Friday, September 30, 2016

Two top events in western CT for foodies!

The aroma of steaming chowder and the tantalizing scent of garlic, await autumn visitors to Western Connecticut, home to three of the season's top food festivals.
Chowdafest, New England's largest cooking competition, will be held at Westport's Sherwood Island State Park on October 2, a new location spacious enough to accommodate the growing fan base, while another popular event, the tenth annual Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival takes place October 8-9, 2016 at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds.

At this SOUPerbowl of festivals to benefit the Connecticut Food Bank, attendees are the judges as more than two dozen of the regions best restaurants compete in four categories: classic New England Clam Chowder, Traditional Manhattan and Rhode Island chowders, "creative" chowders that might be anything from sweet potato to Cajun shrimp, and bisque soups such as Butternut Squash and Golden Corn. Everyone receives a spoon, pencil and ballot and can sample unlimited chowder and soups, grading entries on a scale from 7 to 10. Winners are announced at the end of the event.
For tasting variety, samples are offered at the Cheese and Cracker Corner, at ChowdaMex featuring salsas and chips and at a beverage center stocked with beer and wine. The ChowdaKIDS area will provide samples of ice cream and milk as well as free chef hats, coloring books and stickers provided by Stop & Shop, the event sponsor.
Admission is $15 for adults, and ages 6 to 12 pay $5, children under 6 are free. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Proceeds from this food festival to fight hunger have provided over 100,000 meals for the CT Food Bank. For information, see

Foodies flock each year to the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival where they enjoy cooking demonstrations, informative food talks, lessons in growing garlic, plus free samplings of garlic dips, spreads, cheeses and oils from specialty food vendors. Visitors can buy farm-fresh garlic as well as other bounty from the fall harvest. All of that is the warm-up for some serious eating that includes treats like homemade roasted garlic sausage with peppers and onions, garlic marinated steak sandwiches, garlic roast pork sandwiches, deep fried garlic, and even garlic ice cream.
Live bands add to the festive feel, fine artisans are on hand offering hand made crafts and young visitors will find rides and games to keep them entertained.
The Garlic Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday October 8 and 9 at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds, Route 61 just north of town. Adult admission is $8, Seniors: $7, under age 12, just $1. Find more details at

Calling all auction lovers to Falls Village Oct. 15

The David M. Hunt Library is now selling tickets for its 15th Annual Auction in the Village to be held on Saturday, October 15 from 5-8pm at the Center on Main in Falls Village.  Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door on the day of the event.  Tickets can be purchased at the library, by calling 860-824-7424, or by visiting

This year’s Auction in the Village will feature live and silent auctions, catering by Ciesco Catering Company, music by Vance Cannon and wine, beer, and the library’s signature Green Man Grog.  A silent auction will take place 5 and 7pm with a live auction conducted by Betsy Howie starting at 7:15pm sharp.  

The Silent Auction will feature a broad selection of quality auction items including artisan crafts, artworks, items for the home, kitchen and garden, and the season’s hottest new books.  Day passes to Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, a Kate Spade handbag, tickets to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and gift certificates from area restaurants

The Live Auction will have Betsy Howie returning as auctioneer to celebrate the library’s 125 years of service the community.   In addition to a pair of premium tickets and a backstage tour of the Broadway hit WICKED, there will be two nights at the top-rated New Orleans B&B La Belle Esplanade.  The jewel of the Live Auction will be a European Holiday Markets Viking River Cruise for two with travel taking place by the end of this year.  This 8-day cruise focuses on European holiday traditions old and new and includes a Category D cabin and on-board meals.  Air travel not included.  Choose between four different cruises along the Danube, Rhine, or Seine.  Destinations include Paris and Normandy, or Austria, Hungary, Germany, and Slovakia.  Plan now for your holiday cruise from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.  Full details can be found at

Auction in the Village is one of the NW Corner’s most popular social events and a great opportunity for the community to support the Hunt Library and make new friends.  Dress is casual.  Cash and checks only.  All proceeds benefit the David M. Hunt Library, a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit organization. 

