See Illuminating Images @ Barnum Museum Dec. 10

There will be a display of illuminating images at the historic Barnum Museum in Bridgeport on Sunday, December 10th at 2 p.m. Guests will enjoy this remarkable display of photographs by Jay Misencik and Geralene Valentine. The photographs are part of their “Poli’s Palace and Majestic Theatres Memories Project.” More information is available at

Misencik and Valentine operated their photo business from a studio in Bridgeport, CT for 16 years. They now work from their home in Monroe. Misencik taught photography at the University of Bridgeport and has given private seminars to both professional photographers and photo enthusiasts. Together they led “Kids with Cameras” walking tours in the Park City. As a co-founder and original board member of the Bridgeport Community Historical Society, Misencik has a wealth of knowledge about the historical importance of many buildings in the city of Bridgeport.

Misencik and Valentie’s personal Bridgeport projects include:

– Main Street, Bridgeport – Portraits of people with different occupations, 1989-1993
– The Thomas Merton Center, Bridgeport – “Portraits of People from a Sacred Place” 1994, 1999
– The Barnum Museum – “Faces on Main Street” exhibit, “Kids with Cameras” walking tours, 1993-1994
– Poli’s Palace & Majestic Theatres Memories Project – People share memories of times spent at the theatres – Current
– The Bridgeport Portrait Project – A cultural heritage project that will introduce you to the PEOPLE who make the City of Bridgeport more than just a PLACE – Current

To participate in the Poli’s Palace and Majestic Theatres Memory Project or The Bridgeport Portrait Project, please contact Jay or Geralene at 203-268-8306;

There is no registration required. A $5 donation is suggested. The event is free to members and children under 12.
For more information about this and other events, please visit or contact by phone at 203-331-1104 x100.

House Tour in Westport Dec. 10

This year marks the 31st Holiday House Tour which has become a highly anticipated December tradition for many visitors and residents alike. This year’s holiday house tour is taking place on December 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature seven historic houses with festive seasonal décor. Five of the homes are Designated Historic Landmarks.

Each home was carefully selected for its architectural merit and interesting stories. All of these wonderful historic houses have been adapted to 21st-century living and are sure to enchant you with inspiring decorating ideas and nostalgic holiday cheer!

Some highlights include:
• a circa 1800 barn that was adaptively re-purposed into a charming residence, the Eliphalet Sturges/George Hand Wright house that was originally built in 1764 as a simple two-room farmhouse and extensively remodeled in the Colonial Revival Style by the Dean of Westport Artists George Hand Wright in 1910, “Duck Haven” a house and cottage on the Saugatuck River adjacent to the historic low-tide crossing point
• the David Judah House, circa 1760, that has gone through a meticulous restoration by its current owner, who preserved every nail, piece of timber and window
• a circa 1840 Italianate house whose current owners uncovered an original back staircase hidden by 20th-century renovations
• a reproduction Saltbox c 1966 designed and built by well-known architect George White, which won a Historic Preservation Award this year.
• Westport’s first one-room schoolhouse west of the Saugatuck River, that includes a large collection of signed prints by abstract artist Frank Stella

Tickets are $50 for members and $60 for non-members in advance; Tickets are $70 on the day of the tour. Pre-order tickets in advance online

Through the Garden Gate in Norfolk

The National Iron Bank in Norfolk CT is presenting an exhibition of Leslie Watkins’ nature prints from October 30th through December 30th, 2017. The illustrations are featured in the Norfolk publication Norfolk Now and accompany Watkins’ monthly gardening column Through the Garden Gate. The column discusses a wide array of garden and nature subjects ranging from the practical to the philosophical.

The illustrations depict familiar and not so familiar animals, insects, plants and landscape vignettes. Many of the pictures are iconic and serve not only to illustrate their subjects but also function as decorative elements.

Watkins began writing her column in April of 2015 and the articles have become popular with the residents of Norfolk CT where many of the natural subjects abound. All 30 illustrations are on exhibit for the first time along with the original articles. The subjects vary from gardening to history, and from design to mythology. In addition to practical gardening advice the column has covered topics such as toads, honey bees, snowflakes, chickens, ticks and even garlic mustard.

