Friday, January 29, 2016

Valentine's Day Ideas & Sweet Deals!

If the winter doldrums have set in, a welcome cure is in sight...Valentine's Day! Whether you want to get out on the ski slopes or retreat to a fireside, the inns and resorts of Connecticut's Fairfield County and Litchfield Hills are offering a host of special packages for Valentine's Day.

In Fairfield County for example, the Stamford Marriott Hotel and Spa located on 243 Tresser Boulevard  is offering a  "Connecticut is for Lovers Package" on February 12, 13 or 14th making it a perfect escape from the city or the “burbs”.  This package includes a king bedded guest room with a bottle of French Sparkling wine and box of specialty chocolates upon arrival in your room.  A scrumptious Valentine’s Day dinner for 2 (call hotel for menu), breakfast buffet for two in the restaurant the next morning and complimentary self-parking is also included.  For an extra special perk, call the on-site Agora Spa to schedule a spa treatment separately or  go on a romantic shopping expedition at the adjacent Stamford Town Center that offers more than 130 shops and restaurants.  To reserve call 203-357-9555 or visit

The Delamar Greenwich Harbor, located on 500 Steamboat Rd. overlooking Long Island Sound is offering a "Month of Love Package", just incase one day isn't enough!  The Delamar Greenwich Harbor Package of Love includes: an overnight stay for two, a long stem rose and rose petal turndown, an in-room bottle of champagne, a gourmet box of truffles and a $40 credit toward breakfast at L'escale Restaurant. To turn your visit into a weekend long celebration, book two nights in a Deluxe Town View room by February 1st and receive a complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe Harbor View Room (complimentary upgrade subject to availability). To book this package call 203-661-9800 or visit
The elegant J House Greenwich located on 1114 East Putnam Ave. in Greenwich is offering a Valentine’s Day Getaway on Feb. 14 with rates starting at $399. Guests are invited to unwind at this premiere lifestyle destination that offers luxury hotel accommodations, farm-to-table cuisine, spectacular outdoor dining, rejuvenating spa services, and a premium coffee bar.  This stunning location combines stylish decor and high-tech amenities with warmth and hospitality. The Valentines Day Getaway includes: a King Deluxe or Executive Room, Valentine's Day Dinner for Two and Brunch for Two on Sunday. There is also a late check out at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday that is perfect for extra snuggle time. Call 203-698-6980 or visit

If a Spa break is appeals, then check out the Spa Getaway Package offered by the Marriott Norwalk located on 474 Main Avenue. Start your Valentines Day off in a relaxing mood with a visit to local day spa Dermage, that offers therapeutic facial treatments, massage services, body wraps and scrubs. It's conveniently located just 10 minutes from the Courtyard Norwalk. The Spa Getaway Package includes a spa gift bag upon check-in at hotel, a Dermage spa gift certificate for $100 and breakfast for one at The Bistro. Rates start at $200, for more information visit or call (203) 849-9111.

The Delamar in Southport located on 275 Old Post Road in Southport is offering a full Month of Love Package that is perfect for those that want to celebrate "love" all month long! The Delamar Southport's Package of Love includes: an overnight stay for two, a long stem rose and rose petal turndown, an in-room bottle of champagne, a gourmet box of truffles, complimentary glass of port or sherry at check-in, complimentary valet parking, and complimentary shuttle service within 3-mile radius of hotel to make your evening easy. A couples massage may also be booked separately. Rates start at $337 and the package is good through Feb. 29 to book call 203-259-2800 or visit

It's a “Love to Get Away Package" at the Hampton Inn by Hilton in Shelton located on 695 Bridgeport Ave. minutes off Rte. 8. They invite you to celebrate this Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart and are offering a romantic evening for two that includes deluxe accommodations  for one night, sparkling wine and a box of assorted chocolates on arrival, plus a full hot breakfast for two the following morning. Rates start at $129, to learn more call 203-925-5900 or  visit This offer expires February 19, 2017.

