March 20, 2018

‘Essex Ed’s Identity Will be Revealed in Today’s Annual Groundhog Day Parade on Main St., Essex

Groundhog fun at a previous parade.

ESSEX — Grab your pots and pans and head to Essex Village this afternoon, Sunday, Jan. 28, at 2 p.m. for one of the most popular parades of the year.

“Essex Ed”, a larger-than-life ground hog, will make his annual pilgrimage from Essex Boat Works on Ferry Street up to the top of Main Street leading a parade of antique cars, fife & drum corps, residents, and visitors.

Immersed in the spirit of the parade, this marcher posed with her personal groundhog.

All are invited to join in and encouraged to bring their own noisemakers and ground hog gear to celebrate the day.

Each year, Essex Ed is dressed in unique attire to acknowledge a special occasion or person. As always, this year’s costume is a secret but organizers guarantee that it will be a “huge hit” when Ed makes his appearance.


CT River Museum Offers Range of Winter Wildlife Programs, Activities

Eagles on Ice: White-headed adult eagles can be seen in numbers along the lower Connecticut River. Photo by Mark Yuknat.

ESSEX — Winter along the Connecticut River brings many things – including cold winds and grey skies.  But the change in seasons also signals a shift in the ecology of New England’s Great River.  The osprey, the swallows and the egrets may be gone, but in their place now are mergansers, goldeneyes, and the highlight – bald eagles.  These once rare, majestic birds can be seen fishing along the unfrozen lower Connecticut River, a testament to one of the greatest environmental recoveries of the last half century.  To highlight these winter wonders, Connecticut River Museum (CRM) has planned a range of programs and activities.

Connecticut River Museum is happy to again partner with Connecticut River Expeditions to offer Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises in February and March.  These popular trips offer visitors a chance to get out on the River in winter to see eagles, as well as other winter species that visit the estuary such as harbor seals.

This seal is relaxing on the Connecticut River ice. Photo by Bill Yule.

Cruises aboard the environmentally friendly R/V RiverQuest provide passengers with a comfortable, heated cabin supplied with hot coffee and tea, as well as binoculars to aid in spotting and narration from a staff naturalist.  These cruises depart Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at various times in the morning and early afternoon, and are $42 per passenger.  Museum members get 10 percent off and group rates are available.

In addition, the Museum will offer its annual Eagles of Essex exhibit, which offers a wealth of information about bald eagles and their return to the lower Connecticut River.  Patrons can try their hand at building an eagle nest, and marvel at life size silhouettes of Eagles and other large raptors, a map showing good shore viewing locations, and other displays.

On the opening day of the season, Saturday, Feb. 3, the exhibit will host Family Activities related to the return of the Eagles from 1 to 4 p.m., free with Museum admission.

On Saturday, Feb. 17 and March 17, award-winning photographer Stanley Kolber returns to CRM to offer his annual Bird Photography Workshop.  Kolber has been photographing birds for years, and takes great pleasure in sharing his experience with aspiring photographers of all levels, through anecdotes, slides, and question and answer.  In addition to helping skills development, his greatest pleasure in giving workshops is the opportunity to kindle and encourage his audience’s interest in the natural world.  He hopes that young people as well as adults will attend the workshops, so that he can impart some of his own enthusiasm to the next generation.  These popular programs are also free with Museum admission.

Species other than Eagles visit our River during the winter months. Photo by Joan Meek.

A Live Birds of Prey Show will be offered on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m.  CRM will partner with Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation Organization for this annual show, which features a bald eagle and several other species of raptors.  Visitors will be able to get an up close look at the birds while learning more about the lifecycle and ecology of these magnificent animals.  This event will be held at the Centerbrook Meeting House and is free to the public.

For a full listing of event details, visit or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open Tuesday – Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Connecticut River Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For more information, call CRM at 860.767.8269 or RiverQuest at 860.662.0577.


State Holds Flu Vaccination Day on Saturday; Local Clinics in Saybrook, New London

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

AREAWIDE — In effort to protect the public’s health and reduce the spread of the influenza (flu) virus, which has heavily affected the state, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is teaming up with local health departments to provide free or low cost influenza vaccine at several locations across the state on Saturday, Jan. 27. DPH strongly encourages all Connecticut residents over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot, and is working with local health departments and districts to make it easy to get one.

The full list of clinics and their locations is at this link.

The two clinics in or local to our coverage area, which are open on Saturday, are:

Old Saybrook
CT River Area Health District Office, 455 Boston Post Rd, Old Saybrook (Saybrook Junction)
860-661-3300 (M-F)

New London
Ledge Light Health District:
216 Broad St. New London
860-448-4882 (M-F)

You may attend any of the clinics listed regardless of the town you live in. If you have an insurance card bring one with you. Your insurance will be billed a small administration fee, but you will not be charged anything out of pocket. The vaccine is free.

In addition to the schedule below, many local health departments around the state are conducting on-going flu clinics. If you cannot attend one listed, check with your local health department for upcoming flu clinics.  Click here to find your local health department.


‘Knit Together’ at Deep River Public Library, Saturday

Photo by MabelAmber® on Unsplash

DEEP RIVER — Come join Deep River Public Library in the Community Meeting Room for Knit Together, which will next meet on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Bring your latest project or your wish list. The group is intended to create new knitters looking for instructional guidance as well as an enthusiastic community for those who want to share the craft. Bring your own supplies or purchase the basics at the meeting. Adults and children with an adult are welcome.

No registration is required for this program.

Veteran crafter Wendy Sherman will facilitate the group and offer her knowledge based on 30-plus years of her own knitting. Call the library for additional information.

For more information, visit and click on our monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pmWednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.


A Rally to Remember — Women (Mostly) Gather to Call Attention to Power of Peaceful Protest

Three generations fighting for freedom: from left to right, Dale Griffith of Ivoryton takes time out from the rally for a photo with her five-year-old granddaughter, Eva Levonick, and her daughter (Eva’s mom) Becky Petersen, both of Old Lyme.

EAST HADDAM — More than 400 warmly dressed people gathered Saturday morning under clear skies on the forecourt of the Two Wrasslin’ Cats cafe in East Haddam to stand in solidarity with all the other Sister Marches taking place all over the country … and beyond.  The event was organized by Together We Rise CT (TWRCT) and facilitated by Theresa Govert, founder and chair of TWRCT.

Govert, pictured above, spoke passionately to the assembled crowd, which spanned both age and gender, reminding members that it was precisely one year since President Trump took office and to look back on all the things his presidency had changed and to be cognizant of all the things that are in line for change.  She emphasized the need at all times for peaceful protest and was emphatic about never responding to violence.

Govert is a recently returned United States Peace Corps Volunteer. She served for three years in Botswana, where she worked with her community to organize thousands for a national campaign to end gender-based violence, started a small business as an alternative economic employment opportunity for female sex workers and presented to participants of the White House Mapathon on the importance of free, accessible data.

In 2016, she was selected to receive the prestigious John F. Kennedy Service Award, awarded every five years to six individuals.

Christine Palm of Chester gave an impassioned speech to the attentive crowd.

The keynote speaker was Chester resident Christine Palm, who is Women’s Policy Analyst for the General Assembly’s Commission on Women, Children and Seniors and also principal of Sexual Harassment Prevention, LLC.

Palm opened by reminding those gathered that, “One year ago, many people predicted the Women’s March would fizzle out — that we couldn’t sustain the momentum,” but then pointed out that, in fact, the opposite has happened, and, “In this past year, it’s only grown broader and deeper and more ferocious and more inclusive, and now nothing coming out of Washington escapes our notice, or our resistance.”

Noting, “It has not escaped our notice that this administration is defunding programs for veterans, kicking brave transgendered soldiers out of the military, and attacking women’s reproductive rights  that have been in place for decades,” Palm added, “We have paid attention to the fracking, back-stabbing … money-grubbing and gerrymandering,” before declaring, “The Women’s March has grown to encompass it all.”

Recalling the words of the renowned African-American civil rights lawyer Constance Baker Motley, who lived locally in Chester, Palm said, “There appears to be no limit as to how far the women’s revolution will take us,” pointing out, “That’s why we’re all still here, a year later.”

