Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Greenwich Concours d'Elegance: Classic Cars, Aircraft and America's Cup 12-M Yacht

This year's Greenwich Concours d'Elegance, 1 and 2 June at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park will feature an interesting car that defies identification at first - or second or third - glance, baffling even knowledgeable collectors. Its smooth lines, lustrous red paint and Carrozzeria Ghia crest confirm its Italian heritage, but what, exactly, is it?

Selected as the Poster Car for the 2013 Greenwich Concours it is a 1955 Jaguar XK140MC, with a custom aluminum body by Ghia of Turin, Italy. The MC suffix signifies that the engine was upgraded to produce 20 more horsepower, for a total of 220 hp. It was built for Marge and Gower Champion, the Hollywood musical stars, who later sold it to fellow actor, Ricardo Montalban; it is currently owned by Greenwich-collector Michael Schudroff. Thanks to its hand-made aluminum body, the coupe is substantially lighter than a stock XK140. Its greenhouse has slender roof pillars and greater glass area for a bright and airy interior. The greatest owner satisfaction though, comes from the exclusivity and the stir it creates wherever it appears at a gathering of car enthusiasts.

The poster car of the 2013 Greenwich Concours d'Elegance is a 1955 Jaguar XK140MC, with a custom aluminum body by Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin, Italy. Photo by Bruce Wennerstrom

Also making an appearance at the Greenwich Concours this year is Andy Rooney's 1966 Sunbeam Tiger. The outspoken "60 Minutes" television commentator was a passionate "car guy." He lived in Rowayton, Connecticut, and his station car, the 1966 Sunbeam Tiger, was a class of car known at the time as a "hybrid." Not the politically correct electric/gasoline hybrids of today; Rooney's Sunbeam was Brit-built but was powered by a hot 289-hp American Ford V8. Such cars were called hybrids because they combined European coach work with American power trains, an amalgam of Yankee horsepower and sleek European curves. His Sunbeam was a light-weight two-seat sports car, painted, of course, in British Racing Green.America II and Lionheart, the Greenwich-based ex-America's Cup yachts will again be berthed by the Greenwich Concours and will offer two days of match racing. The association of classic cars and America's Cup yachts is appropriate, for the yachts are truly classic, in the same sense that the cars are, being the finest craft that yacht designers, builders and sail makers could create, and conceived for the sole purpose of defending the America's Cup during a series of challenges from sailors of other nations over a period of decades. 

This 1966 Sunbeam Tiger, with a hot 289-hp Ford V8 engine, was the favorite ride of Andy Rooney, the famous "60 Minutes" TV commentator will be shown at the Greenwich Concours. 
Photo by Russ Rocknak
The Greenwich Concours - considered one of the premier concours in the country - is unique.  Since its founding in 1996 it has comprised two separate concours, back-to-back; Saturday's Greenwich Concours Americana features American cars from the 1900's to the present, while Sunday's Greenwich Concours International is exclusively for imported sports, competition and touring cars, again from the 1900's to the present. From the beginning there has been a Best-of-Show trophy for the American cars, and a Best-of-Show for imported cars, with over a hundred classic cars and motorcycles on display each day.

Additionally, Bonhams auction company will hold an auction of rare and important collector cars and automobilia on Sunday, 2 June. The cars offered will be on display for the day prior to the sale and open to prospective bidders and the public.

Automobile Magazine is the Title Sponsor of the Greenwich Concours. Renowned radio host Bob Long, will be broadcasting live from the Concours for two hours each day. AmeriCares, the respected international relief organization, ranked best by Money magazine, is the charitable beneficiary.

In addition to classic Duesenbergs, Pierce-Arrows, Packards, Auburn Speedsters, 16-cylinder Cadillacs, Mercedes 300SL gullwings, and the popular post-war American muscle cars, spectators
can also check out the very latest offerings from the Concours' sponsor companies in a relaxed no-pressure setting. The new-car offerings of BMW, Cadillac, Corvette, Hyundai, Lexus, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz and other sponsor companies will be on display for viewing by show attendees,
plus Chubb Personal Insurance has all the answers for insuring collector cars.

