Monday, February 29, 2016

How to have Fun in March at White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield Connecticut

March is a busy time at White Memorial Foundation as spring is anticipated. The month begins with a Children's free week from March 2 - 8 and again from March 23-29; admission for kids ages twelve and under get in free when accompanied by an adult. After School adventures are also planned for every Wednesday in March for grades 1-3 and on Tuesdays for grades 4-6. Bring your kids out to White Memorial for programs designed to awaken curiosity and foster an appreciation for the natural world. Every session brings a new adventure, whether it's exploring a new part of White Memorial property, meeting a live animal, or taking part in an outdoor activity. Join them for an afternoon of experiential learning in the outdoors. Parents are welcome to stay, but it is not necessary. Meet in the A.B. Ceder Room. 3:45-5pm. Advanced registration is required. To register, please call 860-567-0857 or visit Members: $8/child per session or $28/whole series, Non-Members: $13/child per session or $48/whole series.

For outdoor enthusiasts, out of hibernation and stretch your legs along the beautiful trails which meander through this beautiful natural area on March 5. Dress for the weather! 10:00 A.M. Meet in the A. B. Ceder Room. Free...Donations will be accepted to help defray the Conservation Center's programming expenses. March 6 offers an opportunity to join up with Three Red Trees School of Natural Living.  Andrew Dobos and Deneen Bernier take you on a wildlife tracking walk through the winter woods. There are always clues left behind by the animals to decipher, telling a story of their habits and lives. Get to know our beloved wildlife that much better. Children should be accompanied by an adult and all should dress extra warm and wear good boots! You never know where the animals have been! 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.. Meet in front of the Museum. Free, but donations accepted.

On March 12, you are invited to spend an evening full of beautiful art, music, and food as Conservation Center favorite, Gary Melnysyn tickles your senses with beautiful wildlife images taken during his tenure as a park ranger at Yellowstone and sings some of your favorite songs to boot! Tuck into a chili and cornbread supper before the program. Bring your own place setting and BYOB! What a cozy evening they have in store for you! Members: $15.00 Non-members: $20.00, Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.

If you want to meet a new friend, check out the llama walk with  Debbie Labbe from Country Quilt Llama Farm Stroll on March 13 and 26. Meet in the Museum parking lot. 2:00 P.M., $20.00 per person. A portion of the fee will be donated to the Conservation Center. Please register by calling Debbie at 860-248-0355 or email: or to schedule a private walk!

On March 19 listen to the epic tale of the great auk with Gerrie Griswold. The Great Auk , Garefowl, or Penguin of the North was a substantial sea bird whose extinction was entirely the work of humankind. The bird's existence ended on the morning of June 3, 1844, when the last two recorded Great Auks were killed by three fishermen on the island of Eldey off the southwest coast of Iceland. With pictures and through the words of Errol Fuller, a world-renowned authority on extinct birds, Griswold will illustrate the epic destruction of a species at the hands of mankind. A simple meal will be served. Bring your own place setting including a soup bowl. 1:00 P.M., A.B. Ceder Room, Members: $15.00 Non-members: $25.00 Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. *Registration fee and any donations will go directly towards funding the purchase of a proper storage and possible exhibition case for our passenger pigeon mount.

Check out the late winter sky on March 26 at the Star Party hosted by members of the Litchfield Hills Amateur Astronomy Club and the Mattatuck Astronomical Society. Tonight's topic is Astronomy 001 – How the Sky Works. Weather permitting,there will be star gazing after the program. 7:00 P.M., A.B. Ceder Room. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. You are invited to bring your own telescope or binoculars.

If Native American Life is of interest to you, join Lucianne Lavin, Ph.D, as he discusses stone cultural features and ceremonial landscapes in CT.  The idea of Native American built stone features and ceremonial landscapes is fairly new to Northeastern archaeologists in general, who traditionally thought all were the result of Euro-American farm clearing. Some of it is, of course, but some of it is not. The latter is often associated with celestial movements that may reflect the timing of annual ceremonies/festivals. White Memorial is a huge land trust, and these ritual sites are often found on upland preserves for the very reason that the land has been preserved from industrialization and housing projects. Enjoy a delicious luncheon before her presentation. 2:00 P.M., A. B. Ceder Room, Members: $20.00, Non-members: $30.00, Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

The sweet scent of spring at Flanders Nature Center

A contingent of volunteers helped Flanders staff tap over 300 trees recently and now the time has arrived to boil down the sap gathered from these trees to make into maple syrup. 

