31. Norwich, Connecticut

In early June I flew up to Connecticut, where we convened for my friend Deborah’s bachelorette party. We spent the weekend at The Spa at Norwich Inn, a 42-acre resort in the state’s southeastern corner (about an hour’s drive from Bradley International Airport).

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The weekend was an absolute blast, and the inn was perfectly suited to our purposes. I’m not sure how impressed I would have been had I been a real grownup looking for the picture of luxury–while it’s definitely got amenities, the look is pretty stuck in the ’80s and the buildings could stand some renovation work–but something tells me that a) devotees love it for its legacy and b) it’ll be awhile before I have to worry about looking for the picture of luxury.

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Back to our purposes, though. The food at Ascot’s was way, way better than your typical hotel food–especially for a pub–and the smoothies at the juice bar were pretty bomb, too. Spa treatments were optional, so people could book whatever they liked while the rest of us hung out and waited for them at the pool. There was afternoon tea with free scones (albeit small scones, but they had clotted cream, too, so bonus points). And the rooms were HUGE–definitely big enough to comfortably house the groups of four we put in them.

The inn is also very close to Mohegan Sun casino, which, judging by the number of other bachelorette parties we passed while there, is a popular destination for Connecticut-based brides-to-be. We weren’t much of a gambling crew, but we played a few slots, had dinner at SolToro (again, surprisingly good) and “clubbed” a little at the so-called Vista Lounge at Wombi Rock, whatever that means. The ceiling in the club looked like the planetarium–nice touch.

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Is this Wombi Rock???

The next morning, we drove over to The Pantry for brunch before heading our separate ways, and I swear I have never met nicer wait staff in my entire life. It was a low-key cafe that had run out of potatoes, and the latter part met with a great deal of disappointment on our end. But they searched high and low and ultimately came up with some hashbrowns, which they sneaked to us in secret so the other customers wouldn’t feel indignant.

Hashbrowns are often the only thing I like on a brunch menu, though, and this was one of those times. The owner was so concerned that I hadn’t had enough to eat that she literally unprompted brought me a free piece of chocolate cake and some chocolate truffles and insist that I eat them. Is this real life?

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Pantry aftermath

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