July 4, 2017 • Avery Point • Connecticut College Arboretum • Written by Curtis
On July 4th, we figured that majority of the New England area would be out and on the road, so we opted to stay local and explore some more of the New London area. After sleeping in a bit, we crossed the river and met up with Lars one last time for some ‘patriotic’ sightseeing, and visited Fort Griswold in Groton. (We did something similar last year, when we visited Cowpens National Battlefield, but this was never on purpose).
The highlight of Fort Griswold was the tall obelisk towering over the site. It was free to climb, so we took turns walking up and down the (about) 177 steps. I guess you could say this is Groton’s own “mountain,” looking down on the fort, the Thames river and bridge, downtown New London, and the rest of the surrounding area. Next, we walked through the fort and found a few letterboxes. It was a quiet morning here, though just as we were leaving the fort, we came across another visitor, who also happened to have a basset hound!
Once we had finished our tour, we said our goodbyes to Lars and then lounged around in the shade of a tree. It was such a pleasant day, and Charlotte was napping, so we just stayed for a while talking about what we’ve enjoyed about living in New York and the Northeast, looking over maps, and just relaxing in general.
After some time, we decided to venture south of Groton towards Avery Point and the University of Connecticut. We walked around campus admiring the older buildings, eventually finding our way to the lighthouse. And just like at Fort Griswold, we found ourselves lounging in the shade of the lighthouse enjoying the sea breeze. I mention this because it’s honestly rare that we actually sit down and relax while out exploring — we’re always on the go, whether hiking or driving, so it was really nice to take it easy today after a busy weekend. We also are getting better at identifying the islands we can see in the Long Island sound. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to get out on a boat or ferry and explore an island or two, and get a different perspective of our coast.
We honestly could have spent a while longer here, but then a family came along the sidewalk and these kids were openly complaining that “these people are sitting in the shade of the lighthouse” and “why can’t I sit there too?” Not liking to be the center of any controversy, we forfeited our spot and moved on. You win today, kids. Before leaving, we walked around the big, grand Brandford House. To finish off our little outing, we drove to one last city park in Groton to just sit around and enjoy the warm – but not humid – day.
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The following Friday after school, Curtis was already feeling antsy and wishing to get out and do anything. Living in a hotel room will do that to you! Without wishing to drive very far, we opted to go just up the street to the Campus of Connecticut College which has a multi-acre Arboretum with public access. While we were by no means in the peak flower season, it was very nice to get out and walk around the pond, especially for Charlotte’s sake. We found several letterboxes, walked a mile or two, almost crashed a wedding rehearsal, and then called it good. Hey, at least we didn’t crash the actual wedding! There were a lot more trails here, so it’s nice to know there’s another spot nearby should we feel like going for an evening walk.