Thursday, February 27, 2014

Technology-Themed at the Maritime Garage

Free and open to the public, machines, gadgets, all things technology inspires the artwork at the exhibit at the Maritime Garage Gallery. The exhibit, entitled "Thingamabob", will run through April 25.
John Jackson, "Up the Creek"
The concept of the exhibit's theme is loosely based on the concepts of Rube Goldberg; the Thingamabob is a metaphor for the creative process and how artists feed one method into another when creating works of art. Some of the featured works in the exhibit highlight individual elements while others feature multiple systems.

"Thingamabob" features art that is in the eye of the mechanically inclined and in a group show of artists, including John Jackson of Jefferson, New York, Tom Hlas of Norfolk, CT, Lewis Schaffer from Ridgefield, Deborah Rauh from Westport, Sara Roche from Weston, and others.

Lewis Cohen, "Play the Dot Game" 
The Maritime Garage Gallery, located at 11 North Water Street, is part of the Parking Authority's "Art in Parking Places" initiative, an effort to support art in public spaces making Norwalk a more vibrant destination. The gallery is free and open to the public from 9:00am -5:00pm Monday through Friday. For more information, call 203- 831-9063, or visit

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Maple Syrup on tap in Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County Connecticut

It’s a sweet New England tradition—toasting old man winter out the door with delicious new maple syrup. As soon as days are above freezing and the sap begins to run, the annual spring ritual begins.

Turning thin sap into thick, fragrant syrup is a fascinating process and Western Connecticut, where sugar maple trees abound, is one of the best places to see it in action. More than a dozen sugar houses in Fairfield County and the Litchfield Hills invite visitors to see how it is done, from tapping the maple trees to collecting the sap to boiling down the thin watery sap until it turns to the thick, fragrant syrup.
A variety of settings, from farms and nature centers to museums are among the maple possibilities, most offering tastes as well as show and tell, and many have take-home syrup for purchase as a sweet souvenir. While many sugarhouses invite visitors anytime during the first three weekends in March (see list below), some locations plan one festive day to celebrate the season.

To kick off the Maple Sugaring season, the Greenwich Land Trust is hosting a Sugar Maple Winter Walk on February 25 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Duck Pond Hill on 12 Burning Tree Rd in Greenwich. Participants will learn what what wildlife does during the winter to survive and how to identify trees without their leaves.  The highlight of this event is to watch a maple tapping and syrup boiling demonstration to learn what goes into making the sweet stuff!  Walking conditions may be a bit tricky because the walk will be on uneven terrain.  Refreshments will be served.  For more information visit

                                                March Maple Events

The Stamford Museum & Nature Centers starts the month in gala fashion with its annual Maple Sugar Festival slated for March 1 and 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Every year, the Museum places buckets on more than 200 maple trees on its 118-acre site, collecting sap to produce maple syrup in the little red sugarhouse on its Heckscher Farm. Visitors will see firsthand the process of tapping and collecting the sap. Kids can make a maple-themed craft, go on a scavenger hunt, have their face painted and join in the fun on Saturday for the Chef’s Challenge, using maple syrup to make delicious treats. On Sunday everyone can join in the popular pancake brunch.

 The Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington will have a different take on sugaring at its annual Pancake Festival on March 1 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m..  Demonstrations will show how local Native Americans traditionally made maple syrup and its importance to their culture. Pancakes will be served with local maple syrup and there will be special activities for children.

Pancakes are also on the menu on March 2nd from 8 a.m. to noon at the annual breakfast at Flanders Nature Center Sugar House at Van Vleck Farm Sanctuary in Woodbury. Staff and volunteers also will conduct demonstrations at the busy center March 1 and 2, 8 and 9 and 15 and 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For those who can’t make the first weekend, March offers many other special events. The Sixth Annual Maple Festival at Sweet Wind Farm takes place in East Hartland on March 8. The busy day will include tree tapping, maple syrup and maple sugar making demonstrations with free syrup samples, a narrated slide show and video, cooking class, story time for kids, and --almost everyone’s favorite activity-- a sugar-on-snow candy making demonstration.

Syrup Saturday at the New Canaan Nature Center on March 15 from ll a.m. to 3 p.m. is always a festive day. Events include tree-tapping demos, a maple sap boil down at the Sugar Shack, and a look at historic methods of making maple syrup plus a delicious Pancake Brunch.  Visitors are invited to join naturalists for a hike along "Maple Lane" to learn tree identification tips, then warm up around the campfire to share tall tales, and make a Maple craft to take home.

