Bradley Airport New Transportation Center

Today, the Connecticut Airport Authority celebrated the anticipated opening of its Ground Transportation Center at Bradley International Airport with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new $210 million state-of-the-art facility is on track to open to the public in mid-July.

The key elements of the new Ground Transportation Center include:

Convenient Rental Car Services
The rental car operations for nine brands will be consolidated under one roof in this facility, including vehicle pick-up and drop-off, car storage, cleaning, and fueling. Passenger access is available within a short and sheltered walking distance from the main terminal, Terminal A. Passengers will no longer need to use a shuttle to access their rental cars.

Additional Public Parking
The facility will add 830 new public parking spots, increasing the airport’s parking availability by ten percent. More than half of those spaces will offer covered parking, and the remainder will be surface parking spots next to the facility. All new spots are within a short walking distance to Terminal A.

Improved Access to Public Transportation
In addition to housing charter bus traffic, the facility will also include a dedicated area that, in the future, will be used to receive high-frequency buses connecting the airport to the CTRail line, as well as regional bus services.

Lacrosse – More Than Just A Game New Exhibition @ Institute for American Indian Studies

Lacrosse was originally played by eastern Native Americans and Canada’s First People. The Institute for American Indian Studies located at 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut has just opened a fascinating special exhibition, “More Than a Game: The Story of Lacrosse,” that will be on view at the Institute through August 2022.

This well-researched exhibition touches on a variety of subjects, many of which are unexpected in light of the game many of us know today. Some of the most interesting aspects of the exhibition relate to the spiritual importance of lacrosse and how it connects to creation stories, the way they settle differences, and its continued social and communal significance.

This exhibition also explores the appropriation of lacrosse by Euro-Americans and Canadians. In the 1860’s Dr. George Beers of Canada wrote the first standardized rulebook for lacrosse in an attempt to “civilize” the game. By the 1890s, Native American communities were banned from participating in national competitions. This part of the exhibition includes documentation in the form of newspaper clippings and images that depict the history of lacrosse in popular culture and how it was interpreted.

More Than a Game also highlights how traditional lacrosse sticks evolved in North America. Several lacrosse sticks on display showcase the three major styles of Native American lacrosse and demonstrate the different regional interpretations of the game.

This exhibit touches on the relationship between lacrosse and Native communities today. It delves into the saga of the Iroquois Nationals, the only Native American athletic team
permitted to compete in international competitions. Don’t miss the exhibition’s video that shows Native Americans making wooden sticks in the traditional way and relating why it is important to the future of their culture. This exhibit can be summed up by a quote by Rex Lyons, Onondaga, “Lacrosse is part of the story of our creation, of our identity, of who we are. So when we play the game, we always say that there’s a simultaneous game going on in the Sky World and our ancestors are playing with us.”

The Institute for American Indian Studies is open Wednesday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and admission is $12 for adults, $8 for children 3-12, $10 for seniors, and members are free.

About 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.

Learn How to Make Traditional Native American Bark Basket Workshop At Institute for American Indian Studies

Native Americans have created baskets for centuries. In fact, archeologists believe that basket-making is one of the oldest known crafts in the world. If you have always wanted to learn how to create a bark basket of your own, join this in-person workshop conducted by Jennifer Lee of Pequot and Narragansett ancestry on Sunday, June 5 at the Institute of American Indian Studies located on 38 Curtis Road in Washington, Connecticut. This four-hour workshop begins at 11 a.m. and has a break for lunch.

Join artist and educator Jennifer of Lee, Narragansett descent

About Native American Baskets

Baskets have been an integral part of Native American material culture for centuries. Native American baskets range from very simple to very elaborate. Often the art of basket making was passed down from generation to generation among Native American Indian mothers to their daughters. It is a skill that takes the place of pride among many Indigenous people today.

Bark baskets made by Eastern Woodland Indians were used for cooking, gathering berries, hauling water, storing food, as cradleboards, and even for burying the dead. Most often baskets were made from pine, ash, or birch bark that was harvested in the spring when the bark was most pliable. The bark was then folded into the desired shape and sewn with spruce root and rimmed with arrowwood or other natural materials.

