Recently my blogging friend Linda, over at Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy, has been posting about her visit to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and this inspired me to finally visit Connecticut’s own national wildlife refuge. I’ve lived in Connecticut most of my life and had never been! We decided to start with the Salt Meadow Unit in Westbrook, closest to home.
Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 10 units stretched across 70 miles of Connecticut’s coastline. It was established in 1972 and was originally called Salt Meadow National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was renamed in 1987 to honor the late U.S. Congressman Stewart B. McKinney, who was instrumental in expanding it. ~ Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge website
We were very excited to reach the wildlife viewing platform overlooking the salt marsh. Unfortunately, though, we did not see a single waterbird, even though we waited patiently for a while. Wrong time of year or maybe wrong time of day…
I was surprised to find an andromeda bush (on the right) in the woods. Perhaps it originated in the garden of Esther Lape & Elizabeth Read, who owned the property and donated it to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 1972.
Looking forward to returning some day to take the Marsh (Blue) and Woodcock (Orange) Trails. And maybe to see some birds!
On Tuesday we took advantage of beautiful weather and took a very long walk at a new park that was created in 2010. We walked straight downhill through a forest to Fort Hill Brook, saw a small waterfall and then followed the stream down to another one. And then we climbed up a switchback trail to our starting point, a loop that took us an hour.
The Sheep Farm has a diverse habitat including rocky outcroppings, glacial erratics, bluestem meadows, deep forest interior habitat, forest edge habitat, early successional forests, extensive wetlands, seeps, shrub swamps, a string of Tier 1 vernal pools, Class A stream – Fort Hill Brook, and two waterfalls. ~ Groton Open Space Association website
Twice we moved six feet off the trail to avoid other hikers, and spotted some people on other trails on the other side of the brook.
There was a better spot to take a picture of this waterfall, but, a woman was practicing yoga in a bathing suit behind the tree so this was the best I could do. 🙂
When we got back to the parking lot we had to find a rock to sit on for quite a while. A family had parked right next to our car and they were getting in and out of their car trying to sort something or other out. They were much closer than the required six feet for social distancing! But we enjoyed looking at some plantings while we waited patiently for them to leave.
We now have 11 detected cases of coronavirus in our town. Population: 39,075. (In 2017) I find myself preoccupied with statistics these days.
After our long afternoon at Coumeenoole Beach we found our bed and breakfast, The Plough. The hostess, Beatrice, made us feel right at home. When we got warmed up and settled, we headed out again for dinner at Lord Baker’s, Dingle’s oldest gastro pub and largest restaurant. Tim & I had one of that night’s specials, Slow Roast Shank of Kerry Lamb & Red Wine Sauce. (local and grass-fed lamb) It was so delicious that we are still talking about it!
When we returned to our B&B I was feeling chilled so Beatrice warmed up a hot water bottle with a faux fur covering to take to bed with me. I warmed up quickly and slept very soundly. 🙂
Sunday morning Tim & I woke up before the others and took a morning walk. The surrounding scenery was soothing and pastoral. We were overlooking Ventry Harbour and the moon was still in the sky.
When we returned for breakfast we had a pleasant surprise. The first thing offered was porridge and was it ever tasty! Beatrice said the “secret” ingredients were local, sweet cream and a little shot of Bailey’s. 🙂 Then we had a choice of various egg, ham, and sausage breakfast combinations.
I loved the pillows Beatrice used in her sitting room! This was our first time ever staying at a bed & breakfast ~ thank you Larisa & Dima for the special treat!!!
We had a long day ahead of us and so we were then off for the next adventures.
It’s been snowing! I’ve come back from my twelve days in North Carolina, where spring has already sprung, big time!
Poor Katherine… it’s no fun when it’s so nice outside but you are miserable with a fever and a very runny nose. And you don’t want to get out of your pajamas or comb your hair or let go of your bunny or blanket… And your visiting Grammy still insists on getting some pictures of you!
Several hours later – it must have been at least 80°F in the afternoon!
I had a lovely time visiting the little one and her parents. Their new house is beautiful. Larisa and I planted some seeds in her vegetable garden, re-potted a couple of plants, discussed colors for painting the walls, took walks, ate out several times, and went shopping for all sorts of things for the house and for clothes for Katherine. I also got to spend time with my friend from high school, Susan, who lives only two miles away. We got caught in a scary thunder and hail storm one night on our way home from having dinner out. Yikes! And I had plenty of time to work on my ancestor table (see sidebar) while the family was at work and daycare.
Now that I am home work on the bathroom has stalled as we wait for the floor tile to come in. But a lot got done while I was gone. The new closet is framed out, the electrical and plumbing are all done, and the walls are up. And I’m looking out my window at about 5 inches of snow – quite a contrast to the daffodils down south!