Wednesday, April 30, 2014

STEPPING STONES MUSEUM FOR CHILDREN TO HOST A STORYBOOK PAJAMA PARTY FEATURING THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR ON MAY 2

Throw on your most comfy and cozy set of pajamas and head over to Stepping Stones Museum for Children on Friday, May 2, from 6:00 – 8:30 pm for a special evening story time featuring Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Stepping Stones is excited to bring the Very Hungry Caterpillar to the museum for the first time as 2014 marks the 45th anniversary of the release of this classic children’s tale. By the time you travel home “by the light of the moon” at the evening’s end, your child will be fulfilled by the smorgasbord of play-filled fun and ready for the warm “cocoon” of his or her bed.



The museum’s second Storybook Pajama Party of 2014 will be “stuffed” with family fun. Not only will you get to sit in for story times with the Very Hungry Caterpillar, but you’ll also get to take photos with a life-sized version of the caterpillar with the voracious appetite. There will be a tremendous number of Hungry Caterpillar-themed crafts and activities as we celebrate his metamorphosis from ‘hungry caterpillar’ to ‘beautiful butterfly.’ Pajama party guests can make a days-of-the-week calendar or construct a colorful chrysalis that would make the Hungry Caterpillar proud. 

Kids can dress up like a fruit or leaf and crawl through a caterpillar tube or free play with butterfly wings. Guests can use their imagination to design brilliantly bright, butterfly wings or create a collage in the style that Eric Carle uses to illustrate his books. They can also make a necklace that will resemble the trail of foodstuffs left behind in the wake of the Hungry Caterpillar’s seven-day eating binge. If a moment of peace and quiet is what you seek, guests can snuggle up with a number of other Eric Carle stories in the cocoon of our special bedtime story corner. The evening will wrap up with a musical Fly Away Home Parade throughout the entire museum.



The Stepping Stones Cafe will be open during the event and serving up some appropriately-themed items for purchase.  Enjoy the fantastic fare, but don’t overindulge like the Hungry Caterpillar or you’ll wind up with a stomach ache.

Tickets for this event cost $10 per person for museum members and $15 per person for non-members.  Children under the age of one will be admitted for free.  Storybook Pajama Party tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.  Registration is required.  Space is limited and tickets are selling briskly, so register early.  Call 203 899 0606, ext. 264 or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.orgwww.steppingstonesmuseum.org.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Beautiful Dogwood Festival Blossoms Help Celebrate 375th Anniversary of Fairfield, in Western Connecticut


A steepled church, a village green, and colonial homes enveloped in clouds of pink blossoms are a traditional sign of spring in Fairfield, one of Western Connecticut’s oldest and loveliest towns. Fairfield’s Dogwood Festival has been a tradition for 79 years, celebrating the hundreds of trees that light up the lanes of the town’s historic Greenfield Hill neighborhood. This year’s event takes place Friday May 2 through Sunday, May 4.
But Greenfield Hill is just one of three historic districts in this Fairfield County town celebrating an impressive 375th anniversary this year.  So after enjoying one of spring’s most colorful celebrations, visitors can enjoy the celebration taking place in the rest of the town.

The Dogwood Festival

Fairfield’s first dogwood trees were planted back in 1705, when Isaac Bronson, a retired Revolutionary War surgeon-turned-farmer, decided his Greenfield Hills property would be enhanced if he transplanted some of the native wild dogwood trees blooming in the nearby woods. Bronson propagated and so did his trees. By 1895, the blooms were so outstanding that the Greenfield Hill Village Improvement Society took on care of the dogwoods as an official project, adding many new plantings that continue to grow. 

