Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Trip to My Happy Place, The Bleu Willow – Fall 2010

     One Sunday, Beckie, Lilly and I went on a road trip. I wanted to go to one of my favorite stores, the one that brings me to “My Happy Place”, The Bleu Willow. It is a 30 minute drive down Route 10/202 through Westfield, Southwick, Granby, and into Simsbury. I told Beckie it wasn't a clothing or shoe store, it was one of my favorite types of places, you know chippy furniture, fun vintage things, and we can stop anywhere she wanted to, along the way.  She laughed and gave me that "Okay, Mom", that we all know.

     One of the things me and my girls love about road trips together is the time we spend together in the car. The destination is the reason we’re on the trip, but the whole trip becomes a memorable experience that is always filled with lots of talk, laughter, and fun. One of the first “funny” conversations we had was about how St. Mary’s Cemetery in Westfield is Haunted.

 “Really? How do you know?” asked Beckie. Well of course, “Because I found it listed on a website, and Kate said it was.” Now mind you, Lilly (age 5) is in the back seat listening. So I suggested, maybe, if we feel like it when we get back, we can go take a walk through the cemetery. Of course Beckie agreed, and then Lilly pipes in “we’re going to walk through a cemetery with ghosts?”. Beckie and I exchange glances at each other, and I turn to peak at Lilly; she appears a little perplexed. So I proceed to tell her, yes, it’s lots of fun (for those of you who don’t know yet, I love, and have always loved cemeteries, but that’s another story), and you don’t have to worry about the ghosts. Just like there's good people and bad people, there are good ghosts and bad ghosts, but mostly good. And anyway, if a ghost is bothering you, all you have to do is say “I believe in God and you can’t touch me!”. She’s says “Oh, because they have no arms.” I was cracking up over that. Here I go on this big thing about don’t be afraid, God can protect you, and she, very simply, goes right to the obvious. Too precious, and was just the beginning of our day of fun.

        Our first stop was to Salmon Brook Antiques. I first visited this antique shop somewhere around 1998. It is a consignment shop for antiques, so there is plenty of variety, from vintage jewelry and buttons to vintage toys and china. An eclectic mix of new and old bookshelves, glass cases, and tables creates nooks and cranny’s for visitors to explore (don’t we all just love treasure hunting in the nooks and cranny’s?!). Beckie and I started off by going to the left, making sure Lilly knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she was to hold one of our hands, and was NOT to touch ANYTHING! (It’s great that she listens and abides by those rules, and will ask if she can touch something, or asks us to go see something she wants to see, which means more fun for me, because I love to share this time with her and hopefully creating lasting memories for her.) Before I knew it, Beckie and Lilly had disappeared; apparently off hunting in another area of the store, and I thought “oh good, she’s exploring”. I continued on around the perimeter, into one back room, and around to the middle. As I admired all the vintage dishes, pictures, and linens, I soon found myself just gazing over the objects. There were a few things that caught my attention, like the little plastic baggies of vintage buttons priced at $1, or the iron stage coach toy, that I wondered if it was a good buy to resell. And then, from another back room, Beckie and Lilly came strolling over, she found some really fun stuff to look at, we finished our browsing and were ready to head over to the candle store which was just a few steps away. (But not before Lilly asked to go see a doll, just one more time.)

          As we walked into the shop, we were instantly met with the smell of scented candles and a lovely woman who owns the shop with her husband. We slowly walked through the store looking at the wonderful array of candles, enjoying the scents along the way. The woman gave Lilly a bag with some matches and an information sheet, and told her she could go over to the table of votive candles and pick out one candle on “her”, any scent she liked. Lilly was in her Glory, and we immediately headed over to the table, after a quick detour, per Lilly, to check out the Christmas Tree. We walked around the table, she picked up different colored candles and smelled them, and eventually settled on a “freesia” candle. The woman also came to Beckie and said she could choose a candle, as well, and proceeded to tell us that she and her husband bought the shop and all the recipes 8 years ago. Her husband makes the candles, and she works in the store. She is such a lovely person who truly loves what she does and loves to share it with others.

     We continued to drive through to Simsbury, checking out the artistic horse figures displayed at various stores along the way. We noticed several little café’s that looked like they would be fun to try; not the usual chain store café, but the quaint, cozy type of café. Both of us had our heads moving from side to side, so as not to miss an interesting stop, when Beckie noticed an old cemetery that gracefully spanned a gentle hillside. “Maybe we can stop there on our way back?”, she asked. Absolutely, was my reply! And then …

Front Porch of
     There it was, The Bleu Willow.  Oddly, I am a little nervous, a little excited, and a little impatient, as I waited for Lilly to unbuckle and get out of the car….and then the three of us ran to the steps of the store. As I walked up the porch steps, I lingered, looking at the weathered and weathering candelabras, bird cages, and metal boxes; I didn’t want this moment to slip by, I wanted to savor every step, every object. I opened the door and instantly, I was in My Happy Place. We all walked to the left, into the first room; there is so much to behold. I just stood there taking it all in, when Beckie calls me over to look at these vintage glasses she found on a chippy vanity covered with all kinds of white, vintage, romantic bits of everything. She looks at me and whispers in a secretive, hurried voice “can I put these on?”, “will you take my picture” (we're looking for the picture). I replied in like whisper, “Well, yeah, will they fit your face, will you stretch them?”. She got her “phone” ready for me to take the picture, checked that the glasses would fit on her face without stretching them, she looked at herself in the mirror, laughed, turned to me, and I quickly took the picture. We both just started cracking up! They were that vintage blue, cat’s eye shape, with rhinestones on the wing of the “cat eye” part. 

      How Fun! Lilly was begging me to look at the “Queen Crowns” she found, and then the “King Crown”, and then…”the princess crown”; she was having just as much fun with all of this old, romantic “stuff”. We wound our way , this way, and that way through the store looking at all of the unique items in the store, ranging from cottage style décor to altered art objects de’ art. In the back corner of the store, Lilly says “nana, a bathroom”, so naturally I said “Do you have to go”; “no”, she says, “I don’t think you can use it”. Now I am really confused. What on earth is she talking about? Well I looked into the bathroom, and it is just as quaint and adorable as the rest of the store (if not more so). So I walked in with her, shut the door and said, “So, do you have to go”. “No”, she replied; so I asked “then why are we in here”. She just wanted to look at all the neat things in there. She was completely captured in the moment. I can tell we are going to have many more of these trips together, because she enjoys this “stuff” just as much as I do.

     At this point, we are all a little weary, as we head back towards home, but there is that walk through the cemetery that we still want to do, and we did!  But I'll save that for another story.

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