The Naugatuck Railroad’s Fall Foliage and Family Fun Trips

Enjoy the best of Connecticut’s fall foliage and take a train ride to the Pumpkin Patch where the kids can select their own pumpkin, and everyone can savor cider and donuts. The Railroad Museum Of New England’s Naugatuck Railroad kicks off its 11th Annual “Pumpkin Patch” Train Rides kicks off the first weekend in October.

“It’s a great opportunity to fall in love with fall in Connecticut,” shares Howard Pincus. Chairman of the Railroad Museum Of New England. “Bring your cameras, capture the beauty of the season. And great memories. Where else can you combine picking up a pumpkin and a trip back in time, aboard our restored rail cars? Only at the all-volunteer Railroad Museum of New England.”

Pumpkin Patch Trains are scheduled for Saturdays, Sundays throughout October at 10am, 12 noon and 2pm. After the children select their pumpkins and families take photos, passengers re-board the train for the ride back to the historic Thomaston Station.

The fares are $18 for Adults and $16 for Seniors (age 62+) and Children (ages 3-12). Children 3 and under are only one dollar. Purchase tickets online at www.rmne.org or phone 860-283-7245 anytime. All tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable.

Trains depart from Thomaston Station at 242 East Main St, Thomaston, Connecticut. Tickets are picked up at Thomaston Station’s “WILL CALL” window on the day of your train ride. Please arrive at the Station 30 minutes before departure time. Trains leave promptly at the scheduled times.

The RMNE, located at the historic Thomaston Train Station, is a not-for-profit, all-volunteer,, educational and historical organization that dates back to January 1968. The mission of the RMNE is to tell the story of the region’s rich railroad heritage through our educational exhibits and operation of the Naugatuck Railroad. The museum concept is more than just artifacts; it’s also a story of the region and the development of society around the railroad.

More information about the Railroad Museum of New England can be found at: www.rmne.org.

Witchcraft in Colonial Connecticut

The Glebe House Museum will be kicking off the fall season of events with a brand new program; “Witchcraft in Colonial Connecticut”. Linda Barr-Gale will present the history and origins of the witch hunts in Colonial Connecticut, told from the voice of Moll Cramer, Woodbury’s very own infamous resident witch (or was she?)! The program will take place on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 5 pm. The cost is $12 members and $15 non-members. To register call 203-263-2855. The Glebe House is located on 49 Hollow Road in Woodbury.

The keeping room of this historic house will come alive as Ms. Barr-Gale shares stories of other notable witches and tales about those who were hung for witchcraft. She will bring to light the heroes of the time and answer audience questions; all with a touch of humor! Colonial treats and refreshments will be served. (Recipes will be available)

Linda Barr-Gale is a long time Glebe House Docent and Volunteer. Her portrayal of Moll Cramer during the Glebe’s “All Hollow’s Eve” event has made Moll one of the most popular spirits in the cemetery. Last year she presented a “one witch” show in the cottage at the Glebe during the event. While researching information to present about Moll Cramer’s full story, she became interested in the history and origins of the Connecticut Witch Trials. Her research was extensive and was much more than could be presented in such a short time during “All Hollow’s and so this program was born.

Audubon Sharon to Open Butterfly Flight House and Native Plant Garden

Audubon Sharon is excited to announce the creation of a Butterfly Flight House and Native Plant Garden at the Sharon Audubon Center, located at 325 Cornwall Bridge Road, in Sharon, CT, thanks to a major anonymous gift. The butterfly rearing facility, caterpillar breeding lab and adjoining garden are anticipated to open to the public in summer 2019. They will augment the Center’s wildflower meadow and two existing gardens for pollinators on the Sanctuary’s main grounds; the Eleanor Loft Butterfly Garden and the Pollinator Habitat Garden, maintained by the Millbrook Garden Club.

“We expect the Butterfly House to be open for tours to the general public and school groups each year from spring through early fall. It will feature a free-flying population of up to 5 species of native butterflies, including Monarchs, and contain from 100 to 300 individuals at any given time,” states Education Program Manager Wendy Miller. “We expect this will be a magical experience for Center visitors and it will also be a fantastic teaching resource for school groups and summer campers.” Miller added that the project will show what communities can do to help reverse the drastic decrease in populations of Monarch caterpillars and butterflies and pollinating insects in general.

The project aligns well with National Audubon Society’s larger Plants for Birds campaign to landscape with native plants in order to support our breeding birds, many of whose populations are also declining. The new Native Plant Garden will emphasize the importance of native plants to both birds and insects, and allow members of the community to understand how they can install insect and bird friendly gardens at their own homes.

Audubon Sharon will be seeking volunteers to help with cultivating and maintaining both the butterflies and their native plant garden, starting next summer. Inquiries are welcome at wmiller@audubon.org. Groundbreaking is expected in spring of 2019 with a grand opening ceremony next fall.

