BraeVal in Litchfield has Ideas how to Celebrate National Tartan Day!

There are many ways to celebrate National Tartan Day on April 6, even if you aren’t Scottish! One of the most unique places to honor National Tartan Day, or get ready for it, is in the center of Litchfield, Connecticut, at a shop called BraeVal that specializes in custom-designed tartans. This exclusive shop is owned by Gregor McCluskey, whose great uncle, Big Jock McCluskey, brought the Rob Roy MacGregor Tartan to America in the 1800s.

Today, we know this tartan pattern as “Buffalo Plaid” – which is authentically and ancestrally reproduced by BraeVal on the cuffs and collar of every custom tartan shirt sold here. What makes BraeVal’s shirts different is that they are custom tartan designs made from technically advanced proprietary, all-natural Tierra fabric that is ring spun out of merino wool and long-staple cotton.

The shop’s name is of Scottish origin too. BraeVal is a Scottish word for the Upland River Valleys that exist between the mountains and the rugged brae of the Scottish Highlands, where streams and rivers tumble to the loch and sea. At this shop, Tartan Day is a year-round celebration! That said, Gregor McCluskey, founder of BraeVal, has a few great suggestions on ways to celebrate National Tartan Day.

His first suggestion is to enjoy trying traditional Scottish food like haggis, Scottish pie, smoked salmon, tatties (mashed potatoes), herring, shortbread, and a wee dram of whisky! To add to the conviviality of the meal, play your favorite Scottish or Celtic tunes, they add so much atmosphere and fun.

To add to your celebration, watch your favorite Scottish movie. An oldie but goodie is Whisky Galore, a comedy where Scottish islanders try to plunder 50,000 cases of whisky from a stranded ship. According to The Scottish Statesman, two of the top movies about Scotland include The Angel’s Share, set in Glasgow, which tells the tale of a father that narrowly avoids jail and visits a whisky distillery to find inspiration, and the classic, Highlander which follows the adventures of the immortal warrior of Clan MacLeod.

Another suggestion is to have a poetry reading – reciting Robert Burns of course! Or, read portions of the Declaration of Arbroath to see why the founders of our country were inspired. “As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honors, that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

About National Tartan Day

Did you know that National Tartan Day is celebrated in the United States on April 6 in honor of Scottish heritage? This date is a special commemoration of the Declaration of Arbroath, which was a letter written by the nobles of Scotland to the Pope in 1320. The letter asked the Pope to recognize Scotland as an independent kingdom from England that was attempting to subjugate it and recognize Robert Bruce, as the country’s legitimate king. What many people don’t know is that the Declaration of Arbroath was the foundation for the Declaration of Independence when America declared itself free of British rule. Today, over 11 million Americans claim Scottish and Scottish-Irish roots, making them the eighth-largest ethnic group in the United States.

About BraeVal
BraeVal is a lifestyle brand of clothing that has endured for generations. It is an American design born of comfort that offers time-tested classics in the Scottish tradition.

W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project Announces Major Grants

The W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project of Great Barrington, Massachusetts has exceeded its fundraising goals for February and is now poised to hire a sculptor for a monument to Du Bois in downtown Great Barrington.

A donation of $7,500 and an offer of an additional $7,500 in matching funds from Anne Fredericks and Mark Fasteau resulted in $22,000 in private donations in February. In addition, the Sculpture Project has received three important grants: $10,000 each from Berkshire Bank, The Whitehead Foundation, and Housatonic Heritage.
These donations bring the total funds raised in February to $67,000. An additional pledge of $25,000 from The Feigenbaum Foundation of Pittsfield raises the anticipated funds to $92,000. Total funds raised exceed $150,000 for the project, which is estimated to cost approximately $350,0000.
“This is a remarkable accomplishment for our all-volunteer Board, and a testament to the enthusiasm for a sculpture of this distinguished civil rights leader on our main street,” said Julie Michaels, co-chair of the Du Bois Sculpture Project.

