Where we stayed
A Producer Suite at the MGM Grand in Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT. We booked this a couple of months ago, and managed to get a really great rate and Quidco cashback booking through Expedia. And thank goodness we did book it then as the price more than doubled in recent weeks. It was a fantastic room through – big jetted tub, separate living room area, and an amazing view over the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation. The only negative about this room was we weren’t able to check in for an hour when we got there, and the front desk staff confused us greatly about this, so we ended up just hanging about waiting when all we wanted to do was relax.
Where we ate
Coffee and a doughnut at Mrs Claus’ Cafe (yes,really) for lunch.
We went to Fuddruckers in Foxwoods for dinner. Husband had a Southwest burger which had bacon, guacamole and cheese, I just had a cheeseburger and loaded up on salad at the produce bar.
Today was very odd. Very odd. But those of you who know me will know that I do like the odd. We also didn’t appreciate this at the time, but this was the last our of free breakfasts, and my last waffle – boo! If we’d realised this, I’m sure we would have celebrated it more. Instead, we just packed up and got started on another long drive. We popped over to the Hannaford’s supermarket as we left the hotel – I do love a good overseas supermarket – and stocked up on road trip snacks.
We took Highway 9 over the Green Mountains and were again treated to a beautiful drive. We then drove south across the state line to Massachusetts, and into Deerfield, MA to… the Yankee Candle Flagship Store. Yes, you read that right. We watched Undercover Boss a while ago, and the boss of Yankee Candle went and worked at this store in Deerfield, so we thought it would be fun to visit. What we didn’t expect was an immense 90,000 square feet sprawling megastore. I’m not entirely sure that megastore even covers it. Obviously there were quite a lot of candles, but there was also Bavarian Christmas Village, indoor forest with snow and a waterfall, more candles, toy department, home department, a variety of make-your-own candles, make your own wax hand (!) and then some more candles.
It was insane. Coach parties stop here – COACH PARTIES!!! They give you a map when you walk through the door! We got lost at one point! They made a point of telling us which entrance we’d gone in so we could find out way back to the car. Only in America.
I love Christmas, but I have a personal rule that I can’t look at Christmas presents or decorations until December, however this place has “The World’s Greatest Christmas Shop” so of course I had to break my rule. I was very close to spending the rest of my holiday spending money in the Christmas Village, and it was a struggle to decide on what decoration to get. Husband and I have a tradition of buying one new tree decoration a year which reminds us of a big holiday or trip, so when I saw a Father Christmas climbing a lighthouse, I had to buy it. They also had a display of Coca Cola decorations (“Holidays are Coming!”) and as my Mum is obsessed with the advert, I had to get her something from there.
The little lighted village decorations were adorable, and they even had Halloween villages which I really wanted to buy. I spent ages in this section filming the cute houses and stores.
Part of the Undercover Boss episode focussed on the wax hands area of the store and I thought I’d have a go, even if the hand would eventually get smashed up by baggage handlers. But as I stood and watched a kid dipping his hand in the warm wax, I got a little bit creeped out and decided against. There were wax hands on a shelf and they looked so freaky! So I backed away from that.
After stopping for a coffee at Mrs Claus’ Cafe, we bought 12 pick and mix votives/wax tarts of scents we don’t think we can get in the UK – I did want to get some of the glass jars, but I really wouldn’t have been able to fit them in my suitcase. We had voucher for free fragrance spheres, so we grabbed some of those, and they’re actually really good – I’m sad they don’t sell those in the UK. We poked our head in the museum as well, but it was quite small, although we did see these insanely patriotic candles so thank goodness we didn’t miss those.
Frankly, I can’t believe I’ve written almost 500 words on a CANDLE SHOP so I think it’s probably time to move on.
We made a quick detour to drive through Historic Deerfield and this village was beautiful – old colonial houses in what is described as an “open-air living history museum”. If we hadn’t spent hours upon hours in a freaking mega-candle-warehouse, we might have stopped but instead we just had a quick drive about. We almost ran over the hoards of posh school children who seemed to just be roaming about, which caused Husband to yell “Warbler in the road” and make me snort with laughter for about an hour.
We then experienced our most nerve wracking drive so far as we travelled further south. Up until now, the most built up areas we’d driven through were towns with populations around 40,000 – 60,000, so quite similar to the towns I live in and near. Springfield, MA seemed ridiculously big and scary, and just as we were getting over that, we hit Hartford, CT. A population of 125,000! What were all these frightening big towers and massive four lane roads?!?!?! There was a huge sigh of relief from both of us when we got back out into the country again and onto Route 2.
From candles to casinos. Rising from the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in front of us was Foxwoods resort and casino, our room for the night and place where I would of course make my millions (spoiler alert – I didn’t). We had a very frustrating check in experience when the front desk staff throughly confused the heck out of us, whilst simultaneously tried to distract us by randomly yelling “I like your hair!” and “Do you like chocolate?” – I do appreciate that they were trying to keep us sweet, but when I’m trying to find out why our room isn’t ready, yelling this nonsense didn’t help! We eventually managed to get out of them that our room would be ready at 4, so we dropped out bags in storage, and went and had a coffee whilst we waited for them to call us.
We sat in this quite empty coffee ‘shop’ listening to these incredibly annoying app developers putting together some kind of Apple pitch over Skype, and when we couldn’t put up with them anymore, we went back to see if we could have our room. It was ready (despite them not giving us a call – naughty Foxwoods). However, it was worth the wait as the room was stunning with an amazing view.
We freshened up, and then went down to explore the resort which was remarkably huge (second largest in the USA). We walked all the way from our hotel at MGM to the Great Cedar hotel and back again, trying to spot where the good slot machines were and where we were going to stop for dinner.
The Sex and the City slot machine called me first, and I managed to double my initial bet straight off with a Miranda bonus (and the woman next to me cheering along). I really liked this machine when I played it in Las Vegas, so I was pleased it was being kind to me again. I then promptly lost it all in an Alice in Wonderland machine. Bum. Husband played a Fort Worth game which he enjoyed and doubled his money, but he then lost it in a Hangover machine. The final pre-dinner machines were a different Sex and the City machine for me, and a Michael Jackson machine for Husband. Michael did not bring him luck, and the mini-bonus that kept me going for a while gave up in the end.
We got back to the room in time for sunset and unsuccessfully tried to photograph it, before going back down for dinner at Fuddruckers for some very yummy burgers. We were sat in a Marilyn Monroe booth in the middle of the restaurant which gave us a great vantage point for people watching.
Two last machines for tonight – we found two unoccupied Wizard of Oz machines next to each other which is so very rare, so we jumped on these for twenty minutes of losing our money. BOO! Grumpy at not winning anything, we went back to our room and luxuriated in our jetted bath, before falling asleep in the lovely bed.
This entry has taken me the entire afternoon to write. Congratulations if you have actually managed to read it all without falling asleep.