Summer, Where Are You?


There’s no doubt that this has been a long winter for us in New England. The days were cold. The nights were even colder. The snow was, well, let’s not even talk about the snow. The fact of the matter here is, that sometime after forty inches, we grew anxious for spring to come, and quite frankly what was another couple of inches on the ground this past week in Connecticut to top things off.

Yes, winter. A season we all love to hate. As a skier, however, I usually live for winter! Not so this season as I was out due to a medical condition. Oh sure, it was great to look at, but now I know just how all you snow haters feel; exhausted!

Like many, I got out to enjoy the tease that mother nature threw at us. Saturday was nearly fifty degrees and Sunday was nearly sixty! All this after having a foot of wet snow dumped on us on Friday. I mean really, I don’t know what that nutcase we call a mother was thinking. Clearly she just needs to be medicated and thrown into rehab. Actually, a padded room sounds more justifiable.

I took a walk around the trails here at home in Torrington. Burr Pond offers a fantastic setting if you’re looking to unwind and unplug a bit. A nice trail that, unfortunately was still very snow covered, ropes around the entire length of the pond and offers some pretty fantastic views of the area from it’s upper slopes. I do this walk quite often, though due to my condition as of late, I’ve had to make sure I bring along a hiking partner in the event that I collapse…in the snow. Thanks, mother nature. Natural padding. I get it. You’re looking out for my best interests. You can stop though, really.

On the horizon, however, there’s talk of more snow for next week. I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. Am I the only one dreaming of summer nights on the beach with a tent and a bonfire? That day still seems so distant.

Oh Sandy!

Spare me anymore details about the impending storm. We all remember last year how we were snowbound for days without electricity and any working cell phone service. It was as if we were living in a pre modern world! Scary? Heck yeah! It’s not something I want to live through again, though the odds are slowly turning against me on that one.

Sandy, or Frankenstorm as we’re calling it, is one heck of a storm. It’s a category one spinning out in the Atlantic with its sights on the northeast and hoping to make a significant impact on southern New England. That’s bad! The winds are planning on being ferocious and the rain might require a boat, or maybe Noah’s ark. It’s just not something any of us will want to have to deal with, but we will.

Like many, I’ve spent the past 24 hours preparing. I’m fully stocked with my bottles of wine and all of the cheese and crackers one could live off of. Yes, these are important, important for a hurricane party. Hey, you got to make light of this situation somehow, right? Don’t worry, I’ve also got plenty of beer. Oh, and water and canned food too I suppose.

So while we wait for Sandy to come and be not so dandy of a visitor, it’s important to pay full attention to everything that is going on with her and where and when she will land. Honestly, can’t she just go back to where she came from? Those pesky unwanted guests, I’ll tell ya.


What to do When the Gloom Just Won’t Leave

In case you haven’t noticed, or have been living under a rock, it’s been very gloomy here in the northeast this past week. I haven’t found even a hint of sunshine. I’m now beginning to wonder if I should get the supplies ready to build an ark. If this is what Seattle is like, I don’t think I want to go there anytime soon!

So, what is one to do with so many gloomy days? Go shopping of course! This week, many area malls have been packed with shoppers looking for a bit of retail therapy to get them out of the misery that is our current weather pattern. A bit of sunshine can be found in the malls as shoppers rake in the deals off the sales racks.

My problem: I love to window shop. I don’t exactly shop and spend, I’m more of a shop and dream kind of guy then shop for the deals from my phone. Still, spending quality time in retail paradise this week has been far better than spending time in, well, the not so great outdoors.

I hit up a few of my favorite places to shop this week which are pictured below. Here in Connecticut, I love the Danbury Fair Mall as high end shopping comes alive in New England’s largest mall. The Palisades Mall in West Nyack, NY just outside of the city is my first choice to shop as there are four stories of non stop fun. At the Palisades, you can rock climb, roller skate, work out at the gym, catch a movie, wine and dine, and even explore the seemingly endless supply of stores.

The last stop of the week was at Clinton Crossings Premium Outlets in Clinton, CT just along the Connecticut shoreline. It is the place to soak up the deals! Designer names, at not so designer prices. That’ll make a gloomy day a lot brighter!

Warm Weather Brings Warm Melodies and Hard Hats

This past Monday, just before election day, was a fantastic weather day here in the hills of Connecticut. A far cry from what it was nearly a week and a half ago as we sat inside our igloos with over a foot of snow outside. Monday was just perfect. Spring like in fact, and if mother nature is confused, we’ll take advantage of it, right?

Right. As New Englanders, we all know what’s in store for us over the next couple of months so when good weather hits, we take every opportunity to make love to the sun so to speak. I myself tried to take as much advantage of it as I could. I decided to head down to White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, or “Whites Woods” as it’s known locally. A bit of a brisk walk with some sun being splashed on my face through the pines, but all in all not one single complaint from me. Heck, not even the horses that were galloping around weren’t complaining. Who could blame them.

As I strolled through Whites Woods, I noted some of the damage that was about from last weeks snow storm. Many branches were down among the snow that lay in the woods, often times blocking some of the trails. I often like to walk this area WHEN it’s snowing in a pair of snow shoes, but now, I just may have second thoughts. I better walk around with a hard hat next time.

As the warm sun faded away early thanks to this whole daylight savings time thing, it was time to escape the woods before the coyotes started to attack. It was only five o’clock. What could I possibly do next? I still had half the day ahead of me, and it was dark.

Time for dinner. I invited my mother out to one of my favorite restaurants here in Litchfield County, the good ol’ Fife’n Drum down in Kent. A short trek from the Torrington area, and a scenic ride as well. Okay, maybe not so scenic when it’s pitch black at five o’clock in the afternoon, but the stars were nice.

