Friday, October 15, 2021

BOO @ the Zoo is Back October 30

 Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo announces a SPOOK-tacular October with the return of BOO at the Zoo on Saturday, October 30, and Sunday, October 31 from noon to 3:00 p.m. each day.  These phantom-tastic afternoons will include seasonal activities for your little monsters along with spooky animal talks and fun for the whole family.  

 

“Boo at the Zoo is a longstanding Zoo tradition that many families look forward to,” said Gregg Dancho, Zoo director.  “It’s a fun afternoon of cool critters, and, of course, family memories.”

 

All children are invited to come in costume. Voting for your favorite scarecrow in the Zoo’s popular Scarecrows on Parade is included! 

 

Regular adult admission (ages 12 & older) is $17.00, children (ages 3 -11) is $14.00, senior admission (62 and older) is $14.00, and children under 3 years old are free.  Zoo members are also admitted free.





About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 99th year, features 350 animals representing primarily North and South American and Northern Asian species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, maned wolves, Mexican gray wolves, and red wolves. Other highlights include our new Spider Monkey Habitat, the Rainforest Building, the prairie dog exhibit, and the Pampas Plain with Giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can ride on the carousel, grab a bite from the Peacock CafĂ© and eat in the Picnic Grove. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a non-profit organization approaching its 100th year at a time when the mission of helping fragile wildlife populations and ecosystems is more important than ever. 

 

Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at beardsleyzoo.org. In accordance with the state of Connecticut COVID-19 guidelines: we recommend that guests continue to wear masks while visiting the Zoo, but when guests are outside and can maintain social distance, masks may be removed. In any indoor area, or when social distancing cannot be maintained, masks are required. Everyone over the age of two, except for those with medical conditions that preclude wearing them, should have a mask available. 

 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Great Wilton Pumpkin Fest @ Wilton Historical Society

Get ready for heaps of family fun at the Wilton Historical Society on Saturday, October 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Find a bountiful harvest of all kinds of fall fun with a focus on, of course, pumpkins!  Watch a blacksmith hard at work at the forge; see docents in Colonial dress hearth cooking (with pumpkins!), weaving and flax breaking, munch a donut and sip some cider.


There will be lots of things for kids to do - pumpkin decorating, lawn games such as “Ring Toss with Pumpkins” and “Corn Hole” – and a version of bocce using pumpkins and gourds!  Time to pick the perfect pumpkin to bring home.  The grounds of the Historical Society will be strewn with pumpkins and gourds being sold by Wilton Kiwanis along with mums and corn.

Be sure to register for the “History is Here Wilton Scavenger Hunt” at the sign-up table. Whether you are brand new to town or a resident for 30 years, you will be amazed at what you don’t know about Wilton’s history!  You can pick up your Scavenger Hunt Kit, and set out to follow the clues to a dozen places around town.  This is a great opportunity for family fun, to get outside, explore Wilton and maybe even win a prize! Wilton Historical Society members free; non-member families $25.

Learn How to Make Native American Leather Pouches @ Institute for American Indian Studies on October 17

 

A Sunday afternoon is the ideal time to learn how to make your own leather Native American style pouch on October 17 @ the Institute for American Indian Studies. This in-person small group workshop has been organized in one-hour time slots from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 


Under the guidance of the museum’s Education Department, you’ll learn how Native Americans used leather for clothing, pouches, bags, and other items of daily life. Native Americans historically used leather pouches to carry many of life’s necessities. 

Pouches were made from a variety of materials, some were woven, and others were made from the hides of different animals, most commonly deer. Sign up for a workshop that is both educational and engaging, as you learn how to make your very own unique and practical leather pouch that you can decorate with buttons, stones, and shells. 

After you have completed your project, you may find that you have a newfound appreciation for the artistry that went into making some of the artifacts in the museum’s collections. 

 Sign up with your friends and family to reserve a timeslot by clicking here. For questions call 860-868-0518 or email general@iaismuseum.org. The cost of participation including materials is $25 per person for non- members and $20 for members. 

 About the Institute for American Indian Studies 

The Institute for American Indian Studies preserves and educates through discovery and creativity the diverse traditions, vitality, and knowledge of Native American cultures. Located on 15 acres of woodland IAIS is home to permanent and temporary exhibits, nature trails, and a replicated 16th century Replicated Algonkian village. During the school year, over 7,000 school-age children visit for hands-on programs to learn about the Indigenous people who have called Connecticut home for thousands of years.

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Brew-Ski Fest is Back in Salisbury October 10

Munich may be home to Oktoberfest but Salisbury, Connecticut is home to the Brew-Ski Fest that is being held on October 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Satre Hill on 80 Indian Cave Road. The Salisbury Winter Sports Association is hosting the Brew-Ski Fest and is the same group that organizes the internationally acclaimed Salisbury ski JumpFest every February. Tickets are on sale now online for $30 and will be available at the gate for $35, with all proceeds going to the Salisbury Winter Sports Association. To purchase online tickets click here.


"We are excited to host this fundraising event, said Willie Hallihan. It is a wonderful way to get together in the open air and toast the autumn season for a good cause. Brew-Ski will help us organize the upcoming 53rd annual ski JumpFest in February of 2022. Our all-volunteer staff has been hard at work putting together Brew-Ski with the help of our organizer, Stateline Wine and Spirits. This has become an area tradition that brings everybody back together in a setting of great natural beauty whose centerpiece is the ski jump itself."


