Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall Frolic, Part 1

Most every year Mr. Helen and I toodle around our neck of the woods to leaf peep when the foliage changes.  Last year we didn't get to do this due to both of us having to work when we would have gone followed by a storm that stripped the leaves off the trees.  This year, I wanted us to take the opportunity to get out but I also wanted to not drive the same old roads.

I did a little research and made plans for us to (sort of) do a big loop of eastern Connecticut driving Route 169 which is a designated National Scenic Byway.  I knew once we were in Connecticut's "Quiet Corner" we would have plenty of other back roads to choose from before we made our way home.

There are a lot of things to see and visit along this drive but hard to do in one day so we set out for a couple of specific stops and decided we'd just mosey along for the rest of the day.

The rest of this post will be mostly photos - I hope you enjoy seeing our fall adventure and I apologize in advance to all you DSLR people for my iPhone and point and shoot shots.

This is a map of our route:  starting from home we took the highway to route 169 (the left road on the map then bear right) because we wanted to start by having lunch at the Vanilla Bean Cafe.  So we drove to the left of the bottom loop then over towards the right. The mileage is correct but disregard the time, this was a 6 hour excursion. Just for perspective, Massachusetts is above the dotted line and Rhode Island is to the right.


I took some shots of the foliage along the way. As you can see it was a beautiful fall day with blue, blue skies.



Once we got off the highway and onto Route 169, we started seeing very typical New England scenes with colonial-style houses and lots of rock walls.  I took a couple photos from the truck then kept insisting we pull over!  Mr. Helen is a good sport but he does get tired of me saying, "Oh no!  That was a perfect shot and we drove by too fast."  Still, 169 was everything we hoped it would be in terms of a lovely drive and views.







In about an hour's time we were at the Vanilla Bean Cafe, a restaurant built into a 19th century barn and the only place to get lunch in Pomfret.  The food is delicious and made with all fresh ingredients but a bit overpriced.  As it's the only game in town, you can imagine the line on a perfect autumnal Saturday.  We ended up keeping our coats on and sitting outside because it was so busy!  No photos but suffice it to say our shared cup of their award winning chili and Mr. Helen's meatloaf sandwich and my roast beef and cheddar sandwich lived up to their reputation. We would to back.

After lunch we headed down Route 97 to go to a wine tasting at Sharpe Hill Vineyards, best know for their Ballet of Angels wine.  We had never been here and were looking forward to it.

Route 97 as we were leaving the cafe.



At one point we came to a stoplight and when I saw this little store's sign, I cracked up!  Then I asked Mr. Helen if he needed anything... beer? Bible? bullets? books? vegetables?  LOL!


He said he was all set and the light changed so we continued on our way and then we were pulling up to Sharpe Hill.

The buildings and grounds are beautiful - here's a preview with more to come in the next post.


This house is part of their property - not sure if someone lives here.  The area in front of the small fence is herb and vegetable gardens which they use for their restaurant.


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The main building and restaurant.  Mr. Helen is walking towards the tasting room door - he was done with me and my photos hahaha

The entrance to the tasting room and restaurant.

Next post:  wine tasting, winery grounds, and the holy grail.

13 comments:

  1. What a beautiful day to do this, and OMG, how gorgeous is the rolling countryside...add in the leaves turning and it's spectacular! Love the rock walls - that just seems so very old school to this westerner, like something you would see back in the 1700s.

    Loved the shot of Mr. Helen walking toward the winery (cool buildings!) - hey, the driver needed a break, right? ;)

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    1. Believe it or not, some of those old walls ARE from the 1700's!

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  2. We have been there, and love it! Connecticut and surrounding areas have been a big focus for genealogy research, especially Woodstock, CT. Thanks for sharing. We hope to get there again in the next year or so.

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    1. When you decide to come again, you should let me know and maybe we can meet up for lunch.

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  3. Great pics.... just curious, what date did you do the frolic? We were thinking of doing it on the 23rd & wondering if there would be any foliage left...

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    1. We were there last weekend. A lot of the foliage was already down up north. I'd say southern Connecticut is hitting peak right now.

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  4. Oh my my my! I LOVED your tour. The colors are so fantastic, and the houses and the stone walls. I love those so much. We actually have a few remnants around here still, and I love to look at them. Okay, the sign--beer, bibles, bullets, books. I LOL'd at that, but it is also something that drives me nuts about some Christians--their extreme interest in shooting. Yuck. Still it was funny.

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    1. I wish I'd had more shots of the all the really old historical houses we saw - kind of fascinating to think they were there 300 years ago. That sign slayed me. Sometimes rural CT can be very, very southern in it's gun habits, Christian or no. The wild, wild east?

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  5. Oh wow what a treat to take us on your tour. I loved looking at all the photos.

    It's funny that Mr. Helen was done with all your photos. By now R. is totally used to me taking photos of everything and he always stops too and waits for me.

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    1. He's much better than he used to be but he just wanted to get inside lol

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  6. No pictures of the food? Shame on you Helen :D

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