After thanking all those attending for “paying attention to what’s going on in our fractured, frightened world,” and acknowledging the work of all “the new, well organized progressive groups,” Palm expressed her gratitude to, “the hard-core folks who have kept vigil at this enlightened business, Two Wrasslin’ Cats, through rain and sweltering heat, every Saturday, for a year.”

Palm urged everyone not to give up, commenting on the fact that for the older people present, “it seems, we’ve been boycotting, and protesting, and working to right what is wrong,” for a very long time, but she noted, “We are buoyed not only by one another, but in remarkable new ways, by a smart, hardworking and committed group of young people.”  She thanked the Millennials for their “passion and energy,” which she determined, “cannot be overestimated.”

Palm gave a list of practical steps out of which she proposed everyone present could find at least one to follow.  Her suggestions included, “If you’re old enough to vote, do it. Don’t forget the municipal elections, which  have been lost and won by a handful of votes. If you are unaffiliated, please consider registering with a party so you can vote in the primary,” and “If you have a driver’s license and a car, offer to drive an elderly voter to the polls in November.”

She continued, “If you have any disposable income, support candidates you believe in. If you can walk, knock on doors. If you can hear, make telephone calls. If you like to cook, make food for a house party. If you speak a language other than English, offer to translate for an immigrants’ rights group. If you can write, pen an op-ed or a letter to the editor. If you teach, welcome difficult conversations in the classroom.”

Finally, she offered the idea, “If you can speak into a mic, testify at the Capitol,” before closing with the rousing call to all to, “Stay vigilant.  But stay hopeful, too,” and …

Pink “pussy” hats were much in evidence at the rally.


Cappella Hosts Late Registration/Rehearsal for Haydn’s ‘Creation’

AREAWIDE — Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus late registration and second rehearsal for its spring concert will take place Monday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River. Use the rear entrance.

Auditions are not required.

The concert will feature Haydn’s masterpiece, “The Creation,” that includes the well-known “The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God.” It will be performed Sunday, April 22, with professional soloists and orchestra with Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera directing.

Registration is $40; music is $13.

For more information visit or call 860-526-1038.


Women’s Vigil to be Held Today in East Haddam; Goodspeed Bridge Closed to Traffic During Day

Update 1/20 in italics: EAST HADDAM —A sister vigil will be held today, Saturday, Jan. 20, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Two Wrasslin’ Cats (374 Town Street, East Haddam, CT).

You may need to take a different route to the event, if you were planning to cross the East Haddam bridge across the Connecticut River.

The following notice was posted by the CT DOT Friday afternoon:

Weekend Traffic Notice Regarding The Closing of Route 82 in East Haddam at the East Haddam at the East Haddam Swing Bridge Because of Ice Dam at the Bridge.

The CT DOT announced that the Coast Guard will have the bridge open for several hours sometime tomorrow. The major problem is the Coast Guard will only give an hour’s notice about the opening.

Here’s how to cross the river if you are north of the bridge at Exit 7 on Route 9, or if you’re to the south of the bridge on Route 9.

If you are south of Exit 7 on Route 9, head south on 9 and go East on I-95. You will be getting off at the first exit across the river for Old Lyme, Route 156 and take 156 north to route 82 and follow it to East Haddam.

If you are north of Exit 7 on Route 9, go north and get off at the exit for Portland and follow route 66 East to Cobalt where you will go south on 151 to East Haddam.

Whatever you use to plan your route, if you are on the WEST side of the Connecticut River, you must cross on I-95 or at Middletown to get to the rally.

For those interested in attending, RSVP’s are requested at this link.One year after the historic Women’s March on Washington, when millions marched across the world and 500 showed up in East Haddam, this event will be focused on bringing our communities together and moving onto the next stage of the movement. In 2018, the intent is to channel energy and activism into tangible strategies and concrete wins to create transformative social and political change.

There will be a standing vigil (with limited seats available for those who are not able to stand for the duration of an hour) not a march (in order to increase accessibility for people with disabilities and/or small children).

The vigil will be near a sign that says, “Dear Muslims, Immigrants, Women, Disabled, LGBTQ+ folks and People of Color. We love you- boldly & proudly. We will endure. -Shaun King”. Attendees are welcome to bring your own signs and banners.

Theresa Govert, founder and chair of Together We Rise CT (TWRCT), will be facilitating and speaking at the event. She is a recently returned United States Peace Corps Volunteer. She served for three years in Botswana, where she worked with her community to organize thousands for a national campaign to end gender-based violence, started a small business as an alternative economic employment opportunity for female sex workers and presented to participants of the White House Mapathon on the importance of free, accessible data.

In 2016, she was selected to receive the prestigious John F. Kennedy Service Award, awarded every five years to six individuals.

In 2017, she was one of six women under the age of 40 who received Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) and Young Women Rising‘s The Future is Now Award.

All participants should park at the Rotary Skating Pond or the Upper Parking lot of Town Tavern & Restaurant and walk (approx 30 seconds to the site of the vigil). For those with limited mobility, there will be parking reserved in the parking lot of Two Wrasslin’ Cats (the site of the vigil). Car-pooling is strongly recommended.

The vigil will be held in the parking lot of the Two Wrasslin’ Cats Coffee shop, so people with children, senior citizens, etc will be able to go inside and warm up during the event.

If you have any questions/concerns/suggestions, email


Chester Garden Club Hosts Avian Author John Himmelman, March 20

CHESTER — On Tuesday, March 20, at 7 p.m., the Chester Garden Club will be hosting a presentation by author, John Himmelman from Killingworth, Conn., on“Birds; Their Side of the Story …” at the United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT.

He will share light-hearted stories of birds and bird watching – from cuisine to cartoons; ornaments to icons, murmurs to murders. You’ll be given a whole new look at the avian friends we so admire (and some, not so much…)

Members of the Chester Garden Club and the public are invited to attend.  The cost for guests will be $5.

For additional information, contact Chester Garden Club Co-President Brenda Johnson at (860) 526-2998.


See ‘How The Other Half Loves,’ Presented by Saybrook Stage, at ‘The Kate,’ Runs Through Sunday

Alan Ayckbourn’s farcical tale of matrimonial mishaps, “How The Other Half Loves” will have audiences in stitches. Aykbourn enthralls with his clever use of space and time as he intertwines the lives of two very different couples – a perfectly posh upper-class older one and a messy middle class younger one – on the same stage!

As Bob Phillips and Fiona Foster clumsily try to cover up their affair, their spouses’ intervention only adds to the confusion. William and Mary Detweiler – the third couple – find themselves in the middle of the mayhem when they are falsely accused of adultery – with no idea as to how they’ve become involved.

The fact that all three of the men work at the same company – in the same department adds to the fun. The plot culminates in two disastrous dinner parties on successive nights, shown at the same time – on the same stage – after which the future of all three couples is definitely in question.

The fast pace and physical humor of this piece makes this one of Ayckbourn’s funniest and most exciting plays to experience. The play is set in 1969 which allows for plenty of comic routines around landline telephones, distinct class structures and changing sexual mores.

The play originally opened in London in 1970 to rave reviews and ran for over 850 performances – it also opened on Broadway in 1971.

Ayckbourn has spent over 55 years as a theatre director and a playwright. To date he has written 80 plays – the latest of which opened at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough in 2016 – and his work has been translated into over 35 languages, is performed on stage and television throughout the world and has won countless awards.

The Saybrook Stage Company returns once again to The Kate in “How The Other Half Loves” directed by Michael Langlois, who previously directed Saybrook Stage’s “A Piece of my Heart” in January 2013. Their more recent plays include The Farnsworth Invention, Noises Off, Deathtrap, The Wayside Motor Inn, Moon Over Buffalo and this past July, Barefoot in the Park.

Visit or call 877.503.1286 to reserve your tickets. The play will be performed Jan. 18 , 19 and 20 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m.

Also, visit for more information about The Saybrook Stage Company.

The Saybrook Stage Company was founded as a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality local theater on the Connecticut Shoreline at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Saybrook Stage welcomes actors of all levels and abilities – and anyone who genuinely loves the arts – to come together and share in the experience that only live theater can provide. The actors that have been part of The Saybrook Stage Company to date have varied backgrounds and “day jobs” from teachers, artists and homemakers to lawyers, business people and judges.