The Hilton Garden Inn, also located in Shelton is offering two different packages. The first is a Romance Package from Feb. 11- Feb. 15 that offers luxurious overnight accommodations for two, chilled sparkling wine or non- alcoholic sparkling cider, complimentary use of the pool and health club and a full breakfast in the hotel restaurant with rates starting at $119. The second package being offered on February 13 is called a Giggly Piggly Painting Party consisting of an afternoon and evening of fun activities for moms and kids. This package is $185, plus 15% tax per adult with a child and includes: an overnight stay, Giggling Pig Paint Studio Session including a shuttle ride to and from the studio, a Pizza Buffet Dinner, Swimming and a full breakfast the next morning. To book this fun event call 203-447-1000 and mention “GIGPIG to book this package. To reserve your room call 203.447.1000 or visit - WWW.SHELTON.STAYHGI.COM

The Courtyard by Marriott located on 780 Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton is offering a Month of Love Package through February 29 that offers overnight accommodations for two at this newly renovated hotel in a deluxe guest room, a Bottle of Champagne and assorted chocolates in your room and a $30 gift card to Bow Tie Cinemas in Trumbull, CT.  On the next morning enjoy a complimentary breakfast for two. Rates start at $129 to book call 203-929-1500 or visit
The newly renovated Ethan Allen Hotel located on 21 Lake Avenue Extension in Danbury is offering a Romance Package on Feb. 14-15. This lavish package includes an overnight stay in a suite of your choice and  comes with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, hand dipped chocolate covered strawberries and even a bottle of Prosecco. The next morning you will be treated to a breakfast fit for a king and queen at the Fairfield Restaurant. Visit www. or call (203) 744.1776 for rates.

Spring Hill Suites, located minutes off I-84 on 30 Old Ridgebury Rd, in Danbury is offering a sweet Romance Packager (through November 2016) that is perfect for Valentine’s Day. The package features a suite with a king size bed, a complimentary buffet breakfast for two each morning, one bottle of Prosecco Sparkling Wine and one box of Godiva chocolates. For added romance, rose petals will be sprinkled on your bed the first night of your stay and there is even a late checkout at 1:30 p.m. for some extra snuggle time – who could ask for more! To book call (203) 744-7333 or visit

In Northwest Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills several country inns, resorts and restaurants have put together romantic specials perfect for a sweet weekend or meal together. If your idea of romance is a country inn, the Old Riverton Inn located on 436 East River Road in the charming village of Riverton might be for you. This historic inn is furnished in Hitchcock Furniture that was made in this village and the property overlooks the Farmington River. They are offering a special Cupid Country Inn Package on February 14 that includes an overnight stay in a king or queen room, a bottle of champagne and chocolates upon arrival and a continental breakfast the next morning for $155 a night. For more information visit or call 860 379 8678.

The Litchfield Inn is offering a sweet deal for sweethearts that includes dinner, champagne, and over night accommodations in luxurious newly renovated king or queen theme rooms for $299 per night on Feb. 13 or 14. To book this package visit

The Inn at Kent Falls Bed and Breakfast is located on 107 Kent-Cornwall Road in the beautiful town of Kent Connecticut.  This quaint town has many interesting shops and galleries to explore and many well marked trails to hike or cross country ski; Mohawk Ski area is only 15 minutes away. The Inn at Kent Falls, located near Connecticut’s largest waterfall is offering a Simply Romantic package that includes overnight accommodations for two nights in a deluxe room, a complimentary bottle of wine and truffles upon arrival for $494.50 inclusive of tax. To book this simply wonderful deal call 860-927-3197 or visit:

