Tag Archives: CT Shore

West Haven Beaches

West Haven Beaches

West Haven has a scenic drive all along the coast and it’s worth the drive AND worth stopping along the way to take in the fresh salty air, and the beauty of Connecticut’s historic homes and rocky shoreline. For somebody who has lived in Guilford, West Haven beaches opened my eyes to some unseen CT beauty with lots of public access!

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Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

We dined in with a party of 5 on a Tuesday night in mid-October 2018. There was a line stretched outside the door at around 7PM and we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. This was not a problem as being exposed to the pizza aroma only intensified the gratification of eating the world’s best pizza. The service, white clam and red sauce veggie pizzas were all simply amazing and well worth triple that wait time.

Juicy tidbit: Local news was taping a segment beside the wood-burning oven while we dined. I asked our server what was going on with that, and we chatted about an unfortunate and odd pattern: the jinx of the spotlight. Several times, the Frank Pepe wood-burning oven cook that has appeared in such a taped news segment has had to be let go soon thereafter. Hubris? Goes right to their head? Coincidence?

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Lenny and Joe’s Long Wharf

Lenny and Joe’s Long Wharf

Pleasantly surprised that this branch of Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale lived up to the best experience I have ever had at an L and J, which was this awesome dinner I had recently in their Westbook restaurant. The lower review average may be due to less New Haven guests “knowing what to expect.” The seafood was fresh (we had raw Blue Point oysters, clams, a fried shrimp roll, and a lobster roll) and the service was on point. The prices were totally in line with the other Lenny and Joe’s.

Note to the team of Lenny and Joe’s servers: As a restaurant industry professional who has “put my time in” (more than 2 decades experience) I would recommend NOT wearing shorts during work. Not only will a full length pant better protect the body from hot food in the event of catastrophic spill, full length pants will also shield the legs from idiotic male guests suffering from demented Hooters mindsets. Just my 2 cents.

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Bagelicious II

Bagelicious II

Bagelicious II had some great vegan options for my sister and her husband. The sandwiches on bagels were ready fast and served hot. The slightly spicy Italian was tasty on an everything bagel. Also enjoyed watching another guest drive away with their togo coffee accidentally left on top of the car!

Knowledge Corner: It’s my understanding (full disclosure – I am a III myself!) that the suffix “JR” is used when an entity is named after it’s parent, and “II” is used when an entity is named after a family member of a preceding generation. Therefore the original Bagelicious is probably Bagelicious II’s grandmother / grandfather.

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Georgie’s Diner

Georgie’s Diner

During a recent 4 day stay in New Haven, my family’s favorite meal was hands down at Georgie’s Diner. My sister and her husband were excited by the vegan bounty on the Georgie’s menu. She had a seasonal vegan hash made with butternut squash: he had a vegan reuben! The rest of my family had variations of eggs, all cooked to perfection. Cooking eggs isn’t easy!

I would give a sixth star to the staff who are probably the ones giving TLC, food and shelter to a wild cat behind the restaurant, by the train tracks. I wonder if that cat is named Georgie!

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Chetstone

Chetstone

Chetstone is a Gothic Victorian mansion built on the highest ridge of Fairhaven Heights in the mid 19th century. After an almost 2 decades long effort to restore this historic home, it is now in fantastic condition. My family rented this beauty for a 4 day stay in New Haven on Air BnB. The Chetstone is also currently listed on the CT Film Commission, and is used for photography and videography, as well as a workshop and performance space.

As a bed and breakfast, it would be hard to imagine a more amazing home to stay in. The Chetstone has 4 stories: the kitchen and living rooms on the first floor are warm (ambient heat in the kitchen and bathroom floors is awesome) and cozy. Three of the four bedrooms on the second floor come with working sinks! I felt like I was sleeping in a restored, totally livable adjunct to the Mark Twain house (didn’t hurt that I had just recently watched Ken Burns’ fantastic documentary on Twain.)

