36 Hours in Connecticut: Part 1

So last weekend, I drove up to Connecticut to hang out with H and her two kitties. It was an impromptu trip but we managed to quickly plan a v. fun itinerary. The weather was gorgeous so we spent a good deal of time outside. H also did some really great research that had us dining at really delicious restaurants.
With autumn lurking just around the corner, I'm glad we had a chance to enjoy the sunshine in dresses and shorts.
Foolishly, I assumed that leaving the office just after lunch would get me to H's house in time for happy hour. But, because everyone was heading somewhere for the long weekend, a normally two and a half hour drive ended up taking four.
Because I was so tired from the cruel traffic-filled drive, H suggested we have a casual night in instead of going out for dinner. So, I cubed and sliced some cheese, she made rosemary butter and chive butter, we opened up a few containers of pickles and olives and Italian meats, and tore up some bread and went to town. Of course, we washed it all down with a few glasses of wine.
The next morning, we hopped in the car and started our day bright and early.
Our first stop was the Book Barn in Niantic. It's the coolest place and if you love books and a bargain, I highly recommend a visit. There's a huge selection of used books. Pricing for most books was anywhere between $1 and $5. There was also a collection of really cool and old-looking books that were locked up and cost $100+; these were super rare books like first editions.
It's also a lot of fun to say hello to the little goats who live at the barn.
Because we love creeping ourselves out, we decided to add a visit to the Seaside to our itinerary. I'm actually a rather yellow-bellied scaredy cat though, so I was so thankful that it was a gorgeously bright day. It made the experience less daunting.
The Sanatorium used to be a place for children with tuberculosis to go and be treated, then it was a place for the elderly, and then it became a place for the mentally disabled. But, it closed down (I think because it became known that the patients were being abused and mistreated) and now, it's a state park. So, you can go and have a picnic whilst sitting near a creepy abandoned building.
After the Sanatorium, we followed our growling bellies to Mystic.
Anthony J's Bistro
We were planning on going to a happy hour at around 5 so we decided to eat "light" and shared the burrata.
We also got the seafood hot rock. Basically, they heat up a piece of volcanic rock to 650F and pile on some raw seafood and then bring it to the table sizzling hot. Because you can control the doneness of the food, you can remove the pieces of fish early if you prefer a rare center, you can leave the scallops on long enough to get a good golden crust, and you can ensure that every bite is steaming hot.
Olde Mistick Village
After lunch, we went to the Olde Mistick Village to do a little perusing and shopping.
We were mostly interested in the craft fair that was set up closer to the main road.
H actually bought one of these gorgeous mugs from Riri's Pottery Haus. The artist is super cool and her work is incredible.
H also bought a few soaps from the Seascape Soapworks booth. I tried out their body butter and fell in love and decided to buy a tub, at which point, H decided she needed one too. I forgot to snap a photo of the booth and the lovely ladies, but they have some amazing products and the scents are so delicious.
We decided to have a light dinner by enjoying the super cheap happy hour specials at Max Fish. I got three oysters for $1 each. They were shucked perfectly (no shell pieces in the meat) and the mignonette was super balanced - perfectly acidic and bright.
We also got the tuna tartare, which was tender but a little underseasoned, I thought.
The pork sliders were super tiny and adorable. The pork was well seasoned and amazingly tender.
We also got blistered shishito peppers, which were so good! I need to find out where I can buy these.
The mussels fra diavolo had a slightly muddy taste, probably due to the mussels, but the tomato-based sauce was spicy and bright.
And, our greed forced us to also order some sweet potato fries. They were crisp and perfect.
We also couldn't pass up the $5 cocktails. I started with a raspberry gimlet and then went for the POM margarita.
Then, because we're (adorable) little grannies, we went home and opened up some wine, sat at our respective computers, and did some more travel planning for our NOLA trip. We also did some brainstorming for future trips.
And, as fun as I had on our first day, we did something really cool on our second day so come back tomorrow for that!