Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Exhibit on the Colonial Revival to Open at the Litchfield Historical Society

Dominated by the white clapboard Congregational meetinghouse, the stone clock tower of the Court House and the immaculate homes with white paint and black shutters, Litchfield has come to embody the quintessential New England town. It is easy to imagine our colonial ancestors living in such a beautiful pastoral setting. What is harder to image is that Litchfield’s picturesque beauty was not a product of the colonial era, but a late 19th- and early 20th- century movement known as the Colonial Revival.

Opening April 12, 2014, the Society’s new exhibit, The Lure of the Litchfield Hills, will explore what was behind the Colonial Revival Movement, how the residents of Litchfield embraced their ancestral past, and how the community came to look the way it does today. Visitors are invited to join in exploring this social movement that touched all aspects of American life from architecture and landscaping, to fashion, home decoration and beyond.

Featuring items from the museum’s collections, ranging from documents and photographs to furnishings, house wares, and clothing The Lure of the Litchfield Hillswill be a must-see exhibit. Come explore Litchfield’s past this spring, and don’t forget to stop by the Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School to see the completed exterior renovations.

The exhibit will open on Saturday, April 12. 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.

The Lure of the Litchfield Hills will run through the 2014 and 2015 seasons at the Litchfield History Museum, 7 South Street, Litchfield. For more information or call 860-567-4501.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monroe's Rails Trails Tour

On Saturday, May 31 the Monroe Historical Society is offering a look back to the Golden Age of Railroading for its annual spring glimpse into the past and is offering the newly revamped Rails Trails Tour.

 The Rails Trails Tour covers the sites of four old wooden railway stations once vital to the rhythm of life in Monroe-Stepney and Stevenson Depots, and will also include Pepper Crossing and a stop off at Hammertown Road, known simply as Monroe Station.

Participants will board a motorcoach that will depart from the Monroe Senior Center on 235 Cutler's Farm Rd. in Monroe at 10 a.m. Box lunches will be for sale as there is a noon stopover for lunch in Wolfe Park.  There is also a ten-minute screening of the Great Train Robbery produced by Thomas Edison Studios in 1903 that will be shown before the motor coach departs and after it returns.  This is the first commercially viable movie with sequential scenes. 

The tour will include two morning stops and two stops in the afternoon and the motorcoach will head out rain or shine.  Due to safety considerations, no private automobiles, motorcycles or bicycles are permitted on the tour. A special highlight of each tour will be the illustrated presentations at each site by railway historians: John Babina, Bob Belletzkie and Monroe's town historian, Ed Coffey.

Displays will show how the steam engine was the lifeline for distributing farm products that drove the Monroe economy in the 1840s.  At this time, the rail lines were the primary link to the outside world with its jobs and high schools in Bridgeport. The rail line also gave Monroe's merchants access to goods and brought the farmers supplies like seed, fertilizer, feed and agricultural machinery. 

With the advent of the automobile, by the 1930s passenger service was virtually discontinued. At the same time trucks became a more dedicated alternative for transporting the needs of business although limited use of the tracks for commerce continued until recent years.

The cost of the Rails Trails Tour is $10 for members, $15 for non-members, discounted to $5 for seniors and students. Tickets are available at the Monroe Senior Center and the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library. Space is limited.  Additional information is available from Marven Moss at

Friday, May 23, 2014

Books and Dining in Washington Connecticut

The Gunn Memorial Library in Washington Connecticut is cleaning house through June 13.  If you are a book lover, don't miss this chance to fill up a grocery bag of great books at the library's book basement sale that includes fiction, non-fiction, hard cover and soft cover books.

There are over 10,000 books available on just about every topic imaginable and for every age.

The quality of the books is outstanding and are being offered at $5 a bag -- a regular sized grocery bag that is.  The library is asking you to be "green" and to BYOB --- bring your own bag!  In addition to the bag of books sale, the library is also offering a sale of DVDs, music CDs, books on CDs as well as books that are deemed "special" that will are priced at $5 and up.  All the "special" books are priced at 1/3 lower than prices found on the Internet.

The book basement hours are Thursday - Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.  The Library is located on 5 Wykham Rd. in Washington at the junction of Rte. 47 opposite the Green.

After browsing for books, stop in at the Gunn Memorial Museum located next to the Library to view their new exhibition titled The Great War.  This exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of WWI.

For a delightful lunch or dinner Washington offers three fabulous restaurants to choose from. 
GW Tavern on 20 Bee Brook Road offers a rich blend of contemporary and traditional food sure to please any palette.  GW has gorgeous decks perfect for seasonal outdoor dining that overlook Bee Brook.