Everyone is welcomed to drop by on the Saturday and Sundays, of March 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20 from 1 – 4 PM as Flanders staff and volunteers will demonstrate turning sap into syrup with an entertaining mix of science, stories and humor. 

There is a $3/ person donation suggested which will go to support Flanders future maple sugar programming. The demonstrations will take place at the Flanders Sugar House located at 5 Church Hill Road in Woodbury.

Then on Sunday, March 6, Flanders will be holding their annual pancake breakfast from 8AM to Noon at the Woodbury Emergency Services building located on Quassuk Road. The menu features all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausages, coffee, orange juice and Flanders very own maple syrup. 

The cost for the breakfast is $7 for adults, and $5 for ages 5 to 11. Children under 5 are free. All proceeds from the breakfast will benefit Flanders’ education programs. For more information on any of the Flanders adult or children’s programs, call Flanders at 203-263-3711, ext. 10, or visit their website at

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                                                                    About Flanders
Trust is a nonprofit organization that focuses on environmental education, and on the acquisition, conservation, and stewardship of open space. Through its land trust initiatives, Flanders actively works to protect important natural sites and the area’s landscape character and quality of life. Flanders manages over 2,100 acres of preserved land in Woodbury and neighboring towns. Educational programs for children and adults are offered at the Van Vleck Farm Sanctuary, Flanders’ main campus in Woodbury. Trails at its major nature preserves are open to the public at no charge from dawn to dusk. Flanders’ Welcome Center is located at the corner of Church Hill and Flanders Roads in Woodbury. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Look at Me! Recording and Sharing Our Selves at the Fairfield Museum and History Center

The Fairfield Museum and History Center located on 370 Beach Street has opened a new exhibition that will be on display through May 1, Look at Me! Recording and Sharing Our Selves.  This evocative exhibition takes a look at "selfie" trend that has taken the social media world by storm. Today's "selfie" phenomenon offers the opportunity to reflect on the history of how people have shared images of themselves. 

This thought provoking exhibition questions the function and use of a painted portrait, a photograph and  daguerreotype,
and examines how does it differs from a "selfie" taken on a cell phone.  Through this display, by examining paintings,
silhouettes, early photographs, and miniatures of individuals from the Fairfield region,
this exhibition considers how we have pictured ourselves over time.
On February 25 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. the museum will host an "after dark program", "Expressions of Identity and the Selfie".  Participants will enjoy a mini portrait-sketching workshop with Suzanne Chamlin-Richer, Associate Professor of Visual & Performing Arts of Fairfield University. Event goers will also join other guests to discuss the history of art and photography, from 18th century portraiture to the saturation of selfie images on social media today. Guests are invited to share their thoughts on this talk about the push and pull between popular culture, narcissism and social change and how people express their views through self-representation. Museum Members: Free; Non-Members: $5.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Farm to Table Supper at the Bendel Mansion Feb. 27

The Stamford Museum and Nature Center is hosting a farm to table dinner in the gorgeous setting of the Bendel Mansion from 6 pm to 10 pm on Feb. 27.

Chef Scott Miller will start the evening off with artisanal hors d' oeuvres and cocktails in the art gallery. The show, Extreme Art: Massive and Miniature will be a highlight and there will be a special tour of this exhibit by New York artist Peter Bradley.

Chef Miller was the Executive Chef at Max's Oyster Bar and was named Chef of the Year by the Connecticut Restaurant Association in 2011.  He started his chef to farm program in 2009 and this dinner series is an opportunity for guests to enjoy the freshest foods and produce in the beauty of Connecticut's farms. Each dinner is cooked from scratch and showcases the day's best produce, sourced daily from local farmers, ranchers and fishermen. This dinner series has had many national accolades including being named as one of the Top Farm Dinners by Fodor's Travel.

