Tag Archives: Connecticut

Barrango Carousel at the Buckland Hills Mall

IMG_8973It was my last day in Connecticut and I spent the majority of it with Becky and Dway. While we were waiting and killing time so I didn’t have to spend too many hours at the Bradley Airport we drove closer to Hartford and reached Manchester and The Shoppes at Buckland Hills, an inside mall. We took some time to walk around, not particularly looking for anything of importance, just browsing.

We looked inside Dick’s Sporting Goods checking out the exercise and  camping equipment and then continued through the rest of the mall coming to the food court named, “Carousel Cafes.” That’s when we stumbled upon the The Buckland Hills Carousel. I was super excited and couldn’t wait to give it a try. Trying to contain my enthusiasm I mentioned that it could be fun to go for a ride. Becky and Dway weren’t that interested, but Dway eventually was persuaded to try it out and take the ride.

The Barrango Carousel was designed by Barrango in San Francisco, CA in 2003. It is 38 feet in diameter and sits 3 riders beside each other. It is made out of fiberglass and has a circus theme with elephants, lions, camel, a white tiger and multiple horses to ride, I think I even saw a hippo. The canopy has numerous lights and hand painted murals of circus animals and special acts on it while the inside column has additional lights, mirrors, and vibrantly and elaborately colored panels.

Dway and I purchased our tokens from a nearby machine, each costing $1 and needing 2 to go for a ride. The tokens had been specifically made for the carousel. Reading the token, you could see both the Buckland Hills and carousel represented with italic BH and Carousel Token printed below.

We handed our tokens to the ride operator and quickly grabbed a spot upon our own animals. I choose the white tiger while Dway jumped onto the zebra. The music started, the bell rang and the carousel began to move. Up and down and around and around we went. We were the only ones riding, but it was a ton of fun. We waved to Becky as she took photos of us from behind the gate. We also took pictures of each other and ourselves. Later we shared our pictures with each other and a few choice friends.

The ride slowed to a stop and we hopped off and out the exit. I took a few more pictures of the carousel not in motion and then we headed out of the mall. If you’re ever looking for something to do and your near The Shoppes at Buckland Hills go for a ride on the carousel. It’s something anyone of any age will be sure to enjoy.

Where are the Chips at Bobby’s Burger Palace

IMG_8973At Mohegan Sun, a casino in Connecticut, there are several places to stop and get food. One of the most well known restaurants is Bobby’s Burger Palace. With several locations on the east coast of the United States it is home to the Crunch Burger. They also sell shakes, salads and sandwiches to choose from. With so many options you will be sure to find something to satisfy your hunger anytime day or night.

After Aschlee and Jason’s wedding in Groton we headed over to continue our celebration at Mohegan Sun. As the night got later Becky, Dway, Michelle and I got hungry. Before going back to the hotel we decided to stop and get some burgers.

I ordered the Crunch Burger, a burger with potato chips on it and some 1/2 and 1/2 fries. We waited for our orders to come out and headed back to the hotel. We couldn’t wait to get back to eat so we picked at our fries. The sweet potato fries were delicious, super sweet and held their flavor even when they were cold. The regular fries were not quite as good.

The burger was ok. I think it would have tasted better if I had gotten to eat it right away. I had to wait until we got back to the hotel, about a 20 minute drive, until I could try it. The potato chips, which I expected to be crispy had turned soft from the heat and steam of the burger, but the taste was still good. The salty chips offset the sweet burger bun.

If you’re at Mohegan Sun and looking for a place to eat Bobby’s Burger Palace is definitely a good place to try. Home to the Crunch Burger, eating it right away will make a difference and make it taste better, but if you can’t it will still be ok. So go try it.


Two Less Fish In the Sea: A Connecticut Wedding

IMG_8973A few weeks ago I took a trip to Connecticut for one of my closest friend, Aschlee’s wedding. Being in the wedding party, I arrived a day early to make sure I would get there on time. I spent the first evening and most of the following day with my mom and dad checking out the garden and doing my nails. Then my friend Michelle and I headed over to the Mystic Marriott were the festivities were set to happen.

Running later than we expected, we met up with the rest of the wedding party in Groton at Esker Point Beach  for the wedding rehearsal. The arch was set in place and we imagined the chairs, aisle, and band. The rehearsal didn’t take very long. We quickly ran through the ceremony, walking down the aisle, the readings, and walking back. It was all very relaxed and chilled. I only imagined what the actual wedding day would be like.

We headed to the hotel, checked into our room, put down our things, and ran downstairs to the rehearsal dinner. The food was absolutely delicious! I had the steak and the dessert was even better. If you are ever at the Mystic Marriott be sure to stop by their restaurant inside. We talked and laughed and then all headed up to Aschlee and Jason’s room where we talked and laughed even more. Eventually it got pretty late and we all retired to our own rooms, getting some rest for the following big day.

We had a relatively late morning, getting up around 8:30am and headed down to get our hair and makeup done. We were having it done at the spa in the hotel. I decided to just have my hair done and got it pulled up with a braid that was just stunning. Everyone’s hair came out amazing as well and Michelle and Becky got their makeup done as well. They looked beautiful. We rushed back to our rooms to dress and then headed to Aschlee’s room where we helped her into her dress and with her finishing touches, her shoes and veil. Thinking about it now, I wish I had taken more pictures, but being in the bridal party makes picture taking very difficult.

