Why waste all your time procrastinating on the internet when there are so many lovely places in nearby central Connecticut ripe for exploration? Two Middletown experts, Manon Lefèvre ’14 and Piers Gelly ’13 write in with a pretty spectacular list of places one could visit while procrastinating or not procrastinating.
Does a goldfish really have an attention span of three seconds? Sometimes it feels like Wesleyan’s lasts just under four years. I’ve now lived in Middletown for six years, and my girlfriend, Manon Lefèvre ’14, has been a Nutmegger since she was nine. As such, we’ve put together a list of a few of our favorite places in CT. It’s neither comprehensive nor conclusive, but maybe you’ll learn something from our experiences.When it gets really hot out, you can tube down the Farmington River for a 2.5 mile scenic ride (and some mild rapids). It’s a little steep at $20, but totally worth it. Last time I went, there was one particularly scary bit of rapids and we were warned that if you went straight down the middle you would get stuck in what they call the “washing machine,” where you get sucked into a whirlpool and just spin around like a washing cycle. It happened to my friend Nicole, who panicked and had to get talked down by a lifeguard wearing nothing but a tiny speedo.—MLHave you ever wondered about that enormous ziggurat-esque structure at the intersection of Broad and Court Streets? It’s the Middletown Corporate Center, and last year I learned from Dean of Humanities Andrew Curran that there’s a restaurant inside. They serve lunch. Their vegetarian fare is limited, but you can get a made-to-order veggie burger for $5.—PGThe Durham Fair is a local staple and a must-see. I’ve been going for years to find baking competitions (my fav is the one of Barbies with cake skirts), displays of personal collections, livestock (including a particularly impressive rabbit and bird house), music, food, rides, tractor pulls, and a demolition derby.—MLAt Zen Roasters in the far north end of Middletown, you can order five-pound bags of excellent, custom-roasted coffee beans. Courtney Barnett has done the math on this: you’ll save quite a bit of $ if you make coffee at home, and nothing tastes better than caffeine self-sovereignty.—PGOn my high school’s senior skip day, I went to the beach at Rocky Neck State Park with the entire senior class. It’s a great beach and near the even greater town of Old Lyme.—MLMy senior year, my friends and I were fascinated by the durian, a large, spiny fruit from southeast Asia known for its odor of rotting garbage and reputedly delicious flesh. We were determined to obtain one, and did so at A Dong Oriental Market in West Hartford. The durians are in an unlabeled freezer in the produce section, so make sure you ask.—PGIn Bristol, CT, near the ESPN studios, there is a theme park called Lake Compounce, where I used to go all the time as a kid, and still occasionally do. It opened for the season just last week, but its water park, Crocodile Cove, opens Memorial Day weekend. I highly recommend going the Thunder Rapids ride, but if you ride the Wave Swinger more than once in a row, I can tell you from experience that you might throw up. Also, there’s free soda machines!—MLAt Klekolo Coffee on Court Street, the iced coffee includes ice cubes made of frozen coffee.—PGEvery November-January, Meriden’s Hubbard Park is lit up with all different kinds of Christmas lights in what’s called the “Festival of Silver Lights.” There are light-up swans in the pond, light-up stars in the trees, light-up bears and elephants in the woods, a giant light-up globe, and light-filled buildings with Christmas trees and fake presents. It’s really a sight to see. My girlfriends and I go every year at Christmas. You can drive through or get out and walk.—ML