THE BEST FOLIAGE TOWN IN NEW ENGLAND? YANKEE MAGAZINE PICKS KENT, CONNECTICUT

Kent, Connecticut has many claims to fame—two state parks, a 250-foot waterfall, rural beauty combined with sophisticated shops, galleries and museums.  But this fall there is new reason to boast.  Yankee Magazine has named this charming village in the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut the peak spot for leaf-peeping in all of New England.

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In one day in Kent, says Yankee, you can drive through rolling hills beside a twisting river, stop for thick hot chocolate and an pastry, hike the Appalachian trail, picnic with a panini by a waterfall, shop for Buddhas or modern art and bite into a crisp native Cortland apple, perhaps in the shade of a historic covered bridge.

This praise is no surprise to those who know Kent and its unique blend of attractions.  A newly published free color brochure with map will help newcomers find their way around.

Foliage watchers who like their leaves close-up on a hiking trail should head for Macedonia Brook State Park, where 2300 acres offer extensive leafy trails.  For views, the Blue Trail is hard to beat with its fantastic vistas of the Catskill and Taconic mountains.

In Kent Falls State Park you can admire the falls from the bottom or hike a quarter-mile up the hill and feel the mist on your face as the water cascades down 250 feet on its way to join the Housatonic River.

The Appalachian Trail runs through this area, and hikers who want scenery without stress will enjoy the Housatonic “river walk,” a peaceful stretch beside the river that is the longest essentially flat section along the entire trail.

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For more worldly diversions, take a walk along Route 7, Kent’s Main Street, lined for miles with irresistible stops.  Five antiques shops beckon, including Pauline’s Place and Koblenz & Co., known for their antique jewelry.  Among the many shops and galleries, Heron American Craft Gallery shows the best work of American craftsmen, Foreign Cargo offers unusual clothing, jewelry and art from Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands and the Kent Art Association is just one of five fine art galleries in town.

Take out the camera for Bulls’ Bridge, one of three remaining covered bridges in Connecticut dating from the 19th century.  George Washington crossed the Housatonic River near the site of the present bridge in 1781.

Just north of town is the Sloane-Stanley Museum.  Eric Sloane (1905-1985) was a prolific artist, author and illustrator and an avid collector of Americana. The museum includes the artist’s studio, examples of his art and his extensive collection of early American handmade tools, beautiful objects of wood that are virtual works of art.  On the property are the remains of the Kent Iron Furnace and a diorama explaining the once-booming local iron industry.  Next-door is the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum, a unique display of steam and gas tractors, a working narrow gauge railroad, an industrial hall with working steam engines and mining exhibit building.

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When hunger pangs strike in Kent, the Panini Café is the place for a tasty picnic sandwich, and for a treat the Kent coffee and Chocolate Company offers the “best hot chocolate in Connecticut.”  For dinner, the Fife & Drum is a long time favorite for continental dinners with nightly music, Bull’s Bridge Inn has a choice of fine dining or pub fare, and Doc’s Trattoria serves excellent Italian fare and has a pleasant patio for fine fall days.

For a copy of the new free guide and map of Kent and a free copy of UNWIND, a 163-page color guide to lodging and dining and other regional attractions in all of the Litchfield Hills contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, www.litchfieldhills.com.

Oktoberfest at Quassy Amusement Park

The 23rd Annual OKTOBERFEST is slated for noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27 and Sunday, Sept. 28, at Quassy Amusement Park here. Two bands will be performing for the event, which is held in the Fieldside Pavilion at the lakeside facility. They are: Joe Stanky & His Cadets on Saturday and John Stevens’ Doubleshot on Sunday. Both bands hail from eastern Pennsylvania and have played for years at festivals, amusement parks and other large venues. The live music starts at 12:30 p.m. both days.

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The Harugari Junior Schuhplattlers dance group will entertain during band intermissions on Saturday with the Alpenland Tanzer Dancers performing on Sunday.

Admission to the OKTOBERFEST pavilion is free, with fees for food, beverages, rides and attractions in the park. Parking for the event is $6 per car. Quassy Amusement Park is located at 2132 Middlebury Road.

