After a long day of driving, we arrived in Canaan on Friday evening! My grandparents have lived there for many years, and as a child I remember driving up to visit them often. The last time I was there was in 2005, for my Grandfather’s funeral service, and that wasn’t exactly quality time with my Grandmother. My cousin had suggested earlier in the summer that we carve out a weekend to visit Grammy Austin, and bit by bit we made it happen!
Saturday we spent some time relaxing at Grammy’s. As the kids’ naptime approached, I could sense a storm coming.
They had a hard time being off of their schedules, and I thought that a drive might give them a chance to catch up on some sleep and give us a chance to explore Canaan and the surrounding areas.
New England is one of the most beautiful areas in the country (secondo me…), so driving around was breathtaking. Of course we passed a farm market in our travels- somehow, no matter where I go, I end up at a farm market. They had a fun chart that kept track of which veggies and fruits were in season when, so you knew what was in stock.
They also stocked my favorite balsamic! I used to buy this in bulk from the 4th Street Food Co-op in New York, and haven’t been able to find it anywhere else. It makes any other balsamic taste like water, it’s so rich and syrupy.
We also passed an old abandoned barn (okay, we passed a lot of old abandoned barns, but I only took pictures of this one).
I have a thing for barns- don’t ask why, they’re just plain gorgeous. The older, the better!
We wrapped up our Saturday back at Grammy’s with her daughter, a delicious pasta salad, and old videos of my Grandfather telling stories about his experiences in WWII. It was the quintessential visit to see my Grammy, and it was absolutely divine. I even spent some time admiring her watercolors- she is a very talented artist, and her work is on display throughout the house.
This one is my favorite. The man in the painting is actually my Grandfather- he and Grammy were sitting watching the sailboats, and Grammy was captivated by the beautiful scenery. Grandpa, however, was totally consumed with his crossword puzzles!
It’s hard to believe that our visit could have gotten any better, but then Sunday morning came, and Lisa arrived with her four children!
Though at first, some of us were still wearing our cranky pants…
…but managed to pull it together eventually.
We all enjoyed some buckwheat pancakes, fruit salad, and danish while the kids played and munched. We even wished Grammy an (early) Happy Birthday!
I have been trying to get the kids spending more time with their cousins. Growing up, my cousins were great- like siblings, except I didn’t have to live with them. It is important to me that Jack and Carolyn grow up with their cousins, especially since they’re so close in age.
Seeing all of the kids together was more fun than I can describe. I know Grammy was thrilled, and I was glad we had made the trip. Seeing her so happy, and everyone having a great time together, was absolutely priceless.
After breakfast, we moved the party outside to let the kids run around and get some fresh air. Soccer, volley ball, watermelon, dancing, flower picking, and hula-hooping ensued: all of the elements of a perfect summer day.
What an amazing way to spend a weekend. It worked out that Lisa and the kids were able to make it up to Grammy’s, too. We had a wonderful time just hanging out together enjoying the weather.
It wouldn’t be an Austin family photo without some hilarity…James picked up the slack this time around. Men’s hula-hooping for the win!
It was sad saying goodbye. I don’t know when I’ll next be able to visit Grammy, and while I hate to think it will be as far away as next summer, I don’t think I have much of an alternative because of my class schedule.
Before leaving Canaan, we made one last stop…
…and said goodbye to Grandpa. It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years.
The cemetary was so peaceful. Grandpa was buried at the top of a hill overlooking a farm, and the view of the hill in the distance with the cloud’s shadows drifting over them was so calming.
What a beautiful place to be at peace.
Having said our farewells in Canaan, we drove back down to Norwalk to give in a bit more to our relentless nostalgia.
This time, it was at Overton’s, a seafood shack we used to frequent. We would come here after a day at the beach for fried clams and onion rings, sit and eat on the dock above the water, and watch boats come in from days spent out on the water.
Just as I had remembered.
This trip was so special in so many ways- getting the chance to see my Grandmother after so many years was an amazing thing. Having it work out with Lisa and her children was even better- I don’t think people realize the impact family can have. I find that when I am with my family my heart is lighter, looser, and I laugh more.
My mother and I made a real effort to connect with family this year, and I think it’s a good jumping off point for the kids. I so badly want to see them grow up knowing their extended family, and I feel like I have begun to put the pieces in place to build a solid foundation in that regard.
It was definitely a weekend to remember, and despite the long hours in the car, I am already committed to another visit next summer. Until then, I’ll have to settle for email and Skype!