Say Yes to the Dress… Maybe?

The quest for a bridal dress is the pinnacle experience for a bride. I should know. I just experienced it. And I learned a lot.

I had the biggest Pinterest board with all the dresses and styles that I thought I would want to look for. When I actually got to the bridal shops, it all went out the window. The 3 things I that did not change was the style/fit I knew would look best on my figure, what I believe my fiance would like and what I believe would be appropriate for the kind of event we were planning. In keeping those things in mind, I believe I made a great choice. If I just kept in mind what I had thought I wanted to wear, I would have spent much more than I wanted and I do not think it would be what my fiance envisioned or what would be appropriate for the style of our wedding.

So.. I  invited my best friend, mother and soon to be mother in law to come look at dresses. We started with a chain bridal store. Davids Bridal. I have to say. The nicest staff, no pressure and beautiful selection of dresses. I think they had a lot to choose from for variety of price points as well. Some of the dresses I did not think were the nicest material or quality but like anything, it depends on the designer. I have at least one dress there that I thought I would try on again.

My second stop was a small boutique bridal shop. Much smaller with much smaller selection. The quality ( and price tag) much higher. Gorgeous dresses to choose from. Staff was very kind but I definitely felt the pressure as I was asked if I wanted to “Say Yes to the Dress” and that if I wanted this dress it would have to be ordered in the next day to come in on time. The $1550 lace sleeved to die for dress for a winter wedding. So I felt the pressure, but did not buckle and said maybe? Yes. Maybe. Maybe I can take 2 days to marinate in all the dresses I tried on that day. It is not like the dress could not be ordered 2 days later right? So, I left with a maybe and looked forward to reviewing all the cell phone pictures that we took.

Now money was not the issue. My loving  and generous parents decided to give me any dress I wanted. But, I knew I needed to look at both dresses and sit on it.  I mean, you also wear this dress once. Once! Then it sits in your closet aging like the creases around your eyes. It bothered me. I went over  in my head the venue of our wedding, what my fiance would be expecting and what I felt I would be most comfortable in as a bride.

After the weekend passed, I decided I needed one more store. The Savvy Bride in Stratford. After a simple Google search, I found the small boutique that opened in February. The premise of the experience is that you are buying a designer never worn sample dress from all the larger, big bridal stores at a fraction of the price. In fact, all the dresses are under $2000 and 30-60% off retail!  I thought interesting. I guess I did not care if I waited 6-8 months for my dress or walked away with it that day.  One benefit is that I could start looking for shoes right away and see the seamstress for any alterations now. And if I found what I wanted at a fraction of the price, score!

wedding dresses, savvy bride, ct bride, weddingsavvy bride, wedding dresses, ct bride, wedding, bridal salon

Once I got to the store I just had that feeling. Meeting Erica Laferlita the owner and having the store to ourselves was very special.  She was easy-going, fun and very helpful in giving an objective opinion. Plus the selection of gowns was amazing!  All so different in an a huge array of sizes. I believe I picked at least 12 to try on. Some I put on and did not have to even leave the dressing room because I knew it was a no. Some I had to turn in, walk around the salon and get my mom’s opinion. All in all I had two very different dresses that I just loved. One stood out and one was the winner! Erica gave us a great deal and a fantastic experience.

Aside from dresses, Erika has veils, antique jewelry and hair accessories for all your bridal needs. If you have gone to the big box stores or even small bridal boutiques, instead of saying Yes to the Dress right away, do yourself a favor and say Maybe and make an appointment with Erica.

 

 

And yes, we said YES TO THE DRESS! If you do, Erica will take your picture on the Love Couch and post on social media. Fun!

Grilled Shrimp Bowl

Nothing says summertime like grilled shrimp! Shrimp is so versatile. You can make it spicy, fruity, mild, smoky or eat cocktail style!

The summer just does not make me want to be in the kitchen for extended periods of time. The grill only comes out a few months our of the year so best to utilize it when you can!

Sometimes the easiest dinners are those that contain things already in your fridge. Rice, scallions, canned pineapple, salt and pepper is what was added to the shrimp to make a delicious shrimp bowl. Don’t like shrimp? This can easily be substituted for chicken or pork. And don’t worry if you don’t have a grill. A cast iron grill pan on your stove top works just as good for cooking both shrimp or chicken.

