Sunday, December 23, 2012

Grand Holiday at the Mansion: From Victorian to Modern at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

Now through January 6, 2013, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is presenting “Grand Holiday at the Mansion: From Victorian to Modern.”
This exhibit features glorious Victorian holiday exhibits displayed throughout the first floor. Period rooms will be decorated to show changing traditions from the 1850s through the 1890s with many different Christmas trees, a holiday table setting and Victorian children’s toys.
A special treat this year will be a display of holiday traditions from the early 1930s drawing inspiration from a letter written by Florence Mathews, the last resident of the Mansion, in 1933.
Regular tour hours are noon - 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday and General Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for children and young adults ages 8-18. For more information visit For area information visit .

About Lockwood Matthews Mansion

Your first stop is the Lockwood Matthews Mansion, on the National Register of Historic Places and often described as "one of the earliest and finest surviving Second Empire style country houses ever built in the United States".

This 62- room mansion predates Newport's mansions by more than twenty years. Built in 1864 by LeGrand Lockwood, who made his fortune in banking and the railroad industry and designed by European-trained, New York-based architect Detlef Lienau, the house was completed in just four years.

Many American and immigrant artisans put the finishing interior design touches on this opulent house. The estate was foreclosed in 1874 due to Lockwood's untimely death and financial reversals.
The property was sold to the Mathews in 1876 and the family resided in it until 1938. In 1941 the estate was sold to the City of Norwalk and designated a public park.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

4th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop Through Dec. 24

It’s that magical time of year again when Santa and his LIVE reindeer, Dasher Dancer, Prancer and Blitzen, return to McArdle’s Florist & Garden Center, 48 Arch Street, in Greenwich, Conn, for the 4th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival and Santa’s Workshop, through Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012. Last year, over 800 photos with Santa were taken and many more are expected this year.

At McArdle's where reindeers will reside for a month, young and old can marvel at the reindeer and learn more about these special animals. The Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop officially opens and Photos with Santa begin at approximately 3 p.m. Holiday refreshments will be provided for all at McArdle’s by Avenue Café, which recently opened on Greenwich Avenue.

Inside, McArdle’s will be transformed into Santa’s Workshop, an unforgettable holiday wonderland where families, children, corporate groups and even pets can have their photo taken with Santa.  Photo packages begin at $29.99 and include special coupons to shop at over 100 participating downtown Greenwich stores and restaurants. This year’s festival will feature a new component – Reindeer Fun Facts - educational information about the animals, the mystery of their antlers, eating and sleeping habits and more.

The 4th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa's Workshop will take place Monday through Friday, noon to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reindeer feeding times will take place daily at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The reindeer will head to the North Pole around 1 p.m. on December 23, but Santa will remain until 4 p.m. Christmas Eve before beginning his busy night.

For more information and a list of the over 100 participating retail stores and restaurants, visit  For area information

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sultans of String Perform at Infinity Hall Dec. 20

Fiery world-jazz string super-group, Sultans of String, whose new revved up CD, MOVE, just garnered the group the prestigious CFMA World Group of the Year, returns to headline Infinity Hall December 20th, after their wildly successful debut opening there for Livingston Taylor!

The band’s 3rd CD can only be thought of as a perfect hat-trick, presenting, once again, an exhilarating celebration of world music styles. “North America is a real meeting place of musical influences from around the world” says bandleader/violinist Chris McKhool. “At the same time, as a band we try to tell uniquely North American stories, putting forth our vision of the world as one family.”

From the east coast’s Sable Island with its breathtaking wild horses, to the west coast calls of Luna the Whale, or from the silk road through Spain & the Middle East to the Gypsy-jazz cafés of Eastern Europe, Sultans of String take audiences on a spell-binding sonic journey.

Seamlessly traversing diverse themes of heart, place and tradition, fiery violin dances with kinetic guitar while a funk bass lays down unstoppable grooves. Throughout, acoustic strings meet electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound.

