October 21, 2011

Tea and FDR

To me, the Litchfield Hills region of northwest Connecticut is one of the prettiest in New England.  I love the charming towns, the meandering rivers, the beautiful lakes and the gently rolling hills dotted with historic houses and farms.  The Litchfield Hills in the fall can be even more amazing.  Unfortunately, the fall color has been pretty much a bust this year.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still lovely trees to be seen, but all of the rainfall in the last month has led to a predominance of muted colors, or no color at all.

We nevertheless enjoyed our drive and checked out Kent Falls State Park and the West Cornwall covered bridge.  What I enjoyed the most, however, was lunch.  Tim commented this afternoon that some of our best times have been at lunch, but today’s was especially memorable.

Kent Falls State Park

Kent Falls

West Cornwall Covered Bridge
Tim had suggested last night that we make a loop to the north through the small town of Salisbury.  Little did he know that one of my favorite New England restaurants is in Salisbury.  The Chaiwalla Tea House is not exactly a restaurant, but it serves the most wonderful food in addition to a wide selection of fine teas.  I still remember the tomato pie from a visit at least fifteen to twenty years ago, and that’s what I ordered.  It was as good as I remembered.  Tim had the crab salad, and we also tried Silver Tips tea, an extremely rare Indian estate tea that is hand-rolled in Tamilnadu.  Dessert was sinful, as we sampled five “small” portions of assorted fruit crumbles, bread pudding and a banana cake with chocolate frosting. 

As much as we relished the food and tea, we especially enjoyed chatting with Mary, the owner of the Chaiwalla Tea House.  It just so happens that Tim and I are living her dream – traveling throughout the United States in a small RV.  She was not familiar with Class Bs so we gave her a tour.  She loved the looks, finishes and size of the Sprinter and seemed to be sold on it.  I certainly hope she will be able to take the kind of trip that Tim and I are so fortunate to be doing.

Mary and Her Sinful Desserts
We said a fond farewell to Connecticut and made our way to another beautiful area, the Hudson River Valley of New York and Hyde Park.  Here, we spent the afternoon immersed in the life and times of Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site preserves the home where Roosevelt grew up and spent much of his adult life.  

Springwood, the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt
 The ranger who led our tour did an incredible job despite the very large group she had to deal with.  We learned about FDRs life and his domineering mother Sara.  This was Sara’s house, and she ruled it.  FDR and Eleanor lived in the house after their marriage, and it must have been especially difficult for Eleanor.  No wonder she escaped to her own cottage, Val-Kill, whenever she could.  We’re looking forward to going there tomorrow.

Sarah Visiting With Eleanor and FDR
Since neither Tim nor I had ever been to a presidential library, we also decided to visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum next door.  This is America’s first presidential library and the only one used by a sitting president.  The museum features exhibits about FDR and Eleanor, as well as the Great Depression, the New Deal and World War II.  It was well-worth the visit and filled in some of the missing pieces of FDRs life.

FDRs Desk From the Oval Office

FDRs Ford Phaeton
Tonight we’re camping at the beautiful Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park, which is located along the Hudson River, just up the road from Hyde Park.

Canada Geese Resting On Their Way South

No comments:

Post a Comment