Day 26 – Around Waterbury, Connecticut

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We’d set the alarm for 7:00 am but when I woke a little before that I could tell by the sound of Majella’s snoring that she was still sound asleep. I cancelled that alarm but she woke about 7:15 am, was surprised it was so late, and leapt out of bed to shower, dress and get down for breakfast. I followed as quickly as I could.

Joyce was finishing off the French toast she was preparing. We enjoyed that with maple syrup and cantaloupe, washed down with coffee.

We had nothing planned for today beyond seeing something of the local area. Joyce suggested some possibilities and we set off in her car. It had rained overnight and was still overcast but we had no plans that would be affected by a little rain.

First stop was at a shop, Jo-Anne’s, that sold all manner of craft goods. The prime purpose of the stop was for Majella to buy fabric. She did that but also came away with some other items including a 2013 desk calendar with suggestions for a quilt block to make each day. I expect that will help to keep her out mischief next year.

From there Joyce drove us to Southington to see an apple festival. It seemed we were a day too early for that so we drove on to Rogers’ apple orchard where we bought apples, which we ate while looking around at the orchard and store.

Our next stop was the Timex museum and outlet store, which is on the site of the brass mill that was a major industry in Waterbury for many years. That factory is gone and most of the site, other than the small 3 level building that houses the museum and store, is occupied by a shopping mall. The lawn outside the museum is dominated by a reproduction Easter Island figure. Despite working our way from top to bottom of the museum I don’t think we ever understood the relationship between Timex and the Easter Island figure. Most of the museum is devoted to the history of clock and watch manufacture by Timex and its precursors. It seems that the supply of brass already being produced in the area was responsible for starting watchmaking in the area but the sequence of items in the museum did not always seem logical and I could glean only vague ideas about the succession of business entities that had waves of success and collapse over the years. A large part of the second floor of the museum has a display about possible interactions among cultures around the world that have built step pyramids. The Thor Heyerdahl expeditions, Kontiki and Ra, figure prominently, apparently because Heyerdahl was a friend of Olsen who ran the company at one time. What it has to do with watches is as much a mystery as how Easter Island was first settled. I did buy a new watch and pedometer (my pedometer has stopped working recently) at what seemed like good prices.

There was a Toys ‘r’ Us store in the mall so Majella checked that for elves without success before we went further up the mall for lunch at Olive Garden. We each had the soup, salad, and bread sticks – enough to keep us going without being over fed.

After lunch Joyce drove us into the country toward Brookfield. We drove for about 40 minutes through wooded country in which there were occasional patches of autumn colours appearing. Some areas were still in full green but others were well into the change. It seems we may be a week early for the full show.

We visited DiGravia winery where we tasted and bought a bottle of Honey Blush wine. It was a rose made from a blend of grape varieties with honey added for its preservative properties as an alternative to using sulphites. It had just a hint of honey flavour.

We drove on from there to the Brookfield area where Joyce was keen to show us the grocery store operated by Stew Leonard. It was an enormous space that appeared to offer just about any grocery item imaginable. It was all arranged in a way that would almost require shoppers to meander through the entire store with a good chance they would see something more that they needed to buy. There were several spots along the way with free samples of various kinds and entertainments – animated, singing animals – for the kids. Shopping there would be a real experience.

On our way out of the store we spoke with one of Joyce’s teenage granddaughters who was working a checkout. Before heading back to Waterbury we visited briefly with her mother, Joyce’s daughter.

We enjoyed our Honey Blush wine with corn on the cob, grilled chicken breast, and a zucchini and tomato mix. That was followed by pumpkin pie with ice cream and conversation until it was time to call it a day.

Distance today was 156 km. With Joyce’s help we managed to see some of what Waterbury and the surrounding area have to offer but I’m sure we missed much more than we saw. I’ll add a map of our travels when I can. Tomorrow we head for New York.