Friday, August 28, 2015

2015 Torrington House Tour

The Torrington House Tour, scheduled for September 12, 2015, will feature six Historic homes ranging in age from 1850 to 1956.
The homes that will be open to the public on September 12, 2015 are as follows:

The George B. Goodwin House is a Colonial Revival Built ca. 1908. This Colonial Revival farmhouse replaced a much older farmhouse that was once known as the Waterman Farm. The house has a hip roof, dormers and a first floor wrap around porch. Inside the house retains many original features and has been attractively decorated and furnished as a bed and breakfast inn.
The Doolittle House / Excelsior Dairy Ca. is a 1850 Greek Revival house. Historically known as the Doolittle Farm, this mid-nineteenth century farmhouse was likely built by Nathan B. Phelps around 1850. The house was constructed in the Greek Revival Style with its gable end facing the street. The current owners have restored the 1850 house, preserving the original moldings and wide floor boards. Contemporary additions utilize original architectural detailing while providing for modern conveniences and the entire home is tastefully furnished and decorated.

The Cavagnero House built in 1956 is a Mid-Century Modern house. This home with its distinctive modern style, highlighted by shed roofs, stands out in a neighborhood of more traditional ranch houses. The design is based on a home in Spokane Washington and this house was hand built by the first owner, Chet Cavignero and his cousin. The interior is largely original and features a period kitchen, bathroom and living room. The present owners have decorated the entire house with historic furnishings from the 1950s.
Major William E. Besse House ca. 1890 Victorian, Stick Style This home was built by Albert P. Hine around 1890 and was acquired by William E. Besse in 1903. The stick style is characterized by a steeply pitched front gable and exterior decorative banding. William E. Besse was superintendent of the Brass Mill and lived here until 1954. The home is a well preserved example of this unusual type. Once utilized as an office, the current owner's have restored the interior of the home to its turn of the century appearance while adding a modern kitchen at the rear. The home is decorated it with many period furnishings and fixtures.

The Bronson House is an 1860 Italianate style house.  This home was built by Luther Bronson around 1860 as a residence for him and his wife Flora. The house is a fine, well-preserved example of an early Italiate structure in Torrington. Since 2002 it has been  restored  and many made major improvements were made to the kitchen. The house is beautifully decorated and furnished.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church is a 1889 Victorian Gothic structure. This church was completed and dedicated on June 5, 1889. It was used by the Seventh Day Adventists until they built a new church in 1969. The old church was sold and has been home to a number of artists over the last 45 years. Today the main floor of the church serves as a performance studio for pianist, Timothy Alexandre Wallace. The building retains much of its original exterior decorative detail and the interior furnished is an interesting and eclectic blend of overstuffed chairs, tapestries and a grand piano.
Tickets for the historic house tour are $30 each and may be purchased in person at the Chamber of Commerce or at the Torrington Historical Society. On line ticket sales are available through the Torrington House Tour website:
A House Tour Preview Party featuring a tour of several homes followed by a reception with music and refreshments will be held on Friday evening September 11th from 5 to 9 pm. Tickets for the preview party are $75 and include one ticket to the complete tour on Saturday.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Litchfield Historical Society presents House of Worth: Dressing Litchfield

The Litchfield Historical Society's upcoming exhibition House of Worth: Dressing Litchfield will highlight the Society's collection of original 1916 and 1918 house of Worth watercolor on paper fashion sketches.

Sent through postal mail to Litchfield seasonal resident Julia Chester Wells, these sketches allowed Worth's client to peruse and purchase garments from the fashion house without undertaking travel to Paris during a time of world war.
Join the Litchfield Historical Society in exploring the house of Worth, Litchfield's trendsetters, and the changing face of fashion during the 1910s. This temporary exhibition will make available to the public a selection of the original sketches, as well as period garments from the Society's collection.
The opening reception is August 28 at 6 p.m. The Litchfield Historical Society is located on 7 South St. in Litchfield, for more information
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Litchfield's Fashion Night Out August 27

Litchfield is known for its quintessential village green, it’s wonderful restaurants, lively art scene and unique shops. To celebrate the end of the summer season, Litchfield merchants on the green will be staying open until 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 27 for the popular Fashion Night Out that will entertain visitors and residents alike.

