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New Hartford Wineries 2 of 2: Connecticut Valley Winery


The Connecticut Valley Winery was the third stop on our 3 stop wine tour a few weeks ago. The tasting station was pretty busy, and we had already done a couple earlier in the day, so we decided to just get a bottle of wine and enjoy it with our snacks.

Address: 1480 Litchfield Turnpike New Hartford, CT 06057

Cost For Tasting: $8, however we just purchased a bottle for about $14.

Ranking: 6 – wine was good, however the tasting room was small and there was limited seating outside. It also seemed that there was a large banquet area. So, it may be a nice place for a wedding reception or large party, but for a small intimate setting..ehh…

Tastings are offered on Saturday and Sunday from 12–5 pm. During Wine Trail Season (May–November), tastings are offered Thursday–Sunday from 12–5 pm. We chose one of their red wines: Black Tie Cabernet Francm which as stated on their website, is “an elegant and sophisticated red table wine, robust with a dry, silky finish”.

CT Valley Winery

winning wines

Kate

the spread

the vineyard

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Fathers Day Fun Day!


This Father’s Day I decided to ask my dad if he wanted to do something with me.  Every year for Fathers Day, Christmas, and his birthday I get him the same thing – a gift certificate to the bike shop he frequents.  This year I decided to mix it up.  My dad chose the route:  the Nipmunk Trail, which is 34.5 meandering miles of blue-blazed trails throughout Connecticut.  We picked up the trail right down the road from UConn and started on our hike.  Since we got about 9 inches (literally) of rain last week, there were some really muddy parts and lots of small streams that we had to find ways to cross.  I, of course, would find the most narrow part of the stream with a big rock in the middle to make a safe crossing.  My dad, on the other hand, would tightrope walk across a thin (and seemingly unreliable) fallen tree or branch.  Luckily he made it every time, but I was completely fine taking the “safe route”.

map

dad and taz on the trail

We walked about 3 miles out, seeing a bunch of cool things:  We crossed over a little bridge with a HUGE crayfish on it.  It was dead, but it was still cool…taz thought so too.  There was also a lot of huge trees that were uprooted and had fallen over.  Taz had a great time swimming in the river next to the trail, but at times seemed a bit stressed because of the currant.

Taz on the nipmunk

taz swimming

taz and dad

sign

upturned trees

chair

erin and taz

snake

Finally we made it to the Gurleyville Gristmill.  I’ve never heard of this gristmill before, my pops discovered it on one of his long bike rides around the state, so that is where we hiked to.  Come to find out the Gurleyville Gristmill is the state’s only remaining stone grist mill and was built back in the 1720’s – that’s almost 300 years ago!!  I guess my gram is right – they just don’t make things to last like they did “back then”.  Another interesting fact:  the mill was operated for years by the family of Wilbur Cross, a former Connecticut governor.  We were able to go inside and check it out.

grist mill home

grist mill sign

grist mill

dad at mill

me and dad

After we made it back to the car, we ended our afternoon with a trip over to the UConn Dairy Bar.  The UConn Dairy Bar sells ice cream, and other dairy products, produced by the UConn Creamery, and has been doing so since the early 1900’s.  As to “not spoil our dinner” we each only had one scoop, but man-o-man was that enough.  I couldn’t have eaten two scoops if I tried!!  I got Cake Batter ice cream, and my dad got Toasted Almond Amaretto and both were delicious.

UConn Dairy Bar

UConn

We had such a great day, I’m thinking we should not wait until next Father’s Day to do it again!!

Devil’s Hopyard, East Haddam, CT


Over this past weekend, me and Taz went on a nice hike over at Devils Hopyard State Park in East Haddam, CT.  The park was significantly further from my house than I expected.  For some reason I thought it was only about 25 minutes away, but really, it was an hour.  boooo.  Anyways, it was absolutely gorgeous out, about 50 degrees without a cloud in the sky.  Of course, being me, I always wish for it to be warmer, but hey, at least the sun was shining.