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Traditional festival food in the pavilion will include knackwurst, bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, roasted pork and steamed vegetables. There will be a variety of other menu items available as well during the two-day festival. Complete dinners or individual entrees will be sold.

About The Park
Quassy Amusement Park is in its 105th year and features more than two-dozen rides and attractions. The lakeside property is also home to “Splash Away Bay” waterpark with the new “BulletBowl” water raft ride and “FreeFall” extreme body slides. In addition, a children’s splash pad titled the “Fish Pond” opened this year.

Quassy also features a new laser maze attraction in its huge arcade building.
Rides include the award-winning “Wooden Warrior” roller coaster, “Music Fest,” “Yo-Yo” super swings, “Free Fall ‘N’ Drop Tower,” “Grand Carousel” and more.

The park also has a restaurant, redemption arcade, games, live entertainment and special events.

Season passes for 2014 are on sale now at the park office and through the Quassy Web site at www.quassy.com. Company picnics, school fieldtrips and other catered events are also being scheduled through the park office at 203-758-2913.

Quassy is located at 2132 Middlebury Road, Route 64, in Middlebury, Conn., on the shores of Lake Quassapaug.

Michael Quadland “Recent Work- Metallic” in Litchfield

The Oliver Wolcott Library in the heart of Litchfield is hosting the work of Michael Quadland through October 24. The Library located on 150 South Street in Litchfield adjoins the historic house that once belonged to Oliver Wolcott Jr. and was built by Elijah Wadsworth in 1799.

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Elijah Wadsworth sold the estate to Frederick Wolcott in 1800 Oliver Wolcott, Jr. acquired the house in 1814 and enlarged it considerably in 1817. Mrs. Oliver Wolcott (Elizabeth Stoughton) was known for being a gracious hostess and the fame of her parties reached as far as Washington, D.C. and England. Parties were frequently held in the ballroom on the second floor. It is said that President George Washington danced his last minuet in Litchfield in that ballroom. The ballroom was restored by the Society of Colonial Wars and can be viewed upon request.

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The artwork on display by Quadland focuses on the expression of emotion. One of the things he enjoys most about painting is the process of putting feelings into visual form, having depended on words for so many years, professionally. He has chosen a nonobjective format as a way to maximize imagination and projection, using abstract forms and evocative colors in layered surfaces. It is difficult for anyone seeing his work not to respond with some sort of feeling. The layers and traces of his paintings contain secrets, he says, that can be revealed to the viewer over time. In this way, the work retains interest, is perpetually new.

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In this “Recent Work” series at Oliver Wolcott Library, Michael’s painting assumes the feeling, texture and dimensionality of sculpture or architecture. Indeed, it seems to straddle the line between these disciplines and painting. Metallic surfaces appear to have been cast eons ago, or to have been torn from a demolished building, the metal having corroded into rough and gritty surfaces, evoking a long, arduous, even mysterious past.

For more information about the Oliver Wolcott Library http://www.owlibrary.org.

Heavens Above! Star Gazing is a Thrill for All

They are seeing stars in Western Connecticut—not to mention planets and galaxies. The opportunity to view the heavens close up though a professional telescope is a rare treat, and Fairfield County in Western Connecticut is lucky enough to have four observatories that invite the public to share the thrill of star-gazing. Experts are on hand to guide beginners and viewing should be prime on the clear autumn nights ahead.

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The Stamford Observatory

The Stamford Observatory at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center, a research facility used by members of the Fairfield County Astronomical Society, is open to all every Friday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., weather permitting. The Observatory’s 22-inch research telescope is better than ever, thanks to recent updating with state of the art high precision components. When visitors spot the moon, planets or deep space objects, computer controls automatically prompt the telescope to zoom in on the object.

On specially scheduled Astronomy Nights, informative talks on the planets and galaxies are presented before the viewing hours. These lively programs are suitable for children ages 5 and up as well as for adults.
The Observatory is located behind the Hecksher Farm off Scofieldtown Road. Viewers enter at 151 Scofieldtown Road. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children. For more information, see http://www.stamfordmuseum.org/observatory.html or phone 203-322-1646.

