The Great Restaurant Ramble Reprise 2007

Day Four - Thursday 5 April


On Thursday morning we left our salubrious accommodation in West Hartford and set off on the next phase of our Ramble, the trek from Connecticut to Lake George by way of a detour which took us to the site of a well-known wedding in Newington, Connecticut, breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts, lunch at the Fair Haven Inn and dinner at the world-famous Peter Pan restaurant at Lake George.

As we set off from the hotel I suggested a slight detour from Dad's itinerary. To be fair, there was no real reason why he would be familiar with the charming community of Newington, Connecticut and it wasn't yet time for another meal so it's hardly surprising that the suggestion of a detour came as something of a surprise.

I had ventured on to Google maps while at the hotel and discovered that the Congregational Church of Newington, Connecticut was a mere four miles from the hotel and barely a mile or so out of our way so we set off in search of it. As it happens, the Congregational Church in Newington was where Ms Playchute and I were married on a fine autumn day, 25 November 1972.

As we drove towards Newington, Pen and I were asked to describe the church for Dad and Mom. Both of us described a typical, fairly small white clapboard church - Pen even remembered something about a red car park. Imagine our surprise to discover that the Congregational Church is a substantial red brick affair with nothing red about the car park at all. And, "no," it hadn't burnt down and been rebuilt - this was the same building in which activities have been carried out since the 1880s.

Hmmm. A bit of a contrast between now and then....

We parked and leapt out for a quick photo opportunity. I raced across the road to take a picture of the church from the other side of the road and then Dad kindly took a photo of Pen and me on the front porch of the church. Once we had finished and returned to the car to continue our journey we made a somewhat disconcerting discover - Mom had disappeared.

We had seen her come round the edge of the car park and glance at the activities taking place on the porch but, as we indulged in our photo opportunity, she went back towards the car and we had imagined she would be waiting for us. When we got to the car, however, there was no sign of her.

Dad and I scanned the horizon in all directions; Pen went rapidly around the church trying all the doors. No sign of her in any direction and no sign of any unsecured doors. After about five minutes scratching our heads and wondering where she could have got to, I went to try another door to the church. Fortunately, as I tried the door someone inside the church happened to be passing and kindly let me in. I explained that we were looking for a missing person and within a few moments we were all re-united - Mom had found her way into the church and was busily engaged in conversation with one of the staff who very kindly showed us around. In spite of our completely inaccurate description of the exterior of the church we instantly recognised the inside and were able to confirm that this was, indeed, the location of our nuptials all those years ago.

Having found our missing person, we set off on the next stage of our journey. As the time was now rapidly approaching 10 am and we hadn't eaten for hours, we stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts along the side of the road and once again created a jam of hungry diners as we dithered over our selection. Eventually, we were on the road again heading north and soon found ourselves looking forward to lunch at the Fair Haven Inn now that the donuts had been consumed.

Following lunch (which was excellent as we have come to expect of the Fair Haven Inn) we continued on to Whitehall and then to Huletts. As we had come further north we had seen increasing evidence of the snow storm which had blessed the area and although the ground was not completely covered, there was a fair amount of snow at the Lake and we were delighted to see that the Lake was, apart from odd little patches close to shore, completely frozen. Pen had an opportunity to indulge in one of her life-long ambitions - to go show-shoeing - and we also had the splendid experience of helping Sandy collect maple sap for some maple syrup production. There wasn't much in the pails but we did collect a small token which Sandy added to the tank-full he had already collected and started the boiling process. Amongst other activities we were able to enjoy were visiting the Tall house out on the Bluff which is virtually finished now and stunning and Ann and Ely's house which is going to be very, very nice indeed. Ann and Ely were visiting and so we were able to secure a guided tour as we dodged the workmen and we were also able to give our advice on a variety of interior decorating queries.

Of course, the Great Restaurant Ramble is all about the quality and quantity of food available in a number of five-star restaurants all over New England. I can assure you, in case you were wondering, that both the quality and quantity on offer at the Peter Pan Restaurant was up to our usual standards - Carol made risotto which was exquisite and Sandy barbecued Cornish Game Hens which were equally outstanding. And, if that wasn't enough, the accommodation at an establishment known locally as The Ritz, was sensational.


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