A Castle In Connecticut- A Last Minute Adventure

the Stones in this castle
Gillette Caste, Connecticut
The bells and whistles
Empty chairs at empty tables
Gillette Caste, amid the green
Gillette Castle, CT
Gillete Castle details

Gillette Caste, CT
Gillette Caste State Park

Architectural details in CT
Gillette Castle State Park
Connecticut landscape
Kat is lovely
Sherlock Holmes, William Gillette
Miss Fables and Coffee
Sally, our trusty sidekick

( Following the really late posting i’ve been doing about the adventures me and my good friend Kat had back at the end of May. Being a Norwegian goddess, it was her first time here in the USA and we decided to take an epic 10 day trip all over the east coast to make the most of it. We started our time in New York City after which we took a bus to Boston where we rented a car that was utterly disproportionate to our needs and proceeded to take a 5 day roadtrip around the states. We drove it into the foggy wildlands of Maine, tumbled it up in the mountains of New Hampshire, revved it down the highways of Vermont, got bogged down in the insanity of Connecticut traffic, splashed along the shores of Rhode Island, before aiming it back to Boston for our last 2 days. )

After leaving the fantastic Dinosaur State Park me and Kat were headed east towards Newport-Rhode Island, our next destination. We didn’t have much else planned for our time in Connecticut, as we were both more than ready to just get out of the state and never come back. Nothing against Connecticut really, we just kept coming up against the… not so great parts of it. The hotel we had booked a room at in Hartford had lovely ladies of the night wandering around the parking lot (hookers, i’m trying to say there were hookers there), and we saw more cops in the 10 minutes we spent debating if we could actually stay here without having our car broken into than we had in the entirety of the trip. We lost our deposit, spent an hour getting lost and turned around in the suburban areas surrounding Hartford because our GPS had a mild freakout, battled the kind of traffic that makes people convert to riding bicycles forevermore and finally ended up in New Haven for our first night in the state. New Haven itself was….interesting. The only thing I can say about the morning we spent here is, Yale University seems to have a very beautiful population of students, the number of homeless people in the city seems rather higher than you would have expected, and parking wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be.

So there we were, driving down the highway in the middle of our escape from the realm of Connecticut, laughing over something or other and listening to Black Sabbath (or was it T-Pain?) when I noticed that if we took a SLIGHT detour, we could perhaps stumble upon just one last thing to make our time in Connecticut a bit more memorable. So I remember I looked over at her and said something like, “Want to see a castle?” and Kat being the fantastic human being that she is said, “What?Yeah, ok!” and so we redid our route in the GPS, stopped off at a gas station for more coffee and made our way to
Gillette Castle State Park.

It took us a bit to make our way to the actual location, and once we got there we saw that the actual castle itself was closed for the season (because of course it was), but if we wanted to explore the surrounding grounds, we could do that. And so we did. Only a couple of other people were wandering around, and while there was a whole mess of wasps dive bombing people around the southeast corner of the castle, we ran around exploring every inch that was available to us. It was lovely there, in so many way, and looking out from the overlook towards the horizon spread out in front of us, me and Kat agreed that while 60% of our experience in the state of Connecticut was an experience in patience, it was still very much worth a visit. We might possibly never come back, but walking back towards our car in the deserted parking lot, we were smiling and full of beauty. The drive to Rhode Island after that didn’t seem like so much as escape as a continuation.

~m

Epic Trip Time! But first, coffee.

After meeting up in Newark Airport (the worst place for the first meeting of an epic friendship btw….a 40 minute queue for a taxi amid weirdly humid/rainy 2am Jersey weather, not to mention both of us sleepy and tired) and venturing into Brooklyn to crash at our hotel, me and Kat woke up the first day of our 10 day journey all over the East Coast of the USA ready for epic adventures. Since we were only spending 2 days in NYC, and it was her first time ever in the US, there was a pretty hefty challenge to see as much as we could, to run all over the island with the help of as much inexpensive coffee as we could find. There were places I could live without seeing again (here’s looking at you Times Square ) and places I couldn’t wait to experience again (Brooklyn Bridge, gods yes ) so it was just a matter of being mature, responsible and putting together a good list of places near each other, the best way to get to them, as well as a reasonable timetable.

I’m kidding of course, this is me, I can’t plan to save my life and Kat might be more responsible than I am but still, we’re great friends for a reason.