March 15 is also the date of the annual Maplefest! at the Sharon Audubon Center. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. guided tours will show how maple syrup is produced at the Center and samples of fresh syrup will be handed out to guests.

Visit Any Weekend
The sugaring season starts early at large facilities like Lamothe’s Sugar House in Burlington, where the public is invited to see how syrup is made every weekend from February 15 to the end of March. This family owned operation began as a hobby with seven taps and has grown to over 4500 taps and a year-round showroom. Their shop offers a tempting array of unusual foods like maple mustard and maple apple butter plus original maple-themed items from embroidered aprons, decorating sets, and cupcake shaped rubber spatulas to a cupcake carrier in the shape of a big cupcake.

The following sugarhouse locations all welcome visitors the first three weekends in March, and some, like Lamothe’s begin in February as well. Weather can alter schedules, so a call ahead is absolutely necessary to verify openings, hours and directions before making a trip. 

Anstett’s Sugar Farm, 542 East Greenwoods Rd., Norfolk, 860-542-5013

Brookside Farm, 79 East Chestnut Road, Litchfield, 860-567-3805, mid-February-March

Brothers and Sons Sugarhouse, 998 Saw Mill Road, Torrington, 860-489-2719, mid-February-March

Dutton’s Sugarhouse, 28 Sunny Ridge Road, Washington, 860-0345, mid-February- March

Flanders Nature Center Maple Sugar House, Church Hill Rd., Woodbury, 203-263-3711,

Great Brook Sugarhouse at Sullivan Farm, 140 Park Lane (Route 202), New Milford, 860-210-2030, mid-February-March,

Hilljack Sugar Shack, 74 Wilson Rd., Litchfield, 860-482-6052.

Institute for American Indian Studies, 38 Curtis Rd., Washington, 860-868-0518.

Kasulaitis Farm and Sugarhouse, 69 Goose Green Road, Barkhamsted, 860-379-8787, mid-February-March

Land of Nod Vineyard and Winery, 99 Lower Rd., East Canaan, 860-824-5225,

Lamothe’s Sugar House, 89 Stone Road, Burlington, 860-675-5043,mid-February-March.

McLaughlin Vineyards, Albert’s Hill Rd., Sandy Hook, 203-426-1533

New Canaan Nature Center, 144 Oenoke Ridge Rd., New Canaan, 203 – 966-9577,

Sharon Audubon, 325 Cornwall Bridge Rd., Sharon, 860-364-0520,

Stamford Museum and Nature Center, 39 Scofieldtown Rd., Stamford, 203-322-1646.

Sweetwind Farm, 339 South Rd., East Hartland, 860-653-2038,

Three Pond Meadow Farm, 240 Ramstein Rd., New Hartford,

Warrup’s Farm, John Reed Road off Route 107, Redding, 203- 938-9403,

West Hill Sugarhouse, 525 West Hill Road, New Hartford, 860-379-9672

Woodbury Sugarshed, 41 Washington Road, Woodbury, 203-263-4550, mid-February-March,

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Louisiana-Styled Fun at the Carousel Museum Mardi Gras Celebration

Mardi Gras seems has never been more popular with events to fete the carnival season popping up all over. Mardi Gras refers to Kings Day and culminates in Ash Wednesday.  In French it means “fat Tuesday” referring to the practice of the last night of eating rich foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.  This year, the New England Carousel Museum will be in full carnival mode during its 24th Anniversary Mardi Gras celebration that is taking place on Saturday, March 1, 2014 from 7-11 PM.