Connecticut and Climate Change … What’s Happening? Find Out Tonight at Essex Town Hall

ESSEX — On Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. in Essex Town Hall, Connecticut Sea Grant College Program Education Educator Juliana Barrett, Ph.D. will explore climate change impacts for Connecticut over the next 100 years, information and tools that are available on the subject, and adaptation strategies to improve our resilience.  All are welcome to this free lecture sponsored by the Essex Land Trust.

Hurricanes Irene and Sandy showed just how vulnerable coastal Connecticut is to storm damage and flooding. These events challenge communities to come up with adaptation strategies to deal with impacts from climate.

Barrett’s work focuses on climate adaptation and resilience as well as habitat management and restoration working with Connecticut’s municipalities, NGO’s and state and federal partners. She has developed numerous tools and websites for coastal and inland residents on native plantings and habitats.

Barrett has a doctorate in plant ecology from the University of Connecticut and is a co-author of the Vegetation of Connecticut. She recently celebrated her 10-year anniversary with the University of Connecticut.

Essex Town Hall is at 29 West Ave., Essex.


‘What Is It?’ on View at Maple & Main Through Jan. 21

‘Siena Sky’ is one of the signature paintings in “What Is It?” at Maple & Main Gallery.

CHESTER — The opening party for “What is it?” a show of abstract art by Maple and Main artists will be Friday, Jan. 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. during the First Friday celebration in town.

Visitors to Maple and Main sometimes puzzle in front of an abstract painting guessing what the artist was after or seeing their own vision, “It looks like a storm in the mountains,” “I see birds,” or most gratifyingly, of course, “I love this.”

Abstract art is open to interpretation; it covers a wide range of art that, in general, it is not a depiction of visual reality. But, it can be argued that all art is an abstraction of a kind – if you saw the underpinnings of most art, it would seem abstract to you – mainly, lines, tones, shapes.

Maple and Main is featuring the new abstract work of our artists, including some by artists who generally do quite representational work, in this special show in the Stone Gallery. It opens Thursday, Jan. 4, and only runs through Sunday, Jan. 21.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  To see some of the art in this show, visit, email or call 860-526-6065.


Volunteers Needed to Help Valley Shore Residents With Literacy Challenges

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. is a private non-profit organization.  Its mission is to train tutors to help residents of the Valley Shore area who wish to improve their reading, writing or speaking English to improve their life and work skills.  This one-to-one instruction is held confidential and is completely without charge to the student.

Tutor training is a 14-hour program conducted over seven sessions held each spring and again in the fall of every year.  The next training session begins March 22 and runs through May 15. Workshop Leaders have developed a comprehensive program that provides prospective tutors the skills and resources to help them succeed.

A background in education is not necessary – just a desire to tutor and a commitment to helping a student improve their skill in basic literacy or English as a Second Language over the period of one year after the completion of training.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, contact the Literacy Volunteers office in the lower level of the Westbrook Public Library by phone at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail at .  Registration for the spring session is open now.


Join a Watercolor Workshop With Alan James at Deep River Public Library, Jan. 24

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Public Library presentS a Watercolor Workshop Series with local artist, Alan James. Budding artists will enjoy a step-by-step guided process to make the art of watercolor easy. Interested participants will have a choice of two dates to learn these techniques to master watercolors, Jan. 10, 5:15 – 7:45 p.m. or Jan. 24, 5:15 – 7:45 p.m. All levels are welcome.

Registration is required for this program and will be done through Signup Genius. The link can be found on the library’s website as well as their Facebook Events page. In addition, the class is free, but artists must bring their own supplies. A list of these supplies can be viewed when you register for the class. They include professional quality paints and paintbrushes, a palate, rough or cold pressed paper, an eraser and paper towels.

Direct links to sign up for the classes are:



For more information, visit and click on the monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pmWednesday 12:30 – 8 pmThursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.


Community Music School Hosts Cheese Rolling & Taste of Italy Fundraiser, Feb. 10

Rolling the cheese is so much fun!

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School (CMS) will present their second annual Taste of Italy fundraiser with a lively game of Italian cheese rolling on Feb. 10, 2018 at Angelini Wine in Centerbrook. Event proceeds will benefit scholarships and outreach programs at Community Music School.

This event is presented by Guilford Savings Bank and includes fine Italian wines, cheese, antipasto, and a full spread of authentic, homemade Italian food. Guests will test their bowling skills with a little friendly competition in a rousing party game of cheese rolling, a tradition in many parts of Italy.

What is cheese rolling, anyway?  It’s a hilarious Italian game similar to bowling … but with a wheel of Pecorino! Guests are encouraged to join the fun, either on the sidelines or in the middle of the action. Winner takes home the cheese.

Over the past few years, CMS has partnered with Angelini Wine to present unique benefit events that blend the arts with intimate guided tastings offered behind the scenes at the Angelini warehouse. Guilford Savings Bank joined as presenting sponsor in 2014 and Lewitz, Balosie, Wollack, Rayner & Giroux LLC is also on board as a partner this year.

Tickets are $65 per person and include all food, wine, and game entry. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit or call CMS at 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. The School’s programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives. Learn more at or call (860) 767-0026.


Acclaimed Photographer Charles Mazel Discusses Fluorescence Photography at CVCC Meeting, Monday

Desert Pincushion by Charles Mazel.

AREAWIDE — The guest speaker at the Monday, Jan. 15 meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the acclaimed photographer Charles Mazel, who will give a presentation titled “Fluorescence Photography.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome.

For Charles Mazel, photography was initially a tool to document his exploration of underwater fluorescence. SCUBA diving at night with an ultraviolet light and customized camera gear, he photographed fluorescing marine organisms, especially corals in the Caribbean.

His discoveries and images led him into a scientific career researching fluorescence underwater and developing equipment to observe, document, and measure it, with photography as a key tool for communication.

Mazel’s underlying fascination with fluorescence has broadened into an exploration of the phenomenon wherever it may occur in the world around us. His involvement with the Bedford Center for the Arts Photography Group provided feedback from colleagues and professionals that has led to a new focus on the artistic aspects of fluorescence.

Mazel’s underwater fluorescence images were featured in a solo show in MIT’s Strobe Alley and in a two-person show at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. He has had individual images, from both below and above water, in a curated show at the Joyce Goldstein gallery in SoHo and in juried exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Bedford Public Library, and the Providence Center for Photographic Arts.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.

The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at


Children’s Tree Montessori School Hosts Open House, March 10

The Children’s Tree Montessori School, 96 Essex Road, Old Saybrook hosts an Open House to tour the independent elementary school, toddler and preschool classrooms on March 10.

OLD SAYBROOK — The Children’s Tree Montessori School, 96 Essex Road, Old Saybrook, will hold Open House on Saturday, March 10, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The Children’s Tree offers an independent elementary school as well as toddler and preschool classrooms. As one of only three AMS accredited schools in our state, CTMS offers an authentic Montessori education, lead by certified teachers.  In fact, it is the only school in the area to offer a Montessori education from toddler through 6th grade.

Montessori is a method of education that is based on the belief that children are individuals. The role of the teacher is to guide each child through the learning process using scientifically developed materials that fit their specific needs and pace. In addition, Montessori education supports and nurtures the whole child: social, emotional, physical and cognitive.

The Children’s Tree is a non-profit school founded in 1995 to provide an alternative to traditional preschool programs, expanding to offer an elementary school in 2001, and a toddler community was added in 2014.

The school’s mission is to provide a carefully planned, stimulating environment in which children can develop a solid foundation and love of learning, using the Montessori Method, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or financial ability. For more information call 860.388.3536 or visit


CT Valley Camera Club Presents Talk on How to Photograph National Parks, Mar. 5

Photographer Chris Nicholson at Acadia National Park (Photo courtesy of Steven Ryan)

AREAWIDE: The guest speaker at the Monday, Mar. 5 meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the acclaimed photographer and author Chris Nicholson, who will give a presentation titled “Photographing National Parks.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome.

Chris Nicholson is a photographer and writer based in southern Connecticut and New York City. Formerly a magazine editor for ten years, he has worked on a freelance basis since 2004, with his camerawork focused primarily on the travel and sports genres. His writing and photographs have been published in over 30 magazines and several books.

