June was a hodgepodge of activities - some routine, some not, some sightseeing, some fun time with friends and family.
We won't bore you with the routine stuff - not much different than anyone having a stick and brick house - laundry has to be done, our home-on-wheels has to be cleaned, and throw in some grocery shopping. Larry is slowly getting proficient on the zero-turn lawnmower while he zips around the Klondike property keeping the lawns groomed. With all the rain we've had, it has been a challenge to find a dry enough day to mow as well as not to get stuck in the mud. Scott, Klondike's caretaker, kiddingly told us he had the tow truck on speed dial. We did find out though that others have gotten stuck as much as three times in one day - not a record Larry is going to try to break.
Last month Larry started upgrading our power from 30 amps to 50 amps. In June, he ran power from the box to the gazebo and ultimately the shed. It's quite pleasant enjoying tea in the mornings, happy hours in the afternoons, and our frequent meals out in the gazebo now that it has lights and a ceiling fan - wotta life! Most of our days and part of our evenings are spent there enjoying the comfortable and bug-free environment.
Another day we ran into Pittsfield to have Walmart install two new tires on our Honda Fit. Did you know there are only two other cars that use the same size tire! They had to be custom-ordered, using Walmart's store delivery option. The ride is much quieter now.
Ray and Tracy talked about the unique shopping experience at Stew Leonard's so we had to see for ourselves. The grocery store is near a Sam's Club so we made plans to hit both places that day. The nearest Stew Leonard's is in Newington, Connecticut - think of it as a combination of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's on steroids. This is not your mom and pop grocery store - it makes grocery shopping fun. There are animated characters throughout, lots of free samples, lots of fresh produce, meats, cheeses and seafood. But the most interesting part of the store is that it is not set up with traditional aisles but more like a maze so that the customer gets to experience the entire store while shopping, being guided by the paths. We did find out afterwards there are shortcuts to get from Point A to Point B but where's the fun in that! Ray also told us that periodically, they rearrange all the departments and the paths - never a dull moment at Stew's!
Tracy joined us one beautiful Saturday morning for a walking tour of Plymouth, Connecticut, with the tour starting and ending at the Green, which was originally an alder swamp but has been the center of Plymouth's activities since 1747. One of the historic buildings on the green, the Congregational Church, is the church Ray and Tracy attend and where we've frequently joined them for services when in the area. The church was built in 1838, Greek revival style. The two-stage square bell tower houses original wooden clockworks built by Eli Terry and still functioning today.
Next door is the Plymouth Burying Ground with the oldest graves dating back to 1749 with soldiers from the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 buried there. We learned from our guide that the style of carvings changed over the years, as evidenced by what you see on the older stones, found towards the back of the cemetery, with more recent stones closer to the Green itself. The New England gravestone symbols tell stories - a winged angel represents the ascension of the soul to heaven; weeping willows - sorrow; broken tree - a life cut short. The burying ground itself is an outdoor museum - so much history under our feet.
We learned about several historic homes around the Green, including one that was used as part of the underground railroad for slaves. The current owners are in the process of renovating the home and will be offering tours in the future. The Plymouth Library was founded in 1871 with the current building dating back to 1932. A fire destroyed the original building in 1929 - despite the Great Depression, funds were raised to rebuild the library.
New to Tracy, who has lived in the area over 20 years, was the discovery of one of the Plymouth Land Trust trails leading to the remains of the Shelton Tuttle Carriage factory - all that remains today are a few stone foundations. Quite the interesting tour, covering a lot of history in but a small part of town.
Another interesting tour later in the month was joining others for the Otis Senior Center tour to the Thimble Islands in Long Island Sound and around the harbor of Stony Creek. Here is an area, even though we are both natives of the state, that we were unaware of. The bus dropped us off in Stony Creek, a quaint yet still active fishing town, where we boarded the Volsunga IV for a tour of the islands, narrated by Captain Bob. The Thimble Islands number anywhere from 100 to 365, depending on whether it's just a huge rock or an actual island. Made up of Stony Creek pink granite bedrock as a result of glaciation, the islands serve as a rest stop for migrating seals. Twenty-three of the islands are occupied but they are all privately owned so access is limited to their residents and guests. Some of them have just a house and dock, the larger ones have palatial summer 'cottages' on them. Horse Island is the largest at seventeen acres; Money Island (twelve acres) has an entire village of 32 homes and a library; Bear Island has a granite quarry - some of its high-quality stone can be found in the Lincoln Memorial, Grant's Tomb, and the base of the Statue of Liberty; Outer Island is used by Southern Connecticut State University for ecological studies and is part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. Rumor has it that Captain Kidd buried his treasure on one of the islands, with treasure hunters believing they have unearthed clues to its location. This was another great tour arranged by Otis' senior center - stay tuned to see where we go in July on another tour.
Klondike's season is in full swing - the all you-can-eat Sunday morning breakfasts; the monthly mid-week potluck; Strawberries and Wings & Things one Saturday evening, with local strawberries and shortcake for dessert; fried dough with either tomato/meat sauce or powdered sugar - yum!; and the annual ladies' tea, with this year's theme 'aprons' - quite a collection of heirloom as well as modern aprons worn or displayed.
Alabama friends Ron and Linda stopped on their way to visit daughter Amy in Nova Scotia - they've got the honor of being the first RVing guests to park on our new site. Parking their motor home was a bit of a challenge but after a little cussing and discussing, they were quickly set up. Had we had unlimited funds when we got the site prepped, we would have brought in enough fill and stone to make the entire site level but alas, our piggy bank was strained after we had part of the lot leveled for our motor home. Parking for RVing guests is doable with additional boards under the wheels and leveling jacks. Ron and Linda enjoyed themselves so much, they stopped for a couple nights on their way back from Nova Scotia.
That was just a snapshot of all that kept us busy in June. Coming up in July - Ray and family spend a couple of weeks here in Klondike on our original site; another fabulous Senior Center tour; friends from Florida and Vermont come to visit, as do big, furry, four-legged critters - the bears are here!