White Pine Bark mokok with collar (4 ½H x 7W x 3D)

About the Workshop

Jennifer Lee is an 18th-century re-enactor and material culture presenter. Bark basket making is one of the programs that she offers. “I want my programs to dispel old stereotypes and increase awareness of present-day Native Americans,” says Lee.

Participants in this workshop will learn about the lore and tradition of basket making from Lee while creating their very own bark basket. A highlight is learning about how baskets were used in everyday life and their role in Native American communities today. Lee will guide participants through the process of creating a bark basket using white pine bark, spruce root, and willow. During the scheduled lunch break (please bring your own snack and non-alcoholic beverage) participants can wander through the museum for inspiration and brainstorm with others for ideas.

White Pine Bark mokok with collar (7H x 4W x 3D).

Participants can choose from three different basket designs that include a white pine bark wall pocket, and two sizes of a white pine bark mokok with collar. Whatever basket you choose to make, it is something unique to treasure at the end of the day.

Space is limited for this workshop that is expected to sell out, so sign up early. To participate, please register and pre-pay by June 2. The cost of participation, including all materials and tools, is $75 for members of the Institute and $85 for non-members. To register click here. If you have questions call (860) 868-0518 or email events@iaismuseum.org.

White Pine bark wall pocket, curved bottom (7H x 7W x 4D)

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 a 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.

Norwalk’s Sheffield Island Gets Ready For Summer 2022

Sheffield Island Lighthouse located off the coast of Norwalk has been renovated and maintained by the volunteers of the Seaport Association since 1978 so that summer visitors taking the Association’s ferry to the island can enjoy its’ unspoiled natural beauty. The outing to Sheffield Island is one of the most popular activities in Connecticut, not only because of the thrill of being out on the water but also for the chance to tour a historic lighthouse on the National Register and, explore a private island.

Expect a warm welcome on Sheffield Island

Seeing how beautifully maintained the island is, it begs the question, what goes into opening Sheffield Island for the season? The short answer is a lot! Linda Cappello, a long-time Trustee on the Executive Board has taken on the task of putting together a team of volunteers that get Sheffield Island ready for summer guests that take the Seaport’s ferry to it. “The first thing I do is visit the island prior to putting together a work party to see how the island and lighthouse have weathered the winter. I have to access if there are any particular concerns that need to be addressed in addition to the routine tasks that have to be accomplished each year before we open,” Cappello said. “I inspect the interior and exterior of the lighthouse and grounds to determine what tasks need immediate attention, as well as those that require eventual attention.”

On the initial trip to the Island, the work party spends about five hours cleaning the place up. Tasks like cutting up fallen limbs, painting picnic tables, cutting down all seagrass, and weeding the pathways are just some of the many things to do. Lighthouse tasks are a bit more challenging. All the windows, that were boarded up have to be uncovered, the gutters and downspouts have to be cleaned and checked for damage, the tower has to be checked, the lighthouse rooms have to be cleaned, and the furniture and displays polished and set -up for the season. The work party, consisting of 20 to 25 volunteers will go out to the island several times before Memorial Day Weekend in order to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.

Cleaning up the Brick Memorial Walkway in Front of the Lighthouse

When asked, why she organizes this seasonal pilgrimage, Cappello says, “It is my passion. I have cruised the waters of Long Island Sound and the Norwalk Islands for as long as I can remember. My father introduced me to the Sound when I was a child, and I have loved it ever since! If I could live on the Island I would! As for our volunteers, and we always welcome the help, just contact us. I think it offers them a unique opportunity for a good cause, especially if they have a love for Norwalk’s maritime history and Long Island Sound,” Cappello concluded. The work of course doesn’t end there. Throughout the summer season, the lighthouse has to be cleaned, the grass has to be mowed, and the shells along the pathways have to be maintained, along with a myriad of other tasks to keep Sheffield Island and Lighthouse welcoming for visitors.

This year, the Seaport Association is offering a sunset cruise on Thursday, May 26, Friday, May 27, Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. A cruise to Sheffield Island is scheduled for Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Special bird cruises departing at 8 a.m. are scheduled for Sunday, May 15, and Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29. Beginning in June sunset cruises will run from Wednesday to Sunday and three-hour cruises to Sheffield Island and Lighthouse will run on Saturday and Sunday. Starting June 28, cruises to Sheffield Island will run twice a day, Tuesday – Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The vessel does not offer cruises on Mondays. For tickets and more information http://seaport.org.

