Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Snow and Books, 9

I'm finding it hard to believe this is only the 9th post in this series, surely it's snowed a lot more than that?

The most recent Connecticut guide I read while periodically pausing to gaze outside at the terrible weather is 52 Weekends in Connecticut. It's published by Countryman Press and written by Andi Marie Cantele, who also wrote this one. It does what it says on the tin, as the kids no longer say: there are activities for every weekend of the year. These are not full two- or three-day itineraries, just suggestions on how to spend a day, a night, or few hours (e.g. a corn maze, Mystic Seaport, a fair, and so on.)

Today I Learned: Scotland has a Highland Festival. With kilts and pipes and sheep dogs and stuff. The Essex Steam train has a Western Connecticut counterpart, the Naugatuck Valley Railroad, a vintage ride that departs from Thomaston. I don't know which possibility is more worrisome, that I never knew these things or that I knew them once but my addled brain completely forgot them.

Amusements: Reading about Hartford's First Night, I was confused for a second when Cantele casually mentioned Mayor Eddie Perez, as if he was still in office. Then I realized this book was published in 2007, and because the "weekends" are written more as little narratives than (ostensibly) up-to-date travel information, some of them include references that throw you a bit. This is amusing, but probably not the best format for a guidebook; though you should always double-check the dates, hours, and fees in any guide, you have to triple-check them in a guide from seven years ago.

Listings: This is going to sound amazingly silly, but I bought this book because it is divided by season. I've been thinking a lot about spring lately - no,  not because I want winter to be over, though that is also true. But for reasons I'm sure I'll get into in a few months, I have been contemplating how little there is to do in my least favorite season. I bought this book because I hoped I was wrong.

Not every weekend trip listed here is truly season-specific. Some, like fall foliage viewing and garden tours, are very much controlled by the calendar, but others - museums, casinos, historic houses, and so on - could be visited at any time of year. (No surprise to me, the ambiguous ones are mostly in the spring section.)

But there's a pretty decent mix of outdoor and indoor activities, of kid things and adult things, and of artsy days and sporty days. Sometimes a guidebook will make everything about food, or children's activities, and this one does not. There are a few glaring absences, like, say, New London, but in general 52 Weekends is worth flipping through for ideas. Maybe not worth $17.95, though, because, 2007.

Quote: Mark Twain, on Hartford: "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, this is the chief. You do not know what beauty is if you have not been here." Aaw. ♥

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