Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Michael Quadland "Recent Work- Metallic" in Litchfield

The Oliver Wolcott Library in the heart of Litchfield is hosting the work of Michael Quadland through October 24.  The Library located on 150 South Street in Litchfield adjoins the historic house that once belonged to Oliver Wolcott Jr. and was built by Elijah Wadsworth in 1799. Elijah Wadsworth sold the estate to Frederick Wolcott in 1800 Oliver Wolcott, Jr. acquired the house in 1814 and enlarged it considerably in 1817. Mrs. Oliver Wolcott (Elizabeth Stoughton) was known for being a gracious hostess and the fame of her parties reached as far as Washington, D.C. and England. Parties were frequently held in the ballroom on the second floor. It is said that President George Washington danced his last minuet in Litchfield in that ballroom. The ballroom was restored by the Society of Colonial Wars and can be viewed upon request.

The artwork on display by Quadland focuses on the expression of emotion. One of the things he enjoys most about painting is the process of putting feelings into visual form, having depended on words for so many years, professionally. He has chosen a nonobjective format as a way to maximize imagination and projection, using abstract forms and evocative colors in layered surfaces. It is difficult for anyone seeing his work not to respond with some sort of feeling. The layers and traces of his paintings contain secrets, he says, that can be revealed to the viewer over time. In this way, the work retains interest, is perpetually new.

In this "Recent Work" series at Oliver Wolcott Library, Michael's painting assumes the feeling, texture and dimensionality of sculpture or architecture. Indeed, it seems to straddle the line between these disciplines and painting. Metallic surfaces appear to have been cast eons ago, or to have been torn from a demolished building, the metal having corroded into rough and gritty surfaces, evoking a long, arduous, even mysterious past.
For more information about the Oliver Wolcott Library http://www.owlibrary.org.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kent CT a beautiful spot for Fall Foliage

Kent, Connecticut has many claims to fame—two state parks, a 250-foot waterfall, rural beauty combined with sophisticated shops, galleries and museums. But this fall there is new reason to boast. Yankee Magazine has named this charming village in the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut the peak spot for leaf-peeping in all of New England.

In one day in Kent, says Yankee, you can drive through rolling hills beside a twisting river, stop for thick hot chocolate and an authentic pastry, hike the Appalachian trail, picnic with a panini by a waterfall, shop for Buddhas or modern art and bite into a crisp native Cortland apple, perhaps in the shade of a historic covered bridge.

This praise is no surprise to those who know Kent and its unique blend of attractions. A newly published free color brochure with map will help newcomers find their way around. Foliage watchers who like their leaves close-up on a hiking trail should head for Macedonia Brook State Park, where 2300 acres offer extensive leafy trails. For views, the Blue Trail is hard to beat with its fantastic vistas of the Catskill and Taconic mountains.

In Kent Falls State Park you can admire the falls from the bottom or hike a quarter-mile up the hill and feel the mist on your face as the water cascades down 250 feet on its way to join the Housatonic River.

The Appalachian Trail runs through this area, and hikers who want scenery without stress will enjoy the Housatonic "river walk," a peaceful stretch beside the river that is the longest essentially flat section along the entire trail.

For more worldly diversions, take a walk along Route 7, Kent’s Main Street, lined for miles with irresistible stops. Five antiques shops beckon, including Pauline’s Place,  and Koblenz & Co.  for antique jewelry. Among the many shops and galleries, Heron American Craft Gallery shows the best work of American craftsmen, Foreign Cargo offers unusual clothing, jewelry and art from Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands and the Kent Art Association is just one of five fine art galleries in town.
Take out the camera for Bulls’ Bridge, one of three remaining covered bridges in Connecticut dating from the 19th century. George Washington crossed the Housatonic River near the site of the present bridge in 1781.

Just north of town is the Sloane-Stanley Museum. Eric Sloane (1905-1985) was a prolific artist, author and illustrator and an avid collector of Americana. The museum includes the artist’s studio, examples of his art and his extensive collection of early American handmade tools, beautiful objects of wood that are virtual works of art. On the property are the remains of the Kent Iron Furnace and a diorama explaining the once-booming local iron industry. Next-door is the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum, a unique display of steam and gas tractors, a working narrow gauge railroad, an industrial hall with working steam engines and mining exhibit building.

