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If you’re new to this blog, this post might not make any sense. For many years, during my morning commute, I stopped at Great River Park in East Hartford, CT. I would leave for work very early, to beat the traffic heading south into Hartford. Once I crossed the Connecticut River, I was no longer subject to rush hour traffic. I was heading away from the city, and I had the option of traveling the back roads. In fact, traveling the back roads had the added advantage of letting me stop for breakfast at Maddie’s, a wonderful little family-owned diner.

Last week, when I was taking my car in for service, I left with more than enough time to stop at Great River Park and to have breakfast at Maddie’s. I wasn’t sure what I might find at the park. Earlier this summer, there were several inappropriate gatherings in the area near the park. Crowdsourced over social media, hundreds, perhaps a thousand people gathered in commercial parking lots just south of the park. One night, a couple of those people were shot by a couple others.

Great River Park has always been closed, wink wink, from dusk to dawn. I have hundreds of pictures taken from the park when the sun was nowhere to be seen. The only time I ever found the gate closed was when the park was flooded. For those that don’t know, Great River Park runs long the river shore, on the river-side of the levee that protects East Hartford from flooding.

It was fun to return to the park, to walk along the bike path and to snap a few photos. It was a little sad to see the increased signage and new rules. I guess it’s a good thing I retired when I did. I think I’d be upset to be forced to drive past the park from about October to April because a few people couldn’t play by the rules during a pandemic.

I hope you enjoy today’s gallery.

66 comments

  1. I remember so many of your early morning shots, Dan, so it is a little sad to see that additional restrictions are now in place. Progress? Alas, changes like these are hard to view as progress. I am glad to see, though, that you were able to get a nice breakfast–that is at least some consolation these days, when getting to eat at a restaurant is a rarity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since the company I worked for has been working remote since March, I would have missed these scenes anyway, Mike. I think the lesson I take away from this is, don’t think “I can always get that photo tomorrow.” I shudder to think of the damage that could have been done if they hadn’t started locking the park. That’s what’s sad. No one who has ever walked along the river in the morning would ever think about damaging this area. Breakfast was good. I was very glad to see that they were open for indoor dining.

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      1. Access is limited at a lot of the places I visit. Sometimes it is a simply a sign with the indication that the park is closed from dusk to sunrise. The policy there is pretty liberal, though I have been told the police patrol there regularly after-hours. Other times it is more restrictive. The wildlife refuge where I do a lot of shooting has an electric gate that opens and closes automatically. On quite a number of occasions I have been parked outside of the gate, counting down the minutes until the gate slides open.

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  2. Sadly those signs are signs of the times for a long time to come. I like the lamp shining through the trees and the broken heart. “Alligator” is first thing I saw when I looked at that pic. Yes, Park Maintenance needs to step it up a bit! I think you really enjoyed that breakfast! At least the good food hasn’t changed at Maddie’s!!
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

    1. IT is sad to see these signs, and you’re right, Ginger, they are here for the long haul. Some things will never go back to the way they were. I’m glad you liked the heart and saw the alligator.

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  3. I’d have a broken heart too. We have a lovely small park next to the water near us that the DOT decided to close this year because of Covid-19. They put large concrete barriers in front of the drive to keep people from congregating. Okay, but a few yards down the road the other half is open. I sent an inquiring email to my local rep, and was told it was to keep the expense of mowing down. Hmm, the grass is still getting mowed, just from the other entrance and people are crowding that part because they can’t get to the other side. It’s always interesting. Happy Monday, Dan, and boy would I be happy with that breakfast. Looks delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess I should be glad they didn’t close the park for good. It’s an essential flood relieve/prevention area, they didn’t have to make it into a park. I don’t know why people can’t be happy for what they do have. I appreciate that our town chose to keep the parks open, but not allow gathering or events. I also appreciate the fact that the people in our town didn’t screw that up. As for blocking half a park…you got me.