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

New England's Largest Haunted Graveyard & Witch's Dungeon...

It is that spooky time of year again and Bristol Connecticut in the Litchfield Hills is "spook central"!
This will be the 50th year for the annual Witches Dungeon Halloween Classic Movies Museum in Bristol. The Graveyard Of Classic Ghouls sets the atmosphere as you enter the dungeon where accurate life-size figures of Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, and others are featured in 13 scenes or dioramas based on the vintage movie chillers. Many of the figures are made from the actual life casts of the actor's faces, plus some original costumes or props, in a wax museum style setting with special voice tracks by Vincent Price, Mark Hamill, and John Agar. Many Hollywood props are on display and vintage films may be shown outdoors, weather permitting.

While waiting for each wax museum tour, you can view actual film props, actor's life casts and movie posters, or step into our film room, to view classic silent horror movies, shown on film, not video. Featuring far more life size figures & original movie props than we have ever had on display before! Figures based on the classic films of Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi and more.

The new location for Witches Dungeon is 98 Summer Street, Bristol Historical Society in Bristol. The hours are Friday through Sunday evenings, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, Oct 7-9, Oct. 14-16, Oct.21-23 and Oct. 28-31. The Museum is not recommended for children under age 7. For additional information visit

The Witch's Dungeon is also planning several special guest appearances this year in honor of their 50th anniversary. On October 1, from 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Victoria Price, Vincent Price's daughter  and Puppeteer & director, Bill Diamond will be guests of the museum. On October 21, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Daniel Roebuck - actor in films - "Final Destination" & "River's Edge" will be on hand and on October 31 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sara Karloff, Boris Karloff's daughter  and Puppeteer & Director, Bill Diamond will be guests of the museum.  

For chills, make haste to the Haunted Graveyard at Lake Compounce Family Theme Park in Bristol, which has been called "The granddaddy of the horrifically good time." An unholy order of monks keep watch over the graves in the dark caverns of the Catacombs here and a dark and misty fog envelops the graveyard where zombies and night stalkers have wakened from the dead. Some are real, others are amazing animatronic creations made by The Haunted Graveyard's crazed staff. Recommended for adults, teens and very brave children, the park opens at dusk weekends from September 30 through October 30, and runs to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, to 10 p.m. on Sundays. Lake Compounce will also be operating 17 thrill rides including Boulder Dash, Ghost Hunt, Down Time, and Zoomerang. Proceeds will benefit the American Diabetes Associations. For tickets visit or
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Take a scenic autumn stroll in Saugatuck

On Saturday, October 8 join the Westport Historical Society for one of its most popular walking tours, a stroll through Old Saugatuck accompanied by guide Bob Mitchell. The one-hour tour begins at 3:00  p.m. and ends with a drink on the house at one of Saugatuck’s favorite haunts, the Black Duck.

As you make your way through the neighborhood that sits along the tracks near the Westport train station, Mitchell will discuss Saugatuck’s past as a manufacturing hub and the tight-knit, predominantly Italian community it was to become. Most of what we now know as Westport was once called Saugatuck, after the river, though when the town was incorporated in 1835 from parts of Norwalk and Fairfield, it was given the name Westport.

The walk will begin at the NY-bound side of the train station, where rail service was launched in 1848, making Westport more accessible for visitors and, in turn, giving residents better access to New York City. Railroad construction brought an influx of jobs, filled mostly by Irish and Italian laborers, and the young community eventually was called Little Italy. In 1958, a swath of buildings bisecting Saugatuck was demolished to make way for the Connecticut Turnpike.

Here are some bits of Saugatuck lore you’ll learn about: The Saugatuck Grain & Supply Company (1929), Luciano Park, the Westport Bank & Trust branch office, the Hedenbury Tin Shop, the Banyan Coffin Tack Factory, the first Saugatuck firehouse, the mattress factory, the William F. Cribari Bridge (the oldest movable span in Connecticut), and the Saugatuck Manufacturing Company, which made buttons from Brazilian ivory nuts. In addition you will hear wonderful stories from people who gre up in Saugatuck when life was simple and family ties strong.

