February 26, 2012

I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts - Hartford, Conn.

Should the spirit move you ...
OK, that's not quite true.

Ghost stories creep me out. Horror movies have been known to prevent me from getting a good night's sleep for days at a time. I would certainly not hesitate to characterize myself as a wuss. 

But curiosity can often get the better of me.

If you happen to be an aspiring ghost hunter or a believer in the paranormal - or perhaps just a harmless history buff, or a lover of literature like me, it's time to get yourself to the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Conn., which every so often invites brave souls to embark on nighttime ghost tours at the former home of famed author Samuel Clemens - otherwise known by his pen name, Mark Twain.

That's right, the house in which Mark Twain lived and wrote the classic Huckleberry Finn is reportedly very haunted. And even 120 years after he, his family, and his servants have moved away, the house's daily visitors, tour guides, and security guards continue to come across ghosts - seeing them, hearing them, and, yes, even feeling them.

Believe it or not, two of the people in our own tour group - including my husband - reported their own brief encounters with the dead.

Built in 1874 for just $45,000, this house was what
Twain apparently was known to describe as part medieval castle, part riverboat, and part cuckoo clock.
Today's Stefcations Highlights:
  • What You'll Find: A haunted house. What could be intriguing?
  • Where You'll Find it: The Mark Twain House, at 351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, Conn.
  • When to Go: Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours will return for March 30, and for April 27 and 28. Tours take place at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m., and are by reservation only. Call 860-280-3130 to make a reservation. Tours regularly sell out.
  • What It'll Cost: $20 for adults age 17 and up; $16 for members of the Mark Twain House; $13 for children 16 and under. (FYI, the ghost tours are not recommended for kids under 10 years old.)

February 19, 2012

Talks of the Town

Sound advice: Go see this movie.
I've mentioned before how cool some of my co-workers are. They are, in fact, the wise folks who urged me to start this blog in the first place.

Luckily, in addition to getting me through the workday, they have also proved to be fun outside of the office, during book clubs, happy hours, and game nights.

Most recently, a handful of us decided it would be cool to plan occasional trips together to movies, plays, museums, and other fun, arts-and-culture-type outings.

So we've created what we're now referring to as our very own Culture Club. (Mr. Burdique, you so get credit for the genius name.)

Today's Stefcations Highlights:

For our first outing - this past weekend - six of us ventured out to Bow-Tie Cinemas in Hartford, Conn., to see The Artist, a French movie that's gotten a lot of hype - for good reason.

But take note: Although it's been nominated for an Oscar in 10 different categories (including Best Picture) and honored with a 97% rating from Rotten Tomatoes, The Artist has also reportedly been a major source of outrage for many moviegoers worldwide.

That's because it's 100 minutes worth of film without spoken dialogue.

February 5, 2012

Sweet Victory

Super Bowl? Super delicious.
It's Superbowl Sunday, and this means good things are afoot.

Given my indifference to football, it's an event I would otherwise not have reason to acknowledge - were it not for the festive parties, wealth of beer, and heart attack-inducing snacks.

That said, I felt I had to do my part and whip something up for the shindig we'll be attending tonight. Since the chilis, chicken wings, and dips had all been claimed by other guests, I figured a dessert might be a good way to go.

Enter cupcakes, one of the universe's greatest gifts to humankind. You just cannot go wrong with them.