We awoke with a wandering song singing in our hearts (Or something like that). Vacation Day number two was our traveling day, and travel we certainly did.
Setting out early in the morning, we drove northward to Gillette Castle State Park, which is somewhere in between East Haddam and Old Lyme. Here we purchased admission to the park’s main attraction, Gillette Castle.
In 1914, William Gillette, the actor most famous for being the first Sherlock Holmes, built a huge frickin’ castle. Out of stone. He custom-made all the doors in the thing. He created a secret passageway where he could spy on guests to decide if he wanted to come down to greet them. He created a trick bar that only he knew how to open. And he built a train. And a railroad station. And a track. Just for fun. He was a really cool, funny, fun dude.
After eating lunch on the edge of a swamp (much prettier than you’re envisioning right now in your heads), we set off in search of more fun. It wasn’t more than a half-hour before we stumbled upon The Goodspeed Opera House. Of course, I said. This is where it is! I’ve never been. Nor have I, said Becca.
On a whim, we thought we’d see if there were any seats left for that evening’s performance of “Hello, Dolly!” Lo and behold, there were! With a quick swipe of the Visa, we were the proud occupants of balcony seats. Serendipity. Sometimes you drive past a regional theater and just pop in for a show. It happens.
With the afternoon still free, we drove into Hartford to the Mark Twain House. Right next door? The Harriet Beecher Stowe House! Why tour one when you can tour both? On that beautiful afternoon, we saw where two of the century’s pre-eminent authors wrote some of their best work. We saw the actual desk where Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn sprang to life. Pretty neat, if I do say so myself.
But we musn’t tarry too long, we said. We found – again, thanks to Siri – a nice little Mexican restaurant on the way back to East Haddam where we satiated our appetites. Then, with a quick trip to an ice cream parlor, we were set to see some theatre!
The Goodspeed Opera House, for those of you who haven’t been, is lovely. Gorgeous architecture and a really neat history. The production featured the Australian Tony Sheldon as Horace Vandergelder, whom you may recall from his Tony-nominated performance in “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” After living in NYC and watching productions with such a jaded eye, it was glorious to be in a theater with hundreds of people who came in that night specifically to enjoy themselves and who succeeded marvelously. A riotous good time.
Pooped from another long day, we made our way back to the house in Fairfield.
The next day was BEACH DAY (Take Two). There’s not much to say about Beach Day except that it was perfect. The weather was perfect – sunny and warm, but with a nice little breeze every now and then. The beach was perfect – not too crowded, but not awkwardly vacant, either. The water was perfect – the ocean was cool and refreshing and not as dirty as the more populated commercial beaches. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. After a lobster roll for Becca and a chicken sandwich for me, we even squeezed in another movie.
Sunburnt and happy, we prepared ourselves for our next and last day of vacation, which was better than either of us could have dreamed.
Stay tuned for PART THREE, the final exciting chapter in the amazing Connecticut vacation!