The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Friday, September 29, 2006
The reunion...on the road
The next morning, we get out the maps once again and make plans. We're going to do the steam train and river cruise in Essex. We had picked up a brochure in the New Haven train station when we dropped Ian and Sabrina off, and it looks like a lot of fun. After Essex, we plan on doing the Connecticut wine trail. We have to stick close to home due to the rental car. I have to call one of my friends, P, who lives in Massachusettes, and cancel our meeting up at Old Sturbridge Village. We're running out of time on our trip and have had to change all of our plans around. Still, we're going to make the most of our two days alone together.

We drive to Essex. It's not that far away, and head right for the steam train. Sometimes it pays off when you're spontaneous. Today it didn't. We should have learned from the Thimble Island cruise. It's after Labor Day. The museum is only open on weekends this month. We're not the only disappointed tourists there. Still, I got to take some good photos and afterwards we stroll around this quaint seaport town. We stop in a little café for iced tea and a treat. I get a slice of cherry pie. I haven't had cherry pie in years. It's better than what I remember and I enjoy every mouthful. Dan gets crumb cake. He's never had crumb cake before. The crumb topping is over an inch thick and lives up to its name by crumbling everywhere.

We stroll back to our car and decide to check out a winery that's not too far away. One of our favorite pasttimes in Australia is to sample wine from the cellar door, and buy a bottle of our favorite from that particular winery. In this way, we've managed to enjoy varied bottles from all over New South Wales from small vintners. It's one of our simple pleasures. We look forwards to touring this one in southern Connecticut.

We arrive just in time for the tour. We get to see the bottling facilities. They bottle five bottles of wine at a time - all by hand using simple equipment. The wine dog, a golden retriever, keeps an eye on things. Soon, we are joined by the family cat. The cat is very friendly and decides that everyone has gathered there just for him. Dan and I both pet him and he loves it. He doesn't seem intimidated by either Dan's size or the number of people there. Mayhem soon breaks loose, though, when the dog spies the cat and chases him up two flights of stairs. We get the giggles, and Dan tries to coax the cat down from the loft stairs as we make our way into the room where they're having the wine tasting. No luck. The cat won't budge. He's not that stupid.

We leave with two bottles of wine. One for us and one that is a gift to my mother for putting up with us in her home. It's getting towards the afternoon, and we decide to see if there are any rooms at the local casino, Foxwood. We arrive at the casino - it sits in a huge megaplex of shops and a resort hotel. Unfortunately, they are booked up for the night, but they direct us to a smaller hotel just back up the main road. The other hotel has a free shuttle service. We decide that this could be fun - we can have a drink or two, play Keno, and shop in the boutique stores and not worry about what shape we're in at the end of the night. I want a Native American something to take back with me. I just dont know what that "something" is.

We lose on our Keno games. But we don't care. We eat at the buffet - and both start out with New England clam chowder, of course. I would have been happy with clam chowder all night. We enjoy a cocktail and stroll around. I see a bag I would love to buy. It's made of wool and it's turquoise in color and has a Navaho pattern on it. I really want it, but practicality puts me off. (Now, of course, I am kicking myself for not buying it.) That's the third thing I've denied myself on this trip - and the third thing I'm regretting not doing. In my life, it seems the things that I regret the most aren't the things I do - it's the things I don't do that cause me grief.

We have a great evening in the casino and head back to our hotel room. We were going to drink our wine, but decide we'd rather spend attention on each other. Well, that's what hotels are for, aren't they?

(to be continued...)
posted by Melanie O. at 9:35 PM -
  • At 3:43 AM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    You are doing such a good job writing out the reunion, that I've decided not to do the same on my blogspot. I am enjoying your recollection with photos. Wish I would master my Olympis camera so I can do the same. I think the reason Dan got crabby was he was getting over tired...and too manly to admit it. What do you think? I hope the two of you had a good time.

  • At 6:08 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    I think he was a bit tired and just wanted some private time. After our night away, he was as right as rain again.

    We had a wonderful time and can't wait to do it again! :-)

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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