Monday, July 19, 2010

Three Days = Three Cruising Connecticut Destinations = One Picnic

This past Friday the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, the oldest public art museum in the Country, sponsored a Gallery Talk on Sol LeWitt. Although I had heard of this artist. born in Hartford in 1928, I was totally unfamiliar with his work. What a treat, not only to learn something of the man, who as a young boy took art classes at the Museum, but then to view the exhibit of this world renowned artist, best known for his contribution and leadership role in conceptual art. Before you go to the exhibit room, note the fascinating and colorfully detailed wall painting that takes up the entire wall behind the admissions desk. The exhibit runs through August 15th.

For our pre-museum outdoor picnic, we went straight to Burr Mall on the south side of the museum. As described in Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket, we had a commanding view of the well-known sculpture Stegosaurus, and a pool and fountain while picnicking on one of the white marble slab benches outside the Municipal Building. This bench was even more perfect, both as a seat and a table than I remembered.

Our simple lunch of hard boiled eggs, cheese and crackers, watermelon and fresh cherries was thoroughly enjoyed in this setting, even though the serenity was somewhat overshadowed by the construction of the museum's new roof. Inside, we found several display rooms empty and closed to the public as they are also being spruced up.

Speaking of construction, folks who have Cruising Connecticut may remember that in 2008 when my 2nd Edition was published, I inserted a note at the end of the Hartford chapter (City Walking Tours) that the Connecticut Science Museum was still being constructed. Well, earlier this month I finally visited this facility, urged in part by a gift of free passes! I am hoping that in time this attraction, like so many others in the state, will have reduced-rate passes that can be checked out at local libraries.

The architecture and creative design of the exhibits immediately grabbed my attention, but after awhile there was a bit of frustration as massive groups of school children prevented a close-up view of the more popular displays. While it was heartening to see how animated and boisterous the kids were about science, I began to wonder whether it was the science itself that was the attraction, or simply the fun of playing with the hands-on exhibits. A little bit of both most likely. Next time, I plan to arrive in mid-afternoon when it will be quieter and easier to get up close ~ and to have a turn to play!

On Sunday, I delivered books to The Gift Shop at Connecticut Trolley Museum. This tourist spot was busy with happy families riding a trolley dating back to the late 1800's or early 1900's. If I hadn't planned on running up to UConn with another book delivery, I would have been tempted to join them.

After my book drop at UConn Bookstore, I drove past some of the barns on the animal trail admiring the beautifully kept grounds, but the only place I stopped on this very warm day was at the Dairy Barn. Yum, they still dish up the best homemade ice cream in the state.

Happy day tripping and picnicking!