Rolnick Observatory, Westport

The Westport Astronomical Society has its own long-running program for visitors. The domed Rolnick Observatory houses a 12.5-inch Newtonian telescope. On a moonless night when visibility is prime, the portable 25-inch Obsession telescope, the largest available to the public in Connecticut, is brought outdoors. The program at 182 Bayberry Lane is free to the public every clear Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. See details at was-ct.org, or phone 203-293-8759.

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Westside Observatory, Danbury

Westside Observatory, located atop a five-acre hill on the Westside Campus of Western Connecticut State University, is dedicated to astrophysical research by students and faculty. The observatory’s 20-inch Ritchey-Chrétien reflector telescope is equipped with a computer-controlled pointing and tracking system as well as a powerful CCD camera that takes multi-color digital images of planets, faint stars and other deep-sky objects. The University also has its own planetarium. Free public viewing nights are scheduled regularly depending on weather conditions, but planetarium shows go on rain or shine. The one-hour shows are not recommended for younger children. Schedules are posted at https://www.wcsu.edu/starwatch.

Bowman Observatory, Greenwich

A new 16-inch telescope is being installed by the Astronomical Society of Greenwich at the Bowman Observatory, with the reopening scheduled for sometime this fall. Check the website, seocom.com/asg or phone 203-413-6762 for exact fall viewing dates, usually the second and fourth Tuesdays each month.

Kent Antique Machinery Fall Festival in Litchfield Hills

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This year marks the 30th annual Fall Festival hosted by the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association, www.ctamachinery.com on 31 Kent Cornwall Rd. in Kent on September 26, 27 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event features special demonstrations, vendors and food along with the many permanent exhibits of the Association that includes Industrial Hall, a mining museum, a tractor hall, a narrow gage working railroad and the Cream Hill Agricultural School.

Highlights of this event include an American #1 sawmill with plenty of logs to be cut into planks. There will be demonstrations throughout the weekend of the sawmill, as well as other wood handling machinery including an antique planer, a splitter, and maybe even a drag saw.

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Another popular spot is the blacksmith’s shop headed up by Skip Kern who will be showing visitors the art of blacksmithing. In the Industrial Hall of Steam, Conrad Milster will be giving talks and live demonstrations of various antique steam engines. The Association hopes to see their Nagle-Corliss engine in operation for this show. A highlight in Industrial Hall is the Associations newest acquisition, a very early (possibly Ames) engine, on loan from the New York Hall of Science.

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Lumber Jack/Jill demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday of the Festival, featuring Shannon Strong, a well-known local fitness trainer are certain crowd pleasers. The show will feature demonstrations of handsaw and ax skills. Demonstration times will be announced at the show.

In the Industrial Hall of Steam, Conrad Milster will be giving talks and live demonstrations of the Association’s various antique steam engines. The Association hopes to see their Nagle-Corliss engine in operation for this show. Visitors will also see the Association’s newest acquisition, a very early (possibly Ames) engine, that came to them in beautiful condition, on loan from the New York Hall of Science.

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Don’t miss the Friday evening spaghetti w/meatballs and sausage. There’s a limited number of tickets available, so buy them in advance at the food pavilion. The dinner is from 5:30 to 7:00 PM and will be held at the picnic pavilion unless inclement weather forces it inside the Industrial Hall. Tickets are $10 per person. Menu includes spaghetti with meatballs and sausage, salad, Italian bread, soft drinks, coffee and dessert. All proceeds benefit the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association.

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Parking is free in the lower parking field and a free shuttle bus will bring you to the main gate.

For more information http://www.ctamachinery.com and for area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Fall Fun at the New Canaan Historical Society

The New Canaan Historical Society located on 13 Oenoke Ridge in New Canaan has planned several exciting events to enjoy this fall. A new art show, “Commitment to Excellence in Art & Sport: A Fine Art Competition” and Exhibit is taking place through November 3 has been organized cooperatively with the National Art Museum of Sport. This is the Museum of Sport’s 4th annual international show. The National Art Museum of Sport was founded in 1959 by Germain Glidden, a Silvermine painter and athlete.

