A Book Talk in Connecticut (Photo Highlights)

A Book Talk in Connecticut (Photo Highlights)

This weekend, I journeyed down to Clinton, Connecticut to give a book talk at St. Alexis Orthodox Church. It was a joy to meet all the folks there, and their warmth and hospitality were truly touching.

Nestled into the Main Street of a quaint, New England town, St. Alexis looks like any ordinary church from the outside until you enter and are caught off guard by splendor.

The nave of St. Alexis. Like many Orthodox Churches, it is filled with vibrant colors and rich iconography (that, I’m told, was just recently finished–in advance of the Church’s 25th Anniversary!). The peace of the church was evident and calmed my travel-weary nerves.
We spent Saturday morning talking about despondency and the present moment, the theme of my book. In the afternoon session, after a nice lunch put together by the ladies of the parish, we discussed how our attitudes towards the past and the future can also become spiritual stumbling blocks.
After the talk, my husband and I walked along the Long Island Sound, basking in the warmth and sunlight we are so often deprived of in Toronto.
I sent my husband in search of snacks and souvenirs while I obsessively photographed the gorgeous, nautical-themed, colonial-style homes near the Clinton marina.
I don’t know why, but I also took an inordinate number of pictures of these tiny, dangling pine cones, each of which were about the size of my thumbprint and so, so cute.
Before leaving town, we sampled this local clam diner (didn’t know there was such a thing). My husband proclaimed the fare to be the best clams he’s ever eaten, which of course made him–a passionate seafood lover–happy as a clam.
We began our long (9-hr) journey from Connecticut back to Toronto. Although I usually fly to book talks, this time I opted to drive–in part so my husband could accompany me, and in part because I can never turn down a good, long road trip.

Every few hours, our car pressures us to stop at Starbucks. We dutifully obey.
On second thought, 9 hours is a long time (especially when you made the same trip the day before), so we made the impromptu decision to stay in downtown Albany for the night. Touted as the “most average city in the USA,” the downtown core was quiet and abandoned by our bedtime arrival. We checked into the hotel and ran through the rain to the only place that was open: The City Beer Hall, a historic restaurant that serves you a free personal pizza with every drink. But I opted instead for this plate of sauteed veggies (including fiddleheads!) piled atop homemade ricotta, crusty bread and herbed butter, and a fried egg. It ended up being my favorite meal of the weekend, probably because it was so simple and calming. The perfect midnight snack.
Sunday morning, we hopped in the car, stopped at church, and ate brunch before driving the final 6 hours back to Toronto. Since my husband loves driving, I spent the homeward journey reading Joanna Nylund’s delightful Sisu: The Finnish Art of Courage.

Thanks to St. Alexis for hosting me and my husband, and to all the strangers along the way who enriched our journey with their local flavors, insight, and quirks!

 

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