It’s Fall in Connecticut, and it’s beautiful. We know that if we were here just a couple of weeks later, the colours would be even more vivid, but the leaves they are a changing, the squirrels are scurrying around with huge excitement at the abundance of acorns, oh, and did we mention that the weather is closing in!
When we woke this morning, a flood watch and wind advisory were in effect for our area and we were seriously thinking about the option of staying a further day with our friends at The Whaler’s Inn in Mystic, and condensing a couple of our remaining days into one. We were seeing pictures of torrential rain, and hearing about winds gusting up to 60 mph. It was not pretty. But, strangely, outside our window, the roads were dry. There was wind, and not just from the pork and veal we consumed last night, but it really wasn’t that bad. So, why not stop making excuses and just do it?! As Jim and Edie say, it’s all about extreme perseverance!!
Well, less than a mile into the ride, the rain started, and we pulled into the side of the road under a tree to do the necessary with the rain gear. Good job. Seconds later, the heavens opened and within minutes rapids of water several inches deep were gushing down the street. We decided to set off again anyway (trees aren’t that much use with that amount of rain), and immediately found ourselves dodging hazardous flotsam that had been ripped off the trees and were now being carried along with ease by the torrent of water that covered the area that had just a few minutes ago been a bike path/shoulder. Cresting the hill, and riding our brakes down the other side, we were closing our eyes tight as the wind blew the rain directly into our faces and, well, pretty much everywhere….
Eventually, the rain slowed down and, although we were only 16 miles into our journey, we decided that we had earned a stop at the “Dunkin Dog-nuts” in Niantic: apparently America runs on it, so we thought that we would try cycling on it today. We chatted with the two lovely ladies who served our coffees and jelly donuts, one of whom has a sister who was recently diagnosed with MS. We wish them all the best, and will be thinking of them.
A few miles further on, after a bit of rain jacket hokey cokey, the rain finally stopped. Yay. And after 55 miles of riding, we were pleased to arrive at By The Sea Inn & Spa in Branford, CT while it was still light. The lovely Abigail, Abby, Abi (it depends on her mood as to how she spells it) not only showed us around, but also did our laundry for us, and then drove us to our restaurant for dinner (it was raining again by then). Abby – we love you!!
Dinner was a wonderful affair. We had read online about Le Petit Café, and saw that it had good reviews, but really it was stunning. It’s a tiny unassuming place that is a little piece of France in the middle of Branford, CT. Having gorged ourselves on all manner of rich food and wine, we were set to leave when Roy Ip, the chef, came out from the kitchen for a chat. He’s originally from Hong Kong and trained in French cuisine at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. We couldn’t believe that such authentically French food could possibly have been born as a result of Roy’s single year of training, but whatever the explanation, he’s certainly a man of great talent, and grace.
We’re now chilling out on the comfortable bed in our room listening to some chill-out Jazz….”Jaaaaaz” as John Thompson would say. On the road again tomorrow, and hoping for the sunshine that is forecast. Our friend, the Rolling Rev, will be glad to hear that we’re heading inland away from US1 (we agree with the comments, though it was actually great today), and that we have a tried and tested route down the Hudson Valley to get us back to NY in a few days time.