Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Elephant Trunk Flea Market As Seen on HGTV

When you think of a flea market your mind instantly races to a few antiques, good deals, farm animals, knock off purses, and well essentially junk because that is what most of them have become these days. My mind races to a place full of hidden treasures that you can turn into works of art, now that kind of flea market is a hidden treasure in itself. I love a good flea market. Partly because I love crafting and making old new again and partly because I love people watching. I am a sucker for places that scream people watching, and we all know that is exactly what you will find at your typical flea market. Now I maybe crazy and you may disagree but in the KY I feel like the flea markets have made a turn for the worse. Back in the day they were filled with those rare finds, but now it seems like the are literally full of just junk (air brush t-shirts, toys you buy at the fair, and the list goes on and on). Maybe there are still some legit flea markets out there but I just haven't been to a good one in some time. 

Now in Connecticut we have found the greatest flea market I believe I have ever been to. Seriously people it is worth the trip up here just for the flea market finds and food trucks, oh the food trucks (my mouth is currently watering). If you have ever watched the show Flea Market Flip on HGTV than you probably have seen the very flea market that I so lovingly dragged the Mr. and kids to (they will no longer go kicking and screaming, the Mr. is practically begging to go back so he can be put into a food truck coma again). 

The Elephant Trunk is located in New Milford, CT. This is about 45 minutes from where the Mr. and I live. It is only open on Sundays during the months of April through December. You can participate as a vendor or a buyer. The flea market opens bright an early, and if you are an early bird (5:45 a.m.) be prepared to pay $20 for admission, regular buyers (7:00 a.m. and beyond)pay $2.00 for admission. The market has a variety of vendors and honestly they say no two weekends are the same at the market. Vendors travel from all across the country to participate in this flea market. Its really pretty incredible. To top it all off there are some great food trucks set up. 

The weekend that the Mr. and I went (and I think they are there every weekend during market season) the Crafty Cue food truck was there. Now the Mr. and I love BBQ (you could always find us at Marks on Monday night when we lived in Louisville, we were Monday regulars). Seeing that we were there around brunch a lot of the food trucks were serving breakfast type items, but there were so many and it was a little chilly (cold enough for the kids to take a really good nap all snuggled up in the stroller) that we didn't have time to check them all out. Back to the Crafty Cue, we decided to eat brunch at this cute little food truck and both order the "Dirty Pig," which consisted of BBQ, an egg, two slices of bacon on top of some delicious type of bun. Some of you maybe reading this thinking that sounds disgusting, others maybe curious about this concoction, while others maybe watering at the mouth (that would be me as I type this post). Let me just tell you the Mr. believes it is the best BBQ sandwich he has ever eaten (we've been to Austin folks, grew up with Moonlight BBQ, we know our BBQ). I kid you not he has talked about it since we left, wishes he would have bought two sandwiches. He is currently reading this post planning our next trip to the Elephant Trunk. It was pretty delectable, and I honestly think anything on their menu would have been scrumptious. Also a major plus to Crafty Cue, they served sweet tea and it was good. I love a good food truck, they never let me down. 

To sweet not to share

They both took a great nap, missed brunch entirely

While we didn't find any treasures we couldn't live without (we really don't have room anyways) it was nice to look around. We were there for 2 hours before it got cold and rainy and only made it down two rows, and of course ate. Its a huge flea market, so if you are coming bring your wagon (to put your goodies in), wear your walking shoes, and come hungry. I promise the Elephant Trunk won't disappoint. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Rhode Island The Ocean State

Mother's Day weekend on a whim, seriously Thursday night, we decided to head to Rhode Island for a day trip. It is literally and hour to the state line and 30 minutes to the capital, Providence. It has been raining nonstop here for the past month, not to mention in the high 50s low 60s if we are lucky (we've had a slight change in the weather this past week), and I am telling you we are about to go crazy being stuck inside 24/7. Where is SPRING? We decided that we were no longer going to let this nonsense weather put a damper into our exploration of the northeast (seriously we have been waiting for spring because everything shuts down up here from November until it gets warm, which apparently this weather is unusual, I'm not buying it). 