Beer aficionados will have more than thirty breweries from near and far that will quench their thirst and introduce them to new types and styles of beer. This event offers the opportunity to hang out with like-minded people and discuss beer culture while sampling a jaw-dropping array of some of the finest beers around, all in one location. Whether you prefer Belgians or blondes, pales, pilsners, or sours you will find all these and more at Salisbury's Brew-Ski. In addition to beer, there will be hard cider, hard soda, live music, and festive food like brats, hotdogs, hamburgers, and other tasty treats that pair perfectly with beer.

Participating beer vendors include Abomination, Athletic Brewing Company Berkshire Brewing Company, Black HogBrewery legitimusCaptain Lawerence, Counter Weight, Devils Back Bone, Dogfish Brewery, Elysian, Fat Orange Cat, Founders, Full Moonshine, Goose Island, Great falls, Harpoon, Half Full, Jack Daniels’ Cocktails, Litchfield Distillery, Makku, Miami Cocktails, New England Brewing Company, Norbrook, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Skygazer, Troegs, Two Chicks, Two Roads, and UFO.

ABOUT SALISBURY WINTER SPORTS ASSOCIATION 

In the winter of 1926, John Satre a resident of Salisbury jumped off the roof of his shed wearing skis to show his friends and neighbors a sport he learned in his native homeland of Norway. Town residents were so amazed as they watched Satre soar through the air that they decided to build a proper ski run that summer, and form the Salisbury Winter Sports Association. The Association hosted the first ski jump competition in January

Friday, September 24, 2021

Fall in Love with the Connecticut Wine Trail

 Autumn has arrived... so it is time to celebrate the fruits of the harvest season at one of Connecticut's beautiful vineyards! Here are three of our favorites in the Litchfield Hills.

Jones Winery - Open Thursday-Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm. Lakeside Riesling now 15% off! For over 150 years, six generations of the Jones family have farmed their land in the White Hills of Shelton, Connecticut. The Jones Winery continues the family tradition of growing high-quality crops that celebrate the great bounty of local farmlands. The farm’s vineyard and famous berry harvests allow the winery to create a wonderful selection of traditional grape wines and specialty fruit wines.

The Tasting Room is located in our renovated 19th-century historic dairy barn. Guests sample six to seven of the winery’s distinctive wines and receive a complimentary logo wine glass. Guests will enjoy learning about wine tasting, Connecticut winemaking, and the farm’s history in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere from our well-educated staff.

The Jones Winery is part of the Jones Family Farms, a wonderfully diverse farm that grows fabulous strawberries (June), blueberries (July), pumpkins and squash (October), and Christmas trees (December). During many times of the year, winery guests can enjoy a full farm experience by harvesting their own berries, pumpkins, and trees before their wine tasting.

Along with the winery, the farm boasts the addition of The Harvest Kitchen, an educational food center that offers cooking classes focusing on how to prepare delicious menus featuring farm-fresh foods. A complete list of cooking classes, winery events, and other farm events can be found on our website.


Miranda Vineyard 
- Open year-round Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm. Enjoy wine & chocolate pairings and specials like 10% off cases and 5% off six bottles. 

Generations of experience go into every bottle. Perfecting the art of winemaking takes a lifetime. Sometimes several. This is what separates Miranda Vineyard from other wineries – tradition, passion, experience – generations of it. Since he was a small boy in Europe, Manny dreamed of planting his own vineyard and building his own winery. In 2001, the Mirandas planted the first vines and built the winery modeled after the old family winery in Portugal. 

In 2007, Miranda Vineyard opened to the public. For more than a decade, Manny and his sons have been busy perfecting those Old World techniques passed down from generation to generation. They’ve been mixing heritage with science, and they’ve created some very special wines they hope you will enjoy as much as they do. The wines at Miranda Vineyard begin as superior grapes from excellent stock, strategically positioned to take advantage of the natural terroir. 

The Mirandas chose the location for the vineyard for its unique microclimate with rocky New England soil and cool breezes flowing down from Mohawk Mountain, across Woodridge Lake. The four elements – wind, water, earth and sun – combined with sustainable growing operations, ensure vine health and flavor qualities that cannot be found anywhere else.



Sunset Meadow Vineyards - Open year-round Monday, Thursday, Friday from 12 pm to 5 pm. Extended weekend hours on Saturdays from 11 am to 6 pm and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm. Enjoy wine flights, wine & chocolate pairings, and their new Sunset Orange! Located in the scenic town of Goshen, CT, and originally a working farm purchased in 1996 by George and Judy Motel, Sunset Meadow Farm, as it was known, raised beef cattle and hay. In 2003 Sunset Meadow Vineyards was established. Taking our years of farming experience and making the transition to grape growing and the producing of award-winning wines, the vineyards were planted on sloping, westerly, and southern exposed fields, creating an ideal setting for prime sun exposure and constant airflow necessary for vine health. Today Sunset Meadow Vineyards is among New England’s largest producing vineyards.

Overlooking the captivating sunsets of the Litchfield Hills, the vineyards lie on 50 acres of rich and fertile soil which has a long tradition of agriculture dating back to the 1800s. At Sunset Meadow Vineyards, we have a great deal of respect for the beauty of nature and the health of the environment. Therefore we pride ourselves on practicing sustainable methods of farming while growing and harvesting our grapes. The vines are hand pruned, hand-harvested, and maintained with extreme precision by our staff.

Visitors can take a step into the past while enjoying the warm and friendly atmosphere of our historic tasting room. Our winery is located inside an 1800s German Bank Barn which has been used to support the property's numerous agricultural operations over the years. The tasting room has been crafted using estate antiques and original hand-hewed beams. The rich history and picturesque landscape of the beautiful Western Connecticut Highlands provide a breathtaking ambiance to all customers.

