Pastoral Solitudes and Landscape Paintings at the Gregory James Gallery

November 4th. All of the paintings were produced over the past two years and reflect the farms and untouched landscapes of Connecticut’s Northwest Corner. A few marine paintings were inspired by scenes near Adkins’ home in Maine, where as a boy, he spent summer vacations with his family.

Thomas_Adkins_Golden_Rod_Fields-Woodbury_24x24_oil_-

Most of his paintings are derived from small sketches made on location, which Adkins refers to later in the studio, making subtle changes in color and light to evoke a mood, the season or time of day.

The green and gold fields of “Northern Farm Early Spring” draw the eye up to an aging grey barn illuminated by sunlight peeking over the hills beyond the farm. The last remnants of snow are visible on hilltops and the bare branches of trees stretch toward a pale sky tinged with purple. The interplay of light and shadow hint at a scene captured just before sunset, or perhaps slightly after sunrise.

The change of season is evident in “Fall Diagonal Light Kent,” which features a pair of barns, bookends to a white farmhouse, tucked beneath leafy green trees tinged with orange. The last slanting rays of sun fall over the scene from beyond the frame of the painting as thick clouds move in from the opposite side.

Looking at “Lake Waramaug Summer,” the viewer seems to be perched on the path, in the same spot Adkins set up his easel, pausing to take in the view of the lake and green the hills sloping down to its edges. There is a small farm tucked into the hillside, yet there is a sense that the viewer is able to take in this tranquil scene alone. Adkins calls it “a snapshot of the moment. You get a true sense of the atmosphere and the feeling for the place.”

Thomas_Adkins_Fall_Diagonal_Light_Kent_30x40_oil_-

A graduate of Paier College of Art of New Haven, Adkins completed graduate classes at the School of Visual Arts of New York. He has worked as art director and creative director for some of the most prestigious advertising agencies in Connecticut and New York.

As a contemporary painter, Adkins’ style and technique has developed from early influences by Impressionistic painters of light on nature, such as Monet, Pissaro, Willard Metcalf. Adkins’ work is featured in private collections throughout the United States and abroad. His paintings have been shown in galleries and exhibitions in Connecticut and New England, including the New Britain Museum of American Art, The Butler Institute Of American, Old Lyme Association, Gregory James Gallery, Greene Art Gallery and at Bayview Gallery in Brunswick, Me. A member of the Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society and the Association of Oil Painters of America, he participated in the prestigious International Marine Art Exhibition at The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport. In 2014, he will be one of a select few award-winning artists from seven countries selected to participate in the 35th Annual International Marine Art Exhibition at Mystic Seaport.

The Gregory James Gallery is located at 93 Park Lane Road (Route 202) in New Milford, about 100 feet from the intersection of Route 109. For more information, please call (860) 354-3436 or visit gregoryjamesgallery.com.

Kent Antique Machinery Fall Festival in Litchfield Hills

p1060289_med

This year marks the 30th annual Fall Festival hosted by the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association, www.ctamachinery.com on 31 Kent Cornwall Rd. in Kent on September 26, 27 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event features special demonstrations, vendors and food along with the many permanent exhibits of the Association that includes Industrial Hall, a mining museum, a tractor hall, a narrow gage working railroad and the Cream Hill Agricultural School.

Highlights of this event include an American #1 sawmill with plenty of logs to be cut into planks. There will be demonstrations throughout the weekend of the sawmill, as well as other wood handling machinery including an antique planer, a splitter, and maybe even a drag saw.

p1060273_med

Another popular spot is the blacksmith’s shop headed up by Skip Kern who will be showing visitors the art of blacksmithing. In the Industrial Hall of Steam, Conrad Milster will be giving talks and live demonstrations of various antique steam engines. The Association hopes to see their Nagle-Corliss engine in operation for this show. A highlight in Industrial Hall is the Associations newest acquisition, a very early (possibly Ames) engine, on loan from the New York Hall of Science.

p1060279_med-2

Lumber Jack/Jill demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday of the Festival, featuring Shannon Strong, a well-known local fitness trainer are certain crowd pleasers. The show will feature demonstrations of handsaw and ax skills. Demonstration times will be announced at the show.

In the Industrial Hall of Steam, Conrad Milster will be giving talks and live demonstrations of the Association’s various antique steam engines. The Association hopes to see their Nagle-Corliss engine in operation for this show. Visitors will also see the Association’s newest acquisition, a very early (possibly Ames) engine, that came to them in beautiful condition, on loan from the New York Hall of Science.

p1060287_med

Don’t miss the Friday evening spaghetti w/meatballs and sausage. There’s a limited number of tickets available, so buy them in advance at the food pavilion. The dinner is from 5:30 to 7:00 PM and will be held at the picnic pavilion unless inclement weather forces it inside the Industrial Hall. Tickets are $10 per person. Menu includes spaghetti with meatballs and sausage, salad, Italian bread, soft drinks, coffee and dessert. All proceeds benefit the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association.

p1060275_med-2

Parking is free in the lower parking field and a free shuttle bus will bring you to the main gate.

