Sunday, June 30, 2013


Last night my computer was giving me major troubles, well come to find out minor troubles, so I just stepped away from the key board and went to bed.  So my blog was incomplete and I will start from whence I stopped and continue. Either the blogger or blog was not working.  LOL

Right next door to Mark Twain's home in Hartford, Connecticut  is Harriet Beecher Stowe's home.

 Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), author, humanitarian, and abolitionist, lived in this house from 1850 to 1852 during which time she wrote her famous novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, to a notable Congregational minister and his wife, Harriet Beecher Stowe moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1832, where she taught at the Western Female Institute. While living in Cincinnati, she met numerous fugitive slaves and traveled to Kentucky where she experienced slavery first-hand. It was also in Cincinnati that Harriet Beecher met her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe, a teacher at the Western Female Institute. In 1850, Calvin Stowe accepted a teaching position at Bowdoin College and the couple moved to Brunswick. Harriet Beecher Stowe was encouraged to write by her husband and was a published author before moving to Maine. Based upon her experiences while visiting Kentucky and her interviews with fugitive slaves, Stowe started writing Uncle Tom's Cabin upon her arrival in Brunswick. Many of the characters in her book mirrored real-life individuals such as Josiah Henson, a fugitive slave who escaped from Kentucky to Canada along the Underground Railroad with his wife and two children.

 The impact that Uncle Tom's Cabin had on the American public was so great that President Lincoln, upon meeting Stowe, is reported to have said, "You're the little lady who started this great war." Though not directly linked to the activities of the Underground Railroad, the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, a National Historic Landmark, is the place where this influential writer penned her monumental novel, forever changing America's attitude toward slavery.

  After visiting Hartford and a lot of its history and sights we headed for lunch.  We ate lunch at Ted's Restaurant in Cromwell, Connecticut.  Ted’s is a tiny place – four booths and a counter – with a big secret. The burgers at Ted’s aren’t fried, nor grilled, nor broiled, nor even baked; the burgers are steamed.

 Ted’s Restaurant is an award winning steamed cheeseburger restaurant located in Meriden, CT since 1959. In addition to a strong local following in Meriden, Ted’s has attracted more widespread attention with its appearance in the documentary Hamburger America, as well as national publications including US News and World Report, Yankee Magazine and Connecticut Magazine. It has also been featured on “Hamburger Paradise”, a part of Travel Channel’s newest Food Paradise series along with a feature on Man vs. Food. Ted’s has also claimed a number of awards including; “Best Burger in CT” from The Food Network Magazine and “Best Burger” from Connecticut Magazine.

The restaurant has been family owned and operated since its inception. When Ted passed away, the restaurant was passed down to his son Paul. Over the years, Paul made very subtle changes to the cheeseburger. He began using twice ground meat so the burger held its size through the cooking process and a type of cheddar that held together when steamed. Paul also helped to develop the steam box and trays still used today. He then passed the restaurant on to his nephew Bill Foreman in March of 2008. Since Bill took the restaurant over, it has been his desire to open additional locations.

With all this said our little group were glad to experience the steamed burger, but would not need to eat another.  

To end our day of fun we headed for a local brewery for a tour and samples.   Our choice was Thomas Hooker Brewery. 

Hooker Name

Thomas Hooker Brewery gets its name from the great colonial leader of the 1600's and founder of Hartford, Rev. Thomas Hooker (1586-1657). This is not the same Civil War General Hooker I wrote about in Boston.  Born in rural Marefield, Leicestershire, England, the son of a farm manager, Thomas Hooker won a good scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge, where in time he became the equivalent of a professor of theology.
But this status as a leader in the Puritan movement would cause him to emigrate first to Holland and then to New England in 1633, on the ship Griffin, to escape the persecution of Archbishop William Laud for non-conformity.
He is attributed as being the first minister of the First Parish in Cambridge, a church that still exists in the present day. His home was on a plot of land which today is part of the yard at Harvard College.
In 1636, Thomas Hooker led 100 of his congregation west to found the new English settlement at Hartford, Connecticut. Hartford gets its name from Hertford, England, the birthplace of one of Hooker's assistants, Rev. Samuel Stone.  Interesting that he should also be known for a great brewskie. LOL

