Lanterns at Lyman Orchards

Last night, we went to the American Lantern Festival at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield and it blew our jaded little minds. We’ve seen a lot of Christmas lights in our day, you know, and after awhile it all gets a bit samey-same. What we failed to realize (despite the name giving it away),is that these aren’t Christmas lights, but lanterns. And lanterns are awesome.

The larger-than-life lanterns are made of silk, porcelain, and steel enhanced by thousands of LED lights and, even unlit, are stunning works of art. Truly, they are dazzling and I loved them all.

If you live within driving distance of Lyman Orchard I highly recommend checking it out! At $26.63 per person 13 and up, it may seem a little pricey, but the experience is completely unique for Connecticut and you can spend as much time as you like exploring the half mile of lanterns. If you have littles, there’s definitely enough going on with the lantern display that they shouldn’t be bored.

American Lantern Festival at Lyman Orchards

American Lantern Festival at Lyman Orchards

merican Lantern Festival at Lyman Orchards

merican Lantern Festival at Lyman Orchards

merican Lantern Festival at Lyman Orchards

merican Lantern Festival at Lyman Orchards

merican Lantern Festival at Lyman Orchards

Chapman Falls After Ida

A few days after Post-Tropical Cyclone Ida brought heavy rain and massive flooding to the state, we decided to check out the Chapman Falls at Devil’s Hopyard State Park in East Haddam.

A roaring waterfall full of white foam in the woods.
Chapman Falls, Devil’s Hopyard State Park

The Chapman Falls were, of course, roaring. A swollen, rushing, turbulent outpouring of water. And no surprise what with Ida dropping a little over four inches of rain in the area after Henri dropping a similar amount the week before. I’ve visited the park probably twenty times in my life and never have I seen the falls looking so impressive.

A circular pothole along the rugged stones of Chapman Falls.
A pothole along Chapman Falls.

There are many legends surrounding the deep, cylindrical potholes found around the falls. One attributes them to the Devil, angrily jumping up and down after he got his tail wet in the Eightmile River. Another says the Devil jumped across the Atlantic and landed at the falls. And another that a man named Dibble grew hops in a field below the falls and “Dibble’s hop yard” became, after many years of linguistic drift, Devil’s Hopyard.

More prosaically, the potholes are likely caused by the simple magic of erosion. Over thousands of years, small rocks and sand became caught up in the fall’s eddies, scouring the rocks forming the falls.

A narrow ribbon of a waterfall full of white foam in the woods
“Mini” Falls (possibly also called “The Flume” or “Dry Falls”) Devil’s Hopyard State Park

The Eightmile River is a major tributary of the Connecticut River and a significant waterway within the Eightmile River Watershed which includes more than 150 miles of healthy rivers and streams.

Eightmile River, Devil’s Hopyard State Park

Broken Arrow Nursery

We had the pleasure of taking a tour of Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden yesterday. What better way to spend a sleepy August morning than among plants, yes? Founded in 1947, Broken Arrow is one of the few garden centers in Connecticut that grow their own nursery stock. This allows them to offer a tremendous diversity of trees and shrubs, including those you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. You also know you’re getting a plant that will be hardy in Connecticut. If you love perennial woody plants, this is definitely the place to go.

A variety of conifers
Love the different textures in this photo.
Pinus strobus 'Mini Twists'
Pinus strobus ‘Mini Twists’
Viburnum lantana 'Wavecrest' fruiting.
Viburnum lantana ‘Wavecrest’
A cascade of golden-green grass
Hakonechloa macra
silver-green globe thistle with a bee friend
Echinops and friend

While I took many photos and lots of notes, I did not make any purchases as our garden won’t be ready for plantings before next spring. When it is ready, however, I shall certainly include a variety of conifers!