Tag Archives: connecticut

The Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge (Simsbury, CT)

Date Of Visit: September 10, 2017

Location: 1 Old Bridge Rd, Simsbury, CT (about half an hour northwest of Hartford, CT)

Hours: Available 24 hours a day

Cost: Free (but donations are appreciated)

Parking: There is room for about a dozen or so cars in the parking lot off Old Bridge Rd

Handicapped Accessible: No, There are some poles at the entrance to the bridge to prevent vehicles from driving onto the bridge and I am not sure if wheelchairs could get past them (see photo below).

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Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: flowers strategically placed on a bridge, scenic, historical landmark

Website: Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge

Tips:

  • parking is located on located on Old Bridge Rd off Drake Hill Rd.  There’s no parking located at the entrance by Riverside Rd
  • popular place for weddings, engagements and portrait photography

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There’s more than one “bridge of flowers” in New England.

Inspired by the Bridge Of Flowers in Shelburne, MA, the Old Drake Bridge Of Flowers, is by no means as long or as flowery as the Bridge Of Flowers in Shelburne, MA.  Yet, what it lacks in length and variety of flowers it makes up for in charm.

Each section of the bridge is decorated with various flowers.  The bridge has 32 baskets and 48 boxes, some of which were built and added by an Eagle Scout, filled with flowers of an array of colors. The flowers bloom from late May to October.

During my visit, I met a woman who stops by every other day to water, trim and keep after the plants.  Clearly, she’s doing a wonderful job.

The bridge, originally built in 1892,  is an example of 19th century metal-truss bridge construction.  It spans 183 feet and includes a 12-foot roadway suspended 18 feet over Farmington River.  And it has been much traveled over the years.

The Old Drake Flower Bridge was originally built to be a one lane, one way bridge for vehicular traffic.  It was later replaced by a 2 lane bridge in 1992.  Finally, in 1995, it was restored as a pedestrian bridge.   It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984

There are also plants and flowers by the sides of  each entrance to the bridge.

At the entrance to the bridge, off to the left side, there is a memorial dedicated to the original bridge (the Weatogue Bridge) that was built there before it was replaced by the Old Drake Flower Bridge.

The inscription on the historical marker reads reads:

A toll bridge was built here 
in 1734 by order of 
the General Assembly 
it was the first 
highway bridge across 
the Farmington River

The Old Flower Bridge is a popular place for weddings, portrait photography shoots and engagements.  In fact, I turned around from the parking lot the first day I went there because there was a wedding or wedding shoot taking place and I didn’t want to disrupt them.  The second day I went I ran into a couple who had just gotten engaged.  The beaming couple asked me to take their photo and went on their merry way of future bliss.

The Old Flower Bridge is dog friendly.

Lisa (on the right) is a 5 year old Havanese.  I love seeing how happy and proud dog guardians are in their photos.

Tucker Jones is a 2 year old Corgi.

Leila is a 9 year old Bernese and Beagle mix.

Below is a link to The Flash Lady Photography.  The Flash Lady Photography conducted an engagement photo shoot on the bridge in 2015.  You may notice many of the flowers are not on the bridge when these photos were taken as it was the end of October when the photos were taken.  I hope they’re both very happy now!

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Granby D.O.G.G.S. Park (Salmon Brook Park, Granby, CT)

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Date Of Visit: September 10, 2017

Location: Salmon Brook Park, 215 Salmon Brook Street Granby, CT (20 minutes northwest of Hartford, CT)

Cost: Free

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Parking: There are several parking areas.  The best place to park for the dog park is behind the big soccer field at the end of the road at the main entrance.

Highlights: table, chairs and bench, 1 acre for the dogs to play in, water source, two entrances/exits, double gated entrance

Website: Granby D.O.G.G.S. Park

Tips:

  • each visitor is allowed to bring 3 dogs each visit
  • No children under 8 are allowed in the dog park
  • The dog park is located in Salmon Brook Park

IMG_2791The D.O.G.G.S. part of Granby D.O.G.G.S. Park may stand for Dog Owners of Granby Getting Social.  But, it seems like the dogs that tend to get social there!

The one acre park, which has been open since November of 2005, has tables, chairs and a bench for dog sitter and guardians to sit and lovingly watch their dogs.  The park also has toys and a water source.  While dogs are allowed off leach at the park, they must be able to follow voice commands.