We headed in a shuttle to the beach and unloaded, keeping Aschlee in the shuttle until the last moment. We paired up as we had the day before and headed down the aisle. Then they rolled out a white hearted strip for Aschlee to walk down. Seeing her in her white gown coming down the aisle, she looked stunning. All I could think was, we used to play when we were kids in preschool. Where has the time gone? How are we old enough to be getting married?

© Michelle Vannasse

Aschlee and Jason said their vows and the ceremony concluded with a kiss and everyone following them down the aisle back towards the parking lot. It was wonderful. They looked so happy. We took some time taking photos. First were the family photos. Then the wedding party was stationed in front of the arch. The photographer directed us a bit, arm down, arm on hip, jackets over shoulders, etc. Dway, Becky’s husband helped a bit here and there. Next he did the groomsmen and then the bridal party without much direction. His main thing was act natural, we’d all look at each other and ask what everyone was doing. I only hope they came out as good as the photographer believes they did.

© Bryan Cole
© Aschlee Riendeau

We jumped in another shuttle and headed back to the hotel where the reception was taking place. We took a few moments to readjust our hair and makeup in our own private wedding party room, getting ready for the wedding party introductions. Then we lined up and headed into the reception one at a time. Aschlee and Jason were last and had their first dance.

The rest of the reception was a blur. There was an open bar and they had a band and a DJ which alternated playing so everyone could dance. The food was amazing. Once again I had the steak, but the chicken and veggie dishes looked just as delicious. Dessert was one of the best cupcakes I ever had with a lemon raspberry filling. The reception was so much fun it went by too fast and they even extended it.

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About 20 minutes before the music stop we snuck up to our rooms to get ready for the after party at Mohegan Sun, one of the few casinos in Connecticut. We rode over with Dway and Becky and met up with the rest of the wedding party waiting for Aschlee and Jason. They finally arrived and then we all split up. Some people wanted to play the slot machines, others wanted to go to the non-smoking section, and others just wanted to keep drinking. I wanted to play a few slot machines and see if there were any free concerts going on that night. Eventually we all met back up at one of the bars. We talked some more and had a drink before deciding to grab a bite to eat and head back to the hotel. It was a crazy long day.

Aschlee and Jason’s wedding was absolutely beautiful and amazing, from the beach location to the live band it was a day that everyone is sure to remember. I wish them both all the happiness in the world and thank them for a wonderful opportunity for a short getaway from Los Angeles.

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One Safe Buck at White Memorial Conservation Center

the_barred_owl_wallpaper_birds_animals_wallpaper_1024_768_422Over the holiday, on the last day I was in Connecticut, I went on a family hike with my parents, sister, and Toni (our dog) at White Memorial Conservation Center. It is a Privately-Owned Wildlife Sanctuary which includes a small museum. We did not go into the museum, but I’ve heard that it is pretty good. However, outside of the museum they do have a bird feeding station and you can also see their Barred Owl and Red Tailed Hawk.

10653688_10100755328248387_4168140323055771277_nWe explored a couple trails. One which brought us to a river, which leads to Bantam Lake, moss covered gates, stone walls, a log camping hut and fire pit, chestnut trees, and a steel and wooden bridge. It’s an easy walk throughout the entire park and can be accomplished fairly quickly. There’s even a small trail to take around the pond which in the winter is very muddy, but in the summer is buzzing with wildlife.

As we drove away there was a young buck crossing the road in the middle of the afternoon. You don’t see that every day. My dad stated, “Well, he’s got about 4000-acres to roam around. He should be pretty safe from hunters.”


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A Blur at Black Rock State Park

10891567_10100754109455857_6051383032190388400_nOver the holiday I went to Connecticut. While I was there my sister, cousin, and I went for a hike at Black Rock State Park, which we had done 7 years prior. This time however, we did not get lost!

988924_10100754108986797_6733714179484468323_nIf you walk through the park toward the beach you will be able to find the trail up to the Black Rock that you can see from the parking lot. Before you reach the beach there is a field to the right. Cross the field and you will come to an old bridge. Cross the bridge and stay to the left to hike up the blue trail. The hike up is pretty steep and for someone that hadn’t worked out in over a month because I had been sick, it was a tough trek. You have to climb over roots, rocks, and stumps all the way up to the top. And if you are going with an avid hiker it can be quite exhausting. However, for anyone that is in halfway decent shape you should be able to make it to the top without any problems. And when you reach the top you will be rewarded with an amazing view as you gaze far into the distance over Connecticut and the entire park. It’s quite beautiful. And if you are as lucky as we were a blur of a Golden Retriever will greet you as you rest.

10629665_10100754109630507_6494034632503583019_nContinue down the blue trail to a small road, go right and it connects to the red trail. I believe this is where we messed up 7 years ago, which took us on a long walk down the Mattatuck Trail. The correct red trail bears right again, which we almost missed this time and goes along down a small river that we had to cross several times. We stayed along that back to the blue trail and back to the parking lot. Let’s just say it’s a confusing trail and if you haven’t been on it before and aren’t paying close attention you can easily end up somewhere you weren’t planning on going.

The entire loop is actually pretty short, but there are some amazing rock formations, small waterfalls, fallen over trees, and moss coverings to check out. It’s a quiet and calm hike that is perfect for some relaxation on any morning or afternoon.




Wanna see more pictures!? Check out my sisters post about Black Rock State Park here!