Windsor Locks Canal Trail and East Windsor Friendly’s

5 06 2017

May 24, 2017

Windsor Locks Canal viewThe weather isn’t great, but it is better than we’d been having, so Cherry and I set off for the Windsor Locks Canal Trail which runs parallel to the Canal and Connecticut River. We park at the abandoned factory and walk north along the canal, built in the 1800s to bypass Enfield Rapids. The initial section is fairly industrial but we have lots to share, so the surroundings don’t matter as much.

Cherry’s been busy with family and projects. All good stuff, some a little stressful, but overall, she’s got a good balance. She says that she and her stepmother spent Mother’s Day at Pond House in Elizabeth Gardens, which was lovely, for example. She stops to tie her boot, an expected ritual on our hikes.

Windsor Locks Canal goose familyAs we continue northerly, we enjoy seeing several families of geese, signs of beaver, and lovely views of the Connecticut River. We pass several walkers and bicyclists, including one woman training a Shephard for K-9 work.   We go about two miles, to the Stony Brook Aquaduct, where we sit for a few minutes on a strategically placed bench. Someone had written lyrics (Van Morrison’s Moonsdance, Blue Jean Blues, Little Feat) on the bridge pillars. By then, the sun is peaking out and we head back to the car.

Windsor Locks Canal lockI talk about trying to find my balance, now that many things in my life are stable. I’ve taught an ecotherapy class at UCONN that went well, I’m winding down at the Middletown Arts Office, and want to start putting my usual activities back into my life. Some interesting whispers have come my way, and I am interested to see what develops from any of them.

And before we realize, we are back at the car. It’s a short ride to the East Windsor Friendly’s, where we hit the jackpot when it came to our waitress, Anna.  She was genuinely pleasant, telling us she’d rather be at work than home where she’d either be spending too much money or eating too much. We ordered a fishamajig (boy, adding those calories on the menu really gets us thinking) and a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, of course leaving room for our sundae.

East Windsor Friendlys

“Can I offer you the senior discount if you ladies are old enough?” asked Anna. She won Cherry’s heart for sure! Toward the end of our visit, Cherry told her about our Hiking to Friendly’s quest. Anna asked where we’d hiked and it turns out she walks the canal trail every day. Noticing my turtle necklace, she asked if we’d seen any wildlife and we compared notes.

They were out of their special sundae, so we had forbidden chocolate with hot fudge. Cherry kept licking her spoon. “I don’t want it to end,” she laughed. As we walked/waddled to the car, we both agreed that this Friendly’s experience was one of the best.

Northwest Park, Windsor and Friendly’s, Windsor Locks

20 01 2017

20 January 2017

The day promised to be sunny and in the high forties when Cherry and I head to Windsor for our hike to Friendly’s. It doesn’t get that warm, or sunny, but we arrive ready to go at Northwest Park and Nature Center, owned by the city.

We decide to take trails to the north in order to end up at Rainbow Reservoir. Cherry excitedly tells me she’s heard from a local researcher that he and a colleague might be interested in making a documentary about her uncle. Her father’s brother, John, was likely the last chaplain on Ellis Island and had led an interesting and colorful life. Cherry, still working through probate of John’s estate, has his notes and many relevant documents that could be useful. I’m familiar with the work of the two colleagues she’s mentioned and they would do justice to her uncle’s life.

We see no one else, as we walk past open fields and old tobacco barns. We enter the forest on the eastern edge of the reservoir and enjoy the leafy cover on well-maintained trails. I am surprised to see that the reservoir is frozen, with crows and logs perched atop the ice. We talk about recent events and my desire to be more in touch with my inner voice, to trust and listen to it. I ask Cherry for advice, and she encourages me to provide sufficient down time, by myself, to hear my voice. During the rest of our hike, Cherry points out when in fact I have heard and listened to my voice, during recent medical interventions and with interactions with others.

“A jewel for the town of Windsor,” Cherry decides. Before long, we loop back to the nature center, where we enjoy the use of real bathrooms and their exhibits, including Oreo, their California king snake.

And, fortunately, our Friendly’s is only a short ride away. I notice the exterior is bright white. “Easier for seniors to see,” suggests Cherry. And has a drive-thru! I don’t remember that from any of our visits.

We are served by a perky waitress named Michelle. When we aren’t quite ready to order, she quips, “I’m here until five!” When I ask about our free sundaes, Michelle questions if we are over 60, a flattering tribute to our youthful looks (we hope). While waiting, we review our list of Friendly’s and we have twelve more Connecticut options to visit. That will last us at least a year!

 I order honey BBQ chicken melt on brioche, the lunch Cherry liked last time, while she gets a fishamajig supermelt. Big portions and I am filled instantly. But, wait! There’s still a sundae coming. We both try the new Cherry Magnolia: black cherry chocolate chunk ice cream, brownie pieces, and hot fudge topped with whipped topping, a cherry, and chocolate chips. Excellent. But, boy, I am full.

And, boy, I am still full!