 

Grilled Shrimp Bowl (Serves 2)

grilled shrimp bowl

2 cups cooked Basmati rice. ( whole grain rice is also fine)

10 shrimp, devein and shell

1/4 cup chopped scallions

4 canned pineapple rings

1 small zucchini

salt and pepper for taste

wooden skewers

Cook the rice as instructed on the box. Set aside. Devein and shell shrimp and rinse well. Slice zucchini and cut into medium chunks. Cup up pineapple rings into small chunks. Skewer shrimp, zucchini and pineapple. Lightly salt and pepper. Grill until shrimp are pink.

Evenly distribute rice into two bowls. Add desired shrimp skewers to the rice and mix well. If desired you can add a curry or jerk sauce for a tangy bite.

 

 

 

New Summer Menu Debuts at Fresh Salt in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn., (June 28, 2017) – The Fresh Salt restaurant at Saybrook Point has introduced a new summer menu that features seasonal dishes inspired by the bountiful harvests of local farmers and fisheries. Named Best Upscale Dining in Connecticut by the state’s restaurant industry association, Fresh Salt works closely with its local farmers and day boats to ensure the highest quality of locally grown ingredients from land and sea go into its creative delights. Local partnerships include Medlyn’s Farm of Branford, Belltown Hill Orchard of South Glastonbury, Fair Weather Acres of Rocky Hill, Baggott Family Farms of East Windsor, and Rose’s Berry Farm of South Glastonbury, and Fresh Salt’s commitment to its cool native waters features oysters within a 99-mile radius. A catch-of-the-day from local day boats provides clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp, tuna, cod, swordfish, and salmon for the Fresh Salt menu. Herbs including basil, thyme, mint and tarragon are planted and picked by the Fresh Salt culinary staff in Saybrook Point’s custom herb garden. 

At Fresh Salt, guests will savor fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in Old Saybrook’s most spectacular setting – the spot where the fresh waters of the Connecticut River meet the salt of Long Island Sound. It’s a treasured and historic place, rich in life, and the restaurant reflects that lively diversity. The new summer menu features the bounty of the season through unique pasta and vegan dishes such as Rotelle Pasta, which includes pine nuts, fava beans, radicchio, roasted cauliflower and Pecorino cheese served in a white wine sauce; and Cauliflower Steak, which is pan-roasted cauliflower served in a ratatouille sauce with sautéed escarole. Entrée prices range from $20.95. 

In addition, guests will enjoy Fresh Salt’s fresh seafood and day boats including Pan-seared Black Pearl Scottish Salmonserved with Roasted Cherry Tomato-and Sweet Pea ($29.95), Bacon-wrapped Monkfish served with Sugar Pea Risotto and Red Cabbage Coulis ($29,95), and Grilled Swordfish Loin served with Quinoa, Barley, and Spinach in a Passion Fruit-Ginger Sauce ($29,95). 

From the grill and oven, guests will experience Fresh Salt’s Free-range Natural Stuffed Chicken Breast with a Sundried Tomato-Spinach Risotto Filling, Pancetta Whole Grain Mustard-Morel Mushroom Cream Sauce ($28.95), as well as the 12 Oz. USDA Choice N.Y. Sirloin served with Sautéed Mushrooms, Pomme Frites in a Garnish Port Wine Demi-glaze ($39.95). 

And shoreline favorites include the Seaside Tempura Platter with Golden Brown Scallops, Oysters, Calamari Zucchini, Peppers, Fresh Salt Kettle Chips ($21.95), Custom-blend Hamburger on a Potato Roll, made with a half-pound outstanding combination of Short Rib Chuck and Brisket, topped with Lettuce, Tomato and Cole Slaw ($13.95) and Connecticut Lobster Roll made with warm buttered lobster on a grilled New England style roll and served with and Fresh Salt Kettle Chips ($29.95).

Fresh Salt is more than just a restaurant; it is a place to enjoy another’s company and experience the breathtaking views of the Long Island Sound – quietly intertwined with the Connecticut River. The venue’s fresh ingredients and vibrant tastes are available daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And if guests are searching for an intimate evening, Fresh Salt offers light bites and handcrafted cocktails made to perfectly enhance an evening away. Reservations are recommended, and may be made by calling 860. 388.1111

About Saybrook Point

Situated along the picturesque shores of historic Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Saybrook Point features a collection of 100 elegantly-appointed guestrooms, a rejuvenating full-service SANNO spa, and casual fine dining restaurant Fresh Salt, as well as a unique waterside Lighthouse Suite. In addition, the historic Three Stories and Tall Tales luxury guesthouses offer exquisite rooms that convey the story of famous local residents. The pristine Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark boating destination conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River, serves as a focal point for the Inn. More information is available at www.saybrook.com.