The Museum has organized a Louisiana-styled evening that will feature dancing to the music of the acclaimed Billy Cofrances Jazz Quartet in the museum ballroom.  In addition to dancing, there will be with a silent auction with many exciting prizes up for grabs, a wine and bourbon tasting, and food a plenty!
Attendees are encouraged to wear a mask or come in full costume and to BOYB.  The evening festivities will culminate in the crowning of a king and queen of the ball.  “This party is sure to pull you out of your winter doldrums while helping to support the Museum’s educational programs.
Tickets are on sale at the Carousel Museum. RSVP by February 24, 2014 by calling (860) 585-5411. The cost is $50 per person pre-paid tables of 8 may be reserved. The proceeds will support educational programming and general operating costs. The event will be held on site at the New England Carousel Museum, 95 Riverside Ave., Bristol. 
For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact The New England Carousel Museum at (860) 585-5411 or email info@the  For more information about the museum visit For area information

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Oysters, Pearls of Long Island Sound at The Bruce Museum

Found in estuaries around the world, oysters play a significant role in ecosystems and economies. These bivalve mollusks have sustained Native Americans and created waterside cultures. The Long Island Sound’s native oyster, the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), is a keystone species in the local environment, providing critical habitat and food for many other species, recycling nutrients, cleaning the water as it feeds, and driving an industry. Its value lies in these worthy attributes rather than in its potential for jewels. Like other true oysters, the Eastern oyster rarely produces a pearl. If it does make one, the pearl lacks the lustrous quality of those produced by pearl oysters, which are in a different family.

The Bruce Museum celebrates the Eastern oyster in the exhibition Oysters, Pearls of Long Island Sound, running through March 23, 2014.

The exhibition will explore the science and history of the Eastern oyster in Long Island Sound, examining how its nutritional and commercial values have made the Eastern oyster a popular commodity for residents along the Sound for eons.

 Native Americans harvested oysters from mile-long natural beds and collected individual oysters that were up to a foot long. By the early 1800s, the natural beds had become depleted and oysters were cultivated on artificial beds.

The oyster industry was a powerful force in the local economy by the end of the 19th century. However, overfishing, pollution, natural disasters, and disease brought about a decline and the industry was seriously threatened through the early to mid-20th century.

In recent years, the oyster trade has experienced resurgence as a result of improved aquaculture techniques and oysters’ popularity among food connoisseurs who enjoy their distinctive flavor, which varies with each local environment.

Organized with the assistance of scientists and historians and developed in cooperation with the Town of Greenwich Shellfish Commission, Oysters, Pearls of Long Island Sound features hands-on, interactive displays, videos, specimens of bivalves from around the world, and historical objects that appeal to all ages. Objects from the Bruce Museum collection are supplemented by loans of shells, oystering tools, food-related items, and boat models from local collectors including oysterman Norm Bloom and institutions such as the Yale Peabody Museum, Rowayton Historical Society, National Gallery of Art, Grand Central Oyster Bar, and Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Milford Laboratory.

Complementing the exhibition will be a science lecture series in the fall and a history lecture series in the winter in addition to a variety of programs suitable for all ages.

About the Bruce Museum

Explore Art and Science at the Bruce Museum, located at One Museum Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students up to 22 years, $6 for seniors and free for members and children under 5 years. Individual admission is free on Tuesday. Free on-site parking is available and the Museum is accessible to individuals with disabilities.  For additional information, call the Bruce Museum at (203) 869-0376 or visit the website at  For area information

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mattatuck Museum - Alex Katz - Selections from the Whitney Museum of Art

The Mattatuck Museum's feature exhibit is Dancing in the Moonlight: Nocturns by Charles Yoder, that is on view through March 2, 2014.   

This exhibition takes us on a walk through the forest at night, moving between trees to find your way in these mysterious places filled with dark shadows and changing light. Charles Yoder started creating these natured-based paintings because of what he saw in his backyard one winter’s night. This vision of the light from a full moon shining down through pine boughs, and the shadows it made on the snow covered forest floor inspired Yoder. The very real, abstract shapes evoked the question, “How can I paint this?” and he has been following that thought ever since.

Charles Yoder, born in Germany in 1948 and raised in the States, is an artist living in Tribeca. His college education began at the University of Maine (Orono) and he graduated with a BFA from Pratt Institute (Brooklyn) with honors.  Over the years he has supported his art making habit with various jobs including director of Castelli Graphics and curator to the artist Robert Rauschenberg. Presently he paints full time and teaches printmaking part time at the School of Visual Arts.

About the Mattatuck Museum
Visit or call (203) 753-0381 for more information on all of the museum’s adult and children’s programs, events and exhibits. The Mattatuck Museum is operated with support from the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development, CT Office of the Arts which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and is a member of the Connecticut Art Trail, a group of 16 world-class museums and historic sites (

Located at 144 West Main Street, on the green in Waterbury, CT the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Free parking is located behind the building on Park Place.

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