In 1935 the Greenfield Hills Congregational Church held the first Dogwood Festival, and like the trees, it has grown prodigiously with time.  Besides taking in the beauty of the blossoms, guests can visit tents where some 40 juried New England artisans and crafters will be showing their creations, see an art show, hunt for treasures at a tag sale, enjoy free musical entertainment and pick up prize plants that make perfect Mothers’ Day gifts. Walking tours of the historic lanes will be available and kids will have their own craft tent, bounce house, and face painter, plus cotton candy, and carnival games with prizes. Proceeds from the festival benefit more than 30 local, national and international charities. For details, see www.greenfieldhillschurch.com
                                    The 375th Anniversary
In the second historic district in the center of town, the first sign of something special going on this year will be the fire hydrants, painted in historic garb like the Colonial soldiers who once marched here.

At the Fairfield Museum and History Center, a new hands-on exhibit explores the doings in town over its colorful past. Creating Community: Exploring 375 years of Our Past lets visitors look inside a Native American wigwam, climb into an American Revolution fort, watch a video depicting the Burning of Fairfield by the British in 1779, decipher a spy code, and sit on a 19th century trolley. In six chronologically organized sections, it shows how people worked, lived, and built communities over time by exploring original objects, individual stories, and engaging activities like trying on wardrobes from different periods.

The corner of the Museum block, Beach and Old Post Road, was the center point of the original “four squares” of the town laid out in 1639. Only four original homes survived the British fires, but a pleasant hour can be spent exploring the area’s many beautiful post-Revolutionary homes, historic churches and the town hall, whose central section remains as it was rebuilt in 1790

Southport, the picturesque harbor area, is the third historic area. Boats laden with onions from Greenfield Hill farms used to sail out of this harbor before the British did their damage. Now it is home to yachts and country clubs and exclusive residential areas in the hills surrounding the tiny village.

Fairfield is planning many special events in the months ahead to mark its special birthday.  See www.fairfield375.com for a complete calendar.

For more information about lodging and other activities in the area and a free copy of UNWIND, a full-color, 152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in Fairfield County and the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.visitwesternct.com



Friday, April 25, 2014

Celebrate Earth Day in Woodbury

The 1970's Earth Day Movement inspired by Rachael Carson's New York Times bestseller, Silent Spring and the massive oil spill witnessed by Earth Days founder Gaylord Nelson in Santa Barbara is alive and well in Woodbury Connecticut as this year marks the 20th anniversary that Earth Day has been celebrated in Woodbury, Connecticut's antiques capital.  This is the largest event in Connecticut that celebrates Earth Day.

This year, more than 120 vendors are expected to participate in this popular regional event whose mission it is to showcase local businesses the produce products that support a sound and sustainable lifestyle.  The event's goal is to create awareness about the values, philosophy and information needed to live a wholesome life. 

Event participants will learn how to live earth -friendly by meeting producers of earth friendly products while enjoying live musical performances and family fun activities.  A highlight of the day is to sample a variety of all natural and organic foods and beverages that will be offered at this event.

Earth Day in Woodbury will take place on April 26 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Woodbury Middle School field on 67 Washington Ave.  For up to date information visit http://www.woodburyearthday.org.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Keeler Tavern Museum To Host First Annual Spring Artisans’ Show

Ridgefield, April 3, 2014. Distinguished artists and craftspeople from across the region will be present when the Keeler Tavern Museum hosts its inaugural Spring Artisans’ Show on Saturday, April 26, to be preceded by a special Preview Party on Friday evening, April 25.



The Museum campus at 132 Main Street in Ridgefield—with its distinctive Cass Gilbert Carriage Barn, picturesque gardens, and charming Garden House -- will be the setting for this premier event curated by VS Shows. The collection will feature fine art, high-quality handmade furniture, fiber, and home d├ęcor items, distinctive jewelry, and a wide range of one-of-a-kind offerings. A multi-media exhibit titled “Expressions: Spring – painting, sculpture & photography,” will be staged in the Carriage Barn. While Saturday visitors browse, children will be able to enjoy games and crafts of their own. Food will be available for purchase.