Foxwoods Resort Casino Partners with the CT Lottery on Innovative Foxwoods High Roller Scratch Ticket

$10 Scratch Ticket to Feature Exciting, Unique Prizes including VIP Property Stays and $125,000 Grand Prizes

MASHANTUCKET, Conn.– Foxwoods® Resort Casino and the CT Lottery announced today that they have entered a groundbreaking, exclusive partnership to launch the Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket. The cross-promotional agreement marks the first time the CT Lottery has partnered with a casino in the state, and will provide lottery players and Foxwoods’ guests with even more ways to win.

“We are thrilled to offer a Foxwoods branded scratch ticket to the state of Connecticut in conjunction with the CT Lottery,” said Felix Rappaport, President & CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino. “Through this partnership, we are bringing together two of the best gaming brands in the state to provide our loyal supporters with the opportunity to win exciting prizes only available through the Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket. We look forward to building upon this relationship to continue providing our guests with innovative and fun ways to win in 2017 and beyond.”

The Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket is the next step in Foxwoods’ mission to provide the premiere gaming experience in the Northeast. Available at multiple locations on property at Foxwoods (including Grand EffectsOutpost and Winners) as well as 2,900 CT Lottery retailers throughout the state, the lottery scratch ticket features thrilling, luxury prizes only available through the Foxwoods High Roller ticket including $125,000 top prizes, VIP overnight stays at Foxwoods and more.

“On behalf of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Government, we are thrilled to be working with the government of Connecticut and the CT Lottery on this exciting new initiative in honor of Foxwoods’ 25th anniversary,” said Chairman Rodney Butler of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. “We greatly value our ability to give back to the local community, and the Foxwoods High Roller ticket provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to add to the nearly $4 billion dollars in revenue we have generated for the state.”

The Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket provides 25 chances to win, in honor of the property’s 25th Anniversary. Players simply need to match any of their numbers to the winning numbers to receive the prize shown. Ticket bonus symbols and multipliers include a money bag to instantly win $50, a dollar sign to win double the prize shown and 5X or 10X symbols to win 5 or 10 times the prize shown, respectively. There is also an added bonus play option, which provides the chance to win all 25 prizes listed if the “win all” symbol is revealed.

However, players that don’t reveal a prize won’t walk away empty handed, as every non-winning ticket will be a winner at Foxwoods. Guests will soon be able to redeem their non-winning Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket on property to receive an exclusive offer, which will include select discounts and prizes.

Including 25 Second Chance Drawings, players can enter non-winning Foxwoods High Roller tickets for a chance to win the “Wonder of It All” Weekend Experience. It includes a complimentary two-night stay at a Foxwoods designated hotel for the player and guest, round-trip limousine service, a $2,000 check from the CT Lottery and a $1,000 Foxwoods Gift Card to be used during the player’s stay for non-gaming purchases, including food and beverage, spa and entertainment.

For more information on the Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket, visit https://www.foxwoods.com/lottery.

About Foxwoods Resort Casino

25 Years Proud: Since 1992, Foxwoods Resort Casino has offered guests The Wonder Of It All as the premier resort destination in the Northeast. As the largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods offers a vast array of gaming in seven casinos, AAA Four-Diamond hotels, restaurants from gourmet to quick service, world-renowned spas, award-winning golf, state-of-the-art theaters, and exclusive retailers. Foxwoods is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and was the first full-service casino built on tribal land, pioneering a nationwide movement that now includes more than 400 gaming properties owned and operated by over 200 tribes across the U.S. For more information on Foxwoods and the property’s 25th Anniversary celebrations, visit www.foxwoods.com.

 

Vermont’s Kingdom Trails is Natures Playground

Biking on the roads in CT is nothing compared to some Vermont scenery and nicely groomed bike trails. That is all you will get in East Burke Vermont at Kingdom Trails.

