I’m not in the pool league, but some Mondays I’ll go hang out with some friends who are in the league. We’ll have a few drinks and I’ll watch everyone shoot pool and sometimes there are wings involved. I love going when they play at the Maple Leaf since it’s my favorite bar in town.
Prior to this trip — which Brian and I took in August — I hadn’t been camping since about the eighth grade. The school I went to had a camping trip every year for each class. Needless to say, I’m an ill-experienced outdoorswoman.
We drove a short ways west to Tolland State Forest, where you can rent a campsite for just over $10 a night. We weren’t quite timely enough to snag a waterfront site, but the one we got was plenty cozy. Brian put the tent together and I struggled with the mattress and pump until it was full enough to be slept on. We cooked hot dogs over the fire for dinner, then made s’mores for dessert. We stopped at a small liquor store on the way for a few six packs and cracked them open shortly after we got set up.
I’m not a native resident of western Massachusetts, so a lot of people thought it was silly that I got so excited about going to the Big E (or Eastern States Exposition) twice this year. There’s a method to doing the Big E properly: skip the standard carnival food, focus on the things that are specific to this particular fair, other things of that nature. I go for the food, focusing on the Avenue of the States and eating until I run out of money and/or have sampled something from each building. Then there’s the mandatory Craz-E Burger, a Big E staple. I must admit that I’m not much a fan of the cream puffs — the first one I had three years ago was enough for a lifetime and I’ve skipped it ever since to save room for the Exposition’s other food fares.
This year, I went with my boyfriend Brian, who hadn’t been since roughly 2006. He had mentioned that it had been years since he’d gone because he didn’t like it all that much, to which I promptly replied, “you probably just weren’t doing it right.” I was right; when we started talking about it I learned that he had no clue what the Avenue of the States was and didn’t seem to know much of anything about the food, drink and all-around awesome times the Big E has to offer.
He changed his mind about the Big E shortly into our first trip, making a mental list of all the food he wanted to get when we came for our next visit. On our second go, we met up with a group of friends for drinks and games. I’d never been to the Big E after dark before or even thought about playing any of the carnival games (my life seems to be dictated by the wants of my stomach), but my camera was happy to stay until after the fair closed down for the night.