Pictured is Richard Stravitz's V Seat which was inspired by the flexibility, strength, and balance that helped Kurt Thomas excel in the world of gymnastics during the late 1970s.

Pictured is Richard Stravitz’s V Seat which was inspired by the flexibility, strength, and balance that helped Kurt Thomas excel in the world of gymnastics during the late 1970s.

The Little Red Schoolhouse built in 1868 located on Carter Street is the site of the Rotary Club’s annual Lobsterfest on September 26 & 27 that will take place on the Society’s great lawn. Tickets for this event are available in the Historical Society’s office. A special treat on September 27 is the open house at the Little Red School House from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. The school closed in 1957.

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To celebrate 125 years, the New Canaan Historical Society is hosting a special “Colonial Day” on Saturday, October 11 (rain date Oct. 12) from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. This colonial themed premiere event will start off with a fife and drum performance and will be followed by militia drills and games. Take time to explore the general store and watch demonstrations of weaving, spinning, printing, and early learning. Make sure to pay a visit to the herb garden and follow it with a visit to the Cody Drug Store where many medicinal herbs will be on display.

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About the New Canaan Historical Society

Founded in 1889, the New Canaan Historical Society has carried out its mission “to bring together and arrange the historical events of the town of New Canaan, the genealogies of the families who have lived in the town, to form a library and to collect relics and curiosities, to form a museum.

At the Society’s headquarters, in the 1825 Town House, the Society maintains a research library of more than 3,500 volumes, along with scores of manuscripts, deeds, newspapers, photographs and other documents dating to the colonial era.

The Society owns or operates eight museums and buildings, including the 1764 Hanford-Silliman House, the 1960 Gores Pavilion, and the Rogers Studio and Museum, which, with Philip Johnson’s Glass House, is one of only two National Historic Landmarks in New Canaan. For more information http://www.nchistory.org.

Seventh Annual Old Fashioned Flea Market at Lockwood Mathews Mansion

For anyone who loves to hunt for treasures, repurposed furniture, decorative accessories, and curiosities of all kinds, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum’s Old Fashioned Flea Market is the place to be. The event, will take place on Sunday, September 21,2014, 10 a.m. -5 p.m. at 295 West Avenue in Norwalk, CT, in Mathews Park.

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Whether you enjoy bargains, face-painting, or a stroll down memory lane, this is such an enjoyable event as it offers something to everyone. The highlight of this event is than 80 vendors that will offer a variety of items from new, and used, to vintage. Treasures for sale include an interesting assortment of antiques, furniture, collectibles, jewelry, household items, clothing, and toys. The adventure of this event is that you never know what you will find!

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Another highlight of this event is the classic and antique car show that is sure to delight the car buffs in the group. Shop while listening to swing and jazz music performed by the popular Bob Button Big Band that will perform from 12p.m. -1 p.m. Afterward, students from The Pop Music Academy, located in Stamford will delight the audience with contemporary music from 2:30-3:30 p.m. A flea market favorite is the all-American BBQ courtesy of Stew Leonard’s and Michael Gilmartin’s Outdoor Cookers Catering & Event Planning.

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The Museum will also be open for mini-tours from 12 noon to 4 p.m.. Visitors will be invited to walk throughout the Museum’s period rooms on the first floor and view an iconic Victorian era mansion for only $5.
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is a National Historic Landmark. For more information on schedules and programs please visit www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, e-mail info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com, or call 203-838-9799.

About the Flea Market

Proceeds will benefit the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum. The Museum has donated several booths to area nonprofits who will share their message and mission with attendees.

The Museum’s 2014 Old Fashioned Flea Market is made possible in part by generous support from: Fairfield County Bank, King Industries, Inc. and City Carting. The Museum’s 2014 cultural and educational programs are made possible in part by generous funding from LMMM’s Founding Patrons: The Estate of Mrs. Cynthia Clark Brown; The Museum’s Distinguished Benefactors: Klaff’s, The Xerox Foundation, and The Maurice Goodman Foundation; LMMM Sustainers: Spinnaker Real Estate Partners.