Feeling emboldened by the efficiency of our Middlefield trip, this past weekend Emme and I set out to tackle not just one, but TWO towns. Inspired by a suggestion from the Official Connecticut State Vacation Guide, the girls of OneSixNine decided to head out to Route 169 and visit the towns of Brooklyn and Pomfret.
As it turns out, we’re not nearly as efficient as we thought. Emme and I didn’t make it up to the Quiet Corner until about 1:30, which left us with little time to really explore two towns because, as you can imagine, the Quiet Corner isn’t exactly jumping after 5:00 PM on a Sunday. Also, Brooklyn’s Golden Lamb Buttery, which we were quite keen on visiting, is closed on Sundays. So we decided to leave Brooklyn for another day and turn our full attention to the town of Pomfret.
Fun Fact: Aside from being a town in Connecticut, there is also a borough of New York City called Brooklyn. It’s true.
Anyway – Pomfret!
Pomfret was incorporated in 1713 and features a few interesting historic places – such as the alleged site of General Israel Putnam’s slaying of the last wolf in Connecticut. In case you were wondering, we did not visit the historic wolf cave. Screw that, man, I’ve seen The NeverEnding Story, I’m not messing with the ghosts of angry wolves.
Anyway, Pomfret residents include UConn basketball coach and famed Comcast pitch man Jim Calhoun as well as Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger. (I wonder how our Art Carney-hating friend feels about Ms. Zellweger’s Oscar. I bet he feels that was also undeserved. I can’t believe this guy. He’s trying to deny Connecticut residents glory left and right. He probably thinks Israel Putnam’s wolf died of natural causes, too.) An estimated population of only about 4,000 places Pomfret 137th out of the proud 169. This is some serious small-town Connecticut here. Turns out, however, Pomfret is big on fun!
Fun Fact: Aside from being a town in Connecticut, a Pomfret is also a perciform fish found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Apparently the place to be in Pomfret is the Vanilla Bean Cafe (or at least it was when we visited, as a large group of bikers had made a stopover there.) According to Wikipedia, the Vanilla Bean Cafe is where Coke launched its Vanilla Coke flavor in 2002, but we decided to go there anyway. The cafe is in an old barn, and the interior is cute and quirky.
Emme and I particularly enjoyed their “award-winning chili” and I got to try some of their Kentucky pie, which was fabulous. They also serve local Hosmer Mountain beverages which get a big thumbs up from the 169 girls. (Cream soda, mmmm.) (Note from Emme: The Birch Beer was also totally delicious, if you’re into that. I’m thinking this warrants a Hosmer Mountain v. Foxon Park soda-off when we make our way to New Haven County!)
After the Vanilla Bean Cafe we set off to the Sharpe Hill Vineyard. I punched the address into Aonghus, our trusty GPS, and he took us on such a long, winding tour of Pomfret’s back roads that Emme began to lose faith in our Irish navigator. Then, all of a sudden, there was a vineyard! Sharpe Hill is absolutely gorgeous. Emme and I took a walk around the grounds and checked out the scenery. (Emme firmly believes that this is the most romantic thing we’ve done yet.)
Also, the bathroom at Sharpe Hill is the quaintest bathroom you’ll ever see. I’m serious. If you go there, use the bathroom. You won’t be disappointed.
Sharpe Hill, of course, has wine tastings – $5 for your choice of 5 wines or $10 for all 11. Emme and I decided to practice a little temperance and go for the $5 tasting. Also included is this lovely glassware:
Emme and I recommend their much-heralded Ballet of Angels wine (as mentioned in Connecticut Magazine’s “50 Dishes to Try Before You Die“) as well as their Select Late Harvest dessert wine. We got to enjoy these beverages in Sharpe Hill’s lovely outdoor wine garden, which comes complete with adorable terrier.
Pomfret’s historic district is really quite beautiful. It includes the very pretty Congregational Church and Christ Episcopal Church (which apparently contains several windows designed and constructed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, making me disappointed we didn’t go inside.) It also features the beautiful campus of The Pomfret School, where I once experienced a horrific Cuba Gooding Jr.-in-Jerry Maguire-type field hockey injury…. or I just got knocked to the ground and the risk averse athletic trainer made me lay there for an awkwardly long time.
Fact: Every four hours, a New England prep school student dies from a field hockey injury… okay, that’s not a fact at all.
Talk to Someone
This is an area where the 169 girls really need work. And it’s a shame, because the gentleman pouring in the wine garden at Sharpe Hill Vineyard was quite cute. (If you’re reading this, Wine Garden Guy, Tweet me.) Despite our best efforts to strike up a conversation, I’m awful at flirting and Emme is not much of a wingwoman. Maybe we should have opted for the $10 wine tasting. I’m sure that would have helped. But we did learn from cute Wine Guy that the Select Late Harvest is great over vanilla ice cream, and we managed to make 45 seconds of small talk about that. Emme should have gone with her instincts and talked up the bikers at the Vanilla Bean.
Lessons in Connecticuting
- Being in Jim Calhoun’s town does not guarantee a Jim Calhoun sighting, despite Emme’s best efforts.
- We should have gone to high schools with cooler alumni (no offense to Emme’s illustrious Taunton High School, home of Baltimore Ravens college scouting coordinator Eric DeCosta).
- Elle should grow a set and talk up some of these cute guys we meet, since Emme’s dating status prohibits her from doing it.
- Towns with fewer people than most colleges are cuter than most colleges.
- We need to start visiting municipalities where people live.