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Getting out of town

I am a traveler by nature.  Back when I was accepted to YLS, I found out in a phone call home from the border between China and Laos.  -By the way, for those of you waiting to hear back from law schools, I highly recommend a similar course of action.  Doing something else I loved kept everything in perspective!-   Even when I was settled in New Haven as a law student, I was never one to stop finding new places to see. 

I thought New Haven was a great place to study, but I also enjoyed all the ways to get out of town.  I found a way to make a few trips outside of the country as a law student.  I also had never lived near New York City before attending YLS, so this one hour and forty minute train ride brought a wealth of new  streets and neighborhoods to explore.  But for the average Saturday, when accomplishing my class reading was the task at hand, I found the small towns around New Haven to be a perfect change of scene.

A drive up or down the coast of Connecticut will land you in any number of quaint towns, each with its own unique character.  I will return to some other favorites  in a later blog post, but for now, I'll tell you about the town where I spent the most time during law school - Branford. 

This small shoreline town, with a population of about 30,000 people, built around a small green, may not sound like much of a stop, but here you can find a quaint escape.  Downtown Branford, about a 15 minute drive from New Haven, offers cute coffee shops and little boutique stores to stop in, some great restaurant finds and a town fair on the green in the summer http://www.branfordfestival.com).  If you are like me, and need to keep seeing new sights, Branford is an easy first stop.  (After this, you can branch out to Madison, Westport, Mystic or the Rhode Island beaches.)

For a typical Saturday afternoon in Branford during my law school days, my first stop was the coffee shop Common Grounds (http://www.commongrounds.com).  Common Grounds may not be very different from many of the coffee shops around New Haven as a place to study, but I loved it because it was someplace new!  You can also get a good cup of coffee and some fun desserts.  During the warmer months, I spent a number of Saturdays studying at one of the outdoor tables behind the shop. 

If I wanted to splurge on a nice lunch after all of those hours of studying/sun-bathing, I would walk down to the street to Foe Bistro (http://www.foebistro.com/Foe/Home.html) browsing in a few boutiques along the way.  All I can say about Foe is that people in Connecticut really like their food, for even small little towns like this one have gems. This is one of the things I liked about living in New Haven, because as you may have noticed, in addition to travelling and art, I also love food.  Have you ever tried a pulled BBQ duck sandwich?  A bowl of soup, like sweet potato-ginger bisque, coupled with a simple baby arugula salad also makes for a perfect lunch.  If you are feeling like a caloric splurge, try the bistro's macaroni and cheese.

I would be remiss in this blog visit to Branford if I did not mention the town's true hidden treasure.  In a small room beside the green, you will find one of the best French restaurants outside of NYC.  Le Petit Cafe (www.lepetitcafe.net) is certainly not for the average Saturday afternoon study break, but you might as well take a peek at the menu while you are in town, and make a reservation to come back for dinner with someone you want to treat.  Le Petit Cafe is warm and homey, you are almost assured to meet the owner and spend two hours over dinner from an outstanding menu that changes weekly.  The dinner is prix fixe and there are only 2 seatings on the weekends.  Make reservations.   Next stop, Westport...

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