GW Tavern
 The Pantry located on 5 Titus Rd. offers an enticing selection of daily specials, salads, sandwiches, and more including excellent baked goods that are perfect for a quick light lunch, tea or takeout.  It is fun to sit amid gifts and housewares while dining.

the Pantry photo credit the restaurantfairy
The Mayflower Inn, on 118 Woodbury Road in Washington has an award -winning restaurant that offers a range of classic and grand New England dining experiences from their prix fixe and a la carte menus.  Dishes here are locally sourced and inspired by the international experiences of Chef Jonathan Cartwright. In the summer months there is spectacular al fresco dining on the terrace overlooking the gardens.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Charlie Daniels Band at the Warner Theatre

Infinity Hall will present The Charlie Daniels Band with The Artimus Pyle Band on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at the Warner Theatre. This is the onlyCT/New England stop for the band this spring.

Award-winning musician Charlie Daniels has successfully crossed musical genres in a way few artists have accomplished - from his Dove Award winning gospel albums to his genre-defining Southern rock anthems and his CMA Award-winning country hits. In 1994, for instance, he released his first Christian album, The Door, on Sparrow Records. The album won the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for Best Country Album and “Two Out of Three” was named video of the year by the Christian Country Music Association.
In 1997, Sony Wonder released Charlie’s first children’s album, By The Light of The Moon, Campfire Songs and Cowboy Tunes. Over the course of his career, Charlie has received numerous accolades, including induction into the Grand Ole Opry and Musicians Hall of Fame. He’s been presented the Pioneer Award by the Academy of Country Music and was honored as a BMI Icon in recognition of his songwriting. He has also received a star on the Music City Walk of Fame.

The Artimus Pyle Band is more than just a "tribute" to Lynyrd Skynyrd, but a high energy,true to the music,and
true to the era rock group - One of the few that is on the road today. Artimus Pyle the drummer and a founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, pays homage to the music that Ronnie Van Zant brought to life. Artimus Pyle, Brad Durden, Jerry Lyda, Tony Black, and Scott Raines are not only a group of friends and contemporaries but a group with some of the most seasoned musicians around.
Tickets  range in price from $36 - $86. For tickets, call the Warner box office at 860-489-7180 or go online at 
For information on Litchfield Hills
Built by Warner Brothers Studios and opened in 1931 as a movie palace (1,772 seats), the Warner Theatre was described then as "Connecticut's Most Beautiful Theatre." Damaged extensively in a flood, the Warner was slated for demolition in the early 1980s until the non-profit Northwest Connecticut Association for the Arts (NCAA) was founded and purchased the theatre. The Warner reopened as a performing arts center in 1983, and restoration of the main lobbies and auditorium was completed in November 2002. In 2008, the new 50,000 square foot Carole and Ray Neag Performing Arts Center, which houses a 300 seat studio theatre, 200 seat restaurant and expansive school for the arts, was completed. Today, the Warner is in operation year-round with more than 160 performances and 100,000 patrons passing through its doors each season. Over 10,000 students, pre K-adult, participate in arts education programs and classes. Together, with the support of the community, the Warner has raised close to $17 million to revitalize its facilities. NCAA's mission is to preserve the Warner Theatre as an historic landmark, enhance its reputation as a center of artistic excellence and a focal point of community involvement, and satisfy the diverse cultural needs of the region. To learn more about the Warner Theatre, visit our website:

Monday, May 19, 2014

“Jazz Great” Bucky Pizzarelli at The Silo Hunt Hill Farm

The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm located in Litchfield Hills is "Saluting Jazz" in style on May 24 at 7 p.m. when they will be  hosting jazz great Bucky Pizzarelli at the Canterbury School in New Milford. Pizzarelli, a , world-renowned jazz guitarist, will be accompanied by Ed Laub. The duo has been performing for audiences all over the US and Canada in clubs, concert halls and jazz festivals for the past 12 years after a lifetime association as teacher/student.

Pizzarelli and Laub combine instrumental and vocal arrangements with an emphasis on the Great American Songbook and well as some of the classic 1930's guitar duos made popular by Carl Kress/ Dick McDonough, Eddie Lang and George Smith. Their great friendship of over 45 years is evident in their sound and the way they interact together.

 All proceeds from the concert will benefit The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offering programs and family events that enrich the community, including art gallery exhibitions, cooking classes, live music, literary readings and more.