The magic comes in from all angles with ancient glass refracting the sunlight in beautiful directions. The third floor is unfinished with whimsical rabbit art dating to 1919 exposed on the walls. ┬áThe fourth floor is a beautiful lookout over Fairhaven Heights. This neighborhood used to be called “Dragon” because the harbor seals that hung out at the mouth of the Quinnipiac River resembled dragons: on a clear day, you can almost still seem them from the fourth floor.

Thank you to all involved in the restoration of this Connecticut architectural gem!

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Metacomet Ridge

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North Guilford is a community within the town of Guilford, CT. This is the quieter part of Guilford, miles inland from the beaches and seemingly far removed from the tourists jamming I-95 and Route 1. This part of town Aunt Judy claims more closely resembles Vermont, as it shows the range of nature’s beauty along the Connecticut Shore.

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As you drive north on Long Hill Road, across Route 80, you enter rolling hills. This would be the part of the Metacomet Ridge, a line of traprock that runs 100 miles from Guilford / Branford all the way to the Vermont / New Hampshire border. The highest point in town, Bluff Head, is a feature of this ridge. Accessible off Route 77 in North Guilford: it’s a tough hike with beautiful views.

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The heart of North Guilford is where Long Hill Rd joins Ledge Hill Rd. A school, church, cemetery, and farm all abut one another to form the center of the community. It’s a beautiful spot to stop the car, stretch the legs, and take stock of the quaint northern section of town.

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Clam Rolls

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Here is a quick description of the 3 Lenny & Joe’s locations:

New Haven: table service, awesome seafood, beer and wine, right on the water

Westbrook: table service, awesome seafood, beer and wine, cozy sit-down restaurant

Madison: counter service, awesome seafood, no alcohol but they have soft serve ice cream & there’s a massive outdoor seating area with carousel, located right across Route 1 from state park beach

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The Madison location is the Lenny & Joe’s I have eaten at the most, and it’s my favorite, for the casual nature and the beautiful outdoor seating area, where even Roxie the dog is welcome. There is a full size carousel with all proceeds going to charity, and a separate walk-up counter for soft serve ice cream.

In the summer, Aunty’s favorite is the CT-style lobster rolls (hot buttered lobster on a toasted hotdog bun) and in the colder months, she prefers the fried clam roll with tartar on the side. Either way, there will be indigestion.

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Apple Cider

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Bishop’s Orchard is one of the most badass local, seasonal grocery stores in the country, not just in Connecticut. Their orchard encompasses rolling hills alongside I-95 in Guilford, and on the lower, flatter fields adjacent the Bishops family grows other fruits and berries. These are sold in their natural form, and also transformed into award-winning apple cider donuts, apple coffee cake, cinnamon bread, and more by Bishop’s magical bakers.

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When I was feeling a little under the weather, due to seasonal changes, Bishop’s heirloom apple cider brought my health back up to 100%. When I am just feeling down, their small stable of alpacas and llamas never fails to brighten my day. Bishop’s is also a producer of wine and hard cider, and a must-stop visit on the Connecticut wine trail. Just try to plan your visit during off hours, as the secret is clearly out!

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Baby Feet

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3rdarm: Fearing first pedicure in life.

maxfromchicago: Pedicurist feels more fear, she texted me

3rdarm: when the pedicurist started massaging my right foot, my mind went totally blank and I forgot what I was saying mid sentence! #awkward

maxfromchicago: Hahaha first and only time I had pedi I dropped my phone in the foot bath #footjuicephone

strongholdclimb: Do you have baby feet?

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Aunt Judy took me to Skinsations for my first pedicure in life. I was scared for myself, to try something new and outside of my comfort zone, and for the pedicurist, dealing with the feet of a calloused restaurant manager. Tracy did a great job finding the perfect balance between friendly and professional, and put me right at ease. I relaxed and let my feet’s physical memory of all the hard work dissipate. I left feeling like a new man, walking on baby feet!

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