Sunset Cruise – October 5 – Last Cruise of the 2018 Season @ Seaport Association

The Seaport Association of Norwalk has a plan that lets summer lovers hold on to that season just a little longer by offering the final sunset cruise of the season on Friday, October 5. This is the perfect way to kick off the first weekend in October! Visitors can board the Seaport Association’s 45-foot C.J. Toth catamaran that leaves from the dock on 4 North Water Street in Norwalk at 6:30 p.m. and returns at 8:30 p.m.

On this relaxing two-hour cruise through Norwalk Harbor and into Long Island Sound gives passengers beautiful views of the city of Norwalk with its beautiful waterfront homes and marinas. Along the way, passengers can look for seabirds and spot nests made by them. This excursion will take you by several islands, including Sheffield Island, the crown jewel that has the 150-year-old Sheffield Island Lighthouse as its centerpiece. As the sun sinks slowly into the horizon, don’t forget to bring your camera for unforgettable early autumn sunsets, on the water.

Passengers can bring wine or beer and snacks onboard. Don’t forget to bring a bottle or wine opener, plastic cups and a bag to carry them off the vessel. Parking is available at the Maritime Garage and boarding the vessel begins at 6 p.m. It is good to arrive a little early to snag the best seats, although, on this ride, every seat offers a fabulous view! Tickets are available online and advance reservations are recommended as this cruise is popular and could sell out. Tickets are a deal at $25 per person ($26.87 with service fee). If you are a last minute planner, there may be tickets available at the dock the night of the cruise; however, by Coast Guard Regulations, the vessel can only accommodate 49 very lucky people!

Chowdafest Sept. 30!

Tickets are now on sale for the 11th Annual Chowdafest competition presented by Stop & Shop. It will be held at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport Connecticut on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018 from 11am – 3pm. “Come early and definitely come hungry” can often be heard from Jim Keenan, executive director of the event.

Each year, a record-breaking crowd attends to determine which restaurants have the best chowder, soup & bisque in New England. Chowdafest features up to 40 award-winning restaurants in five different categories: Best New England clam chowder, Best Traditional clam chowder (reserved for Manhattan, Rhode Island and Shoreline clam chowders only), Best Creative Chowder, Best Soup & Bisque and Best Vegetarian entry (can be a chowder, soup or bisque).   Keenan says the categories are necessary as you can’t compare a New England clam chowder to lobster bisque to chicken noodle soup.

Yankee Magazine has named Chowdafest as one of the “top events of the season” for the past two years and also named it just one of eight “not to be missed events in 2018”. Adults and kids alike are an official judge, enjoying unlimited sampling and rating everything on a scale from 7 to 10.5. The highest average rating in each category is declared champion. Unlike many food competitions with a selected panel of judges determines the winners, Chowdafest prides itself on being a true people’s choice event as well as being a “true value”, said Keenan. “Where else can you enjoy unlimited sampling, plus our incredible Italian and Mexican themed sections, free beverages and a sweet treats section, all for just 20 clams?” Kids ages 6-12 are just $5 and parking is free.

Last year, Chowdafest set an attendance record for the 10th straight year.   Attendees literally traveled from all over the country to Connecticut, the chowder capital of New England, to be an official judge. “We’ve grown from just a few hundred people when we first started to tens of thousands, even selling out hotels” said Keenan. The event even features a “Stay & Slurp” hotel and ticket deal which can be found on their website.

“It’s great to see people come back year after year and bring more friends with them to share the experience,” Keenan said. More people also means more money will be raised in the fight against food insecurity. Last year, Chowdafest funded over a half million meals for the hungry through Food Rescue US resulting in over 2 million meals since the competition’s inception.

Each year, Chowdafest strives to increase the level of competition between restaurants, inviting only those they feel can win the competition. More than half the restaurants featured this year are new to the event. “One of the best compliments we get each year is hearing our restaurants tell us that when someone has won at Chowdafest, they have truly earned it because the level of culinary talent showcased is so high,” said Keenan. “The attendees notice too as they often mention how the restaurant collection was even better than the year before”. Keenan feels that the 2018 restaurant lineup is arguably the best yet will also feature chowders that have never been entered including a “shoreline” and lobster chowder.

Keenan expects other records to fall as two defending category champions are vying for an unprecedented fourth in a row title. Another first includes an accomplished chef entered in all five categories. Each year, Chowdafest invites a Manhattan-based restaurant to defend its namesake chowder. This year, Chowdafest extended an invitation to executive chef Bruce Rogers of the infamous NY based Hale & Hearty Soups restaurants. “Bruce makes a mean Manhattan clam chowder but being both the consummate competitor and one hell of a soup maven, he asked to enter all five categories” noted Keenan. “With a Hale & Hearty location now in Boston, it made Hale & Hearty’s eligible to compete in this New England event. Just making the attempt is worth an award but Bruce’s entries have a real shot of winning more than one category”. Keenan says no restaurant has ever attempted or been qualified for more than two categories in the same year and no one has won more than one category in doing so.

