Sunset/Moonrise Kayak Paddle Around Norwalk Islands Sept. 12

Experienced and novice kayakers are invited to join Friends of the Norwalk Islands for a sunset/moonrise paddle that coincides with the mid-autumn festival on the Chinese calendar.

A guided Kayak Paddle to the Norwalk Islands will launch at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 12, from The Small Boat Shop dock at 144 Water Street. Children (age 10 and above and weighing at least 100 pounds) are welcome to participate. Water safety and basic paddling techniques will be discussed before the tour to the Norwalk Islands begins.

“If you have never seen the sunset from a kayak or paddled beneath the moon, this trip is for you,” says Susan Snider, president, Friends of the Norwalk Islands. “After launching, we’ll head down the Norwalk River into Long Island Sound to enjoy the beauty of the Norwalk Islands and the night sky. We’ll return to the dock by 8:00 p.m.”

The Small Boat Shop is sponsoring several kayak paddles to support the Friends of the Norwalk Islands. The event fee of $85 includes a kayak, paddles, life jacket and $25 donation to Friends of the Norwalk Islands. Reservations are required by calling Friends of the Norwalk Islands (203-849-8341) or The Small Boat Shop (203-854-5223) or visit http://www.TheSmallBoatShop.com/kayaktours2011.html.

Led by Snider, the Friends of the Norwalk Islands has partnered with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to conserve, protect and enhance the environmental, recreational and cultural significance of the Norwalk Islands and to promote the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Norwalk Islands of Chimon, Peach, Goose and Sheffield are part of the Norwalk Islands unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. To learn more, visit the web site at http://www.FriendsoftheNorwalkIslands.org.

Photo Credit: Dick Ramsey

Friends of the Norwalk Islands Cook-out Kayak Paddle Sunday August 21!

Experienced and novice kayakers are invited to join Friends of the Norwalk Islands for a day of exploration and a cook-out on Sunday, August 21. A guided Kayak Paddle to the Norwalk Islands will launch at 9:30 a.m. from The Small Boat Shop dock at 144 Water Street. Children (age 10 and above and weighing at least 100 pounds) are welcome to participate. Water safety and basic paddling techniques will be discussed before the tour to the Norwalk Islands begins.

“This is an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the Norwalk Islands,” says Susan Snider, president, Friends of the Norwalk Islands. “After launching, we will head down the Norwalk River into Long Island Sound. Weather permitting we will stop for a cook-out on Shea Island followed by a visit to Chimon Island to learn about the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and meet Elliot Sudal and Jason Wheeler, the island keepers who are living and working on Chimon this summer.”

The Small Boat Shop is sponsoring this kayak paddle to support Friends of the Norwalk Islands. The event fee of $105 includes a kayak, paddles and life jacket, plus a $25 donation to Friends of the Norwalk Islands. Reservations are required by calling Friends of the Norwalk Islands (203-849-8341) or The Small Boat Shop (203-854-5223) or visit http://www.TheSmallBoatShop.com/kayaktours2011.html .

Led by Snider, the Friends of the Norwalk Islands has partnered with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to conserve, protect and enhance the environmental, recreational and cultural significance of the Norwalk Islands and to promote the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Norwalk Islands of Chimon, Peach, Goose and Sheffield are part of the Norwalk Islands unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. To learn more, visit the web site at http://www.FriendsoftheNorwalkIslands.org

Kent Sidewalk Festival Ready For July 28-31 In Litchfield Hills CT

The Kent Sidewalk Festival is scheduled for Thursday, July 28 through Sunday, July 31 and is sponsored by the Kent Chamber of Commerce.

I have enjoyed the sidewalk festival for many years and I am looking forward to visiting Kent this weekend for this festive event… If you like to treasure hunt for fabulous gifts amid a charming small town teaming with music and great food, this event is for you!

Every merchant and store up and down Main Street, in the Village Barns and on the Kent Green will be offering special discounted items, many in tents outside their stores. You will find great deals on women’s clothing at Terston, Country Clothes, Foreign Cargo and Wanda Elle, antique jewelry, glassware and collectibles at the North Main Street Market Place, David Armstrong prints and books at House of Books, shoes at Sundog Shoe and Leather, antiques galore at both Main Street and Rolling River Antiques, designer samples of wallpaper, pillows and more at LaVoie Color & Design, a designer tag sale at Kent Kitchen Works and a blowout on Reidel Glassware at Kent Wine & Spirit.

St. Andrews Church and the Kent Center School Scholarship Fund will have tag sales to benefit the work they do while the Library’s book sale will offer 10% off any purchases over $10. The volunteer fire department will celebrate their 100th anniversary with memorabilia and sale items near the library. As you go from shop to shop, be sure to enter the drawing for a Summer Shopping Spree at participating businesses. The drawing will be held Sunday at 2 PM on the Golden Falcon Field with a grand prize worth over $500 and 2 others worth $250 each.

Not to be left out, the restaurants in town will offer discounts and special food items. The Villager is open for breakfast and lunch, the Fife’n Drum will feature pulled pork sliders under their tent and popcorn at the Gift Shop, Millstone Café will serve Mexican churros, Smoked will have discounted prices while Webster Bank is bringing in their ice cream truck and Backcountry Outfitters will have Cheeseburgers in Paradise on Friday night.

