Historic House Tour in Kent

A special November tour is taking place in the charming town of Kent that is hosted by the Kent Historical Society on November 9 from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m. Houses on the Kent Historical Society’s House tour will feature the architecture of Sherwood Mills and Smith AIA. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 on the day of the tour. For your tickets click here.

This tour features six of Kent’s architectural gems that have been preserved with great care. This house tour will give residents and visitors an inside look at homes and structures built in the first decade of the 18th century through a modernist mid-century and help them understand how people lived and are living in this bucolic community.

There is an interesting variety of home on the tour. Some were grand dwellings in their day, others were much more modest. The highlight is that the variety of homes offer a number of curiosities and beauty that tour-goers will appreciate on this journey into the past.

The tour starts at Seven Hearths Museum on 4 Studio Hill Road in Kent, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Ticket holders will get a map and a description of the houses and are free to go on a self-guided tour of the homes. Tickets may also be purchased that day at the Seven Hearths from 11 a.m. through the afternoon. It promises to be a fun event — who doesn’t like peering back in time in old houses?

Hidden History of Litchfield Hills at Kent Historical Society

The Kent Historical Society and Kent Memorial Library will present local author and prominent educator Peter Vermilyea as he discusses and signs his new book “Hidden History of Litchfield County” on Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at the Kent Town Hall. In the event of inclement weather, the snow date is Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

VermilyeaBookCover-2

In his book and presentations, Vermilyea uncovers abundant clues all around us, and shares them with audiences and readers throughout the region. His curiosity takes him all over the local landscape, and he constantly turns up instances of history that still linger, if you open your eyes to see them.

Stonewalls and graveyards summon numerous stories from Vermilyea. He points out weed-choked railroad tracks that crisscross the county, in Kent and beyond, and brings our attention to a ruined cinderblock bunker in Warren that was once a crucial radar station during the Cold War. He reminds us of a catastrophic fire that devastated Winsted in 1908, forcing residents to flee the Odd Fellows boardinghouse in fear of their lives. In Bantam, art deco chairs made by the Warren McArthur Corporation were so appealing and comfortable that the War Department ordered bomber seats from the company during World War II. Vermilyea explores these and other juicy tales from the history of Litchfield County, Connecticut.

A resident of Litchfield, Mr. Vermilyea teaches history at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village, Connecticut, and at Western Connecticut State University. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he is the director of the student scholarship program at his alma mater’s Civil War Institute. He is a member of the Litchfield Historical Society Board of Directors. He is the author or editor of three books and more than a dozen articles and maintains the Hidden in Plain Sight blog. In fact, the book grew from Vermilyea’s fascinating blog, which can be found at http://www.hiddeninplainsightblog.com. “Hidden History of Litchfield County” boasts five-star reviews on Amazon, with such comments as, “extremely well-written and impressively researched,” and “it is amazing how many remnants of the nation’s past the author has uncovered…”

Vermilyea’s lecture will be particularly geared to Kent and its citizens, but everyone will want to attend. A long-time friend of both the Kent Historical Society and Kent Memorial Library, Vermilyea made ample use of the society’s archives in researching this book. Readers will find a handsome acknowledgement to the Kent Historical Society’s Curator, Marge Smith, on page 8.

His book, “Hidden History of Litchfield County” will be available for purchase at the lecture by local bookstore House of Books. There will be a reception following the presentation. The program is free and open to the public. Donations are suggested and welcome. To register, please call 860-927-4587 or 860-927-3761, email assistant@kenthistoricalsociety.org or kmlinfo@biblio.org or register at the Library at www.kentmemoriallibrary.org and click on the events calendar.

For area information www.litchfieldhills.com

The Witches are back in Kent Connecticut!

Not many people know that Connecticut was New England’s most determined witch prosecutor – even fiercer than Salem. The record is terrible: The first person hanged for witchcraft in New England came from Windsor, and for a time every Connecticut woman indicted for witchcraft was convicted and hanged.

brooms (1)

In another of its continuing “Sunday Series” presentations, the Kent Historical Society will host Walt Woodward, the Connecticut state historian, giving a presentation on witch hunts that happened in Connecticut.

The lecture will be held Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 2 p.m. at the Kent Town Hall.
Walt Woodward animates this extraordinary, but neglected episode in a lecture that begins with the Protestant Reformation and continues through the Hartford Witch hunt of the 1660’s – a nightmare of trials and executions that preceded Salem by a generation. The story improves, too. Woodward documents how Connecticut’s Governor John Winthrop, Jr. played a role in ending executions for witchcraft 30 years before they even began at Salem.

Kent’s own Seger family was caught up in the madness. Elizabeth Moody Seger was accused of witchcraft three times. It is documented on the family’s web site http://www.onsegermountain.org/witchcraft.html

For more winter event information on the Litchfield Hills visit www.litchfieldhills.com

Can you smell the gingerbread in Kent?

The sweet scents will tease your sense of smell as you enter the quaint village of Kent CT. The rolling pins are spinning and creative minds of all ages are working hard to create over 40 Gingerbread Houses. Ovens are filled to capacity and working overtime to get ready for the 3rd ANNUAL KENT GINGERBREAD FESTIVAL through Jan. 5, 2015.

10649589_710200722406754_6647666780965173325_n

Gingerbread Houses of all shapes and sizes will be on display in over 40 beautifully decorated shop windows until the first week in January. As you approach Kent you will find yourself in what looks like a movie set of the perfect little New England town, twinkling lights will guide you through the unique one of a kind shops. What an enjoyable way to do your holiday shopping. Add to that, a little Naughty Gingerbread Man named FREDDIE and you have the recipe for the most exciting Holiday Destination in Connecticut.

