I’m going to start by saying this is not a holiday post. In fact, this is a “time out from the holidays” post. Now, I know that we’ve only just begun decking the halls, rockin’ around the Christmas tree, walking in a winter wonderland, and jingling all the way, but I also know that somewhere between all the primping, purchasing, and partying that’s ahead this month, we can all use a well-deserved time-out. And so can the kids. So how about exploring a local library that’s cozy, quiet, and best of all, there’s not a single thing for sale!
You know we love the West Hartford library for it’s sanity-saving baby room plus tons of fun for toddlers. But it also sits right smack in the middle of Blue Back Square, a major holiday shopping spot. And who wants to fight traffic and crowds on the way to your relaxation destination? Kind of defeats the point, right? So Boo and I decided to check out the Welles-Turner Memorial Library right in our own town of Glastonbury.
We’d actually been there a few months earlier trying out a baby class called Mother Goose Time. Unfortunately, like a lot of places, the library policy is to divide kids by age, and not necessarily by stage of development. As we all know, that may be the most straightforward policy, but it’s not always the most accurate one. At 14 months old and a full-fledged walker/runner, Boo still got stuck in the 0-15 months class (we missed the cut-off birthday for the one-year-old class by about a month) without a single other walking baby. Most of them couldn’t even crawl. The course description was “nursery rhymes and songs from the comfort of your lap.” Yeah. You can imagine how well that went. We barely made it 10 minutes before Boo was up and running around the outside of the circle of sitters squealing and trying to pilfer things from other people’s diaper bags. And I don’t blame him. The little guy had just figured out how his legs work! That was way more exciting than the Eensy Weensy Spider. Needless to say, we did not go back the following week. The saving grace was that the other moms and dads in the class were completely supportive. No one looked even remotely annoyed by my screaming banshee. A few of the moms even whispered words of encouragement as I chased Boo from one side of the room to another. So even though this did not go as I had hoped, I felt like I could certainly go back to a different class one day and give it a try. No pressure, no worries, no judgment. Now if that isn’t a refreshing change in the parental universe, I don’t know what is!
On this trip to the library, however, we’ve come with one mission: to scope out the children’s section. The library is very easy to spot right there on Main Street across from the town center’s shopping plazas. However, it is more difficult to see the driveway that takes you around back to the generous parking area behind the building. Just remember that the entrance is right between the library and the TD Bank building; it’s marked “Addie Lane.”
Stay left to head down into the library’s parking lot. (Please note that you cannot exit this way, however. When leaving, follow arrow on exit sign to exit onto Welles Street; turn right onto Welles Street and the first light will be Main Street.)
There are some parking spaces in front too, but it’s much easier to find room in the lot.
The children’s area is also right there on the lower level, but there are four stairs leading up to the entrance. Now, four stairs may not seem like a lot unless you are trying to maneuver a stroller. Then four stairs might as well be 40. The good news? There is an elevator that will let you off right at the top of those stairs. You might feel a little silly taking it for such a short ride, but hey, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, right? If you go in through the main entrance up on Main Street, you can also take that elevator down to the level of the children’s section. Just head straight back to find the elevator.
Twice a year, usually spring and fall, the library has a massive book sale where they sell thousands of books for a dollar or less. All proceeds benefit the library. This year we scored a bunch of great books for Boo.
Once through the library doors, notice that there are restrooms through a door directly to your left with changing stations in both the men’s and the women’s rooms (there is another restroom at the back of the children’s section as well). There is also a room back there to the left called the “Friends Room” and that is where they hold the baby classes.
Those are the four stairs I was telling you about. As you can see, there isn’t really anywhere to leave your stroller down at the bottom either. But the elevator (notice that shiny metal door off to the left there) will let you off right at the top. Crisis averted.
Once through the doors, Boo made a beeline for the train set.
Boo’s favorite activity is still running up and down the stacks. Fortunately, no one seems to mind.
Down this hallway are tons of videos that can be checked out.
Now here’s something you don’t expect to find at a library. You can actually check out puppets. How cool is that?
But today we just pick up the next Hardy Boys book. Hubby started reading these to Boo as part of his bedtime routine. I don’t know if Boo understands a word of it, but hubby sure enjoys revisiting his favorite childhood series. 🙂
Before we head out, I get the 411 on the drop-in storytime program. Most of the kids’ programs at the library are open first to Glastonbury residents, but then folks from other towns can register too if there is still room left in the class. However, these drop-in storytimes on the third Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. are open to everyone, from any town. And there’s no registration required (hence the term “drop-in”).
The library is also offering a special holiday drop-in storytime series with additional dates and times, so it’s a great month to come check this place out. The librarian mentioned that for the evening stories, some kids even come in their PJs. How cute is that?
You can call the library at 860-652-7718 for more information on storytime or any of the library’s children’s programs. Or you can contact Renée Pease, Head of Children’s Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is also a palatial Whole Foods nearby with a veritable food court and, wait for it, a children’s play area. That’s right. A play area in a grocery store. This I had to see. So last weekend we took Boo over there to check it out. (Click here to see an updated and expanded review of the Glastonbury Whole Foods.)
By the way, they were selling pine cones at the front entrance, so it’s still not too late to check out some of the great pine cone crafts we posted on last week.
There is plenty of seating for the adults.
He especially loved climbing in and out of this little red chair.
Boo was having such a great time, that I decided to do a little shopping while hubby stayed with Boo in the play area. When I returned 20 minutes later, Boo was still not ready to leave. There was actually a little kicking and screaming as we made a mad dash for the door. Yikes. I didn’t see that coming.
Of course, Whole Foods actually sells most of the toys they’ve used to stock their play area (how convenient).
Welles-Turner Memorial Library
2407 Main Street, Glastonbury
Reference Desk: (860) 652-7720
Children’s Services: (860) 652-7718
Get directions here:
Regular Hours: Sunday 1pm-5pm; Monday, Tuesday & Thursday 9am-9pm; Wednesday 12pm-9pm; Friday 9am-6pm; Saturday 9am-5pm.
For Summer Hours (Mother’s Day to Labor Day), click here.
The library also offers free or discount passes to many popular museums in CT and MA. The passes can be checked out for a period of two days, and anyone (not just Glastonbury residents) with a valid CT library card can use them. Click here for a list of passes.
The Holiday Story Breaks event runs from Nov 29th through Dec 19th. No registration required. Click here to find out more about the library’s children’s programs, including drop-in storytime dates and times.
Whole Foods Market
55 Welles Street, Glastonbury
Get directions here:
Hours: Open every day from 8am-9pm
Visit their facebook page for upcoming events and specials.
Get those holiday wish lists ready! Everybody’s waitin’ for the man with the bag, so check in next week when we’ll tell you where to find him.