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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baltic Connecticut

Last week Linda and I had Linda's mom and our son, Terry join us on a trip to Connecticut and Rhode Island. Our family has a friend who is a native of Burundi who is now a member of the Sisters of Charity and is currently residing in their convent in Baltic, Connecticut.

A year or so ago, we had planned this as a driving trip to Wisconsin. I think the nun business is a bit like IBM (I've Been Moved) or the military. There was a transfer for Sister Elizabeth and a longer trip for us.

The cheapest way to get to Baltic is to fly in to New York City (LaGuardia) and drive from there. We had never visited Connecticut so it also offered us a chance to pick up between one and five state capitols for my photo album too. We headed out from Minneapolis and had the chance to experience the new TSA full-body scan procedures at MSP. We breezed through pretty easily and at least mom-in-law didn't get the usual going over for her artificial knees. I did get a an additional thorough pat-down after instructions were radioed from the scanner to my new best friend, the personal TSA agent. Yeah, those people who call it a "groping" have a good point!

We beat the rush-hour traffic out of LaGuardia, paid a $5.50 toll to escape NYC and were soon in Connecticut. I stopped at the first services plaza on I-95 marked by Golden Arches to pick up some tourist information. The building had several fast food outlets and Terry stepped into a very slow-moving line at the McDonalds counter. After reaching the front of the line and being ignored for a couple of minutes, he waved his money in the air. The manager looked, yelled "whaaaat?" and then waved someone else over to take the order. We were still in greater NYC!

Baltic, Connecticut, is a tiny village located in the larger town of Sprague. Total population of Sprague is 2,971. Baltic is about three hours drive from NYC and two hours from Boston. There is a small convenience store on Main Street that closes at 9:00 p.m. Otherwise, it appears that the Sisters of Charity are the major industry. Nearby Nowalk, about five miles away, is the nearest commercial center.

The convent house is also the home of The Academy of the Holy Family, a Catholic college prep school for young women, was founded in 1874. You can see the building in the distance in the center of this photo:

Prior to becoming a convent, the building was hotel. This must have been quite the center of activity in the late 1800s.

We enjoyed our stay in Baltic but most of our activities were in the surrounding areas. This was our first trip through the distant suburbs of New York City and Boston. It was much less populated than I expected. These tiny villages, farms surrounded by rock walls, and a general "New England Cottage" atmosphere made it a very pleasant place to visit.

There are more pictures of the convent and the sisters' activities here on their website.

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