The company produces about 12,000 barrels of beer a year, which equals about 170,000 cases. In contrast, Bud Light alone produces 30 million barrels a year.  They have some room to grow, that is if they want.
When you enter the brewery you are given a bracelet with 10 tear off tickets.The small 3 oz. cups they give you get filled to the top with each return to the line, so you actually end up drinking a fair amount. There is also a store to buy very reasonably priced Hooker gear.    For $5 you get a bracelet that allows you 10 tastings.  At first you think it's not going to be enough, but trust me it is.  They have a great selection of different beers.  I was very impressed!  You also get a tour with your $5.  The tour is short and we got to drink straight from one of the tanks.  Nice!
This was our tour guide and he is standing behind the apparatus they use for filling bottles and kegs with beer.  Yes, it is all on a shopping cart.  He said don't laugh it works great.  They connect to tanks and load the beer into the apporperate containers.

These kegs are ready to leave for the party.

We had a great full day.

Today we stayed home got the laundry done and other house keeping stuff done.  And most important lounged around the homestead.  

Rog is taking the RV back to the doctors.  Laura has decided sitting around outside with all the animals in the rain is not fun so is cutting her stay short and heading back home in the morning.  The dogs and I are going to stay at camp in our screened in room and wait until Rog returns with a fixed RV this time(hope hope)  It is suppose to rain tomorrow, but I hope is in the afternoon after Rog returns with the fixed RV. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Today we headed into Hartford, Connecticut to see the capitol building.  Here you are looking at our first site of the big city.

Nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World", Hartford houses many insurance company headquarters, and insurance remains the region's major industry. Almost 400 years old, Hartford is among the oldest cities in the United States. Following the American Civil War, Hartford was the wealthiest city in the United States for several decades. In 1868, Mark Twain wrote before he died, "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief." Today, Hartford is one of the poorest cities in the nation with 3 out of every 10 families living below the poverty lines.
This is the old state house completed 1796.  The Hartford State House is, in appearance, very similar to the Town Hall of Liverpool, England, built in the mid-18th century
This is the new state house.  Wow!! 
The current building is the third capitol building for the State of Connecticut since the American Revolution.
The roads were all torn up and we had to dodge the raised utilities
We also went to the park where they had a wonderful very old carousel.  This is Laura atop her wonderful stead. 
It’s a sweet surprise to find a vintage 1914 carousel standing in Bushnell Park. There, by the shadow of skyscrapers and a giant Turkey Oak, a 24-sided pavilion houses 48 hand-carved wooden horses and two lovers’ chariots that swirl around a booming Wurlitzer band organ commanding an optimism that contrasts with the city’s often-troubled image.
For just $1.00, you get a 3 1/2 minute ride that can blur your worries, trick you into feeling young and enlarge the eyes of even the widest-eyed youngster.

The Knox Foundation brought the carousel to Hartford from Canton, Ohio, in 1974. Jack Dollard, director of the Foundation at the time, and now an architect in the city, thought the horses would symbolize Hartford’s restoration.
Then Tracey Cameron, a Hartford resident, spent more than a year restoring the horses to reflect the same fury that Russian immigrants Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein first carved into their faces in 1914. Mass production and changing tastes led to the demise of hand carving and now collectors, buying up single horses, have dismantled hundreds of carousels. As a result, this carousel is only one of three Stein and Goldstein carousels left in existence.
This is the 24-sided pavilion carousel building.  It was originally built in 1914 and was in two other cities before Hartford purchased it in 1974.  It was great to ride and see.  The horses are beautiful.  
Beautiful work

Each horse has a real horse hair tail

Every carousel has a lead horse, we were told, and this is the lead horse for this carousel.  This is Freedom. 