For additional information about Chowdafest, please visit http://www.chowdafest.org or email executive director, Jim Keenan at chowdafest@gmail.com.

New IMAX Movie @ Norwalk Maritime Aquarium Opening Oct. 5

The wonders and surprises of Earth’s “final frontier” will splash across the six-story IMAX Theater screen beginning on Fri., Oct. 5 with the premiere of “Oceans: Our Blue Planet” at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

Picture shows: Walrus mother and pup resting on iceberg, Svalbard, Arctic

This beautiful new film offers larger-than-life encounters with such familiar animals as dolphins, sea otters, and walruses, while also introducing unusual deep-sea species like “yeti” crabs, a barreleye fish and dumbo octopus. “Oceans: Our Blue Planet” will play at 11 a.m. and 2 & 4 p.m. daily through March 14, 2019. It’s narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet, and sponsored locally by the Santa Family Fund.

“We’re excited to give audiences this inspiring, beautiful exploration of the world ocean,” said Dave Sigworth, the Aquarium’s publicist. “We love how the movie blends new discoveries, while also serving as a primer for those who are new to the ocean environment and issues affecting it. And, of course, it is spectacular on our IMAX screen.”

The Maritime Aquarium has the largest IMAX Theater in Connecticut. Its giant screen and 70mm film-projection system combine the brightest, clearest images at almost 10 times the resolution of standard-projection formats with powerful, laser-aligned digital sound and customized theater geometry to create the world’s most immersive film experience.

The 41-minute movie transports audiences through ocean habitats of increasing depths, from coral reefs in warm tropical “shallows” to the surprisingly populated deep black sea. Among the encounters are those with a very cunning octopus and an ingenious tuskfish, whose use of a tool to feed was previously believed to be beyond the ability of fish.

“Even ocean creatures that we already knew were smart are continuing to surprise us,” Winslet says of a scene that has a pod of dolphins passing down knowledge to a young calf.

In kelp forests, the balance of nature plays out as sea urchins – which can ravage kelp – are kept in check by hungry urchin-eating sea otters.

And, thanks to technologies that take ocean exploration to new extremes, the film introduces audiences to such deep-sea creatures as “yeti” crabs (with “hairy white arms on which they farm bacteria to eat”) and a barreleye fish (“with a transparent head so that it can look up through its skull”).

Picture shows: A bustling coral reef in Fiji. Tropical reefs are some of the busiest places in the ocean. Fish, like these Sea Goldie, spend their days
foraging in schools in the clear
waters above patches of coral reef.


“Oceans: Our Blue Planet” concludes in the Arctic to show that shrinking ice caps are creating new challenges for such animals as walruses and polar bears.

“Just as we’re beginning to understand the sophisticated lives of sea creatures, so we begin to recognize the fragility of their home,” Winslet says. “There has never been a more crucial time to continue this journey of discovery because our future too depends on a healthy blue planet and who knows what other secrets are out there, waiting to be discovered.”

“Oceans: Our Blue Planet” is a collaboration between BBC Earth and OceanX Media, based during a global odyssey with researchers aboard Ocean X’s 184-foot research vessel, the M/V Alucia.

Other IMAX movies showing at The Maritime Aquarium this fall – and their show times beginning Oct. 5 – are “Backyard Wilderness” (noon daily) and “Pandas” (1 & 3 p.m. daily). One daytime

IMAX movie is included with Maritime Aquarium admission: $24.95 for adults; $22.95 for seniors (65+); and $17.95 for children (3-12).

Watch the three films’ trailers, access educational materials and purchase your tickets at http://www.maritimeaquarium.org/imax.

Museum of Tort Law Presents Leaders in Law

The American Museum of Tort Law has a new program: Leaders in Law Presentation Series which will take place in the theater at the Museum, 654 Main Street, Winsted.

The first presentation is on September 27th at 7 p.m. with legendary Attorney Thomas Girardi. While Thomas Girardi has garnered many multi-million dollar verdicts, he is perhaps best known for the case against Pacific Gas & Electric Company. This case was the inspiration for the movie Erin Brockovich. As Mr. Girardi commented: “That particular case revolutionized people’s thinking about all the toxic things they are exposed to. Then all of a sudden, people started to understand it and that’s had far-reaching effects clear up through today.”

Mr. Girardi will be interviewed and then offer a Master Class in a Town Hall-style format with the opportunity for live, interactive conversation. The Museum staff would like to invite you and your friends to attend.

This presentation is the first in a series of three. The other two presentations scheduled for the Fall are: Thomas Fortune Fay, Esq, on November 8th and John Barylick, Esq. on December 6th.

Tickets can be purchased at http://www.tortmuseum.org and are $20. If you have any questions please contact Joan Bowman, Director of Engagement at the Museum at joan@tortmuseum.org or call the Museum at 860-379-0505.