When hunger pangs strike in Kent, the Panini Café is the place for a tasty picnic sandwich, and for a treat at the Kent coffee and Chocolate Company for the title of “best hot chocolate in Connecticut.” For dinner, the Fife & Drum is a long time favorite for continental dinners with nightly music, Bull’s Bridge Inn has a choice of fine dining or pub fare.

For a copy of the new free guide and map of Kent and a free copy of UNWIND, a 163-page color guide to lodging and dining and other regional attractions in all of the Litchfield Hills contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, www.litchfieldhills.com.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

OKTOBERFEST at Quassy Amusement Park

The 23rd Annual OKTOBERFEST is slated for noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27 and Sunday, Sept. 28, at Quassy Amusement Park here.

Two new bands will be performing for the event, which is held in the Fieldside Pavilion at the lakeside facility. They are: Joe Stanky & His Cadets on Saturday and John Stevens’ Doubleshot on Sunday. Both bands hail from eastern Pennsylvania and have played for years at festivals, amusement parks and other large venues. The live music starts at 12:30 p.m. both days.

The Harugari Junior Schuhplattlers dance group will entertain during band intermissions on Saturday with the Alpenland Tanzer Dancers performing on Sunday.

 Admission to the OKTOBERFEST pavilion is free, with fees for food, beverages, rides and attractions in the park. Parking for the event is $6 per car. Quassy Amusement Park is located at 2132 Middlebury Road.

Traditional festival food in the pavilion will include knackwurst, bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, roasted pork and steamed vegetables. There will be a variety of other menu items available as well during the two-day festival. Complete dinners or individual entrees will be sold.
About The Park
Quassy Amusement Park is in its 105th year and features more than two-dozen rides and attractions. The lakeside property is also home to “Splash Away Bay” waterpark with the new “BulletBowl” water raft ride and “FreeFall” extreme body slides. In addition, a children’s splash pad titled the “Fish Pond” opened this year.

Quassy also features a new laser maze attraction in its huge arcade building.
  Rides include the award-winning “Wooden Warrior” roller coaster, “Music Fest,” “Yo-Yo” super swings, “Free Fall ‘N’ Drop Tower,” “Grand Carousel” and more.

The park also has a restaurant, redemption arcade, games, live entertainment and special events.  Season passes for 2014 are on sale now at the park office and through the Quassy Web site at www.quassy.com. Company picnics, school fieldtrips and other catered events are also being scheduled through the park office at 203-758-2913. Quassy is located at 2132 Middlebury Road, Route 64, in Middlebury, Conn., on the shores of Lake Quassapaug.

For area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Monday, September 22, 2014

Antique Machinery Fall Festival in Litchfield HIlls

This year marks the 30th annual Fall Festival hosted by the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association on 31 Kent Cornwall Rd. in Kent on September 26, 27 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  
This event features special demonstrations, vendors and food along with  the many permanent exhibits of the Association that includes Industrial Hall, a mining museum, a tractor hall, a narrow gage working railroad and the Cream Hill Agricultural School.
Highlights of this event include an American #1 sawmill with plenty of logs to be cut into planks.There will be demonstrations throughout the weekend of the sawmill, as well as other wood handling machinery including an antique planer, a splitter, and maybe even a drag saw.
Another popular spot is the blacksmith's shop headed up by Skip Kern who will be showing visitors the art of blacksmithing. In the Industrial Hall of Steam, Conrad Milster will be giving talks and live demonstrations of  various antique steam engines. The Association hopes to see their Nagle-Corliss engine in operation for this show. A highlight in Industrial Hall is the Associations newest acquisition, a very early (possibly Ames) engine, on loan from the New York Hall of Science.

In the Industrial Hall of Steam, Conrad Milster will be giving talks and live demonstrations of the Association's various antique steam engines. The Association hopes to see their Nagle-Corliss engine in operation for this show. Visitors will also see the Association's newest acquisition, a very early (possibly Ames) engine, that came to them in beautiful condition, on loan from the New York Hall of Science.

There will be Lumber Jack/Jill demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday of the Festival, featuring Shannon Strong, a well-known local fitness trainer and Lumber Jill. The show will feature demonstrations of handsaw and ax skills and is always very entertaining. Shannon is also a personal trainer, strength trainer, specializing in core training, and mind-body fitness. Demonstration times will be announced at the show.

Don't miss the Friday evening spaghetti w/meatballs and sausage. There's a limited number of tickets available, so buy them in advance at the food pavilion. The dinner is from 5:30 to 7:00 PM and will be held at the picnic pavilion unless inclement weather forces it inside the Industrial Hall. Tickets are $10 per person. Menu includes spaghetti with meatballs and sausage, salad, Italian bread, soft drinks, coffee and dessert. All proceeds benefit the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association.