The large park, which has mulch over most of the park, gives dogs of all shapes and sizes lots of room to roam and chase each other and trees to play hide and seek.

During my visit to the dog park, there was a “Canine Swim” fund raiser at the pond in Salmon Brook Park, just a short walk from the dog park.

A $10 fee was charged for each dog that wanted to play in the water at the pond.  The funds were being raised to put toward maintenance of the dog park.

The dogs loved running around and into the pond.

Some of the many beautiful dogs I met at the dog park and fundraiser are shown below:

Roxy is a 12 year old mixed breed.  She is a therapy dog who likes to visit children, the elderly and anyone else who needs a little “dog therapy.”

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Cooper is a 7 month old Boston Terrier.  Cooper has complete heterochromia; he has two different colored eyes (his left eye is blue, his right eye is brown).

Gabe is a Great Pyrenees.  His guardian wasn’t sure what his age was exactly.  He and his parents found him on the side of the road and decided to take him in.

Heidi is an 8 year old Golden Retriever.  She loves to “retrieve”.  Get it!?

Molly the is a 5 year old Collie.

The aptly named Bear is a one and half year old Newfoundland.

From left to right, Ruby (named after Ruby Tuesday) is a 3 year old Saint Bernard.  Her brother, Ollie (named after Olive Garden) is a 2 year old Saint Bernard.  Anybody else getting hungry for lunch?

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Today’s featured link is a blog post by Out And About Mom about Salmon Brook Park, where the dog park is located.  I have featured Out And About Mom on my blog before.  She tends to blog about Connecticut attractions exclusively  and she does a great job in her posts.  Her post about the playground area at the park can be found here.


Amy Toyen Sculpture (Avon, CT)

Date Of Visit: September 9, 2017

Location: parking lot of Avon Free Public Library, 281 Country Club Road, Avon, CT

Highlights: A life size sculpture of Amy reading a book and clutching a teddy bear

Tips:

  • The sculpture is located in the parking lot next to the left side of the library

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Sixteen years.  Who could imagine so much time has passed?

One hundred and fifty six people with ties to Connecticut died on that tragic day.  A memorial rests on the grounds of the Avon Free Public Library to memorialize one of these, and indeed all of the victims of this day.

Amy Toyen, a resident of Connecticut and employee of Thomson Financial in Newton, Connecticut.  As a side note, when I researched this memorial and Amy, I never knew she worked at the very same corporation I used to work at.  It’s amazing how we all seem to be connected in some way.

Amy, a 1995 Avon High graduate, was killed Sept. 11 while she set up her company’s display booth for a trade show on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower.

Dedicated by the 2001-2002 Avon High School Student Government and the Avon community, the 22″ bronze statue depicts a young child, Amy Toyen, on a granite bench reading a book, a teddy bear resting in the crook of her elbow.

To help create the sculpture, Amy’s parents selected a group of photos that portray their daughter as they remember her.

The sculpture shows Amy in daisy print dress, her favorite sneakers and ponytails tied with pompom rubber bands

 

A scholarship was also started in Amy’s name. The first recipient of the annual Amy E. Toyen Memorial Scholarship went to Christine Bialaski, an Avon High senior and honors student who is active in community service, music and field hockey.

Coincidentally, the Bialaski family lives down the street from the Toyens. As a young child, Amy Toyen often waited for the morning school bus at the Bialaskis’ home after her mother left for her teaching job at Renbrook School.

The sculptor, Marilyn Parkinson Thrall of Canton, Connecticut, stops by every once in a while to polish and clean up the sculpture.

The statue, a reminder of all that was lost that day, remembers Amy in a younger, more carefree time.

Amy’s obituary can be found here.


Hermann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions (Woodstock, CT)

Date Of Event: August 19, 2017

Location Roseland Cottage, 556 Route 169, Woodstock, CT

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Website: Hermanns Royal Lipizzan Stallions

Highlights: stallions performing tricks and ridden by their trainers

Tips:

  • bring your own chair or a towel as they do not provide them at the venue.
  • visitors are allowed to enter one hour before the scheduled event
  • be sure to take in a tour of Roseland Cottage if you have the time

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There was a lot of horsing around going on at the Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, Connecticut last month.

The Lipizzan Stallions galloped into the Roseland Cottage for a day of professional horse riding and horse tricks.