Tickets are $175 per person and includes an open bar.  The suggested dress is winter chic !  For more information  For more area information

Monday, February 22, 2016

Window to Westport’s Past and Present...WPA Images of Historic Houses

 Westport Historical Society unveils an exhibit of photographs of historic Westport homes taken in the 1930s under the auspices of the federal Works Progress Administration. All of the homes were at least 100 years old when photographed, making the exhibit a rare peek into the town's past. To show how the homes have changed, the WPA images will be displayed alongside photos taken today.

In all, the exhibit will include photographs of 131 dwellings. Some will be displayed in the Society's Betty R. & Ralph Sheffer Gallery and the Mollie Donovan Gallery. Also on display in the Mollie are original artworks by the artist who lived in the house. The remainder will be set aside in folders for visitors to look through. In addition, there will be booklets of historical information on the homes and their owners.
One of the sets of photos is of the house at 91 Long Lots Road at the corner of Long Lots and North Avenue. Built in 1840, it was home to generations of Westport's Adams family, which traced its ancestry to a Greens Farms clergyman who met twice with George Washington during the Revolutionary War. The family tree also includes the founder of Adams Academy, which still stands on North Morningside Drive, the Sherwood triplets, clipper ship captains who plied the seven seas. More recently, 91 Long Lots was owned by Martha Stewart.
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Cut-Up: Contemporary Collage and Cut-Up Histories through a Feminist Lens at Franklin Street Works

Franklin Street Works located in Stamford is hosting an exhibition that explores Feminist histories of cut-up and collage with works from 1967 to today in "Cut-Up: Contemporary Collage and Cut-Up Histories through a Feminist Lens," curated by artist Katie Vida. This exhibition explores a multigenerational lineage of women artists who have pushed the boundary of cut-up techniques across media, including sculpture, video, sound art, painting, printed matter, and photography.

Including works from 1967-Present "Cut-Up" explores how collage and cut-up have informed the visual arts, literature, and experimental sound art. The exhibition also pays special attention to how the process of cutting apart and reordering language parallels an activist impulse to disrupt the status quo and develop new narratives that include marginalized voices and alternative visions. This skepticism and eschewing of "traditional" media is a feminist strategy that began with second wave feminist artists in the late 1960s. At that time these artists embraced newer media such as performance, film, text based works, and ephemeral sculpture, in part, to bypass patriarchal histories tied to more codified media like monumental sculpture and painting. New times and new voices embraced new media.
Through a layering of imagery, text, materials and sound, the artists in "Cut-Up" create tension by disrupting narrative and shattering expectations, often upending gallery goer expectations. The cut itself is the technology through which these artists address and manipulate language and image. Through an additive and/or reductive process of developing fresh visual and linguistic spaces the artists in this exhibition show a commitment to breaking apart what is seemingly codified to engage in alternative visions.
Exhibiting Artists: Ruth Anderson, Phyllis Baldino, Dodie Bellamy, Ofri Cnaani, Lourdes Correa-Carlo, Mayme Donsker, Heike-Karin Föell, Susan Howe, Jennie C. Jones, Alexis Knowlton, Carrie Moyer, Lorraine O'Grady, People Like Us, Sheila Pepe, Faith Ringgold, Mariah Robertson, Carolee Schneemann, Nancy Shaver, Meredyth Sparks, Cauleen Smith, Martine Syms, and Janice Tanaka.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

5th Annual Toy Makers Competition at the Westport Arts Center

 The Westport Arts Center knows that there are no better experts when it comes to toys and games than kids! The Center's  fifth annual Toy Makers Competition invites young designers ages 5 - 12 to submit their ideas for new and innovative toys. Each child may submit up to 3 design concepts that capture their creativity and imagination. Both traditional and electronic games are acceptable, but the designers should ask themselves not only what they are but how they would be made.