Sunset Meadow Vineyards was voted New England’s Best Family Winery by Yankee Magazine and has been featured in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.  7 different wines have won Gold Medals including our 2010 Chardonnay which took home the Gold in the 2012 International Eastern Wine Competition.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Institute for American Indian Studies Participates in Smithsonian Day - Sept. 18

 

The Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, Connecticut has announced that they are participating in the Smithsonian Magazine’s nationwide event called Museum Day taking place September 18th. In this initiative, participating museums across the United States open their doors for free to those who download a branded ticket from the Smithsonian Magazine’s website. This event allows museums nationwide to emulate the spirit of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., which offers free admission every day. 



This year's theme, "Experience America," represents a return to normalcy in the safest possible way. The Institute for American Indian Studies will have safety precautions in place for this year's event so guests can comfortably enjoy their time at the museum. "We are thrilled to join forces with Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day to bring educational experiences to families and children and to help foster a limitless quest for knowledge," said Chris Combs, Executive Director of the Institute. "Museum Day goes beyond getting visitors through museum doors, it also serves as a reminder of people, places, and cultural experiences that have the power to educate and unite us all." 


Tickets are currently available for download on the Smithsonian Magazine’s Website. To locate the Institute for American Indian Studies click Get a Ticket and filter your search by state, location, or the type of museum. To get a ticket for the Institute for American Indian Studies, click here. You will be asked to enter your name, email address and to confirm the museum you wish to visit before downloading a ticket. To get free admission, guests must present an official Museum Day Ticket. This ticket provides general admission for the ticket holder plus one guest. Only one ticket may be downloaded per email address and once you download a ticket you cannot change your mind, because there are no takebacks. If you go to Museum Day with more than one guest, other guests will have to pay full admission. 

About The Institute for American Indian Studies (IAIS) 

Located on 15 woodland acres the IAIS preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. We have an outdoor replicated 16th c. Algonkian Village, the award-winning Wigwam Escape, and a Museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

From the Earth and the Sea Founders' Clambake and Drumming Festival

This Saturday, the Insitute for American Indian Studies is hosting the Earth and Sea Founders Clambake and Drumming Festival from 6 pm - 8 pm at River Walk Pavilion in Washington Connecticut. 


G
uests will savor local Indigenous foods of lobster, clams, corn, and potatoes while enjoying drumming & dancing by the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers! In many Native communities, festivals are often a way to both celebrate and give thanks. At this annual event, we give thanks to the many members, visitors, volunteers, and supporters who have helped to make our museum a success for more than 45 years. After you eat, get up on your feet to join the dancing!

A special highlight this year is a silent auction. Auction items will be on display and guests are welcome to bid during the evening. Winning bids will be announced after the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers Performance. Auction items include gift certificates from local restaurants and shops, Native-made jewelry, baskets, and more!

Auction item. "Resilience II" skirt with pockets by Osage Artist Dante Biss-Grayson of Sky-Eagle Collection. Designed in part to raise awareness of MMIW.


Ticket s$50 for IAIS Member Lobster Dinner; $55 for nonmembers and $10 for kids and non-seafood guests. Tickets are available by advance reservation only through September 9. For tickets click here or call 860-868-0518

New Juried Art Show @ Lockwood Mathews Mansion in Norwalk

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will open a new juried exhibition titled, Envisioning Space: Architecture Through the Ages in collaboration with the Stamford Art Association will open on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, and run through Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, with an artist reception on Thursday, Oct. 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum on West Ave., Norwalk, CT. 




Artists featured in the exhibit and their work include John Amatruda, “Suburban Transformations – Neighborhood”; Eileen Carey, “Infrastructure III”; Heidi Lewis Coleman, “Threshold” and “Passages”; Rosa Colon, “Colonial Street”; Joseph Dermody, “Muralla Roja”; John Dixon, “Lockwood Mathews Porte-cochere”; Maria Friscia, “Cityscape at Dusk I,” and “City at Dusk”; Symmes Gardner, “Planetarium at St. John’s College”; Rita Ghandour, “Good Morning” and “The Shelter”; Mary Ann Glass, “Barn on Route 44, Dutchess County NY”; Matthew Gray, “Iron Spiral”; Eddie Hall, “Descending”; Mike Harris, “Mix and Match” and “Genius of Gehry”; Carina Imbrogno, “Colorful Day in Russia”; Mary Jo Lombardo, “Roots”; Judy Peknik, “Back Stage”; Catherine Picard-Gibbs, “Holy Fire”; DeAnn Prosia, “Overhead Web”; Elaine Gaskell-de Spoelberch, “Fish Market Venice”; Jayson Tobias, “View from my Balcony”; and Almudena Fernández Vicens, “Ephemeral Architecture”. 

Open to all artists, this exhibition has been juried by Artist/Designer and Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum Trustee Gail Ingis, ASID, and Architect Robert Cohen, AIA, who selected 25 works from digital submissions. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners at the artist reception on October 7. 




The collaboration of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum and The Stamford Art Association, downtown Stamford’s “last gallery standing” celebrating its 50th year, welcomes artists from various media to exhibit work that shows how architecture evolves through time and how it influences society. 

The exhibition explores artists’ interpretations about the diversity of space, structural elements, and buildings of the past and the present, showing the impact architecture has in their creative process and how they integrate these elements into their representational or abstract work. 