So we woke up that first day, aimed towards the nearest subway station, I downloaded the MOST USEFUL APP IN THE HISTORY OF EVER, seriously, i’m pretty sure this thing is the only reason me and Kat managed to get back to our hotel in Brooklyn after stuffing our faces in Chinatown and wandering all over midtown, the NYC Subway app, dunked ourselves in coffee and headed into Manhattan to poke at places on the map and see everything that we could.

And while I can’t say we explored every single inch of Central Park, scouted targets from the Empire State Building, or kissed the Statue of Liberty pink, we managed to have a rather epic and stupidly insanely fantastic time the 2 days we stayed there. And i’m proud to say she’s more than willing to give NYC a second visit sometime in the near future, unlike some other places we visited (sorry Connecticut but dear gods, what a disaster…) which is a tale for another time, soonish.

at Hotel BPM, dead tired

at Hotel BPM, dead tired

 

to be continued…

Grants Pass (“It’s the Climate”)- Oregon

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Driving from Yrka, California up through the southernmost border of Oregon, to come splintering back into California through giant redwoods, I had to pass through a number of tiny towns that fly past on the highway without a second glance, the only reason for stopping being the rumble in a tummy or an interesting sideshow attraction. I stopped in Grants Pass for the first, a yearning on my lips for something more solid than just coffee and gas station donuts. Having stashed some fresh bread and 4 lovely warm apple turnovers in my car, I thought about taking a look around, to see what this small town might have hidden at it’s center. What I found was a lovely passionate calm that reminded me of the smaller towns i’ve passed through in Texas, and the beauty of being surrounded all around by mountains tall and cold, a fine fog and mist covering and uncovering the town on it’s whim. A perfect stop before heading into the dark and magnificent quiet of the Redwood Highway.

~m

Ft. Bragg Pt. 1 The Glass Beach

Fort Bragg was my second nights stay on the impromptu  roadtrip I took back in January, when I was in North California. It started with the longing to see mountains (I should probably re-name this blog “I freakin’ love Mountains!” ) and so I headed in the direction of Mt Shasta. And then from there I decided I might as well loop up into Oregon, and then down the coastline, just to see what I might find. The weather was amazing for January, sunny skies, high 70’s, cool breeze. Pretty much perfect weather for a roadtrip of any kind. So after having driven from Yrka, CA up through Oregon (which i’ll post about…eventually) and then down through and past Crescent City and the Avenue Of Giants (lovely places, will post about soon as well!) I ended up crashing for the night in Ft. Bragg. A penpal I had met on Tumblr told me about how she wanted to visit here, for the glass beach and something about the way she described it to me made me decide to make it somewhere I would explore.

Waking up after having spent a night at the Emerald Dolphin Inn (really great, restful night there, and fantastic glass souvenirs, mostly dolphins yes, but beautiful nonetheless) I headed towards the beach. I was told for the best views to head back to the start of town, and take a left when I got to the Denny’s at the corner of the street. A short drive down a narrow, cracked pavement road I found myself at a dirt parking lot with few cars, and even fewer people, which for me, was perfection. It was just a short walk down a bumpy trail to the coastline, with the sun rising slowly behind me to greet the sea in a gentle and familiar way.

I had just recently been at another beach just a few days ago, in San Francisco, looking out towards the Golden Gate with Sausalito and Tiburon winking in out of site depending on where you stood but this….. this was something better. The feeling of being somewhere more pure and closer to the true ocean, being on the kind of beach that made you think of shipwrecks and sirens rather than sunny beach balls and games of sand volleyball. That intense awareness of every step you took on the glittery sands, sunlight dipping in and out of the rocky crevices, pools of water deep and shallow and reaching back to the source. I know it’s not for everyone, and I can’t say I haven’t found beauty and peace on lovely tropical beaches before ( Puerto Cortez, Honduras was a paradise), but this time I was looking for something else besides calm and peace. I was looking for an fierce and yet enthralling landscape that could mirror the thoughts I had been trying to figure out since I flew out to California at the start of that trip, and it’s amazing to think I could have driven right through this small town and never thought to go exploring at the Glass Beach if it wasn’t for the words of a lovely penpal who I had the fortune of meeting only a week or so earlier.

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I really hope I can go back one day soon and just spend a couple of days there, the whole town was fascinating. ( cont. in pt 2 “Skunk trains and Main St.” )