When we arrived, my mother and I noted right away the peace and quiet that welcomed us the moment we stepped foot out of the car. Silence. Not even in a pin drop. If you’re used to living in the city, this could take some getting used to for you, but for those of us here in the hills, this is pure bliss and one of the many reasons we live here. After all, who really wants to hear hustle and bustle twenty-four seven? No thank-you!

This was my mothers first visit here and she was charmed. We sat fireside as a pianist made his way over to the piano to play everyone in the restaurant a few tunes. The environment that we were in was very much humbling. In fact, we both referenced it to a Cheers episode since everyone sitting around seemed to know everybody.

After a glorious start to the day, this was indeed the perfect ending. Fireside dinning, just my mother and I sitting together sharing stories over a glass of wine. Who could ask for anything more?

Hit the Beach! As Summer Heats Up, Litchfield County Has a Love Affair with Water


It’s summertime and very simply put the living is easy. A gentle breeze blows through the trees ever so gently, that you just can’t feel it no matter how hard you try to because of this wonderful little thing called humidity that gets us all fired up, and when we’ve had enough of being fired up, we make a splash into any one of Litchfield County’s water sources. The lakes of Litchfield County are no doubt a hit with locals and tourists alike as they are largely used for recreational use such as kayaking, water skiing, and fishing.

This fourth of July weekend, as the temperatures began to soar into the mid 80’s, many people flocked to the sandy shores of the lakes as they cooled off by taking a chilling plunge in the water followed by an afternoon of absorbing the sun on the beach, and no where else does this all hold true than at Torrington’s own Burr Pond State Park. Burr Pond, a place that is known to be filled with activity on the weekends from vacationing New Yorker’s who reside at nearby Lakeridge, is without a doubt a very busy place, if you’re comparing it with Litchfield County standards of course. I spend a great deal of time there, and this afternoon was no different as I took the hike from the shores of Lakeridge with my camping chair through the trail in the woods that cuts over to the beach at the state park. When I arrived, I was in great company as the park was bustling with kids who were enjoying summer vacation.

The day was kind of a mixed bag of treats from the weather gods. While I was hoping to catch a tan, they seemed to not want to let that happen for me as dark clouds began to fill in the moment I sat down. Isn’t that the way it always works? You find a nice spot to sit in that’s right in the sun and as soon as you sit down for your power nap, the sun runs away. I seem to have the same problem with females, so maybe the sun is a woman.

As the afternoon progressed, the sun, ever so slowly, began to make a come back, and when it did it was time for me to make a splash as I ran down right into the water going instantly under and then coming right back up. Ah, the joys of summer! A brisk, refreshing dip in the water and suddenly everything just seems alright. Swimming in a lake is a far different experience than swimming in a pool. It just brings out the kid in you as you’re quickly reminded of those long, lazy summer days of your youth.

Yes, it’s summer, and the living is easy, and I refuse to complain about the weather because after the winter we had this past year, I’ll take what we can get, as long as it’s not snow!


The Sun Changes Everything



As everyone returned to work today after enjoying an incredible weekend celebrating mom amongst many other things, today was my Sunday before returning back to work later tonight. I took advantage of the glorious weather that was about as Spring has finally sprung, and mother nature has finally come to her senses as she continues to offer us all of this abundant sunshine. I started my day on the Susan Grossman Still River Greenway in Torrington’s north end. If you have never been there, it’s well worth the trip. I’m an avid walker of the trail and as I am about enjoying a little fresh air, as well as a slight workout, I often meet many people who are overly friendly and look to strike up a conversation, but more so than not, it’s a smile and a hello which really goes a long way. It says a lot about our town. Despite what some may think of Torrington, there are many folks here who respect one another and live in harmony. After all, this is our small town, and many of us have grown accustom to the small town ways of life.

After a brisk 6 mile walk on the greenway, I decided to head on up to Burr Pond where the sun continued to radiate the land as a gentle wind swept through from time to time to cool things off. After spending a few minutes in the grass that bordered the beach, I decided to trail run for a bit. If you’ve never trail ran, you don’t know what you’re missing. Honest! It’s a wonderful way to workout as your body works with the natural landscape rather than the computerized landscape of a treadmill. It’s a lot easier than it sounds, despite the periodic roots of trees and rocks that scatter the trail. I’m an avid at this. On my days off, I do it quite frequently as it energizes the body, especially if you’re starting out in the morning. The trail around Burr Pond is amazing and offers a variety of different scenic vistas along the way. Not only that, but it is relatively easy compared to some of the trails in our region.

After my run around the pond, I made my way back to the beach at the parks eastern edge where I took a quick 30 minute power nap as I soaked in the sun and was cooled off by the wind. I don’t know what I was thinking all winter long. I have really missed this kind of weather! It’s days like today where I rarely spend anytime indoors. In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m outside as well! Alas, all good things must come to an end, however, as I’ll be back on my 4 night rotation at work tonight. The weekend was great. The times were memorable. I’m looking forward to next weekend already, and hopefully even better weather!




Beauty Despite the Rain

Despite the dreary weather conditions outside, there are a variety of scenes across Litchfield County that can brighten our day. Don’t worry, the National Weather Service claims that the rain will depart by Thursday morning as we’ll expect to see partly sunny skies and temperatures remaining in the 50’s. We could see some snow showers come Thursday night, however,¬†as temperatures drop into the 20’s! Hard to imagine why everyone is feeling a bit under the weather these days isn’t it?

You can read the entire National Weather Service forecast by clicking here.

Ice can still be seen here on Stillwater Pond in Torrington.