About the Stamford Art Association
The Stamford Art Association began in 1971 when 24 local artists created the Association and Townhouse Gallery. Located at 39 Franklin Street in Stamford, it is currently celebrating its 50th year and is Stamford’s oldest gallery. It hosts 10 exhibits yearly, most of which are juried, and attracts local, regional, and national artists. 

About the Lockwood Mathews Mansion
The Museum’s 2021 cultural and educational programs are made possible in part by generous funding from LMMM’s Founding Patrons: The Estate of Mrs. Cynthia Clark Brown; LMMM’s Leadership Patrons: The Sealark Foundation; LMMM’s 2021 Season Distinguished Benefactors: The City of Norwalk, The Maurice Goodman Foundation and King Industries; and LMMM’s 2021 Distinguished Benefactors for Education: The Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Foundation, Inc. The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is a National Historic Landmark. For more information on schedules, tour tickets, and programs please visit lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, email info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, or call 203-838-9799.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Competition, Concours, Porsche Celebrations Set to Highlight Lime Rock Park Historic Festival

 

Lime Rock Park will renew a cherished tradition this Labor Day weekend with the 39th staging of the Historic Festival. The four-day event will launch on Thursday afternoon with the Vintage Race Car and Sports Car Parade, with the action moving to the track on Friday for practice ahead of races on Saturday and Monday.
Sunday we will shift gears as Lime Rock Park’s esteemed Concours event will be staged along with the Gathering of the Marques ahead of the final day of racing on Monday. Porsche is the Celebrated Marque for the event, which will be highlighted by a special selection of rare Porsche machines from the Steven Harris Collection. There will also be a strong contingent of air-cooled Porsche 911 machines in competition, with nearly 30 entries in Group 6 that also celebrates the 50th anniversary of IMSA GTU competition. 

Lime Rock Park guests will find fun no matter what their age, with Saturday and Monday slated to see the return of the Kid Zone, which features a bounce house, face paintings, yard games, and a life-sized race car for kids to explore. The Kid Zone is just part of the activity off the track for the Historic Festival, with special appearances by Brian Redman and Stefan Johansson, multiple book signings over the course of the weekend with Redman, Johansson, Gordon Kirby, Skip Barber, Sam Posey, Bill Werner and Chuck Queener in addition to a pair of special dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings for select guests. 

Book signings: There will be three different book signing events over the course of the weekend, starting at the Patio outside the Lime Rock Park store on Saturday (12:40pm-1:10PM), ahead of the Saturday night dinner (V lot entrance tent as guest’s check-in 5:30pm – 6:15pm), and on Sunday Under the Timing Tower (12:00pm-12:30pm). The signings will include Gordon Kirby, Skip Barber, Sam Posey, Brian Redman, Burt Levy, Bill Warner, Stephan Johansson, and Chuck Queener. 

2021 Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 39 Schedule of events 

Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 The Vintage Race Car and Sports Car Parade is a 17-mile tour through the local towns including a stop at the Noble Horizons facility and a Housatonic crossing on the Falls Village Bridge before winding back to Lime Rock Park 

Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 The Festival kicks off with a full day of practice and qualifying. The concession Stand and Swap Meet are open. Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 The first day of racing makes 

Saturday is one of the most exciting days at the Festival. The concession Stand and Swap Meet are open. 

Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021 Of the Festival's highlights, Sunday in the Park, The Lime Rock Concours, and Gathering of the Marques brings nearly 1,000 motorcars and motorcycles to the track. Stroll the Park and tap into your inner car enthusiast as you admire rare and exotic historic and vintage cars. Food trucks and vendors are found throughout. Gates open at 7:00 a.m. 

Monday, Sept. 6, 2021 - Labor Day The final day of authentic vintage car racing always produces spirited on-track action. Concession Stand, Midway, and Swap Meet are open. 

2021 Lime Rock Park Gathering of the Marques Class List: Electric Cars -- Silver Birch Car Club -- Miata -- Volkswagen -- Audi -- Volvo & Saab-- Viper-- General Motors-- AMC -- BMW 2002 -- BMW-- Chrysler & Related Brands-- Ford & Related Brands-- Lotus-- Fiat -- Atlantic Region Rolls Royce Owners Club & Bentley-- Mercedes-Benz-- Concours d'Caffeine-- Madison Avenue Sports Car Driving & Chowder Society-- Italian Marques-- Ferrari

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

From Earth To Sea –Clambake, Silent Auction, and Native American Dancing

 Every September the Institute for American Indian Studies hosts an al fresco traditional clambake, called From Earth to Sea. This year the clambake will be held on Saturday, September 11th, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Riverwalk Pavilion on 11a School Street in Washington Depot. There will be plenty of socially distanced tables set under a large open-air pavilion in a beautiful park setting.

This annual event honors the founders of the museum and celebrates Connecticut's Indigenous people and the bounty harvested from our fields and waterways. A new highlight this year is the Silent Auction that is taking place as part of the fun. Auction items will be on display and guests can bid on them during the event. Auction items include gift certificates from local restaurants and shops, plus beautiful Native-made jewelry, baskets, and more.

In addition to a delicious lobster dinner served with all the fixings - corn, clams, and potatoes guests are in for a special treat - a riveting performance by the highly esteemed Thunderbird American Indian Dancers. The dance troupe was founded in 1963 and is the oldest resident Native American dance company in New York. Their mission is to preserve dances, songs, and traditions that might have otherwise been lost. They have toured across the United States, as well as internationally in Japan, Canada, and Israel in order to bring a greater understanding of American Indian people through dance. Guests will be regaled with stories, dances, traditional drumming, singing, and colorful regalia that celebrate the diversity of Native American culture in the United States.