Rhode Island is tiny little state known as the Ocean state. Its the smallest state in the US, the state motto is "Hope," Providence is home to one of top Ivy League schools in the country, Brown University, and the list goes on and on. We set out first thing Saturday morning with our mission being to go to Providence and check out the Children's Museum. 

Our first stop though, was for brunch. Upon reading several blogs about family friendly restaurants I discovered that T's Restaurant in Cranston, RI was ranked as one of the top brunch spots in the state. Cranston is just right outside of Providence. T's did not let us down. The Mr. ordered his go to brunch item a breakfast burrito, which was the best thing that we ordered. I ordered a sampler meal, just so the dictator could have pancakes without having to spend additional money on a children's meal (they can be such a rip off). My meal came with two pancakes, cinnamon apples, an omelet, toast, and bacon (clearly we weren't going to starve). The best thing about T's was the coffee. They feature a seasonal coffee, endless, so the flavors are constantly changing. Apparently their pumpkin flavored coffee is the best but I will say the Maple French Toast coffee was really good. Plus it came in a cute little cup to drink out of. The Mr. ordered hot chocolate, and while it wasn't the best hot chocolate in the world it warmed you up. If you have been reading the blog you know by now that I love brunch, and am on mission to find quirky little brunch joints in New England, which seem to be few and far between (sorry IHOP doesn't count for me). T's hit the mark and didn't let me down. 

Maple French Toast Coffee

Eating all the whip cream off the hot chocolate

After brunch we headed in to Providence. I think we may end up going back to Providence at some point just because the one thing they are most famous for (Water Fire) was not occurring this past weekend. Providence is the state capital and home to Brown University. It is also home to the top thing on our agenda for the weekend, The Children's Muesem. We have been to a couple different children's museums before and while this one certainly was no comparison to the one we visited in Chicago it was a thousand times better than the highly recommended Kid City Museum here in Connecticut. Elin loved it! The one huge perk is that unlike the Chicago Children's Museum everything here was toddler friendly. Chicago has some strictly big kids area (still by far the best one we have been to). On top of all the fun we had at the museum it was Mother's Day weekend so moms got in free. 

Elin's top things at the Children's Muesem were the play area with a slide, pretend boat, and stuffed animals (she loves stuffed animals, I am sure they were full of germs, but oh well). She also loved the shape sorter wall. She has a little Melissa and Doug shape sorter toy at home so this wall was right up her alley. The highlight would be the pretend kitchen. Elin is obsessed with playing what she calls "kitchen." They have one at the library we go to, and I swear we literally go to the library a couple times a week just so she can play "kitchen." (On a side note, we do own a play kitchen but there is just something about toys that aren't at your home, they are just a thousand times better). 

We wrapped up the Children's Muesuem a little earlier than expected (if you go plan for a few hours not the whole day, its pretty small, and eventually you run out of things to do). I had planned on eating dinner in Providence but we were far from dinner time when we finished. We decided to do a drive thru tour of Brown University (when in Rome, plus you can never start to early discussing college with your kids, this is Elin's 3rd college tour in her short 2 years of life). If you look at the picture below you can clearly see that Brown is not in her future (she cried real tears), we still have a couple more on our list of college tours to take while we live in New England so maybe there is hope, my guess is Stamford would be her Ivy League of choice, its warmer there. 

Seriously crying real tears

After our tour of Brown we felt pretty confident we had seen everything there was to see in Providence, minus the Water Fire show. We had only planned to go to Providence but as we were leaving we decided Newport was only 30 minutes away and we had nothing else to do. Elin needed a nap, and we could explore the other area that Rhode Island is known for. We are so thankful that we decided to take this little excursion because it was well worth it. Newport was the highlight of the trip. Newport is known for the famous cliff walk full of beautiful mansions that sit on a cliff and overlook the ocean. It is very breathing taking and probably would have been even better had the weather cooperated. We were only able to do part of the cliff walk before heading back to the car, one because our meter was up, and two because it looked as if the skies would open at any moment. We did do a drive by of all the houses via car and I think it is necessary to do it both ways, you see the front and back of the homes. If you are really adventurous some of the homes are open for tours (we would have been pushing our kids to their limit so we decided against taking a tour). The drive by was pretty cool because on the opposite side of the street there are homes just as large and just as gorgeous, if not more gorgeous, as the ones sitting next to the ocean. Taylor Swift owns a home in this area so for all the Swifty fans out there don't make the mistake I did and miss that, the Mr. proceeded to tell me this info after we had left Rhode Island. 