Judges are looking for toy designs that are: unique, original and imaginative and those that are easy to use and understand.  The toys should be able to be recreated and produced in real life and a description of how the toy will be made and used should also be included.
Children between the ages of  5 - 12 are eligible to submit . Submissions must be created on 8.5x11” paper; 3D creations must be photographed and printed on 8.5x11” paper. Descriptions can be attached to the back of designs. All participants must have parental consent. Toys do not need to be recreated for the presentation,  but finalists may make a prototype if they wish.
All toy submissions are due by 5 p.m. on March 4, 2015 and the entry fee is $10 per child; participants should mail the entry form and up to 3 artworks per child to: Toy Makers Competition, Westport Arts Center,  51 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT 06880. For more information
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Go Wild at Flanders Nature Center in February!

Flanders Nature Center located on 5 Church Hill Road in Woodbury Connecticut is offering a month of wild life fun in February. 

On February 24 at 7 p.m. join the staff at Flanders for a lecture on Connecticut's wild rabbits. Lisa Wahle, of the CT DEEP Wildlife Division, will discuss state initiatives to create young forest/shrub land habitat and ways you can help New England Cottontails to survive. Participants will learn about funding opportunities for private landowners to create habitat and facts to keep Eastern Cottontails around for future generations. The cost is $5 for members and $10 for non members.
Gerri Griswold, a CT DEEP Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator wil be on hand on February 27 at 11 a.m. to discuss the North American porcupine.  This is one of one of Connecticut's most fascinating species and the world's third largest rodent!  Gerri Griswold will be bringing along a live porcupine that is under her department's care for participants to meet.  The cost is $15 for members and $18 for non-members. 

The month of February concludes with an animal tracking workshop on February 27 at 2 p.m. This workshop will help participants identify what passes your house when you are not around! Participants will learn about the fascinating world of animal tracking from Connecticut Conservation Ambassador Michael Grady. Participants will be traversing the trails at Flanders Van Vleck Sanctuary to search for and identify tracks, signs and scat of the local wildlife. It is advised to dress warmly for this interesting outdoor activity.
For more information on Flanders Nature Center and to sign up for these programs visit  For more information on the Litchfield Hills

Monday, February 15, 2016

Catch Saturday Night Fever at the Palace in Waterbury!

Dancing Queens and Disco Kings will have the chance to relive the music and magic of the 1970s when the Waterbury Palace Theater throws the ultimate Disco Dance Party in celebration of the venue's Webster Broadway Series presentation of Saturday Night Fever: The Musical, Feb. 19-20, 2016. Tickets to all three performances are $65, $57, and $50 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 203-346-2000, or in person at the Box Office, 100 East Main St.

The iconic story of Tony, a kid from Brooklyn USA who wants to dance his way to a better life, is back in this brand-new national tour that shares Tony's love of dancing in spectacular new ways. Fueled by vintage Bee Gee hits including "Stayin' Alive," "Night Fever," "Disco Inferno," and more, this contemporary retelling of the classic story captures the energy, passion and life-changing moments that have thrilled movie audiences since 1977. Now, a new generation of dancers meets a new generation of playgoers to explore the soaring sounds and pulsating rhythms of a coming-of-age disco fantasy.
After the Friday, Feb. 19, and Saturday, Feb. 20 evening shows, the Palace Theater will host a glittering post-show Disco Dance Party from 10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. in the Poli Club featuring special guest DJ Jim O'Rourke, Executive Director of the Greater Waterbury YMCA. Guests will dance the night away to their favorite 70's hits from ABBA, The Bee Gees, Gloria Gaynor and more while partying along with the Saturday Night Fever cast! Signature 70's cocktails will be available for purchase and finger foods will be provided along with one complimentary cocktail per person. Admission is $30 and can be purchased when buying tickets to the show online, or by calling the Box Office at 203-346-2000.

Before the Friday evening performance, the Palace will also host a 6p.m. pre-fixe, four-course dinner in the Poli Club, located on the mezzanine level of the theater. Dinner is $62.50 per person, which includes tax, service fees, coffee, and tea. A cash bar is also available. Seating is limited, and reservations can be made when purchasing tickets through the Box Office.
For more information on Saturday Night Fever: The Musical, visit  For area information

