September 10, 2011

Works of Art, Inside and Out

The ridiculously beautiful Branford House, where you'll
find the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art.
Groton, Conn., a seaside town in southeastern Connecticut, is known by most people around here as the home of Electric Boat, which has built submarines for the U.S. Navy for more than a few decades. Not quite what you might imagine would make for a beautiful or romantic setting. Yet as it turns out, Groton will surprise you. Hidden away on its shores are amazing views of Long Island Sound and a historic mansion that hosts free art shows and even weddings, which must be spectacularly scenic (though probably far from free).

Today's Stefcations Highlights:
  • What You'll Find: A free art show (Keep reading for details on where you can score some fresh pasta - and even deep-fried chocolate chip cookie dough - after the show.)
  • Where You'll Find it: The Branford House, at UConn's Avery Point Campus in Groton, Conn.
  • What It'll Cost: Nada, although you're invited to donate a few dollars.
  • When to Go: Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. (although you can stroll the campus just about anytime)

    Sailboats add just another layer of ambiance. 
    Smack in the middle of a great expanse of lawn by the water, complete with absurdly picturesque views of lighthouses and sailboats, stands a beautiful mansion called the Branford House. Once the estate of some well-to-do playboy, nowadays it's part of the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus.

    Here, you can walk along the water and take in some sun or watch UConn students take their sailing classes. Along the way you'll also find installations of wacky but cool sculpture, including one featuring a steel anvil topped with wire knotted into the shape of a fun-looking pig.

    I have no idea what it means, but I like it.
    I saw people strolling around here with everything from dogs to baby carriages to fishing gear. I imagine it'd make for a romantic (and inexpensive) date, too.

    Inside, you can roam the maze of ornate hallways until you find your way to the second-floor art gallery, where you can view the always changing exhibitions for free. (Though donations are more than welcome.)

    Photographer Sean Flynn
    (facing camera) chats with his admirers. 
    My co-workers and I had occasion to stop by last night to celebrate the opening of an art show featuring the work of our friend and fellow office mate Sean Flynn, whose amazing photographs are part of a group exhibition - which includes three other artists - now through Oct. 23. (You may want to check out The Day's recent story on Flynn's fabulous work.)

    Fresh pasta? Deep-fried chocolate chip cookie dough?
    I'm in. (My very wise friend Christine recommended we
    stop here for dinner. Here we are, clearly very happy.)

    Once you've worked up an appetite, of course, there's a laid-back, family-owned restaurant called Paul's Pasta Shop, literally right down the road, where you can find fresh pasta that's made daily. Um, yeah. It's good. Sit inside or on the covered deck out back with a great view of the Thames River, or just grab some pasta from the front counter and store it in your freezer for another day.