Greenwich Concours Basics
A great attraction of the Greenwich Concours is the stunning beauty of its waterfront site,  Roger Sherman Baldwin Park - a verdant peninsula at the head of Greenwich Harbor - which affords cooling sea breezes and a delightful water-side setting for alfresco lunches.

The Greenwich Concours Americana and the Concours International are open from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. The admission is $30 per day, or $45 for a two-day pass, and children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free, and food service is available on site. The dates for 2013 are 1 and 2 June, rain or shine.

The ease of getting to the Concours also contributes to its popularity, for it's immediately off Exit 3  of I-95, and within a block of the Metro North train station with express service from New York and Boston. And, within walking distance, is Greenwich Avenue - the Rodeo Drive of the East - with all of its many restaurants, antique shops, luxury stores, and numerous boutiques. Hotels, ranging from the modest to ultra-luxe, are also close by, with the Delamar, the host hotel, right at the Concours site.
The Concours web site, includes a map, driving directions, and contact information.  For area information

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lorikeets Arrive at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

This summer the The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will welcome colorful exhibit of lorikeets that are native to the south Pacific. Visitors will step into a lush aviary to share a laugh and a squawk with beautiful tropical birds that will sip food right out of your hands !

"Lorikeets" will be open from May 25 through Sept. 2 on the Aquarium's riverfront courtyard and will feature about a dozen varieties of lorikeets, which are colorful medium-sized parrots native to the south Pacific (SE Asia, eastern Australia, Polynesia). They're naturally found in rainforests and woodlands, but also in wooded urban areas, where they primarily feed on the nectars of various blossoms and fruits.

Visitors will be invited to purchase a small cup of nectar before you go into the exhibit, that will encourage the lorikeets to land on your hand, or your arm, or even your head to get to your nectar.

Lorikeets are specially adapted to their sweet diet through their specialized tongue. Tiny hair-like appendages called papillae form a U shape on the end of the tongue. When the tongue is extended, these papillae stand up like bristles on a brush, expanding the tongue’s surface area and allowing the birds to easily soak up nectar. Unique to lorikeets, these papillae have earned the birds the nickname “brush-tongued parrots.”

Entry into “Lorikeets” will be free with Aquarium admission. There will be a small fee for the nectar cups.

For visitors with an aversion to close encounters with birds, viewing of the lorikeets will be possible from outside the aviary.

The Aquarium is located on 10 N. Water St. in Norwalk. FOR INFORMATION: Call (203) 852-0700 or go online to  For area information

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lime Rock Starts Summer Racing Season May 24-26

Lime Rock Park located on Rte. 112 in Lime Rock CT kicks off the summer racing season with several exciting events. The Memorial Day Race weekend Friday, May 24, Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 (no Monday event) will be jam-packed with top rank sports car series races topped off by a fabulous car show.

New this year, the sports car race series will feature the newly revitalized SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series.  This is Detroit’s big “iron” that includes Mustangs, Camaros and Corvettes going head to head with each other while fending off advances of some of Europe’s best sports cars.  In addition to this, there will be the added excitement of heart pounding Formula F and F2000 races.

On Sunday, May 26 one of the most popular events, the 4th annual Royals Car Show will return to the historic Lime Rock track again this year from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  It is exciting to be able to get out on the track to view all the fantastic cars that will be showing off.  Participating vehicles include muscle cars, tuners and imports, street rods, motorcycles, classic cars, antiques, antique trucks, race cars, exceptional contemporary cars and fire trucks – the list is endless.   The car show entry fees is $10 for adults, $5 for military, and kids 12 and under are free. Proceeds raised from the car show at Lime Rock Park benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.

For tickets for the Trans-Am Races and Royals Car Show visit  For general information on Lime Rock Park http://www.limerock.com  For area information

About Lime Rock Park

Dreamed up in 1956 by Jim Vaill and with the help of John Fitch and Cornnell Aeronautical Labs, Lime Rock is 1.50 miles of up hill and down dale, a track that looks deceivingly simple but is immensely challenging to drive at high speeds. Its setting is in a village in the heart of the Litchfield Hills renowned for its great natural beauty and cultural heritage.