Friday, February 12, 2016

Chili Warm Up and 5K Run in Danbury

The Danbury Westerners are pleased to announce that the 4th Annual Danbury Westerners Big Chili 5K is set for Sunday, February 21 at 10:00AM at the Danbury Sports Dome on 25 Shelter Rock Road in Danbury. The race is part of the Chili Winter Warm Up which is a family festival and chili cook-off also held at the Danbury Sports Dome.
The course is fast and flat, leaving from the Danbury Sports Dome, rolling into Bethel and back to the Dome. Runners will be treated with refreshments in the Dome following the race including a hot bowl of chili. Age group awards will be presented in seven different categories and t-shirts will be awarded to the first 150 registrants.
The adult course race starts at 10 a.m. and the entry fee is $25 through February 18, 2016; the fee goes up to $30 after and up to the day of the race.
There will also be two free Kids Runs inside the Dome starting at 9:15 a.m.  The kids race will consist of ages 5 - 8 with one lap and ages 9-12 two laps around the indoor track. There is no entry fee, and all registered children will receive a free sports pack while the supplies last.
This is a great event where families can enjoy a nice run on a relatively flat course, and then warm up inside the Sports Dome with some chili.  Register now at

Thursday, February 11, 2016

How to Communicate: A Survivor's Guide @ The Wilton Historical Society

On Saturday, February 20 from 10:30 am to 3 pm, the Wilton Historical Society is hosting a special lecture: A Survival Guide to 18th Century Living: Colonial Communications.

Do you know the difference between penmanship and calligraphy? How to select a goose feather and prepare a quill pen? Can you explain how to use pounce? Familiar with the nuances of how to properly fold correspondence? Know how a letter traveled from sender to recipient in  18th century America?
This scholarly "Survival Guide", geared to those seriously interested in the how and why of 18th century living, will focus on Colonial Communications, from written letters to the postal system and more.
Participants will spend a fascinating day in the company of Otto S. de Pierne, learning how to make an authentic goose quill pen, and create and write and 18th century letter, all the whole absorbing his extensive knowledge about paper, ink, quills, blotting sand, sealing wax, penmanship, language, the postal system, roads, and much more.
This program is recommended for ages 14 and up. Please bring a brown bag lunch; beverages and dessert provided.

The cost is  $25 for Wilton Historical Society Members and $35 for non-members.  Please note that the program is extremely limited in size, registration is essential By E-mail:  or call 203-762-7257.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Build a Gourd Birdhouse and More at the Institute for American Indian Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies located in Washington Connecticut on 38 Curtis Road is hosting three family fun events in February.  

On February 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm and is called Slide it, Shoot it and Smack it... winter sports!  Participants will learn what types of games early Native Americans played in the winter. Participants will learn that there were team and individual contests of skill and games of chance. The group will spend the morning having some family fun playing traditional games such as snow snake, shinney, and archery!  The program will conclude at the campfire in the replicated Algonkian village where the group will sip hot chocolate and roast marshmallows. Snow is required for this event, so it is good to call in advance to confirm this event. This event is $8 Adults; $6 Seniors; $5 Children (ages 3-12); IAIS Members Free and admission to the museum is free.
A popular workshop where kids build a birdhouse from a gourd is taking place on February 16 from 10 am to 11:30 a.m. For centuries, Native American people have grown gourds and used them to make birdhouses, bowls, rattles and more! During the school break, bring the kids to IAIS to get them in touch with their natural side as we make painted gourd birdhouses to adorn your yard or porch. Registration and prepayment required; please call Khalil Quotap at (860)868-0518 x103 or email to reserve your spot.  The cost for the workshop is $15 Kids; $8 Adults  and includes museum admission. 
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Torrington Historical Society Celebrates Black History Month with Venture Smith

The Torrington Historical Society and the Documenting Venture Smith Project are pleased to present the exhibit "Making Freedom, The Life of Venture Smith: In His Own Voice" . "Making Freedom", which is being presented in conjunction with Black History Month, tells the story of Venture Smith, an African who was captured and brought to New England in the 1730s. Smith endured decades of slavery before purchasing his freedom and the freedom of his family. "Making Freedom" will be on view in the Torrington Historical Society Carriage House, 192 Main Street, from Wednesday, February 3rd through Saturday, February 27th. Hours for the exhibit are Wednesday through Saturday from 12-4 p.m. Admission is free.

