The older I get, the more I realize that exploring your own backyard can be just as fun as any road trip. My groom and I moved to Ridgefield last year, and while I had the best of intentions to explore our new town while I was on my brief summer vacation, our honeymoon, nesting (like only a new wife can do!), and trying to squeeze in a little summer got in the way. Fast forward to May 2019 and say hello to my new fav: the staytrip.
Our typical weekend morning consists of coffee in bed — and enjoying it as slowly as possible, taking cues from the rising sun making his way up to the sky. But this day was different. We were to play tourist in our own town so we began the day by pretending we were at a B&B instead.
We rambled into town and grabbed a fresh-roast coffee at Tazza Café before taking a peaceful morning stroll down Main Street to admire the beautiful historic homes — grand Victorians, quaint cottages, and the Keeler Tavern, our local history museum (fun fact: the American Revolution’s Battle of Ridgefield took place just up the road in 1777!). The passersby all gave a warm good morning, each of them after a similar experience: peace, solitude, and basking in the beauty of this slice of town.
Once we wound our way back into town, we wandered around Ursula for a lovely little coupling of daydreaming and design inspiration, and Books on the Common for the best reason of all: no particular reason. There’s just something about a mom and pop book shop…creaky floors, quirky gifts, getting lost in new pages. Being excited by something undiscovered brings me right back to being a kid…a feeling I constantly seek and that just can’t be beat.
The morning caffeine buzz slowly faded and lunchtime called so we made our way down to the Village Tavern, grabbing a table outside and an In the Tin salad. The tablecloths are red and white gingham, much like an old-fashioned picnic blanket, and on days when we’re not picnicking, sitting outside there is the next best thing.
For a post-lunch sweet and our last stop before leaving town we crossed the street and popped into Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shop. (Because every country drive needs a scoop of homemade ice cream and a bag of penny candy, right?) We hopped back in the car and meandered out of town on Route 116, heading into northern Ridgefield and on to North Salem, New York.
We love horse country for so many reasons…the rolling hills, the picturesque barns that seem to both stand watch over and peacefully enjoy the expansive plots of land on which they stand. The open air and a warm breeze always remind me of the simple joys — what it’s all about.
We turned on unknown roads, letting them take us wherever they went. Because I don’t believe in being truly lost…rather not quite knowing where you’re being led just yet. Inevitably, we discover something we’ll come back to again, and once we find our way back to a familiar road there is that pronounced demarkation of an experience that is no more. But that’s the beauty of an adventure: you’re never really lost but once you’ve found a familiar path again, you realize distinctly what you just experienced. And fortunately, you’re never the same person you were before you began.
Alexandra Barnes (@turquoiseandsunshine)
One of our favorite parts of this particular vacation was the day on the water we spent with Captain Rich and his crew aboard the Schooner Eleanor. Our boys had sailed before, but never in Maine. They were up bright and early that morning eager to see what the ride would be like.