Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Great Beginning

Magnet # 320: Downtown Hartford Photo

Material: Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased By: Me

I kicked off my trip to New England by flying into Hartford, Connecticut where my friend Catherine picked me up at the airport. We drove into the town on that first day so we could check out the Mark Twain House and Museum and then we headed over to the State Capitol Building. It was closed, but I was still able to take pictures of it from the outside - what a lovely building! Catherine lives in a small community about an hour outside of Hartford and I stayed there with her and her family for the first two nights of my trip. They have a very nice home in a somewhat rural place they've been in for ages and Catherine was able to tell me about when many of the homes around hers were built. I got to meet her two chihuahuas, Petunia and Chet, and they were incredibly cute. She'd gotten both of them from rescue shelters and they adore her and follow her everywhere. For dinner that night, we traveled to a seafood restaurant about an hour away and I tried full bellied-clams for the first time - they're kind of like clam strips, only they have the bellies attached and taste a little different. I guess they're a New England specialty - I have never heard of them before, but I liked them. The next morning, she took me to the Main Street in her town, which reminded me a little of Stars Hollow from the television show Gilmore Girls. It was charming with all sorts of local shops and restaurants. Catherine showed me the elementary school she attended when she was growing up and it was in a seemingly remote location, surrounded by trees, even though it was just off and important street. And when we drove by the homes along the shore, I was really impressed - they obviously cost quite a bit and most of them were very attractive. It was also nice to see so many people out jogging around, often with their dogs. We headed off and spent some time in Mystic, Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island later that day.

The next day, we headed back into Hartford after having a nice breakfast at a local restaurant that had an extensive choice of crepes. I had one that was a little more traditional, with fresh blueberries and maple syrup, but maybe I should have tried out what Catherine had - it was one with Nutella and bananas and it looked pretty good. Once in Hartford, we were able to tour the Connecticut State Capitol - it was very impressive and I have to say it's both one of the most stunning and the most laidback capitols I've toured this far. Unfortunately, as it was a Monday, we were out of luck with the next two locales we wanted to see that day, the Old State House right in the middle of downtown Hartford and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center next to the Mark Twain House and Museum. Even though they were listed as being open in my AAA Guide Book, they turned out to be closed. But we were able to run into the Connecticut Science Center, which is a new attraction in downtown Hartford. Even though we didn't have enough time to see it, I was at least able to get a couple of magnets there and this one at a nearby hotel. As Catherine pointed out, Hartford really isn't a big tourist destination, so finding magnets there proved to be a little tough, especially with venues closed because it was Monday. Plus, there were no souvenir shops that we could find. But we had a really good time, if for nothing else just because we were able to hang out together, which we hardly ever get to do. I headed out of Hartford that day on my own, heading off on the next leg of the trip in a rental car. But I'm sure I'll head back to see Catherine someday or she'll come visit me here in Savannah. I'm certainly looking forward to spending time together again!

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