I had some major issues with this hike, which I’m sure does not come as a surprise.  I started out on the Orange trail (which for some reason in my head I thought was the Yellow trail, which could have been part of the problem), and things were going well for a while, but after I hit the scenic overlook (see pic below), things got hairy and I got lost.  Must have been those devils in the hopyard.  Anyways, Taz and I were hoping all over the dang yard…we kept thinking we were back on the path, but then the path would disappear again and we were basically just walking through the woods.

Eventually I came to this road, and decided to it was in my best interest to walk back on the street…We had already walked about an hour and a half to two hours and we had 2 more stops on our Sunday Funday Adventure before going home…and the way this was going, it really could have taken all day!  All in all, we had a great time though, see for yourself:

Taz posing by the State Park Sign.  What a handsome fellow

Taz posing by the State Park Sign. What a handsome fellow

Me and Taz taking a quick scenery break

Me and Taz taking a quick scenery break

Waterfall along the way

Waterfall along the way

Me and Taz at the waterfall.  He was a bit stressed.  I think it was probably because he fall in a waterfall as a puppy and was having terrifying fashbacks.  He was willing to take a quick picture near the falls, but only one! haha

Me and Taz at the waterfall. He was a bit stressed. I think it was probably because he fall in a waterfall as a puppy and was having terrifying fashbacks. He was willing to take a quick picture near the falls, but only one! haha

2013 Fight For Air Climb


fight for airTypically throughout the spring and summer I spend many a weekend morning up early to run in races.  Some of them are for fun, and some of them are for causes.  This past weekend I did a race much different than one I’ve ever participated in before called the Fight For Air Climb.  The Fight for Air Climb is a unique type of race that took place in downtown Hartford at City Place.  Its not a road race or a trail run, but rather a “vertical race” where we ran up 34 flights of stairs at City Place.  A good friend asked me to do this with them and I was was intregued, partially because I have never run in a “stair race” before, but mostly because the money raised goes to the American Lung Association, which is an amazing organization that works to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung diseases, like asthma, emphysema and lung cancer to name just a few.  This is something close to my heart as my mother lost her mother to lung cancer years before I was even born and I currently have other family members suffering from the same disease.  No one should have to struggle to breathe, something that most of us can do so easily and naturally.

photo 2The race itself was…interesting…to say the least.  There was a few hundred participants, all raising at least $100, but some over $1,000 for the American Lung Association.  How it works was that everyone lines up and every 20 seconds a person starts up the stairs – this minimizes the “stampede” effect.  I thought, since I work out frequently and am in pretty good physical healthy, that this would be easy.  I mean really, whats 34 flights of stairs?! (That’s totally obnoxious to say, right?  Don’t worry, I “got mine”).  The stair climbing portion, was in fact easy…What was not easy was breathing.

I’m going to say this in the nicest way I possibly can…whoever thought that having hundreds of people tramp up 30+ flights of stairs in a completely 100% enclosed area with absolutely ZERO ventilation is an absolute idiot.  No, seriously.  If I knew who the person was that made this decision I’d tell them to their face.  My legs were fine, but for about 10 hours after the race my throat and lungs burned with every breath I took.  I literally had that irony-blood taste in my mouth for the remainder of the day (I finished the race before 10AM), and consequently 3 days later I’m still coughing so badly I’m literally hacking things up.  Its not pretty.  I’m sorry for the detailed description, but its the only way to really paint a picture for you!  Apparently this is “how it feels to have lung disease”.  I’m sorry, but I really don’t think it benefits anyone to make lung disease more prominent. I thought we were trying to raise money to prevent lung disease, not spread it!!

Me and some of my teammates outside City Plaza before the race!

Me and some of my teammates outside City Plaza before the race!

Though the actual race has passed, I still have a few more weeks to collect donations.  If you’d like to support the American Lung Association (or my horrific experience this past weekend), please click HERE and click on the “make a gift” link underneath the thermometer.  I’m sure just about everyone knows someone suffering from a lung disease, no matter how big or small it is, and any donation to this amazing cause (even if it’s just a few bucks) will really add up and help make a difference!