Tickets are limited and pre-registration is required by September 9th. To register, click 
here. The cost of the traditional clambake dinner including dancing and drumming by the Thunderbird Dancers is $50 for IAIS Members and $55 for non-members. There is a special price for children and non-seafood eaters of $10 and that meal consists of hot dogs, chips, and lemonade. The proceeds from this event will go toward the education department to support schools' indigenous curriculum through the Institute's programs.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have the 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.
 
 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Best Small Towns in New England

From Maine to Rhode Island, New England has an amazing number of small towns that have huge appeal! If you are looking for a guided group tour that includes more than big city lights and a crowded shoulder-to-shoulder vibe, check out the new trips to quintessential New England towns that Tours of Distinction is offering.  

Tours of Distinction, in business for 50 years, is a Connecticut Tour operator that offers single-day, multi-day trips, and small river cruises, domestically and internationally. If you are looking for a new destination with lots to do, fewer visitors, a small population, and lots of elbow room we hope that this list will make your trip planning a little easier.


Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is America's most aristocratic resort that boasted an opulent summer colony when the Vanderbilt’s and the Astor’s discovered its refreshing summer climate. As fortunes in banking and railroads grew so did Newport's summer cottages, which eventually matured into the most extravagant palaces of the 19th and early 20th centuries for America's wealthiest families. A highlight of any visit to Newport is to tour the mansions that line Bellevue Avenue including Marble House, The Breakers, The Elms, Kingscote, Chateau-Sur-Mer, Chepstow, Issac Bell House, Hunter House, Rosecliff, Rough Point, and others. Another popular activity is the 3.5 mile Cliff Walk that hugs the edge of Newport’s shoreline and passes by the backyards of many of the town’s most amazing mansions. For retail therapy head to Thames Street in downtown Newport where you will find a wide array of shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars. For art lovers don't miss the National Museum of American Illustration. Sports fans should check out the International Tennis Hall of Fame that displays 25,000 artifacts and thousands of images depicting the history of tennis. For tour information https://www.toursofdistinction.net/tours/day-trips/beneath-the-breakers


Block Island, Rhode Island

Named one of the “12 Last Great Places in the Western Hemisphere” by the Nature Conservancy this island paradise with its’ dramatic cliffs, Victorian architecture, and unspoiled beaches makes you feel as though you have entered another era. If you are looking for a classic New England seaside town, this is it. Just steps from the ferry landing in Old Harbor, take in the scene at one of the waterfront restaurants that line Water Street before setting out to check out the views at Mohegan Bluffs that stand about 200 feet above sea level. There is a staircase down to Corn Cove that offers a spectacular vantage point for perfect photos of these clay cliffs. For lighthouse, lovers take a tour of The Southeast Lighthouse located a block away from the Mohegan Cliffs and, the Northeast Lighthouse that is set in a wildlife preserve.  If you just want to unwind in Victorian charm, then simply linger on the lawn at the Atlantic Inn. For tour information https://www.toursofdistinction.net/tours/day-trips/block-island-breeze


Mystic, Connecticut

There is a lot more to Mystic than pizza! This seaside town, located on the North Atlantic has a nostalgic nautical ambiance with museums, forts, and lighthouses that celebrate the maritime heritage of Connecticut. It was once the center of a shipbuilding industry that brought fame to the town in the 19th century. The must-see attraction, Mystic Seaport, is an authentically replicated New England village that has tradesmen demonstrations representing what life would have been like here two hundred years ago. Visitors can watch craftsmen make candles, see blacksmithing and shipbuilding, and even explore the oldest wooden whaling vessel in the world. Mystic's waterfront Main Street is charming with shop after shop of unique items from paintings and pottery to apparel and eateries including the famous, Mystic Pizza. The boardwalk and Mystic River Bascule Bridge that stops road traffic when it goes up so boats can pass by adds to the charm of the town. To round out a "mystic" experience take a cruise along the calm waters of the Mystic River that passes historic homes known as "Captain's Row," tall ships, and lighthouses. For tour  information https://www.toursofdistinction.net/tours/day-trips/sail-away-argia

Litchfield, Connecticut

This stately village in the northwest corner of the state with its long village green-lined with lovely homes, shops, and the most photographed church in New England is like stepping back in time. A drive through Litchfield's designated historic district on Rte. 63 North and South is a treasure trove of Americana. You will pass homes where George Washington stayed, the site of the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and the site of the Pierce Academy, the first school for girls in America. Not to be missed is the Litchfield History Museum and the Tapping Reeve House and Law School, the first of its kind in the country. Just beyond the Green is White Flower Farm, a nationally known nursery with beautiful display gardens. For nature lovers, there is White Memorial Foundation, the largest nature sanctuary in the state with 40 miles of hiking trails and an informative Natural History Museum. Close by is the Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy with one of the largest collections of birds in North America. Here visitors will find more than 80 species totaling 400 birds from around the world. To cap off the day in Litchfield, head to Haight Brown Vineyard, the first farm winery in the state for a wine tasting and tour.

