Friday, August 10, 2012

The Hills

I started to talk about Lake Waramaug last time. I was about to post a picture of Lake Waramaug, with its bright blue surface and surrounding ring of lush dark trees. But when I looked at the picture again, it just looked like water and sky, the same as any picture of water and sky. It reminded me of the first time I saw the Pacific, and excitedly took pictures of it only to discover later that they resembled every picture I'd ever taken of the Atlantic, which in turn looked just like pictures of Long Island Sound. So for the visual shock of rounding that corner and seeing Lake Waramaug spread out beside you, small houses clinging to its shores, and then to drive uphill and view it again, laid out below...for that you'll just have to believe me. Or go there yourself.

There are certain sights that cause me to feel perhaps inordinately and irrationally attached to Connecticut, in all its Connecticut-ness. Like the crazy blue onion dome on the Colt Armory in Hartford seen from I-91, and those signs about the $219 fine for littering, and this unexpected glimpse of beauty in the Litchfield Hills. This is real, and this is here, I thought, or some wordless sentiment like it.

I was going to Hopkins Vineyard in Warren, which is very pretty, obviously.

And I'm sure it's good, too, but because I was too tired to go through a whole wine tasting and they only let you buy a glass of wine in their upstairs wine bar, which was very crowded and not very air-conditioned at the time, I couldn't comment on the wine. But if anyone cared for my wine reviews, I'd have a wine blog, right?

What I can write about is the setting. Lake Waramaug and the surrounding area was once the territory of the Wyantenock Indian tribe. They summered here, and no wonder. The lake surface covers 680 acres, which according to the magic Google-search math thingy, is 1.0625 square miles. Which is big enough to be seriously impressive but not so big that it begins to be frightening. (Maybe other people, like people from the Upper Midwest, perhaps, don't find extremely large lakes scary. But I do.) There's a Lake Waramaug State Park, and even the DEEP gets sort of overwrought over this place ("Scenically, few bodies of water in Connecticut can rival the picturesque setting of Lake Waramaug") and provides an unusually adorable little map. But the shores that I saw were free of crowds and, except for a parking lot boat launch area, any real activity. It was just that water, and sky, and those trees, that defied my attempt to photograph them.

(Oh, I know, you want to see the lake now. If someone wrote about something and didn't show it to me I'd be annoyed too. So I looked it up on Flickr to see if anyone else had taken pictures better than mine. And a few people have, of course. But still, it's not the same. Go to this lake. And go to this vineyard, it's stunning. Just go when it's not really hot and crowded, so you can actually get to try the wine.)


  1. Maybe a trip back in the fall when it's not wall-to-wall packed would be good. I read a few reviews of Hopkins and people mentioned how crowded it was / no place to sit. Although, it was at least worth the drive there for the scenery!

  2. Oh yeah, it would make a perfect Fall trip I think.



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