Trails of the Norwalk River Valley and Vicinity

The Norwalk River Watershed Association has launched “Trails of the Norwalk River Valley and Vicinity,” which includes hiking trail maps of the entire watershed region, including Norwalk, Wilton, Ridgefield, Weston and Redding.

Both the map and David Park’s “Kayaking In and Around the Norwalk Islands” book are available through the NRWA website at http://norwalkriver.org/. Proceeds from each purchase go toward funding NRWA efforts to protect the Norwalk River watershed.

The map is available in paper for $5 and in water-resistant outdoor quality for $8 (100% of proceeds support NRWA). The book is available for $10 (40% of proceeds go to NRWA).

The maps were produced by NRWA and printed with funds from a grant from Norwalk outdoor gear and apparel store Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI). The map charts existing and proposed trails from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk north to Danbury throughout the watershed and surrounding vicinity.

Kayaking in and around the Norwalk Islands by NRWA board member and kayak enthusiast, David Park, is packed with superb information on kayaking the Norwalk area.

The Norwalk Islands, located one mile off shore, include islands open to the public for camping and exploring, a few being part of the Stewart McKinney Wildlife Refuge. The guidebook, complete with color photos, includes information on three local rivers, complete descriptions of all the islands including local wildlife, history, and points of interest such as the Historic Sheffield Island Lighthouse and other Norwalk lighthouses as well as other useful tidbits such as where to launch, coastal and off-shore paddling information, and safety guidelines.

For information on free programs, research, volunteer opportunities, and membership, contact http://www.norwalkriver.org.

About the Norwalk Watershed Association

The Norwalk River Watershed Association, incorporated in 1996, is a not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to improve the water quality and aesthetic value of the 40,000-acre Norwalk River watershed; to encourage recreational use of the existing trails and open space; and to promote research, education, cooperation, and action on the part of the stakeholders in the seven watershed towns in CT (Ridgefield, Redding, Wilton, New Canaan, Weston, and Norwalk) and NY (Lewisboro).

“Divided Light and Color: American Impressionist Landscapes” AT The Bruce Museum Through Jan. 29

Still among the best loved of all artistic movements, Impressionism records the world with a memorable alacrity, capturing scenes with spontaneous shorthand of divided light and color. The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, presents a new exhibition, “Divided Light and Color: American Impressionist Landscapes” that runs through January 29, 2012.
One of the greatest strengths of the Bruce Museum’s permanent collection and local private collectors’ interests is the American Impressionist landscape. This exhibition brings together two dozen fine examples of impressionist art in a show with imagery that continues to enchant and endure.

Recent acquisitions by The Bruce Museum include examples of the some of the pioneers of American Impressionism, including the distinguished painters, Theodore Robinson (1852-1896), John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902), and Childe Hassam (1859-1935).
Childe Hassam is well represented locally, with outstanding masterpieces recording his time in France and summer art excursions in New England. He is also well known for his work of the local Greenwich scene, including the Holley House, site of the famous Cos Cob Art Colony, as well as Mill Pond and railway bridge in Cos Cob.

The exhibition attests to the importance of the local Cos Cob Art Colony and its founders and instructors, such as Leonard Ochtman (1854-1934), whose house overlooked the Mianus River and whose work is extensively represented at the Bruce Museum. Second generation American Impressionists, such as Elmer Livingston MacRae (1875-1953), Founder of the America Pastel Society and the Greenwich Society of Artists is also represented. A highlight is the work of Matilda Browne (1869-1947), a local resident of Greenwich, and one of the few women artists among the early American Impressionists.


The exponents of American Impressionist landscape painting also recorded American scenery as far afield as New Hope, Pennsylvania and Carmel, California. Uniting these diverse works is a response to changes in light, a strong palette, and the carefully observed atmospheric effects so characteristic of American Impressionism.

This is a beautiful show that should not be missed by lovers of Impressionist Art.

About the Bruce Museum
Consistently voted the “Best Museum” by area media, the Bruce Museum is a regionally based, world-class institution highlighting art, science and natural history in more than a dozen changing exhibitions annually. The Bruce Museum is located at 1 Museum Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA. General admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and free for children under five and Bruce Museum members. Free admission to all on Tuesdays. The Museum is located near Interstate-95, Exit 3, and a short walk from the Greenwich, CT, train station. Museum hours are: Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and closed Mondays and major holidays. Museum exhibition tours are held Fridays at 12:30 p.m. Free, on-site parking is available. For information, call the Bruce Museum at (203) 869-0376, or visit the Bruce Museum website at www.brucemuseum.org.