Nicholson works in a primarily conservative style, believing that ideal composition is simple, strong and powerful. He has covered locations in Australia and throughout the continental United States (especially in New England, which he considers to be one of the most aesthetically unique regions of America).

Throughout his career he has studied the American national parks. Whether for assignments, publishing projects or personal work, Nicholson travels to national parks several times per year for photography. Over the past two decades he has paid particular attention to Acadia, Everglades, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains, Olympic, Shenandoah and Yellowstone, visiting and photographing those seven a combined 26 times.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.  The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at


Dazzling Red Carpet Oscar Event to Raise Funds for ‘The Kate,’ March 4

OLD SAYBROOK — The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (the Kate) will hold an Oscar Party benefit on Sunday, March 4beginning at 7 pm at the center located at 300 Main Street, Old Saybrook. This annual red-carpet event honors the Kate’s 12-time Oscar Nominated, 4-time-winning namesake and makes for an entertaining evening.  Proceeds support quality performing arts and cultural presentations at the Kate throughout the year.

“This event has always been volunteer-driven and I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past eight years to support the Kate,” said Diane Hessinger, Oscar Party chair. “Not only is it a very fun evening, but it’s a perfect way to pay homage to our namesake, Katharine Hepburn and raise funds to expand the arts on the Connecticut shoreline.”

Delicious hearty hors d’oeuvres and desserts are provided by Fresh Salt and a cash bar is available while the 90th Academy Awards ceremony airs live on the Kate’s big screen. Guests will walk the red carpet, pose for photos, and have the chance to hold a real Oscar, thanks to Devin Carney, state representative and grandson of the late award-winning actor Art Carney. Carney is an honorary chair of the event along with Ann Nyberg of WTNH, both members of the Kate’s board.

A silent auction and raffle add to the fun of the evening and, new this year, is the Becker’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook “Mystery Red Box” activity. Fifty jewelry boxes wrapped in a vibrant red paper are available for purchase with each box containing a Becker’s gift certificate and one grand prize box holding a beautiful 14k gold bracelet with forty-nine diamonds.

For tickets, visit or call 877-503-1286.

The 2018 Oscar Party is held in memory of Beverly Whalen, a long-time volunteer at the Kate who gave generously of her time and helped launch this event. The evening is sponsored by Becker’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook, Secor Volvo, Comcast, Gulick & Co., Pough Interiors, and Saybrook Point Inn Marina & Spa.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (the Kate) is a non-profit performing arts organization located in the former theatre and town hall, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, on Main Street in Old Saybrook. The Kate includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn. From live music concerts, to children’s arts camp, to films of fine art, and the MET Opera and Bolshoi Ballet simulcasts, events presented at the Kate help to shape the community, making it brighter and more imaginative.


Deals Galore Tomorrow as Chester Hosts ‘First Friday’ of 2018

‘Love Wisdom and Knowledge’ is one of the signature paintings at Maple & Main’s new ‘What Is It?” show.

CHESTER – Expect deep savings everywhere, food, wine, music, art openings and more during “Once in a Blue Moon” First Friday, Jan. 5 when all the businesses in the downtown are open until at least 8 p.m.

The January first Friday is being called, “Once in a Blue Moon,” because town-wide sales are rare in Chester.

The Perfect Pear, will be having its first major sale, including 40 percent off  all holiday goods, a 50 percent off hodgepodge sale and homemade cookies

Blackkat Leather is moving to more spacious quarters in town in the new year so is having a 25 percent sale on all leather products while Dina Varano will have a sale on winter merchandise and knits, and serve refreshments, as will all businesses this special night.

Grano will take half off the price of the first drink at a meal and at Harvest Moon, there will be deep discounts plus the Grays musical group will play from 8 to 10 p.m.

First Friday is the opening party for “What Is It?” a show in Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery of abstract art by the gallery artists. There will also be a selection of unframed abstract work at very reasonable prices.

There will be three large tables piled with deals at 40 to 50 percent off at Lori Warner while there will be 20 percent off everything at Lark that night, as well as a 20 percent across-the-board sale at the French Hen,.

C&G’s Star Sale begins the first week of January with a 20 to 80 percent off on many items with an extra 10 percent off on Frist Friday.

Stop at Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio to view new art and listen to Arrowhead play.

And, sadly, First Friday will be the last night for Ruba Ruba in town, but the pop-up shop is going out in style with a closing night bash, champagne and specials.


Madhatters Hosts Auditions for ‘Annie,’ Saturday

AREAWIDE — Madhatters Theatre Company is currently accepting appointments for auditions for their spring production of ‘Annie’.  Auditions will be held at Lyme’s Youth Service Bureau 59 Lyme Street in Old Lyme on Saturday Jan. 6, 2018 by appointment only.  This production is open to ages 6-18 years of age.

Rehearsals will be held in Old Lyme on Saturdays with show week the week of May 15, 2018 at Chester Meeting House.

To schedule an appointment or if you have any further questions, e-mail or call (860) 395-1861.

For more information, visit


Essex Winter Series Features Acclaimed Baritone David Pittsinger, March 4

ESSEX – Essex Winter Series’ 41st season continues on March 4, renowned vocalist David Pittsinger performs a program of Bach, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Handel, and selections from the American Songbook. Pianist Simon Holt will accompany him.

The Quodlibet Ensemble, a New York-based string chamber orchestra of young, dynamic artists presents a range of great music, from the Baroque to the modern day on April 8. Their program will include Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, as well as music by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Nathan Schram.

All performances take place on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. with the Jan. 7, Feb. 18, and April 8 concerts at Valley Regional High School; and the March 4 concert at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 John Winthrop Middle School Road, Deep River. Seating is general admission and tickets may be purchased by visiting or calling 860-272-4572.

The 2018 Essex Winter Series season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, Tower Laboratories, and BrandTech Scientific. Outreach activities are supported by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.


Winter Storm Grayson Roars Into Area

CHESTER — The State of Connecticut was hit with a nor’easter today that brought close to a foot of snow in the local area.

Town leaders ask that residents should start making alternate heat and shelter plans for their families.

Readers can also self-identify on CT Alert.  Sign up to receive alerts at or text your zip code to 888-777.

There will be updates on The Town of Chester Facebook page, In a true emergency, call 211 for a listing of local heating shelters near you.

The most important thing to remember is BE SAFE!


Essex Library Presents Baldwin on Burne-Jones’ ‘Le Chant d’Amour’ and the Pre-Raphaelite Dream, Monday

Burne-Jones’ ‘Love Song,’ dated from 1868 will be the subject of a lecture by Prof Robert Baldwin at Essex Library.

ESSEX — Following the Romantics, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood took up four thematic arenas which were newly spiritualized since 1790: 1) the late Medieval Catholic past which the Pre-Raphaelites elevated to the highest level, 2) Woman as a refined, emotionally and spiritually intelligent object of male devotion, 3) an unsullied, pre-industrial Nature usually shown as a refined garden, a pastoral meadow, or a lush forest, and 4) the Arts themselves, especially music, poetry, painting, and architecture.

On Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library, Associate Professor of Art History, Robert Baldwin, will explore Burne-Jones’ painting, Le Chant d’Amour, as it combines all four arenas in a particularly rich composition.

Historically, it returned to an imaginary chivalry where “true love” existed far from mercenary London with its modern marriages of convenience. In its gender configuration, it placed a pure, glowing, aristocratic woman on an artistic pedestal against a distant cathedral and flanked by two male worshippers. As a landscape, it removed itself from the ugliness of modern London into a twilight arcadia combining a garden and a pastoral meadow. And aesthetically, it featured music, the art form universally hailed in the nineteenth century as more spiritual, universal, and emotionally charged.

This illustrated lecture is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.


Old Saybrook FD Juniors Host Fundraising Pancake Breakfast, Jan. 14

OLD SAYBROOK — The Old Saybrook Fire Department’s Junior Division will host several upcoming Sunday pancake breakfasts, with the first breakfast scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 14, from 8 a.m. to noon at Fire Headquarters at 310 Main Street in Old Saybrook.
The pancake breakfast, which features eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, coffee, tea and juice, is only $6 per person, per plate. Funds raised from the pancake breakfasts assist the OSFD’s Junior Division, which is composed of high-school age members.
Other Sunday morning breakfasts will be hosted on Jan. 28Feb. 11, and Feb. 25, with a make-up date for any canceled breakfast due to inclement weather on March 11. All of the breakfasts will be held at Old Saybrook Fire Department headquarters, located at the intersection of Main Street and Old Boston Post Road.