Parking is free in the lower parking field and a free shuttle bus will bring you to the main gate.

For more information http://www.ctamachinery.com and for area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall fun at the New Canaan Historical Society

The New Canaan Historical Society located on 13 Oenoke Ridge in New Canaan has planned several exciting events to enjoy this fall. A new art show, "Commitment to Excellence in Art & Sport: A Fine Art Competition" and Exhibit is taking place through November 3 has been organized cooperatively with the National Art Museum of Sport. This is the Museum of Sport's 4th annual international show. The National Art Museum of Sport was founded in 1959 by Germain Glidden, a Silvermine painter and athlete.
Pictured is Richard Stravitz's V Seat which was inspired by the flexibility, strength, and balance that helped Kurt Thomas excel in the world of gymnastics during the late 1970s.
The Little Red Schoolhouse built in 1868 located on Carter Street is the site of the Rotary Club's annual Lobsterfest on September 26 & 27 that will take place on the Society's great lawn. Tickets for this event are available in the Historical Society's office. A special treat on September 27 is the open house at the Little Red School House from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. The school closed in 1957.

To celebrate 125 years, the New Canaan Historical Society is hosting a special "Colonial Day" on Saturday, October 11 (rain date Oct. 12) from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. This colonial themed premiere event will start off with a fife and drum performance and will be followed by militia drills and games. Take time to explore the general store and watch demonstrations of weaving, spinning, printing, and early learning. Make sure to pay a visit to the herb garden and follow it with a visit to the Cody Drug Store where many medicinal herbs will be on display.

About the New Canaan Historical Society
Founded in 1889, the New Canaan Historical Society has carried out its mission "to bring together and arrange the historical events of the town of New Canaan, the genealogies of the families who have lived in the town, to form a library and to collect relics and curiosities, to form a museum.
At the Society's headquarters, in the 1825 Town House, the Society maintains a research library of more than 3,500 volumes, along with scores of manuscripts, deeds, newspapers, photographs and other documents dating to the colonial era.
The Society owns or operates eight museums and buildings, including the 1764 Hanford-Silliman House, the 1960 Gores Pavilion, and the Rogers Studio and Museum, which, with Philip Johnson's Glass House, is one of only two National Historic Landmarks in New Canaan. For more information http://www.nchistory.org.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


The serene and beautiful village green in Litchfield, Connecticut hardly seems the setting for spies and intrigue. But during the Revolutionary War, this classic New England town in Western Connecticut was a hotbed of activity.  This surprising history will come to life during the Litchfield History Museum's Spy Weekend, September 19 to 21.

The special activities are added reason to discover Litchfield, a town also noted for its early architecture, Colonial inns, fine dining and great shopping. 

The fun begins on Friday night when a showing of the film, The Scarlet Coat, a 1955 swashbuckling historical drama starring Michael Wilding, Cornel Wilde, and George Saunders.  The movie tells of the creation of the first "American Secret Service," with Litchfield's own Benjamin Tallmadge in the main role (though Hollywood has changed his name).  The film will be shown at 7 p.m. at the Litchfield Community Center. Admission is free and popcorn will be served!

Author Richard Welch will discuss his new book on Benjamin Tallmadge, "General Washington's Commando." on Sunday at 3 p.m.  Welch will describe Tallmadge's roles during the Revolutionary War, including his work as intelligence and counter-intelligence officer, as well as dragoon commander and master of combined land-sea operations.  The program is free for members; $5 for non-members.

 A guided walking tour on Saturday at 10 a.m. will relive Litchfield during the Revolution, when families were divided by those loyal to the British crown and those seeking independence and intrigue were in the air. Guides will point out historic sites where prisoners of war were jailed, and where a military presence guarded stores and provisions.  The tour is free to members, $10 for non-members. Registration is required for the Saturday and Sunday programs, by email at registration@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org or by phone at 860-567-4501.

On Sunday afternoon, there will be an added bonus as the Litchfield Fire Company hosts the 131st annual state Firefighter's Convention ending with a parade featuring over 1,000 firefighters from all over Connecticut.

For information about lodging, dining and other activities in the area and a free copy of UNWIND, a full-color, 163-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 www.litchfieldhills.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Free for All at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children on Sept. 20

On Saturday, September 20, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Stepping Stones Museum for Children opens its doors to all for FREE!  It’s Nickelodeon’s 11th annual Worldwide Day of Play and Stepping Stones is an official registered Nickelodeon site, and to join the fun is simple!

