Tag Archives: Wikipedia

Have You Driven North Branford Lately?

Aaaaaaand WE’RE BACK!
 
Missed us? Yeah, we were on hiatus while we both worked on solo projects. Don’t worry, there are no plans to disband. (But let’s be honest, if we did, Emme would be the Kelly Rowland to my Beyonce Knowles.) Anyway, once upon a time, two incredibly brilliant and sexy ladies took a trip to North Branford…
 
Wiki Me
As you loyal readers know, the OneSixNine girls love looking up towns on Wikipedia, where we learn things like that North Branford is a Town in New Haven County with a population just short of 14,000 spanning 26.6 square miles. One of the town’s most notable residents is former 7th Heaven star Adam LaVorgna.  Also, the North Branford High School baseball team is the official high school baseball team of OneSixNine. (That’s not on Wikipedia… yet.)
 
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Accompanied by the OneSixNine entourage, we went to check out the amusement and recreation options at  The Connecticut Sportsplex.  Unfortunately, the only competition OneSixNine entourage members ever excelled at was Academic Decathlon, so we stayed away from the Connecticut Sportsplex activities involving,  well, sports.  We went in for one of their specials – The Laser Tag Fun Pack – which is two rounds of laser tag, 20 arcade tokens, and free soda at the concessions area, all for the low, low price of $13.

We really got down to business when it came to spending our 20 arcade tokens. While the Family Fun center doesn’t have a ton of arcade games (it’s no Smiles Entertainment Center, a/k/a The Entertainment Center Formerly Known As Milford Amusement) it’s certainly got enough to keep you busy while you’re waiting for your turn at laser tag.

The Scene at the Family Fun Center

Wack-a-Mole, anyone?

The Deal or No Deal machine, in a perpetual state of "No Deal."

Of course, the best part of a visit to any place with Skeeball and Push-A-Coin is the fervent, irrational pursuit of tickets for the purpose of winning low quality toys. Entourage member Jay was on a mission to win us a new friend to accompany us while OneSixNining. Her name is Dora, she is inflatable, and we understand she is quite the adventuress.

Dor-ahh the Explor-ahh or Dorer the Explorer, depending on which accent Emme is using.

The Prize Counter

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Just so you all know, I am a Laser Tag connoisseur.  Just hand me a Nerf blaster and set me loose in an old warehouse filled with mirrors and old tires covered in fluorescent paint? You must not know ’bout me. However, I am pleased to report that the Connecticut Sportsplex laser tag is high quality. It has accurate guns and a big, well-maintained, two-level arena.  A+

Now, if you’re not a laser tag person, and are looking for something more along the lines of a hybrid of jai alai and bumper cars, the Connecticut Sportsplex has the activity for you! “Cyber Sport (TM) combines a sporting experience with a highly maneuverable vehicle that adults and kids love to play.”  It’s also the favorite activity of Americans who want to make fools of themselves.

Even getting in the cars is tough for us

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After the Sportsplex, we went to dinner at Abate where the service is friendly,  the chicken is lemony,  the pasta is delicious and Dora was almost left behind.

We learned that Abate took first place in the North Branford Pizza War. Abate defeated Amato’s, Bella Lisa, Bobby’s, Lomonaco’s, Lombardi’s, Oregano’s, Slice and Giovanni’s. Not participating in the war was Luigi’s Antimilitarist Apizza, which was granted status as a conscientious objector.

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After Abate’s we headed over to Doody’s Totoket Inn, conveniently located near Abate’s. Doody’s is a pretty nice little divey bar. The clientele seemed nice and politely tolerated a bunch of people hanging out with an inflatable Dora the Explorer.

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I have to give props to Emme, she actually chatted up some folks at Doody’s and learned all about the scene there. Me? I just sat there and talked to Dora. She taught me how to say “cerveza” and told me all about her journey to the Purple Planet. Que emocionante!

Lessons in Connecticuting:

  1. Unlike our Clinton journey, we learned that there’s not much to do in North Branford any time of the year, with the exception of the Potato and Corn Festival.  Yep, you read that right.
  2. Talking to strangers is much easier in dive bars than it is on the street.  Did you know that Doody’s is a family restaurant, owned by at least 3 generations of Doodys?
  3. Surprisngly enough, a restaurant can be named after feces and still be successful.
  4. Elle likes to think that being Beyonce makes her the cooler blogger, but obviously she’s forgotten the Nelly and Kelly hit “Dilemma.”
  5. Having a local as a guide is super convenient.  Having a sportsplex is even more convenient.  Having a professional explorer is the most convenient.

Middlefield of Dreams: If You Build It, They Will Come

A timely-posted entry (relative to our Stonington entry) to thank all of our new Twitter followers and blog-readers for joining us!  Elle and I made our way to the oh-so-conveniently located Middlefield today, and boy, it’s a lot shorter to take trips places that aren’t 2 hours away (ahem, Salisbury.  And, ahem,  Stonington.)  Like, 2 hours shorter.  Four hours round-trip.  But I digress!

