Friday, 18 July 2014

Douglas, Massachusetts

Thanks to the boys being so tired from their adventures the day before, they did not arise till 8 am.  We took a slow drive along the coast on our way to Massachusetts.  We stopped in Niantic in Connecticut for some lunch.  The great thing about being on the road with modern technology, is that we were able to find interesting place to break up our trip.  We did this a lot.

I had already scoped out The Black Sheep while travelling, so we gave it a shot.  This is an Irish pub/restaurant, which is part of a small local chain. We were offered inside or outside seating, we went inside.  Paul ordered a Harp, while I stuck with diet coke, as did the boys.  We looked at the menu, and i decided on fish and chips, until the server came to take our order, and we were told it was not on the lunch menu.  D'oh.  I went with the whiskey ketchup burger and Paul had the daily special, a cajun chicken sandwich with bacon.  Oliver ordered a cheese burger, and the other 2 went with grilled cheese sandwiches.  
The restaurant had a nice atmosphere and was not too busy, considering it was a Sunday lunch time. 
The food came promptly. Oliver loved his cheese burger, and all 3 boys cleared their plates.  My burger was delicious, though I did not add in much of the whiskey sauce.  Paul nabbed that for his pulled pork.  We were well fed.  The server was very nice and chatty, but not over imposing, just the type we like.  After a couple of bathroom stops we decided to have a little look at the Main Street and see if we could find the beach 

The Black Sheep on Urbanspoon

Niantic is a nice little town, and on the servers guidance to where the beach was we found it, just behind another restaurant off Main Street.  Thing is, the guy in the booth wanted $10 just to step foot on the beach.  That left a bad taste, so we headed back to the car to continue our drive. 

Niantic Main Street
   It took about 2 more hours to get to our place, after a stop at Walmart to get supplies (beer).  This Walmart did not sell beer.  No beer. No beer.....  I asked where we could get it, and we were directed to a nearby discount liquor store.  Phewwwwww.....

We eventually arrived at the cabin.  The owners let us in, and spoke with Paul about the way certain things work.  After the craziness of city life, it was nice to be out in the countryside, right by a lake.                             

What was not so nice was the state of the cabin.  There were cobwebs everywhere, the place smelt and it just felt old and worn.  My VRBO luck finally ran out.  After debating if it was worth staying or not, we decided to give it a go, after Paul gave it a good hoover and dust. We also decided, that after a few crazy days we would not be going to Boston.  Although it was only an hour away, we thought the boys had spent enough time in the car.  Plus Boston is fairly easy to fly to.   Whist hoovering we discovered dead ants on the back of the sofa and a mouse trap under it.  Luckily this was empty.  

The boys had a toast dinner, while we cracked on with the beer.  We got them down fairly early, and tried to relax.  We also went to bed early.  

Good job too, as the boys were up at 6am. Possibly because it was so cold!  60 degrees, we are not used to that!!! Paul had to get jumpers out of the car, and came back to tell us how beautiful the lake looked.  So we all trundled out in our pajamas to take a look.  It was beautiful.


As we had been up so early, we decided to go on a mini hike up to Wallis Pond, just the other side of the reservoir.  The owner had told us there was a beaver dam and quite a nice forest, so off we trundled.  It wasn't too hot, but that didn't stop the bugs.  We found the dam quite easily, just off Wallis Street.  And decided to explore the woods.  It was nice to give the boys free run, but this scared off most animals.


I am not afraid to say we got lost.  Totally lost.  Must remember next time to get a proper map.  Eventually we found our way back to the pond, and were able to head out of the woods.  Not before bumping into some dog walkers who spotted a snake, and managed to keep their eyes on it in the undergrowth so our boys could get a good look.  Thanks guys!

We headed back to the cabin, and gave the boys some computer time, while we decided what to do for lunch.  Luckily the cabin had wifi, even if it was a little patchy.  Turns out there is not much in Douglas.  We settled on The Picket Fence, as the other decent looking place was closed on a Monday, so off we headed. 

The building itself was established in 1860, and was used as a private club, the Elmwood Club for many years.  Baseball greats such as Hank Greenberg and Joe DiMaggio once graced the building with their presence.  As baseballs popularity waned in the fifties, the building was used for other purposes, before being purchased by its current owners in 1982 who have preserved many of its architectural features, while making it a hub of the community. This is like a diner, I think.  You seat yourself, and the waitress comes to take your order.  I went with the Cape Codder sandwich, consisting of homemade crab cake with cajun coleslaw dressing.  Paul ordered the grilled chicken sandwich, chicken breast with cheese and bacon.  Seb and Oliver opted for the cheese pizza, while Isaac had the grilled cheese. All with fries. Around the building are photos and memorabilia from the buildings past.  Very cool to see. Our food came quickly, my crab cake was huge, in fact I think there was two in there.  Proper home made, you could really taste the crab, though the cajun coleslaw dressing helped this.  Oliver enjoyed his pizza, but Seb didn't touch his.  Isaac cleared his plate. This place was really nice, a real American feel.

The Picket Fence Restaurant on Urbanspoon

We went back to the cabin, and played a bit outside.  We even had some friendly ducks come to visit us.  It was nice to give them a snack!

Its such a shame this place wasn't better maintained.  It could be really lovely with some work.  I spoke to the owner before we left, and he was very apologetic about the issues.  He even gave me back our deposit check straight away, usually he would post it after inspecting the property.  I have since had an email from him thanking us for leaving it in such good condition!


We were slightly relieved to be leaving the next morning, but I think Seb will always remember the lighthouse (he's a little obsessed....) 


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