Allen Hazard One of the Foremost Wampum Artists Demonstrates this Centuries Old Art Form @ Institute for American Indian Studies

Wampum has been treasured for its’ beauty, spiritual and social bonds by Native peoples of New England and beyond for centuries. On, Saturday, September 19 visitors to The Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, Connecticut will find out why wampum has been revered for so long and what it means to Native people.

Today, Native artists continue to craft wampum jewelry and belts to record tribal history. To learn about the significance of wampum and how it continues to provide social and spiritual bonds among Native peoples, visitors are invited to join Allen Hazard, of the Narragansett tribe and one of the most well-known wampum artists in the country for an outdoor presentation about wampum from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Hazard is a renowned jewelry sculptor and wampum artist that will share both the traditional way wampum was made and how he uses modern tools and techniques to create handcrafted bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and medallions. Hazard’s designs are inspired by his Narragansett heritage and from the generations of his family members that have passed this art form down.

A highlight of this demonstration is to watch the remarkable processes of how wampum is made from two different shells. The white pieces of wampum are made from the whelk, a sea snail, and the purple pieces are made from a quahog. These shells are found in the ocean water south of Cape Cod to New York, with an abundance of them in Long Island Sound. Another interesting aspect is how Hazard uses modern tools such as wet saws and dremels to show how he makes modern wampum jewelry based on his cultural traditions.

The color of the beads had meaning for the Algonquians that lived in the Eastern Woodlands. The white beads represented purity and light and were used as gifts to mark important events like births and marriages. The purple beads represented serious events like war or death. The combination of these beads represent the duality of the world, light, and darkness, man, and woman, life, and death.

This program is included in the price of admission: IAIS members are free, Adults are $10, seniors are $8, and children are $6. Please call 860-868-0518 or email to reserve your spot. In accordance with health protocols, when attending this event, masks are required inside the museum and outside the museum when you are within six feet of other visitors, museum staff, or visiting presenters.
This program is partially funded through a grant from the Connecticut Community Foundation.

About the Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have the 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

September Cruises to Three Lighthouses with Seaport Association in Norwalk

A cruise with the Seaport Association through the Norwalk River into Long Island Sound is blissful on an autumn day. This cruise is just long enough, about two hours, to feel refreshed and recharged when you are back on land. There are 25 islands that stretch about six miles from Norwalk to Westport located about a mile off the coast.

Geologically, the islands are considered to be terminal moraines that consist of materials left by the last glacier. Some islands are rather large and others are mounds of boulders, silt, clay, sand, and vegetation from trees and beach roses to tall seagrass that sways in the breeze. These islands act as a barrier to rough seas and are one of the things that boaters like about Norwalk Harbor. This area is designated as a federal navigation channel of recreational and small harbor variety.

The cruise begins just past the Metro-North Rail Bridge and goes under the Stroffolino Bridge, a bascule bridge spanning the Norwalk River that swings upward to provide clearance for boat traffic. Mr. Stroffolino was active in the passage of a bill in the 1949 General Assembly that gave the bridge and Rte. 136 to Connecticut.

As the vessel makes its’ way through Norwalk Harbor and into Long Island Sound, passengers will see Isochoda Yacht Club, one of the oldest in America founded in 1886, and Calf Pasture Beach that was used for disembarkation and encampment during the Tryon raid of the American Revolutionary War in 1779. Passengers will also glide by many of Norwalk’s Islands, many with large homes on them including “Tavern Island” that was the home of Billy Rose in the 1920s, a famous entertainer and bootlegger that used this island for rum-running.

The Islands of Norwalk are surrounded by oyster beds that are marked by stakes with red flags on them. At one time oystering was one of the lynchpins of Norwalk’s economy and the city’s primary industry. Oystering declined for many reasons in the 19th century, but today in the 21st century it has made a strong comeback. Part of the thrill of a cruise to Sheffield Island is to watch the oyster boats hard at work. Watching oystermen hauling up their catch of the day is an activity that has embodied the history of Norwalk for centuries and is still a commodity that the city is known for.

A highlight any time of year on this cruise is to get a water view of the three historic lighthouses that lie off Norwalk’s coast, two spark plug lighthouses, Greens Ledge and Peck Ledge and, the iconic Sheffield Island Lighthouse, the crown jewel of Connecticut’s maritime heritage. Located on the 57 acre Sheffield Island the Lighthouse is on the National Historic Register and is owned, maintained, and preserved by the Seaport Association. In addition to the Lighthouse, there are many wading birds that make the island their home including the roseate tern, Brant, scouter, black duck, and other waterfowl. Nesting birds on the island include ospreys and herons. Always keep an eye peeled for harbor seals that frequent the southwest end of the island.