Upon request, Junior Division members will give tours of the OSFD’s fire headquarters and firefighting equipment.

In case of severe weather, such as a major snow or ice storm, check the fire department’s website at or for any cancellations or please call 860.395.3149.

The Old Saybrook Fire Department is an all-volunteer department and has proudly served the Old Saybrook community since 1924.

Final Days to Enjoy ‘The Magic of Christmas’ at Florence Griswold Museum

Father and son enjoy the beautiful Palette Christmas Trees at the ‘Magic of Christmas’ exhibition

The holiday season is always something to celebrate at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. Visitors of all ages can enjoy The Magic of Christmas from Dec. 1 – 31. For over 10 years, visitors from across the region have admired the painted palettes on Miss Florence’s Artist Trees.

The idea of contemporary artists creating paintings on artists’ palettes is a nod to the Museum’s history as the center for the Lyme Art Colony, and alludes to the door and wall panels the artists painted throughout Miss Florence’s boardinghouse over a century ago. The palette artists’ styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, glass, and collage are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises!

This beautiful palette titled Road Less Traveled, 2017 was painted by Beverly Schirmeir of Westbrook, Conn.

Nearly 200 noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon.  “My first visit to the Florence Griswold Museum was profound and literally changed the course of my work, explains artist Stephanie Marzella from Johns Island, SC.  “It was my first awareness of the American tonalist movement. I began to paint what I feel, not what I see. I am forever grateful for the day I walked into that museum. When asked to contribute a palette I was truly honored.”

This design titled My New Christmas Bonnet, 2017 by Denise Flynn of Great Barrington, Mass., is one of this year’s new palettes.

Artist Denise Flynn, who lives in Great Barrington, MA says, “I was born and raised in Connecticut and still retain a great love for my state.  After a trip to Old Sturbridge Village as a ten-year-old child, I was completely taken by New England in its early days. I envision that ‘my lady’ felt very much at home in any Connecticut town in the Victorian era.”

The palettes will be displayed on three trees in the Krieble gallery, along with the current exhibitions,

In the historic rooms of the Griswold House, visitors can see how families celebrated Christmas in 1910, as historically accurate decorations reveal homespun creativity and the use of surprising materials. The 1910 time period was an important era for the Griswold House. It was the heyday of its use as boardinghouse for the artists of the Lyme Art Colony. Christmas was also Miss Florence’s birthday! She was 60 years old in 1910. Three designers will create elaborate Fantasy Trees in the Florence Griswold House.

Many special events and programs are held in conjunction with the Magic of Christmas. Christmastime Teas are among the most popular events. Delectable scones with clotted cream, assorted tea sandwiches, and cookies prepared by Gourmet Gallery, a caterer known for their delicious flavors and impeccable presentations, are accompanied by “Miss Florence’s Tea,” a special blend from Sundial Gardens in Higginum. Miss Florence’s Tea is a special blend of superior Ceylon and China black tea enhanced with a touch of delicate spices. The tea celebrates the camaraderie and creativity of the Lyme Art Colony with each cup. Teas are held December 5 through 23 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3 to 5pm. New this year – two seating on Saturday, 12 to 2pm and 3 to 5pm.

Other events and programs include special events for families, including a visit from Periwinkle the faerie and hands-on crafts for children and adults.

Unique gifts from The Shop and memberships to the Museum make thoughtful holiday and hostess gifts.

The town of Old Lyme and its merchants continue the merriment with “Light Up Old Lyme,” with a schedule of holiday activities in the historic town. Learn more about specials from local shops and restaurants at the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce website,

Located on a 13-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme, the Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a modern exhibition gallery, education center, landscape center, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday from10am to 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. For more information, visit the Museum’s website or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

Magic of Christmas Activities

New this year, Museum Store Sunday Nov. 26 from 1 to 5pm.
Similar to Small Business Saturdaythis celebration puts the spotlight on mission-related products found in museum stores. On this day, all items are 15 percent off (25 percent for museum members).

Daily Specials in the Museum Shop
One day you might save on all books or art supplies, the next, maybe everything sparkly or all snowmen. Check for a calendar of items and days.

Dec. 5 – 23
Christmastime Teas
Tuesday through Saturday enjoy an elegant tea of savories and sweets overlooking the wintery splendor of the Lieutenant River. Catered by Gourmet Galley. Guests enjoy a 10 percent discount in The Shop. Reservations required, call 860-434-5542 x 111 for information and reservations.

Sundays, Dec. 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 from 1 to 5pm
Joy in the Making
Each Sunday visitors can experience the joy of making a hand-made card or ornament during the weekly drop-in creative programs. Fun for all ages. This event is free with Museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Periwinkle will entertain all ages in three shows on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Saturday, Dec. 9, shows at 11:30am12:30pm, and 1:30pm
Periwinkle the Faerie
Join Periwinkle, Peri to her friends, for an afternoon of story and song, with fun hands-on craft in-between shows. A sister to Tinkerbell, Peri is a frost-talent faerie who thrives in the cold of the winter woods. Crafts will have a snowy and frosty theme, perfect-for-gift-giving.

Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2pm
Old Christmas and Winter Traditions of Long Ago
 Join musician Thomas Hooker Hanford for songs and stories.

Thursday, Dec.14, 5:30 to 7pm
Art•Bar Happy Hour

Combine creativity and cocktails! Enjoy an evening making winter paper lanterns. Get friends together or come make new ones! For adults 21+. $25. Register online at

Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2pm
Gallery Talk
Director of Education and Outreach David D.J. Rau speaks about Miss Florence’s Artist Trees in the Gallery. This event is free with Museum admission.

Wednesday, Dec. 27 from 11am to 3pm
Miss Florence’s Birthday Party
Visitors share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Birthday cake and fun celebratory activities to honor the woman who started it all.

Faith Leitner will play her harp in the afternoon on Dec. 31.

Sunday, Dec. 31, from 1 to 5pm
Ode to the New Year: Harp Music by Faith Leitner
The harp was Miss Florence’s favorite instrument. Visitors can see the one her father brought back for her from England in the Florence Griswold House. Accomplished harpist Faith Leitner will perform in the gallery. A beautiful way to end the year! This event is free with Museum admission.


Masonicare Acquires Chester Village West, Community to now be called “Masonicare at Chester Village”

Masonicare, the state’s largest not-for-profit provider of senior healthcare and retirement living, has acquired Chester Village West, pictured above, from Iowa-based Life Care Services (LCS), an acquisition which fits seamlessly into Masonicare’s plan for sustained, smart growth and future success in Connecticut.

A Life Plan/Continuing Care Retirement Community set on 55 acres in the Connecticut River town of Chester, the community consists of 105 cottages and apartments.  “The addition of Chester Village to our organization is a win-win for all,” said Jon-Paul Venoit, President/CEO of Masonicare.  “We have extensive experience in the retirement living arena and our cultures are very similar.  We are retaining nearly all of their employees, and we expect to invest in some capital improvements on the campus as well.”

Hilde Sager, Vice President for Residential Services at Masonicare, added, “We’re delighted to welcome Chester Village West residents and staff into our Masonicare family.  We love the Chester area and look forward to Masonicare at Chester Village now being an integral part of the full continuum of senior care we are able to offer statewide.”   

Venoit noted that through its extensive continuum of care, Masonicare will be able to bring Assisted Living services to Chester Village residents as well as offer in-home care through its home care agencies. 

Masonicare’s continuum includes the 360-unit Ashlar Village in Wallingford, which is also a Life Plan/Continuing Care Retirement Community.  In April, Masonicare celebrated the grand opening of Masonicare at Mystic, a rental model with 179 Independent and Assisted Living apartments.

Editor’s Note: Masonicare affiliates include Masonicare Home Health & Hospice, Masonicare at Ashlar Village, Masonicare at Home, Masonicare at Mystic, Masonicare at Newtown, Masonicare Health Center and The Masonic Charity Foundation of Connecticut.