      As promised, I just finished my apple :(

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Nature made a comeback, but then nature blew through with hurricane strength winds. I think the maintenance crew has been busy clearing the paths, I can forgive them a little grass in the wrong place. As for the consequences of human nature, that’s harder to forgive.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There is something magical about water, Dan. I happen to agree with you some rules were meant to be broken. I’ve broken some myself a time or two all in the name of “I’ve just got to get that picture!”. Have a great day.

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  5. This new reality with the signs with shouting red letters are definitely a sign of the times. I have never understood the need for defiance of rules put in place to keep all our citizens safe. Another sad sign of the times.The photos are lovely just the same. I am glad you had the opportunity to visit the park again and your breakfast looks amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a sad sign of the times, Maggie. I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit freely during the years I was working. I have hundreds of pictures to remember those days. Breakfast was good. Maddie’s gets “over medium” perfectly. Liquid yolk, no runny white part.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan, I am really wanting that Maddie’s breakfast right now, except with poached eggs! Coffee too…

    I’m glad you are still able to stop at the park and take photos, regardless of the signs. Everywhere there are signs now, to keep people safe whether they are willing or not. I was thinking over the weekend about how I will miss the times of year when my morning commute allowed me the pleasure of beautiful sunrises. It was a great start to the day. I suppose I could get up early for a sunrise here and there, but that would be a hard one when I much prefer the warmth of a comforter and kitty snuggles on a cool morning. ;-)

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    1. I though my car maintenance cycle would get me here more often, Mary, but I haven’t been driving much since March. I can go there whenever I want, I am still up early enough. The problem with most signs is that they’re only effective on the people obey the rules on a regular basis.

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  7. I remember all your early morning photos….sad though it was, I’m glad you were able to get back and see the old sights. I have not been back to my old work route since I retired. It was a part of town that I never went to, anyway…..so nothing for me to miss. The ‘lights on’ and ‘broken heart’, both so pretty. Have a good Monday, Dan. We are awaiting the arrival of Tropical Storm Sally. We have 2-1/2 months of hurricane season and not many letters left!!!

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  8. We sure are good at putting up signage. Lots of signage. Permissions, restrictions, limits, and you name it. There are signs for everything Each sign is useful for a purpose. Together they often do a good job of obscuring each other. Sometimes it is hard to find the sign you need among the other signs. Remember these signs are a part of progress. I was hardly able to see the ‘Welcome to Willoghby’ sign….

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  9. You are so right…a few simple rules. 🙄Im sure you know what my favorite photos are. That sun peeking through the trees. That breakfast! Yes, that looks like a gator! And the crushed heart…Let’s just say we have some crumbs in common. 😞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, they took the river monster away, I miss him. I do like the gator though. I took some nice photos off that dock. I wonder if s toy boat would count 😏

      I’m glad you liked those photos, they’re my favs. Well except for the breakfast.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The view of the city in the dark, especially when the lights are reflected in the river were always my favorites. I can get some from one of the bridges, but it’s not the same. I’m glad you liked this. Thanks for the extra effort to comment.

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  10. Oh I see the “alligator” photo from a different Perspective, how weird is my mind?  I see a lady’s corset!🤪. The broken heart is sweet and the lamp post is great for a Halloween story.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Glad you made it back, Dan, and that breakfast looks amazing! It IS a shame when things are still prohibited or restricted in some way because people won’t follow the rules. I just looked above the comment box and saw “I’ll have to study that corset.” Consider my mind boggled. :-)

    janet

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    1. Given the proximity of the parking lot where people were gathering, I can see why they decided to start locking the park. If people were injured in a well lit flat parking lot with nothing but grass around it, I can only imagine what would happen in a dark lot next to a river. As for the photo, I’m sticking with alligator.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Dan – yes I’m glad I’m not working now – equally can ‘hear’ your relief. Sad about the extra restrictions for the park … bu that breakfast looks good – and I expect they were pleased to see you … all the best – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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