The Lipizzan Stallions traveled all the way from Myaka, Florida to entertain the one hundred or so visitors at Roseland Cottage.

Not all of the horses and animals kept at the Lipizzan Stallions shelter are Royal Lipizzan Stallions. For instance, Willie The Rescue Pony, seen here getting ready for the show, is one of the horses they have taken in.  He even performs at the show.  They also take in dogs, cats and any other animal that finds its way to their shelter.

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The highlight of the show were the Royal Lipizzan Stallions. The horses performed tricks and trotted in formations.

The horses are such beautiful animals.  The way they moved and the way the horse trainers and riders controlled their every movement was a joy to watch.

The Lipizzan breed is considered the rarest and most aristocratic breed of horses in the world.  They were first established by Archduke Charles at Lipizza which is now part of Yugoslavia.

Since only a few hundred Lipizzan Stallions have ever existed at any one time, their future lineage is somewhat in question.  But, they may have General Patton to credit for their continued bloodline.

During World War II General George Patton authorized a secret plan to save the Lipizzans.  The stallions, who would surely have been killed if the Russians arrived before their rescuers, were saved during this secret mission. Two of the people involved who played a key role in their rescue were Colonel Herrmann and his father, Colonel Ottomar Herrmann,  A movie by Disney titled, Miracle Of The White Stallions depicts their rescue.

The Lipizzan horse show was held at the Roseland Cottage.  We didn’t have time for a tour.  But, the grounds are very pretty.

While dogs are not allowed at the show, I did see Yog,i, a 3 and a half year old Cavanese (part Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and part Havanes), and his dad watching from the sidewalk.  Yogi also barked out his approval from time to time.

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Below are some videos of the Royal Lipizzan Stallions event

 


Buttonwood Farm (Griswold, CT)

 

Date Of Visit: July 22, 2017

Location: 473 Shetucket Turnpike, Griswold, CT

Cost: Free

Hours:

March 1 – October 30

Current Hours
Mon – Fri
 12pm–9pm
Sat – Sun 11:30am–9pm

Parking: There are about 50 parking spots in the parking lot.  When they are busy, you can park on the side of the busy street (as I had to)

Handicapped Accessible:

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: ice cream shoppe, sunflowers (seasonally), family friendly, cows

Website: Buttonwood Farm

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Once the site of a dairy farm, Buttonwood Farm is so much more now.  Not only do they have a sunflower garden with a maze and a famous ice cream shoppe, they also are the site of one of the more popular charity events each year.

Funny thing is I didn’t find one button the entire time I was there.

During my visit, the sunflowers were in bloom and Buttonwood Farm was holding a fundraiser for their Sunflowers For Wishes charity.

 

 

The dirt trails in the sunflower maze are easy to navigate.  The path is only about half a mile long.  Due to the showy outer ray petals of the sunflowers, bees and other insects, like this beetle, are attracted to the nectar and pollen.

 

 

In addition to the sunflowers, people (big and small) could ride their cow train or tractor tour.  All proceeds, of course, went to the charity.

 

 

At the end of the sunflower maze, there is a hill on a short incline where you can view the sunflowers.

 

There were also some performers at the top off the hill.  A man was playing music and there was a local painter, Jacqueline Jones, who was preparing to paint the sunflower garden.

 

Since it was a charity event, there were charitable organizations like the “Make A Wish” foundation.  They had my dream car there!

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The cows at Buttonwood are so docile and beautiful.

 

Sunflowers aren’t just for people.  Dogs also like to walk along the sunflower maze.

 

Tunken (on the left) is an 8 year old Chocolate Lab mix and Duncan (On the right) is a 3 legged Harrier, fox and hound mix

 

Alie is a 12 year old Mini Pinscher.

 

Ian is a 5 month old Golden Retriever who is in training to be a service guide dog.

Below is a video of the maze at the sunflower garden.  What struck me is, despite the large crowd that was there, how peaceful and quiet the place seemed.  It seems like a wonderful place to go and just have some peace and quiet.

Today’s featured website is Jacqueline Jones’ Paintings From The Open Air.  Jackie was painting a portrait of the sunflower garden during my visit.  You can find her painting of the sunflower garden on her website.