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch is a notable memorial to the American Civil War. It was the first permanent triumphal arch in America, and honors the 4,000 Hartford citizens who served in the war, and the 400 who died for the Union.

The arch's first conception dates from October 21, 1879, when a committee was formed, with a competition sponsored in 1881. Commission was eventually given to architect George Keller. It was dedicated on September 17, 1886. The tower statues (completed 1894) were carved by Swiss-born sculptor Albert Entress (1846-1926). Total cost was about $60,000. When the arch was rehabilitated in 1986–1988, its original terra cotta finial angels were replaced by the current bronze angels.
The south frieze tells the story of peace, with a central female allegorical figure representing the City of Hartford, surrounded by her citizens welcoming soldiers home. 
The south frieze tells the story of peace, with a central female allegorical figure representing the City of Hartford, surrounded by her citizens welcoming soldiers home.  
The north frieze, tells the story of war, with on the right, a figure of General Ulysses S. Grant surveying his troops and on the left, marines jumping from a boat to rush the Confederates.
The new bronze angles on top.

    Today they had a group at the arch giving tours.  Laura and I went up to the top and took these pix.

We had a great view of the capitol building from high atop the arch.
Fountain in the gardens below the arch. 

Mr. Keller built the arch and upon his death he wished his ashes to be placed in the arch.  Eleven years later his wife, Mary, was laid to rest here too.  
Smaller older building among the newer taller ones.
Mark Twain's ( Samuel Clemons) home in Hartford. 
In 1868, Mark Twain wrote before he died, "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief." speaking of Hartford.

See the next blog for details on these two pix.  Blogger or blog was not working.
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Friday, June 28, 2013

This is the ruins of a thread mill factory in Thompson, Connecticut.  It was built in 1862.  They made silk and cotton thread in many factories around this area back in the day.  This is located quite close to our current location and we drive by it all the time.  I think it is cool looking and wanted to share with you. This piece of property is currently up for sale. 
We headed into Holden, Massachusetts today.  Holden is the town where Rog's grandparents and father lived.  We went to the library and was directed to the research lady in the basement.  Nancy was very helpful and we learned a lot about the home and the Mitchells from tax records and such.  We stayed at the library for a couple of hours and enjoyed every minutes learning and exchanging info.  Before we left to explore Holden we knew the street that his grandparents lived on, but not the house number.  And we had pix of the home to compare homes to.  We are so glad we talked with Nancy because the house has been totally changed from the pix we have of it.  The house happen to be a couple of houses up from the library.  She is going to do more research for us and mail all of the copies to Laura.  We offered to pay for postage and copies, but she insisted this is what they do and no charge.
We were told that the top floor of the library was the high school until they reached 40 some students and they had to build a new school.  This is the library.  The trees are so big around it that could not get a very good pic of it.  
Nancy looked up info from the tax records that has Asa and Olive Mitchell owning this home in 1919.  She has them living there before this date, but there were no tax records so she thinks they may have rented to own.  Asa and Olive were on the US census that shows them married and living in Holden in 1910.

She said the tax records showed them owning acreage, barn, poultry housing, shed and a very big house around 3,000 sq. ft.   

  This is a pic of the Mitchell family home taken 1950's

This is the same house later with the tree all growing up
This is the house now.  We think it is an apartment house.
I decided it would be great to leave a wheel chair lap robe for Massachusetts in Holden.  This is the Nursing home we picked.  The staff was great.  They told me that they were housed in the old Holden hospital.  I am not sure of the date it was built, but Rog's father may have been born here.   

We are enjoying the fireflies.  Last night Laura had her own little lantern in the house.  LOL
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

I must fix the blog from yesterday.  We kayaked in Rhode Island not Connecticut and Massachusetts. 

No pix because for this blog.  There are many reasons, but a few are:  we did nothing so no pix, the day was gray and rainy, .....

We all got up very early and got ready to have Rog take the RV in for the hose replacement and fix appointment. 

