Wednesday, May 29, 2013

CT Trails Day is This Weekend

When I saw the brochure at my local library - CT Trails Day Celebration - I was amazed at how many great events will be going on this weekend in over 150 of our state's 169 towns!  There are so many special events this year that they had to spread them out over the course of the weekend - so you have to fit at least one event into your busy schedule!  A little dose of nature does wonders after a stressful, busy week.  (Also it does wonders at calming me in the middle of a busy workweek when I can squeeze in a lunchtime hike through my local state forest with a friend!)

Some of the special events include: guided/nature/educational walks, oxen rides, geocaching, paddling (canoe & kayak), trolley rides, letter boxing, trail maintenance, picnic while listening to a jazz band, rock climbing, trail runs, biking, orienteering, educational walks, waterfall exploring, trail biking, horseback riding, beach walks, stand up paddle boarding, and of course, hiking.  Some require pre-registration, so have a quick look at the brochure online to see if you need to call ahead!

Another wonderful thing about this event: parking fees will be waived at participating parks!

The other thing I discovered once I went online, was that the website for the CT Forest & Park Association is REALLY good!

There is something for everyone this weekend.  Connecticut, as far as outdoor recreational activities go, you rock!  Happy CT Trails Weekend!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Six Main in Chester, CT - Part I

I've been meaning to write about an outstanding vegan experience I had - sorry it's so late in coming!  It was the end of last August when some friends decided it was time to try out the new vegan/vegetarian/raw restaurant Six Main in the very quaint village of Chester, CT.  It was a Friday evening, end of the month, after a particularly hectic Summer of real estate, and hubby was taking the munchkins to fencing lessons.  I was IN!

The restaurant is situated in the 100 year old former Chester Savings Bank, so already it has character, and a dedicated parking lot.  As a farm to table restaurant, chef Rachel Carr creates dishes from food locally & organically grown in Old Lyme at Upper Pond Farm.  The menu is always changing to reflect what is in season, and sometimes they'll have a featured ingredient of the week and base the menu on that item.  The recent prix-fixe menus have been very interesting!  The restaurant also offers cooking classes, and I just learned from their Facebook page that they have a "grab & go" fridge and the raw vegan blueberry lemon cheesecake is in there!  (I'm not offended if you stop reading here and head over to Chester.  The cheesecake is worth it.  Also, while you're down there, head across the street to Simon's Marketplace and pick up 2 baguettes.  They will likely still be warm from the oven.  You absolutely need 2 of them because you WILL eat one in the car on the ride home.  Trust me on this one.  My children call this the Simon's Salty Baguette Rule of 2.)

The first delight was arriving to find champagne flutes set at our table.  As it turns out, 2 of our husbands had conspired & ordered us a bottle of prosecco!  (Husbands take note - that's a brilliant & romantic gesture.)  Another delight was watching our waiter fawning over one of the ladies at our table and bringing her a cocktail he thought she'd enjoy!

What can I tell you about the fresh, seasonal menu?  That EVERY item our group of 5 ordered was delicious - we definitely passed the plates so everyone could try!  We were a table comprised of dairy-free, gluten-free, vegans, vegetarians & 1 omnivore (I may have been the only non-vegetarian) and we were all floored by our dinners and desserts.  These were some of the dishes on our table:

This next photo was not on the menu at the time, but I'm seriously hoping it's available during my next visit!  I found it on their Facebook page.  The more I look at it, the more I regret my Kung Pao lunch.  This would have been SO MUCH better.

I'm particularly excited to be going back to the restaurant next week with some of the same friends and a few more, for what promises to be a repeat of our lovely evening.  Just pouring through their recent pics of menu offerings on their Facebook page and I can't wait to see what will be on the menu next week! They've even added a bar since my last visit.