Based out of New Haven, CT, Jackie specializes in painting the nature of the New England area.  She also enjoys painting in other areas outside of New England such as the Colorado and New York areas.  Jackie has also won a variety of awards and has studied with some of the accomplished artists in the New England area.

 


American Clock And Watch Museum (Bristol, CT)

Date Of Visit: July 1, 2017

Location: 199 Maple St, Bristol, CT

Hours: April 1st through Nov 30th

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Closed Easter and Thanksgiving. Winter months by chance or by appointment.

Cost:

Adults $5.00
Seniors/AAA $4.00
Children (8-15) $2.00
Under 8 Free
Group tours available by appointment.

Parking: There is room for about 15 to 20 cars in the parking lot

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: clocks, watches and other time measuring devices from various eras and places, outdoor garden with a sundial

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Storing more than 5,500 clocks, watches and other timepieces, the American Clock And Watch Museum has one of the largest collections of watches and clocks in the country.  They generally switch out their clocks seasonally which makes it a great place to visit continually throughout the year.  I had been clocking the place for a while but it was my first time visiting.

While their total collection of clocks and watches numbers over 5,500, thy only display about 1,500 at a time.  They switch some of the clocks and watches every few months.  I’m sure they do it in a very timely manner.

The collection of clocks range from the beautiful to the bizarre.  I wonder how many times people have stared at these clocks and watches.

The biggest current attraction at the museum now is the classic kitty kat clock.

I could spend all day there, especially in the room with all of the grandfather clocks (many of which are from the Bristol, CT area)

Each clock and timepiece has a story behind.  They all have a card explaining when and where they were made and some interesting background information about the time piece.  I found the information and history of the timepieces to be just as interesting as the clocks themselves.

For instance, this clock was called “the grip” because the clock’s movement was so small it could be fitted into a large pocket watch case.  As is the case with many of the timepieces there, it was made in Connecticut (Forestville to be exact).

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The clock below is a tribute to baseball.  If you look closely at the clock you can see the baseball players and coach in the design around the face of the clock.  This clock was sold in 1875 by the American Clock Company in New York, NY.  The movement was made Noah Pomeroy, of course, from Bristol, CT.

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“The Philosopher” is a brass mantel clock with an 8-day movement made by the Ansonia Clock Company in Brooklyn, NY in 1855.  This is another interesting bit of information I learned at the museum.  Some clocks, especially the older clocks in their collection, had to be rewound.  Generally, clocks had either one day or eight day movement.  Clocks with a one day movement, obviously, had to be rewound every day.  However, saying a clock had a 8 day movement is a bit of a misnomer as it would have to be rewound every week (not every 8 days).

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I know.  Who knew a clock and watch museum could be so interesting!?

The museum also has old pocket watches, wrist watches and stop watches on display.

As you can see by the photos, Ingersoll played a major part in the watch making business, particularly pocket watches.  Keeping with their Connecticut ties, Ingersoll watches were originally supplied by the Waterbury (CT) Clock Company.

There are also several displays of watch and clock related items and historical exhibits.

This particular exhibit shows all of the different parts in watches and clocks.

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These educational displays showed how watches were made and the evolution of timekeeping.

The biggest clock in the museum hangs from the first floor to the bottom (or basement) floor.  It is a Tower Clock built by Seth Thomas in 1915.  It still keeps time and it is wound every 8 days.

One of the best parts of the museum is not even in the museum.  Attached to the clock and watch museum, the sun dial garden typically has a sun dial (it was not installed in the garden during my visit), flowers and a bench to take a break from all of the clocks and enjoy the day. if you need to take a timeout.  It really is a great place to pass the time.

Today’s featured link is Rena Tobey’s  blog.

Rena is a creator, curator and teacher among her many talents.  She made a visit to the American Clock And Watch Musseum in April of 2015. As I mentioned before, they do often switch out their clock and watch collection.  So, you will see some different clocks and watched that I did not photograph (although I did see quite a few that we both photographed).


New England Carousel Museum (Bristol, CT)

 

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Date Of Visit: July 1, 2017

Location:95 Riverside Ave, Bristol, CT

Hours:

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 10-5
Thursday: 10-5
Friday: 10-5
Saturday: 10-5
Sunday: 12-5

The Museum is available any day of the week for special tours and facility rentals; even when closed to the public. If you’re interested in visiting the Museum Monday – Friday please call (860) 585-5411

Cost:

Adults $6.00
Seniors $5.50
Children $3.50 (age 4-14)
Children $2.00 (age 1-3)

All admissions include one ride ticket for the indoor carousel.