For more information http://www.ctamachinery.com and for area information www.litchfieldhills.com

West Cornwall Scenery, Shopping & More

There are many reasons to visit the bucolic village of West Cornwall. The West Cornwall Covered Bridge is a wooden lattice truss bridge built around 1864 that spans the Housatonic River. This is one of two bridges that can actually be crossed by auto traffic. Many visitors to West Cornwall take photos of this iconic covered bridge.

west cornwall covered bridge

In the heart of the village there are several interesting shops to explore. Cornwall Bridge Pottery http://www.cbpots.com owned by Todd Piker, one of the country’s most prolific potters produces high quality wood fired pots for everyday use. In his shop you will find lamps, planters, mugs, plates, bowls and much more. In addition to pottery, you will also find an official Shaker Furniture Room.

If you are a book lover, don’t miss Barbara Farnsworth Bookseller http://www.farnsworthbooks.com. This shop is located in an old masonic hall and has over 45,000 books ! There are large selections in literature, biography, poetry, diaries and letters, art, architecture, photography, fashion and costume, natural history, cookbooks, children’s books, and many other categories.

The Wish House is a gorgeous shop that offers a wide array of gift items and clothes. The gallery at the Wish House exhibits the artwork of local artists and hosts author events. The West Cornwall Farmers Market is also held here on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through October. The Wish House often hosts book signings with local authors.

History comes alive in Litchfield Connecticut this August!

The Litchfield Historical Society located on the corner of the village green and Rte. 63 south has planned a trio of events for lovers of this historic town. On August 20 for example, the Leather Iron Book Club meets at the society from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. and will discuss this month’s book, Remembrance written by Theresa Breslin. This activity is perfect for kids 9 years or older. Remembrance is set in 1915 Scotland, and chronicles the experiences of young Red Cross nurses as they struggle with changes brought on by the Great War. Following the discussion of the book, games and crafts relating to the story will be offered. Register by August 9th to receive a copy of the book.

Tapping Reeve House & law SchoolJPG

An event not to be missed on August 23 at 10 a.m. is the walking tour of West Street, a centerpiece of Litchfield History. The walk begins at 10 a.m. at the Historical Society and is $10 for non-members. Participants will find out about the playhouse that was once on Litchfield’s West Street and learn about this bustling business center and the surrounding area. A tour guide will discuss the street’s residents, summer destinations, stores, and how the area has changed over time.

lvl2_lawschool-1

On August 29 at 6 p.m. the Historical Society is offering a lecture and guided tasting of the Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England. The lecture will take place on the lawn of the Tapping Reeve House and Law School located on 83 South Street (Rte. 63 south) and is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Corin Hirsch, award-winning food and drink writer, will be discussing about her new book “Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England.” Tippling was a common activity in colonial New England, and Hirsch has resurrected some of these delicious libations in her new publication. She will mix up drinks like flip and grog for participants to sample.

The Litchfield History Museum’s exhibit, The Lure of the Litchfield Hills through November29, 2015 explores the Colonial Revival Movement in Litchfield. This exhibit explores what was behind the Colonial Revival Movement, how the residents of Litchfield embraced their ancestral past and how the community came to look the way it does today. Visitors are invited to join in exploring his social movement that touched all aspects of American life from architecture and landscaping, to fashion, home decoration and beyond.

lvl2_museum

For more information about the Litchfield Historical Society visit www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org. For information about Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

July at the Beardsley Zoo a month of Family Fun

July at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport on 1875 Noble Ave. has a host of activities that promises fun for the whole family. Take the Rainforest Reptiles for example that are back at the Zoo by popular demand from July 1- 31. These reptile shows feature exotic crawlers, unusual slitherers, and fascinating creepers, all of which are creatures of the rainforest. Participants will experience direct contact with live animals, artifacts, and hear fascinating stories about these unusual animals and their natural habitats. There are two shows daily Tuesdays – Thursdays and three shows on Friday – Sunday.

343-1

To celebrate July 4, take part in the Red, White and Blue Animal Scavenger Hunt from 9 am – 4 pm. This self-guided hunt will challenge visitors to find all of the animals sporting patriotic colors. (Ex. red wolf, white swans, (blue) poison dart frog) – and many more! Don’t miss the special “Animal Bytes” presentation about the American Bald Eagle.

599

There are five sessions of “Zoo Patrol”, the first from July 7-11 and the second from July 14-18. These sessions are followed by a Zoo Patrol from July 20-26; July 21 – 25 and July 28- August 1. The Zoo Patrol offers children ages 6 – 8 the opportunity to participate in keeper talks, behind-the-scenes tours, animal related games, and crafts. Hands-on lab activities and nature studies may also be a part of the program. Sessions run on zoo grounds Monday through Friday. Each week is $140/child for Zoo members and $165/child for non-members.Advance registration is required. For more information and to register, please call 203-394-6563.