Tickets begin at $30 for general admission, with reserved seating tickets at $50 and $75 levels. A pre-concert reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m., also at the Canterbury School, with tickets for the reception and concert at $100. Sponsor and Underwriter levels are available as well.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit, or call (860) 355-0300. Tickets are also on sale at The Silo during regular business hours. The Silo Gallery and store are open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Ticket prices are: $30 General Admission  $50 Reserved Seating,  $75 Front and Center, $100 Jazz Lover (includes pre-concert reception and "Front and Center" reserved seating), $250 All Star Patron (includes pre-concert reception, "Front and Center" reserved seating and program credit as a patron),  $500 Premier VIP (includes pre-concert reception, "Front and Center" reserved seating, CD and program credit as an underwriter).

About Hunt Hill Farm Trust
Located in New Milford, Conn., the Hunt Hill Farm Trust operates The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm, a non-profit organization and Smithsonian Institution Affiliate dedicated to preserving the unique history of this farm.

The Silo is as devoted to protecting this piece of New England agricultural history – its buildings, stone walls, and fields – as it is to the cultural legacy of Ruth and Skitch Henderson, the founders who brought 'new life to old barns.'™

The Silo continues traditions of education, conservation, artisanry and excellence in the Cooking School, the Skitch Henderson Museum, the Hunt Hill Farm Land Preserve, the Gallery and the Silo Store and is a vibrant and unique regional resource, offering the public opportunities to explore music, art, cuisine, and permanently protected historic open space. For more information, please visit, and connect with the bank on Facebook and Twitter (@thesilohunthill).

For information on Litchfield Hills

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Lecture on Victorian Era Jewelry to Launches the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum’s Lecture Series

On Wednesday, May 21, at 11 a.m., the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum located at 295 West Avenue in Norwalk, CT will launch its 2014 Lecture Series. CT Historic New England's Associate Curator Laura Johnson will present the illustrated talk, Mottos, Messages and Gem Lore in Victorian Jewelry and introduce the messages, both hidden and overt, in Victorian gems. From the many meanings of turquoise to "fide" rings and the language of flowers, men and women alike in the nineteenth century used gems and ornaments to whisper sweet nothings or softly spell out their devotion. Lecture attendees are invited to bring their own Victorian jewelry for expert identification (please note- not for appraisal).

Laura Johnson is a specialist in American material life, focusing on identity construction and consumption. She is particularly interested in the intersections of memory and identity in American adornment. Ms. Johnson is currently working on an exhibition for Historic New England entitled Mementos: Jewelry of Life and Love, scheduled to open in 2016 but also works on needlework, children’s clothing, revival textiles, basketry, and Native American material culture. She received her Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from the University of Delaware and an M.A. in Early American Culture from the Winterthur Program.

This is the first 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. A discount package for all seven lectures can be purchased in advance for $150 for members/ $180 for non-members.  The price includes lecture, lunch and a Mansion tour.  Lunch is courtesy of Michael Gilmartin's Outdoor Cookers.  The chair of the Lecture Committee is Mimi Findlay of New Canaan. Photo credits: Collection of Historic New England and photography by Andrew Davis.

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is a National Historic Landmark.  For more information on schedules and programs please visit:, e-mail, or call 203-838-9799.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

See replicas of Columbus's ships Nina and Pinta in Bridgeport Connecticut

The Niña is a replica of the ship on which Columbus sailed across the Atlantic on his three voyages of discovery to the new world beginning in 1492.  Columbus sailed the tiny ship over 25,000 miles.  That ship was last heard of in 1501, but the new Niña has a different mission.  It is  a floating museum sponsored by the Columbus Foundation from the British Virgin Islands that visit ports all over the Western Hemisphere. 
On Friday May 23rd,  the Pinta and the Nina, replicas of Columbus Ships, will open in Bridgeport.     The ships will be docked at Captains Cove Seaport, 1 Bostwick Ave.,  until their departure early Tuesday morning May 27th.
     The Nina was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools.  Archaeology magazine called the ship the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.  The Pinta was recently built in Brazil to accompany the Nina on all of her travels.  She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel.  Historians consider the caravel the Space Shuttle of the fifteenth century.
     Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced sailing museum for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the caravel, a Portuguese ship used by Columbus   and many early explorers to discover the world.
     While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour.  Admission charges are $8.00 for adults, $ 7.00 for seniors, and $6.00 for students 5 - 16.   Children 4 and under are Free.  The ships are open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.    No reservations necessary. 
     Teachers or organizations wishing to schedule a 30 minute guided tour with a crew member should call 1 787 672 2152 or email .  Minimum of 15.  $5.00 per person.  No Maximum. For more information visit
For information about Fairfield County