The trails is a 501c3 non-profit ran by volunteers and a board of directors composed of local businesses and residents looking to preserve the ecologically sensitive landscape while encouraging the recreational use. Founded in 1994, the trails are used year round with winter fat biking, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

If you are looking for breakfast, you might be looking for a while. It was not obvious where to get some fresh breakfast and coffee other than the gas station or leaving town. I was a bit surprised the staff at the resort did not have many suggestions either! We stumbled across East Burke County Store luckily and I am glad we did! They had breakfast made fresh from muffins and homemade bread to eggs and breakfast sandwiches along with local organic coffee.

After breakfast your first stop is to visit the Welcome Center to get your pass. The staff was super helpful and will map out a trail path for you based on your skill level, distance preference and landscape. This was great because if you are unfamiliar with the trails, you could easily find yourself on the black more difficult and steep trails fast. But not to worry. There are plenty of beginner and intermediate trails to be had if the faster and more difficult trails are not your thing.

When we arrived to get our bikes out of the car and gear up, we could not help but notice how many french Canadians were visiting from Canada all making the trek for this breathtaking bike mecca. We knew this most be a most special place if people came from another country just to ride!

We also saw a lot of families with kids just showing how diverse the terrain is and how you can find a bike trail at everyone’s skill level.

Vermonts Kingdom Trails, Biking, East BurkeOur first objective was to do a 3/4 mile uphill bike. Not how I wanted to start the trail, but it is the main entrance to start on the trails. Once you are on the top of the hill, you have options as to where you would like to bike next. It was hardest part of the ride for someone like myself that has not worn in my biking legs yet!

We proceeded to stay on mostly blue trails which are flat and hilly. The views along the first parts are of the trails are quintessential Vermont. Cows, silos, big green fields and beautiful ski’s.

Vermont Kingdom Trails, biking, East Burke

The part I enjoyed the most was when we were in the woods. Lots of small hills, some a bit fast if you do not control your bike and plenty of roots. Watch the roots! I have a hybrid bike so was not putting the pedal to the metal and biking more conservatively. The ideal bike for these trails would be a full suspension mountain bike. You can rent them at the bike shop which is a great option if you do not own or want to spend the money on a high-end bike. Rentals run from $70-150 depending on the model you rent.

One of the nicest spots was Heaven’s Bench. An open part of the trail filled with yellow dandelions and picturesque views of pastures and hills. Worth taking a minute to have a snack, water and take in the moment. Once you get there, you can descend back into the woods and take several different trail options.

Vermont Kingdom Trails, Biking, East Burke

All in all I believe we biked almost 4 miles. It does not sound like a lot, but when you are in the woods and going over small hills, mud and other obstacles, it takes a bit more time than usual to get through. An important thing to consider if you visit is attire. Please, PLEASE do yourself a favor and purchase biking shorts. Yes the ones with the padding. Your bum will thank you for it! Gloves are also essential in helping with grip and avoiding calluses. Lightweight breathable clothing layered is best. Don’t forget the sunscreen an eye wear and of course, a helmet!

Vermont Kingdom Trails, biking, East burkeAfter 3 hours of trail riding we were looking forward to checking out the bike shop and The Hub Trailside for some libations and views. The Hub offers beer, cider, wine and snacks overlooking a beautiful landscape. Grab an Adirondack chair and drink and relax your legs while taking in the scene.

Just up the street from The Hub is a beautiful Chapel. The Chapel is open to the public and offers an outside area for rosary as well as bathrooms for weary bikers. I found a beautiful poem inside offering prayers and safety for bikers on the trails and a breathtaking cross right outside. Worth the ride up the long driveway to take some gorgeous pictures.

Vermont Kingdom Trails, biking, East Burke

After visiting the East Burke bike shop and glass of wine it was time to indulge in some ice cream. It is hard not to stop at Ruby Lee’s. Right at the start of that uphill road to the trails is Ruby Lee’s Ice Cream. All the bike riders seem to end up there for some much deserved treats. Locally made and homemade, this was just what we needed after working so hard and a great way to cool off. But get ready to wait in line for your ice cream. It was packed!

Vermont Kingdom Trails, Biking, East Burke

If you are an avid biker and haven’t experienced Kingdom Trails in East Burke Vermont, it is a must for any adventure seeker. For more information on Kingdom Trails log onto http://kingdomtrails.org/

Kidz Gear Headphones Make the Grade

I don’t do a ton of product reviews. Mainly, because I need it to be something I would use, believe in or is in my circle of values. I was happy to take on reviewing Kidz Gear headphones for kids.