Since their formation only 5 years ago, Sultans of String have been riding a wave of success, from their debut CD, "Luna", and 2nd offering, "Yalla Yalla!", both hitting # 1 on world/international music charts in Canada, to “Yalla Yalla’s!” triple CFMA nomination, winning Instrumental Group of the Year in 2009.

In the past 2 years alone, they've acquired a JUNO nomination, 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition, placed as finalists for two 2011 International Independent Music Awards and won this year’s Festivals & Events Ontario-
Entertainer of The Year Award and the CFMA’s World Group of the Year.

The latest good news is that The Chieftains have invited the Sultans to open for them this coming spring in Connecticut—exciting times for this hardworking indie band!

For more information about this band visit  For ticket information visit For area information

About Infinity Hall

Located in beautiful Norfolk Connecticut,on Rte. 44 Infinity Hall was built in 1883 and offers an intimate venue for music, dining and entertainment. Newly renovated, the historic building features its original proscenium stage and wood, as well as many other notable details.

The music hall seats 300, ensuring each and every seat provides front row entertainment. The hall hosts more than 200 music and entertainment shows by quality national and regional artists annually. Infinity Bistro, the music-themed restaurant and bar, serves gourmet delights and spirits.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Breakfast with Frosty and Friends at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

Frosty the Snowman was a popular song written in 1950 and became an overnight classic by being adapted to a popular television special.  The song of Frosty recounts the fictional tale of a snowman that is magically brought to life through a black top hat that a group of children place atop his head. Although Frosty enjoys frolicking and romping throughout town with the children who constructed him, the sun becomes too much for him to bear and Frosty is forced to leave town, promising his friends that he will return.

On December 15 & 16, 22 & 23:  The Beardsley Zoo is getting into the holiday spirit by offering a special “Breakfast with Frosty & Friends” that will take place from, 9 a.m. - 10 am.  Families are invited to join Frosty and his friends for breakfast at Connecticut's only Zoo. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Amanda Bolanos at (203) 394-6574.  The cost of this special event that includes Zoo admission and breakfast is $10 per person for Zoo members and $20 per person for non-members.

The Beardsley Zoo is also offering a special Holiday Crafts & Fun Photo Opps event on December 15 & 16, 22 & 23 from 10 am - 2 pm.  Participants will enjoy making a variety of holiday crafts in the Zoo’s Research Station.  Afterward, there will be a memorable photo session in the Zoo’s festively decorated, tropical greenhouse.  A stroll through the grounds of the Zoo will allow families to visit their favorite animals and wish them happy holidays!


As the holidays are approaching fast if you are looking for something unique you might consider picking up an unusual and thoughtful gift from the Beardsley Zoo for everyone on your list!

Membership to Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo for example can be enjoyed year-round. Your loved one gets free admission to the Zoo and free or discounted admission to over 150 zoos and aquariums nationwide. Membership also includes ZooBucks, carousel rides & guest passes! Contact Amanda Bolanos at 203-394-6574 for more information.

If you are looking for a more permanent gift, consider purchasing and engraving a 90th Anniversary Brick for someone special. Bricks will be displayed at the Zoo's Front Gate for all to see! Contact Emily Bobowick at 203-394-6569 for more information.

If you have a real animal lover on your list, consider a gift of Animal Sponsorship.  With this gift, you will receive a Sponsorship Certificate, Fact Sheet & Photograph of your sponsored animal that you can visit at the Zoo.

If you are seeking something different, don’t forget to check out the gift shop at the Zoo. The Beardsley Zoo’s fabulous gift shop offers everything from children's games and handmade jewelry to clothing and animal-themed Christmas ornaments. You'll be amazed at the wide selection of gifts for him and her and for the little ones, too!

About Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo celebrates its 90th birthday in 2012 and is closer than you think! Connecticut's only zoo features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Visitors won't want to miss our Amur (Siberian) tigers, Brazilian ocelot, Red wolves, and Golden Lion tamarins. Other highlights include our South American rainforest with free-flight aviary, the prairie dog exhibit with "pop-up" viewing areas, the New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep, and other barnyard critters, plus the Grasslands trail featuring bison, pronghorn, deer, and more. Visitors can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful carousel. For more information, visit

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nature center holiday gifts

You don’t have to put up with big city crowds and prices to enjoy wonderful holiday gift shopping. Connecticut’s nature centers offer a host of fabulous gift ideas perfect for any budget.

