Adventure doesn’t need to involve a ton of travel. If you look for it, you can discover great things right in your own backyard! The past couple of weekends have taken me to locations close to home. Last weekend brought me to the Berlin Turnpike, and this weekend was Collinsville and Litchfield!
Fun on the Pike
The Berlin Turnpike has a lot to offer; shopping, restaurants, and fun activities. On this particular day, a few of my friends and I decided to check out Lucky Lanes. Lucky Lanes was originally called Berlin Bowl, but the alley recently changed ownership (hence the name change). However, you still see Berlin Bowl when you approach the building from the turnpike. When we went they were in the middle of a renovation, but they had plenty of lanes open for us to use. We liked the vintage charm of Lucky Lanes; it reminded me of the bowling alley that I frequented when I was a kid. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and of course we had fun bowling! When we were about to leave, we discovered one of the best parts of Lucky Lanes – the arcade! Lucky Lanes has a small arcade equipped with two pinball machines, two racing games, and a couple of shooter games. All of them are very reasonably priced – the racing game I played was twenty-five cents! At a typical arcade, this game would have cost a dollar! My friends and I loved playing the Indiana Jones pinball game they had. Even though we didn’t win, it was still fun!
By this time we were feeling a little hungry, so we planned to go to a Chilis nearby. However, we ended up going in the wrong direction. This ended up not being a bad thing, as we found ourselves at a Connecticut landmark: Stew Leonard’s. Stew Leonard’s is more than just a grocery store; it’s an experience. The store is laid out like a maze, and every so often you encounter animatronic figures flying on a trapeze or entertaining unsuspecting customers. They also have a sizeable buffet, which is how we got dinner that evening. I had a hamburger with stuffed mini portobello mushrooms and a sizeable salad. Everything was delicious!
Last Saturday was the second annual Collinsville H.O.T. festival; a midsummer celebration of everything fun in the little village. I went during the day, which was when a lot of the vendors and activities took place. Main Street and River Street were full of booths with homemade goods, local businesses, and fun things to do. As you walked, the wonderful sounds of local artists filled the air. The majority of my time was spent between Donna Gentile’s booth, where I worked on part of her community mandala project for AIM For a Better Tomorrow, and the Community Canvas booth. It was sweltering outside, so this festival was (literally) hot! I would definitely recommend checking it out next year!
Peaches ‘n Cream
The day after Collinsville H.O.T, my mom and I took a drive up to Litchfield to purchase some plants from White Flower Farm. Getting to White Flower Farm is a nice ride; you drive straight into the heart of the Litchfield Hills and you’re surrounded by beauty everywhere you look. White Flower Farm is just as gorgeous – they’re located on a hillside with lush green fields on either side of their property. Their flowers are displayed in perfect rows, and they look so pretty you almost don’t want to touch them! The staff there are super knowledgeable about their plants, and the experience my mom and I had with them was second to none. As we were leaving, one of the saleswomen told us about a place to get some delicious ice cream; Peaches ‘n Cream.
Peaches ‘n Cream is a small ice cream parlor on the Litchfield-Torrington line. Their ice cream is only made with fresh ingredients and no preservatives, which makes it taste that much better! I got their Bordeaux Cherry Chip and Raspberry Chocolate Mousse, while my mom got the Raspberry Chocolate Mousse and Mint Chocolate Chip. The Raspberry Chocolate Mousse was smooth and creamy, with the perfect ratio of raspberry and chocoloate. The Bordeaux Cherry Chip had just the right amount of cherries and chocolate chips to keep me satisfied. When I tasted the Mint Chocolate Chip, I could taste the mint right away. It was almost like eating an Andes bar. Everything was delicious and definitely worth the trip!