The Spirit of Christmas Past with the Litchfield Historical Society- December 17

On Thursday, December 17 at 6 p.m. the Litchfield Historical Society is hosting a free zoom program called the Spirit of Christmas Past: Four Centuries of Christmas in New England with Kenneth Turimo. To register email

This well-illustrated lecture traces the development of the celebration of Christmas from the time it was outlawed in 17th Century New England through the beginning of the 21st Century when all the trappings of a traditional Christmas were in place. For many, the celebration of Christmas today is the most important holiday of the year. But many of the customs which we take for granted as part of the current holiday festivities and religious celebrations are actually a product of more recent history. The presentation will look at how Christmas was transformed from a rowdy celebration to a family-centered event. Among the topics discussed are how the Christmas tree became popular, halls were decked, and Santa Clause came to town.

Kenneth C. Turino, Manager of Community Partnerships and Resource Development at Historic New England has published several articles on the history of Christmas and has a book in development.

Bid and Buy @ Institute for American Indian Studies Online Auction

The Institute for American Indian Studies located on 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut is hosting its’ first online auction this year from December 3 – December 16, 2020. This online auction offers fans of the museum and of Native American art to switch from being observers of art to active collectors. Whether you are a long time collector of Native American art and artifacts, art-curious, or a first time collector, this online auction offers a rare opportunity to purchase items specially curated by the Institute for Native American Studies.

The Institute’s online auction is offering nineteen items at a variety of price points that make looking and bidding easy and fun. The proceeds from the auction will raise essential funds for the Institute’s core mission and will help to underwrite new educational programs and exhibitions. The artists represented in this first online auction play an intrinsic role because all items featured are authentic and have been carefully curated by one of the leading Native American museums in the country.

Bidding on one of the four Iroquois Corn Husk dolls offered, a hoop-dancer, a lacrosse player, with bow and arrow, and a doll with a shield is the chance to own an iconic figure that represents a cherished Native American legend. The Iroquois People’s legend of the Corn Husk doll tells the story of how the first doll was made by the Corn Spirit. It says that this doll had a beautiful face and played with Iroquois children. When the doll saw its reflection, it became vain and treated the children badly. After many warnings, the Corn Spirit took the beautiful features away from the doll as a lesson in humility. Since that time, the Iroquois people do not put a face on their Corn Husk dolls to remind them not to think that they are better than anyone else.

Another hard to find item offered are handmade one-of-a-kind porcelain dolls by Navajo artist Cheryl Yazza of Four Corners. The dolls are not only realistic they are also highly collectible. Yazza creates her own molds and hand pours the porcelain. After she fires the porcelain three times, she meticulously hand paints each face. The clothes are handmade and the jewelry is hand stung or hand sewn on the clothes. Bidding starts at $125 for dolls that often cost over $500.

Two of the most unusual items in this auction include an authentic fox bow quiver wall hanging by Navajo artist Curtis Bitsui that comes with a certificate of authenticity. This wall hanging was made by hand using genuine Red Fox fur including the tail, leather fringe, beads, a medicine wheel, and prayer feathers. It also has a hanging cord making it easy to display. The handwoven twined bag by Abenaki artist Vera Longtoe Sheehan is another gem offered in this auction. This twined bag is based on traditional fiber arts that have been passed down for countless generations. It represents the way Vera preserves the tradition of her ancestors with the knowledge of Wabanaki culture to create one of kind bags like this work of functional art. The auction also offers a distinctive selection of jewelry from turquoise cuff bracelets to necklaces and earrings.

If you are in the market for a truly stunning sculpture, don’t miss the chance to bid on the piece called “Strength of our People” by Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux artist, Janice Albro of South Dakota. The sculpture is signed and numbered 3 out of 20 pieces that date to 1993. This spectacular bronze depicts a fire with smoke rising up, forming into the image of the head of a person holding a pipe that transforms into a skull and finally into a crow. The crow symbol signifies wisdom, some Native American tribes believe that the crow has the power to talk and is considered the smartest bird. The crow is also the sacred bird of the Ghost Dance.

To join the Institute in celebrating the exhilarating intersection of collecting and patronage visit and start bidding! The sale closes on December 16, 2020, at 3 p.m. Pick–up for items is available at the Museum from Tuesday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m. Shipping is available for an additional fee.

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

Special Coloring Book offered @ New Morning Market

New Morning Market​ in Woodbury has found a clever way to give back to one of their favorite causes this holiday season. ​The year 2020 has shown no shortage of canceled events. One of which was the New Morning Market Ice Cream Social, which supported the work of Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury. For many years this event brought the community together for food, music, and face painting, all while giving back. And so, much like many other businesses this year, New Morning Market had to pivot in the ways that they would support local organizations.

