Laura and I have visited many towns in Connecticut and have seen many beautiful things, but few of them compare to the sights we’ve seen in Old Saybrook. What a lovely town in such a lovely place. There really is no other like it. In the entries below, you’ll see lots of photos and read about some of our explorations. If you’ve got any comments, please add them down below.
Visiting Old Saybrook for Thanksgiving
November 28, 2009
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.
This Thanksgiving, my lady and I had dinner at the Griswold Inn in Essex, Connecticut. Since we had been there a few times before, this wasn’t a huge deal for us. What was a huge deal was the fact that dinner was buffet style. I like buffet because it translates to “all you can eat” for me. On Thanksgiving, that’s a good thing. Trust me, we’ve been down the road of “exquisite chef who only uses locally grown foods…blah blah blah.” What that means is small portions for too much money. I am so over that.
What I am into is wearing comfortable clothes and eating until I am fat and dumb. That’s what we (I) did. Dinner was great. The only complaint I have is that there were too many people. I guess the Griswold is a popular place. Next time, we are going to eat in a different room. The room we were in was crowded and I had to keep saying, “excuse me” when I got up multiple times for more food. I started getting funny looks for my second dessert run. Oh well.
We thought that it would be fun to head down to Old Saybrook, Connecticut before dinner to do a little exploring. Since we had to be at the Griswold at 4:30PM, we went down to the water earlier to catch as much light as we could.
It’s funny, the weather was cloudy, but there were breaks of sun here and there. It was a very weird sky. November will do that. I am happy that it was the way it was because I got some great pictures of the coast line. Rarely…I mean RARELY have I ever said that something in nature is beautiful. Not that I haven’t seen beautiful natural settings in my day, but I generally say that things are nice or cool. I don’t get too excited. For some reason, when we came around the most southern bend on Maple Avenue, I started saying, “Now that is beautiful.” I couldn’t help myself. It was the way the sun was shining through the clouds and hitting the water. It looked like the water was steaming. It was really nice and you are lucky people to see pictures of some of it. I think you’ll agree.
There is nothing nicer than going for a stroll on a beach on Thanksgiving. Not too hot, not too cold.
Christmas Dinner At Saybrook Point Inn
January 2, 2010
My lady and I have a nice little tradition going. We’ve been doing it for a few years now and it really seems to be working out rather well.
What’s the tradition? Well, it’s basically avoiding the world during the holidays and spending time with each other over a nice dinner. We’ve found some great restaurants by doing this. I hope the trend continues.
I bet people think we’re nuts. “What? How in the world can you not be with your loving family during these special times? Are you crazy?“ To that I say please stop asking me those kinds of questions. I like to think that our families are secure enough to know we love them. I mean, we talk enough. Like three times a week enough. Any more of me and they might specifically ask me to stay away.
Do you know what else we do? We don’t exchange gifts. Oh here we go again…I know, I know. “Why sir, do you not exchange gifts?” I’ll tell you why. Because I don’t need anything and neither does anyone else. Really. When my friends and I talk about this, we all usually end up in agreement. My sister and I were laughing about all the garbage people get each other during the holidays and she said something really funny. She said, “Do you know what I really want for Christmas? A house.” That pushed me off the deep end. I started laughing and replied, “Yeah, how about someone paying the electric bill or stopping by to shovel the driveway.” I mean really, I don’t think anyone needs more stuff to sit on a shelf somewhere for a year before it hits the garbage. Every time I head North on 91 past Hartford and look at that huge mound of dirt I feel horrible.
I know, I’m a Grinch.
But I’m not a Grinch when we’re eating mighty good food down at the Saybrook Point Inn in Old Saybrook, CT. As I mentioned in my post about our Thanksgiving dinner, I am diggin’ the buffet idea. All you can eat and the food is awesome.
It’s weird, whenever I think of the word “buffet,” I think of bad food in Vegas. Then I have to remember that when you go to a buffet style dinner in a real restaurant, there are real chefs making the food. From what I have experienced this year, it’s really really good.
The Saybrook Point Inn pleasantly surprised me. I just couldn’t believe how good the food was. I can still remember what I ate. Man…and the desserts. Holy mother. I ate this mousse cake that I had to hold myself back from. Oh yeah, the restaurant is nice too…but the food!
Okay, enough about the great dinner that I ate multiple plates of. Enough about that. We did other stuff too.
After dinner, I drove around a bit. My better half wanted to go back to the Old Saybrook town beach to collect some shells. Her collection is growing. Of course, I drove her there. I kept telling her that I always wanted to visit a beach with snow on it. I thought it would be cool and it was. Oh yeah…she got her shells.