The tour was created to give participants insights into Westport’s history and show how resilient Westporters have been in retaining the character of our town, even as the landscape changes and Saugatuck undergoes an impressive renaissance. There is a $10 donation. Members $8. Children 12 and under are free. Reservations are suggested: (203) 222-1424. Meet in the Saugatuck Railroad Station, NY-bound side.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

America's Pastimes: Sports and Recreation in Litchfield @ Litchfield History Museum

This season, the Litchfield History Museum has planned an exhibition celebrating the world of sports in Litchfield as it exemplifies one of America's favorite generational pastimes.

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They promote health and wellness as well as leisure and relaxation. They teach us about competition, but also about working together. They help build teams and form lasting relationships. Above all else, they encourage us to move, to think, and to interact.

This exhibit highlights the role of sports and recreation in Litchfield from its founding to today, showcasing the stories and experiences of Litchfield residents, players, coaches, fans, and enthusiasts. To communicate the active nature of this history, the exhibit groups together sports, games, and leisure activities of both past and present based on the actions they entail, from swinging a tennis racket to playing a game of chess. The exhibit incorporates several hands-on interactives for visitors to enjoy.
So whether you want to swing a bat with the Tri-State Champion Cowboys, race your way through the Litchfield Hills, splash around in Bantam Lake, ride a high wheel to the town green, score a basket in the school gym or play cricket with the students of the Law School, this is one exhibit you won't want to miss!

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Monday, September 26, 2016

New art show@ Gregory James Gallery Capturing the Essence of Special Moments at Treasured Places

New landscapes and seascapes by Thomas Adkins  that capture the essence of special moments at treasured places compose the new art show at the Gregory James Gallery located on 93 Park Lane in New Milford Connecticut.  The power of this show will attract discerning people who cherish the landscapes around them and those that find it more and more difficult to stay connected to the sublime feeling they have when, for example, a passing storm creates high drama in the sky above white farmhouses and idle green pastures bordered by autumnal trees shrugging off leaves.

Increasingly the power of Southbury Conn., artist Tom Adkins’ paintings lies in his power to pull off a form of artistic alchemy. He doesn’t merely produce masterful realistic landscapes and seascapes, he manages to synthesize the feeling of a place at the exact moment when its emotional impact has reached an apogee—one that will be gone in a flash but also remains forever in Adkins’ painting of the scene.
“My goal is to capture that fleeting moment in time when atmospheric conditions and lighting, along with the natural design in nature, seem to bring a bit of magic to the landscape,” the artist says, and he has done that better than ever in the 30 new Connecticut landscapes and Maine seascapes to be presented in a solo exhibition Oct. 8 through Nov. 12 at the Gregory James Gallery in New Milford. An opening reception is scheduled for Oct. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the gallery.

“I’m trying to capture that moment in time. It has an effect on me and that’s what I try to share with people,” elaborates the artist, who mentions a particular fondness for a painting of a bucolic twilight scene in Bethlehem, Conn. As a cow drinks along the edge of farm pond flushed with the reflection of the orangey-peach sunset, above still-green grass salted by early snow, geese hasten toward warmer climes and bare trees stand like sentinels of winter. “I have noticed over the years with these solo exhibitions that my work is getting much more defined,” Adkins says. “All paintings start out very rough and painted in a broad brush stroke, and as the painting develops and I push and pull the warm and cool tones helping to enhance the sense of perspective and atmosphere striving for that reality of location.”

For Thomas Adkins, it’s not simply a matter of heading to his outdoor “office” and finding the perfect situation in the rural hills of Northwest Connecticut or the coast of Maine, where he has a property. 
“I spend a great deal of time traveling to familiar locations in New England waiting for those special conditions,” the artist says. 