Watkins has combined several areas of her expertise in these columns including painting, non-fiction nature writing and gardening. Leslie Watkins is an artist specializing in oil landscapes and nature inspired watercolors, a garden designer, and writer. She is the owner of Dandelion Gardening Arts, LLC, a garden design and maintenance business providing service to Norfolk and the surrounding towns. She has exhibited her paintings in New York City, Japan and throughout New England. She offers art workshops including painting, journal making and paper crafts. She occasionally lectures on art, gardening, and chickens. Currently she is working an illustrated collection of her writings for publication.

The individual hand painted prints are available for purchase at the Iron Bank in Norfolk. Orders for additional framed, prints may be placed with Watkins. Because each print is signed and hand colored each one is unique and original. The cost per print is $200. and each one comes with a copy of the article.

To place an order call (860) 542-3920 or email:

A Polish Christmas with Martha Hall Kelly at the Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden

Visit the Bellamy-Ferriday House Museum on Sunday, December 10th for a special day celebrating the holidays and the work of social philanthropist Caroline Ferriday, the inspiration for New York Times bestselling author Martha Hall Kelly’s novel Lilac Girls at the Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden.

Experience the Hay, Caroline’s beloved Connecticut home, staged in the traditional Polish fashion as inspired by her house guests. Rooms will also sport beautiful arrangements by Floral Designer Melissa Beard, owner and head designer at Floral Design by Melissa in Newtown, CT. Learn about Advent and Polish Christmas traditions, including holiday delicacies and customs. Meet Martha Hall Kelly in Caroline’s kitchen and have her sign your copy of Lilac Girls. Tour sessions begin at 1 and 1:30 pm. Greenery will be available for sale to benefit the Bellamy Ferriday House & Garden.

Then, carol your way to Memorial Hall to enjoy a Polish beverage and desserts followed by an author presentation with a question and answer session. Martha will discuss Lilac Girls, including her research process, and where she took artistic license. Get insight into Martha’s next book about Caroline and her mother Eliza.

Tickets are $35/$25 for CTL Members; limited availability. Purchase tickets by Monday, December 4th by visiting or calling 860.247.8996 x 23. All proceeds benefit the Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden.

Lilac Girls is based on the true story of Caroline Ferriday and the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp survivors known as lapin (rabbits), whom Caroline championed. This acclaimed debut novel, also available on audiobook, reveals a story of love, redemption and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades. For more information on Martha Hall Kelly and her work, visit

The Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden is located at 9 Main Street North, Bethlehem, CT. It is open for tours May through October. For hours and more information, visit ; ; or call 203. 266.7596.

About Connecticut Landmarks
Connecticut Landmarks’ mission is to inspire interest and encourage learning about the American past by preserving selected historic properties, collections and stories and presenting programs that meaningfully engage the public and our communities.

50th Anniversary Gingerbread Village and Christmas Bazaar Dec 2-9, 2017

The holidays start early at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Middlebury, CT, most notably marked by the distinct warm scents of gingerbread and candies wafting through the halls. This year commemorates the 50th anniversary of the beloved Gingerbread Village and Christmas Bazaar, and promises to be an extra special celebration full of both joy and delight.

Fifty years ago, the village humbly began as a few small gingerbread houses in the corner of the church Christmas Bazaar. Today it has evolved into a week long tradition cherished by the entire community. This December, come back and visit for the very first time, or for the 50th! Experience everything this magical occasion has to offer.

Each piece displayed in the village is handcrafted and completely edible. Houses are often built from not just gingerbread, but pretzels, pasta, beans, candies, gum and breakfast cereal. In addition to houses, visitors will likely see sleigh riders, snowman, reindeer and perhaps even Santa. All items are on sale and will be available for pick up on the final day.

