Thursday, September 22, 2016

Summing up Connecticut

Slashing around in the Berkshires
With our time coming to an end in Connecticut, we had a couple more adventures lined up before we headed out. Also a couple of trips and visits from friends before and after the wedding as our couches saw their fair share of visitors.  The first of them was Simon, coming from Christchurch, NZ to do 'Camp America,' he was at home on our couch for a good week. Allowing him full range on the beer in the fridge, he was pretty easily pleased. We took him out and about to show him the adventures of Connecticut. He wasn't impressed, so we took him away from the hustle and bustle on a nice drive up route 7 all the way to Athol, Massachusetts. A beautiful few hours drive north through small Berkshire towns and forest draped roads, no interstates required. We made a stop in the lakeside town of Hinsdale right near where Simon and our friend Sean, also from Christchurch, would be running camp. Taking a look at a local waterfall, it was the perfect opportunity to ignore some "No Swimming" signs and do some mad jumps off rocks into the fresh water. On to Athol to Brady's birthday party, though Children' parties are not so much our thing, Simon and I parked ourselves up on the back porch with some beers and it was happy days. A cool afternoon with the rain patting away on the forest, it was a relaxing old time.
The Kiwis at Two Roads
We were lucky that Oktoberfest actually falls in September, because we didn't miss the annual Two Roads Ok2berfest. It was quite the mad weekend, but we figured we might as well work and get paid, and have a few beers while we were at it too. A busy Saturday of three or so thousand attendees meant a non-stop service of beer for us out from the Hop Shed in the Hop Yard. A truly unbelievable volume of beer must have been consumed in total that day. With Sunday being a bit quieter, we were up in the main bar, having more of a chance to enjoy a beer ourselves. Now Amy had made herself a bit of a permanent fixture in the Two Roads Crew, working at the bar, in the Airstream in the beer garden and giving amazing brewery tours. That brewery truly was our world for the year. 

After all our guests had left, we were looking forward to a couple of quiet days, but of course the text came from Sean looking to terrorize our casual plans. We are however always happy to return the favor for the many couch stays we have be privileged to over then years. Other than the regular visits to the brewery and the beach, we headed an hour or so north to Sleeping Giant State Park for a bit of a wander. A steep and boulder-y park, it was a fun clamber up through the forest to a hilltop with a fair view to wooded suburbs, motorways and power lines, hey that's a quality view for CT.  

Amy and her dad had scored some VIP tickets to the America Gold Cup International Show Jumping, a fancy equestrienne event through connections at the jewelers her dad works for. Including breakfast, lunch, custom made cocktails, front row seats and the sort of treatment one could get used to. Oh and the horse riding was divine, I'm sure. Continuing with the plush, we ate very well for a few weeks having received a gift voucher for a local farm stand for our wedding. We bought all sorts of great looking and tasting locally raised veggies and meats from the Shelton farmers stand. I always say the uglier, the tastier. We had tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, yellow watermelon and the sorts that were all manor of funky shapes and colours and they were delicious. A gourmet dinner out to the local Karma Sushi in Stratford, another gift, left us full and satisfied after sampling a through spectrum of sushi and dumplings. 

Amy at the horse show
On our last week in Connecticut, we made a trip up the Hudson to Bear Mountain State Park with Ted for a day hike. I think he got more than he bargained for with the walk being a steep clamber, especially when we crossed the road at the top and he exclaimed that we could have driven! It was worth the effort though, as a view always looks better when you have earned it. We could see pretty far into the horizon, with a faint outline of the skyscrapers of  NYC in the far distance. And of course after the return trek, a well deserved beer and burger was had at the near Peakskills Brewpub.
Ted (Dad) climbing up the trail
Of course now all that was left to do was pack up our apartment and say goodbye to all our new found friends and colleagues. I had a fun night out in New Haven with my shift from work, having dinner then beers out all around town on them, good fellas. That led to on my request arcade games at Barcade, which led to me missing the last train home by seconds. No worries, a short hike through the rough part of town and I crashed on Steve's couch. 
Sunset over the Housatonic River in Stratford

Now for a small apartment we sure packed it full of things, along with good memories. Memories are easily transportable, however big old couches and the sort are not and a flustered last few hours before handing over the keys was had trying to get rid of some of our hand-me-down big old items of furniture. This required Steve and I to drive all around in rush hour with couches strapped to the roof and chairs poking out sunroofs, but we eventually managed to give it all away. So there it was, one last beer at the brewery, some hugs and a bunch of high fives to all we had met and known over the last year in Connecticut and we were out of there. 

Ted, Amy and Thomas at Bear Mountain

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