Passengers are asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to departure. The vessel leaves from the Seaport Dock on 4 North Water Street in Norwalk. The dock is adjacent to the Stroffolino Bridge at the corner of Washington and Water Streets in South Norwalk. Parking is available at the adjacent lot or at the Maritime Center Parking Garage across the street from the dock. Tickets are available online in advance by clicking here.

Getting ready to welcome summer visitors

About the Norwalk Seaport Association
The Norwalk Seaport Association was founded in 1978 by a group of local citizens who had the vision to revitalize South Norwalk and preserve Norwalk’s maritime heritage. The Seaport Association offers a cultural, environmental, and historical journey to the Norwalk Islands. The Sheffield Island Lighthouse and the Light Keeper’s Cottage provide a unique historical and educational venue that strives to increase awareness, appreciation, and consideration for the environment and how the preservation of historic buildings contributes to our quality of life. The combination of the Lighthouse and the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge offers an unparalleled opportunity to educate children of all ages and adults about the importance of preserving Long Island Sound, our environment, and our maritime heritage.

Wine and Cheese Market @ Hopkins Vineyard

Hopkins Vineyard overlooking beautiful Lake Waramaug is a perfect spot to visit this autumn. If you are foodies that love wine and cheese, don’t miss the Wine and Cheese Market on October 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hopkins Vineyard has teamed up with Jones Winery, Land of Nod Winery, Spring Hill Vineyards and Sunset Meadow Vineyards to host a wine and cheese tasting and market. This event will feature wine from each of the vineyards as well as cheese and food samples from a host of local vendors. Another highlight of this event are the handmade gift items from talented local craftspeople and artisans that will be for sale. If you want a bit more than cheese samples, not to worry, food for purchase will be available from the Clambaking Company. This company specializes in fresh seafood and BBQ, so there will be something to delight every palate.

Hopkins Vineyard is located on 25 Hopkins Road in Warren Connecticut. The tickets for this event are $25 per person and $12 for a designated driver. For tickets click here.

If you miss this event, keep in mind that the picnic area at Hopkins Vineyard is open daily this October. You can either bring your own picnic lunch and pick up a bottle of Hopkins wine from the shop or purchase one of the cheese platters stocked with Arethusa and other gourmet cheeses at the shop.

Native American Ceremony and Dancers Celebrate the New Algonquian Village @ Institute for Native American Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies on 38 Curtis Road in Washington has good reason to celebrate and you are invited to join the fun at the Algonquian Village Renewal Ceremony on October 12 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This is your chance to be one of the first people to visit the new revitalized Village consisting of wigwams and a longhouse and, to be part of a special Native American Smudging Ceremony by Darlene Kascak, Schaghticoke. This fascinating ceremony will cleanse the new longhouse and chase away evil spirits in the village. The Thunderbird Dancers, the oldest Native American Dance Company in New York that have performed all over the world will be on hand to perform dances of celebration in the village. This amazing dance troupe keeps alive the traditions, songs, and dances they have learned that would otherwise be lost. For those interested in how the village was actually constructed, Kalin Griffin, IAIS Educator and, primitive technologist will be on hand to talk about the techniques used to reconstruct the village using only stone tools.

Since the 1980s the replicated 16th century outdoor Native American Village at the Institute has been a favorite of visitors, students, teachers, and staff. Walking on a winding forest path leading to the village that was constructed to resemble the way a Native American community in Connecticut would have looked centuries ago is one of the most memorable aspects of a visit to the Institute. Entering the village, visitors feel transported back in time as they explore the longhouse, a cluster of wigwams, shelters, and gardens. One of the most intriguing aspects of the village is that it is made using only trees and bark and other things found in the natural environment using traditional tools and techniques. Today’s visitors to the Institute and those that plan to visit in the future will continue to enjoy this beautiful village and learn about the fascinating culture of the Eastern Woodland Indians.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies

Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the IAIS preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. We have a 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.