Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Chocolate Fest in Portland

On Saturday, February 3 from 1-4:30p.m. the Portland First Congregational Church will hold their 21st Chocolate Fest. Snow date February 4. 

Come to enjoy the Chocolate Mousse Cafe where a variety of desserts from the ladies of the church will be offered. Some of the possibilities are Lemon Truffle Pie, Ambrosia White Chocolate Cheesecake, and Turtle Cheesecake. Linda Rumsey Dolega of Sweet Memories Bake Shop will offer her Double Truffle "Black Beast". 

In addition, there will be a Valentine Craft Booth, a Candy Booth, Baked Goods Booth and a 'Not Just For Kids" craft room. 

Admission is free. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Westport Farmer's Market

"Farmers' markets are cool. They usually have fresh produce. Shopping there boosts local economies. It's hassle-free and homey.

The Westport Farmers' Market is that - and much, much more. It's dynamic, constantly evolving, and a true community event.

One element contributing to all that is programming. There are demonstrations, projects, and ongoing partnerships.

One of the most creative and meaningful is called Farmers to Veterans to Community. The program gives military vets affiliated with Homes for the Brave in Bridgeport a chance to prepare farm-fresh food under the guidance of WFM's vast chef network.

Through the Farmers' Market, veterans learn about the health benefits of local food - and job opportunities with area restaurants. It's a win-win-win - for vets, farmers and restaurateurs. Of course, it helps the entire community - and economy - too.  Homes for the Brave helps homeless men and women, and their families, attain housing and learn life skills.

FVC began 2 months ago, with 6 women. Chef Jennifer Balin - a Westporter who owns Sugar & Olives, just over the Norwalk line - and chef Dan Sabia of Jesup Hall pioneered the program. They shop at the indoor farmers' market, then bring ingredients to the kitchen at the women's home. They demonstrate cooking techniques. Then, at dinner, they share recipes, and discuss life skills and employment opportunities. One job may already be in the works.
More dinners are planned for February. Chefs Geoff Lazlo, Bill Taibe and Matt Storch, along with food blogger Liz Rueven, will participate.

Westport Farmers' Market executive director Lori Cochran-Dougall is justly proud of her creative programming. But, she admits, Farmers to Veterans to Community is special."This puts to work - literally - our values of giving back to the community, by helping those who have given so much of themselves," she says.

What a wonderful recipe for success!"  

Thank you Dan Woog for sharing our story and a big shout out to Newman's Ownfor believing in this concept and providing the seed money to get it off the ground. 

Do you love your dog? or maybe a friend's dog? 
We have a special presentation this week from Paul's Custom Pet Food at 11:00. 

They will launch our new series of vendor presentations this Saturday with: 7 Farmers' Market Foods You Can Share With Your Dog PLUS A Free Recipe! Lynn will present seven healthful human foods you can bring home from the market to enjoy yourself and to feed to your four-legged friend. Be sure to sign up for a free easy recipe PCPF will share that you can make at home.

Saturday's Vendor List:
1. Fort Hill Farm
2. Riverbank Farm
3. Sport Hill Farm 
4. Beltane Farm
5. Oxhollow Farm
6. Aradia Farm 
7. Two Guys from Woodbridge
8.  Arogya
9.  Wave Hill Breads
10. Boxcar Cantina
11. Raus Coffee
12. Simply Local
13. Local Catch 
14. Huckleberry Pastries
15. Beaver Brook Sankow Farm
16. Paul's Custom Pet Food
Rotating This Week:
17. EHSTO - prepared food
19. Calcutta Kitchen
20. Nit Noi Provisions
21. Healing Home Foods
22. Woodland Farm
23. Park City Honey 
24. Cross Culture Kombucha
25. Farm Culture Ghee
26. Skinny Pines 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Winter Concerts in Wethersfield

Wethersfield Historical Society Proudly Presents

the 25th Season of the Keeney Cultural Series!

Join us for our 25th year of the Keeney Cultural Series!  Concerts will be held in Keeney Hall Sunday afternoons at 4:00 p.m. at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center at 200 Main Street.  Tickets for individual concerts are $10 for members and $12 for non-members.  Tickets for the complete series are $25 for members and $30 for non-members.  Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.wethersfieldhistory.org orhttp://www.eventbrite.com or in person at the Old Academy, 150 Main Street, Wethersfield, Tuesday-Friday 10:00-4:00 or via mail by sending payment to Old Academy, 150 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109.  Checks should be made out to "Wethersfield Historical Society".

Contact the Old Wethersfield Country Store at 
http://www.owcsct.com or 860-436-3782 to order customized themed wine and cheese tray packages to enjoy at our concerts!

These concerts are supported by the Robert Allan Keeney  Memorial Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
January 21: Goza Latin Jazz Band - Goza is an engaging Latin/Latin Jazz musical ensemble comprised of Connecticut's most seasoned and versatile musicians.  Goza performs exciting music and dance rhythms from Latin America, Brazil and Spain with guitar, violin, horns, Latin percussion and beautiful, romantic vocals.  Snow date: January 28 at 4:00pm. 
February 18: Band of Steady Habits - Band of Steady Habits came together as a group in 2014 to share their love of music, and to use their talents to help create a new kind of public history presentation.  They use banjo, guitars, violin, recorders, bass, percussion, and beautiful harmonies to perform songs-some old, some original, and some contemporary-to accompany the visually rich and evocative stories of state historian Walt Woodward.  They will be presenting "Handed Down in Song: New England History and Culture."  Snow date: February 25 at 4:00pm.  
March 18: The Jolly Beggars - The Jolly Beggars bring the rich tradition of Celtic folk music and storytelling to modern day audiences.  Based out of Connecticut, their traditional songs and musical arrangements have exposed many to the joys of Celtic music.  Characterized by their tight harmonies and use of guitars, mandolin, tin whistles, octave mandolin, mandola, tenor banjo, double bass, bodhran, spoons, and more, The Jolly Beggars have quickly built a solid following and continue to spread their music around the east coast.  Snow date April 22 at 2:00 pm.