This exhibition draws from Venture Smith's autobiography, A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa, which was published in 1798. Additional research on Venture's life was done by Chandler B. Saint, the author of Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith, and Robert P. Forbes, author of The Missouri Compromise and its Aftermath: Slavery and the Meaning of America. This exhibition is also currently on view at the Hartford Public Library and in the future, will be exhibited at other venues, including the Smithsonian Institution.
Born in Africa as Broteer Furro, enslaved, and taken as a youth to be sold at Anomabo on the coast of what today is Ghana, the young African was bought in 1739 as a 'venture' by a Rhode Island slave ship's officer, who was the son of one of the merchant dynasties of that region. Taken captive to New England, Venture spent the next quarter-century in slavery under three different owners before buying his freedom in 1765 from his final owner, Col. Oliver Smith, from whom he took his surname. After almost five years as master and slave, Oliver and Venture collaborated in a business that endured for over thirty years. The former owner and slave became equals in commerce. Venture eventually established a substantial property on the Connecticut River in Haddam Neck where he lived with his family until his death in 1805.
Making Freedom" traces the life of Venture Smith from his childhood in Africa, his enslavement and the brutal Middle Passage to the West Indies and Rhode Island, his more than two decades in slavery in New England and Long Island, and his long struggle to regain his freedom.
This exhibition, produced by the Documenting Venture Smith Project, is an international effort founded in 2005 and designed to bring public attention to the life of Venture Smith, to the slave trade of the Atlantic world, and to the continuing tragedy of contemporary slavery. In addition to Saint, who is president of the Beecher House Center for the Study of Equal Rights in Torrington, and Forbes, the project is co-directed by David Richardson, former director of the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull in Great Britain. 
While Venture Smith was clearly an extraordinary individual, his experiences are remarkably representative of almost every aspect of the Atlantic slave system, despite the fact that he never traveled further south than the south shore of Long Island.
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Monday, February 8, 2016

Valentines Day Gift Idea Caribbean Cruise Series Cooking Classes at Jones Family Farm

If you are looking for a memorable gift for Valentine's Day, and can't afford a cruise to the islands, consider the next best thing, the  Caribbean Cruise series of cooking classes being offered by Jones Family Farm in Shelton!

Jones Family Farm located on 606 Walnut Hill Road in Shelton is a popular vineyard as well as a pick your own  and Christmas tree farm.  In keeping with the farm to table movement, Jones Family Farm has been offering cooking classes over the past few years that are limited to just 12 lucky participants.

To kick off 2016, Jones Family Farms is offering a Caribbean Cruise Series of cooking classes that will take place in April and May.  Registration for the classes begins on February 2, 2016 and each class offered is $90 and runs from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Participants will receive an apron to take home as well as recipes.  Classes fill up quickly, so if you want to go on a cruise, sign up soon by visiting the website.

The concept for these classes are to explore the "pepper pot" of various island cuisines. Jones Family Farm's instructor will highlight the local food specialties that evolved from their heritage countries of influence.

The first "cruise" is Celebrating Passover in Curacao on April 23, 2016. Participants will make Charoset Balls, Fried Red Snapper, Hot Cucumber and Radish Salad, Baked Plantains, Stuffed Dates, and Panlevi Cookies.

Next, in the series is the beautiful island of Jamica on April 30. Pumpkin Soup, Curried Lamb with Mango Chutney, Coconut Rice and Peas, and Duckunoo (Sweet Potato Dessert) are on the menu.

The French Island of Martinque is the next island on the cooking cruise that takes place May 7. Participants will learn how to make such specialties as: Hearts of Palm Vinaigrette, Callaloo with Crab, Sautéed Corn & Snow Peas, and Beignets de Banane.

The final stop in the cruise series is the island of Cuba on May 14.  Specialties on this menu includes: Pollo con Pina (Chicken with Pineapple), Moros y Cristianos (Beans & Rice), Roast Calabaza, and Coconut Flan.

