Wednesday, October 1, 2008

All's well at Stony Creek

The Guilford harbor has a parking lot and a nice view. And the beach nearby is decent, but not as long and white as Madison's. Swimming in Lake Quonnipaug is great, though, but the season is now over. Moving here to the coast I had in mind being able to drive to a harbor town, where there would be a nice place to stop for lunch (and you could stay a long time with no one hassling you), enjoying, say, a tuna melt at an outdoor table, looking out to the boats. Enter...Stony Creek! Has all the above amenities, even the place with the good tuna melt (Stony Creek Market). A shorter drive, for sure, than from Palo Alto to Half Moon Bay. The really exciting thing is its location near a lovely branch library, and between two fabulous Branford walks.

The day I was at Stony Creek I heard someone call my name. Hard to believe, since we hardly know anyone around here! Two fellow poets, of course. It's a poetic place, the Thimble Islands a short distance away. After lunch I found the TrolleyTrail, perfect for duffers like us, straight as an arrow and almost entirely flat, at least the part I walked. Landed me in the center of a salt marsh, a nest for ospreys nearby. You can sit on a bench and look out to sea, or sit on the other bench and look inland towards the marshes. A fellow there was delighted to learn my husband and I had moved here from California. He's from Branford, lived here all his life, went to California once, pronounced it very scenic but prefers New England. I think I'm learning to.

I've printed off some maps of the Guilford Westwoods trail system. Compared to the
 simplicity of the Branford trails, the Westwoods circuit looks like a de Kooning. I'm sure we'll get the hang of it, the white circle trails, the red triangles, the blue thingamajig. And what to do when a cross is on top of the circle, or an arrow. We could be circling for a long time, like the Leather Man, only he knew where he was going. He was featured in the Litchfield Hills magazine
of 1952. He had suffered some misfortune in his native France, had ruined his future father-in-law's business, lost the woman he would marry and fled to Connecticut, where he donned heavy leather clothes as a sort of penance, and lived in the woods, fed by strangers, a mysterious figure of his time.

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