Essex Savings Bank Chester Branch Celebrates Fifth Year Anniversary

CHESTER — On Dec. 14, 2012 the Chester Branch of Essex Savings Bank first opened its doors to the public.

On Nov. 28, the Branch held a gathering to celebrate their 5th anniversary. Joining the branch staff in hosting the evening were members of the Bank’s Board of Directors as well as numerous Bank employees. The overall turnout for the evening was outstanding with over 100 RSVPs from residents and businesses throughout the local area. In addition, all three Selectwomen from the Town of Chester were available to help celebrate.

Guests enjoyed refreshments provided by local businesses The Villager and The Chester Bottle Shoppe. There was also a raffle with Chester themed gifts and gift certificates from The French Hen, Lark, Simon’s, The Wheatmarket, The Villager and Chester Finders’ Market.

The evening provided the opportunity to thank the customers and businesses in Chester and the surrounding towns for their support over the last five years.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Division, Essex


Celebrate Miss Florence’s Birthday Party Today at FloGris Museum

Florence Griswold celebrated her birthday on Christmas Day.

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts Miss Florence’s Birthday Party tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visitors can share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Birthday cake and fun celebratory activities will be on offer to honor the woman who started it all.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday from10am to 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under.

For more information, visit the Museum’s website or call 860-434-5542 x 111.


Season’s Greetings

Christmas-Bow-Picture_512x384We wish all our readers and advertisers a wonderful, peaceful and enjoyable holiday season.

Thank you for all your support this past year and we look forward to serving you with even stronger coverage of the towns of Chester, Essex and Deep River next year.


Enjoy a Fundraising ‘Ivoryton Playhouse Christmas Radio Hour’ with David Pittsinger & Friends Tonight

David Pittsinger performs in ‘The Man of La Mancha.’ File photo.

IVORYTON — World-renowned artist David Pittsinger will be performing a holiday show on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. An old fashioned Christmas celebration of holiday standards and sacred songs featuring David with his wife, Patricia Schuman and Carly Callahan, Katie Weiser and Charlie Widmer.

Set in a 1940s radio station, the show will take you back to the days when the radio had pride of place in the living room and the family gathered round in the evening to listen to their favorite shows. Baby, it’s gonna be cold outside so come on down to the Ivoryton Playhouse to warm your heart with music we all know and love.

This concert is a benefit for the 106-year-old Playhouse to further its mission to provide theatre of the highest quality to the residents and visitors to our community.

Tickets for this special event are $50. Seating is limited; call the theatre box office at 860.767.7318 to reserve your seat for these two special events.  The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.


Partnership Co-Op Open Today, Tomorrow in Old Saybrook Store

Gifts hand-crafted by the Lakota Indians will be on sale at the Partnership Cooperative.

OLD SAYBROOK — It has just been announced that the Partnership Co-Op’s Annual Holiday Sale has been extended for three additional days as follows:

Thursday, Dec. 21 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 22 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 23 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Co-op’s store is in the former Southern Exposure building located between Cartier Optical and Nail Spa at 264 Main Street in Old Saybrook.

The Partnership Co-op features Native American crafts, Haitian art and Palestinian goods from respectively Tribal Crafts, Inc. with Lakota art and crafts, the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education and the Tree of Life Educational Fund.

Assorted Lakota crafts and jewelry

The Partnership Co-operative is a collection of several non-profit organizations based out of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. All proceeds are returned to the artisans of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, participating Haitian artists and the Tree of Life Educational Fund.

To learn more about this collective of non-profits, visit these websites:

Tribal Crafts, Inc. featuring Lakota art and crafts:
The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education:
Tree of Life Educational Fund:


Climb Aboard Essex Steam Train’s ‘Santa Special,’ Saturday

Such fun aboard the Santa Special!

ESSEX — All aboard the Santa Special for a one-of-a-kind, daytime holiday experience. Make sure you’re camera-ready for that special moment when Santa and Mrs. Claus visit each child! Enjoy the spirit of the season as you relax with family and friends aboard festive railway cars adorned with vintage decorations.

•       Tickets are $24/coach, $40/first class (individual armchair seats with cash beverage service). Reindeer Breakfast upgrade is available on Santa Special days from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for $15 adults / $5 children (age 1-6).
•       Dates: November 24-26December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23
•       Departure times: 9:30 a.m.10:00 a.m.11:00 a.m.11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. & 1 p.m.
•       Rudolph and Pablo the Penguin will be on board to spread holiday cheer.
•       Each child receives a small holiday gift from Santa’s Elves!
•       Special Christmas performance by Sunny Train on Nov. 24, 25, 26 and Dec. 2,3,9,10,16,17, and 23. Shows are at 9:30, 10 & 11:30 am12:15 and 1 pm.
•       Write and Mail your “Letter to Santa” at Santa’s Post Office.
•       Take your family pictures in Santa’s sleigh.
•       Visit “Create a Card!” Station
•       Enjoy fresh baked cookies & other goodies in the Klaus Kitchen.

Visit for tickets and more information!

Location: Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, 1 Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT, 06426
Contact: Pam Amodio
Phone: 860.767.0103
Price range: $24-$55. $24/coach, $40/first class. Reindeer Breakfast upgrade available for $15/adult, $5/child (age 1-6)


Santa Claus is Coming to Chester Today! 

CHESTER — Join The Chester Hose Company Elves as Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive to Downtown Chester by fire truck Sunday, Dec. 17, at 5 p.m.

In case of inclement weather, Santa will arrive to the firehouse.

All the members of The Chester Hose Company wish our readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Safe New Year!


Rebekah Beaulieu Appointed Director of the Florence Griswold Museum

Becky Beaulieu is the new Executive Director of the Florence Griswold Museum.

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn., has announced the appointment of Rebekah (Becky) Beaulieu as Director of the Museum. With a distinguished career that traverses both art museum and historic site administration, Beaulieu has most recently been the Associate Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine. She begins her new role on Feb. 19, 2018.

Beaulieu was selected from a highly qualified pool of candidates after a rigorous national search led by a committee of trustees. She follows Jeffrey Andersen, who has served as the Museum’s Director for the past 41 years. Beaulieu and Andersen will briefly work together in February to effect a smooth management transition.

“It was important for us to get this right,” states Ted Hamilton, President of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “We’ve not had to look for a director in over 40 years and we were very fortunate to find a wonderful candidate that is such a good fit for the institution. Not only is Becky’s academic record outstanding, but she comes with the highest of recommendations as well. We’re all looking forward to welcoming her aboard.”

“I am thrilled to lead the Florence Griswold Museum into its next chapter,” notes Beaulieu. “The Museum has experienced tremendous growth during Jeff Andersen’s remarkable tenure, and I look forward to working with board, staff, and volunteers to continue its upward trajectory. It is my honor to join the Florence Griswold Museum family.”

As the Associate Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Beaulieu managed all administrative activities including staffing, finances, communications, visitor experience, and operations. Besides being well versed in the administration of an art museum, Beaulieu has experience managing historic sites. As the first Executive Director of the Winchester Historical Society (MA), Beaulieu managed operations for the Society and its cultural site, the Sanborn House Historical and Cultural Center. This breadth of experience makes her an exceptional fit for the Florence Griswold Museum.

The Museum has grown from an historic house museum to a place-based art museum featuring a modern gallery for temporary exhibitions of American art; education and landscape centers; and the National Historic Landmark Florence Griswold House (1817), interpreted today as the boarding house of the Lyme Art Colony. The Museum is located on thirteen acres along the Lieutenant River in Old Lyme.

“Becky is a consummate museum professional who understands well the value of cultural institutions in our communities,” states Anne Collins Goodyear and Frank H. Goodyear, Co-Directors of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. “As the Associate Director at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, she has played an important role in expanding the number of exhibitions and programs we offer and has worked closely with her colleagues to broaden access to the Museum and its collections. She will be greatly missed at Bowdoin. We wish her every success in this new chapter in her professional life and congratulate the Florence Griswold Museum on selecting a great new leader.”