The group’s Call for Applications from qualified sculptors has resulted in 17 contestants for the sculpture commission. The three finalists will be announced on April 5.

Donations to the Du Bois sculpture can be made online at or mailed to W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project, P.O. Box 155, Great Barrington, MA 01230. “Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated; they will help us reach the goal of recognizing a great man who is part of our nation’s story,” said Michaels.

About the W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project

The W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project was launched in May 2022 by a volunteer group of local citizens with the goal of recognizing Du Bois’ scholarly achievements in the fight for racial equality. The Project celebrates Great Barrington, a town whose long abolitionist history and powerful commitment to public education helped shape the person Du Bois became. The Sculpture Project is endorsed and supported by town officials including the Great Barrington Select Board, the Great Barrington Library Trustees, W.E.B. Du Bois Town Legacy Committee, among many others.

About W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was born and educated in Great Barrington. He was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. A world-famous sociologist, historian, and founder of the NAACP, he wrote The Souls of Black Folk, a seminal work in African American literature.

Woven Art @ Tina’s Baskets “Rocks” @ Whiting Mills

Tina’s Baskets and Woven Art has just announced the first-ever Rock and Mineral Show at Whiting Mills at 100 Whiting Street, Winsted, Connecticut on Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Win this Basket – enter drawing on March 18 or 19

Start your day exploring the labyrinthine halls of Whiting Mills at Tina’s Baskets in Suite 305, on the right as you enter this amazing factory complex. Tina, a National and International award-winning artist will be in her studio (with George her ginger-colored cat) weaving her colorful wares that range from baskets, bowls, wall hangings and sculptures, to her newly released line of Hands, called “Perceived Languages.”

A highlight of this weekend’s visit to Tina’s Baskets and Woven Art is the chance to enter a contest she is sponsoring. The winner will receive one of Tina’s artfully created baskets made with hand-dyed reeds and locally foraged bittersweet vine, a signature of Tina’s baskets.

As you make your way, to the main hall where the Rock and Mineral Show is taking place, you may find several other artisans that have thrown open their studio doors to celebrate this event, the first of its kind at Whiting Mills. In addition to baskets and woven art @ Tina’s, you may discover a fascinating selection of curios, antiques, jewelry, herbs and tea, crystals, candles, and even a hobby shop.

Rock and Mineral shows are popular the world over. At this show, you will find amazing rocks, gemstones, minerals, and fossils from all over the world from twenty-three-plus professional dealers. There will be a wide array of rock specimens, cabochons, crystals, and healing stones, in addition to jewelry. If you work up an appetite, there will be sandwiches and hot drinks for purchase. Best of all, the entrance to this show is free of charge.

The combination of visiting the working studio of award-winning artists and learning what inspires her work and the chance to delve into the world of rocks and minerals is the perfect way to chase the end of the winter blues away!

About Tina’s Baskets
Tina Puckett is an internationally awarded weaver of baskets and woven arts. You can see her works in her studio #305/ Tina’s Baskets. Located at Whiting Mills in Winsted, Connecticut. Tina has been weaving since 1981 using hand-dyed reeds, bittersweet vines, and a variety of found objects like beads or seagrass. Her work is showcased at galleries across the World and as well at her own gallery/studio where you will often find her weaving on weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are preferred and can be arranged by texting 860-309-6934.

Passes for RIFF2023 Go On Sale ALL ACCESS $99 until March 30th

This year Ridgefield Independent Film Festival will bring films and filmmakers from around the world and around the corner to six venues in Ridgefield Connecticut for 4 days of in-person screenings, parties, and panel discussions. Official selections will be announced March 15th.

Ridgefield Independent Film Festival was founded in 2015 by local playwright and filmmaker, Joanne Hudson and presented its first iteration in May of 2016 at ten venues throughout Ridgefield, CT; screening 72 films from 26 countries. Since then (under Festival Directors: Megan Smith-Harris, Jill Mango and Sean Murphy, and from 2018-2021 Executive Director, Geoffrey Morris), the festival has attracted the likes of celebrities Allison Williams, James Naughton, Barry Levinson and Paul Dano, as well as talented local and international filmmakers. This highly curated festival attempts to bring films, filmmakers, and community together in Ridgefield Connecticut to share all it has to offer with the same independent spirit in which it began: in the hopes of making the world a more compassionate place through the sharing of stories through cinema.

