Posts Tagged ‘local’

Blue Star Museums Summer: In Our Town!

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Since I made the list of Blue Star Museums for the wall, Lincoln has been obsessed with “moo-see-ums”, and asks every day if we can go to one. Our summer weekends are blessedly empty of commitments, so we get to say yes pretty often. Last weekend though, we looked at the list, mentally calculated the costs of lunch and/or dinner out, the drive times, the 95% humidity and dragged our feet all morning, hoping the kids would entertain themselves.

Then I remembered we had two Blue Star Museums right here in Norwich. I hadn’t even bothered to add them to our list because they are walking distance from our front door and I pass them several times I day. They don’t really count as GOING somewhere. But E and I had never been to either one and figured it would be a good compromise between doing nothing and moo-see-ums.

It turns out, both places are TOTALLY worth visiting! They were interesting! And bigger than I thought! And really fun, even if it was a million degrees inside!

First, we visited The Slater Museum. It’s on the campus of Norwich Free Academy, which is the high school in our town. It’s an endowed academy, a private school that serves as a public school. You can read about the history here, which is the sort of stuff I love, so when we bought this house one of the main draws was being super close to NFA.

From their website: Slater Memorial Building, dedicated in 1886, a gift from William A. Slater (NFA 1875; 1857-1909), was the second structure built on campus. It included the Slater Memorial Museum. The Norwich Art School launched in 1890, because the Museum offered a World-class laboratory for art instruction. By 1906, the Art School, enjoying ever-expanding success and popularity, moved into its own building, named for benefactor Charles A. Converse. (More dorky stuff: my favorite house in Norwich is the Converse House, a Victorian Gothic mansion around the corner from us. I bought a bedroom set at a garage sale there once and got to go inside and look around. It’s AMAZING. Also, it’s for sale.)

This is all really typical New England stuff. Towns on rivers all used to have huge mills and factories, lots of people used to be super rich, and if you walk through the graveyards the names on the stones are all the names of the streets, hospitals, museums, banks, buildings and people who still live here. I love it.

Anyway, back to our visit. The Slater Museum was actually free for everyone the day we went, not just military families. (It’s free on Saturdays during July and August for everyone, so if you’re close enough I recommend a visit!) I’m going to go back with fewer children so I can actually read signs and learn stuff.

Then we went over to the Leffingwell House Museum, which is WAY older than NFA. It used to be a private house, then an inn and tavern. It also was full of familiar names – at one point it was owned by the Backus family, Backus Hospital is where I delivered all four babies.

I took a lot fewer pictures because I was actually listening to our tour guide, who was very entertaining, knew tons of interesting facts both about the house and about the 1700’s in general, and kept the kids entertained.

That thing is called a weasel, and they used it to measure skeins of yarn and when you spin it it makes a pop sound when you have the right length. Pop goes the weasel.

Standing in the exact spot where George Washington stood. Since my children are obsessed with Hamilton, this was very exciting. There was also a lot of Benedict Arnold stuff (he’s from Norwich) but I’m going to need a hip-hop musical about his life before I’m super interested.

I can’t believe I’ve lived in Norwich for 10 years and haven’t been to either of those museums before. If you’re local, don’t make the same mistake!

Cirkopolis at Foxwoods: GO SEE IT!

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

You guys, Cirkopolis at Foxwoods was SO GOOD. We’ve seen Cirque Eloize several times now and this one was definitely the coolest. They did all my favorite stunts (the teeter board and the hoop) plus this super amazing hand-to-hand ballet where a girl did an entire dance without ever touching the floor. It was so beautiful. But I think my new favorite was the diablo, which the internet tells me might also be called a Chinese yo-yo. It was like watching a magic trick except nothing was hidden, the guy was just a gravity defying wizard.

We got into the theater to see the cast warm up with the lights on and the chance to get right up close and take some photos (and video, which is over on my Instagram!)

That thing above is a lousy picture of the diablo, but maybe now you know what I was talking about.

The show was packed and the audience was so into it, which made it more fun for everyone. Finnegan was a good baby and actually slept through the first 45 minutes. Lincoln was WORN OUT from a super busy weekend so he also took a little nap. But the big kids were both the very loudest laughers and applauders, and E and I kept looking at each other going “How is that even possible!?”