If the idea of a “Lovers Tryst" appeals then head to the Interlaken Inn located on 74 Interlaken Rd. in Lakeville on Feb. 12, 13 or 14. The package includes: overnight accommodations for one night in a standard room, a 4-course gourmet Aphrodisiac Dinner for two, a single red rose and breakfast for two in the Vineyard Room the next morning. As a special bonus, guests are invited to stay an extra night for an additional $199. If you are looking to really indulge your sweetheart, check out Interlaken’s “Ultimate Lovers Getaway”. This lavish package is packed with romantic elements that includes: overnight accommodations for one night in your choice of their incredible deluxe Basha Cottage, Penthouse Suite, Lime Rock Suite with hot tub or Woodside Honeymoon Suite, early 3:00 pm check-in, Rose petal turndown, candlelit 10-piece sampler from the award winning Milk House Chocolate Company, a 4-course gourmet Aphrodisiac Dinner for two, one dozen red roses, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne on ice upon your arrival, 24-hour butler service in your suite or cottage, breakfast for two in your suite or cottage and late 1:00 pm check-out. The package is $1000 inclusive. To book either package call: 800-222-2909 or

The Tree House in Sharon Connecticut is also offering a Valentines Day Package in their gorgeous romantically furnished studio apartment that is nestled in the Litchfield Hills. Rates start at $250 a night for two guests that want to get away and Unwind in the hills.  To book a room call 860-435-0196.  This very private property overlooks a 30-acre pond and has an Asian flavor to its decor.

Two dining opportunities are being offered by Mayflower Grace in Washington and Carole Peck’s Good News Café in Woodbury. On February 14, wine and dine with that special someone special at The Mayflower Grace located in the heart of Washington Connecticut on 118 Woodbury Road when they will be offering their divine Valentine’s Day menu, including Goats Milk Ricotta Gnocchi and Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine and more that will ensure an evening of pure indulgence. The cost of the Valentines Day Pre Fixed Dinner is  $125.00 per person, plus tax, gratuity and alcohol. To reserve call 860-868-9466 or visit

At Carole Peck’s Good News Café, located on 694 Main Street South in Woodbury, try the “Lovers Leap” specials that consist of a range of romantically delicious dishes including such items as: lover's kissed mache greens with house smoked scallops and passion fruit & cream & sesame lovers sprinkles, Fluke with orzo pasta leeks & asparagus and aphrodisiac tomato "beurre rouge" and radiant red tobiko caviar, and Rosemary scented whole Rack of Lamb with yellow potato & cheese gratin and brussel sprout & garlic hearts, to name a few. Several enticing special desserts are also being offered such as the Chocolate Whiskey cake with fluffy banana cream & crunchy cocoa brittle and the 9 Blood Orange cheesecake with toasted hazelnuts and berries. For reservations call 203-266-4663 or visit

For more area information on Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County visit

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Secrets of Fossil Lake at the Bruce Museum

The Bruce Museum, located on One Museum Drive in Greenwich  has a fascinating new exhibition that is on view through April 17, 2016 called the Secrets of Fossil Lake and for anyone with an interest in paleontology, this is a must see exhibition.
Fossil Freshwater Stingray
Asterotrygon maloneyi
52 million years ago
Fossil Lake, Green River Formation
Bruce Museum Collection 84.30.02

“Fossil Lake is arguably the most important paleontological site in the world... the detail of preservation is beyond exceptional.”
- Dr. Daniel Ksepka, Curator of Science and expert on fossil birds
. Travel back in time to a lake that vanished 50 million years ago. This exhibition brings together a remarkable assemblage of fossils that capture an ancient ecosystem from a time when Wyoming was covered in subtropical forests. Encounter ferocious predatory fish, delicate feathered birds, and tiny primitive horses, all preserved in astonishingly beautiful fossils.The exhibition is organized to provide an overview of the aquatic ecosystem within Fossil Lake and the terrestrial ecosystem along its shores.
  • See fossils from aquatic animals that lived in the lake itself, terrestrial animals that fossilized when chance events washed them in to the waters, and the leaves, fruits, and branches of the forests that grew alongside.
  • Learn how museum preparators painstakingly remove the rock matrix to expose a new fossil specimen, and how paleontologists piece together the lifestyles of extinct species from fossil evidence.
  • Visualize extinct plants and animals through two large murals with life reconstructions. 
  • Watch a fossil emerge from the rock in a time-lapse video documenting 90 hours of preparation work. 
  • Try a hands-on activity that tests their skills at identifying perch, herring, and other fish from their fossil skeletons.  
“These fossils capture remarkable moments from the lives of the animals. A soft-shelled turtle bears bite marks on its shell, testifying to a close encounter with a crocodilian. A freshwater stingray is preserved with the last of its three stingers detached near its tail, perhaps fired in a final deadly encounter.  A densely packed layer of herrings lies side by side, wiped out in a mass die-off caused by lethal water conditions.”   Dr. Daniel Ksepka .
Fossil Beaked Sandfish
Notogoneus osculus
52 million years ago
Fossil Lake, Green River Formation
Gift of Anita Jacobs Wainwright, in memory of her father and mother, Mr. & Mrs. Hobart B. Jacobs. Secured through courtesy of Carleton Bradley
Bruce Museum Collection 20022

