The family held a surprise 75th birthday party for my Father-in-law, so we took a July 4 road trip to New York state. On the way we decided to take a mini-vacation, so I pulled out my "Reader's Digest Guide to Off the Beaten Path Attractions." This led us to Bristol, CT, home of ESPN.
No one in my family is a sports fan, so we looked with only mild interest at the satellites in the parking lot of the home of "Sports Center." Our destinations were much more interesting.
First, we visited the American Watch and Clock Museum. I promise to post some pics after I get them off my camera. Imagine a room filled with grandfather clocks. Imagine 11 o'clock in a room filled with grandfather clocks. Mechanically inclined Kilowatt loved the clock mechanisms. I loved the section dedicated to Disney character watches and clocks. Diva loved the sound of numerous clocks chiming 11 times.
Our travels led us next to the New England Carousel Museum. I have a thing for carousels, and have wanted to visit this museum for many years. The collection includes some fascinating carousel animals (did you know there was once a horse race ride where you zipped along at 40 miles per hour secured only by two metal handles on the side of a wooden horse?) There is also an old Wurlitzer carousel organ that plays the lovely (and very loud) music that accompanies riders on traditional carousels. Diva loved the carousel organ (see a trend here?)
Our final stop on our tour of Bristol attractions led us to Lake Compounce, America's oldest continuously operating amusement park. We were a bit hesitant to spend the admission price when we only had five or six hours to enjoy the park, but the lure of an old wooden roller coaster was too much to resist. Little did we know what treat was in store for us....
Let me digress a bit by explaining that in my younger days, I was quite the roller coaster connoisseur. A group of friends and I once drove four hours just to ride a wooden roller coaster that Money Magazine had listed in it's Top Ten roller coasters list. There was a time when I would ride any coaster in the country. As steel coasters have become more extreme, and I've become less daring, I now limit my coasters to wooden coasters (which will always be my favorite) and those with minimal inversions and average size drops.
Anyway, back to Lake Compounce. They have a wooden roller coaster called Boulder Dash that is built into the side of a mountain. This coaster was worth the price of admission, and there were virtually no lines to ride. I have to rank this among the best coasters I've ever ridden, and well worth a visit to CT. Even for non-coaster fans this is an excellent park, most notable is how clean and well-maintained the park is.
Once I've recovered from the trip I'll post pictures!