Cirque Eloize: Cirkopolis runs through April 15th at Foxwoods so get your tickets now and go see it!

After the show we promised the kids we could go to The Sugar Factory. The line for the actual restaurant looked pretty long and we had managed a zero breakdown family fun day up until that point, so we opted for some gelato from the candy store side. It was delicious.

 

 

There’s a bunch of other fun stuff going on the rest of this week and the beginning of next for Kids Week at Foxwoods, so we’ll be back for more fun (and more Sugar Factory).

Foxwoods provided me and my family tickets both to the pre-show event and the performance at no cost, but all photos and opinions are my own. And we paid for our own gelato. 

Spring Break Plans: Cirque Eloize at Foxwoods!

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Our spring break is next week and I’m starting to plan our schedule so that we don’t end up screaming at each other staying home the whole time. Getting out of the house during the week is both really fun AND important to our mental health when we don’t have actual vacation plans.

We are BIG fans of the Cirque Eloize shows that sometimes visit Foxwoods Casino. E and I attended one a couple years ago where we got to get up on stage during rehearsal and try our hand at some of the stunts. And then last year we took the kids to another show – Saloon – that had some of the coolest performers we’ve ever seen.

So when I got an email saying Cirque Eloize is coming back for another show during Spring Break, I jumped at the chance for tickets.

This year’s show is both kid-friendly and hands-on. They’re running a special pre-show experience to meet the cast, take pictures and maybe participate in a few activities. From the press release:

The cast of Cirque Éloize Cirkopolis is treating families to a unique and interactive experience before their seven-show run at Foxwoods. Families can enter the enchanting world of contortionists, jugglers and aerial acrobats as the cast prepares for show time! Lucky kids and parents will be invited on stage to participate in some of the crowd-favorite tricks from the show. The cast of clowns and artists will greet guests and take photos through out the show. This amazing “Behind the Scenes Family Experience” will on Tuesday, April 11 at 12:15 p.m. at Fox Theater. Tickets are required in advance and may be purchased in advance at https://www.foxwoods.com/CirqueEloize.
Besides the new Cirque show, Foxwoods has a ton of stuff going on for Kids Week during April vacation days this month. From food and arcade specials to free movies and face painting, it’s a great way to get out of the house if you’re planning a staycation. I hear they’re going to have roaming superheroes for photo ops, so Linc is DEFINITELY going to have one of the best days of his life.
The activities actually continues into the following week, after our spring break, but I plan to take Linc and Finn to the baby animal petting zoo (because, duh) at the outlets on April 17th from 1-3pm. They have tons of fun stuff going on so be sure to check out the full schedule and let me know if you’ll be there!

Connecticut Open House Day {2016}

Monday, June 13th, 2016

We went to Gillette Castle a few years ago for Open House Day, because although the castle is really neat and you *could* spend a lot of time walking around and looking at everything, it’s hard to do with kids. We decided to go back again this year, because I love doing things for free so there’s no preesure to spend a long time there if the children aren’t into it. I guess this year they were as into it as you expect children to be, although Linc was only into it if someone was carrying him.

There are also a lot of great hiking trails all around the castle that used to be part of Mr. Gillette’s miniature train system, but it started to rain and we didn’t get very far. I was also wearing a 30 lb toddler on my back and 20 lbs of pregnant on my front (don’t ask how that happens when my husband is carrying zero pounds of children) so I was happy to keep our hike short.

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Evan was running and fell and scraped up his knee. Caroline was rolling down a hill and rolled right into a rock. They are obviously having a WONDERFUL TIME.

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Despite the fact that we look very along in these photos there were definitely a lot of people out enjoying the free admission day. Please feel free to admire my talent for keeping them out of the pictures.

Best Weekend of the Year 2014

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

They changed the name of Taste of Mystic to Mystic Eats, but besides that it’s the same weekend we’ve had for 3 years now. And it was just as delicious and fun now as it always is. (For reference: Post from 2012, Post from 2013. I am once again really please with how my photography has really improved. This year’s photos are in focus!)

Greek Food Festival:

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Ledyard Fair (free rides Saturday 9-10 am! Every year!):

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Taste of Italy:

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Mystic Eats:

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