Essex, Connecticut

This quaint riverside village has a Main Street that is lined with early Federal and Colonial-era homes that are meticulously maintained making it no surprise that this town is on the list of "The 100 Best Small Towns in America."  Essex exemplifies the feeling of what a small town should feel like with 14 miles of tree-shaded sidewalks lined with historic homes, shops, eateries, picture-perfect marinas, and parks. A local favorite is the Old Griswold Inn that has been serving visitors and locals alike since 1776. The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat ride take visitors through idyllic countryside that is picture-perfect. The Connecticut River Museum tells the story of the Connecticut River and its people through three floors of displays and exhibits that include a replica of the Turtle submarine piloted during the Revolutionary War. The museum also offers a cruise aboard a re-created vessel Adriaen Block constructed in 1614.  For tour information https://www.toursofdistinction.net/tours/day-trips/connecticut-rail-sail


Norwich, Vermont

A  picturesque village located on the Connecticut River, Norwich has large stately homes and a quintessential village green with a classic Congregational Church. Surprisingly, Norwich is also a foodies paradise! To the delight of beer drinkers, Norwich is home to Jasper Murdock Ales, the longest-standing brewery on the Vermont beer trail. Visitors to the historic Norwich Inn can sample a selection of traditional English -style ales accompanied by a fine cheddar cheese made with Jasper Murdock Whistling Pig Ale in an atmospheric pub. A highlight of any trip to Norwich and a baker's delight is a visit to the King Arthur Flour Company. This is the country's oldest flour company that now offers classes in its Baking Education Center taught by professional bakers. The classes range from Beauty and the Baguette, Do The Twist: Pretzels, to Creme Puffs & Eclairs, Sticky Fingers: Breakfast Buns, and many more! The Norwich Farmers Market is a foodie extravaganza that runs year-round with vendors galore. Hundreds of fresh veggies, smoked meats, artisanal cheeses, heavenly soaps, beeswax candles, baked goods, sandwiches, and much more are offered. A visit to Dan and Whit's General Store opened in 1930 is like stepping into a time machine where you will find a wide array of unique and thoughtfully selected merchandise that runs the gamut!

Waterbury, Vermont

Nestled in Vermont's Green Mountains Waterbury offers a wide range of recreational delights and is considered to be one of the best bike towns in the state with acclaimed trail networks including Perry Hill, the finest trail in the state. The historic downtown offers award-winning farm-to-table dining, local craft breweries, and great independent shops offering merchandise that you won't find anywhere else.  If you work up a thirst head to the rustic Tasting Room at Cold Hollow Cider Mill and sample their hard cider while relaxing on seats made from their old wooden cider pressing racks. Waterbury is also home to Ben and Jerry's and a factory tour and visit to the ice cream tasting room is the perfect way to end the day in this charming community. A special VIP highlight is the hands-on, private ice-cream-making class with one of Ben and Jerry's flavor gurus!


Kennebunkport, Maine

Nestled on the southwest coast of Maine, Kennebunkport is most commonly known as being the summer home of President George H.W. Bush. Originally, an agricultural and shipbuilding settlement, today, Kennebunkport with its lovely beaches, sweeping coastal views, and excellent amenities make it an ideal small-town getaway. While enjoying the cool Atlantic breeze, you can walk past mansions belonging to Sea Captains on  Summer Street, explore the historic neighborhood of Dock Square, take a leisurely walk down Ocean Avenue where sailboats and fishing vessels are moored, and walk along the granite Rockland Breakwater to a historic lighthouse  The downtown area is noted for its variety of interesting shops and eateries. For a change of pace, visit the Seashore Trolly Museum and take a ride on a tram that dates to the early 1900s. There are also many opportunities for an on-the-water adventure with the most popular being whale watching and lobstering excursions.  If you enjoy history, pop into the frilly Gothic-inspired yellow "Wedding Cake" house, once the home of a prominent 19th-century shipbuilder. It is considered to be the most photographed house in Maine. For foodies, don't miss the chance to try the local brews that are best washed down with a luscious Maine lobster roll made with fresh lobster, mayo, and celery. For tour information https://www.toursofdistinction.net/tours/day-trips/for-the-love-of-lobster

Rockport, Maine

Situated between Rockland and Camden, Rockport, Maine, named "One of America's Prettiest Towns," by Forbes shouldn't be missed. Considered the hidden gem of mid-coast Maine, visitors will find a beguiling mix of shops, dining, outdoor recreation, and a picture-perfect harbor. The downtown area is best explored on foot and is filled with art and craft galleries, whimsical street art, and restaurants serving up traditional lobster rolls and blueberry pie.  One of the highlights is a scenic day or sunset excursion aboard a traditional schooner or windjammer that offers magnificent views of Penobscot Bay and Indian Island Lighthouse. To meet some of Rockland's most famous four-legged residents head to Aldermere Farm, home of the Belted Galloway cattle, more commonly known as "Oreo cookie cows," because of their black and white stripes. No visit here is complete without a photo op with the statue of Andre the Seal who wintered at the New England Aquarium in Boston and summered in Rockport Harbor, entertaining visitors with Harry Goodrich for 25 years until his death in 1986. A blockbuster movie and book were written by Goodridge about Andre the Seal. 


Wolfeboro, NH 

Wolfboro is the quieter side of Lake Winnipesaukee that has attracted the rich and famous for centuries. The sign that welcomes visitors to town claims that Wolfeboro is "the oldest summer resort in America." They stake this claim on the fact that the first mansion was built here in 1770 by Governor John Wentworth on what is known today as Lake Wentworth. Wolfboro is nestled on the banks of this cool, calm, unspoiled lake that is surrounded by mountains. Stately homes, lovely neighborhoods, and a downtown boasting an interesting mix of arts and crafts shops and galleries, bookstores, bakeries, cafes, and restaurants add to the ambiance of this seemingly timeless town. If you like history don't miss the Wright Museum of WWII with its extensive collection of 1939-1945 historically significant WWII items and memorabilia that represent both the home front and battlefield. The New Hampshire Boat Museum has displays of boats, motors, and boating items documenting this area's love of boating. A highlight here is the chance to go for a ride on a replica 1928 style Hacker-Craft. At the end of the day, the lake is a big attraction; one of the best places to enjoy the beauty of the lake and watch the boats go by is at Cate Park.


