Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Living in Connecticut

It’s been a year since we moved to Connecticut from Illinois.
My impressions so far are pretty favorable. For starters, Connecticut is a beautiful state, with lots of forests, rivers, rock formations and nice beaches. The Constitution State also is steeped in history.
We’re living in the southwest corner of the state in Fairfield County, which is part of the Tri-State Region of New York City. New Canaan, Conn., is about an hour train ride to Grand Central Station when you catch an express.
We’re close enough to New York to experience a lot of interesting accents (Brooklyn, Long Island, etc.) On an outing to the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Conn., one stereotypical working-class New York City guy exclaimed to his family, “Hey, they got woofs over here. Look at the woofs.” He was referring to the wolves. My kids still get a kick out of that one.
We also have to put up with a lot of die-hard fans of the New York Yankees – the best team money can buy.
We went to a couple of games at the new Yankees Stadium this summer. We even saw Alex Rodriguez belt out his 598th home run on July 18. A-Rod hit his 600th home run on Wed. Aug. 4.
We also went to see Bridgeport Bluefish baseball game. The Connecticut team plays in an independent league.
For family outings, we enjoy the New Canaan Nature Center, the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk and the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford.
We like to take visitors to Stew Leonard’s grocery story in Norwalk. It’s a bit like a theme park with animatronic farm animals and dancing dairy products and fruits. Plus, it has lots of fresh-made bakery items and other goodies.
I still haven’t been to New Canaan’s famed Glass House yet. (See photo below.) I’m saving that for some out-of-town guests.
We enjoy going to the beaches along the Long Island Sound, hiking at Devil’s Den Preserve in Weston, and going for walks at Mead and Waveny parks in New Canaan and the Dolce center in Norwalk. We’re looking forward to apple-picking season again soon, too.
New Canaan and surrounding towns like Darien, Greenwich and Westport are pretty tony. This is the Connecticut that outsiders think of – rich, snooty and lily white. (See Holy Taco’s parody state flag for Connecticut above.) But having been to other regions of the state like Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, Mystic, New Haven and Waterbury, I can tell you the people and characteristics of the state are pretty diverse.
But all is not perfect in Connecticut.
The cost of living here is high. Plus, it seems to rain a lot. And wind storms twice have knocked down trees, causing prolonged power outages.
Then there’s the annoying can and bottle deposits and no alcohol sales on Sunday (how retro). And don’t get me started about the ticks.
Worse yet, we haven’t found great local pizza or Chinese food.

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