Some 20 notable artisans and artists from all over the region are expected to participate, including Ridgefield artists Peggy Thomas who will be displaying her pottery; Kokoon Jewelry designer Debbie Thornton; and painter Spencer Eldridge whose works will be shown in the Carriage Barn as part of “Expressions: Spring.” Among the regional artists featured are Pamela Dalton who will be showing her intricate paper cuts - Scherenschnitte; Heidi Howard, who paints 18th and 19th century trade and tavern signs; doll-maker Eva-Maria Araujo; Kathleen McDonald who makes chalkware figurines handcrafted from a collection of antique chocolate molds; and Robert Ferrucci, an artist of abstract action art, drip art and contemporary American Folk Art.



Saturday show hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM; admission that day is $8 ($7 with presentation of pre-show announcement postcard or advertisement). The special wine-and-cheese Preview Party on Friday evening will offer early purchasing from 6 - 9 PM, as well as opportunities to engage with artisans and artists; admission is $40 ($30 for Museum members). Proceeds from ticket sales on both days benefit the Keeler Tavern Museum, a non-profit historical site that is entirely self-funded.




Free off-premises parking is available nearby. To make reception reservations, and for directions or other information, visit www.keelertavernmuseum.orgwww.keelertavernmuseum.org or call (203) 438-
5485.  For area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Art and Dining in Falls Village Connecticut

Falls Village is a bucolic town located in the far northwest corner of the Litchfield Hills. In addition to several excellent hiking trails, the  village has several shops, a library boasting an art gallery, a museum and a fabulous country inn making this a wonderful spring destination.

Mullins Deep End
The David M. Hunt Library, located on 63 Main Street in Falls Village, CT in the center of town has planned an art exhibit that will run through May 17.  The featured painter is Patty Mullins whose exhibit, "Collected Stories," presents a selection of the artist's narrative and landscape canvases.

Patty Mullins, a resident of Sharon, is well-known for her evocative paintings, the narrative elements of which are a natural fit for the Queen Anne architecture of the David M. Hunt Library which has, like the paintings, numerous spaces to be alone, quiet, and thoughtful. The intimate landscapes of our region are also found in Ms. Mullins' canvases, particularly the ones inspired by wetlands in Lakeville, Cornwall, and Sharon.

Mullins Orpheus
In a recent statement, the artist described her work: "For me, painting is a process of discovery. Like an archeologist, I start with an idea of what I'm after, but don't know exactly what I'll find; images trigger memory and emotion, and as I paint I follow the emotion and find layers of meaning...elements in my paintings include personal history, the history of painting, loss, desire, skewed vision, vertigo, self-absorption and self-containment. My current body of work includes landscapes, figures, portraits of objects, and a recurrent theme: for the real subject of my work is time; the spaces and the things that people leave behind."

Patty Mullins exhibits her paintings locally in New England, as well as in New York and Philadelphia. Her work has been shown at the National Academy Museum, and is in the collections of Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy, Bianca Jagger, Campbell Scott, and Jamie Wyeth. Ms. Mullins' work can be previewed on her website, www.PattyMullins.com.

Falls Village Inn
After viewing this art show, stop into the Falls Village Inn located on 33 Railroad Street in the heart of this bucolic village.  The Falls Village Inn features a lunch, taproom and dinner menu that acknowledges a desire for classic American comfort fare. Gorgeous accommodations are also available in comfortable rooms designed by Bunny Williams.

For more information call 860-824-0033 visit http://www.thefallsvillageinn.com.
For information on Hunt Library http://www.huntlibrary.org.  For information on the Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

READY, SET, RIDE! Palace Theater Hosts 3rd Annual Motorcycle Ride Fundraiser

Rev your engines and get ready to hit the highway for the Palace Theater’s Third Annual Motorcycle Ride on Saturday, April 26, at 11a.m.  Proceeds from the rain or shine fundraising event will benefit the Palace Theater’s youth and education programs.