After brainstorming new and innovative ways to fundraise, New Morning Market is excited to share the New Morning Market Coloring Book, with proceeds benefiting Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury. The images in this coloring book have been drawn by local artist Charlotte Chapman and is chock full of whimsical pictures of produce along with witty food puns sure to chase the winter blues away.

Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury is a nonprofit committed to providing free, confidential services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in a safe, caring environment. Says Lee Schlesinger, Executive Director of Safe Haven “We were saddened when the Annual Ice Cream Social was canceled this year, but we totally understand why, as we had to cancel our two major fundraisers this year as well. New Morning Market has been such a loyal supporter of Safe Haven over the years. We always look forward to this event; to stand there alongside their staff and greet the customers as they come by. We were thrilled when New Morning contacted us with an idea to continue that support by creating the coloring book.”

Stop by New Morning Market located on 129 Main Street in Woodbury to pick up one of these coloring books for a perfect holiday gift that also gives back. The store is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Curbside pick up is also available.

About New Morning Market

New Morning Market​ has been committed to a good food lifestyle since opening their doors in 1971. With a team of over 100 employees working with countless local producers as well as partnering with dozens of local non-profit organizations throughout the year, they ensure that the environment and the community continues to be at the forefront of their vision. Recognized by Connecticut Magazine, Republican American, and Natural Awakenings as the Best Health Food Store in Connecticut they are always working to bring new, exciting, and healthful foods & products to their customers. New Morning believes good food is key to a good life. That a good life is one shared among good people. That good people are good to the earth and that goodness is all around.

Two Ways to Shop this Holiday Season @ Institute for American Indian Studies

The holiday season is here and, this year it will be more challenging than ever to find a thoughtful gift for that special someone on your list. Not to worry, the Institute for American Indian Studies has you covered at their annual Native American Holiday Arts and Crafts Market. This year, the Institute is providing shoppers with two choices, a visit to the museum to shop in person and an online shopping experience. Admission to the Institute’s Gift Shop and the Holiday Market is free, but capacity is limited in accordance with State regulations, and masks are required.

In Native societies art was integrated into the act of making everyday things, and art objects were often ceremonial. Some of the most famous Native American artists have been painters, sculptors, jewelers, basket makers, beaders, and potters. Native American artists in the 21st-century preserve, present, and represent their culture, heritage, and traditions using a variety of genres and mediums. Some Native artists create contemporary works of art, while others use materials that are more traditional. Some of the most interesting works of art invoke cultural heritage framed by values rooted in a distinctly indigenous worldview and blended with contemporary life.

If you plan to shop at the museum, get in the mood by visiting the Institute’s exhibitions that take visitors on a Native American journey through time with displays of astounding artifacts and exhibits that present information from prehistoric to contemporary time. A highlight is a special exhibit on Trading Posts and Native art.

The Holiday Arts and Crafts Market at the Institute is open Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6, and Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13. If you plan on shopping in person at the Institute, give them a call in advance at 860-868-0518 or email them at to reserve a spot.

In addition to the Holiday Arts and Crafts Market, the Gift Shop at the Institute of American Indian Studies is open and chock full of a variety of items to fit every budget. The Gift Shop offers an excellent selection of Native American jewelry, crafts, artwork, tea, smudge, and books. The Museum and Gift Shop is open Friday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m. and will be closed on December 24 and 25 and 31 and January 1.

If you can’t get to the Institute in person, visit the Virtual Holiday Market that opens November 27 and runs through January 3, 2021, on the Institute’s website. Here you will find a curated webpage of the bios and contact information of Native American Artists that you can purchase from directly.

Several of the featured artists including Dawn Spears (Narragansett – wearable art, corn husk dolls, and paintings), Vera Longtoe Sheehan (Elnu Abenaki – hand-woven textiles, baskets, and accessories), Brenda Hill (Tuscarora – pottery), Jeanne “Morningstar” Kent (Abenaki – gourd artwork), Sarah Sockbeson (Penobscot – baskets) and Annawon Weeden (Mashpee Wampanoag – jewelry) will do Zoom-based presentations and submit videos demonstrating their work and explaining how they incorporate cultural elements. These programs will be listed on the Institute’s website and will add meaning to the gift items that they are offering for sale.

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

A Special Collaboration
A highlight of the Virtual Holiday Market is a collaboration between the Institute for American Indian Studies and several Native American artists, made possible by a grant from the Connecticut Community Foundation: a virtual artist presentation series, featuring artists from across the country who might not otherwise be able to participate.

What to Expect @ Bradley International Airport this Holiday Season

With the holiday season approaching, the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) is committed to keeping passengers at Bradley International Airport safe and encourages those traveling this holiday season to come to the airport prepared. 

“While holiday travel is not anticipated to reach the levels of prior years, we have strong safety precautions in place to ensure the continued wellbeing of our passengers and the airport community,” said Kevin A. Dillon, A.A.E., Executive Director of the CAA. “Certainly, traveling through Bradley International Airport this holiday season will not be the same this year. We ask passengers to plan ahead as much as possible and prepare themselves for what will be a different type of journey.” 