In its 55 year existence, almost all of the sport’s greats have raced here: Andretti, Moss, Gurney, Posey, Rodriguez, Hobbs, Hill, Donohue, Ward, Fitch…the list of great drivers who’ve raced here is endless.

Lime Rock has also seen virtually every kind of racecar grace its corners and straights…from ground-pounding NASCAR stock cars to Can-Am, Camel GTP, F5000, Trans-Am and Atlantic, this list also goes on and on.

Today, Lime Rock is the leading edge of American LeMans Series and Grand-Am with their own stars and cars that are writing history. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Free Paddle Guide to Litchfield Hills

Canoeing in Litchfield Hills

Blessed with two major recreational rivers, the Housatonic and the Farmington, and over 9,000 surface acres of lakes and spring-fed ponds, the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut are overflowing with spring fun on the water.  Melting snow that makes rivers run high means prime time for whitewater challenge and sunny spring days are just right for a peaceful paddle on a sun-dappled river.
The Housatonic Valley Association has just published a free Connecticut Paddling Guide of nine navigable sections of the Housatonic River with 29 access sites starting from Ashley Falls, Mass. and going to Stratford, Connecticut. 
The Guide provides detailed maps and easy to read directions. Descriptions of each section of the river include distance, the type of water flow, landmarks, and tributaries entering the section and warnings where necessary. Other sections of the guide have information on the river’s history, its health, and plant and wildlife species found along the river. The guide also includes tips on boating safety and guarding against spreading invasive aquatic species.  
Notes on specific wildlife, recreational areas, historic sites, other pertinent information as well as photos and illustrations are sprinkled throughout the sections. It is printed on water-resistant paper in two colors with a full color cover and some full color spread throughout the pages.
The guides are available at HVA in Cornwall Bridge; Connecticut Outdoors, LLC, Oakville; Clarke Outdoors, West Cornwall; Main Stream Canoes & Kayaks, New Hartford and The Trading Post, New Milford. This guide may be downloaded at

For a free paddle guide and the Unwind brochure call 860-567-4506 or visit 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Birding In Connecticut

The Greenwich Audubon, http://greenwich.audubon.org
 is celebrating May in style with a series of events that will be fun and educational for lovers of nature.   For area information

On two Wednesdays, May 15 and May 22, there is a bird walk from 7 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. at Fairchild Wildflower Garden on North Porchuck Road.  For this free event RSVP to 203-869-5272 x230 and don’t forget to bring your binoculars and camera

On Saturday, May 18 and May 25 there will be a bird walk at the Main Sanctuary on Riversville Rd. from 7 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.  Morning bird walks are a spring tradition at the Audubon and participants are asked to RSVP to 203-869-5272 x230 and to meet at the Greenwich parking area on Riversville Road. 

Also on Saturday, May 18, the Audubon is hosting a program from 2 pm. – 3:30 p.m. called Fast Food Feasts for Songbirds.  As neo-tropical migrants return from their wintering areas, emerging insects and other invertebrates provide them with essential foods.  Participants will search for feeding birds visit local plant life in search of insects, spiders, and other creatures that make quick treats for spring’s hungry avian travelers.

To finish up the month of May, on the 25th the Audubon Greenwich is hosting Turtle Time with Ted Gilman from 2 p.m. – 3:30.  Participants will learn about turtle natural history, nesting behavior, how to help protect turtles, and meet some of our local turtle species. The program is finished with a hike to Mead Lake in search of nesting turtles. This program is appropriate for all ages. Please. RSVP to 203-869-5272 x230.

When visiting the Audubon, don’t miss the Birds of New England now on display in in Kiernan Hall at Audubon Greenwich through July 16th.  While in New England and the North Atlantic coast, John James Audubon observed many, possibly hundreds of species of birds that lived or migrated here.  Audubon painted many of these species, 52 of them while actually on location in New England, and 34 prints are included in this exhibition.