Birthday Celebrating

Birthdays: ignore your age and use them as a reason to enjoy as many days as you can possibly convince your partner to allow you. In the case of our family, we typically grant as many as fit around an extended weekend.

First though, the newlyweds had to be properly greeted as they returned to the dock on Big Blue. So now I know what our airhorn sounds like. The balloons and crepe paper were a thoughtful touch.

John at bow


Wednesday night the Becky Thatcher treated us to an evening of rescue drill on the river. Local towns responded to the make believe MOB and other incidents. We’re not sure if their announcement of “This is a drill, Mayday, Mayday, this is a drill” was proper. Fairly certain that no matter what, one does not say Mayday unless it’s real.

And with that we enter my birthday celebrating and a much needed break from the Summer of Boat Projects, or SOB (P).  A decent hair appointment- ok you ladies get this- costs a few bucks, so at least try to get the most mileage from that visit to your stylist. My appointment Thursday afternoon with Leah, owner of Bella Vita Salon in Deep River was scheduled so that I’d have great hair for the “big” day and at least one if not two days after that. Right next door to the Salon is The Barber Shop with Char Conlon as the new owner. Russ walked in one day and was very surprised to see someone he knew from her prior career as the owner of Flowers on Main. Charlene designed the most beautiful arrangements and I was the recipient of many of her creations. Motherhood has a way of pushing life changing decisions and the short version of this story is that now Char owns the Barber Shop, about a block north of her florist shop.

Mid-Sept weather can range from unusually warm (my personal fav) to quite chilly. A forecast of sunny and cool- highs in the mid 60s meant we limit our time outside. Basically it ended up being two days of eating at new places and old favorites.

Louis’ Lunch, New Haven CT- home of the original hamburger, created for a man in a hurry in the mid-1880s. Don’t like hamburgers? Stay away from Louis’ then. They make burgers in a way you have never seen and the way they’ve been made for over 100 years. Ketchup or mustard? Fagitaboutit. Fries? Nope.Tomato, onion, cheese. That’s it. A few kinds of chips, potato salad and local Foxon Park sodas round out the easy to memorize menu.




Ashely’s ice cream is another New Haven institution and they’ve (fortunately) opened several satellite shops and this allowed up a short breather before grabbing a dish in Madison.

My camera crapped out. The timing of such demise is suspect and I offer the following as proof. I’ve been using a Casio Exilim 7.2 megapixels with 3X zoom for several years. Was a easy to use, multi-featured pocket-sized camera, but I missed many distance shots as well as the dolphins who jumped too quickly. We’d talked about a replacement, but no way was I Ok with spending $800 plus for a good Digital SLR with zoom lens. Best Buy was a good place to begin our hunt and we were surprised to discover a Sony Cyber Shot DSC 16.2 MP with 30X optical zoom lens.  This newcomer was exactly what I’d hoped to find. Full featured, no lenses to switch out and if you knew your stuff you could manually focus.  The zoom would go past 30X but then it was digital. Smile detection feature, 10 photo burst and panoramic mode. What’s not to like? Recently increased CT sales tax for one. We decided to research more online- price and reviews, then order if it still felt right. That was Tues. On Friday, my birthday, my camera starts taking over exposed white-out photos, leaving us with the iPhone as camera fill-in for the weekend. When equipment senses replacement, it rebels. Stuff is rarely coincidence IMO. Stay tuned for camera purchase and use updates.

Friday night dining at La Belle Aurore in Niantic, CT was delicious. We were joined by landlubber friends Cathy and John. The restaurant creates many of its menu selections using locally sourced foods and they dug deep to find the last bottle of Carmenere I had to have. Saturday we planned to head East toward Stonington. Cathy suggested a breakfast stop at Passion Coffee in New London; a warm and cozy Columbian delight owned by the Agudelo family. Lina, the oldest daughter worked for me at Tower Labs and her 2006 December wedding was Benj’s first. We spent two hours catching up and sharing stories.

Inside Passion Coffee

Outside Passion Coffee

We’ll skip the part about going to Defender (twice) to stock up on a PLB, hand held VHF, blue (to replace the ugly black ones) dock lines, fuel filters and BoatLIFE Life-Seal; great stuff.

Next stop- Saltwater Farm Vineyard. 100+ acres, 15 are planted with six varieties of grapes. Bordered by tidal marshes and a tiny cove, situated in Stonington, one of my favorite CT coastal villages. The bucolic property, which has a small private airport dating to the late 1930s (not unlike the one in Centerbrook where Bonny spends her winters), boasts a WWII vintage hangar which has been preserved and converted into a winery. The location is in high demand  for weddings and one was to take place Saturday evening.

Upstairs tasting bar
Looking toward the vines

 One of our last stops was Mystic; no venture east of the CT River is complete without a stop here; tourists and locals all love Mystic; the Seaport, shopping village, Main St, the old drawbridge, restaurants and Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream- yum-y!

Free bikes are available at several in-town locations; helpful since traffic is heavy most of the time. Must confess, we did not bike this time. However we did find a great new restaurant, due to open very soon; Farm & Sea to Table, Oyster Club. They promise a daily changing menu based on the local catch. A not to miss.

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