I arrived in Hartford via the MegaBus from 34th Street and 11th Avenue in Manhattan, then went to the other side of Hartford to pick up my rent-a-car and from there went to Beth's work office to pick up the keys to her house so I could let myself in while she and Greg were still at work. Beth told me to come in the lobby and dial her extension at the "yellow desk" in the lobby. I was surprised to see what the yellow desk actually is:
Everything is so modern there! Actually it is some kind of tech equipment from a few years back that they decided to keep in their lobby "just for effect."
I drove over to Colchester from there, but hung out at Tim's Bistro in town rather than going right to the house. Chatted with the owner, Akram, who told me that Tim is his son and that he - Akram - is quite familiar with the East Bay back in California, having lived in the area for some years and still having family - among them his ex-wife - there. S'matter of fact, he told me, he lived in Martinez for a year or so. Small world, eh?
On Thursday, while Beth and Greg were at work, I drove over to visit my cousin Jimmy and his Karen and their son Matthew. They're an hour and a half away, but it was a relaxing drive. I-84 is nothing like I-95!
Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of Jim, Karen and Matthew. . . . once again having forgotten to bring my "good" camera and not thinking to use my cell phone. Had a very good time, just chatting with them, showing them some older family photos and documents that I had found in storage at my Michael's in South Carolina last week, among which were these:
My grandfather, Miguel Prado (who passed away many years before I was born) holding my mom at a very young age. . . .
Miguel's bride, my "Nana" - probably in her early 20s or late teens. . . .
Needing help with this, I asked Jim to show it to his dad and ask if he knows who this is. I am guessing it was his grandmother - my mom's mom's mom - but I'm not sure if her name was Catherine Corcoran. Corcorans and Fords go back a bit. . . . I think they came over from County Sligo in the 1840s during what was euphemistically known as The Great Potato Famine.
Then, among some other photos and documents I brought with me were these. . . .
Miguel's Naturalization certificate, which he received several years after his WWI service in the U.S. Army:
The Bill of Manifest from the ship that brought Miguel and his brother to the U.S. from Argentina (they went to Argentina from Spain, then on to the USA from Buenos Aires). . . . interestingly, on the very same ship that later transported Teddy Roosevelt to Buenos Aires for his South American exploration expedition later that very same year, 1913. The ship was built in 1911 and sunk in 1914 at the start of WWI by a German destroyer.
Anyway, getting back "on thread". . . . Jim showed me his rebuilt beehive while I was there. It had been destroyed by a bear sometime during the night only a few days prior. He told me that the bees all seemed to be dead - frozen by the night's low temps - at first, but most of them came back to life! He re-located it to inside of his garden fence so that it is now better protected. We took a walk down to the stream near his house, too. Nothing has greened-up yet, but the area around his house looks nice even at this time of the year.
Karen made a great dinner for us. . . . Matthew got home from work and had dinner with us, too. It was a very nice visit and I'm glad I was finally able to get to see them again.
I hit the road back to Colchester at about 7pm. Told Beth and Greg about my visit to Jim's and hit the sack.
Next day, Friday, I decided to hike the local State Park - Day Pond State Park - if I could get in, it being scheduled to open on the following day. I drove out there - only 3 or 4 miles from the village here - and got in with no problem. The pond had been stocked only last week and was being fished by a lot of local guys. One fella showed me one he had just caught (a throw-back, too small) and a "keeper" he'd caught earlier in the day. . . . both of them Rainbow Trout.
I found the map of the trails in the park:
It started out nice enough. . . .
But then I made my way along it, following the markers. A nice trail, but there were a few sections that were more like an "obstacle course". . . .
Someone left a pair of sunglasses! Prolly forgot them when they sat down, scratched their head trying to figure how to jump across the rivulet. . . .
The water got wider at some places. . . . Had to find "stepping-stones". . . .
Too early in season for the "trail patrol" to clear this away. . . .
Rocky Road, and sticks - placed there intentionally? As if "Turn Back! This is your last chance!"
Anyone know the meaning of this kind of "art" on a trail? I've got no idea!!
Luckily, the trail did not cross this, but narrowed and ran alongside it for awhile:
Finally! I found a staircase! :-)
No trees near the "staircase" so the trailblaze marks were on it. . . .
No ATVs? No kidding.
How do you get around this?
Okay, so tho it wasn't as hilly as a lot of the trails in my neck of California, the slippery mud, moss-covered rocks and the "water-hazards" and fallen trees made it very interesting indeed! I enjoyed it and wanted to go back another day and take one of the other trails in the same park. But it is raining today, my last day here and I'm spending it at the very nice Colchester Public Library:
Friday night we went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant here in Colchester. . . .
Recalling the red Swedish Fish Martini I had back in California Dreamin' in Columbia, I decided to go green this time, and had an apple-tini.
Anyway, so after my hiking adventure of Friday, on Saturday I went with Beth and Greg to one of their Society for Creative Anachronisms events, over in Meriden. They dressed up like an Archer and a Renaissance Lady, whilst they garbed me as a peasant, sorta:
I was interested that they even had crossbows, besides the longbows and recurves:
Greg had everyone retrieve their arrows in unison, of course. . . .
It reminded me of a scene from Robin Hood. . . .
Beth had a table in the "commercial area" with her wares on display:
I witness some fierce hand-to-hand combat:
As well as what seemed like several climactic scenes from Mel Gibson's "Braveheart":
Finally, at day's end, awards were given by the King and Queen and the Baron and Baroness. I didn't make it over to the area where the swordsmanship was in play, but the guys in that area must have been pretty good. There were a bunch of fellas dressed in Three Musketeers style who were in those events:
King and Queen were very regal in appearance. . . .
Greg helped out. . . . (That's him - having changed garb - standing between the Queen and the Baron) . . . by announcing in "Town-Crier" style at one point that someone's car was blocking the entrance to the parking lot!
It was a very entertaining day, complete with a "groaning board" luncheon, some lemonade and a wee bit of mead.
At the end of the day, after breaking down the tent and packing the car we retreated to Middletown for a "traditional feast" at a local restaurant. (I come all the way from California, I thought, and I just can't get away from Mexican food!)
Beth and Greg and their fellow SCA'ers chatted quite a bit about the politics of the SCA. It is not exactly a Monarchy, nor is it a Democracy. There was a meeting that day in Cincinnati of the National Board to determine certain new procedures and units, and everyone at the restaurant was excitedly discussing the possible outcomes.
Finally, yesterday, Sunday, was my last day for doing anything "adventuresome." We went to Mohegan Sun casino for the afternoon and met Greg's mom and dad, Winnie and Ed there.
Interesting all-glass sculpture there:
It says "This Fixture For Sale - $80." Cute joke.
The Mohegan "Mountain". . . .
A Frank-ish person and some Regniers. . . .
If I'd hit it big, I planned to buy something for Beth here. . . .
But, of course, I didn't. . . .
Ah well, gambling is stinky.
And that is how I've spent this last few days here. Tomorrow I head back to California and my "other life" as a Docent and Trail Patrol Volunteer. It's been a great little getaway (even tho NY and CT have been just a tad colder than SC and CA). I'm glad I took this trip and got to see and be with so many of my family and old friends.