579

An evening lecture series is offered on July 16 at 7 p.m. on Coyotes in Connecticut. Guest lecturer Chris Vann will share the latest information about Connecticut’s growing population of coyotes, the risk they pose, and popular misconceptions about them. A $5 suggested donation is recommended. Refreshments will be served. This lecture, taking place in the Hanson Exploration Station, is part of the Evening Lecture Series, sponsored by Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Volunteer Association.

726

To round out the month, the ever popular and family favorite Chris Rowlands will be at the Zoo at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily. Rowlands is famous for getting everyone involved, as he brings animals to life through kid-friendly songs, dance, puppets, and colorful props. Chris creatively blends music, comedy, and education to create fast paced, interactive shows that teach and inspire young people. Children are invited to wear fun hats and sing along with Rowlands on stage as he shares his self- penned songs about animals and their environment. Best of all these performances scheduled on July 26 and 27 and July 31 are free with paid admission to the Zoo. Each performance is 30-35 minutes long.

The Beardsley Zoo is located on 1875 Noble Ave. in Bridgeport. Connecticut’s only zoo features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Visitors won’t want to miss our Amur (Siberian) tigers and leopard, Brazilian ocelot, Mexican wolves, and Golden Lion tamarins. Other highlights include our South American rainforest with free-flight aviary, the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas, the New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep, and other barnyard critters, plus the hoofstock trail featuring bison, pronghorn, deer, and more. Visitors can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful carousel. For more information, visit www.beardsleyzoo.org. For information on Fairfield County www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Categories: General

Beautiful Dogwood Festival Blossoms Help Celebrate 375th Anniversary of Fairfield, in Western Connecticut

header

A steepled church, a village green, and colonial homes enveloped in clouds of pink blossoms are a traditional sign of spring in Fairfield, one of Western Connecticut’s oldest and loveliest towns. Fairfield’s Dogwood Festival has been a tradition for 79 years, celebrating the hundreds of trees that light up the lanes of the town’s historic Greenfield Hill neighborhood. This year’s event takes place Friday May 2 through Sunday, May 4.

But Greenfield Hill is just one of three historic districts in this Fairfield County town celebrating an impressive 375th anniversary this year. So after enjoying one of spring’s most colorful celebrations, visitors can enjoy the celebration taking place in the rest of the town.

The Dogwood Festival

Fairfield’s first dogwood trees were planted back in 1705, when Isaac Bronson, a retired Revolutionary War surgeon-turned-farmer, decided his Greenfield Hills property would be enhanced if he transplanted some of the native wild dogwood trees blooming in the nearby woods. Bronson propagated and so did his trees. By 1895, the blooms were so outstanding that the Greenfield Hill Village Improvement Society took on care of the dogwoods as an official project, adding many new plantings that continue to grow.

In 1935 the Greenfield Hills Congregational Church held the first Dogwood Festival, and like the trees, it has grown prodigiously with time. Besides taking in the beauty of the blossoms, guests can visit tents where some 40 juried New England artisans and crafters will be showing their creations, see an art show, hunt for treasures at a tag sale, enjoy free musical entertainment and pick up prize plants that make perfect Mothers’ Day gifts. Walking tours of the historic lanes will be available and kids will have their own craft tent, bounce house, and face painter, plus cotton candy, and carnival games with prizes. Proceeds from the festival benefit more than 30 local, national and international charities. For details, see www.greenfieldhillschurch.com

The 375th Anniversary

In the second historic district in the center of town, the first sign of something special going on this year will be the fire hydrants, painted in historic garb like the Colonial soldiers who once marched here.
At the Fairfield Museum and History Center, a new hands-on exhibit explores the doings in town over its colorful past. Creating Community: Exploring 375 years of Our Past lets visitors look inside a Native American wigwam, climb into an American Revolution fort, watch a video depicting the Burning of Fairfield by the British in 1779, decipher a spy code, and sit on a 19th century trolley. In six chronologically organized sections, it shows how people worked, lived, and built communities over time by exploring original objects, individual stories, and engaging activities like trying on wardrobes from different periods.

The corner of the Museum block, Beach and Old Post Road, was the center point of the original “four squares” of the town laid out in 1639. Only four original homes survived the British fires, but a pleasant hour can be spent exploring the area’s many beautiful post-Revolutionary homes, historic churches and the town hall, whose central section remains as it was rebuilt in 1790

Southport, the picturesque harbor area, is the third historic area. Boats laden with onions from Greenfield Hill farms used to sail out of this harbor before the British did their damage. Now it is home to yachts and country clubs and exclusive residential areas in the hills surrounding the tiny village.

Fairfield is planning many special events in the months ahead to mark its special birthday. See http://www.fairfield375.com for a complete calendar.

For more information about lodging and other activities in the area and a free copy of UNWIND, a full-color, 152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in Fairfield County and the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.visitwesternct.com