Niantic-Inn-FootRest

I woke up early but well rested.  Coffee is ready at 7am for early risers and breakfast at 8am.  I check the clock and it’s quarter to 7am – just in time for morning coffee.  I head downstairs and before I hit the landing I’m greeted.  “Good morning. I’m Lana.  I’m making egg and sausage strata for breakfast this morning. Do you have any dietary restrictions? Would you like a cup of coffee?”  I introduce myself and gladly welcome coffee.  Lana pours me a fresh cup and asks about my stay.  So far, all is well. 

I take my coffee to the front lawn facing the marina.  I kick off my shoes and curl in the adirondack chair, lazily throwing my legs over the arm of the chair.  I could get used to mornings like this.  I hear chirping in a nearby tree and notice a bird that looks like a sunflower – yellow body and wings dipped in black.  I wish I had my camera.  Then it dawns on me why I am so comfortable and at ease here.  It reminds me of my godparents. They are not my godparents but they’ve called me their Chicago daughter for so long.  When I lived in Chicago, whenever I needed to get away and collect my thoughts I’d head down to central Illinois and stay the weekend with them.  I call their backyard the wild kingdom because at any time hawks, cardinals, chipmunks, robbins, squirrels, or rabbits may appear.  They have a swing on the back porch that I call home in the summer time.  In the winter, I curl up with a book and a cup of tea, my body so close to the fireplace I might catch afire.  The Inn at Harbor Hill reminds my of my godparents house – where I go shut out the outside world, turn off my cell, no laptop, read and interact with nature (i.e. hiking through a park).  My godmother always takes pictures of the wild life in the backyard and sends them to me.  Seeing the “sunflower” bird immediately made me think of her.  Recognizing the different chirping of the birds reminded me of my godfather.  He was an Eagle Scout. He’d be happy that his Chicago daughter paid attention to the small nuisances in nature.

I watch the sunflower bird fly away and notice other creatures in the flower bed and yard.  Time for another cup of coffee.  Other early bird guests are coming down for coffee.  We all meander on the lawn or the rocking chairs on the porch.  I watch as the boat owners in the marina wake and do their morning routine.  I stare amazed at boat life until Lana announces breakfast is ready.  I walk into the dining room and it is quite a spread – yogurt, cereal, juice, bread, bagels, muffins, homemade pistachio pound cake and lemon loaf.  I had to try the pistachio pound cake because it is a little green colored from the pistachios, plus it is my mom’s favorite nut.  Delicious!  Lana hand delivers the egg and sausage strata to your table.  She asks if I need a second cup of coffee.  I tell her I’m already on cup three. Lana and Sue remark that the clouds look heavy.  This storm may not miss us.  Bummer because the Leukemia Poker Run is today and the Inn is hosting it.  All guests are invited to the festivities.  Boat paticipants go up/down the river to various restaurants and receive poker chips/cards.  After receiving the fifth chip, they return to the marina and find out who has the best hand.  There is an auction and live music.

I decide to go to the beach and get postcards before the storm.  I wanted to make it in time for the Poker Run kick off.  After running to the post office to send cards to family, I head towards Hole in the Wall Beach to explore the entire McCook Park grounds.  As I am walking, I run into a couple from the Inn.  The wife said they just finished running on the beach and it was gorgeous.  I thought I felt a drop of rain but I won’t let that deter me.  Hole in the Wall Beach and McCook Park are gorgeous.  On the way back, I check out the Children’s Museum.  Admission is only $7 and it has tons of stuff for young kids and teens (a working beehive and a zip line).  On the way back to the Inn, I stop by 3 Blind Mice.  Immediately the store owner asks if I went to LaBelle Aurora for dinner.  I give her my review and get a few gifts.  I walk to Skipper’s for a lunch – lobster roll hot.  This is why I came to CT.  As I’m eating I see the storm clouds and rain rolling in.  I finish up and head to the Inn.  The storm has picked up, the wind is high.  Most of the guests sit on the covered porch and watch nature at work.  I have my book to finish.  I find a secluded spot and get lost in The Hummingbird’s Daughter.

After an hour or so, the rain stops.  I head out for a bowl of lobster/crab bisque from the Eclectic Chef, but to go because the Poker Run festivities will soon start.  I go to my room while the coordinators setup and the boats come back to the marina.  I hear music, good music.  They are having a party downstairs.  Time to put my book down and join the crowd.  The boat owners have returned with their families.  Children are dancing, burgers and dogs on the grill.  Sue, Dave and staff are encouraging Inn guests to partake in the fun.  Despite a downpour and darkness, the boats in the marina party well into the night.  I return to my room early (after the cookies are set out) determined to finish my book with a cup of tea in hand. It is almost midnight when I finish my book. I look out my window at the marina.  Lit boats with music fill the dark night.  It hits me.  This is your last night at the Inn.  I go to bed somber.