Parking: There is parking for about 15 vehicles in front of the building.  There is also street parking available on Riverside Ave.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: carousel horses, working carousel, tours, family friendly

Website: New England Carousel Museum

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As a child, I always loved riding the Merry-Go-Round and looking at all of the beautiful horses on the carousel.  Living in the city, it was bout as close as I was going to get to a horse.  It was always the highlight of my trip to the amusement park, especially since I never was a fan of the roller coasters.

There is a place you can go so the very same kinds of carousel horses we rode on as children.  And, you might also get a chance to actually ride on a Merry-Go_Round while you’re there.  I’m not horsing around either.

The New England Carousel Museum is deceivingly big.  From the outside, you wouldn’t even notice the museum was there.  In fact, I drove by it the first time I went looking for it.  The museum features hundreds of carousel horses and other types of carousel animals in their 10,000 square feet of space and several rooms with carousel horses and other items from carnivals and amusement parks.  Most recently, they added a carousel on their second floor.

 

 

Some of the carousel horses have been donated.  Others are being held while the owners are moving or while their homes are being worked on. Yes, some people actually have carousel horses in their homes!

The carousel horses range from the traditional horse to swan, egret, giraffe and even a cat among other animals.

 

 

There are even some carousel horses in the form of mythical characters.

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The craftsmanship and attention to detail are incredible.  Most of the horses have placards that give a little background to their history and the artist who created the animal.  For instance, this “Irish Horse” was carved in 1917 by David Lightfoot for the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.  The Irish theme was indicative of the Irish Nationalism that was a major influence in the eastern part of the United States during that time.

 

 

This “Sweet Horse” was carved by Daniel Muller in 1895.  The horse, which is over 120 years old, is still in its original paint.  It also has all four legs in the air which is another unusual feature of the horse.

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This particular carousel horse was originally part of the carousel at Lake Compounce in Bristol, CT.  Lake Compounce, which opened in 1846, is the largest water park and Connecticut as well as the oldest continuously running amusement park in the United States.   This horse was taken down from the carousel at the amusement park in 1911 when the carousel was replaced with a newer, more up to date (at that time) carousel.  It now resides in the Carousel Museum.

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There are many more interesting stories and facts about each carousel horse.

The carousel museum just doesn’t have horses.  They also have a swan, egret, dolphin, zebra, elephant, cat and rabbit among other carousel animals

 

 

Photos of carousels and amusement parks line the walls of the New England Carousel Museum and they have other items from amusement parks as well.

 

 

I even manged to photograph a dog there!  This realistic sculpture of a Siberian Husky is located near the carousel.  You may notice how one eye is brown and the other eye is blue.

 

 

The knowledgeable and friendly staff at the Carousel Museum give guided tours and explain how the horses were made.  Some of the factoids I learned during the informational session: those tails on the carousel horses…yup they’re real.  They are actual tails from horses.  It is true that some carouse horses do have wooden, carved tails.  But, the horses with actual tails most likely got their tails from a horse that had passed on.  Also, most carousel horses were only painted on the outside because that was the only side most people would see and that would save them money.

 

 

The highlight of the museum for many people, especially the little ones, is probably the carousel ride.  And, yes, I did go on it.   The carousel is located on the second floor (there is an elevator for those who can’t or don’t want to take the stairs).  It’s a great way to end a fun visit!

 

 

Below are two videos I took at the museum.  The first video is of a motorized replica of a carousel made entirely out of paper clips.  The work of art is called “Paper Clip Fantasy” and it was created by Eugene Burnstein of Lakewood, New Jersey.

The next video is a video of the fortune telling machine at the museum.  Yes, it still works and it even gives out fortunes.

Since some of you may be wondering what the fortune said, I have included some photos of it below.  The front side of the card said to hold the fortune in front of a mirror to read it.  I was able to decipher it without looking into a mirror.  It says “love me and the world is mine.”

 

The Nomad’s link of the day is faye_fares.   Faye is one of the tour guides at The New England Carousel Museum and she is also a very talented artist.  She’s an artist, photographer and model.  Some of her work takes 4 to 9 hours to complete.  You can follow her Instagram account here.

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