RIFF 2023 Venue Partners

The Ridgefield Playhouse

The Prospector Theater

Ridgefield Theater Barn

Ridgefield Library

Keeler Tavern Museum

Lounsbury House

Please visit RIFF’s website for more information.

Learn the Art of Fly Tying @ Weekend in Norfolk Feb. 25 & 26

Fly fishing is a popular activity enjoyed by millions of Americans each year. It is considered to be an almost meditative activity. Spending time in nature has a calming effect on the mind and fly-fishing provides people with a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, giving them the chance to reflect and unwind.

Norfolk is a fly-fishing paradise that boasts streams and ponds that offer fly-fishermen a rich and diverse angling experience. Although Norfolk offers year-round fly fishing action in most lakes and ponds, the fly fishing season for rivers and streams runs from the third Saturday in April through the end of February.

To fly-fishing at Campbell Falls State Park, take a woodland path to the base of the falls. Here anglers will find a deep pool perfect for fly-fishing. If you prefer to fly fish at a pond, head to Wood Creek Pond where you can fish for largemouth bass, chain pickerel, spotted bass, pumpkinseed, and black crappie. Another spot in Norfolk is the Blackberry River which is stocked by the State of Connecticut with 9,200 trout annually. For access points to the river click here.

Fly-fishing is angling with the use of a fly reel, fly line, fly rod, and leader. A fly is an artificial lure made with hair, feathers, tinsel, or thread and is used to imitate mayflies, stoneflies, or caddisflies in order to attract fish. Many consider fly-tying an art form because a fly tyer does his or her best to imitate the look, flutter, wiggle, color, and silhouette of a bug in order to present unwary fish with a delectable treat.

At this year’s Winter Weekend in Norfolk, join master fisherman and fly- tyer, Doug McDeavitt to learn the skills or sharpen your skills of making flys. This free fly-tying workshop is on Saturday, February 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday, February 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fly fishing enthusiasts will learn about different flies and watch tying demonstrations. McDeavitt will offer tips on where to go for the best fly-fishing experience and trade fish tales with participants. This is the ideal event for fish enthusiasts of all ages and levels. It is sure to get you ready for the spring fishing season that begins in April.

For more information on other events happening at Winter WIN click here.

Winter Weekend in Norfolk – February 25 & 26 – Will Cure Your Cabin Fever!

For the past six years, Winter Weekend in Norfolk has warmed the hearts of locals and visitors alike by offering revelry as a respite from long, arduous winter days. This year, Winter WIN is taking place on Saturday, February 25, and Sunday, February 26. It is just the ticket to fight off those winter blues with a series of town-wide events held both indoors and outdoors. So bundle up and head to Norfolk and get ready to embark on a series of fun and educational winter events that are sure to please the whole family. Best of all, every event has been carefully planned by a team of dedicated volunteers, and most are free of charge.

New This Winter
There is nothing more exciting than the premiere of a new show. On Saturday, the Norfolk Library is hosting the world premieres of two, one-act plays, “Let’s Play” and “Barren” by two local playwrights, followed by additional performances on Sunday. Both plays will be performed on February 25 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on February 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. These performances are perfect for pre-teens and up.

Do you want to know your future? It is easy to do @ WIN! Norfolk’s Wellness Center for Healing, Healing Nest is offering three-card Tarot Readings and 15-minute Reiki treatments from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. each afternoon at no charge. Tarot Cards are probably one of the most popularly used tools of divination in the world today. The Healing Nest also offers unique healing products to enhance individual and community wellness and well-being.