Specifically, here is what passengers can expect at Bradley International Airport this holiday season: 

Face Covering Mandate For everyone’s safety, all passengers, employees, and visitors are required to wear face coverings while at the airport. Passengers are reminded to bring a face covering with them when traveling. 

Enhanced Cleaning and Safety Measures A significant emphasis has been placed on added cleaning protocols in high-touchpoint areas of the terminal. Plexiglass shield barriers and physical distancing reminders are also in place. Passengers are asked to maintain a safe physical distance from other individuals as much as possible while in the terminal. 

On-Site COVID-19 Testing Availability On-site COVID-19 testing is available in baggage claim for those wishing to utilize the service. Passengers interested in taking a test after their arrival at the airport, can find more information on the airport’s website and are strongly encouraged to pre-register through the lab administering the testing. 

Adjustments to Parking Operations In response to current demand, parking at the airport has been consolidated, with parking available in the garage at a special, reduced daily rate of $8. Passengers can learn more on this website. 

Dining and Shopping Amenities To ensure everyone’s wellbeing, only a select number of concession and retail locations are currently open and those open are operating with new safety measures in place. Passengers can find more information about the status of certain restaurants/shops on the airport’s website. 
Additionally, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the airport’s airline partners have also implemented new safety procedures and passengers are strongly encouraged to review those as well before coming to the airport. 

Finally, as we all work together to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, passengers should consider following these tips and precautions: 
When possible, use a mobile boarding pass. 

Consider traveling with carry-on luggage only to help eliminate further touchpoints. 

Follow CDC-issued guidelines when traveling, such as washing hands frequently – and consider bringing hand sanitizer with you. 

Pay particular attention to overhead announcements and airport signage, as new signage and announcements have been added in response to COVID-19 and can vary from airport to airport. 

Review guidelines issued by authorities at your final destination.

Family and friends who are picking up passengers from Bradley International Airport during the Thanksgiving holiday week are encouraged to use the Cell Phone Waiting Lot located on Light Lane while waiting for passengers to arrive and retrieve any luggage. Parking in the Cell Phone Waiting lot is free.

For information about Connecticut’s travel advisory, and respective guidelines, passengers should visit: Representatives from the Connecticut Department of Public Health are also on-site at Bradley Airport to provide assistance with travel forms and answer related questions.

Information about all of Bradley International Airport’s safety measures in response to COVID-19, is available at

About Bradley International Airport

Bradley International Airport (BDL) is the second-largest airport in New England. We want our passengers to “Love the Journey” at Bradley International Airport, and we proudly offer nonstop access to many popular destinations. Recent terminal enhancements and new amenities have enhanced the travel experience, and Condé Nast Traveler has recognized BDL within the top ten best U.S. airports for four consecutive years. Bradley International Airport is operated by the Connecticut Airport Authority, and its operations are entirely self-funded. The airport contributes nearly $3.6 billion to the regional economy. For more info, visit

About The Connecticut Airport Authority

The CAA was established in 2011 to develop, improve, and operate Bradley International Airport and the state’s five general aviation airports (Danielson, Groton-New London, Hartford-Brainard, Waterbury-Oxford, and Windham).  The CAA Board consists of 11 members with a broad spectrum of experience in aviation-related and other industries, as well as government.  The goal of the CAA is to make Connecticut’s airports more attractive to new airlines, bring in new routes, and support Connecticut’s overall economic development and growth strategy.

Memorial Hike at the Torrington birthplace of abolitionist John Brown

The Torrington Historical Society and the YMCA/Torrington Trails Network invite the public to participate in the annual John Brown Memorial Twilight Hike on Sunday, December 6, 2020, from 4pm to 5pm at the John Brown Birthplace on John Brown Road in Torrington Connecticut. The twilight hike is held to commemorate the execution of John Brown on December 2, 1859, in Charles Town West Virginia, and to remember the millions of African Americans who suffered under the institution of slavery. Additionally, this is an opportunity to show your support for racial equality and equal civil rights for all in the United States.

John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia took place October 16, 1859. This raid was one of the events which sparked the American Civil War, a war that ultimately ended slavery in America. In addition to being an abolitionist, Brown was a fierce advocate for civil rights and racial equality for African Americans.

The hike will follow a two-thirds mile loop trail created by the Torrington Trails Network on property owned by the Torrington Historical Society. The twilight hike will be preceded by some brief comments about John Brown.

The John Brown Birthplace Trail is on generally flat and wooded terrain with some wet areas. Dress for the cool weather with proper walking shoes and bring a flashlight, lantern, or headlamp since it will be getting dark toward the end of the hike.

John Brownies from Torrington’s Café 38 will be served following the hike.
Parking is available along John Brown Road.