A good place to start is at the Flanders Nature Center located on the corner of Church Hill Rd. and Flanders Rd. in Woodbury. They are hosting a large Artisan Marketplace on Saturday and Sunday’s only through December 23. If you are looking for quality creations by local crafters this is the place to visit. Here you will find a wide variety of arts and crafts from beeswax candles, hand crafted quilts, hand knitted gloves and scarves using Flanders very own wool to handmade wreathes, honey, jewelry, and pottery. For additional information call 203-263-3711 or visit

Another stop might be, the Stamford Museum & Nature Center, on 39 Scofieldtown Rd. in Stamford. Here you will find a limited-edition micro-train LEGO® holiday ornament in conjunction with their All Aboard with Bill Probert & Friends exhibition. Probert designed the 2012 “Steam Locomotive” and each of the 200 limited-edition trains is numbered. Each train set comes with a link to a website with instructions on how to re-build or hang the train. The train is $15 and available at the front desk of the Bendel Mansion. For more information contact

The Beardsley Zoo on 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport is hosting the second annual Animal Art Show & Sale on Sun. Dec. 16 where you can choose from a wide selection of original artwork created by animals at Connecticut's only zoo. Each piece is one of a kind and suitable for framing. Meet and chat with zookeepers and enter to win a holiday masterpiece created by nine zoo animals! For a more permanent gift consider purchasing and engraving a 90 anniversary brick for your loved ones. Bricks will be displayed at the Zoo’s Front Gate for all to see! Contact Emily Bobowick at 203-394-6569 for more information or visit

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium located on 4450 Park Ave. in Bridgeport is offering a great selection of fun and inexpensive gifts. Their science toys make great holiday trinkets for any child. You can choose from the classic Drinking Bird, Globe Slinkies or Freeze Dried Space Ice Cream! Membership is also a great gift because of the year round benefits it provides. Visit for more information.

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens, on 151 Brookdale Road in Stamford is offering a book by The University of Connecticut Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens Master Gardeners titled, “Recipes from Our Gardens” that sells for $20. This beautifully illustrated book offers 253 pages of recipes including Appetizers & Beverages, Soups & Salads, Vegetables & Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Breads & Rolls, Desserts and Cookies & Candy. For information call 203-322-6971 or visit

The Plymouth Land Trust is selling T-shirts ($10) to support the restoration of the Plymouth Burying Ground, a site on the National Register of Historic Places, along with the rest of the village of Plymouth Center. Call 860-921-6118 for more information.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the guidebook, "Kayaking in and around the Norwalk Islands" at $10 each, make great stocking stuffers. The book includes information on kayaking in the Norwalk area of Long Island Sound as well as on three local rivers along with other useful tidbits including safety and local island wildlife. The books are available at the Small Boat Shop at Rex Marina, 144 Water St, South Norwalk; the Westport Historical Society Remarkable Gift Shop, 25 Avery Place, Westport; The Dock Shop Nautical Boutique, 49 Tokeneke Rd, Darien; the Outdoor Sports Center, 80 Danbury Rd, Wilton and on-line at

Holiday Concert Dec. 14 at Silvermine Arts Center

A special evening of holiday music is coming to the Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan, Connecticut on Friday, December 14th. The Turtle Island Quartet returns to Silvermine, bringing their signature fusion of jazz and classical music to celebrate the holiday season.
The Turtle Island Quartet has been the very definition of American chamber music for over 25 years. From stages across the globe to international airwaves, this group is the most acclaimed ensemble of its kind. Their holiday concert, "A Solstice Celebration," will take you through the joyous voyage of world holiday music, commemorating the quartet members' ancestral roots, featuring music associated with what is referred to in both the Jewish and Hindu traditions as the Festival of Lights.
From the songs of Chanukah, to the music of India's Diwali, to the old English carols and Scottish reels of the 16th century, Turtle Island Quartet explores the timeless music that has been an integral part of winter holiday celebrations for centuries. The holiday program will also include music from Vince Guaraldi's beloved A Charlie Brown Christmas, as well as famous classical gems that have become indelibly tied to the holiday season.

