Thursday, November 4, 2010

East Windsor, Bloomfield, Bristol, New Britain and Hartford (Connecticut)

We set off in our trusty Ford Fusion for yet another roadtrip, over a long weekend in mid October - this time, we headed for Connecticut. The air was crisp and the day bright and was the perfect day for a roadtrip.

Unlike travelling on a plane when you feel that your trip really only begins when you reach your destination.....for roadtrips, your fun starts the minute you turn on the car engine and pull out of your driveway. You can enjoy the scenery along the way.....stop the car (or make a U-turn) whenever you see something interesting....or just wind down the windows to feel the breeze/sun on your face while blasting loud music while driving down the road :)

Our first stop was the trolley museum in Bristol where we got to ride on the antique trolley for USD10/pax (unlimited rides on the same day).

We rode on the Montreal Tramway that was manufactured by the Canadian Car & Foundry Co.

It felt like we were transported back in time when we boarded the tram.

All the staff who are operating the trolleys are volunteers. Here's the trolley master checking our tickets and explaining the "house rules" to us.

Our next stop was the Hooker Brewery. It's named after the founder of Hartford, Thomas Hooker but because of the word's other meaning, the brewery has cleverly played up the brand with very cheeky eye-catching ads and slogans - i.e. get caught with a hooker! It's a very small brewery and the small batch brewing apparently allows for better quality control and freshness. Every drop of the brew hand-crafted from the finest ingredients.

For USD5/pax, you get to try all the beers that are on tap (unlimited refills).

The brewery produces numerous variety of beers despite its small size.

This is the entire production line where the matured beer gets pumped into bottles and where the bottles get capped, labelled and can see how small scale it is!

We had the opportunity to try the beer direct from the brew barrel....the ultimate FRESHness!!!!

Here are the REJECT bottles - some bottles had been wrongly labelled. We asked to keep the rejects since they are not gonna make it to the market anyway....but our requests were politely turned down =P Well, one can only try right?

We bought 2 growlers of our most favorite beers - Oktoberfest and Blondie for USD10/growler.

Along the way to Bristol, we witnessed countless sights of beautiful fall foliage......ahhhh, fall is such a nice season! My most favorite season of all.

The American Clock and Watch Museum was our first museum stop in Bristol. It's not a big fancy shmancy has quite a very small town feel to it but the collection is pretty impressive - doesn't pale too much in comparison with the clock collection that we saw at the British Museum in London.

When you sit in a room full of loud ticking'd become acutely aware of how time is running out.

There was this huge hall with hundreds of grandfather clocks in it. We waited till 4pm when the clocks started taking turns to chime. It was AMAZING and we had fun running from one clock to another...trying to figure out which one was making what sound.

Next on our list was the Carousel Museum which was just round the corner of the Clock Museum.

The museum has one of the largest collections of antique carousel pieces in the country. A tour guide shared with us many interesting stories relating to the history and evolution of the hand-carved animals.

The Carousel museum was our last stop before we called it a day. We headed to New Britain (CT) where we stayed overnight at the La Quinta Inn & Suites - we got a huge king size room which had been recently renovated....and breakfast included too for just less than USD60/night inclusive of taxes. Try to beat that!

The next morning, we set off to downtown Hartford (CT). It was a pleasant morning - sunny but very chilly. We parked our car at the side of the street near the Bushnell Park and explored the downtown on foot. We saw many beautiful architectures, monuments and sculptures.

The very majestic State Capitol building.

The foliage at Bushnell park was really nice too.

The Corning Fountain.......

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch.....

That's the iconic red the Travelers Tower.

Our third museum for this trip was the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Art lovers DO NOT MISS this!!!!

The collection is awesome!!! I really enjoyed myself. Below are just a small selection of the entire collection at the museum.....

The very intriguing work of Salvador Dali - titled Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach

This has to be one of my most favorites (although RG found it quite disturbing)- titled Europe after the Rain by Max Ernst. It employed a method called decalcomania (wet paint is applied to a smooth surface such as glass and then pressed onto the canvas).

The Artist (1963) by Pablo Picasso

We'd all recognize this - Self-Portrait (1887) by Vincent van Gogh.

Did you know that Renoir and Monet were good friends? This piece is titled Monet Painting in his Garden at Argenteuil (1873) by Renoir when the latter visited his friend at his Parisian cottage in the summer of 1873.

Some art pieces not only tell a story...but also has a moral behind the story. In this piece titled The Old Man and Death (1773) by Joseph Wright of Derby...the message is that sometimes it is better to suffer than to die.

There was a place where you could leave a feedback or share your thoughts on the museum. I would say it was a piece of artwork by itself!! =)

After leaving Wadsworth.....we headed back to the Bushnell park.

I couldn't resist picking up some red maple leaves as "souvenirs" of our trip.

And after our trip to the Carousel Museum the day before.....we just had to ride the Bushnell Carousel which is one of the very few antique carousels still in operation. For USD1, we got to enjoy 3.5 minutes worth of fun reliving our childhood.

Final museum of our trip is the Mark Twain's House & Museum in Hartford. We got to tour the writer's house where he (& his family) had spent his happiest and most productive years in writing.

Mark Twain had many notable neighbours who had also built very beautiful homes in the same vicinity.

We had yummy japanese noodles for our very late lunch at the Murasaki Cafe that's located within the museum compound. The piping hot noodles were just the right food for a chilly day!

Mark Twain's famous quotes were seen all over the museum. I particularly like this one......

Who can resist a shot with Mark Twain himself (made out of Lego bricks)!!! hee hee

We started to make our way home after that 'cos we didn't want to have to drive in the pitch dark. However, along the way, we got distracted when we saw some nice foliage at the Hop River State Park trail. So we made a stop and took a stroll down the beautiful trail.

After leaving the trail.....we accidentally stumbled upon a pretty lake! See....that's the fun part of never know what interesting and exciting things you are gonna see along the way. we really have to get going before it gets too dark.

The sun was already setting behind was a beautiful sight from the rear and side view mirrors!

It was a great trip. The weather and the sceneries were beautiful, the museums were all very interesting and eye-opening....both of us had a wonderful time. Hopefully, this is not our last trip for fall.....I think we could possibly squeeze in another trip before the arrival of winter....yes?

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