Information provided by the Wethersfield Historical Society

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Gideon's BBQ Smokehouse

Finding good barbecue in Connecticut is not such an easy thing. We have seen Gideon's BBQ Smokehouse in Glastonbury on New London Turnpike but have never stopped in. We finally did and we are now asking ourselves, what took us so long?  If you have ever been into this building, not too much has changed since its other incarnations but certainly, the heavenly smell of BBQ was enticing. 

I am going to warn you that the door is challenging but once you get in or out you will be very pleased. 

The menu is pretty much what you would expect from southern BBQ, great appetizers including fried pickles, fried okra and mac-n-tots. Lot of sandwiches, including a veggie burger. Sides include some old favorites like collard greens, bayou baked beans, cornbread and sweet potato wedges. 

The picnic dinners include two sides and cornbread. We thought that one would probably be big enough for the two of us to share so we go the dinner sampler which includes beef brisket, and two rib bones. 

We chose the mac and cheese and the coleslaw for our sides. 

We enjoyed the meal very much, so much so that I bought a jar of the sauce to take home and use. Was it the best I have ever had, no, but the best is 500 miles away in Virginia. This is good BBQ and Gideon's is now on the list of restaurants that we enjoy patronizing. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Welcome to Middletown, CT

Middletown, Connecticut is probably best known as the home of Wesleyan University.   The campus of Wesleyan is beautiful and many historic houses are now part of the university. Plan to spend part of your visit walking around and enjoying it.

While Wesleyan may be the big attraction today, Middletown is one of the older cities in Connecticut and was at one time one of the greatest ports on the east coast of the United States. Its location 15 miles south of Hartford, right on the Connecticut River gave it an ideal location.

Much of the early wealth in the city is as a result of shipping and trade. Middletown has a mile long Main Street and it is the perfect place to get a real feel for the city. In the 19th century, it was tree-lined and particularly attractive. Like many other cities, it was the victim of mid-20th-century redevelopment which removed the historic town hall and courthouse and replaced them with ugly, new construction.

Luckily, it isn’t all bad news. In the last 20 years much has been done to restore the glory that was Main Street and while there are still not many stores, there are loads of restaurants and Main Street is the place to come for a wide selection of fine and casual dining. The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Middletown, Conn. as one of five "Most Romantic Main Streets" in the nation.

If Middletown has one weakness, it is that it has very little choice in the way of accommodations. The Inn at Middletown is certainly the only quality place in town and it is both beautiful and historic. It was created using the old armory and offers luxurious rooms and a very nice restaurant and tavern. From the Inn, you can walk to a wide variety of restaurants as well as the Middletown Historical Society which has some interesting displays on the history of the city and the area.

The Wadsworth Mansion is the site of several events during the year including a summer concert series. If you would like to tour the mansion, it is open on Wednesdays from 2-4 p.m. for guided tours. Trails throughout the parkland are open to the public.

Connecticut River cruises are offered by Lady Katherine Cruises on the riverfront and if you prefer to look at vintage cars, there is a cruise night offered in June on Main Street. If you are visiting with children, KidCity is a very popular destination. Genealogists come from all over to visit the Godfrey Library which has an excellent collection of material on the area and beyond.

A popular and delicious attraction in Middletown is O’Rourke’s Diner. Located at the north end of Main Street it has been satisfying hungry appetites for over 60 years. While you are there you will see historic St John Church and school. Built by Irish Catholics over 150 years ago, the church is the Mother Church of the Diocese of Norwich. A stop at NORA, (North of Rapallo Avenue) Cupcake Shop is also in order while you are in the north end of Middletown, I don't think I need to give details about why but think delicious!

While Middletown may not be the best-known city in Connecticut, it has a lot to offer visitors to the area and best of all, it is my hometown.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fireside at the Wadsworth Mansion


Sunday, December 10, 2017, $10 adults $5 children 6-12 years old
The Wadsworth Mansion welcomes storyteller Tom Lee for a holiday performance featuring folktales and music.  Holiday refreshments and wine will be served.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Fairs and Festivals Dec 2-3

Friday -Sunday, Dec 1-3
Christmas Fair
Saint Lawrence Church Killingworth
Friday 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday 9:30 a.m. to noon. Silent auction, gifts, baskets, raffles and evergreen decorations. Santa will be on hand Saturday 9-11 a.m. for photos.

Saturday, Dec 2
Fall Festival St Joseph Church Chester
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Handmade wreaths, swags, and cemetery boxes. St Joseph's gift shop with new and gently used household items Food table with jams, breads, soups, cookies, and cakes. Santa Claus will visit from 10 am to noon. 

Saturday, Dec 2
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Our Lady of Sorrows Essex. Craft table, lunch, children's area, basket raffle and six wonderful items for a silent auction. 

Saturday and Sunday, December 2-3
Sacred Heart Church Norwichtown
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 8:30-noon Sunday
in the church hall. Crafters, raffles, baked goods, food, and drink. 

Sunday, December 3
The Cathedral of St. Patrick Norwich 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Crafters, basket raffle, pictures with Santa and baked goods.