Tuesday, July 05, 2011

S&S's Great New England Adventure - Day 3

Sunday morning dawned. S & S slept late and had a relaxing morning (oh my goodness, skipping church - well to our credit, we had tried to find a church, but neither the Internet nor the phonebook had any hours listed, hence as we weren't sure when to show up...), then set off for Gillette Castle! A castle in Connecticut, how exciting. It was cloudy and looked like rain.

As usual with every time we've gotten in the car to go somewhere on this trip, we did take a wrong turn and had to turn around, but otherwise it was a lovely drive up windy Connecticut mountain roads past other roads with lovely names. One was called Petticoat Lane and I told Stacey I would be so happy if one of my brothers ended up living on a road like that.

Gillette Castle is not strictly a castle but rather the castle-like mansion of a gentleman named William Gillette. It has towers and practically almost has a moat (without any water though) and secret doors for dramatic entrances or quick get-aways - from guests. The castle itself was quite fascinating but more so was the man himself. He was an actor and a play writer. Upon being introduced to the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle, he wrote the first adaptations for the stage, and acted the part of Holmes himself, and he gave Holmes those characteristic bits that we've come to expect in depictions of Sherlock Holes - the hunter's cap, the pipe, the violin, the "Elementary, my dear fellow" (which was replaced with "my dear Watson" later). Also I was very sad to find out that his wife died a few years after their marriage and he promised never to remarry. Sad on both counts, I feel so badly that he would make such a promise, though I'm sure it's very noble and splendid and all that.

After exploring the castle bottom to top (the required order) we ventured out to explore the grounds, and Stacey was in the process of getting us good and lost out on the trails, when the sprinkles of rain started to become more insistent and we started to walk at a more insistently rapid pace to our car, which we reached just before getting quite soaked... We finally decided that was enough outdoors exploring and headed out to see what other adventures we could find.

On the atlas Stacey had discovered the Mystic Aquarium listed near New London on the coast, so as I'd never been to an aquarium, we went! It was pretty fascinating. I touched a shark and a stingray. YIKES! About the hardest thing I have ever made myself do! I highly recommend it, it's an intense sort of adrenaline rush!

Same day I had also found out that we had friends after all in Connecticut, which I'd forgotten! So we got directions on the phone and headed over to New Haven. It was very enjoyable to see Jon and Christine Potter again and they took us out for famous New Haven pizza (incredibly good, similar to NYC pizza but apparently with a flatter more-burnt crust), and took us on a little walking tour of Yale University and New Haven. We walked past 3 of the 4 secret society buildings. They don't have many windows or really look welcoming at all. In fact they're quite spooky to walk by at night. YIKES!

And after 3 towns in 1 day thus ended our tour of Connecticut which was quite a bit more extensive than we'd planned but very enjoyable.

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