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.