Please note that the the menu items above are tentative, and subject to change based on what's seasonally available! For more area information on where to go and what to see and do visit

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cruise Long Island Sound looking for Seals and Birds at the Maritime Aquarium Norwalk

Cruise out for the chance to see some of the seals and waterfowl that spend their winters in Long Island Sound during Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises offered this winter by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. These invigorating 2½-hour outings take place aboard the Aquarium's R/V Spirit of the Sound™, the country's only research vessel with hybrid-electric propulsion.

The cruises seek out the harbor seals and gray seals that migrate down into the Sound from northern waters, which serve as their summer breeding and pupping areas. Seals often can be seen near the Norwalk islands when they "haul out" to rest on rocks exposed at low tide. Aquarium educators will point out these federally protected marine mammals and talk about their natural histories. And they'll also generally discuss what happens to the Sound's marine population during the winter: who stays, who migrates out, and who migrates in (besides the seals).
"As exciting as it is to see the seals that are exhibited inside The Maritime Aquarium, it's truly a memorable experience to see them out in Long Island Sound," said Tom Naiman, the Aquarium's director of education. "Those encounters also remind us how important the Sound is as a habitat for our marine-mammal friends, and all the other creatures that call it home."
These cruises also give birders unique "on-the-water" access to see and photograph visiting winter waterfowl, such as buffleheads, mergansers, Brant geese and long-tailed ducks. Plus, cruise participants can help Aquarium educators with plankton samplings. Data collected during the cruises is added to the Long Island Sound Biodiversity Project, which is an ongoing census of the Sound's animal species.
This online database is sponsored by the Aquarium and includes students in collecting data on the physical and biological contents of Long Island Sound. Binoculars will be provided. R/V Spirit of the Sound has a climate-controlled cabin but, because the best viewing is outside on the deck, participants should bring plenty of warm clothes.
The cruises offer memorable family fun but please note that all passengers must be at least 42 inches tall. Tickets for a Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruise are $24.95, or $19.95 for Aquarium members. Capacity is limited so advance reservations are strongly recommended. Walk-up tickets will be sold, space permitting. Reserve your spot by calling (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206, or by going online to
Cruises are offered Sat., Feb. 13 – 9 a.m. Sun., Feb. 14 – 9 a.m. Sat., Feb. 27 – 9 a.m. Sun., Feb. 28 – 9 a.m. Sun., March 13 – 1 p.m. Sat., March 19 – 1 p.m. Sun., March 20 – 2 p.m. Sun., April 3 – 1 p.m.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


History Exhibit and Restoration Photos to Be Included in February 5th Tour

The historic Palace Theater in Waterbury, Conn., has expanded its popular monthly venue tours to include engaging elements from the theater’s Tenth Anniversary history exhibit, as well as rarely seen restoration and pre-restoration photos of the building.  

The additions will be on view during the Palace’s next guided tour, which is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 5, from 11a.m. to 12:30p.m.

After a successful 10-week engagement at the Mattatuck Museum in November 2014, the theater’s tenth anniversary history exhibit titled, “A Staged Reflection: 1922-2014,” was moved to the Palace, where several of its elements are now currently on display in the box office lobby. Tour attendees will start their excursion by browsing a visual timeline of historic milestones dating back to the venue’s original opening in 1922, in addition to some historic artifacts, including original theater seats from the 1920s.

In addition to the exhibit, patrons will get a glimpse of rarely seen, pre-restoration photos that will be positioned throughout the theater’s different spaces to provide an impressive before and after comparison. Each Palace Theater tour is approximately 90 minutes and is led by a team of engaging volunteers well-versed in the theater’s rich history, architectural design and entertaining anecdotal information. In addition to exploring the theater, Poli Club and lobby spaces, patrons will also have the opportunity to visit the star dressing rooms and view the venue’s backstage murals that were painted and signed by past performers and Broadway touring companies.

It is important to note that each walking tour covers five floors of history and architecture, including grand staircases from the 1920’s. While elevator access is available, guests with walking disabilities or health concerns are asked to inform the Box Office ahead of time, so that the tour guides can make proper accommodations.

Due to the tours' increasing popularity, reservations are required in advance. Each tour is $5.00 per person and single tickets for individuals or groups of 10 or less can be purchased online  Larger groups are asked to contact the Box Office at 203-346-2000 to book their reservations.

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