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Category Archives: Weekend Trips

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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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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March Weekend Trip To New England Air Museum

March has brought me to Hartford Connecticut for a visit to the New England Air Museum. I started my weekend on Friday a little earlier than I had expected due to a rather smooth work day. Headed out from my last job and onto the highway for what was just over a two hour drive. Arrived at the Hampton Inn Hartford around 3:30. I had done online check-in the night before so checking in was quick and easy. I was in my room less than ten minutes after parking.


My room was a 1 King Bed Studio Suite. The room was good sized and made me feel comfortable all weekend. I like having a minifridge and microwave so that I can have a snack when I like. My weekends are about me getting away and having a bit of me time.

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Friday night found me at the local Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner. After about a fifteen minute wait for a table I was seated and perusing the menu. Started off with a blackberry iced tea and a bowl of Potato Soup. Dinner was a Flatiron Steak with the Spaghetti Squash, something that I remember enjoying as a kid but have not seen in a restaurant until now. It was a nice bit of comfort food for me.


Saturday adventure started at the New England Air Museum, a museum of flight including space flight. I had a great time waking around reading about the different planes and seeing the reconditioned planes. I found the visit to be entertaining, interesting and educational.

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Finding out recently that Teavana Stores have been closed, and being a fan of loose teas, I needed to find another source of said teas. Oddly enough I was making the discovery of the closing of Teavana whilst talking with a friend of mine who lives in Calgary Alberta Canada who told me about a tea store that are in Canada called DAVIDsTea. A quick search in the area that I was visiting for DAVIDsTea located one that was not out of the way. I was glad that I stopped by the store, it was enjoyable to shop there and I made a good sized purchase.


Not planning anything else for the day I went searching around for something else to do. Unfortunately all I did was some more shopping, including a stop at an adult toy store where I had a rather enjoyable conversation with the staff.


After another nights rest and a good breakfast at the inn, I was off for my drive home. Not much to say about that. It was a nice sunny day and the roads were not full of idiots. Made a single stop on the way for some lunch at a Wendy’s. Got home at a reasonable time.


 
 

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Mystic Aquarium Half The Fish, Just As Much Fun

Had a recent visit to the Mystic Aquarium on a weekend trip. As this was a planned trip, I purchased my entrance ticket in advance, online. When I arrived, I found the parking lot to be quite full, and a long line of people waiting to get in. A quick check at the ticket booth to ask if I needed to wait in the line, I was told that because I had pre-purchased I could bypass the ticket line and go right in.

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At the main entrance I was informed that some of the areas of the aquarium were closed for winter maintenance and renovations. An understandable inconvenience for the time of the year. I may plan a future trip in warmer weather.

My first stop was the 4D theater. The movie was Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs, the 4D Experience. The movie was an animated short with the 3D glasses as well as some other little surprises along the way. If I were to have a complaint about the movie, it would be that it was a little too short for the extra cost.

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From there I went out to the large main tank with the beluga whales. The two of them seemed very playful and liked to put on a show for the people. The tank is outdoors and has not inside viewing areas and the day was a bit overcast, but for mid-February it was a rather nice day to spend outside.


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Next up I went inside the main building to enjoy the different exhibits. The one I was most looking forward to seeing was the Weird & Wonderful exhibit. First up was a section devoted to the different breeds of jelly fish, each in their own individual tanks with plenty of information about each variety. After the jelly fish was another area of tanks filled with some of the strangest fish I have ever seen. I do not want to get to specific and spoil the fun, but I will say that it was very interesting, entertaining and educational all wrapped up in one strange package.

Around the inside area of the aquarium were loads more tanks and displays of all manner of fish and other water creatures. Sadly, one of the closed off areas was the Shark Lagoon. There was an open pool of small sharks that visitors could pet if they were so inclined, I did. One of the rules for the petting of these sharks is that you could not touch them as they swam by, you had to wait till one stopped to rest within your reach. As I was reaching in and petting a resting shark, another swam up just out of my vision and scared the daylights out of me, not knowing what it was going to do. Other than swim by, it did nothing else.

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Back out doors to walk around the outside areas. The seal tanks were interesting to watch, but winter time has no shows to see. The penguins seemed at home and were being playful for people watching them. A walk around the boardwalk past the dormant monarch butterfly area and through the open frozen march. I imagine these two areas are brimming with life during warmer weather, winter time not so much. Back around to another of the seasonal exhibits, the birds of the outback.

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The last area, and unfortunately closed for renovations, was the Foxwoods Marine Theater that when open features a sea lion show. A quick walk through the gift shop to see if there was anything I wanted, all I got was my usual attraction keychain to add to my collection.

I had a good time during my visit. I do recommend visiting during warmer weather as a large amount or the aquarium is outdoors and subject to the seasons. Purchasing tickets in advance is also a good idea if you know exactly when you are going to visit, the prepurchased tickets are dated. I would also recommend that you plan on at least three hours to fully enjoy this attraction.

 
 

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99 Restaurant Groton – Quick and Easy Take Away

It was a bit later than I had expected and I didn’t really feel like waiting for a table so I called in a take away order. I ordered from the winter specials menu and got the Sirloin and Baked Scallops with an order of steamed broccoli as my vegetable choice.

The order was ready for me when I arrived, I paid and headed back to my hotel room. The order came in a large take out order box, this made the order seem a little smaller than it really was. I also got a knife and fork pack with a salt and a pepper packet and a napkin. The knife impressed me as it did a great job of cutting the steak.

The steak was cooked just the way I like it, medium rare, and was nice and tender and very flavorful. There were not as many scallops as I had expected, but for the price it was fair enough. The scallops were baked to perfection, the cracker topping had a nice garlicy flavor to it, but I would have liked a little more of the topping. The broccoli was a bit crunchier than I prefer but was flavorful and had a bit of butter on it.

I was glad I ordered out and enjoyed the meal, even if I would have liked a few more scallops.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2018 in Restaurant Review, Travel, Weekend Trips

 

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