I am of the mind that one should not waste a paid holiday. So, when I realized that Kathleen Edwards was playing a show in Connecticut on Presidents' Day, I shared this news with drummer extraordinaire and fellow music lover (and willing driver) Johnny Macko. Soon after, a road trip was formed, with both of us taking the next day off as well so as not to face a three-hour drive back after the show. Well, a three-hour ride for me.
But, like any good navigator, I started thinking about side trips on either the way there or the way back. So, I consulted my handy-dandy Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives book and saw what was around the area we'd be traveling to. And that's when I discovered TGIFriday's shill (shame on you!) Guy Fieri's declaration that the Eveready Diner in Hyde Park, NY, was the "Taj Mahal of diners." And, lookie there, Hyde Park wasn't too far off the route. Plus, the FDR Historical Site was in Hyde Park. And we could be there on Presidents' Day, dammit!
I love it when a road trip comes together.
The Eveready turned out to be pretty swell, even though they were inexplicably out of pot roast (a diner faux pas if ever there was one). But the chicken and biscuits served as a fine substitute. Plus they were willing to serve the potent combination of pastries and beer, as evidenced in the photo below. And they had t-shirts (and, hence, I have one of their t-shirts).
After the feeding had ended (and a temptation to order a piece of tiramisu cheesecake to place on top of a full stomach subsided), we sauntered over to the neighboring Rollermagic, which was closed. I just wanted a peek inside at the rink, but as I was trying to sneak one, the owner came out and apologized that they were closed. As I looked at the brochure he handed me, it occurred to me that he assumed that we, two grown men, were bummed that we had been denied a Monday-afternoon skating session. And so we have added another person to the long list of those who question my heterosexuality.
The FDR site was almost directly across the street from the diner, so we did a quick walk-through, stopping at the New Deal gift shop before walking the grounds for a bit.
We stopped outside an outdoor tribute to FDR and Churchill that also featured a big structure covered by a tarp. It was a sculpture that incorporated a piece of the Berlin Wall. I suppose it was covered up for the winter, and the gentleman who preceded us at the sculpture informed us that "the bastards have it tied down pretty good, too."
So we moved on to FDR and Eleanor's grave, stopping to pay some respects on Presidents' Day.
And then there was Springwood, FDR's boyhood home (and part-time residence in his later years).
And, finally, a badass tree.
Then it was back on the road to Norfolk, Connecticut, which, considering the decreasing light along the way, we actually did a pretty good job finding.
Infinity Hall is a really awesome venue, built in 1883 and recently lovingly restored. We had sixth-row seats, but there really isn't a bad spot in the place (which holds about 300 or so). If you ever get the chance, paid holiday or not, you oughta go. Hey, Gallagher's playing there soon (it's a "No Sledge" show, though, so leave the garbage bags at home).
As usual, Kathleen Edwards was great. You should also see her if you get the chance. Afterward, I had her sign a photo of the two of us taken at last year's Zankel Hall show (just before security shut down Mr. Macko's dream of a photo with her...a dream finally realized in Norfolk), and she was embarrassed to see that she was wearing the same shirt in the photo. So she signed "Nice shirt" with a photo pointing to her on the photo, making another fun keepsake.
After the show, we headed to our hotel in Torrington, where we were greeted by a dead mouse in the parking lot and one of the coldest hotel rooms I've ever been in. But I was happy reading my newspapers (a guy in Norfolk had expressed great surprise that I would buy two newspapers, first saying that I must know someone in the paper when he thought I was buying two of the same paper and then saying that I must be looking for a job...I broke the news that I just like reading newspapers) and watching Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel on Letterman.
The next day featured a diner breakfast of french toast (again, without even trying, our hotel was across the street from the Twin Colony Diner) before an unsuccessful record store-seeking excursion into downtown Torrington, where the only record store of note had the convenient hours of 4 to 6:30 and the rest of the town seemed pretty rundown.
But Torrington does have an awesome bowling alley (five minutes from the hotel...unplanned, I swear). It's old-school, but not in a rundown sort of way.
And what's truly old-school? No electronic scoring, beeyotch.
Bowling the way it oughta be. A beautiful thing.
And, every way you look at it, a beautiful trip.