Though we haven't always seen eye-to-eye and it's been a struggle for me to adapt, I have enjoyed a few things New England has offered. First off, there's the money difference between what I was (and will be again) making in Florida vs. Connecticut salaries. There is a significant difference (30%+) in pay in both New England and the tri-state area within my industry. However, with that pay comes trade offs, such as high property taxes, state income tax, and personal property taxes (auto).
I was never into gardening until I moved to Connecticut. When we moved into our house in August 2008, it was too late to plant my all-time favorite flower - the hydrangea. So I waited until October when the air turned bitterly crisp for my Floridian blood and set out to clear move some of the daisies and plant what I had only seen in stores - tulips and daffodils. At first my garden looked pretty empty, but over the last four years, I've added an Endless Summer hydrangea, geraniums, and various seasonal flowers that I can enjoy from April to September.
I think I did the most traveling within New England during my first year up here. I took a cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen in York, Maine during a rather pleasant and snowless February day. Hubby and I stayed at a delightful floating hotel called The Green Turtle in Boston during our first Memorial Day in New England. I took my pregnant sister and her husband on a whirlwind tour of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Boston in 2010. In Vermont, we stayed in Stowe, were introduced to butternut squash hash, and tried new flavors at Ben & Jerry's corporate headquarters.
Connecticut is a beautiful state. Traveling up the Merritt Parkway in the fall is breathtaking. I worked up on a hill in a five-story building where I looked out glass windows to a sea of golds and reds in November, the first snowfall of December, and the incredible speed at which Spring seemed to explode in April. Never before had I been to a Christmas Tree farm and chopped down our very own tree at Jone's Family Farm. I will miss the farms and the wineries. Picking apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries, and other fruit I detest (I'm not a fruit eater) became a family tradition. When the Floridians came up, we went and picked apples at Lyman Orchards. I also took the family to Jonathan Edwards winery. I'm sad I won't get to experience another harvest fest in October where huge, white tents house hundreds of people from CT, RI, and MA. People set up their own picnic areas with fresh linens, cheeses, etc. while sipping on Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and other locally grown wines. There's music, a pig roast, vendors, and tours of the winery, conducted by Mr. Edwards himself.
I also learned to appreciate seafood while living in New England. It was in Rhode Island at Maria's on Missquamicut Beach that I fell in love with scallops. I'm so glad we took a day in July for a final visit. However, I'm looking forward to enjoying Sarasota's turquoise waters and sugar white sands. And water that isn't freezing.
And finally, the entire reason for moving up north - New York City. Being able to take a train into the city on the spur of the moment was such an inviting thought. In reality, we only really visited 3-4 times/year. Going into the city was an all day ordeal. The train ride was 94 minutes at a cost of $50 round trip for hubby and I. It was quite expensive to go. We would easily drop $200 - 300 just in train fare, cabs, and food/wine while in the city for a day. Of course the shopping is unbelievable and will no doubt lure me up to NYC at least once a year in the future. And while it is crowded no matter what time of year you go, Christmastime in NYC is simply jaw-dropping. I'm so glad I got to see the Macy's Day Parade, stroll down Little Italy, take in a Broadway show, view the Statue of Liberty and NYC skyline on a water cruise, see my mom nervously quivering on top of The Rock, enjoy pizza and cheeses during a culinary tour of Greenwich Village with my sister and her husband on a rain-soaked day, take a carriage ride in Central Park with my hubby, and last and most memorable - have the love of my life propose to me on May 15, 2010 after a wonderful meal at Morton's and a beautiful day at The Met.
Goodbye New England. Thanks for the memories. Here's to new ones.