Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bridgewater, Connecticut August 23, 2012

(Jointly written by Pam & James)
On our way to pick up our daughter from the airport on Toronto, we stopped to visit a good friend in Highland, New York. On the way to that visit, we stopped to visit Bridgewater, Connecticut, a bucolic spot remarkable for its remoteness, so close to I-84 in the northwest corner of the Nutmeg State.
We saw several signs that indicated we were in Bridgewater, but this one was the most geographic.

The Village Store sold Bridgewater merch, and also had a deli counter where we ordered soup and sandwiches for lunch. The food was delicious and was served by the super-friendly folks at the store. Also on sale were Bridgewater Chocolate bars. In the interest of "the project" we had to try one, and really could not resist the one made with "coffee crisp" - a sweet, creamy and crunchy treat it was!

We try a lot of coffee/chocolate combination bars, and can assure readers that this is among the tastiest.

Interior shot of the Village Store with Pam's cute purse in the foreground

"Bridgewater 06752"
We used the post office to send back our Netflix.
We noticed something unusual about this plaque -- honoring a large number of people from this small town who served in World War I. Two townspeople were killed in action, with a couple more serving and returning. What is interesting is that the plaque lists three who served in the Red Cross. We will certainly be checking future monuments to see whether honoring these healers alongside the warriors is common practice.

This is a very small town, so its closure on the day of our visit was a routine part of the schedule. It had been closed more dramatically (by the FBI) one day in July, but we heard no rumblings about that fracas.

Librarian Pam doesn't mind taking a "busman's holiday" now and then and stopping in to see a library. The Burnham Library has such an intriguing story about funding, involving the lost will of an eccentric hermit that we made sure to stop in. As a bonus for us, it turned out the library was hosting an Art Exhibit by local artist Karen Cashman which includes oil paintings of Bridgewater scenes.
We spent a few more minutes exploring the village center, featuring a lot of lovely architecture.
Most of our friends know that we met in Baltimore, which has brought many benefits to our life together. Among these is expertise in the area of exterior decor. Specifically, because Charm City is the setting of Pink Flamigos, we bring special skills to the discussion of whether decorative materials constitute "garden art" or "lawn crap." Pam was a Baltimore lifer (until our marriage) and James spent two brief but intense years working on lawns from Dundalk to Owings Mills. With all this experience, we found this tableau to be very close to the line. Pam eventually broke the deadlock, citing the red-white-and-blue lights on the central pole.

View Larger Map
The village center includes lovely plantings around the local businesses and public buildings and an elongated town green that is remarkably similar to the Bridgewater Common in our own Bridgewater. Unlike its Massachusetts counterpart, however, this one does not seem to conform to the biblical dimensions of Noah's  Ark.
Alas, we will not in town for the upcoming Tractor Parade. 
The protection of open space is important to both Bridgewaters, and is signified by this preserve just to the south of the town center. The value of several private properties is greatly enhanced by commanding views of this expansive public space, which also protects water quality and wildlife habitat.

From Bridgewater, it was a short jaunt down I-84 for a lovely evening on the Hudson River.


Just a few months after our visit to this Bridgewater, hell came to Newtown, an equally idyllic community just ten miles to its south. We were reminded of this on the recent anniversary of the December 14, 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, as we watched the film Newtown. It was filmed over a period of several years to document how the crime affected the families, and how little Congress has done in response. The politics are important, but the lived experience of these parents, siblings, children, and first responders is even more so.

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