If you have children, you know they are the best advocates for tech savvy products and know what is hot and trending. The problem with them being so informed, is much of what they want comes with a hefty price tag. That is exactly why Kidz Gear was invented. Their creator is a mom just like you and I. She hated having to buy expensive yet cheaply made tech products such as headphones, Bluetooth accessories to have an adult product experience only to have it break. And we all know kids might not have the best judgement controlling the sound level so why give them a product made for adults?

Kidz Gear

Kidz Gear Wireless & Wired Headphones

Wired Kidz Gears KidzControl products provide high adult like quality products made for kids. The headphones come in bright, fun colors and are very comfortable to wear. I wore them while writing this post and I would choose them over ear buds any day. For kids this is important for being encouraged to even want to use them. They also have a volume limit to them so are safe for kids ears and ergonomically fit.

The Kidz Gears products have won several awards such as Academics Choice Award, Creative Child Award and Teachers Choice Award to name a few! The product line includes Wired, Wireless, Bluetooth, Boom Mics and accessories. I was able to sync the Bluetooth with Mic in 2 minutes to my iPhone and listen to Pandora. Super simple! I know my son will love to use this for his iPod when we are in the car. Do you think those ear buds we stick into our large ears kids enjoy? Likely not. They are awkward to put in small ears and always fall out once children start moving around. Problem solved!

You can learn more about Kidz Gear products here at http://www.gearforkidz.com/shop4.html

Products can be bought online through Target or Amazon to name a few retailers!

I was asked to review Kidz Gear in exchange for headphones and this review. My comments and opinions are my own,

 

Stupidly Simple Salsa

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Time for some salsa!

Americans do not need a reason to celebrate other countries holidays or an excuse to have a margarita! Cinco de Mayo has been a longstanding celebration of Mexican American culture. Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of the unexpected victory over the French Battle of Puebla. In the U.S, it is often associated with Mexican food and celebratory drinks! One of my favorite pairings to a good margarita, is salsa!

I wanted to share a simple salsa recipe that I have been making for years. Actually I named it Stupidly Simple Salsa because it literally is 5 ingredients and warrants trying before grabbing your favorite can from the shelf even for the most kitchen impaired chef! Fresh, flavorful and for less than $10, you can make twice the amount and with no added ingredients. If you can read and have a food processor, you are capable!

Stupidly Simple Salsa

1/2 green pepper

1/2 red pepper

1/4 cup cilantro

1 tsp salt

1/4 onion

Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse till chopped well. As more salt to taste. Squeeze in a lime for added flavor and serve with your favorite chips!

Renewing Your Home for Spring

This spring has been a wet one. April showers bring May flowers so they say! The earth is renewing itself and getting ready to bloom and blossom.

Renewing your home is no different! You might change the decor from season to season or holiday to holiday. It’s time to take out the patio furniture and grill and dust off the lounge chairs. Inside I normally like to make a consignment shop haul for my son’s clothe’s that no longer fit as well as household items I just have been hanging onto way too long but never use. How about those flower beds that need weeding and mulched?

It is a daunting task to get your home ready for the spring. My best advice would be to tackle 2 things a week rather than pile up the week with a ton of tasks that never fully get executed. Your home will feel renewed and refreshed before you know it.

Here are some great ideas for spring cleaning your home

  1. Check out the closets. If you have spring pieces you have not worn in 2 years, you likely wont now. Don’t feel guilty! Consign them and let someone else enjoy them and put some cash in your wallet. You also will be freeing up space for pieces you love and will wear.
  2. Jackets. Check to see if your spring coats need cleaning or are ripped and no longer wearable. Those you love, make a plan to get them repaired. This is a great time to wash or dry clean your winter coats and store away clean for next year.
  3. Household items: I am a believer in less is more. I just moved so I literally have 2 boxes of items to bring to consign that no longer go with my decor or they just do not fill me with joy anymore. Books too that I have read and will likely not refer to in the future will go. Renewing your home for spring, spring cleaning
  4. Garage. This has to be the easiest place to store things and forget about them. Check your shelves and find out what you really need and what you are no longer using. Old toys, sleds, equipment, anything damaged or needs repair you do not plan on doing should go. Most towns have a bulk pick up each season. This is a great time to put it on the curb and let it go making room for new space. Things you keep can be easily stored neatly using plastic tool organizers and garage shelving.
  5. Basement. This is usually where we are storing holiday items, bins of extra clothes and keepsakes. Take a look at what you have each year before you put them away. Will you use it and enjoy it or does it just take up space in a bin in your basement. Anything you do keep store in airtight plastic containers and tubs. Most valuable bins should be put on shelves in case of flooding or water damage. The plastic ones you put together and are inexpensive would do.
  6. Outdoors. Normally May is the month that we start looking at our yards and planting when things dry up. Make a plan for cleaning up mulch beds and reapplying new mulch where it is needed. Weeding is also a good idea to keep beds looking neat. Use a weed killer if needed for stubborn areas. You lawn is the footprint of your home, but it comes at a cost with landscapers. Find out what you can do yourself at your local Lowes  http://www.lowes.com or Home Depot  http://www.homedepot.com before calling in the experts. With a little work and a fraction of the cost, you can take care of dead grass, weeds and seeding yourself. 
  7. Cleaning. We clean our homes all the time right? With the change of the season it is a great time to do some deep cleaning such as windows, fans, pulling the furniture away and getting into the crevasses of cushions and floors. touching up walls that need paint, gutters, power washing  the exterior of your home if needed, sweeping out the garage to name a few. Think of all the things you wanted to get done but the project seemed to big. These are the things you want to do seasonally.