The Seaport Association is offering sunset cruises Wednesdays – Sundays as well as two daily cruises on Saturdays and Sundays. Please purchase your tickets in advance The comfort and safety of all passengers and staff are important to the Seaport Association, for a complete list of safety protocols The vessel is limited to twenty-five passengers and masks must be worn throughout the entire cruise. The vessel is also available for charter, for additional information call 203-838-9444. To help preserve and maintain Sheffield Island Lighthouse please visit the gofundme page

Educational Exploration – Private Classes Now Offered @ Institute for American Indian Studies

This September, the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington Connecticut is offering three-hour private educational programs in the new Educational Exploration program that will spark your child’s curiosity with a learning experience outside the classroom. The Institute’s private lessons will teach important life skills that can be tailored for students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

The new Educational Exploration Private Lessons were developed in response to the social isolation encountered by children this past spring and summer. The private lesson courses have been fine-tuned using the Institution’s 45 years of experience educating countless school groups that have visited. The Museum educational staff has designed private lessons to provide students with engaging and meaningful experiences that leverage the Institute’s collections and grounds. Components of these private classes will include the study of earth sciences, social sciences, social studies, survival techniques, traditional skills, and archeology. A special add on bonus is an experience in the award-winning Wigwam Escape room that will take students back to the year of 1518.

Age-appropriate private lessons are a good educational balance for children that are either learning remotely from home or going to school just two or three days a week. The Institute’s private lessons offer one-on-one education and mentorship for those interested in further developing skills, working on special projects, or fulfilling a special interest. They will feature hands-on, interdisciplinary, inquiry-based programs led by experienced museum educators on a variety of interesting topics that will have connections to core social studies, science, reading, and writing curricula.

Educational Exploration programs are three hours long and are offered in the morning or in the afternoon and range from the minimum cost of $85 for members to $105 for non-members per lesson for one to three children. To book private lessons, call the Institute’s Education Department at 860-868-0518, Ext. 103 or email Siblings, cousins, neighbors, and friends are welcome. There is an additional per child charge of $20 for more than three children. Wigwam Escape, an award-winning escape room can be included in any program for an additional fee.

Educational Exploration programs can be customized based on age, the number of participants, and topics for additional fee. Students and staff are required to wear masks inside the museum. First aid and CPR certified staff members will be present at all times

About the Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have the 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington,

Kent CT a beautiful spot for Fall Foliage

Kent, Connecticut has many claims to fame—two state parks, a 250-foot waterfall, rural beauty combined with sophisticated shops, galleries, and museums. 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.

In one day in Kent, says Yankee, you can drive through rolling hills beside a twisting river, stop for thick hot chocolate and an authentic 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. 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.

For more worldly diversions, take a walk along Route 7, Kent’s Main Street, lined for miles with irresistible stops. Antique shops and galleries beckon, 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 a mining exhibit building.

When hunger pangs strike in Kent, the Panini Café is the place for a tasty picnic sandwich, and for a treat at the Kent coffee and Chocolate Company for the title of “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.

Results of the Historic Festival @ Lime Rock

After five days of activities, the 38th annual Historic Festival came to an end after another spectacular September day. The event featured 184 drivers, almost exclusively from the Northeast, racing vintage cars that ranged from a 1928 Bugatti 37A to a 1993 Ralt-RT-41A. Nineteen different drivers topped the podium in 32 races.

Best American, 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, Robert Boutot, Wolcott, CT Center: Best in Show 1930 Packard 745 Phaeton, Dr. Denis Bouboulis, Greenwich, CT Right: Best International 1967 Lancia Flaminia Convertible, Donald Schwarzkopf, Carefree, AZ

More than 500 cars were on display during the Sunday in the Park Concours and Gathering of the Marques. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Datsun Z-Car with multiple years represented.

“Faced with COVID-19 our goal was to have a quality event that was safe. We allowed no spectators on the racing days because of concerns of a crowded paddock. On Sunday we felt it was safe to have limited spectators as the cars were displayed all around the track. We had half of the normal number of cars and restricted the crowd to about one-eighth of our capacity. Good racing, quality cars, happy and I believe safe participants,” said Skip Barber, Lime Rock Park President.

For full race results, click here and for more photos click here.

Take A Hike @ Flanders Nature Center in Woodbury

Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust holds in trust more than 2,100 acres of open space in Woodbury, Bethlehem, Southbury, and Middlebury, Connecticut, including seven nature preserves and sanctuaries that include hiking trails.

From a photo trek across a sunny meadow to a cross-country ski adventure on a snowy, woodland trail, the passive recreational opportunities on Flanders’ land are as diverse as the settings. Each of the properties has its own character and attributes, from historic buildings, stone walls, and marked trails to expansive vistas of woodlands, lakes, ponds, streams, fields, and a bog. These pristine, undeveloped areas offer moments of reflection, relaxation, and recreation.

The 200-acre Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary and the 686-acre Whittemore Sanctuary, both in Woodbury, Connecticut offer a network of well-marked and well-maintained pedestrian-only trails for year-round passive recreation, including walking, hiking, wildlife observation, photo treks, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The diversity of terrain, plant life, and habitat areas that can be experienced at the Van Vleck Farm Sanctuary are reflected in such trail names as the “Botany Trail,” “Wildlife Vegetation Trail,” “Wilderness Trail,” “Farm Trail,” “Old Orchard Trail” and others. Similarly, trails at the Whittemore Sanctuary wind through expansive, natural vistas and are identified by color. Trails at both Sanctuaries are open every day from dawn to dusk. Trail maps can be downloaded by clicking here