When everything is right about the place and time, then the challenge begins for this veteran en plein air painter. “It is my desire to share with others that special bond we have as humans with the natural beauty around us, which is so often lost in the day-to-day challenges of life,” he says. “Creating a painting is not about copying a subject, it’s more about transferring your feeling and thoughts, your first impression and something about yourself to the canvas. In landscape painting, you’re not painting an object like a portrait, your composing a color and compositional score not unlike a musical score and hopefully your viewers will have felt that experience.”

Traveling back and forth between Maine and Connecticut offers the artist a great deal of geographic variety, although the hills around Litchfield county and coastal Maine have a very similar quiet presence, Adkins says. However, the lighting is quit different. Maine seems to have a softer and cooler feel than Connecticut’s brighter condition.
“The small towns and villages of both locations share something unique I believe a wonder of what it may have been like in years gone by,” the artist says.

Thomas Adkins has been showing and exhibiting for over 30 years in some of the Northeast’s finest galleries and has won numerous awards. He has shown in number of museums and is in the Permanent Collection of the New Britain Museum of Fine Art. A graduate of Paier College of Art of New Haven, who also completed graduate classes at the School of Visual Arts of New York, he has worked as art director and creative director for some of Connecticut’s and New York’s most prestigious advertising agencies.

For more information, call the Gregory James Gallery at (860) 354-3436. The gallery’s website is, and the artist’s website is

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Kids learn how to stencil on fabric @ Wilton Historical Society

Making use of plentiful, beautiful fall leaves, the Wilton Historical Society is offering a stencil workshop for children ages 6 – 12 on Saturday, October 1 from 11:00 – 12:30.  The children will use fabric paint, a brayer and fall leaves to stencil autumnal patterns on cotton dish towels made of flour sack cloth.  

While they are busy with their paints and leaves, they will learn about how thrifty New England families were the original recyclers, re-using feedsacks and flour sacks for everything from dishrags to dresses. Kids help make their snack – cookies in the shape of leaves.

Wilton Historical Society Members $10 per child, maximum $25 per family; Non-members $15 per child, maximum $35 per family.  Please register: or call 203-762-7257.  Wilton Historical Society, 224 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897

Did you know?
While clothing and quilts made from feed sacks bring to mind images of the hardship and frugality that characterized the Great Depression, in fact, feed sacks became popular as sewing material because of clever marketing on the part of feed and flour sack manufacturers.
Cotton sacks for storing and selling goods gradually replaced wooden barrels and metal tins between 1840 and 1890 because they were less expensive and easier to transport. Initially, these feed sacks (or “feed bags”) were made from heavy canvas, which farmers stamped with their brands and then reused. This changed in the late 1890s, when the textile mills of New England began weaving inexpensive cotton fabric for feed sacks. Women quickly recognized that these new cotton feed sacks could be reused as linens, towels and quilting material.
Once the feed sack manufacturers realized that women were reusing the cotton sacks as sewing material (and that women were starting to do most of the shopping), they saw an opportunity to promote their products by packaging them in colorful sacks. Around 1925, colorful prints for making dresses, aprons, shirts, and children’s clothing began to appear in stores. By the late 1930s, there were heated competitions between manufacturers to produce the most attractive designs. Manufacturers hired artists to design the prints, and some sacks even had preprinted patterns for appliqué and quilt squares.  -- From the Southeast Ohio History Center

If you are intrigued about flour sacks, you may wish to check out the FlourWorld Museum in WIttenburg, Germany at, plus the Gallery of Flour Sacks in Ahrensburg at 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

WestonArts ‘Open Studios Art Tour October 8

In this small town just one hour from New York City, some of the finest artists in the country have called Weston, Connecticut home. In celebration of this heritage of cultivating fine art for more than a hundred years, WestonArts is proud to announce their Fall Open Studios Art Tour on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 from 11am to 5pm.
Francis Palmer