West Street will be transformed into an “Open-Air Runway” featuring the latest ladies and men’s fashions for the upcoming season. Music for the event will be provided by the No Stress Band. Dress your best and strike a pose for the cameras.

This is a family fun summer event and a beautiful time of year for a stroll along West Street, while listening to some of the area’s talented musicians, while shopping at your favorite family-owned retailers.
For more area event information

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to the Future in Kent, Connecticut!

The Kent Historical Society, the Hills Film Festival, and the Kent Memorial Library are co-sponsoring an outdoor showing of the movie "Back to the Future II," Saturday, August 29 at 8:30 p.m. on the Kent Town Hall rear lawn. This is free admission thanks to generous sponsors.

This is an anniversary year for the show. The movie, starring Michael J. Fox, was originally set in 1985 and jumped to the future of 2015. As this is the final weekend before children in Region 1 head back to school, the organizations are hoping that everyone will celebrate the end of summer with this event. The Kent Historical Society's exhibition theme this year is "Camps of Kent; Memories of Summer. "
This movie is a perfect activity that is reminiscent of a camp event and the sponsors hope it will lay down new memories of summer for all of the visitors and residents of Kent.
The Kent Historical Society's mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich history of Kent as well as to provide educational and research material to enrich the public understanding of Kent's artistic and cultural heritage. For more information, visit or call 860-927-4587.
The Kent Memorial Library's mission is to enrich the lives of individuals and the community by providing materials, programs, and services to encourage reading, learning and imagination. The Kent Memorial Library is located at 32 North Main Street, Kent, Connecticut. Visit or call 860-927-3761 for more information.
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Woven In Time: Kashmir Shawls at the New Canaan Historical Society

A new exhibit of Kashmir shawls is opening at the New Canaan Historical Society's Costumes Museum. The shawls shown reflect the preferences of Americans during the Victorian Period. Included in the exhibit are shawls from the 1st quarter of the 19th century through the end of the century. All shawls and costumes are from the Society's collection.

Deborah Bede, curator of the collection, has described the shawls and presented a history of the weaving process in preparing for this exhibit. Since the opening of the museum in 1968, the Society has acquired a large Kashmir shawl collection, gifted by New Canaan residents. The shawls date from the early to late 1800s, a transitional period in New Canaan and the United States. The country was in the midst of the Industrial Revolution when manufacturing replaced agriculture as the primary economic source.
Just before the Historical Society was founded in 1889, the Town joined the Industrial Revolution with its booming shoe manufacturing industry, bringing with it greater wealth to the community.
It was also the era when the summer residents arrived, with them came the fashions of New York. They built homes, employed local residents and patronized local stores. The shawls shown would have been worn or decorated the homes of many summer residents, topping pianos, covering beds, and draped over furniture. Models display how the shawls would have been worn during this time.
All items shown are generous donations of members present and past. Exhibit hours are 10:00am-4:00pm Tuesday - Friday and 9:30am-12:00pm Saturday. The New Canaan Historical Society is located on 13 Oenoke Ridge in New Canaan. For more information 203-966-1776 or
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Chocolate, Wine and Magic Train Rides!

The Naugatuck RR, Fascia's Chocolates and Haight Vineyard have teamed up to offer  Chocolate Decadence and Sunset Train Tour on Friday, August 28, 2015 and Friday, September 25, 2015.  Participants will enjoy a cocktail party beginning at 6 p.m. featuring music, Haight-Brown wines and appetizers.  The train departs at 7 p.m. from the historic Thomaston Train Station for a scenic train ride to Fascia's Chocolate Factory in Waterbury. Along the way there will be chocolate and wine pairings. 

When the train arrives at Fascia's participants will tour the factory and learn how chocolate is made before trying their hand at making their very own chocolate bar. Guests will enjoy chocolate lava cake, more wine and chocolates on the return trip to Thomaston Station.