Registration for the event begins at 11a.m. in front of the Palace Theater, 100 East Main Street in Waterbury, and will be followed by a police-escorted ride at 12:30pm. The 47-mile scenic drive will take riders through the Litchfield Hills, loop through Woodbury and Route 64 in Middlebury, and end back on East Main Street at 2p.m. for live entertainment and refreshments.

Radio personality Chaz from WPLR’s “Chaz and AJ in the Morning” will be on hand to kick-off the festivities, and after the ride, participants will enjoy live, outdoor entertainment by the Rubber City Blues Band. Riders and passengers will also be treated to their choice of a burger or hot dog, as well as two complimentary beverages, courtesy of Frankie’s Hotdogs. 

Registration for the motorcycle ride is $25 per rider and $15 per passenger. To pre-register, or for more information, call the box office at 203-346-2000.

The Palace Theater’s Third Annual Motorcycle Ride is sponsored by Ion Bank, Doc’s Motorcycle Parts, Universal Copy, BuckAPlan, PowerStation Events, Haymond Law, 99.1 WPLR, Frankie’s Hotdogs and Connecticut Cruise News.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The British Are Coming!

The Westport Historical Society will host a lecture on Saturday, April 26, at 2 p.m. marking the 237th anniversary of Tryon's Raid, the Revolutionary War engagement that began with 1,500 British troops landing at Compo Beach.

Compo Beach
This four-day raid, which started on April 25, 1777, saw the British march to Danbury, where they burned Patriot supplies, then return to their ships, two battles with Colonial forces along the way. The incursion was led by Maj. Gen. William Tryon, Royal Governor of the New York province.

As his troops marched back to Compo, Tryon got wind that Patriots under Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold were waiting for him at a bridge at Kings Highway where he had to cross the Saugatuck River. Luckily for Tryon, he was accompanied by a unit of Loyalists, one of whose members had lived in this area. The Loyalist was able to lead the invaders across the river at a ford upstream near present-day Red Coat Road, helping the British avoid the ambush. The site of that crossing is now designated by a historical marker.

The episode inspired the book "The Bridge Not Taken" by Wilton land surveyor Damon Greenleaf Duncan, copies of which are available in the WHS' gift shop.

The lecture will be given by Ed Hynes, whose interest in the American Revolution dates to his childhood in Wilton, where he lived next to a home that was partially burned by Tryon's soldiers. Hynes will look at the raid in the context of the war and discuss the commanders on both sides and "things quite smart and not so smart" on both sides, including how "the Brits outwitted" the Patriots on their return to Compo. This incident took place in our own back yard and highlights an interesting aspect of the war: the extent to which local Colonists were divided for and against the Revolution.

Hynes will speak for about 50 minutes, then take questions from the audience. There will be a handout of maps to help attendees follow the action. The cost of the program is $5 and reservations are required, please call (203) 222-1424 or visit http://westporthistory.org for more information.  For information about Fairfield County www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Friday, April 18, 2014

April fun at the Institute of American Indian Studies

The Institute of American Indian Studies in Washington Connecticut's Litchfield Hills has a busy April planned that will be fun for the whole family. In the Artist Corner for example, the IAIS is proud to highlight the artistry of Takara Matthews, a member of the Abenaki Sokoki tribe and  a Champion Women's Fancy Dancer and Jingle Dress Dancer. For sale will be a variety of beaded purses, medallions, earrings. Takara also proudly serves her country as Airman 1st Class in the Vermont Air National Guard.