For those who don’t know, or don’t bother to read Wikipedia, Middlefield is so-named because it’s located halfway between Durham and Middletown.  While wiki tells me it has a wonderful history dating back to the state’s first settlers, we focused on a more present issue:  food.  Our Middlefield trip was all about consumption. That and baseball.  Because when you’re planning your trip around getting home in time for the start of the World Series (Elle is singing the national anthem), you tend to have a baseball state of mind.

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Nothing says fall like a good orchard.  Nothing says November like politics.  And nothing says greatest-baseball-movie-ever like a field full of corn.  At Lyman Orchards, we got all three.

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They built it, we came

Lyman does a great, non-threatening presidential corn maze in which we lost our way but never lost hope.  And hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, when you’re traveling AROUND THE EARS OF 44TH PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA!

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[Elle’s Apology for Emme’s Camera: Apparently Emme’s camera takes photos that refused to be rotated in both WordPress and Windows Photo Gallery. We apologize to our readers. Except to the ones who are reading this while sitting on the wall. To those readers we say, “You are badass.” Now, back to Emme.]

That’s right, we made it there in time for Obama Day!  How exciting.  We had the option of Halloween trivia, TV trivia, or Presidential trivia.  Guess which one we chose.

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But even with all of our presidential know-how, this was a challenge.  Did you know James Madison was 5’4, 100 pounds!

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Yes, We Can.

Just like the Away We Go couple from our Salisbury trip, people carrying a newborn totally made it look easy.  Maybe we OneSixNine girls need to kidnap a magic baby or something to guide us around the state.  Or maybe not.

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We’re big fans of shops.  Particularly shops involving food.  The Lyman grocery did NOT let us down.  I got my hands on some great cider donuts that challenge the BF Clyde’s in deliciousness — these were more of an old-fashioned, heavier variety, the BF Clyde’s were lighter but hot.  Newfangled, I guess you could say.

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They had everything from the expected (hi-top apple pies) to the unexpected (homemade peanut butter), and it was definitely a good place to lose track of time.  As we were walking out, a really friendly older guy tried to stop us to convince us to partake in his caricaturing services… by holding up pictures of lighthouses he’d painted.  One of our traveling companions (did you know we have other friends?  Well, Elle does.  I don’t) considered it, but then decided that he’d just make us look like lighthouses.  Hilarity ensued.

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All that corn mazing (am I think only one who thinks ‘corn maze’ is a hilarious play on words, since corn = maize?  yes?  okay, i’ll let it go) really worked up our appetites, so off to lunch we went.  Keeping with our theme, we opted for a ballpark-style treat — hot dogs!

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But none of those wimpy Yankee hot dogs (Elle’s a Yankee fan, because she lacks a soul.   Being a Bay Stater, I obviously am a Red Sox fan.  I consider the statewide split to be a serious detriment to Connecticut’s success), we got a full 10 inches of delicious GUIDA’S hot dogs!

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We should have come on Monday!

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We got heckled by some of the guides at the corn maze, which is always a good time.  There was a great series of trivia questions throughout the maze, one of which was “Can you name the 8 presidents with one-syllable last names?”  Readers, this is a lot harder to do without google.  We’ll let you think about this…. answer at the bottom of this post.

At Guida’s, though, I asked the staff there where to go for a drink in Middlefield.  They were kind enough to not question why I needed to drink in Middlefield, but they directed me back towards Lyman for the adult beverage I was seeking.  Based on where they sent us, I’m still trying to figure out if they were messing with us.

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Sadly, we have no photos of the Rover Lodge Cafe, but I tell you, we really felt the dive vibe here.  Maybe it was all the NASCAR pictures on the walls.  Maybe it was all the NASCAR on the TV.  Maybe it was the blue eyeliner or the hairspray on the clientele.  Whatever the case, we got a number of odd looks as we ordered our drinks — Bud Light with Lime for Elle, Bud Light for me.  Plus, I got carded.  Not to bust my anonymity at all, but I’m 26.  And I look at LEAST 22.  And what 20 year old would be out trying to get served at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon at a dive bar with one presumably of-age friend?  Apparently me.  Anyways, the bartender was pleasant, the patrons ignored us, and we got to catch up on life in this hamlet.

Lessons in Connecticuting

  1. Corn mazes are muddy.
  2. Elle and Emme are in a never-ending secret race to beat each other to the next destination.  If we based it on who got to the first location first, Emme would totally win.
  3. More places should sell hot apple cider.
  4. Field of Dreams is a great movie.  This has nothing to do with Connecticut, but we thought you should know.
  5. William Howard Taft is a pretty big president.

….for those of you who were dying to know the answer to presidential trivia…

Bush 41, Bush 43, Polk, Pierce, Grant, Ford, Hayes, and… Taft!

(We were totally stuck on Taft and Bea, our lifeline, was too busy watching football to help us solve this one.  As we were walking through the corn maze, Elle said, “I bet we’re missing one of the minor, do-nothing presidents.”  I was certain we named every one of the less-than-a-chapter-in-my-history-book guys, and said, “No, I think he was was one of the BIG presidents,” which miraculously jogged Elle’s memory and totally made us crack up.  True story.  We’re lame.)