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

Explore your inner artist with a pro at Karen Rossi Studios

Karen Rossi Studios is sure to bring out the inner artist in you no matter what your artistic ability is. Karen is a highly regarded artist well known for her original metal sculptures. Rossi also licenses and imports her whimsical characters of hobbies and professions, known as Fanciful Flights™. A growing brand, Rossi Studios is constantly introducing many programs. The newest additions include Aviv Judaica, and puzzles by Ceaco, Stave and Ravensburger.

Holiday shopper EMAIL

In Litchfield Hills at Rossi’s newly opened studio in Torrington located on 27 East Main Street in the historic Allen Building she has organized a series of classes for the month of November that are sure to delight young and old.

BlueMermaid

On November 1 Rossi is offering a Mermaid Fanciful Flights workshop. Participants will make their very own mermaid by painting the beauty first, and then attaching charms to tell the story of your sea creature. Materials are included, but you’re invited to bring old broken jewelry, sea glass& shells. $30.00 (Regular $40.00 per person).

Magic Mosaic Boxes are the highlight of the class on November 6 where participants will create a very special box for all their tiny keepsakes. In addition to mosaics, there are lots of mixed media in the studio to help make your piece unique. All materials supplied, but you’re invited to bring your old China plates to smash up! Making mosaics is a great way to let out stress and relax. $25.00 (Regular $40.00 per person).

Peppermint Cat

Shelf Sitters that sit on a table, shelf or desktop replete with dangling legs and shoes will be made on Nov. 8. This workshop is $50 (regular $40).

Sure to be favorites, on November 15 participants will make Christmas Dogs and Cats ($25/$40) and will personalize each one for a one of a kind keepsake. On November 22 participants will Make their own Menorah ($35/$55) and will be able to choose from one of Karen’s lasercut designs. You’ll be given a white menorah to fill with color, add beads and candle cups and you’ll be ready for Chanukah.

For more information and to sign up for one of these fun and affordable classes visit http://www.karenrossi.com. For information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Westport Arts Festival July 19 & 20

This year marks the 41st for the popular Westport Arts Festival that is taking place this year in the center of Westport in Parker Harding Plaza and on Gorham Island on July 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on July 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

07

Festival goers can expect original juried works in Painting, Watercolor, Photography, Sculpture, Drawing, Printmaking, Mixed Media, Glass, Ceramics, Fiber, Jewelry, Wood and Digital Art dispayed along the lovely Saugatuck River in the heart of this charming riverside community.

02

Best of all, visitors will experience more than just the visual arts at the Westport Fine Arts Festival: there will be unique street performances, live music, hands-on art activities, and delicious food from local restaurateurs. As for kids, they will enjoy the special Beach Bonanza Children’s Tent Zone provided by the Westport Arts Center. This area will feature both collaborative and individual hands-on projects, all with a seashore inspired theme! From string murals to large-scale jellyfish, kids will be sure to have a blast; just look for the the palm trees to find the Kid Zone.

kids2

As for entertainment, there is plenty with an exciting line up as follows:

Saturday July 19
10:15 – 11:30 Chris MacKay and the Tone Shifters

11:45 – 1:00 Shiny Lapel Trio

1:15 – 2:30 Paul Brockett Roadshow Band

3:00 – 4:30 Mill River Band

5:00 – 6:30 Dr. B and The Brotherhood

Sunday July 20

10:15 – 11:30 Josi Davis and Hot Damn!

11:45 – 1:00 Pete Herger Band

1:30 – 2:45 Dylan Conner

3:10 – 4:30 Washboard Slim and the Bluelights
For More information visit www.westportfineartsfestival.com. For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Monroe’s Rails Trails Tour

On Saturday, May 31 the Monroe Historical Society is offering a look back to the Golden Age of Railroading for its annual spring glimpse into the past and is offering the newly revamped Rails Trails Tour.

2013steamtrain

The Rails Trails Tour covers the sites of four old wooden railway stations once vital to the rhythm of life in Monroe-Stepney and Stevenson Depots, and will also include Pepper Crossing and a stop off at Hammertown Road, known simply as Monroe Station.

Participants will board a motorcoach that will depart from the Monroe Senior Center on 235 Cutler’s Farm Rd. in Monroe at 10 a.m. Box lunches will be for sale as there is a noon stopover for lunch in Wolfe Park. There is also a ten-minute screening of the Great Train Robbery produced by Thomas Edison Studios in 1903 that will be shown before the motor coach departs and after it returns. This is the first commercially viable movie with sequential scenes.

The tour will include two morning stops and two stops in the afternoon and the motorcoach will head out rain or shine. Due to safety considerations, no private automobiles, motorcycles or bicycles are permitted on the tour. A special highlight of each tour will be the illustrated presentations at each site by railway historians: John Babina, Bob Belletzkie and Monroe’s town historian, Ed Coffey.

Displays will show how the steam engine was the lifeline for distributing farm products that drove the Monroe economy in the 1840s. At this time, the rail lines were the primary link to the outside world with its jobs and high schools in Bridgeport. The rail line also gave Monroe’s merchants access to goods and brought the farmers supplies like seed, fertilizer, feed and agricultural machinery.