Beaulieu brings an outstanding educational background to her new post.  She holds a B.A. in American Studies from George Washington University. She earned two Masters degrees, one in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and another in Arts Administration from Columbia University, before completing her Ph.D. in American and New England Studies at Boston University.

Beaulieu is committed to local community service. She serves as Trustee for the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick, Maine and was appointed to the Public Arts Commission and Historical Commission Review Board there. Dedicated to the museum field as a whole, she is involved in numerous professional organizations. She serves as a board member of the New England Museum Association, a faculty member of the American Association for State and Local History’s Seminar for Historical Administration, and a Peer Reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

In addition, she has been an Accreditation/MAP Peer Reviewer
for the American Alliance of Museums, where she is also a board member for the Historic Houses and Sites Network. “When I first met Becky, my impression was ‘this woman is one to watch,’” remembers Dawn Salerno, Deputy Director for Public Engagement & Operations at the Mystic Museum of Art. “The next year, I was recruiting her for the board of the New England Museum Association, where I’m thrilled to have her as a colleague. And now I couldn’t be happier to have her as a colleague in Connecticut.” Beaulieu and Salerno are working with Mark S. Gold as editors of The State of Museums: Voices from the Field, to be published in the fall of 2018 for the hundredth anniversary of the New England Museum Association.

Beaulieu has written, edited, or contributed to books and scholarly journals in her field. Besides her former position as the Managing Editor for Modern Intellectual History, an academic journal published by Cambridge University Press, Beaulieu has written Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums (2017), which outlines the basic tenets of organization and financial management for small museums. Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has hailed this book as a “superb” contribution to the field.

“Becky values the identity of the Florence Griswold Museum as a place where art, nature, and history intersect,” remarks John E. Noyes, Chair of the Search Committee. “She also understands how important it is to grow, to reach new audiences, and to develop new initiatives.”

Looked to as a leader in the art and history communities, Beaulieu has spoken at local, regional, and national events, conferences, and symposia, including annual conferences of the New England Museum Association, the College Art Association, and the National Council for Public History.

Beaulieu will relocate to the area with her husband Patrick Ford.

A trustee-led search committee composed of eight members with diverse backgrounds in business, academia, and the arts led the process. The committee’s members were John E. Noyes (Chair), Andy Baxter, Jeffrey W. Cooley, David W. Dangremond, Frank W. (Ted) Hamilton, Andrea Griffis Inglis, Lee Pritchard, and Carolyn Wakeman. The search process was coordinated by Naree Viner, Principal, Nonprofit Practice, New York for the executive search firm Korn Ferry.

The Florence Griswold Museum has been called a “Giverny in Connecticut” by the Wall Street Journal, and a “must-see” by the Boston Globe. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, with its unique collection of painted doors and walls left by the members of the Lyme Art Colony, the Museum has renowned collections of American art, including the Hartford Steam Boiler Collection presenting three centuries of art associated with Connecticut. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut. Visit for more information.

About the Bowdoin College Museum of Art
The collections of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art are among the most comprehensive of any college museum in the United States. The Museum is housed in the landmark Walker Art Building designed in 1894 by Charles Follen McKim, and features murals by John La Farge, Kenyon Cox, Elihu Vedder, and Abbott Thayer. The Museum is the centerpiece of Bowdoin’s vibrant arts and culture community and offers a wealth of academic and educational programs. Visit for more information.


Despite Snow, Record Numbers Attend to View, Vote on Deep River Historical Society’s Holiday Trees

Church Street Child Care won the Deep River Historical Society’s 2017 Festival of Trees ‘Best of Show’ award with this delightfully decorated tree.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Historical Society’s (DRHS) 5th Annual Festival of Trees, Traditions and Legends was held on Dec. 8 and 9in both the Stone House and Carriage Houses on 245 Main St. in Deep River.

Despite the snowstorm, which added a special winter wonderland atmosphere to the evening, a record attendance was recorded that came to vote and view the wonderful selection of trees and decorations for this year’s event. 

Voting was done by people’s choice in both Adult and Youth Categories and there was a Best of Show special ribbon award also.  The categories were Best Theme, Traditional and Most Creative Use of Materials. 

Trees were presented by different civic organizations in Deep River and youth groups.

Some visitors searched for the legends that were highlighted from the DRHS’s newest publication Deep River Stories.

Award winners:

Best of Show: Church Street Child Care     (see photo above)

First Place Ribbons: Adult Category

Best Theme: Deep River Democratic Town Committee

Most Traditional: Club 60

Most Creative: Deep River Democratic Town Committee

First Place Ribbons: Junior Category

Best Theme: Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps

Most Traditional: Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps

Most Creative: Deep River Congregational Church Green Team & Sunday School

Second Place Ribbons: Adult Category

Best Theme: Winthrop Cemetery Association

Most Traditional: Winthrop Cemetery Association

Most Creative: Deep River Garden Club

Second Place Ribbons: Junior Category

Best Theme: Girl Scouts

Most Traditional: Deep River Congregational Church Green Team & Sunday School

Most Creative: Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps

Third Place Ribbons: Adult Category

Best Theme: American Legion Post #61 and Deep River Ambulance (tied)

Most Traditional: Fountain Hill Cemetery Association

Most Creative: Winthrop Cemetery Association

Third Place Ribbons: Junior Category

Best Theme: Deep River Congregational Church Green Team and Sunday School

Most Traditional: Girl Scouts

Most Creative: Girl Scouts


More Madhatters ‘Scrooged … with a Twist’ Shows Over Weekend

Galen Donovan of Old Lyme plays the title role in ‘Scrooged — with a Twist.’

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Scrooged …with a Twist’ at Chester Meeting House, 4 Liberty Street Chester.  Performances are Friday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.mSaturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.  To reserve tickets, email: or call (860) 395-1861.

This production is a benefit for Old Lyme Animal Control.

For more information, visit


Old Lyme Town Band Gives ‘Holiday Pops Concert’ Tonight at ‘the Kate’

AREAWIDE — The Old Lyme Town Band will perform their ‘Holiday Pops Concert’ at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘The Kate,’ in Old Saybrook on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m.

‘The Kate’s’ program information states, “Nothing says the holidays like the Old Lyme Town Band playing some festive selections for the season.”

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children and available at this link.

Visit or for more details.


Join a ‘Messiah’ Sing or Listen, Christmas Section, at the Kate on Sunday

AREAWIDE — A ‘Messiah’ Sing or Listen, Christmas Section, will be sponsored by Cappella Cantorum on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m. at The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, (The Kate), 300 Main St., Old Saybrook 06475. There will be a short rehearsal for singers at 3:30 p.m.

Soloists will be Soprano Danielle Munsell Howard, Mezzo-Soprano Rachel Abrams, Tenor David Finley and Baritone Christopher Grundy. The Sing is open to all, under the direction of Barry Asch and accompanied by Deborah Lyon.

Bring ‘Messiah’ scores if you have them or they will be provided. There is a $10 fee for singers and audience. Singers will sit in sections, the audience is invited to sit in the back, witness the short rehearsal, and then the Sing will begin at 4 p.m.

Tickets will be available online at and through the Box Office, 877-503-1286, open Tues–Fri 10 a.m. –2 p.m., no reserved seats.

For information call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871. The Sing ends at 5:15 p.m.


Inaugural Men’s Shopping Night to be Held Tonight in Chester

 CHESTER – The first annual men’s shopping night when all the downtown businesses will be open until 8 p.m. offering refreshments, unique presents to give, wish lists and gift wrapping will be Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Participating merchants will have wish lists of gifts the special people on shoppers’ lists have already filled out on previous visits making selection a snap.

At Perfect Pear, homemade mini pretzels and beer will be served and a free wood-handled knife given with every purchase of $50 or more.

At Lori Warner’s, bourbon and caramels will be served and at French Hen, there will be a scotch tasting by Chester Package Store and pigs in the blanket served.

Meatballs, beer and wine will be offered at Maple and Main Gallery while Lark will have a beer tasting by Chester Bottle Shop, homemade salsa and chip and wrapped chocolates for stocking gifts.

Caryn Davis will sign copies of her book, “A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style,’’ at Leif Nilsson’s Gallery.

The Pattaconk is offering $1 off your first beverage and half price appetizers for all shoppers Wednesday night.