FREDDIE and his crew of ten Gingerbread Bad Boys will be hiding out in the shop windows amongst the Gingerbread Houses. So bring the family and friends and put on your detective hats and gumshoes. Vote for your favorite Window Display and House and you can also enter for free to win a great prize. Download a Gingerbread Manhunt Walking Map to find FREDDIE and his girlfriend GINGER, the cute, hot & spicy Gingerbread Girl he rescued from the bakery. Even though FREDDIE has been NAUGHTY, while you are in Kent, you can complete your NICE shopping list, away from the crowded malls & parking lots. Here you will find smiling faces, and even get your gifts wrapped for free in most shops.

10556372_726160650810761_6948574242620845628_n

Should you be hungry after your Gingerbread Manhunt Walk there are many temptations that will lure you, from a chocolate shop and baked goods to delicious culinary delights in one of Kent’s twelve restaurants & cafés. Join in the “Find Freddie Fun” and make Kent CT your Annual Holiday Destination.

For more holiday information and the latest on Freddie visit www.kentct.com and for holiday events in Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Kent’s Annual Holiday Champagne Stroll

To get in the holiday mood, visit Kent, a quiet village located in the the heart of the Litchfield Hills that has organized a great holiday outing for young and old alike. On November 28 and 29, visitors are invited to attend the second annual Champagne Stroll where local merchants will be pouring champagne from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. on both days.

teaser-right

Stroll participants will be awarded with special offers throughout town and will even be entered into a contest to win one of 3 great bottles of champagne! For additional information visit http://www.kentct.com.

The Kent Historical Society is getting into the swing of things with a special display at the Champagne Stroll highlighting material from Camp Po-Ne-Mah and Camp Francis. The Kent Historical Society we will be displaying items in a Trunk Show at 5 Kent Green Boulevard during Kent’s Champagne Stroll, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. You’ll see the old Po-Ne-Mah sign, as well as several other highly evocative pieces from their collection. This trunk show will provide a glimpse of their 2015 show, and give visitors a better understanding of the allure of this pleasant community.

Girls_archery_001_edited-1 (1)

The Kent Historical Society’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich history of Kent as well as to provide educational and research material to enrich the public understanding of Kent’s artistic and cultural heritage. For more information, see www.kenthistoricalsociety.org or call 860-927-4587.

For area information on where to stay, events and where to go in Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

THE BEST FOLIAGE TOWN IN NEW ENGLAND? YANKEE MAGAZINE PICKS KENT, CONNECTICUT

Kent, Connecticut has many claims to fame—two state parks, a 250-foot waterfall, rural beauty combined with sophisticated shops, galleries and museums.  But this fall there is new reason to boast.  Yankee Magazine has named this charming village in the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut the peak spot for leaf-peeping in all of New England.

kent road and foliage

In one day in Kent, says Yankee, you can drive through rolling hills beside a twisting river, stop for thick hot chocolate and an pastry, hike the Appalachian trail, picnic with a panini by a waterfall, shop for Buddhas or modern art and bite into a crisp native Cortland apple, perhaps in the shade of a historic covered bridge.

This praise is no surprise to those who know Kent and its unique blend of attractions.  A newly published free color brochure with map will help newcomers find their way around.

Foliage watchers who like their leaves close-up on a hiking trail should head for Macedonia Brook State Park, where 2300 acres offer extensive leafy trails.  For views, the Blue Trail is hard to beat with its fantastic vistas of the Catskill and Taconic mountains.

In Kent Falls State Park you can admire the falls from the bottom or hike a quarter-mile up the hill and feel the mist on your face as the water cascades down 250 feet on its way to join the Housatonic River.

The Appalachian Trail runs through this area, and hikers who want scenery without stress will enjoy the Housatonic “river walk,” a peaceful stretch beside the river that is the longest essentially flat section along the entire trail.

bulls bridge kent ct

For more worldly diversions, take a walk along Route 7, Kent’s Main Street, lined for miles with irresistible stops.  Five antiques shops beckon, including Pauline’s Place and Koblenz & Co., known for their antique jewelry.  Among the many shops and galleries, Heron American Craft Gallery shows the best work of American craftsmen, Foreign Cargo offers unusual clothing, jewelry and art from Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands and the Kent Art Association is just one of five fine art galleries in town.

Take out the camera for Bulls’ Bridge, one of three remaining covered bridges in Connecticut dating from the 19th century.  George Washington crossed the Housatonic River near the site of the present bridge in 1781.

Just north of town is the Sloane-Stanley Museum.  Eric Sloane (1905-1985) was a prolific artist, author and illustrator and an avid collector of Americana. The museum includes the artist’s studio, examples of his art and his extensive collection of early American handmade tools, beautiful objects of wood that are virtual works of art.  On the property are the remains of the Kent Iron Furnace and a diorama explaining the once-booming local iron industry.  Next-door is the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum, a unique display of steam and gas tractors, a working narrow gauge railroad, an industrial hall with working steam engines and mining exhibit building.

Fall Foliage in Litchfield Hills CT  copy 2

When hunger pangs strike in Kent, the Panini Café is the place for a tasty picnic sandwich, and for a treat the Kent coffee and Chocolate Company offers the “best hot chocolate in Connecticut.”  For dinner, the Fife & Drum is a long time favorite for continental dinners with nightly music, Bull’s Bridge Inn has a choice of fine dining or pub fare, and Doc’s Trattoria serves excellent Italian fare and has a pleasant patio for fine fall days.

For a copy of the new free guide and map of Kent and a free copy of UNWIND, a 163-page color guide to lodging and dining and other regional attractions in all of the Litchfield Hills contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, www.litchfieldhills.com.