Adults aren't the only ones that will enjoy a train ride, on Aug. 21, there is a special "Magic" Train ride perfect for kids. The Naugatuck Railroad Magic Chocolate Train will pull out for a magical evening of fun and chocolate.   Riding in a restored 1951 Budd Rail Diesel Car ("RDC"), a magician will perform tricks up close for the passengers while traveling between the 1881 Thomaston Station and the Fascia's Chocolates Station, where a special Chocolate Magic Show will be performed and guests will sample chocolate. The Train will depart the Thomaston Station, 242 East Main Street, Thomaston at 6:30 p.m. for a two-hour excursion. The special rail fare will be $30.00 per person and $25.00 per child (ages 3-12). 

On October 30 there will be a Chocolate Train for Halloween that departs at 6 p.m. Ghosts & goblins and everyone else will board the train at the Thomaston Station for a 6pm departure heading to the Fascia’s Chocolates Station where local businesses will be supplying Treats for all costumed riders.   Inside the Fascia’s Chocolates factory riders will enjoy complimentary Hot Cocoa and Apple Cider and take home a very special Treat. Once everyone has completed their Trick & Treating, the train will depart back to the Thomaston Station. The Halloween Chocolate Train fare is $25 per person with a $5 discount for anyone in costume.   
For reservations and ticket information  For more area information

Monday, August 17, 2015

Flutter Zone at the Maritime Aquarium Norwalk

 Enter a magical environment all aflutter with exotic tropical butterflies in “Flutter Zone,” a special walk-through encounter that will be open at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk through September 7.

 “Flutter Zone” will be open on the Aquarium’s riverfront courtyard, and will be matched wing-for-delicate-wing by the new IMAX® movie “Flight of the Butterflies,”  The Maritime Aquarium’s six-story screen.

“Flutter Zone” features dozens of varieties of exotic tropical butterflies from Asia, Africa and South America, all free-flying among Aquarium visitors. In ‘Flutter Zone,’ you walk among all these beautiful butterflies and some of them may even choose to land on your head or arm. It’s one thing to see animals. But, as also with the Aquarium's popular ‘Jiggle A Jelly’ exhibit, there’s an emotion involved, a commitment stirred, by physical connections – even with creatures as delicate as butterflies and jellyfish.

Visitors to “Flutter Zone” also can watch the life cycle of butterflies unfold, in a special section featuring the chrysalises whose metamorphoses will keep the exhibit stocked with flittering butterflies throughout the summer.

Displays also emphasize the horticultural and agricultural importance of butterflies and other pollinators.

Adjacent to “Flutter Zone” along the Norwalk River, The Maritime Aquarium is growing a “pollinators’ garden” filled with flowering plants that native butterflies specifically seek for food and egg-laying. Among these plants is milkweed. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed, and their caterpillars feed exclusively on the plant. Recently, however, monarch populations have declined as property owners cut milkweed or spray it with pesticides.  The Maritime Aquarium’s milkweed garden will be a certified monarch waystation designated by

Entry into “Flutter Zone” is free with Aquarium admission. For visitors with an aversion to possible contact with live animals, viewing of the butterflies is possible from outside the exhibit.

“Flutter Zone” is also a perfect complement to the Maritime Aquariums's new IMAX movie, "Flight of the Butterflies".

Get more details about The Maritime Aquarium’s exhibits, IMAX movies, programs and study cruises onto Long Island Sound this summer at Or call (203) 852-0700.

For area information

Friday, August 14, 2015

Board the Maritime Aquarium's new research vessel

Be among the first to ride the country’s only research vessel with hybrid-electric propulsion during exciting public cruises offered this summer by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

R/V Spirit of the Sound™ begins her Aquarium service July 1, with outings at 1 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays through Labor Day.

The $2.7 million, 64-foot catamaran is bigger, quieter and greener than the Aquarium’s former boat, a 40-foot diesel-powered trawler.

“The fish, crabs, squid and other marine creatures that we bring up onto the boat will have to share top billing during this first season with R/V Spirit of the Sound,” said Tom Naiman, the Aquarium’s education director. “Participants will come away very impressed with the boat – for her unique hybrid propulsion and state-of-the-art navigation systems, but even more for her broad educational and research capabilities.”

During each Marine Life Study Cruise, animals are brought up out of Long Island Sound from different water levels and bottom habitats. A video microscope connected to a big-screen monitor provides a magnified look at wriggly plankton gathered at the sunlit surface. A biodredge reveals a hidden world of sponges, mollusks, worms and tiny crabs. And everyone inspects the trawl net's bounty: varieties of fish and crabs, skates, sea stars, squid and always a few surprises.

