You know what? I think it’s pretty darn cool that I’ve been at this CTMQ thing for ten years now. Nearly a quarter of my life… Twice the length of my son Calvin’s life. And the entirety of my older son Damian’s life – and that’s important because I cite Damian’s birth and life as sort of the catalyst, and continuing inspiration for, this whole adventure.
What began as a jokey idea to visit maybe 100 museums (ha!) with a close friend a decade ago has turned into a massive, sprawling (yet intricately organized if I may say) repository of everything to do in the state of Connecticut. A state I wasn’t even born or raised in. A state that drives me bonkers with some of the things its government does. A state that I sort of “wound up” in… and have dedicated countless hours to writing about.
I’ve seen dozens of “Connecticut Blogs” (food, beer, hiking, activities, etc.) come and go in the last ten years. Some good, some not-so-good. I don’t have a formula for why CTMQ continues to chug along… other than I simply love to travel, learn, and write – especially about my sons growing up. Heck, I’ve grown up through my writing as well. That’s pretty much it.
I’m an ever-curious person who likes to poke around for the interesting aspects of things. The more boring that thing appears to be, the more exciting it is for me to find the good stuff and tell you about it.
The site (originally “ctmuseumquest.com”) grew from a list of museums to visit to what it is today – 800 museums, every trail… every everything. It has never not been fun.
I’ve often said that I write CTMQ for me. It is my personal travelogue which includes a heavy dose of raising an intensely difficult special needs son. I know I write long posts that very few people read and I’m fine with that. Through it all, I’ve met some wonderful, quirky, eccentric, brilliant, hilarious, fascinating, and important people.
And I still call myself a clown. (And I am, in a lot of ways.) This site has allowed me to experience some pretty great stuff; and it has given me a vehicle to bring attention to some important things in my life. I’ve been offered a show on CPTV (sort of), I’ve been a guest on WNPR several times, I’ve been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, the New York Freaking Times – as well as many other print outlets.
Most importantly, I’ve been able to tell thousands of people about Smith-Magenis Syndrome. If you read CTMQ, even just a little bit, you know my son Damian has SMS and you know it is a challenge for all of us. But the support of nearly everyone I’ve met through this journey has been heartwarming to say the least. I’ve taken that kid to every nook and cranny of Connecticut, including 173(!, as of today) museums. This is no small feat – for him, or for me. But I love it.
I really, really love it.
After all, if not for CTMQ, there would have been no Hops for Hope in 2015. When three friends of mine put together arguably the best brewfest in the state; volunteering hundreds of hours at the expense of their own free time, to raise over $32,000 for the SMS Research Foundation. That was, and still is, incredible. (And yes, we’re planning to do it again in 2017!)
For me, it’s never really been about the number of museums, the miles of trails, or anything like that. It’s about the people I meet, the fun I have with my family, and experiencing my sons’ growth. To use an overwrought cliché, it really is about the journey.
And that journey has included some heartache as well. The very first post I wrote for CTMQ wasn’t about a museum at all. It was a visit to Simsbury’s Pinchot Sycamore, which we visited on September 8th, 2006. Damian was 7 months old and was still almost two years away from getting his SMS diagnosis. I had dark hair, weighed 20 pounds less than a do now, and we were joined by one of my best friends, EdHill.
Ed was integral in getting CTMQ off the ground a decade ago. Ed was hilarious, creative, and shared my curiosity for a wide diversity of subjects. Ed was awesome. The joke on that first post about Mark Linn-Baker was for Ed. That type of “slightly obscure reference” joke was his forte. Dude was a genius with that type of stuff and I (as well as everyone who met him) loved him for it. Even when we didn’t get the joke, we assumed it was probably still a good one.
Ed passed away a few months ago, and I did my best to eulogize him… but writing stuff like that is never enough when one of the good guys leave us far too young. But if this site is deemed a success, by whatever measure, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ed.
And also, of course, to my hilarious, wonderful, and beautiful wife Hoang. Imagine being married to me? Oof. All those side trips to things like the site of the world’s first condensed milk factory in Torrington or a little art museum at a private high school… just because? And trusting me alone with our sons at far-flung breweries after hiking up exposed cliff-faces in Kent? Hoang has always been my most honest critic and supportive friend. May we continue for decades yet to come.
And lastly, a huge thank you to all of you – the readers, commenters, social media followers, and dare I say… fans. Ten years in and I’m just finally getting used to people being “fans” of this website. It’s very humbling. It makes me happy that you find some of what I do entertaining. I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon.