Before it gets any later, I want to recap a delicious fall day we spent in the northwest corner of Connecticut celebrating my dad’s 65th birthday. My sister planned the day around places my dad would like — we visited the Sharon Audubon Center, got lunch in downtown Sharon, visited the West Cornwall bridge, walked along main street in Litchfield, indulged in homemade ice cream at Arethusa Farm Dairy, and then Mom made a delicious baked fish dinner at home. The following afternoon we tackled another escape room (spoiler alert: we got out in time!) and then dined at the German restaurant East Side in New Britain, CT. It was a weekend of memory-making. Here are the photo highlights.
We’ve passed by the Sharon Audubon many times over the years en route to our nearby summer camp, but there’s never enough time to stop so it was nice to plan a specific trip to visit here. My parents love bird-watching so this was right up their alley — there are a few miles of trails around ponds and lakes, plus paths that wind through forested areas. The trees were just starting to change color on this early October weekend.
There is an enclosed area for animals who are endangered or injured or working towards rehabilitation. Here’s a red-tailed hawk:
A turkey vulture:
A bald eagle:
The birthday boy shows off his wingspan:
Here’s a bird blind where you can watch the wildlife without disturbing them.
View from the bird blind:
A second pond on the property:
We got lunch at J.P. Gifford in downtown Sharon, CT. The food is excellent.
I love these guys so much:
Closer look at the food — I ordered off the menu, cobbling together salmon and wild rice over greens. It was delicious. My mom and sister especially raved about the grilled cheese. And we shared a pile of truffle fries.
Next we drove to the West Cornwall bridge. There’s a short but charming main street nearby:
There are some charming New England homes in this neck of the woods:
Next we drove to downtown Litchfield, CT. They have an impressive main street along the town green.
Next we drove to nearby Arethusa Farm Dairy. They serve homemade ice cream that is worth overlooking my dairy intolerance.
A look at the ice cream factory (they also make cheeses, etc.):
That night, my mom made a baked white fish topped with stuffing for dinner, along with baked kale. Super delicious.
Birthday boy gets the special red birthday plate! (Side note: a plate identical to this one is used in the new movie Lady Bird. I did a double-take when I saw it on-screen.)
Mom made a chocolate cake with Magnolia bakery chocolate icing:
The next afternoon, we participated in one of our favorite new family activities — an escape room. We first went to one in New Haven a few months ago on Father’s Day and escaped with four minutes to spare. This time, we went to one called Quandary in Wallingford and got out with seven minutes left! Good teamwork.
Then for dinner we went to a German restaurant in New Britain called East Side. I’d never been before but my parents used to go with my grandparents over the years for various celebrations. They have funny hats for guests to wear if they choose.
The food is authentic; I can vouch for their wienerschnitzel (I got the kind with mushrooms and sauce on the side). They served a few German side dishes too.
Here’s a quick video of the accordion player singing happy birthday to dad — this guy took requests and I appreciated the handful of Sound of Music numbers!
On my dad’s actual birthday, we went to dinner at The Library in the center of Wallingford. We’ve been meaning to come here for years and it did not disappoint.
I got my dad a Hunt a Killer box subscription which he is very much enjoying. (It’s been described “an escape room in a box” which is right up his alley.) I made him a two-layer pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting.
Me and the pups!
Happy birthday Dad!!! We love you so much!!!