We were also able to walk on the beach while we were there. The Mr. went a little to far and got soaking wet. Apparently the Atlantic is pretty cold right now, said the man who had to dry his socks out with car vents! It was nice though to smell the salt water and hear the sound of the waves crashing. 

Newport is pretty cool little town. The downtown area by the wharf is what you picture in your head when you think of a little New England town. There were lots of little shops and restaurants. We ate at Nickolas Pizza and I am pretty sure it ranks as one of the top pizza's that we have had since we moved up north. People in Connecticut go on and on about how amazing their pizza is, we have yet to have that amazing pizza, Rhode Island's pizza trumps Connecticut pizza currently, in fact Papa Johns still remains our go to pizza place. We are trying to find this amazing Connecticut pizza everyone talks about, yet can't tell us the name of the place to get it. Luckily we were able to catch the Derby race while here which we were very thankful for because we were both missing the KY this past weekend. Before heading back we stopped into a little fudge shop to get a little treat for the drive home.  

Overall Rhode Island was a great trip, probably one of the best ones thus far. If you are planning a New England visit don't plan to stay here long though. While Newport could be a whole day in itself if you wanted to do some serious shopping and walking, there isn't a whole lot to see in Providence. Other than if you are planning a beach vacation its probably just one of those states you swing through, enjoy for the day, and then head on because if your coming to New England you can cover a lot of ground in a short period, which is awesome. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Festival Another Word for County Fair

Sorry for the lack of post lately we have had visitors, and been on so many adventures that I have just let the blog slip.

Connecticut loves a festival. I get emails from this awesome site called Mommy Poppins, basically it gives you some ideas of events, attractions, and things to do with kids in the area. I have used it a couple of times now to get the kids out of the house, and its pretty legit, especially for someone who knows nothing about the area. 

Every time I log onto Mommy Poppins and search upcoming events there is always a festival. Connecticut is actually pretty rural,  I know I was just as surprised as some of you reading this post. Every little small town has their own festival at some point during the year on the town green. I am no stranger to loving a festival at home, usually that means crafts and art are involved, which if you know me you know I love a good craft and handmade items. The festivals up here are no different, they are home to crafts but are also really just a county fair with a craft section. The last weekend of April Meridan (a couple towns over from us) was hosting their annual Daffodil festival. They were suppose to have over 600,000 daffodil's, but Connecticut weather being as it is there was a frost and other than the fake daffodil on the stage there was not a single daffodil in that entire park (I was really looking forward to getting some good pictures of the kids). 

Apparently the Connecticut eternal winter hurt the flowers this year

Not only was there a small section of arts and crafts, but there was live music, and fair rides. We tried our hardest to get Elin to go on the Ferris Wheel, but that wasn't happening. The Mr. coworkers told us though that if we were going to a festival we had to get the "Fried Dough with red sauce." Fried Dough is just another term for "funnel cake" (we are going to have an entire blog post on terminology in the Northeast). Now I love funnel cake and all that delicious powdered sugar. I was very hesitant to not get the Fried Dough with powdered sugar. However, we are living in Connecticut and I figured I need to take full advantage of all that this state has to offer, and live like a local, eat the red sauce not the powdered sugar. HUGE mistake! It was absolutely terrible. The Mr. coworkers had told us we would never order the powdered sugar version again, but I hate to break it to them I would never order the red sauce (sort of like marinara) again. The Mr. and I both hated it, we tried to do the best we could to eat around the red sauce just so we could justify literally throwing away $6.00. 

Being the kind patron I am I just wanted to let readers out there know northeastern festivals are a must if you love a county fair (its a fun experience, as are any county fairs, great people watching). If you aren't a county fair person stir clear, it wasn't that great. Northeastern fried dough with red sauce save your money, don't do it!