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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gillette's Castle: The Perfect Day

Last Saturday, Chuck and I had what I consider to be a perfect day! The sun was shining here in Connecticut, and it was the perfect temperature to be outside in the Springtime air. Chuck had been asking me if I wanted to go on a picnic with him for about 5 consecutive days! Never being one to turn down something as romantic as a picnic with the man I love, I agreed to go.We went to Gillette's Castle State Park. The park consists of acres of woods and a castle on the property which was built of stone by actor William Gillette in 1914, and overlooks the Connecticut River. We have toured the castle a few times before, so it didn't bother us that the castle was closed for tours until next weekend, since the grounds were still open. When we first arrived, we chose a picnic table down near a small pond. We both sat on the same side of the picnic table so we could have a view of the pond. We ate Subway sandwiches and home made tuna macaroni salad that Chuck had made. As we were eating, we were treated to a view of a pond filled with lily pads. About half way through our meal, we heard bull frogs beginning to croak. There was another answering croak from another pond behind us. It continued on, with the frogs answering each other back and forth, seemingly unaware that there were humans around who were enjoying their concert! After lunch, we walked around the pond and we able to see lots of small fish and quite a few pollywogs as well. I love nature and any wildlife I get to see in my life is like a blessing from God. So I was pretty excited to hear a frog concert and see pollywogs. I was also looking for turtles, but didn't see any. After lunch we decided to take a walk on one of the paths through the woods. The path we took was the original path for a small train that Gillette had built that would carry his guests on a scenic ride around his property. There is no longer a train, or tracks, but there is a wooden foot bridge that replaced the original train bridge. As we walked over the bridge, we looked to our right and there was the larger of the two ponds. It is much bigger than the first pond. I saw something that looked like a large rock sticking out of the water. I was hoping that it was actually a very large turtle because I could make out what looked like a head sticking out of the front. Chuck was sure it was just a rock. As we watched it, we noticed two small turtles on a log behind the rock. And I saw just the slightest movement of what I still thought was the head of the turtle/rock. We were very far away so rather than argue about it being a turtle or a rock, we saw a lower trail below us and decided when we followed the path down there, we would see for sure if it was a rock or a turtle. A bit further down from that bridge near the pond, we came to a tunnel...the tunnel the original train used to ride through. We went inside where it was dark and damp, and a bit eerie, and I must admit, we stopped to kiss in the secluded tunnel. It was pretty romantic, stealing kisses in the dark... like a tunnel of love! Coming out the other side, the pathway wound around to the right, down to the lower area.I saw something on a rock that didn't seem right. It wasn't moving at all, but I recognized it as a chipmunk pretty quickly. We walked by it on the path, and he never moved. He blended in pretty well with the surroundings of leaves and fallen logs so my guess is he probably felt that if he stayed as still as a stone, we wouldn't notice. While we walked, we heard an owl repeatedly hooting. Although there were other people enjoying the grounds, we didn't really see anyone up close and personal so it felt as though we were alone in the woods together, with all of nature, and wild animals surrounding us. A few minutes down the path, I heard a rustling sound. Just then, Chuck stopped me and looked at me. I thought he had heard the rustling sound as well, and had stopped me so we could be quiet and hear what it was, but he actually stopped to get closer to me, and leaned in and gave me a very romantic kiss. It was so sweet. I don't know many men that are this romantic and stop their wives in the woods for the purpose of kissing. It made me once again realize just how blessed I am to have him as my husband...someone who appreciates the special moments we spend together as much as I do. When we stopped kissing, I started to tell him how nice that was, but we heard even more rustling in the woods then, and looking behind him, we saw a deer leaping away from us. It was beautiful and we could see it's white tail flashing as she leapt away. She didn't moved too far away, but stopped to watch us, and gingerly picked her way through the brush and trees, but we could still see her white tail as she walked. Soon we were back at the larger pond but on the lower pathway, and after a few seconds of observing the turtle/rock, and looking through the camera viewfinder, Chuck admitted it was a VERY large turtle, sunning itself on a log. It's shell was dried, which made it look like a rock, rather than the wet shell of a turtle emerging from the water. After Chuck took some amazing close ups of this turtle, we walked on a bit, and I saw another turtle, about the same size, on another log. I imagined that they were also husband and wife, enjoying a nice day on the pond. At that point we were almost back to our picnic area so we decided to go up near the castle and see the view of the Connecticut River from the stone balcony of the castle. The view was beautiful as it was still a clear, sunny day. We watched the ferry taking cars over the Connecticut River, walked around on the grounds bit more, and decided to end our day at the park. On the way home, Chuck said he had a great idea, and found a cute little ice cream shop on the edge of East Haddam, Ct. East Haddam is a quaint little town that includes a playhouse, restaurant, and small shops sprinkled along the street. The ice cream was delicious, and a perfect way to end a perfect afternoon. I am blessed, and every day I thank God that Chuck is my husband. When the days drag due to my kids, or a bad day at work, etc. I will remember this day always, and it will lift my spirits and bring me a smile, and remind me of the special memories that we made that day.

1 comment:

  1. I love this story, Karen! It's beautiful in every sense of the word and reminds me of some of our experiences at Saddle Creek Park. I just wrote an article about it at Hub Pages. We often see turtles and other wildlife there. Hope you'll stop by sometime! God bless, Susieq42

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