The Great Restaurant Ramble Reprise 2007

Day Three - Wednesday 4 April

The Great Restaurant Ramble Reprise – 2007 continued following our most enjoyable stay with Leigh and Seward Slagle on the Wednesday. The day’s itinerary had us making our way up to Hartford, Connecticut and a rendezvous with Rob at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and so we set off at a reasonably respectable hour and, having gone ten metres from the Slagle’s drive we were confronted with our first directional dilemma of the tour – Dad’s instructions (from Google) had us turning left; Leigh’s instructions relayed to me in considerable detail, had us turning right. A rapid retrace of our steps and further consultation with Leigh clarified the situation – Dad had us travelling up the Merritt Parkway and Leigh was sending us to the interstate. Once this confusion was rectified, Leigh was happy to confirm Dad’s instructions and we set off on our way (again). Fortunately, since it had been such a long time since the previous evening’s dining experience, we found a convenient Dunkin’ Doughnuts not too far up the road where we were able to replenish our sugar levels and thus narrowly avoided the early stages of starvation.

We got to the Museum at roughly the appointed hour and found Rob waiting for us in the lobby. A lunch in the museum café was followed by a guided tour of the highlights of the museum with a most “enlightening” docent. While one has to say that she was a sweet old dear, she would have been somewhat out of her depth in a parking lot puddle. The tour started with about eight people; by the end of the first room three had sneaked off leaving just Mom and Dad, Pen and me and a young French horn player with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (Rob had gone to a class after lunch and wasn’t able to join us for this particular highlight). What made the tour so enlightening was our guide’s almost universal lack of knowledge. She would pause in front of a particular painting and comment that it was a particularly famous one but that she couldn’t remember who had done it or why it was famous. So, she would read the label on the wall and then tell us. It wasn’t until about the third room that she looked at her group and remarked, “Hmm. We seem to have lost a few. Oh well.” as if this was a somewhat common occurrence.

At one point along the way we passed by the entrance to the Picasso to Pop exhibition and, as I glanced in I saw a life-sized cut-out of an elderly lady with glasses and grey hair and I commented, “Oh, Mom’s in this exhibition.” I had not noticed the somewhat garish Pop Art painting of a reclining blonde nude with bright, cherry-red nipples in the corner. As Mom came around the corner and glanced into the exhibit, her response to my comment was simply, “Oh, yes. Which one?” which caused some hilarity amongst everyone apart from our tour guide.

As we reached the next (and final) room of our tour we had all more or less lost the will to live – Mom and the French horn player were engaged in a detailed conversation while Dad, Penny and I had wandered off on our own to look at some of the paintings (and to read the labels for ourselves). Our guide was heard to mutter to herself, “Oh! They’re talking now!”

Following our escape from the museum we made our way to the hotel Dad had arranged for this leg of the journey which, one has to say, was in a somewhat less than salubrious part of town which caused some consternation amongst some of our party. Still, it was clean and the late-night activities of the other clientele did not cause too much disturbance. Unfortunately, the restaurant which Dad had researched on the internet turned out to have recently fallen into the hands of new owners and was undergoing redecoration – no meals being served tonight! I am sure you can imagine our dismay and distress. After all, we had only eaten enough to meet the needs of a small army that day. However, after some further consultation and investigation, Dad came up with the Seasons Restaurant at Avon Old Farms just outside of West Hartford ( which was outstanding. Rob joined us and we enjoyed a great meal whilst a piano player provided a melodious background. And so back to our hotel in our somewhat dodgy neighbourhood for a well deserved slumber prior to making the great trek up to the Lake the next day for some further adventures.

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