Laura and I stayed home in the screened in rooms and cars with the cats and dogs.  It was cooler than the first time.  This time it was almost cold and rainy.  There are more mosquitoes than there have ever been before with all the rains.  Even after spraying ourselves with anti-mosquitoe  stuff those trips we have to take to the bathroom are very dangerous.   It even began to rain enough for us to move to our vehicles to wait the time out. It just was not a good day for us girls.  

It took a longer time to do the fix on the RV too.  Rog stated that the noise he heard was a metal on metal sound and he was not sure that the replacement of a hose would be the right fix.  He was told that these noises are very hard for the lay person to discern and he should let the professionals do their jobs.  Well guess what, their fix was not the fix.  He was hot when he came back to the camp.   We have to take the RV back to the shop on Monday.  This time I will help them understand the problem we are having.  With this being our home it is hard to have this stuff done.  It is suppose to rain on Monday too.  I will be taking the dogs with me even if they are allowed or not.  This is on them this time so they will have to buck up buttercup and accommodate me.   

With all this repair stuff going on and us having to put off fun stuff with Laura she has decided to cut her time with us and head bad home.  We do not blame her I would rather be somewhere else than with a couple of upset cats in a small screened room in the rain.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We headed out this morning to kayak Massachusetts and Rhode Island.   We needed to hurry because they are predicting T-storms and rain for days.  We headed to a lake that if you wanted to put the energy into the kayaking you could take in both states.  It was a very pretty lake.  We were the only ones on the lake so it was nice and quiet.  The banks were rocky and had lots of things to look at. 
Were we put in was set up for kayak and canoes to launch at the Rhode Island end of the lake.  This is a stream were the water was going out of the lake.  
It was crystal clear.  
I am in the water waiting for the others to join me.
This guy was singing as we entered the lake. 
Laura in Massachusetts
We launched at the Rhode Island end of the lake and had to kayak over a mile to get to the Massachusetts end.  I was kayaking along and came to a beach area. A man was out working and I asked him were was Massachusetts.  He said your not going to believe this, but if you kayak about 4 more feet you are there.  So off I went. 

 Rog went off a different way when we first got in the lake.  He was looking at the boat registration markings on the boats tied up at homes along the lake until he came to a boat that had Massachusetts and he knew he was there.  LOL

We also had another lake picked out and set up in the GPS just in case someone could not make the two states on the first lake.  We decided to go and check it out.  So stopped at Subway and picked up lunch and drove to the lake to eat.  We decided that we did not really have to do both lakes, besides the wind had come up and it would not be much fun.   

We had lunch on the banks of Lake Chaubunagungamaug (pronounced:  /t???b?n???????m???/) LOL  also known as Webster Lake
Some history.
The lake's name comes from Nipmuc, an Algonquian language, and is said to mean, "Fishing Place at the Boundaries -- Neutral Meeting Grounds". This is different from the humorous translation, "You fish on your side, I fish on my side, and nobody fish in the middle", thought to have been invented by the late Laurence J. Daly, editor of The Webster Times.

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (/ˌleɪk tʃəˈɡɒɡəɡɒɡ ˌmænˈtʃɔːɡəɡɒɡ tʃəˌbʌnəˈɡʌŋɡəmɔːɡ/), a 45-letter alternative name for this body of fresh water, is often cited as the longest place name in the US and one of the longest in the world. It is not spelled correctly on the sign bordering Connecticut.
Today, "Webster Lake" may be the name most used, but some (including many residents of Webster), take pride in reeling off the longer versions.
This lake has several alternative names. Lake Chaubunagungamaug is the name of the lake as recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior, however, many area residents, as well as the official website of the town of Webster, consider the longer version correct.
When it had not been rainy we have had fires and enjoyed the outdoors.  When we are outside sitting by the campfire during twilight the fireflies come out in full force.  I did not know they had fireflies in this part of the country.  I thought they just had them in the South.   I just love to watch them flying around lighting their little lantern butts.
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