April 26 is a big day at the IAIS as two exciting events are planned. At 1 p.m. in honor of Earth Day, the IAIS will be showing the Emmy -award winning documentary Journey of the Universe: An Epic Story of Cosmic Earth and Human Transformation. Weaving together Weaving together the findings of modern science with cultural traditions of the West, China,Africa, India and Indigenous peoples, this documentary explores the human connection to the cosmos. Fee: Included in regular museum admission: $8 Adults; $6 Seniors;$5 Children; IAIS Members Free.
Also on April 26 at 5 p.m. the Litchfield Hills Archaeology Club presents A Taste of Native America.  This dinner will feature traditional foods and includes roast venison, rabbit with wild rice, steamed mussels, garlic mashed potatoes, acorn squash, pumpkin soup and Indian pudding. Non-alcoholic beverages included (BYOB if desired). Good food, music and conversation regarding the Club's recent and upcoming archeological excavations will abound. Limited seating. Prepayment and registration required. Please call for reservations. The fee is $50 per person.
On April 27 from 12:30 - 3:30 the Institute is hosting Nature's Bounty: Foraging for a Healthy Lifestyle that will teach participants to identify common edible plants in Connecticut.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

BIOLOGIST FEATURED IN NEW IMAX® FILM WILL SHARE EXPERIENCES WITH LEMURS ON APRIL 17 AT THE MARITIME AQUARIUM AT NORWALK

Dr. Patricia Wright, the trailblazing scientist featured in the new IMAX® movie “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” will talk about her work with these endangered primates in a special presentation on Thurs., April 17 at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.


 Dr. Wright, a professor of biological anthropology at Stony Brook University on Long Island, is an expert on lemurs and the people and environment of Madagascar. The new IMAX movie, which opens at The Maritime Aquarium on April 4, blends two stories: the unique natural history of lemurs and Wright’s lifelong mission to help the strange and adorable creatures survive in the modern world.

“Dr. Wright is going to be in very high demand because of this wonderful new movie, so we feel especially fortunate to be able to welcome her so close to the premiere,” said Jennifer Herring, president of The Maritime Aquarium. “We’re sure she’ll have lots of amazing stories about lemurs and a compelling conservation message.”

The 7:30 p.m. talk will be followed by a screening of “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar.”  Tickets are $20 ($16 for Aquarium members).

It’s an exciting year for Dr. Wright. Aside from being the featured scientist in a new IMAX movie, she is one of six finalists for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. (The winner will be announced this summer.)

“Our finalists are among the most important wildlife conservationists working in the field today,” said Michael Crowther, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo, which initiated the Indianapolis Prize. “They are achieving real victories in saving animal species, creating hope and making the world a better place.”


Early in her career, Wright made history when she discovered the golden bamboo lemur, a species that was then unknown to science. The find helped to catalyze the formation of Madagascar’s park system. A short time later, Wright learned that timber exploiters were logging the golden bamboo lemur’s rain-forest habitat, so she spent months trekking to define park boundaries with the forestry service and securing funding to develop Ranomafana National Park (RNP). Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, RNP encompasses the home of 12 lemur species, some of which are listed among the world’s most endangered animals.

During the last 20 years, public awareness of Madagascar’s ecosystem has flourished through Dr. Wright’s research and outreach efforts. Her long-term relationship with the local communities in Madagascar has catalyzed economic opportunities around the park. Tourist visits to the park increased from zero to more than 30,000 in 2010, and half the park entrance fees have always been returned to the villages for conservation projects.

Recently, she spearheaded the creation of Centre ValBio, a huge preserve that is a modern hub for multidisciplinary research, training and public awareness, the first in Madagascar.

The IMAX movie “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” reunites writer-producer Drew Fellman, filmmaker David Douglas and narrator Morgan Freeman from the 2011 IMAX movie “Born to Be Wild,” which follows efforts to reintroduce orphaned baby orangutans and elephants into their natural environment. Beginning an unprecedented fourth year at The Maritime Aquarium, “Born to Be Wild” is one of the Norwalk attraction’s most popular IMAX films ever.

Like “Born to Be Wild,” “Island of the Lemurs: Madagascar” is a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures and IMAX Entertainment.  It’s rated G.

To reserve tickets for Dr. Patricia Wright’s lecture on April 17 or for the daily screenings of “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” beginning April 4, go to www.maritimeaquarium.orgwww.maritimeaquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.