Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Here's Some More CT Stuff To Do This Summer!

Sometimes it's the stuff that you do know that turns into the stuff you learn.  How?  Well, pretty much everyone has heard of Mark Twain.  Did you know that he spent a good part of his life right here in Hartford, CT?  He also died right here.  The Mark Twain House is next to the house of Harriet Beecher Stowe.  The families were good  friends, and they had a lot of parties together.  You may have heard about someone buying the rights to some of Mark Twain's works, just to take the offensive words out of them, but if you've ever read them, you know that he was mostly making fun of it.  Mark Twain was a satirist.  That character of Jim that everyone was so concerned about was based on the family butler, George, who was a member of the family.

The enormous three story house was an amazing treasure at the time and that has not changed today.  There were several bedrooms, bathrooms, a school room, billiard room, parlor, living room, dining room, greenhouse room, kitchen, servants quarters and so on.  It is a beautiful house.  So, once you've spent some time there, and seen it all, what should you do?

Well, me and my friends decided to take the opportunity to see this place at night.  Three times a year or so, the museum staff does ghost tours.  The house is reportedly haunted, and even if it's not, the guides have some great stories to tell.   We heard the obvious about how Samuel Clemens/ Mark Twain was born when Halley's Comet was coming round and died when it was coming round.  We heard about all of the trials and tribulations that the Ghost Hunters had while trying to investigate and film in the house on both of the two occasions that they came to shoot a show.  We heard about all the times that people have believed that they've seen or heard the butler, George.  We heard the tales about how his daughter died there.  It's all fascinating and it's not the normal tour.

What they don't prepare you for are the best things.  While they tell you about their personal experiences with things crashing outside the house, they don't prepare you for the person in the tour before you passing out on the third floor.  That's what happened when we were there.  It was different.  It was a cold and rainy night, so it was perfect for a ghost tour.  The ambulance and it's lights were something completely different from what we had expected.  The patron was just fine, so there were no tragedies.  We did love the film in the museum beforehand that told us about some of the otherworldly antics of the house, and I loved the story about Harriet Beecher Stowe's sister believing that she was going to be crowned ruler of the universe.  By the way, she believed it, but no one else cared.  Loved that one.  I think the biggest surprise was the bells.  On the second floor in the girls' bedroom, we heard a bell ring, and no one mentioned that on the tour.  The guy in front of me jumped about a foot in the air, and the guide had no explanation.  Was it a ghost?  Was it a hoax for the tour?  I don't know.  I'm not a believer, but it sure gave me my money's worth for a tour.  Should you go?  Sure.  It's fun and the next weekend that they do the tours will be Halloween.  Good times for ghost tours.

Next on that list of things that you should do in Connecticut is to go and see a Rock Cats Minor League Baseball Game.  Soon the Rock Cats will be moving to Hartford and becoming Yard Goats, so this is the perfect time to go to New Britain Stadium and see a game while Rock Cats are still Rock Cats and the game is still in New Britain.  This one was nostalgic for me, because I used to live across the street from Willow Brook Park where the stadium is located.  I spent many evenings over there watching baseball when they were the New Britain Red Sox.

Baseball is tough  for me.  I love it and I hate it.  I don't like to watch it on TV because it bores me, but in the stadium it's fabulous.  I love the crowds, the announcers, the music, the antics and all of it.  There's just something  home town about going to the game.  It's that something that you don't get when you watch it on television.

There's just that something about seeing Dunkin Donuts iced coffee racing the Dunkin Donuts doughnut around the field.  It's that great feeling that you get when you see a kid with his mitt catch a foul ball.  It's that something in the air that you just don't get sitting at home watching it while sitting on your couch.

I love summer, and there are many baseball teams in Connecticut.  We have minor league, college league and all the local stuff.  Soon the Rock Cats will be gone.  They will be Yard Goats in Hartford, which just won't be the same.  Take the time to go to a Rock Cats game before it's too late.

So, as I always say, get out and enjoy the summer, before it's over.  The snow will come again.  Take a ghost tour, take a historic house tour.  Hear the stories that the writer's are famous for.  Catch a game before it's too late and everything changes.  Watch the doughnuts and the coffee race and the kids catch some foul balls.  Enjoy a wonderful time out and about in the microcosm that I call home, Connecticut.

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