#TravelBackThursday Family Trip to Connecticut

Last week we took our second trip by air with Parker!

My dad’s family is from Simsbury, Connecticut, and his 45th high school reunion was scheduled for this past weekend. We used this an an excuse to make a big family weekend trip. Parker hadn’t met any of the extended family on that side, so he would be able to meet his great grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jordan, Parker, and I flew in early Wednesday morning. Since we were only going for a short time we again had an abbreviated packing list, similar to our trip to Lexington. This time we didn’t even have to pack the travel crib as we were able to reserve one for free at the hotel in Avon.

In Parker’s diaper bag:
Travel size changing pad (ours came with the diaper bag)
3 9oz baby bottles pre-filled with water
Oxo Tot no-spill formula dispenser with 3 meals
2 burp rags
Baby wipes
Face wipes
Purell wipes
Hand sanitizer
Bulb syringe
Toys (rattle, toy owl, soft mirror)
15-20 diapers
Baby sunscreen
Baby bug repellent
Pacifiers
Clothes for 4 days + 2 extra sets
Sun hat/sunglasses
Swim diaper/trunks

In my bag:
Personal identification
Toiletries/Makeup
Baby liquids (Tylenol)
Advil and eye drops
Hatch sound machine
Sunglasses
Pens
Hand sanitizer
Toy fox

In Jordan’s bag:
Personal identification
Baby’s identification (passport and birth certificate)
His and my clothes
Swimwear
Toiletries
Phone charging cord and battery charger
Laptop

Other:
Britax carseat + protective bag
Ergo baby carrier

Things we didn’t need:
Thermometer
Children’s Tylenol
Diaper cream
Swimwear (our plans changed due to weather)

Things we bought on arrival:
Small (23 oz) tub of formula
Small pack of diapers (approx. 20)
Small pack of wipes
Gallon of nursery water

We carried Parker in the Ergo through the airport again. TSA did not require me to take him out as we walked through security (we also used our TSA precheck), but did still ask us to take out all formula and bottles for testing.

Here is an updated PDF packing list for a family of three for your next long weekend trip (click to download).

Our flight left at 6:00am on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately there were no direct flights available on our departure, so we violated our first rule of baby travel and had to catch a connection out of Baltimore.

We rented a car through Enterprise using my work discount, and were able to upgrade to a compact at no additional fee (they gave us a Nissan Altima which I would actually consider a midsize sedan). From the airport we drove to the Avon Old Farms Hotel. We had looked into Airbnbs for this trip, but because my family all ended up taking separate flights on different days it ended up being easier to just book our own accommodations.

Gorgeous Connecticut scenery

After we checked into the airport, we met up with my parents at my aunt’s house in Avon. We visited with her and caught up on the family, and then headed to dinner with my grandmother at her new retirement home.

At Aunt Jan’s house

Parker was really excited to hang out in the hotel because he had full run of the room while we were there.

Thursday morning we slept in a little bit, then headed out to grab some much needed coffee. We’re typically Starbucks junkies, and especially when we’re on vacation. From there we met up with my parents again, and headed out to Mystic Aquarium, about 1.5 hours south of Avon.

We stopped at a small diner right outside Mystic Seaport, where we were able to grab a quick bite for lunch and get out of the heavy rain storm that was setting in. Parker is starting to eat more adult foods, so he was able to share some eggs and potatoes with me before we headed off to the aquarium.

We were able to spend a solid two to three hours wandering around, looking at all the fish, cetaceans, reptiles, and dinosaur exhibits featured at the aquarium. The aquarium is gorgeous, with lots of activities for kids, and some relatively high tech displays and features. It was a great way to spend most of the day with our little one.

Parker looking at the clownfish

After the aquarium, we headed back to Aunt Jan’s. The drive ended up taking a lot longer than expected due to heavy rain and traffic. By the time we got home the baby was exhausted and grumpy, and we were all pretty burned out. We ended up heading back for an early-ish dinner at the Seasons Tap Room at our hotel. We had a couple of free drink vouchers, so we were able to get a few drinks and have a quiet dinner with Parker. Jordan had the fish and chips, and I had the seared tuna sandwich with sweet potato fries, which was delicious.

Friday was full of nostalgia for me, as we visited a lot of the places that I remember going with my parents and grandparents as a kid. First thing Friday morning we got up early to head out to Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine.

This historic landmark is really interesting, and I distinctly remember visiting it as a child. The mines themselves are fun to tour, and as a kid I always thought it was pretty creepy that they used to keep the prisoners down in the mine.

Due to instability from the structures being built into the side of a cliff, a lot of the buildings are sagging with age. You can see how much movement this brick building has had even in just the few years since they renovated.

We hit the 11:00am tour of the mine.

At the bottom of the mine entrance.

The mine was a comfortably damp 52 degrees. Apparently it stays this temperature year round. Although we were told there are bat sightings, we didn’t see any while we were down there.

Well shaft
Shackle in solitary confinement.
Streaks of copper in the rock walls.
Climbing out of the mine.
Parker with his Grandpa.

After visiting Old New-Gate, we headed to lunch at a cute restaurant just over the Massachusetts border, Red Riding Hood’s Basket Cafe, or simply, the Hood Cafe. This place was so cute! They had amazing baked goodies, quiche, handmade items, and craft beers!

The Hood Cafe

They were also super kid friendly, which was nice since we had Parker with us.

After lunch, my parents had to head out to Bradley International Airport to pick up my brother, so Jordan and I went for a drive. We stopped by a few more of my favorite places from my childhood, including Tulmeadow Farm for some homemade ice cream (the best!) and Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury, just down the road from my grandmother’s family house.

We spent a lot of summers swimming in the pond catching pollywogs here (and usually Grandpa would take us for ice cream afterwards).

Parker got to dip his toes in the pond.

And play in the grass with daddy.

Then we went for a nice walk around the pond path. It was pretty hot out so we didn’t stay long, but we enjoyed smelling the pine trees and watching all the kids play in the pond.

By then, my parents were ready to get together to go visit my grandmother’s house a final time. This house has been in the family since her father built it in the late 1930s to early 1940s (I think the official date is 1941). We walked through the house and looked through the last of the items there to see if there was anything we wanted to take home. We ended up claiming a quilt that my grandmother made that I remember hanging over the bed when I came to visit, and also a drawing of the house.

For dinner on our final night in Connecticut, we headed over to my Aunt Carol’s house in Collinsville. She lives in an amazing restored 1860s house overlooking the river.

A large group of the extended family was able to get together, including aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Parker was able to have some great playtime with his cousins Mason and Sam while all the adults were eating pizza and catching up.

We ended our evening and headed back to the hotel to pack up, since we had a super early start planned for the trip home. Our flight back was scheduled for 5:10am.

Parker did not appreciate the 2:45am wakeup call.

Heading out from the hotel at 3am

We again had to take a connecting flight, this time out of Chicago. This gave us two two-hour flights back to back, which we were pretty concerned about, traveling with the baby. Our fears were unfounded though, since Parker slept straight through both flights.

We had a great time, and can’t wait to visit New England again next month!

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