With the advent of the automobile, by the 1930s passenger service was virtually discontinued. At the same time trucks became a more dedicated alternative for transporting the needs of business although limited use of the tracks for commerce continued until recent years.

The cost of the Rails Trails Tour is $10 for members, $15 for non-members, discounted to $5 for seniors and students. Tickets are available at the Monroe Senior Center and the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library. Space is limited. Additional information is available from Marven Moss at mmoss36@yahoo.com

For the love of Trees in Norwalk – the annual Tree Festival

The Connecticut Tree Festival, Norwalk’s annual spring tribute to leafy greenery is set for Cranbury Park, located on Grumman Ave. on Saturday, May 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine.

A_view_of_the_lineup_of_tree_festival_booths_at_Cranbury_Park. 2

This family fun festival will be both entertaining and educational for the whole family with up to 40 exhibition booths on a U-shaped midway making it easy to explore. Best of all, this event is free, everything in the park is free to the public–admission, parking, door prizes, even a picnic-style lunch.

There are demonstrations of how trees are planted, trimmed and moved as well as information on how to care for trees. Bring a twig and leaf from home and look for the “Ask the Arborist” signs, certified arborists are on-site to help identify trees, foliage or unusual conditions. In a mid-day ceremony, an eastern redbud tree is to be planted to honor the late Dick Aime who died last year at age 93 after many years as secretary of the Norwalk Tree Alliance.

For kids there is face painting, scavenger hunts, and arts and crafts activities. A highlight of the event are the cherry-pickers located around the midway that offers kids rides to the tree tops and tells them about the importance of tree care.

Mansion-with-forsythia-from-rt

Popular exhibitors include: the Wolf Conservation Center from South Salem New York, Wildlife in Crisis of Weston, CT, Earthplace of Westport and Connecticut’s Search and Rescue dog team.

Appearing for the first time is the Art Academy of Weir Farm in Wilton with a booth on the midway and a display of arboreal art called “A Celebration of Trees” in the neighboring Gallaher Mansion.

For additional information about this event visit https://www.ioby.org/project/2014-connecticut-tree-festival. For information on Fairfield County visit www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

About Cranbury Park

This is an expansive parkland of 227 acres that has a series of wooded trails, and a challenging 18- hold disc golf course. Also on the grounds is the Gallager Mansion built in 1913 by industrialist/inventor Edward Beach Gallaher. This limestone Tudor Revival mansion is styled with carvings, stained-glass windows and Walnut paneled rooms. It includes a large terrace and adjacent garden that make it perfect venue for outdoor entertaining. It’s available to rent for meetings, events, luncheons and weddings. The Carriage House Arts Center is located adjacent to the mansion. Contact Recreation and Parks for details. (203) 854-7806 or http://www.norwalkct.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/1

Monster Mash at the Stepping Stones Museum For Children Oct. 26

cat

It will be a night of tricks and treats as Stepping Stones Museum for Children welcomes all into its halls of wonder for the museum’s annual Halloween party. Celebrate this mystifying holiday the Stepping Stones way at Monster Mash: Questions and Mysteries on Saturday, October 26, from 6:00 – 8:30 pm. You’re sure to have a monstrously-good time during the museum’s kid-friendly costume party. It’s a night to quench the curiosity in everyone!

Monster Mash: Questions and Mysteries will be a spellbinding night jam-packed with not-so-scary family fun. Guests can meander through the museum on a scavenger hunt, find out what is fact or fiction as their minds are boggled by the wonders of real life. They will make their own magnifying glass, uncover mysterious messages and scrawl their own secrets with invisible ink, use their nose to sniff out solutions to questions and use their hands to feel for the answers. Of course there will be masquerading down the catwalk during the spooktacular costume fashion show and the BOO-tiful evening will end when they strut their stuff in the puzzling parade throughout the museum.

L-13-monster_mash

Don’t fret about bringing the littlest visitors. At this Halloween party, we won’t have you crying for your “mummy.” There will be age-appropriate activities for all visitors, so that the whole family can enjoy this costume party.

Tickets for this event cost $10 per person for museum members and $12 per person for non-members. Children under the age of one will be admitted for free. Monster Mash tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Registration is required. Space is limited, so register early. Call 203 899 0606, ext. 247, or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org/monstermash.

About Stepping Stones Museum for Children

Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Conn., is an award-winning, private, non-profit 501(c)(3) children’s museum committed to broadening and enriching the lives of children and families. Located on five acres in Mathews Park, the LEED Gold certified museum encompasses five hands-on galleries, state-of-the-art Multimedia Gallery, Family and Teacher Resource Center, cafe and retail store.

Stepping Stones is located at 303 West Avenue, exit 14N or 15S off I-95 in Norwalk. Museum hours are Labor Day through Memorial Day, Tuesday—Sunday and holiday Mondays from 10 am-5pm; and Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children and $10 for seniors. Children under 1 are free. To learn more, call 203 899 0606 or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org.