Step One: Turn off your TV, video games, computers, mobile phones and tablets. Parents too!
Step Two:  Come on over to Stepping Stones Museum for Children, beginning at 10:00 am through 5:00 pm, and join us for a day packed with physical activities, amazing performances and cool activities.  The event will feature outdoor field games, interactive sports and fitness demonstrations, awesome educational activities and amazing live performances – all for free and guaranteed to keep your family moving.

Children can experience gymnastics and yoga, meet some of their favorite sports mascots from local professional teams, dance the afternoon away at our rocking dance party featuring local bands, play chess against the experts and enjoy our garden book walk where visitors can exercise their bodies and their brains. In addition, there will be plenty of experts on hand from the community to provide ideas on ways families can take charge of their health.
Now in its 11th year, Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play is an entire day dedicated to active play.  The day is part of a larger movement to reduce childhood obesity and reinforce lessons about the tremendous benefits of healthy lifestyles among children.  Stepping Stones is proud to serve as a local host of this event for the 7th consecutive year.

Make the most of this day-long worldwide movement all about the power of play.  For more information, call 203 899 0606 or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org/dayofplay.
Stepping Stones is located at 303 West Avenue, exit 14N or 15S off I-95 in Norwalk. Museum hours are Labor Day through Memorial Day, Tuesday – Sunday and holiday Mondays from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; and Memorial Day through Labor Day,
Monday – Sunday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children and $10 for seniors. Children under 1 are free. To learn more, call 203 899 0606, ext. 264.

Monday, September 15, 2014

HiSTORYtime at the Litchfield Historical Society

The Litchfield Historical Society is inviting children aged 3 and up, along with their caregivers, for "story time" at 10:30 a.m. on September 18. After the stories are read and discussed with an educator from the Litchfield Historical Society, kids will be entertained with a craft project or game.
On Thursday, September 18, the funny tale about Noah Webster, one of Connecticut's most famous residents will be the highlight. The book Noah Webster and His Words, written by Jeri Chase Ferris and illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch, provides a fun chronicle of Noah Webster. 

Webster, whose father wanted him to be a farmer, grew up to write schoolbooks, language, and grammar books, and the dictionary. Kids will hear the tale of how this school teacher united the 13 colonies using words and language. The story will be read aloud and then a game will be played or a craft project will be presented that relates to Noah Webster's words.
This program is a suggested $2 donation. It is for children aged 3 and up. It will be from 10:30 am to 11:30 am at the Litchfield History Museum. No registration is required. Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South St., Litchfield, CT. For more information about this or other programs, please see www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org or call (860) 567-4501.

Friday, September 12, 2014

WWI Posters on View at the Litchfield Historical Society

The exhibit Join the Brave Throng: Poster Art of WWI at the Litchfield Historical Society will highlight a selection of WWI posters from the Museum's collection. It will be on view through November 30, 2014.

When the Great War broke out in Europe in 1914, the town of Litchfield was actively involved in war efforts from the start. Ranging from work of the local Red Cross chapter to the collection of medical supplies, Liberty Loan campaigns, food conservation efforts, and enlistment of local soldiers, the residents of Litchfield did whatever they could to show their patriotic zeal. To rouse the public's interest in the war, colorful posters dotted walls and billboards across the county. Designed by some of the nation's most talented artists, these propaganda items appealed to the public's patriotic side, while others incorporated shocking anti-German imagery.
Come see some of the posters that ignited Litchfield residents to actively support the national war effort.  The Litchfield History Museum's hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South St., Litchfield, CT. 
For more information about this or other programs, please visit www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org or call (860) 567-4501. For information about the Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Thursday, September 11, 2014

By Land and Sea and Air - paintings, drawings and etchings

The David Hunt Library  located bucolic village of Falls Village in the Litchfield Hills on 63 Main Street is hosting an art exhibition featuring the work of Robert Andrew Parker through October 10. 