In addition to the village, gingerbread kit houses will also be for sales which provide everything needed to create your own masterpiece at home. The bazaar offers a bake shoppe (with delicious breads, cookies, cakes, muffins etc.), the opportunity to decorate your own gingerbread cookie (fun for all ages), raffle baskets galore (with many great gifts), and our own version of dollar store with holiday items. The children of St. George’s will again host a room with Christmas crafts for sale. The proceeds go to support their mission work with the Indian nation of South Dakota.

Lunch will be available on Saturday December 2nd and Saturday December 9th from 11:00am to 2:30pm. All you can eat breakfast on December 9th from 8:30-11am.

Village hours are Saturday December 2 – 10 am to 7pm, Sunday Dec 3 – 12(Noon) to 7pm. Monday through Friday 2:00 pm-4:00pm, 6pm-8pm.
Saturday, December 9th – 10am-4pm. As always, parking and admission are free (donations welcomed). The church is handicap accessible.

For more information, please visit

The Glebe House Museum Holiday Gala

‘The Holidays in the Hollow’ Gala is slated for Friday, December 1 from 5:30 to 8:00 PM at The Glebe House, 49 Hollow Road in Woodbury. Guests will be treated to savory hors d’oeuvres and an array of wines to toast the holidays; complimented by the elegantly decorated museum. In this magical candlelit setting, the rooms of the museum will be brimming with good cheer and beautifully decorated. All of the one of a kind wreaths, swags and table top decorations will light up your holiday and be available for purchase. Guests will also have a wonderful opportunity to wrap up their Christmas gift list at the Silent Auction and Holiday Boutique, where original art work, gift baskets, silver, and other treasures will be found. The cost to attend this year’s event is $25 per person.

To continue the Holiday Festival, the Museum will hold its open house on Saturday, December 2 from 10AM to 3PM. The public may enjoy the beautiful decorations to purchase, along with gift items available in the Holiday Boutique, presented in the Cottage Annex. Visitors will enjoy experiencing life in this Revolutionary War era house during the holidays re-enacted by adult and youth volunteers. The costumed docents will give first person accounts of the Marshall family who lived at the “Glebe” from 1771-1786, and share stories about how the family prepared for the holiday season. Admission is free for the day. Donations are gladly accepted to help the Museum reach its goal for the Connecticut Community Foundation’s Matching Challenge grant.

All proceeds from this weekend event will help support The Glebe House Museum & Gertrude Jekyll Garden. For more information and to purchase tickets for the Home for the Holidays in the Hollow Gala, please call the museum at 203-263-2855 or mail a check to: The Glebe House Museum, PO Box 245, Woodbury, CT 06798.


The Torrington Historical Society and the Torrington Trails network is hosting a Twilight Hike to memorialize John Brown on December 2 at 4 p.m.

On December 2, 1859, abolitionist and Torrington native John Brown was hanged for treason after leading a raid on a federal armory at Harpers Ferry. John Brown was a radical abolitionist who believed in the violent overthrow of the slavery system. During the Bleeding Kansas conflicts, Brown and his sons led attacks on pro-slavery residents. Justifying his actions as the will of God, Brown soon became a hero in the eyes of Northern extremists and was quick to capitalize on his growing reputation. By early 1858, he had succeeded in enlisting a small “army” of insurrectionists whose mission was to foment rebellion among the slaves. In 1859, Brown and 21 of his followers attacked and occupied the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Their goal was to capture supplies and use them to arm a slave rebellion. Brown was captured during the raid and later hanged, but not before becoming an anti-slavery icon.

Participants on this twilight walk will walk around the birthplace of the abolitionist John Brown and talk about the sacrifices made for the cause of racial equality. This is a relatively short hike (3/4 mile) the trail is a flat wooded trail that goes around his birthplace. Bring a flashlight or headlamp and wear proper hiking shoes.

Directions: Route 4 west toward Goshen. Turn right onto University Drive then left onto John Brown Road. The birthplace is approx. 1/2 mile on the right. Parking is on the roadside.

For additional information call the Torrington Historical Society or visit their website.