Before we visited the beach though, I thought it would be fun to check out this one neighborhood that we passed the last time we were in the area. The area is called “Fenwick” I think. That’s what Google Earth is telling me. It’s sort of like a peninsula with a golf course on it as well as a bunch of really nice houses. This is the type of thing that gets my attention.
During our little tour of the area, we passed by the beach, the Lynde Point Lighthouse and some Monk Parakeets. Monk Parakeets? That’s right. Our jaws dropped when we saw about five bright green birds sitting on the branches of the tree that held their nests. It was so strange because I thought these types of birds only lived in the Amazon. Apparently not. They also live in Connecticut. You should have seen me fiddling around trying to get my camera out of the bag.
So there you have it. Our very simple Christmas of 2009. Just the way I like it.
Saybrook Point Inn & Spa For Thanksgiving
November 30, 2010
There’s something beautiful about the Long Island Sound. It’s something very forgettable, but beautiful nonetheless.
The feeling fades so fast after we get back into town. By the time we pull down the driveway, it’s almost gone. It’s the strangest thing…feeling so far removed from someplace we were just over an hour ago.
Each time we visit the Connecticut shore, we have a really nice time. Each trip includes some sort of visual pleasure followed by a nice dinner at some restaurant we have never been to. My new rule is to avoid eating at the same restaurant twice. We have done that and the second time is never as good as the first. I think we try too hard to make a place “ours.” One dining experience on a busy Friday night reminds us that the restaurant is in fact “theirs.” Along with everyone else in town. Early Friday evenings are the best.
I made the reservations just a few days before Thanksgiving. I have just about perfected my new procrastination routine. For far too many years I have been on time. I can’t begin to explain to you how good it feels to be late. I am late for everything now. I am late and I don’t even care. One year ago, if I was 15 minutes late to a dinner reservation, I would arrive with sweat on my forehead. Today, I welcome it. If the restaurant has a problem with that, I’ll turn around and either patronize another restaurant or not eat. Doesn’t really bother me and I don’t know why.
Luckily the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa has all smiles. We were 15 minutes late this Thursday and they didn’t even blink. We had three times to choose from…11, 11:30 or 12. It was brunch they were offering and if it measured up to what we experienced last year at Christmas, we were in for a good time.
As the hostess walked us back to our table, we passed our spot from last year. Sitting there were two fairly large old men. They looked like they were having a very nice holiday. They weren’t even talking to one another. These guys were sitting there, drinks in hand, just thinking. No planes, no buses, no fusses. They probably lived right in town and walked to this place or drove a car and took their sweet time walking through the parking lot. It was good to pass by that table and not sit down because if we were going to attempt to make Saybrook Point a rare exception and our choice for holidays, we were going to need to experience a few more rooms.
We made it back to the room closest to the water. It was the kind of space you would like to have in your house. Large bright windows and light walls. You could easily imagine spreading out on a big couch and reading a book. Needless to say, it was comfortable. We were pleased with our table and very excited to dig in to the brunch buffet. Nothing beats the buffet and truly, nothing beats the Saybrook Point buffet.
I’m going to tell you what I like most about going out to eat for the holidays. I was trying to explain this to a friend a few days ago and don’t think I did a very good job.
First of all, it gets us out of the house. While we do our fair share of milling about town, it’s healthy to put nice clothes on every so often. Not very often, but once in a while. Second, we enjoy driving through different hilly roads in Southern Connecticut. Each time, we discover something new and wonder why we aren’t living there. The bottom half of this state is so much less crowded then the center. Well, the areas we visit anyway. Third, and most important, I enjoy the people.
As I sit in restaurants during the holidays, I look at the people who are sitting next to me. I like to watch them enjoy their families and friends. I listen to their conversations and can easily close my eyes and pretend it’s music. I haven’t the foggiest idea why I enjoy this, but I do. It doesn’t matter if I am with anyone or not. The fact that I am with someone makes the experience all that much better because I can see the joy in their eyes as well. It really doesn’t take much to enjoy the holidays for me. Simply getting out of the house and watching people have a relaxed dinner with family is all it takes.
To follow tradition, we walked as close to the water as we could get. We weren’t going to visit any parks or beaches this time, so the docks of the restaurant would have to do. After all, I needed my pictures. I had a hike planned for later in the day, so we were going to have to make this quick.
Like I said above, there is something beautiful about the Long Island Sound. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have all that much experience around the water or perhaps it’s because I can see the trees on Long Island not very far away. For one reason or another, it’s a special place that people for generations before me have enjoyed as well.
Or, perhaps it’s because I feel like Jay Gatsby felt when he looked across the bay from West Egg to East.