Since they began in 1985, the Turtle Island Quartet has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. Winner of the 2006 and 2008 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover category, the group fuses the classical quartet aesthetic with contemporary American musical styles. The group is made up of original founding members, violinist, David Balakrishnan, and cellist Mark Summer, joined by jazz violinist  Mateusz Smoczynski and violist Benjamin Von Gutzeit. Each member of the quartet is an accomplished improviser, composer and arranger, as well as having extensive conservatory training. As the group continues to refine their skills through performances and recordings with major symphonic ensembles, and through a determined educational commitment, the Turtle Island Quartet stakes its claim as the quintessential American string quartet of this century.

A unique holiday experience not to be missed. Seating is limited and advance reservations are suggested. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for non-members.   To reserve tickets in advance or for more information, call 203-966-9700 ext. 22 or visit our website at

About Silvermine Arts Center

Silvermine Arts Center located in New Canaan, Connecticut is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. Located on a four acre campus, the center is comprised of a nationally renowned artist guild, award winning school of art offering multi-disciplinary art classes for ages 2 to 102, an art and fine crafts shop and galleries, offering over twenty contemporary and historic exhibitions annually. The center also provides innovative arts education in Norwalk and Stamford schools through its outreach program, Art Partners, and hosts a lecture series and special programs throughout the year. Silvermine Arts Center is a nonprofit organization.

Silvermine Arts Center Mission

Grounded in the belief that art is vital to the spirit, creativity and wholeness of human beings, the mission of Silvermine Arts Center is to cultivate, promote and encourage growth through the arts; to showcase and serve artists; and to foster arts education and appreciation opportunities for the greater community.

Gallery Hours: Silvermine Galleries are open Wednesday through Saturday, 12p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1pm to 5 p.m. For more information, call (203) 966-9700 ext. 20 or visit the website:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Fair in Washington Depot Dec. 14

Washington Parks & Recreation and the Washington Business Association is hosting an evening of fun and good cheer in this bucolic village in the heart of the Litchifeld Hills.

There will be food, music, raffles, and hay rides throughout the town. The evening will begin at 6:00pm with the lighting of the tree by a very special guest. Outside the town hall after the tree has been lit, children from Washington Montessori School will be singing Christmas carols . Shortly after the tree lighting, Santa will arrive by way of hay wagon and listen to children's wishes in the town hall until 8:30 p.m. Pictures will be taken with one photo per child provided.

The Troubadours from the Gunnery School will be caroling throughout the Depot during the evening. Clifford the Big Red Dog will be visiting businesses to offer holiday paw shakes to his fans. Inside the Town Hall, The Ladies Auxiliary of the Washington Volunteer Fire Department will have a special mailbox for letters to Santa, and will be selling their annual Christmas Ornament.

The Gunn Memorial Library and Gunn Museum will have a craft project for the children while they patiently wait for their turn with Santa. Washington Primary School PTO will be selling baked goods outside the Town Hall from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

The Senior Center will be selling gift items and raffling off a wreath and poinsettia donated by Painter Ridge Farm. The Washington Business Association will be sponsoring a drawing for a Mini I Pad and a gift basket of goodies. Tickets for the drawing will be available at member businesses from 6-8 and should be dropped off at Washington Supply for the drawing at 8:30.

The Hickory Stick Bookshop will be hosting a book signing from 7- 8 with Florence and Wendell Minor featuring My Bookstore for which they wrote an essay on the shop. Mo the Magician will be showing his tricks at Washington Supply and Outdoor Living from 6:30-8;30.

Other activities will be featured throughout the Depot to delight visitors to open businesses. Whether you stroll the streets of the Depot or ride on the hay wagon you'll find a warm welcome inside the beautifully decorated shops which have kept their doors open welcoming friends with refreshments and other surprises. It is an evening not to be missed in Litchfield Hills.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” at the Keeler Tavern Museum

A very special holiday treat for children will tale place at the Keeler Tavern Museum, 132 Main Street. Ridgefield, CT on Friday December 14th from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM. 

