New England Drive - Part CT & RI (July 21, 2012)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our morning started with walking through a giant whale. Her name was Connie, and she stands outside of a children's museum that hadn't yet opened for the day. Score for lack of crowds!

For some reason Adam thought it was hilarious to make cat noises and pretend to scratch the camera all trip.  Okay, it was a little funny.

Our next stop was the Mark Twain house in Hartford, CT. His home was a gigantic 19 room mansion cleverly painted inside to create an illusion of grander wealth than they currently had. The money used to actually build this house had come from an inheritance belonging to Mrs. Clemens. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) had only written two books when they built the house, so they hadn't accumulated much of their wealth yet.

This house was neat to see but gaudy!

They employed 7-9 servants many of whom lived in the home. In the school room, we found a cyclopaedia (note the 'en' is missing).

No photos were allowed inside of the Mark Twain house.


There was also an educational room about disparaging racial advertisements and propaganda in the visitor's center. Mark Twain was years ahead of many with his anti-slavery ideas.

Lego Mark Twain

You had to picture yourself because you couldn't take photos inside.

We also got a few photos of the Harriet Beecher Stowe's house who was his neighbor at one point and the day home of Katharine Seymour.

Day home of Katharine Seymour

Stowe home

Next stop: Super Cow!

It was hard to move on after super cow, but we managed to head toward the Connecticut Capitol Building in Hartford.

Connecticut Capitol Building

We also went to the Old State House which had a some typical stately things...

Old bike belonging to Mark Twain at the Old State House in Connecticut

and some really strange exhibits like a preserved two headed pig and other gross oddities.

I appreciated the section of the building dedicated to the work of students.  Adam and Kris had something to leave behind too.

We hadn't seen nearly enough weird stuff, so we headed to the Classic Auto Wash of Cromwell, Connecticut to see a large selection of statues.

Adam wanted his photo with the pirate wench.

From Cromwell, we left for Middletown. If you are ever in Middletown, Connecticut, you must stop at Wild Bill's Nostalgia Center. Wild Bill is a pretty staunch anti-democrat who just went to Comicon.

The giant head here of Bill actually bobbles.

His store is huge and stocked with old items and rarities...some for sale, some just for display. He prides himself on having everything you'll never need but want anyway. Lots of nostalgic things. His store also stocks the largest collection of bobble heads, and he has the world's largest bobblehead.

(Click on photo for a larger/more detailed view.)

We spent more time at Wild Bill's than we expected. They are opening what will become the world's longest walk through fun house - just in time for Halloween 2012.

Another of the world's largest bobbleheads.

Terri likes to read the signs.  Carol would be proud.

Our day wasn't over yet. We headed over to the Gilette Castle in East Haddam. This was a crazy medieval stonework castle home with a lodge style interior built by Gilette, a man made famous for playing Sherlock Holmes.

Gillette Castle

On the grounds, the East Haddam Stage Company were reenacting Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of The Speckled Band from 1930.

The interior of the Gillette Castle didn't really match the outside.

The grounds also had a lovely picnic area with a bridge and ponds.

In the ponds we were able to see frogs in every stage of development...tadpole, tadpole with two legs, tadpole with four legs, frogs with a tail, and frogs. It was pretty darn cool and completely a surprise. Lilypads are actually useful as well as pretty!

Frog with a tail


Full figured frog

Our next stop in Uncasville was tricky to find. We were looking for a place called Wells Dinosaur Haven. This is something built by a guy fond of dinosaurs and open for anyone to view...but it's in his backyard. We knew the name of the town, but the only other information we had was that we were looking for a red house across from the casino with dinosaurs in the woods. We never thought we'd find it, but, Kris, ever vigilant, wouldn't give up. We finally found Wells Dinosaur Haven. The dinosaurs are sadly starting to fall apart a bit, but you have to respect the amount of work that it took to make so many dino replicas.

We figured we'd seen all the weird Connecticut had to offer, so we headed on to Rhode Island. Since the theme now seemed to be ruins, we were off to the Enchanted Forest...or the remnants of what once was an amusement park catering to small children.

Adam wasn't found of the bugs at the Enchanted Forest overgrowth, so we took him to see a bee...the Fighting Sea Bee that is.

He was not interested in the bee, but he did show interest in an uncharacteristic dinner (for Kris and I) of Burger King.

Because hot fudge sundaes weren't bad enough?
We checked into our nice, but expensive, Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel across the street from the Rhode Island Capitol Building and walked to the waterfront to see WaterFire, a once a month event in the summer where bonfires are lit on the river with music after sunset. It was packed, but it was neat.

Maybe Adam shouldn't have gotten Burger King?

On the walk from and to the hotel, we photographed the capitol building.

Rhode Island Capitol Building

Back at the hotel, Kris found out that our bathroom had a secret entrance to our room!

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3 Responses
  1. What is the largest bobble head, and how did Kris find the secret room?

  2. Kristy McCoy Says:

    There is contention about the World's Largest Bobblehead. Wild Bill definitely has the world's largest collection of bobbleheads. His sign bobbles and is largest if measured in a certain direction. There is also the clown which was taller than the largest bobblehead according to the Guinness Book of World Records since it is taller than 11 feet, but it hasn't been recognized. (

  3. Anonymous Says:

    You guys pack such a full day! I loved the Blues Brothers dancing by the car wash, and would love to see Will Bill's, but have to do some major negotiation to get Michael to agree to go. Bacon sundaes? Really?
    The tadpoles in all forms were pretty cute, but not the poor 2 headed pig. And then to be stuffed in a jar and put on display...I'll probably have nightmares tonight.
    All in all, what a day! I live vicariously through your travels!
    Keep on truckin'