If you have always wanted to learn about fly-fishing but didn’t know where to start, don’t miss the fly-fishing workshop taking place on Saturday, February 25, and Sunday, February 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hub, located at 2 Station Place in the center of town, just off Rte. 44. A local expert conducts this informative and fun workshop, and will share tips and fish tales! Whether you are a first-time fly fisher or you’ve been fishing for quite some time, this workshop is designed to enhance your skills, review the types of appropriate gear, and teach you the art of knot tying and fly picking.

Husky Meadow Farms located on 30 Dolittle Road, a few miles from the center of town, is hosting an open house on Saturday, February 25 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This certified organic farm grows a wide variety of vegetables and tends antique fruit trees that are on the property. Visitors to the open house will be treated to delectable treats from the kitchen, and have a sneak peek at the guest rooms. A highlight of the visit is to see a shiitake mushroom inoculation demonstration and to meet the new farmer, Brett Ellis, who recently relocated to Norfolk from the prestigious French Laundry Restaurant where he was the head gardener. For those that want to extend this experience, Husky Meadows is also offering a special “Meet the Farmer Dinner” at 6 p.m.

In recent years, the art of knitting, a craft that has been around since the 5th century has had a resurgence, and it is now popular among people of all ages. If you love to knit, don’t miss the Norfolk Knitters yarn sale on Saturday, February 25; from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fine yarns, knitting books sure to inspire, and notions are just some of the offerings that can be found at this sale, where all proceeds go to help local charities.

The Great Outdoors
Winter is the perfect season to explore the great outdoors and there is nowhere better to do this than on Norfolk’s miles of trails that are meticulously maintained by the Norfolk Land Trust. Whether you go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or simply take a stroll through the woods, there is always something to see.

A highlight on Saturday, February 25 at 10 a.m. and at 1 p.m. is to take a walk on the wild side with Great Mountain Forest staff. On this guided walk with a wildlife professional participants will learn how to detect and understand the signs wildlife leaves us along the trail.

For families, on February 25, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., there will be a roaring bonfire, a hot chocolate table, and skating at the Town Rink on 50 Mountain Road. This is the perfect activity for families…don’t forget the marshmallows!

On Sunday, February 26, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a winter hiking adventure at Haystack Mountain State Park located on Rte., 272. Participants will learn to identify trees and shrubs based on their winter appearance and look for wildlife that forages for food along the trail.

For Art Lovers
For art lovers, there is an art show of beautiful landscapes and flowers in oil by Lilly Woodworth at the Hub, an art show of Caryn King’s floral paintings in oil at the Norfolk Library, and an art show at the Guilded Artisan, of works by Ani Jenkins, whose wood sculptures are breathtaking.

Norfolk is famous for its magnificent stained glass windows. Visitors are invited to take a self-guided tour of the Tiffany stained glass windows at the Immaculate Conception Church and the Battell Chapel.

The extraordinary stained glass windows by Tiffany at the Battell Chapel depict the four seasons. The center window shows a brilliant sunrise, to its left, are spring and summer, and to the right, are autumn and winter. In addition, there are three large stained glass windows designed by D. Maitland Armstrong of opalescent glass using a special layer technique that creates a great depth of field and a shimmering effect, especially on a sunny day. The Battell Chapel will be open on Saturday, February 25 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and on Sunday, February 26, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Immaculate Conception Church will be open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and docents will be on hand to talk about these magnificent stained glass windows. Here visitors can view ten exquisite stained-glass windows designed by architect Alfredo Taylor and created by Franz Mayer & Company of Munich, Germany. At the time, this company was awarded the status of “Royal Bavarian Art Establishment by King Ludwig II and was named by Pope Leo XIII as a “Pontifical Institute of Christian Art.” Today the company is managed by the fifth generation of family members and works with renowned artists around the world.


Now in its seventh year, the all-volunteer WIN Committee organizes two town-wide events annually: the Summer WIN and the Winter WIN. Norfolk’s town officials, the Economic Development Commission, and many local organizations, institutions, and individuals support these two town-wide festivals in order to welcome people from near and far to this lovely town in the Litchfield Hills.