Ready for Halloween? A Haunting at Mill Hill in Norwalk October 15 and 22

As the sun sets, on Mill Hill in Norwalk, the spirits come out to play. Take a lantern-light tour through the historic Mill Hill graveyard and hear chilling tales from the spirits of Norwalk’s past on Saturdays, October 15 and 22 (rain or shine). Tours are scheduled at 5:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Each tour will be followed by refreshments in the old one-room schoolhouse. This pre-Halloween event is organized by the Norwalk Historical Society.

During “A Haunting at Mill Hill,” participants will hear stories of murder, death, destruction and more while they meet renegade Tory Easias Bouton, Chester, the haunted Civil War statue, and other entities from Norwalk’s colorful history. The cemetery is located at 2 East Wall Street, Norwalk, CT 06851.

Space for each tour is limited so reservations are recommended (203-846-0525). Advance tickets are $10 for adults/teens and $6 for children ages 8-12 (not recommended for children younger than 8). Tickets at the door are $12 for adults/teens and $8 for children. There is a $2 discount for Norwalk Historical Society members. For more information visit http://norwalkhistoricalsociety.org.

About Mill Hill Historic Park

The Mill Hill Historic Park consists of three historical buildings and the third oldest Burying Ground in Norwalk.

The Burying Ground on Mill Hill dates to 1767 and was originally called Whitney’s Hill after a miller that opened a mill on the site. A list of those buried in the Mill Hill Burying Ground was recorded in 1924 and consisted of the names on the headstones that were clearly readable. Not all that are buried on Mill Hill are accounted for because in the Colonial Period less than a third of the burials were marked with an inscribed headstone. Some of the time, a simple rock was used.

Several notable buildings are located on the grounds of the Mill Hill complex. The federally styled brick Norwalk Town House dates to 1835 and served a multiple of purposes over the years as a gathering place for special groups.

The Law Office of Governor Fitch is also on the grounds. Thomas Fitch was Governor of the Colony of Connecticut from 1754 to 1766. Restored in 1971, the small colonial style building I saw on the grounds was reconstructed as a colonial law office. Originally, it was part of the kitchen wing of Governor Fitch’s house. I was told that it was the only portion of the house that survived the burning of Norwalk by the British on July 11, 1779. The house that stands on Mill Hill today, was once located in East Norwalk. It was moved in 1956 because it was in the construction path of the Interstate 95.

The red-clapboarded building known as the Downtown District School House is also located in the complex and was built in 1826. The building was used as a school until 1871. The British destroyed the original school, and the present schoolhouse was built on the lines of the first utilizing its original foundation.

Norwalk Seaport Association Stages Murder Mystery to Preserve Historic Sheffield Island Lighthouse October 21!


Who done it? Find out as Norwalk Seaport Association (NSA) hosts a murder mystery dinner, “Double Trouble,” to benefit Sheffield Island lighthouse. The event will be held at the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m., and includes hors d’oeuvres and dinner while guests solve an exciting and entertaining mystery.

“It’s great fun to stage this murder mystery in support of our ongoing efforts to demystify the historic beauty and magnificence of our Sheffield Island lighthouse,” said Tom Shrum, president of the non-profit, volunteer-run NSA. “There’s no better way for southern Connecticut residents to show our pride in our local maritime heritage.”

This is the second event this year to benefit the lighthouse. In March, a sold-out crowd at NSA’s Light Keeper’s Gala collectively donated a record $49,000 for the environmental organization’s stewardship of the lighthouse.

Reservations to the murder mystery are required. Tickets are $75 per person for Seaport Association members and $85 for non-members, and can be purchased online at www.seaport.org.

About Norwalk Seaport Association

Norwalk Seaport Association was established in 1978 and stewards the Sheffield Island lighthouse, which celebrates 142 years as the jewel in Long Island Sound. During the summer, its C.J Toth ferryboat takes visitors to Sheffield Island for tours of the historic lighthouse, special events and enjoyment of a walking trail through the Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge.