The best part of renewing your home is by far how much more you can enjoy your home when it is exactly how you imagine it should be!

What tips do you have for spring cleaning and renewing your home each spring?

New and Noteworthy Connecticut Getaways for Spring and Summer

From a New Luxury Hotel to Sky-High Adventures and Coastal Attractions, Connecticut Offers Distinct New England Activities

HARTFORD, Conn., (April 25, 2017) – Connecticut invites visitors and residents alike to kick off the warm weather travel season with new and improved attractions for families and adults, a new centrally located luxury hotel and plenty of arts and foodie events. Whether planning a romantic weekend getaway or family fun vacation, a day of adventure or retreat, travelers can find all the information they need, including suggested trip itineraries and travel packages, at www.CTvisit.com.

This spring and summer, there are even more reasons to visit Connecticut. Here are just a few top seasonal highlights.

connecticut getaway, ctvisit

Connecticut River

New this spring and summer:

  • Experience luxury at the Delamar West Hartford this June, Connecticut’s newest boutique hotel, offering a full-service spa, fine dining and even complimentary bicycle rentals. Other unique lodging experiences, including B&Bs, inns and campgrounds, are featured on www.CTvisit.com along with special travel deals.
  • Get up close and personal with wildlife at the Connecticut Science Center’s new exhibit, “Butterfly Encounter,” opening this June in Hartford; see an exotic array of species at Mystic Aquarium’s “Weird and Wonderful” exhibit, opening Memorial Day Weekend; explore the Maritime Aquarium’s expanded jellyfish exhibit in Norwalk, opening this summer; and, visit Changbai, a female Amur tiger on exhibit now at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.
  • Reach new heights at Skydive Danielson thanks to its new airplane that allows skydivers to jump from 14,000 feet; visit Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, where youngsters can experience two new rides this spring; or, try the two new 75-foot-high zip lines at Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park in Portland, opening Memorial Day Weekend.
  • Pick your own bouquet at Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth on select dates this summer, to be announced; and, use the new “See & Sip Itineraries,” designed by the Connecticut Wine Trail and Connecticut Art Trail, to pick and pair wine tasting locations with local museums.

    Brownstone ziplines

  • Learn something new at Mystic Seaport by visiting the Thompson Exhibition Building, currently showing its inaugural exhibit, “SeaChange;” and, learn all about minerals at Nature’s Art Village’s new state-of-the-art miniature golf course opening this summer, joining the 40 life-sized dinosaurs, pristine nature trails and indoor activity center.

 

Timeless favorites:

  • Explore 216 miles of Connecticut shoreline: soak in the rays at public beaches, including Hammonasset Beach State Park, home to the Meigs Point Nature Center; kayak around the Thimble Islands; take a lighthouse boat tour; and, devour a hot-buttered lobster roll at one of Connecticut’s legendary seafood shacks.
  • Hit the hiking and biking trails that crisscross Connecticut for hundreds of miles, including those in The Last Green Valley, a National Heritage Corridor that runs through 26 towns in Connecticut’s northeast corner.
  • Hunt for treasures along the Connecticut Antiques Trail. Make your first stop the town of Woodbury, the “Antiques Capital of Connecticut,” with more than two dozen shops to discover.
  • Play and stay at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket and Mohegan Sun in Uncasville; enjoy gaming as well as renowned hotels, restaurants, spas, shopping, and live entertainment.