“Seeing these animals come up out of the water has a tremendous impact in helping our guests understand the diversity of marine life just off our shores and in inspiring them to act as stewards of the Sound and the environment when they go home,” Naiman said. “Plus, it’s just plain fun. Who hasn’t been on a boat ride and wondered, ‘What’s down there?’ Well, we show you.”

Participants are involved hands-on throughout each cruise. They take measurements, sort through mud samples to find animals, help pull in the trawl net and return animals to the water.

Besides being fun and eye-opening, Marine Life Study Cruises also contribute to local scientific research. Water-chemistry and weather readings are taken. And details about the animals brought onboard are entered into the Aquarium’s Long Island Sound Biodiversity Project, a database of physical and biological features available online to teachers and researchers.

All passengers must be at least 42 inches tall.  Particpants under age 21 must be accompanied by an adult.

The 2½- hour cruises depart from the dock outside the Aquarium’s IMAX® move theater.

Tickets for a Maritime Aquarium Marine Life Study Cruise are $29.95 (or $24.95 for Aquarium members).

Discounted triple combination tickets for a study cruise, Aquarium admission and IMAX movie are $49.95 for adults, $47.95 for youths (13-17) & seniors (65+), and $42.95 for ages 12 & under.

Advance ticket purchases are strongly recommended; walk-up tickets will be sold, space permitting.  Get advance tickets online at  The triple combination tickets are not available online; instead, call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206, weekdays between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

In addition to the public outings, R/V Spirit of the Sound can be chartered for Marine Life Study Cruises by summer camps, Scouts and other groups at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays-Sundays and at 9 a.m. & 1 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays.

R/V Spirit of the Sound also can be chartered for special outings on the Sound, including corporate celebrations and team-building events. Call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206, for details.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bruce Museum Seaside Center Welcomes New Residents: Baby Pufferfish

There are some exciting new residents at the Bruce Museum Seaside Center, and there’s even a new nursery to accommodate them. The Seaside Center is now home to several baby Northern Pufferfish, discovered recently while conducting a seine in the waters of Long Island Sound with a camp group from Greenwich Explorers.

There are two new nursery tanks that accommodate the baby puffer fish and  larger tanks for the adults. The fish have a rich gold, creamy white and mocha-banded body with vibrant sapphire eyes.

One of the more colorful residents of Long Island Sound, the Northern Pufferfish is so called because of its ability to puff itself up. By filling its swim bladder with water, thereby more than doubling in size, the pufferfish discourages attacking predators with its imposing appearance. Unlike its close relative the Fugufish — a prized delicacy in Japan — the Northern Pufferfish appears to be non-toxic and is considered a delicacy in the Chesapeake Bay area.

About the Bruce Museum Seaside Center 

The Bruce Museum Seaside Center is a beachside museum located in Greenwich Point Park, Old Greenwich, about 6 ½ miles from the main Bruce Museum at 1 Museum Drive in Greenwich. Located in the Floren Family Environmental Center at Innis Arden Cottage, the Seaside Center educates visitors about the ecology of Long Island Sound and features: • Live-animal marine touch tank open year-round • Four marine aquaria of local species open seasonally • Seashore dioramas of summer and winter birds, fish, and other local species • An underwater oyster reef • Environmental activities and video presentations • Helpful naturalists and volunteers Open for the 2015 summer season Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kayak to Cockenoe Island

On Saturday, August 29 from 10 a.m. to noon join the Westport Historical Society for their annual kayak tour to Cockenoe Island, a 28 acre island one mile off the coast of Westport.