The poet Marianne Moore said, "Robert Andrew Parker is one of the most accurate and at the same time most unliteral of painters. He combines the mystical and the actual, working both in an abstract and in a realistic way." Ms. Moore's is an apt description of Parker's recent work in this exhibit including serial images of an Avro Bison aircraft combining print and watercolor and a series of ships in the far distance, possibly warships. These are accompanied by landscapes, images of animals, and water conveying an overall sense of movement and adventure.
Besides being a foremost American artist, illustrator, and printmaker, Parker is also a writer and a working musician. Bob continues to perform with his band mates locally at the Interlaken Inn and other spots.
Parker's artworks have appeared in the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Esquire just to name a few. His drawings and paintings have accompanied the writings of Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, W. H. Auden, and Marianne Moore. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Morgan Library and Museum, and private collections throughout the world. Most recently, Parker was the subject of a Century Masters career retrospective at The Century Association in New York.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Story Book PJ Party at Stepping Stones Museum for Children

The life size Berenstain Bears will be the highlight at the Pajama Party hosted on Friday, Sept. 12 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk located on 303 West Ave.  So put on your most furry or comfy pajamas, perfect for hibernating like a bear (!), and head over to the Museum!

Stepping Stones is excited to bring this classic, lovable Bear Family who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary to their museum. Participants will hear the tale “The Berenstain Bears Go To School.” In the story, Sister Bear, nervous about entering kindergarten, overcomes her fears when she discovers that school is really fun.

After the story, kids will have the opportunity to meet Brother and Sister Bear!  The museum's friends at  Berenstain Bears describes these two lovable characters:

Sister Bear is a highly-competitive, born-to-win, self-reliant third-grader, who is often braver than she imagines. She loves acting, her Bearbie dolls and the color pink.  Sister is very outdoorsy and sports-minded, but she also loves fairytales,  writing and jump rope

Brother Bear is 10-years old and a stand-up guy.  He is very sports- minded, with his favorite being soccer. He is also a big fan of T.  Rex dinosaurs, model airplane building, and "wheels" of all kinds.  Brother is computer literate and into video games. He often acts as protector and stands  up for Sister and the smaller cubs at school.

In addition to listening to the story and meeting Sister Bear and Brother Bear, pajama party guests can participate in a variety of school-related activities throughout the evening. Practice packing a backpack with school supplies and have fun with apple stamping – stamp real apples with paint! Make a 3-D bus model out of paper and “Be the Teacher” using white boards and markers to draw and write like a teacher.

Kids can even create  their own text book cover by tracing an illustration of the Berenstain Bears using a light table. In the bedtime story corner, kids can enjoy a quiet family snuggle time reading other Berenstain books while relaxing on beanbags.

At the end of the evening, kids are invited to hold their  3-D bus model high as they march and sing along with the Wheels on the Bus Parade.  Then, it’s time to go home for a little hibernation, like bears do in the winter, but only for the night – and maybe some extra sleep because it’s the weekend!

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 http://www.steppingstonesmuseum.org/ to register.

Stepping Stones is located at 303 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT, exit 14 North and 15 South off I-95. Museum hours are: Labor Day through Memorial Day, Tuesday—Sunday and select holiday Mondays from 10 am-5pm; and  Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children and $10 for seniors. Children under 1 are free. To learn more, visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Renowned Author to Lecture on Celebrated Gilded Age Romance at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 11 a.m., at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, 295 West Avenue in Norwalk, CT, author Jean Zimmerman will give a talk entitled, Love Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance. A book signing courtesy of Elm Street Books in New Canaan will follow the lecture.

A famous John Singer Sargent portrait inspired Ms. Zimmerman to research its subjects and write their love story. Edith Minturn was a beautiful heiress and Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, a wealthy young architect. Contemporaries of the Astors and the Vanderbilts, Stokes became a passionate preserver of New York history, Minturn the supermodel of their day, and together they battled on behalf of New York's poor and powerless as reformers. This lecture will explore the couple's era and their world, one of fantastic wealth, when a Madison Avenue scion was moved to create model tenements and a beautiful heiress found herself cast in gold, floating above the modern landscape of America.

This will be the fourth in a series of lectures entitled, Lockwood-Mathews Mansion: Seventy-Four Years of Culture - Art, Life, and Love, 1864-1938 by curators and experts in the field of Victorian era material life. The lectures are $25 for members, $30 for non-members per session. Please RSVP by Friday, September 5, 2014. The price includes lecture, lunch and a first floor Mansion tour. Lunch is courtesy of Michael Gilmartin's Outdoor Cookers. The chair of the Lecture Committee is Mimi Findlay of New Canaan. Please contact info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com or 203-838-9799, ext. 4 to purchase tickets.
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is a National Historic Landmark. For more information on schedules and programs please visit: www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, e-mail info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, or call 203-838-9799.