cards and headed to my room. The room was nice and clean, and the temperature was very comfortable after a warm day outside. A quick shower and off to dinner and a bit of fun shopping.

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Dinner was at a restaurant that I have not eaten at previously, TGI Fridays. My server, Susane, was very friendly and helpful. Dinner was the Center cut Sirloin and shrimp, a bowl of the White Cheddar Broccoli Cheese Soup and I finished with the Red Velvet Sparkler Cake, Dinner was very filling, and I took more than half of my dessert back to my room with me.

A quick stop by Bookends Adult Superstore for a little browsing. I ended up picking myself up a new toy for the weekend. Let’s just say, I made a good choice. The store itself was fun to visit, the staff where pleasant and knowledgeable and I felt very comfortable.

Back to my room for a relaxing evening. Good sleep overnight. Breakfast in the morning was a buffet from the Inn. Had a made to order ham and cheese omelet and a short stack of pancakes with some sugar free syrup.

My plans for the day was to visit the Dinosaur State Park to wander around the outside area. Unfortunately, with the morning came rain and put damper on my plans. For a change up, I decided to find a place to play a little billiards. There is a Dave and Buster’s in Hartford and I know most of them have tables, so that became my first destination. Not really difficult to find as it is located near the mall, plenty of parking available.

As a weekend full of unfortunates, this location of Dave and Buster’s does not have billiard tables. I did spend about an hour playing some games of chance before I headed out to find a billiards table. A quick Google search for billiards and Hartford had me setting my GPS to Nomad Adventure Quest.

A 15-minute drive brought me to the parking lot for Nomads. The parking lot was rather large and packed. From what I could see, Nomads is a large, indoor entertainment complex. Besides the billiards I also saw a basketball court, a lazar tag arena, a small short order restaurant, a bar and a lot of games to earn tickets from.

As the weekend was shaping up for me, the billiards where not available for rental due to an event that was going on that day. I did not feel like playing any of the games as I had already done enough of that at Dave and Buster’s. So, back to my car and off to find something to do.

Sadly, I could not come up with anything. I decided to get some lunch and head back to my room for a relaxing afternoon. Got a chicken cutlet sub with an order of onion rings at the Family Pizzeria in Windsor. The sandwich and rings made for a tasty lunch.

Spent a little time with my new toy, had a shower and relaxed doing some channel surfing. Didn’t really find anything interesting so I took a nap. I woke refreshed and headed out for dinner. Ended up getting Wendy’s, a Ranch Asiago Club and fries. I know, I should be eating better but I was not in the mood for a sit-down dinner this night.

Back to my room and settled in for a good night’s sleep. The morning came with another breakfast, this time I settled on light fare, mostly because my day was going to be filled with driving. But before the drive came a Formula One race, watched while talking to my friends on Skype. Fun race.

Got myself together and checked out. The drive home took about 2 and a half hours, the weather was nice, and the traffic was light. It made for a nice drive.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2018 in Travel, Weekend Trips

 

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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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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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