Portsmouth, NH

This walkable, vibrant, coastal city was originally settled as a seaport, where merchant ships traveled up and down the Piscataqua River.  Today Portsmouth, one of the oldest working ports in the United States sees more than five million tons of cargo on import and export ships from trading partners worldwide in addition to pleasure boats and fishing vessels. Called "one of the most culturally rich destinations in the country," by the National Trust, Portsmouth offers visitors a unique melange of historic buildings, museums, historic sites, cultural centers, restaurants, clubs, cafes, and distinctive artisans boutiques. The best way to understand the cultural heritage of this small city is to take a harbor cruise. Get ready to be transported through 400 years of history from the settlement of the region in 1623 to the harbor's modern-day role in the economy of the town and the safety of the nation. A historic must-see is the Strawberry Banke Museum located on the original site of the town's seaport. This site is now an indoor-outdoor living history museum that depicts local life from the 1600s until the 1950s. A visit to Governor John Langdon House takes visitors back to post- Revolutionary America, and the early days of this country and, a visit to the Warner House allows visitors to experience a sea captain's house that was built in 1716 and stayed in the same family for six generations.  For art lovers, don't miss the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, which is associated with two of America's oldest art colonies that directly contributed to the rise of American modernism. For tour information https://www.toursofdistinction.net/tours/day-trips/picture-perfect-portsmouth

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Celebrate the Music of Billy Joel with Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot and More @Norwalk Oyster Festival 2021 September 10, 11, and 12

Three days of fun, food, and dazzling free entertainment on multiple stages, plus a myriad of special events for families and friends, from nine to ninety marks just some of the activities planned for the 2021 Norwalk Oyster Festival hosted by the Norwalk Seaport Association on Friday, September 10, Saturday, September 11, and Sunday, September 12, 2021, at the 35-acre Veterans Memorial Park in Norwalk. 


“We are so happy to be able to welcome people back to this year's Norwalk Oyster Festival, an event that has brought families and friends together for 43 years. Our volunteers have been working around the clock to make this year’s festival extra special because we know people have been looking forward to it since last year. The 43rd Norwalk Oyster Festival is packed with value-added extras this year especially when you consider that all the entertainment including the headliners' Mike DelGuidice who performs with Billy Joel and Big Shot, Eliot Lewis from Hall and Oates, and Live at Daryl’s House, nationally and internationally acclaimed SteelHeart, the Jimmy Kenny and the Pirate Band, and many other top-notch bands are included in the ticket price,” said Mike Reilly, President of the Norwalk Oyster Festival. For tickets click https://www.seaport.org

Friday, September 10, Entertainment Line Up 


Headliner, September 10 - SteelHeart - Nationally and Internationally Acclaimed @ 8:30 p.m
. The headliner of the evening, SteelHeart, originally from Norwalk, takes the stage, at 8:30 p.m. This nationally and internationally acclaimed rock band is celebrating the 30th anniversary of their self-titled debut album. SteelHeart released in 1989. This album catapulted this band into immediate commercial success reaching #40 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album quickly hit platinum status internationally, and gold domestically. “She’s Gone,” a soulful power ballad hit #1 on the international charts staying there for 17 weeks. The band's second single, “I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes),” reached #14 on the Billboard charts. In 2001, lead singer, Miljenko Matijevic provided all of the vocals for Mark Wahlberg’s character in the hit movie Rock Star. SteelHeart has released five studio albums and is working on a compilation album to celebrate their 30 years of globetrotting, and high octane, live performances. 


Friday, September 10, Opening Act, Eliot Lewis - Of Hall and Oates & Live @ Daryl’s House @ 7 p.m. Friday night kicks off at 7 p.m. with the music of multi-instrumentalist Eliot Lewis, a Norwalk native that is a member of Hall and Oates, one of the most famous duos in the world that have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lewis is also a solo performer that has consistently released his unique brand of guitar featured rock and soul. He is best known as the only musician to appear on every episode of the hugely popular “Live from Daryl’s House” show. Lewis has also performed with many popular artists such as Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Joe Walsh of the Eagles, Booker T, Jewel, and Todd Rundgren, to name a few. Daryl Hall summarizes Lewis’s talent best, “Eliot is a musician who can do it all, great singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He rocks and he’s got, soul. No one does it quite like him.” 


Saturday, September 11, 2021 - Entertainment Line Up 
Headliner, Saturday, September 11– Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot Celebrating the Music of Billy Joel & More @ 8:30 pm The Norwalk Oyster Festival is one of New England's most iconic festivals which is why Mike DelGuidice, a multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist touring with Rock N Roll Legend, Billy Joel is taking a night off from his touring schedule to perform with his band, Big Shot on Sept. 11 at 8:30 pm. Mike DelGuidice was handpicked and hired by Billy Joel himself. After Billy Joel heard Mike sing, he hired him, literally on the spot to be in his band. Mike is probably one of the few artists around where the front guy of the band is actually in the band of the artist his band covers! While on tour with Billy Joel, 

DelGuidice has shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Bryan Adams, Tony Bennett, Paul Simon, John Mayer, John Mellencamp, and Adam Levine, to name a few. DelGuidice is an extraordinarily talented musician. In addition to his eclectic original songs, he will astonish you will renditions of songs by Elton John, Van Morrison, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Marc Cohn, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, John Denver, Sting, James Taylor, Chicago, and many others. DelGuidice is a world-class vocalist and can sing just about anything. DelGuidice’s band, Big Shot includes Tommy Byrnes, Billy Joel's guitarist, drummer Chris Milillo who performed with the Stone Temple Pilots and others, Nick Dimichino, on bass, who most recently played with Nine Days, and, Michael Jewell, one of the countries most accomplished keyboardists who performed with Barbara Streisand, and Michael Bolton.