Runner’s World


I’m a runner.  By this, what I DO mean is that I have been mostly-consistently running since I was in 5th grade.  By this, what I DON’T mean is that I’m an elite, or even a really “good” runner.  I run the Manchester Thanksgiving Day Road Race on Thanksgiving Day every year and then basically stuff my running shoes into the back of my closet until March.  If you read my blog at all you’d know by now that I HATE winter and HATE the cold.  Running and winter are two words that do not go hand in hand.  Not in my book anyway!  All winter I hole up in my apartment, do puzzles and get fat and then come spring I absolutely dread the thought running, until I get a few runs in and once again achieve that runner’s high.  Its takes me about 2 -3 runs, and then out of nowhere I’m border line obessed.  I think about it before I go to bed and can’t wait for the morning to lace up my shoes and put in some miles.

Anyway, this past Saturday I ran my first race of the season (“season” is used loosely here, because while most runners will run year round, I consider “racing season” any time of the year when it’s warm enough to be outside and not see your breath.  If you can see your breath, its not only not racing season, but you also have no business being out on the streets running!) and it really pumped me up!  I went to bed on Saturday night thinking OK, I’m gonna go out for an easy run tomorrow since it’s supposed to be nice.  And that it was – low 40’s, not a cloud in the sky…dream day for running!  I went out for a quick 4 mile run…9 miles later I happily popped back into my apartment.  What happened?

cowOMG, it was sooooooo nice out, and where I live out in the country there’s a lot to see (and by a lot to see, I mean there’s tons of livestock – see inset pic of my favorite part of country running – the cows).  Normally I don’t run with music, but since I just got a new phone I decided to bring it with me so I could use my mapmyrun app and tried out listening to a new running playlist I created.  I don’t know if it was the fresh air, getting back in shape, or the music, but my legs just took me and before I knew it I was dancing around town.  Now I say “dancing around town”, becuase my playlist was so awesome that I was literally singing (and semi-dancing) along with all my songs.  OK, as any runner would know, its much easier to run with a partner…and why is that?  because talking makes the time go by quicker!  So why not talk, or in my case sing (loudly, and with hand gestures) to yourself!?  It’s kind of like that episode of Friends where Phoebe runs “like a kid” through Central Park, except this is real life and I actually do that.  Go ahead and judge me, or laugh thinking about.  I’m sure I look like the village idiot doing it, but I could care less!  It just makes it more fun and something to look forward to, rather than something you “have to do”.

If you’re wondering what on earth could have given me so much pep (besides my everyday bubbly personality), I’ll share my playlist…you may be surprised by the variety, but it really works…throw that puppy on shuffle and you never know what’s around the next corner (pun intented).

  1. Lady Gaga – Love Game
  2. Jeremih – Birthday Sex
  3. Biz Markie –  Just a Friend
  4. Everclear – Father of Mine
  5. Everlast – What it’s like
  6. Flobots – Handlebars
  7. Iyaz – Replay
  8. Jurassic 5 & Nelly Furtado – Thin Link
  9. Lady Gaga – Love Game
  10. Myley Cyrus – Party in the USA
  11. Soulja Boy – Crank That (Soulja Boy)
  12. Taylor Swift – Our Song
  13. 3OH3! –  Don’t Trust Me
  14. Lady Gaga – Beatiful, Dirty, Rich
  15. Three 6 Mafia –  Lolli Lolli

It was really an awesome run, and awesome day, and I really can’t wait to do it up again!! 🙂

#CT Problems:


Uh oh….we could POSSIBLY get 1 – 3 inches of snow later today….CLOSE DOWN THE STATE! Living in Connecticut is interesting because we live in New England, but many people living here don’t really know how to act like New Englanders.  I am, knowingly, the worst New Englander ever in the sense that I HATE snow and cold, but where there is snow and cold, I at least know how to handle it.  While last year at this time, our state was blanketed with over 3 feet of snow, this year we have been much luckier and have had no  snow falls that left any lasting effects.  We’ve had only 2 “significant” snow falls and both were only a memory within 2-3 days after.  In fact, I think we have had at least 1 day a week that has been 50+ degree, and multiple days each week in the 40’s… now THAT’S my kind of winter!

Today, we are looking at the possibility of 1-3 inches and just about every school in the state has ALREADY planned for an early dissmissal.  For anyone that is reading this that is not in CT currently, as of right now it is SUNNY and 40 degrees…but it MIGHT snow later so lets all close up shop!  I just think this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen…seriously.

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