Don’t-miss events:

  • Enjoy the blooms at any one of Connecticut’s major flower festivals, including the Meriden Daffodil Festival (April 29-30) and Dogwood Festival in Fairfield (May 12-14).
  • Cheer on the pros at the Northeast’s only PGA tour event, Travelers Championship, in Cromwell (June 19-25) or the Connecticut Open in New Haven (August 1-4), featuring tennis great Martina Navratilova; and, music fans won’t want to miss the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz in Hartford (July 14-16), the largest free jazz event in New England, and the Litchfield Jazz Festival in Goshen (August 5-6).
  • Experience the arts at the Greenwich International Film Festival (June 1-4) and take in more than 60 events, screenings, premiers and educational panels; then, enjoy the work of more than 180 nationally recognized craft artists at the Guilford Art Center’s Craft Expo (July 14-16).
  • Indulge in seasonal delights at the Milford Oyster Festival (August 19), featuring the largest variety of oysters at any festival in the United States; and, don’t miss all the special events at breweries along the renowned Connecticut Beer Trail.
  • Try something new on Connecticut Open House Day (June 10), when Connecticut residents enjoy discounted or free admission, giveaways or special offers at 150+ attractions.

 

“Connecticut’s prime New England location makes it the perfect destination for visitors looking for a quick weekend escape from metro areas like New York and Boston, or an extended vacation,” said Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. “We welcome visitors to come and experience Connecticut for the first time, and encourage those who have visited before to discover what’s new.

To learn more about all there is to see and do in Connecticut, visit www.CTvisit.com. For additional travel inspiration, follow Connecticut onInstagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

 

Spring Menu at Fresh Salt is a Connecticut Must Try

I was invited recently with fellow CT Bloggers to sample Fresh Salt’s new spring menu at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa and it did not disappoint! Nestled on the waterfront of the Long Island Sound in Old Saybrook,  Fresh Salt’s views are beautiful including sunsets and lighthouses. Once the temperatures get warmer, drinks at the Marina Bar are a must before dinner.

fresh salt, saybrook point, old saybrook

spring menu, fresh salt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This menu had something for everyone. From fish and beef to salads and soups for a lighter fare. Full of fresh, artisan,  local ingredients, Chef Rodriguez has a flare for pairing flavors and textures well.

The Sushi Tuna Triangles were generous in size and fun to split with others. These overstuffed sushi pieces were perfect for picking up with your hands. No chopsticks required!

 

fresh salt, saybrook point, old saybrook, spring menu

Tuna Sushi Triangles

Another favorite was the Duck Confit Spring Roll. Beautifully displayed sectioned in half and paired with a Chipotle Cherry Salsa Cruda. These were not your ABC restaurant spring rolls. Fresh, savory and the perfect amount of crunch with fresh veggies and duck.

fresh salt, saybrook point, old saybrook, spring menu

Duck Confit Spring Roll

We were able to choose from a few specials this evening as well. We were told the Chef switches it up daily. The Short Rib was unbelievable and fell right off the bone. Accompanied by a savory sauce, mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts. Yum!

fresh salt, saybrook point, spring menu

Braised Short Rib

fresh salt, saybrook point, old saybrook

Pan-Roasted Cod

My sweetheart had the Pan-Roasted Cod Loin served with Crispy Potato, LIttle Neck Clams and Sweet Pea-Leek Veloute.

I am not sure how we were able to fit it in, but we could not pass up the dessert which had its entire own menu! We enjoyed the Dairy-free Coconut Sorbet and Spring Trio which consisted of Chocolate Mousse,  Semifreddo Berry Panna Cotta and Pistachio Macaroon. The sorbet was homemade and was rich with coconut flavor and bits inside and the trio was the perfect sampling of treats. That macaroon though… divine!

fresh salt, saybrook point, Old saybrook

Dessert’s at Fresh Salt

Fresh Salt’s Chef Gese Rodriguez has an eye for detail and fresh, local ingredients. The warm and attentive staff at Fresh Salt make this food experience a memorable one. We will definitely be back! Check out their events page for updated events. To make a reservation, contact Fresh Salt at 860-395-2000 or visit online at http://www.saybrook.com/restaurant/fresh-salt/

We were invited by staff at Fresh Salt to sample their spring menu and stay at the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.