In addition to touring with Billy Joel and his band, Big Shot, DelGuidice has released two albums, "My Street," and "Miller Place," and is working on a third. Mike also scored the theme song, "Ordinary Guy," for the sitcom, "Kevin Can Wait," starring actor/comedian, Kevin James. 

DelGuidice and Big Shot packs hit after chart-topping hit in an amazingly high-energy show that leaves audiences wanting more. “We are thrilled that DelGuidice is taking a night off from touring with Billy Joel and performing at this years’ Oyster Festival. DelGuidice's stature as a well-known worldwide performer makes his band highly sought after because they are such crowd-pleasers. After all, Billy Joel himself handpicked DelGuidice. We are thrilled that he will be rocking the 43rd Oyster Festival on Saturday night," says Mike Reilly, Chairman of the Norwalk Oyster Festival. "We would also, once again, like to acknowledge that First County Bank is our presenting sponsor for the tenth year in a row.”


Opening Act, Saturday, September 11 - Alex Shillo - Singer/Songwriter @ 7 p.m. To get Saturday night rocking, Alex Shillo takes the stage at 7:00 p.m. with his eclectic brand of rock and country music with a nod to his hero, Bruce Springsteen. Shillo's band is composed of top-notch musicians, that have performed with such artists as Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Gloria Gaynor, and John Cafferty to name a few. Alex and his band have opened for major acts like Big & Rich, Eric Church, Parmalee, and many others. Shillo finds inspiration from his father and is following in his footsteps. Shillo’s dad was the founder/lead singer/songwriter of the late 70s and 80s band SILVERADO who toured the world with Steppenwolf and others and had hit songs on the Billboard charts. Shillo has been enthralled by music since a very early age and his performances show a depth of style and experience. Recently, Shillo released an album, "Friday Night ” that shows his sound is matched by his excellent songwriting skills. 


Saturday, September 11 - Jimmy Kenny and the Pirates Beach Band @ 2 p.m. On Saturday afternoon get ready to escape to “Margaritaville” at the Norwalk Oyster Festival with the always-popular Jimmy Kenny and the Pirates Beach Band - the ultimate beach party tribute to Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and the Zac Brown Band. Jimmy Kenny and the Pirate Beach Band plugs in and lights up the stage at 2 p.m...after all, it is almost 5 o’clock somewhere! The good-time vibe of this band will put you in an endless summer state of mind. So put on your best “Parrothead” gear - your favorite Hawaiian shirt, straw hat, and flip-flops, grab some food and drinks from one of our nearby vendors and get ready to sing and dance along to some of the best of Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney and the Zac Brown Band plus a variety of country favorites, summer pop, reggae, and tropical classics. 


Sunday, September 12 - Entertainment Line Up The Best of Connecticut & More! Local music is the heart and soul of every big city and small community. Every musician starts off somewhere, and that somewhere is usually local. Art and music in all its iterations thrive on interaction, and with all concerts shuttered last year, most folks were left without experiencing the excitement of live entertainment. "We know that people have missed going out to see their favorite regional and local bands, which is why we have organized a series of non-stop performances by Connecticut and tri-state area bands on Sunday," said Mike Reilly, President of the Norwalk Oyster Festival. "We are happy to give our local musicians center stage to welcome them back to the entertainment industry at this year’s Norwalk Oyster Festival."

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Hollywood Actress Gidget Born Today, August 12 in Bridgeport!

 Today in Connecticut history, actress Deborah Walley was born in Bridgeport in 1941. With nationally famous ice skaters and choreographers Edith and Nathan Walley as her parents, young Deborah caught the show business bug at an early age, performing on the ice with her parents for the first time at the age of three. She soon expressed a preference for acting over choreography and enrolled in New York City’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts as a teenager.

Walley’s first big film breakthrough was the 1961 summer hit Gidget Goes Hawaiian, a sequel to the popular 1959 film Gidget starring teen sensation Sandra Dee. The film’s producers were originally concerned that the film might bomb owing to Dee being replaced with a relatively unknown actress, but audiences loved Walley and the film was a smash hit at the box office. Walley was even named Photoplay magazine’s Most Popular Actress of 1961.

Gidget Goes Hawaiian launched Walley’s career as an actress who specialized in ingenue-style roles, and she went on to star in a number of comedies and beach-themed films over the next few decades. In addition to starring opposite Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello in Beach Blanket Bingo and Elvis Presley in Spinout, Walley starred in the hit 1974 film Benji — one of many Disney-related roles she held throughout her show-business career. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, she also enjoyed several high-profile cameos in popular TV shows like Wagon Train, The Virginian, and Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. Even as Walley’s on-screen presence diminished in the 1980s, she maintained a productive relationship with Disney, where she occasionally worked as a writer and voice actor. In 2001, she passed away at the age of 59 from esophageal cancer.