The children will gather in the Museum’s Garden House in front of the fireplace warmed by a friendly fire. All will listen to a reading of Clement C. Moore’s delightful poem “Twas the Night before Christmas.” The Rev. Moore wrote this treasured poem in 1822 for the pleasure of his own children. Children have been enjoying it ever since.

Each child will make and take home a craft suitable to the season. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served.
The cost to participate is $15 per child.

Advance prepaid reservations are required. Reservations for this event are first come first served, regardless of membership status. Reserve now at or call 203-438-5485.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bethlehem New England’s Christmas Town

Choose from more than 70 special holiday cache's

To get into the proper holiday spirit early, the place to be the first weekend in December is the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut.  Festivals galore start the season right in this region that is always as pretty as a Christmas card, and there are numerous opportunities to check off your holiday shopping list in scenic settings. The only dilemma is where to go first.

 One good place to start is Connecticut’s own little town of Bethlehem, a quaint, village that is transformed each December, when it becomes New England’s favorite Christmas Town. Thousands of visitors arrive to mail their Christmas cards with a Bethlehem postmark and to enjoy the 30th annual gala Christmas Town Festival, set this year for Friday night December 7 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a tree lighting at 6 p.m. and Saturday, December 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..   The town green is transformed for the occasion with some 70 vendors offering crafts and good food. Bring the family for musical entertainment, hayrides and the chance for a photo with Santa. Find the complete schedule at

Bethlehem’s historic Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden will be festively decorated for the weekend, with themed decorations in each of the first floor rooms. Children will enjoy games, prizes and surprises and refreshments in the Visitor's Center. This house will be open during festival hours, December 7 and 8 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For details, phone (203) 266-7596. For details, phone (203) 266-7596 or visit

Bethlehem also offers the chance to visit a rare museum-quality 18th century Neapolitan Crèche housed in a barn at the Abbey of Regina Laudis. Check the hours at 

 The Bethlehem Post Office is also offering extended hours. Bring your holiday cards and stamp them with a special cache. There are 76 stamp designs to choose from as one new design is added each year. The post office will be open with extended hours for the festival. The post office is open on Fri. Dec. 7 from 8 am to 8 pm; on Sat, December 8, 15, & 22 from 8 am to 3 pm and Mon.- Fri. 8 am  to 5 pm the month of December.

For area information on where to stay, shop and dine, please visit

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Lunch at Keeler Tavern


The very popular Christmas Luncheons and Holiday Boutique have become a Ridgefield holiday tradition. This fund raising event is held at the Keeler Tavern Museum, 132 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT. Guests dine in the festively decorated Garden House overlooking the brick walled Garden which is lovely, even in December and especially with a dusting of light snow. 

The luncheons will be held this year from Tuesday, December 4th to Saturday, December 8th. There will be two seating’s each day at 11:30 AM and 1:15 PM. The cost will be $25 per person by prepaid reservation. Guests will be invited to visit the seasonally decorated rooms of the Tavern Building.

If making a reservation for more than one person, please list the names of other members of your group. Reservations and payment may be made securely on line at or by calling the Museum and paying by charge card or by mailing a check directly to the Keeler Tavern Museum. For further information or the menu to be served call the Museum at 203-438-5485.

Holiday Boutique

The Holiday Boutique in the Gilbert Dining Room and Museum Gift Shop will be overflowing with gifts for everyone and every occasion. A new selection of Christmas ornaments, unique decorations of the season, gifts for children and adults will fill the area.  These unusual gifts will make filling your gift giving needs easy.  

The gift shop will be open from 10:30 AM to 4 PM December 4th through 8th. In addition it will be open Sunday, December 9th from 1 PM - 4 PM. During these days, talented crafters will bring products that will enrich the variety of gifts available. And, don’t forget to buy a gift for yourself.

Early Shopping Days will take place Tuesday, November 27 through Sunday, December 2nd from 1 PM - 4 PM.