New England Coast Road Trip — Day One

Pez Visitor Center

Today is the start of a ten-day road trip up the New England Coast.  I’m with my friend Sue, a wonderful travel companion.

We had a plan, and then abandoned it completely.  Driving up Interstate 95 I saw a tiny sign, “Pez Visitor Center.”  How could we resist?  It’s a totally silly place that brought me back to my childhood.  As a kid I collected Pez dispensers (even though I never liked the candy).  Since then, Pez has continued to flourish with special editions. We learned about the history, saw many hundreds of examples across time and from around the globe.  And, of course, could buy a wide assortment of Pez products.

Before we turned off, we’d been headed to Old Lyme. But with the unplanned stop, it was getting close to lunch time.  A quick search and Sue found the Griswold Inn in Essex, a restaurant, pub and lodging house established in 1776.  Lunch was chowder for Sue and butternut squash soup for me.  We shared a massive bowl of homemade potato chips covered in melted gorgonzola.  Way better than nachos. 

Essex is a quaint town on the Connecticut River. We walked around admiring the well preserved early American architecture, views of the river and boats. Essex is a ship building and ship repair center and has been since its inception. Halloween decorations had begun to appear, many with a sense of humor and all hand made.  As we go up the coast, I expect to see a whole lot more, especially when we get to Salem, Mass.

Heading out of town we drove down a road that wasn’t on the map but seemed to be following the river in the right direction.  The mansions along the river were massive, gorgeous and had breathtaking views.  Plus, autumnal colors are beginning and flashes of gold and red added to the beauty.

We’re spending the night at the Foxwoods Casino and Resort.  Sue likes to play the slots, so this stop was for her.  The noise, lights and overall lunacy of the casino gives me a headache.  So while she gambles, I’ve been writing.

We went from silly to sublime and back to silliness.  Great day.