You're probably thinking, "Of course you had today off. It is Saturday, after all." However, between volunteering at the aquarium and working at the winery, I haven't had a Saturday off (when not on vacation for a holiday) in months. Don't get me wrong - I love the aquarium and my second job. But when then winery offered me the chance to switch to working Sundays (more hours and Noe plays tennis on Sunday, so more time to spend with him) I jumped at the chance. Today was my first Saturday sans winery or aquarium.
Noe and I wanted to do SOMETHING now that we had a whole day to spend together; we just didn't know what. Luckily, our good friend Dr. Scott called us up. Dr. Scott often has his kids on the weekends, which rules out things like going to bars or R-rated movies. However, Scott and the kids love books, museums, parks, and the outdoors - in other words, a perfect match for me and Noe. Since we lucked out with unseasonably warm weather (about 55 degrees), we decided to spend some serious time outside.
We first hit the Book Barn, a fantastic used book store in Niantic. Scott, his daughter Fiachra, and I browsed the various buildings for books while Noe and Colm (Scott's son) hunted down cats, pet the great dane and mastiff puppies, and fed the goats (the Book Barn seemingly doubles as a petting zoo). After making our purchases, we headed down I-95 to Mystic (to the tune of Kenny Rogers - Scott's kids love "The Gambler" and "Coward of the County") where we ate lunch at Friendly's and then headed over to Mystic Seaport.
Fiachra, Scott, Colm, and Noe in the sun at Mystic Seaport
Noe and I have been meaning to get to the Seaport for awhile, but had just never made it there. Going with Scott and the kids was awesome. They had a family membership plus a guest, so Noe and I split the cost of a ticket. We headed first to the Charles W. Morgan, a whaling ship built in the 1840's. The Morgan is currently out the water for some restoration, but you can still go up a staircase and into the ship. We explored the cabins and the blubber room - Fiachra proved more knowledgeable than the museum staff.
The Charles W. Morgan
Scott and I "steering" the Morgan
Noe trying out one of the ship's bunks
After checking out the nooks and crannies of the Morgan, we headed over to the restoration exhibit in the shipyard. Theoretically, this was so Colm and Fiachra could do the "hands-on activities" but, truth be told, the adults all got a little too involved boring holes in a piece of plywood with an auger (Scott had to be told to stop boring before he bored through the table). We then headed over to some of the exhibits. Fiachra managed to make quite a splash at the cooperage (the barrel maker) before we made our way to the shipsmith.
Colm and I drilling holes
Fia in a barrel in the cooperage
Noe and I in front of the L.A. Dunton
All in all, we had a great day. The weather was beautiful and we all had a little cabin fever - the minute we got out of the car, all of us - adults and kids - were off and running. We basked in the sun, ran around on the grass, and strolled by the water. Along the way we picked up a few books and learned some fun facts about whaling ships. It may not have been a big party or a huge night out, but we considered it a Saturday well-spent just the same.
Colm with his "souvenir" from the cooperage