For more information on Fairfield County visit 

Friday, January 22, 2016

WCSU show features Eppridge photo chronicle of Beatles’ 1964 US visit

A remarkable photographic chronicle by legendary Life Magazine photojournalist Bill Eppridge of the Beatles’ historic 1964 visit to the United States will be featured in a Western Connecticut State University Art Gallery exhibition that will open Tuesday, Jan. 19, and continue through Saturday, March 13, at the university’s Visual and Performing Arts Center.

A collection of 55 black-and-white photographs taken by Eppridge during his coverage for Life of the British rock group’s visit to New York and Washington from Feb. 7 through 12, 1964, will be shown in the exhibition, “The Beatles: Six Days That Changed the World,” sponsored by the WCSU Department of Art. An opening reception will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, in the Art Gallery at the arts center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Reservations to attend the free public reception may be made on the VPAC events Web page at

Eppridge, who resided in New Milford in his later years, died in October 2013 in Danbury after an extraordinary career as a photojournalist spanning 60 years. He is widely recognized for capturing iconic images of contemporary history including the Beatles’ Feb. 9, 1964, appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and the poignant image on June 6, 1968, of a busboy kneeling beside the mortally wounded Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen moments after his assassination. “You are not just a photojournalist,” he said in recalling the Kennedy image. “You’re a historian.”

Yet the WCSU exhibition of selections from his 1964 Beatles tour photo shoot, which consumed more than 90 rolls of film and 3,000 photographs, would have been impossible without the mysterious recovery of these images seven years after they went missing and the painstaking work of Eppridge’s editor and wife, Adrienne Aurichio, to review and organize this vast photo archive into a comprehensive record of the Beatles’ tour as it unfolded.

Aurichio recalled in a 2014 essay for CBS News marking the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance that the 26-year-old Eppridge found himself in the right place on the morning of Feb. 7, 1964, to draw the assignment from Life Magazine photography director Dick Pollard to cover the Beatles’ arrival that day at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. He followed the Beatles as Life’s photo correspondent throughout the first six days of their U.S. tour, shooting spontaneous images documenting performances, rehearsals and private moments during the tour that established the group as an international rock ‘n’ roll sensation.

At the time, Life Magazine published just four of the images from Eppridge’s assignment, and the original film submitted to the Time-Life photo lab for processing could not be located when he attempted several months later to retrieve the images. By his account, at least seven years passed before the film turned up on his desk with no explanation of how it had been recovered.

Aurichio’s role in re-creating Eppridge’s Life photo chronicle of the 1964 Beatles tour began in 1993 when she came across one of his prints from the shoot while researching photographs for a magazine project. Intrigued at the prospect of discovering more photos from the Beatles visit, she soon learned the full story of Eppridge’s recovered film chronicle, which provided the images featured in the WCSU exhibition and in the book, “The Beatles: Six Days That Changed the World,” released in 2014 by Rizzoli Publishing.  In his acknowledgments for the book, Eppridge noted that Aurichio played a critical part as co-editor in “piecing together my story. I relied on her vision and experience as an editor to research and unravel the photographs, and then pull them together in chronological order.”

Aurichio observed that Eppridge’s photographs of the Beatles’ 1964 visit reflect the fact that “he made pictures as they happened, never staging anything. The pictures are so personal. You know that there