Children will enjoy a Sidewalk Art Contest Saturday morning, face painting each day thanks to Kent Children’s Center. Fire truck rides from the new firehouse, several family exercise opportunities, a Petting Zoo at Three Monkeys and Me and Dancing on Main Street with the Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts are all part of family fun in Kent.

Music is another big part of the Sidewalk Festival with actors from Tri-Arts in Sharon performing excerpts from their current production, Hairspray. At Kent Coffee and Chocolate you can stop and listen to an Elvis impersonator that will sing your favorite hits. There will also be concerts on the porch at Richard Lindsey Bookseller on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. This year the Concerts will benefit the Fisher House of Connecticut. This house, next to the VA Hospital in West Haven, affords military and veteran’s family’s a place to stay near their loved one during recovery. The line up for the Concerts includes Andy and Jeannette Hicks, students from the Litchfield Jazz Camp, John Couch, Homegrown Band, the Joint Chiefs, Joe Bouchard and Bruce Wheeler.

Many merchants will also offer demonstrations and activities to inform and entertain. Fitness Matters Studio will offer free Juice Plus+ tastings as well as a polarity therapist, a resistance/stretching trainer and an energy healer Reiki Master (for a fee). Black Sheep Yarns has fiber related artisans doing demonstrations and selling materials, and Rolling River Antiques will offer chair caning demonstrations. You can get a Henna Tattoo at Terston for a $10 donation to the Kent Food Bank or try various fitness methods at Curves and Mountain Falls Fitness and afterward sample wine at Kent Wine & Spirit.

New this year and sure to be a big hit is Kent Cruise Night Saturday. This is a chance to show off your car, truck or hot rod. The event will also feature great food and music.

Not all events take place all hours each day, but there will be fun for all four days! Parking is available on the street and on the Kent Green property. For the most up to date information contact the Kent Chamber of Commerce at 860-927-1463 and check the website http://www.kentct.com. The mission of the Kent Chamber of Commerce is to bring local businesses together to develop and promote balanced economic growth that enhances the quality of life in our community.

Sheffield Island Opens for the Season

The Norwalk Seaport Association has kicked off its summer season with the opening of Sheffield Island that is home to the 142-year-old Sheffield Island lighthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

From May through September, visitors can board the Seaport Association’s 45-foot C.J. Toth catamaran for a cruise to the island then tour the lighthouse, observe wildlife in their natural habitat in the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, hunt for shells along the beach, dine on a picnic lunch, play on the lawns around the lighthouse or simply unwind and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds them. A special treat when visiting the island is a climb to the lighthouse tower that affords magnificent views of Long Island Sound and, on a clear day, of the New York City skyline.

A special offering by the Seaport Association is the Wednesday Sunset Harbor Cruises from 6:30 p.m to 9:30 p.m. This relaxing sunset cruise on the Seaport’s new 45-foot ferry is a spectacular way to explore the beauty of Fairfield County’s “gold coast”, Norwalk Harbor and Long Island Sound. Advance reservations for the popular sunset cruise are strongly recommended.

A favorite of young and old alike is the Thursday Evening Clambake at Sheffield Island Lighthouse. Every summer, the Seaport Ferry in South Norwalk carries hundreds of hungry passengers to the historic 1868 Sheffield Island Lighthouse for this famous Thursday night outing. A true New England dining experience, the evening allows participants to dine in the festive tented pavilion on the lighthouse lawn, with tours of the lighthouse itself included in the cost. Roundtrip cruise and dinner is either $58 or $78 per person, depending on entree. Advance registration only. To dine in the shadow of the historic 1868 Sheffield Island Lighthouse and look out to the skyline of Manhatten is truly and unforgettable summer experience. The Clambake begins June 30, 2011 and runs through August 25, 2011.

The Seaport Association also offers a popular Bird Watching Cruise that leaves the dock at 7:30 am and returns at 10:30 am. Birding enthusiasts will join Larry Flynn, Master Wildlife Conservationist, Division of Wildlife, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, aboard the Seaport Association’s ferry, to learn about the birds that make Long Island Sound their home. The first tour for 2011 is Saturday, June 4 from 2 pm to 4 pm. This years dates for the special birding crusies are: Sunday, June 12 and 26; Sunday July 10, Tuesday July 12, Sunday July 24, Saturday July 30, Sunday August 7 and Wednesday August 10. For reservations call 203-838-9444.

The ferry service to Sheffield Island is Monday-Friday — 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and on weekends and holidays the ferry runs at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Round-trip ferry tickets: $22 adults $20 seniors/NSA members $12 ages 4-12; $5 ages 3 and younger. To buy tickets call 800-838-3006 (24/7) visit the website http://www.seaport.org or call 203-838-2898 on the day of the ferry ride.

The ferry leaves from the Sheffield Island Lighthouse dock located at the corner of North Water Street and Washington Street in Historic South Norwalk. Parking is available adjacent to the dock and the Norwalk Maritime Center Garage. The 2011 Season begins May 28, 2011 and ends September 25, 2011. It is advised to arrive at the dock 15 minutes before departure.

The Norwalk Seaport Association was established in 1978 and stewards the Sheffield Island lighthouse, which celebrates 142 years as the jewel in Long Island Sound.