New England Travel Journal: Madison

This year, I’ve been peeking out of the familiar universe of New Haven and setting forth into New England. I’m not sure what motivated this change–probably, it’s the dawning awareness that I have less than two years remaining at Yale. After I graduate (hopefully), who knows where I’ll be? (Really, does anyone know? Does anyone have a cool internship for me?)

On Wednesday, I left New Haven behind for the beach-side (ish) town of Madison, CT. Making this beeline was actually quite simple. I walked from Silliman College to State Street Station (about 13 minutes) and waited for the Shore Line East train to Madison. State Street Station is pretty bare-bones. It’s outdoors and there’s no place to buy even the tiniest cup of coffee, which was a little bit of a sad combination last Wednesday, when it was freezing and raining. Luckily, just across the street is Elm City Market, where they have one of those touch-screen espresso machines. I’m CRAZY about these things. I like how you can see the milk and the coffee and the chocolate all come out at different times. Anyway, enough about that. It was delicious.

This train journey took about 30 minutes and cost me exactly $5. We hurtled past ponds and fields studded with autumn trees in full flourish. I felt really lucky to be in New England in October, with my cappuccino warming my hands. 

As soon as I got off the train, I walked into central Madison. It’s particularly delightful to visit Madison in the fall, because the town puts on an annual scarecrow contest. Various organizations and companies erect scarecrows all over downtown. Most of these are super bizarre and hilarious. I wish I had taken a picture.

I found a seat in the café of R.J. Julia’s bookstore, a local favorite with one of the best-stocked children’s sections I’ve ever seen. I ordered my second hot drink of the day–an almond tea!–and after doing some reading of my own, I blissfully browsed for at least half an hour. One of the baristas told me that the closest place to see the water was at the Madison Beach Hotel, so once I’d had my fill of books, I went to check it out. (I took a Lyft, but I could have walked. Now I know!)

The water was clear and smooth as class. I scrambled out onto a rock and got some intense reflecting done. When it got too cold for me to stand it any more, I went into the hotel and had the first and best New England Clam Chowder in my life. In a crazy twist, I ended up staying the night, but it would have been just as easy to hop on the train back.

I’ll be posting more fun day trips from New Haven as the year goes on, so stay tuned! Until then, happy fall!