NSA provides environmental education programs that use Sheffield Island and offers diverse special events and community projects, including the annual NSA Oyster Festival, now in its 34th year. This event attracts up to 50,000 people during three days in early September and provides $200,000 in fundraising opportunities for more than 20 other local non-profit organizations. In addition, the Seaport Association helped create Norwalk’s Coastal Area Management Plan; establish the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk; and revitalize historic South Norwalk.

More information can be found at www.seaport.org.

New Canaan Nature Center’s 42nd Annual Fall Fair October 15

The crisp days of autumn are here! It is a glorious time of year in Connecticut when families can enjoy traditional fairs and festivals amidst a backdrop of orange, scarlet and gold leaves.

The New Canaan Nature Center’s 42 annual Fall Fair is chock full of traditional fall fair activities that will please young and old alike. Visitors to the Fair will enjoy pony rides, a “haunted” woodland trail, apple slingshots, nature-based crafts, a hay maze, cupcake and pumpkin decorating, and fire engine rides on New Canaan’s antique fire engine, Old Faithful. The giant bungee jump, one of last year’s most popular attractions will also be back along with the “Kids On The Go” obstacle course and other inflatable rides.


The Fall Fair will feature a wide range of entertainment throughout the day. The Moses Brothers band will entertain families with a live performance of their blues/bluegrass/rock music from 11a.m. – 3 p.m. The 4th Annual Apple Pie Eating contest will begin at 3 p.m. with categories for youth and adults. There is an entry fee ($5 for youth and $15 for adults) and prizes will be awarded. Other live shows include birds of prey demonstrations, shadow puppet shows and story readings between 10:30am – 2:30pm.

New this year will be an “Eco-Village” where attendees can learn about the latest products, services and businesses to help green their home, family and life. Participating Eco-Village sponsors/exhibitors include Alteris Renewables, BPC Green Builders, Going Green Landscape Lighting, Graze Delivered, Sunlight Solar Energy Inc. and Vinylume Inc. Renewal by Andersen.

A wide range of fresh foods will be available to purchase throughout the day, including grilled hot dogs, pulled pork and vegetarian sandwiches, pizza, hot soup and hot and cold beverages. A variety of homemade baked goods will be for sale courtesy of Nature Center volunteers.

Admission to the Fall Fair is free and parking is available at St. Mark’s and the First Presbyterian Church. Tickets can be purchased for $1 each for the activities and food, which range from 1-7 tickets.

About the New Canaan Nature Center

The New Canaan Nature Center is a not-for-profit organization that is an environmental education center and sanctuary dedicated to helping people of all ages better understand, appreciate and care for the world of nature. The annual Fall Fair helps raise funds to maintain and offer this community treasure admission-free to residents of New Canaan and the surrounding area throughout the year. For more information about the Fall Fair visit www.NewCanaanNature.org of call (203) 966-9577.

The Discovery Museum Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month October 8th

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium is proud to announce free admission as part of its celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month on October 8th. To celebrate the day, Bi-lingual docents will be on hand to show visitors around the musuem.

The day’s events will showcase Hispanic scientists, engineers, and inventors whose genius expanded the frontiers of science and space and improved the social and health conditions of populations around the globe.

Visitors to the Museum will discover the rich, Hispanic legacy and ongoing discoveries which contribute to our quality of life, whether it is finding the cure for leprosy or being the first female astronaut in space to represent the Latino population (with almost 1,000 miles logged!)

Events highlighted will include a Skype video conference with scientists at Arecibo Observatory, in Puerto Rico, with the distinction of being the largest of its kind in the world! There will also be Hands-On Dynamic Demonstrations (some bi-lingual) throughout the day.

A special favorite will be the four Full-Dome Planetarium Shows (some bi-lingual) that are being offered throughout the day. Make-and-Take children’s activities, and a peak at the new traveling exhibit “Contraptions” will round out the fun.

A special feature will be live broadcasts by Radio Cumbre from the Discovery Museum that will include drawings for free museum memberships and passes.

About The Discovery Museum and Planetarium

Connecticut’s pre-eminent science and planetarium resource for more than 60,000 visitors, school children, and teachers. The mission of the Discovery Museum and Planetarium is to “engage, excite, and educate” in the exploration of science, technology, and innovation.

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium is a hands-on interactive museum for all ages with over sixty-five exhibit areas featuring “see, hear and touch” explorations of science, technology and ideas.

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium is located at 4450 Park Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06604. http://www.discoverymuseum.org.