Recently, I took a much needed week off from work, and was looking for some fun little day trips that I could do. My mom took a day off to spend with me and suggested the we check out the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme and maybe do a little lunch in the area. Before going to the museum, I really didn’t know much about it – which made it all the more intriguing – and of course, I never turn down lunch, so this sounded like a wonderful idea!
Florence Griswold ran a boarding house in Old Lyme in the early 1900’s. Many Impressionist artists of the time were drawn to the beauty of Old Lyme and chose to stay exclusively in her home, which eventually became a sort of bohemian artists colony.
The grounds of the museum are really quite beautiful – with several gardens and views of the Lieutenant River. I spent quite a bit of time taking pictures of the house and the gardens before actually entering the museum. I apologize for the quality of the photos – I didn’t take the good camera to begin with and then later realized my white balance was set weird. D’oh!
Once inside, we watched a couple of informative videos about Florence and the house and one of one of the exhibits, and then we spent some time looking at all the art. We then went on a tour of the house, which has been completely restored to circa 1910, when so many of the artists stayed there. It was particularly fascinating to see all the painted panels in the home. The dining room and many other rooms in the house have paintings on the panels of the walls that were done by some of the artists staying there. One would actually have to be invited to paint a panel and it was considered quite the honor to get that invitation.
The exhibit that I probably enjoyed the most, though, was The Rambles – a huge outdoor sculpture of woven sticks and branches overlooking the The Lieutenant River. It was pretty incredible – you could even walk through it!
After more wandering around the grounds and a quick stop at the gift shop, we decided it was about time to find some lunch. After reading a few reviews on Yelp, we decided on the The Morning Glory Cafe, which was just a couple minutes (if that) down the road from the museum. This ended up being the perfect choice for our afternoon out. It had outdoor seating, with views of the river, and a simple menu consisting mostly of sandwiches and salads – which is just what we were looking for.
I chose the Veggie Glory Wrap, which had onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and spinach and provolone cheese, served along side a nice crispy order of their Sweet Potato Fries.
Mom had the MGC Panini, which looked amazing – Prosciutto with roasted red peppers, basil and Feta, served with fries.
After lunch, we ran a couple of errands and finished our day with a stop at the Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe, where I had the best thing ever! No really, the best thing ever. I had Sam Adams Double Chocolate Bock ice cream. I have been saying for the longest time now that someone needs to combine two of my favorite things – ice cream and beer – and they did it! And it was amazing… It was like a really good chocolate ice cream with just a little kick at the end. Perfect.
Here’s mom enjoying her cone outside the shop. I thought the shop was absolutely adorable. I honestly think I would make a trip down to Old Lyme just for the ice cream!
It really was a perfect afternoon – took a beautiful drive, saw some great art, ate an excellent lunch, and finished it all with ice cream (which, of course, is the ideal way to end all things)!