The tour begins at 11am at Weston Town Hall where participants can check in, purchase tickets $10 per person (children under 12 are free) and receive their map and catalogue with addresses for the open studios of nine of Weston's fine artists. Visitors are invited to drive at their own pace to the studios where each artist will be on hand to discuss their techniques and their art. In addition to meeting these nationally recognized artists, visitors will have the opportunity to purchase art directly from the studios.
Keith Brooks

Art is an important part of who we are in Weston. During the tour participants will have a chance to meet widely known artists, like Frances Palmer, whose collectible ceramics and pottery are available in many fine stores as well as Hans Wilhelm at his illustration table where he has crafted more than 40 children's books.
Meg Brooks

Tickets will be on sale throughout the day (rain/shine) at Town Hall on October 8th until 3:30PM. Online ticket sales will begin on September 7th at purchase tickets.

What is "fairy butter" and Tansy?

The Wilton Historical Society located on 224 Danbury Road (Rte. 7) in Wilton is hosting a colonial cookery and customs class for kids on September 24 from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. This workshop teaches kids in grades 4 – 8 a Colonial "reciept" (recipe) used in the Connecticut region.

 While the food is prepared, they hear about Colonial manners, morals and way of life. This month, the children will be making apple tansey with "fairy butter". Interestingly, many foods have names with "fairy" in them, especially in Scotland. However these names do not normally imply any real connection with fairies; they are often simply because the food in question is light and delicate. . . . Fairy butter can be traced back a long way, e.g. to Hannah Glasse (1747) who says it is "a pretty Thing to set off a Table at Supper." Her version, one of many, calls for egg yolks, sugar, and orange –flower water, as well as some normal butter." The Oxford Companion to Food.
A "tansey" originally referred to a dish made with the herb tansy. Over time, the name and spelling shifted, and the herb tansy was longer a required ingredient. During Colonial times a tansey would likely been served as a side dish at a dinner or supper, as it is made with eggs, cream, butter, fruit, and rosewater. It is not quite sweet enough to be considered dessert.
The workshops feature relatively simple dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients. The recipes used will be adapted for modern kitchens. This is done for safety reasons, and also so that the attendees can recreate their meals at home. All participants will sample their own cooking and take home recipe cards - as well as any leftovers! The children will learn how a Colonial kitchen would have operated, in order to appreciate the modern conveniences we take for granted. Previous sessions have made bannock cakes, pease porridge, pickles, and an amulet of green peas.
Members: $10; Non-members $15. Space is limited --- please register by contacting or call 203-762-7257. The Wilton Historical Society, 224 Danbury Road/Rt. 7, Wilton, CT 06897  
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

11th Annual Watertown House Tour September 24

Once again this fall Watertown is throwing open the doors of private homes at the 11th annual Watertown House Tour on September 24 that is held to benefit the Watertown Historical Society.  The tour will take place from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., rain or shine.

This year, the tour features five architecturally unique homes including: The Lund House at 38 Academy Hill, The Rectory at 37 The Green, The Doster House at 151 Middlebury Road, The Long House at 241 Woodbury Road, and United Methodist Church and Asbury Cottage at 305 Main Street. The Nova Scotia Schoolhouse at 22 DeForest Street will also be open for viewing.

Advance house tour tickets are $25 per person, and will be $30 the day of the tour. Tickets for this self-guided house tour and are non-refundable & can be purchased by mailing a check or money order to: Watertown House Tour, P.O. Box 853, Watertown, CT 06795. Checks should be made payable to the "Watertown Historical Society". Tickets can also be purchased online with a credit card or Paypal at: Requests for tickets after Friday, September 16 will be held for pick-up on the day of the tour at the Nova Scotia Schoolhouse at 22 DeForest Street.

On the day of the tour tickets will be available at all of the businesses, all of the houses, and at the Nova Scotia Schoolhouse, which will be tour headquarters. Call the Museum at 860-274-1050 or view for more information.

The Watertown House Tour is a benefit for the Watertown Historical Society and Museum in Watertown, CT. The Watertown Historical Society is a private, nonprofit, all volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing Watertown and Oakville's history through the Museum.