The tour will be led by David Park, board member of the Norwalk River Watershed Association and author of the guidebook "Kayaking in and around the Norwalk Islands". " I love leading this event each year that is both fun and educational. The participants have always been enthusiastic about kayaking out to the Westport island, walking along the shore and hearing about the history of the island and the many migratory bird stories that nest on parts of the island. My favorite part of the discussion is talking about how the stewardship of property by residents within the Saugatuck River watershed can effect the water quality of Long Island Sound and wildlife around the Norwalk Islands"
Cockenoe Island is open to the public thanks to the hundreds of Westport residents and town officials who fought against the proposed construction of a nuclear power plant back in 1967. The plan was brought forward by the United Illuminating Company who had purchased the island a year earlier from the Smith family, the owners of the island at the time. After the plan was defeated, the town of Westport purchased the island as open space and it is now enjoyed by all types of recreational users and nature enthusiasts. The acquisition was heralded as a significant conservation victory for the nation by Life Magazine.
The tour group will land on the island for a stroll and hear about how the Saugatuck River watershed effects the water quality of Long Island Sound and wildlife of the Norwalk Islands. Cockenoe Island is of particular interest because of the current conservation efforts and successful nesting colonies of egrets, herons and terns.
$20 fee per boat, Members: $15 , Rain date: August 30 Meet at: Longshore Sailing School, Longshore Park, Westport
Kayak rentals available from Longshore Sailing School, Call 203-226-4646 (single and double Kayaks are available). Intermediate level kayak ability is required.
Copies of "Kayaking in and around the Norwalk Islands" are available for $10 in the Gift Shop at WHS. Registration is required, limited number of boats. Please call us at 203-222-1424 to register.
For area information

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Two weeks of summer fun for kids in Westport

For two sessions in August, at the Westport Historical Society, children ages 5 - 12 can participate in exciting activities led by their Educational Director, Elizabeth DeVoll. Both programs are offered Monday through Thursday from 10am to 2pm.

On August 10 and continuing until August 13, the theme is archeology! Children will have fun and excitement digging around in the past. We will dig up all sorts of facts about our history! Participants will explore natural and timeless crafts and hobbies as well as meet a rock expert who will share his awesome collection. They'll sculpt arrowheads, paint and design walking sticks, weave a basket, learn to play marbles and make a marble bag. Outdoor games and town walks are planned. The exciting finale will be a visit to Sherwood Island for a real dig.

The following week, from August 17 through August 20, junior inventors, engineers, builders and thinkers will enjoy an active and imaginative four days jam-packed with engaging fun. Build robots, shadow boxes, classic wooden games, unique and personalized building blocks, and that's just the beginning! Plenty of outdoor games, local walking tours and snacks are sure to please this group of creative thinkers!
Campers bring a bag lunch daily. Snacks and drinks are provided.
Junior Archeologists, August 10- 13, Junior Inventors, August 17-20 Cost: Registration is required, $190/members, $225/non-members; sibling discounts. Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, across from Town Hall. Register on line at or call 203-222-1424.  
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Monday, August 3, 2015

“The Camps of Kent: Memories of Summer”

Kent has had a long history of being home to a number of camps. The town's close proximity to New York City, coupled with its natural beauty, made Kent an attractive home to more than a dozen different camps over the years. There are residential camps still thriving in Kent that draw campers and parents to town each summer season.

To celebrate the long history of camping in Kent, the Kent Historical Society will offer a new exhibit "The Camps of Kent: Memories of Summer" at the Seven Hearths Museum. The exhibit is open weekends 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Sept. 27.  The Seven Hearths Museum, is located on 4 Studio Hill Road just off of Rte. 7 in Kent.
Camp Po-Ne-Ma, Camp Francis, Camp Kenwood/Kenmont, Camp Leonard/Leonore (now Club Getaway), Camp Kent, Kenico, Geer Mountain Camp, Camp Milford, and others have all been located in Kent's hills and on its lakes. So many most joyful memories took place right here in Kent, and yet the story and setting of these much-loved places has never been told.
The town is still home to three state parks, two of which offer overnight camping. The phenomenon of exploring the outdoors through camping didn't come into existence until the early 20th century. The idea grew in popularity with every passing decade and became more widespread and democratic.
Curator Marge Smith and Trustee Melissa Cherniske have worked hard in recent months to create an exhibit that will explore the many facets of camping.
Several of the camp alumni associations are planning reunions around the exhibit this summer and the Historical Society looks forward to welcoming the former campers back to town.
The Kent Historical Society's mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich history of Kent as well as to provide educational and research material to enrich the public understanding of Kent's artistic and cultural heritage. For more information, see or call 860-927-4587. For area information