Also participating with refreshments, wish lists and gift wrapping: Black Kat, Ruba Ruba and Dina Varano.


Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International Hosts Holiday Dinner & Fundraiser Tonight

AREAWIDE —  The Connecticut Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International has announced that Jonna Gerken, President of the Society of Women Engineers, will be its guest speaker at the new chapter’s first Holiday Dinner and Fundraiser. The event, open to the public, will take place on Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. at Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant, 22 Chesterfield Rd, East Lyme. Buffet Dinner is $40 and for Students it is $30. There will be a Silent Auction.

For tickets or to donate an item, contact Deb Moshier-Dunn or 860-444-9247

Gerken will address STEM (Science, Technology Engineering Math) and how young girls and women can achieve economic independence by pursuing careers in those fields. Jonna Gerken is a manager in manufacturing engineering for Pratt & Whitney. She oversees the program chief manufacturing engineers in their work to ensure all engine components meet manufacturing readiness levels appropriate to their life-cycle stage.

Gerken holds a B.S. in industrial and management engineering and an MBA in technology development, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a life member of SWE, a senior member of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, and an associate value specialist with SAVE International. She received the 2016 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award from the Connecticut Science Center, the 2014 STEP Award from the Manufacturing Institute, the 2011 Pratt & Whitney Diversity and Inclusion Award, the 2006 SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award, and was a 2004 New Faces of Engineering Finalist for IIE. The Society of Women Engineers has nearly 40,000 members worldwide.

The Connecticut Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International was chartered in February 2017. Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. CT Shoreline members join with almost 80,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls.

Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, such as the Live Your Dream award to support women who are supporting their families and the Dream It, Be It program to empower middle and high school girls. For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit or

The Dec. 13 event will feature a silent auction with gift certificates, baskets and artwork. Funds raised will support the club’s programs and scholarships. The chapter welcomes new members. To learn more, ‘like’ Soroptimist International Connecticut Shoreline on Facebook or visit


Chester Ornaments From Prior Years for Sale at Maple & Main

These wonderful Chester ornaments from prior years are for sale at maple & Main Gallery.

CHESTER — Each year for a number of years, a Chester artist designed a pewter ornament and a limited number were made and sold at this time of year to support local, non-profit organizations.

The last one was done in 2015, and there are no plans to continue the tradition, making the remaining ones definite collector items. Each one has the singular Chester seal, designed by Cummings and Good, on one side; the art on the other.

There are about 70 of these terrific treasures left from the various years, and they’re for sale at $10 each at Maple and Main Gallery while they last. They make excellent stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, additions to your Christmas tree and even classy pulls for window shades.

All the proceeds go to the Chester Merchants to help with their efforts on behalf of the town.

Maple and Main is open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Artist Annie Averill Displays Her Work at Essex Library During December

Artwork by Annie Averill will be on display throughout December at Essex Library.

ESSEX — Annie Averill is a self-taught artist, who was raised free-range in Carbon Canyon, Malibu, Calif., in the company of her three sisters and her donkey Lulabelle.  She attended California Institute of the Arts, did graphic design at several art magazines in LA, and later started a business doing hand-painted clothing and fabrics for New York Designer Alexander Julien as well as major California retailers.

Averill later moved to Amsterdam, where she started an enterprise hand-painting Irish linens in China patterns for Gumps department store in San Francisco.

Averill now works from her studio at home, in the company of any number of dogs.  She has broadened the scope of her work to include murals, hand painted tiles, and a whimsical assortment of fish and fantasy painted on reclaimed wood. Her work is an extension of her quirky personality.  She combines art history and elements of the sea and shore, with a liberal dash of humor, to make art that is beautiful, fun and accessible, and occasionally even practical.

Averill’s artwork can be viewed at the Essex Library throughout the month of December during its normal operating hours.


Understanding Your Best Friend: Phil Klein, Certified Dog Listener Speaks at Essex Library, Feb 10

ESSEX — Phil Klein will present a kind and lasting methodology for gaining your dog’s cooperation based on its instincts. Learn how canines see the world and the underlying reasons for unwanted behaviors like hyperactivity, destructive chewing, incessant barking, toileting in the house, jumping on guests, and aggression.

Learn the four main areas of canine communications, including the leadership signals that will eliminate or minimize these behaviors and turn your dog into a relaxed, joyful companion. Bring your questions, but not your dog for an informative, fun event at the Essex Library on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.

Klein’s path to becoming a Dog Listener started when his family rescued a special dog named Abby from Labs4Rescue.  At the time, he had no idea about the journey he would be privileged to take with Abby.  Abby’s behavioral challenges were the motivation for Klein to learn a lot more about dogs and find a way to help Abby overcome her fears. 

In the process,Klein discovered Jan Fennell, The Dog Listener who had developed a revolutionary method for training dogs based on their instincts.  In April 2009,Klein attended Jan Fennell’s Foundation and Advanced Canine Communications courses, thereby becoming a Certified Dog Listener. 

Through in-home consultations, volunteer work with Labs4Rescue and other rescue organizations, and public talks,Klein has been honored to help hundreds of dog owners and their dogs.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information and to register, call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.


Ivoryton Playhouse’s Holiday Show ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Runs Through Sunday

From left to right, Moira O’Sullivan, Daniel Nischan and Sarah Kozlow rehearse their roles in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life!’ Photo by Jacqui Hubbard.

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse Holiday Show opens on Dec. 7, and runs until Dec. 17. It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry was inspired by the classic American film by Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life. This production is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. Five actors perform the dozens of characters in the radio play as well as produce the sound effects.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play premiered in 1996 at Stamford Center for the Arts in Stamford, Conn., and has since been produced around the country to great critical acclaim

The play works like a fable, sort of a “Christmas Carol” in reverse: Instead of a mean old man being shown scenes of happiness, we have a hero who plunges into despair. As fans of the movie know, George has grown up in Bedford Falls, an idyllic small town, determined to get out. He plans to see the world and build skyscrapers or something else huge when he grows up but circumstances keep him at home.

When the accidental loss of $8,000 leaves George on the verge of disaster, he contemplates killing himself and is saved by Clarence, George’s slightly bumbling 292-year-old guardian angel. By showing George what Bedford Falls and numerous loved ones would have been like if George had never been born, Clarence manages to turn him around. Lifted from a suicidal depression, George Bailey is a man with a reawakened appreciation of his life and the people he loves.

It all happens on Christmas Eve, and of course, an angel gets his wings.

Bursting with feel good holiday spirit, It’s a Wonderful Life is traditional, family friendly entertainment for all ages.  Directed by Sasha Bratt, this show is an antidote to cynicism and a love letter to good old fashioned Christmas fun. Musical Director is Frank Natter and the cast includes Playhouse Associate Artistic Director, Daniel Nischan, as George Bailey, Norm Rutty, David Cardone, Moira O’Sullivan, Rick Malone, Sara Kozlow, Michael Hinton, Addison Marchese, Antonia Marchese and Finnian Boyles. Set design by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, sound by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Elizabeth Cipollina.

Make the Playhouse part of your family holiday tradition this year.  Come and visit the village of Ivoryton, decorated with over 500,000 Christmas lights – have dinner and take in a great show at the Playhouse.

Performance times are Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and evening performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at  7:30 p.m.There is also a Wednesday matinee on Dec. 13and a Saturday matinee on Dec. 16.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $32 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.


Child & Family Hosts Essex Holiday House Tour Today

File photo of a beautifully decorated home from the 2015 tour.

ESSEX — Saturday, Dec. 9, will highlight a memorable stroll through Essex, one of New England’s most picturesque towns, for its 14th biennial holiday house tour.  Created and organized by the Essex Auxiliary of the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT, the tour consists of seven distinctive private homes beautifully decorated for the holidays, the Essex Historical Society properties, and the Connecticut River Museum with Steve Cryan’s special holiday train show.  The Essex Art Association will also offer free chili.

Home base for the tour will be the Essex Town Hall at 29 West Avenue, where tickets may be purchased or picked up, and where there will be a large Boutique with vendors offering clothing, jewelry, gifts, home décor items, holiday arrangements and other alluring items.  Several drawings for donations by the vendors will be held here at the end of the day, and, during the day, Santa’s Café will offer snacks and refreshments.  The Boutique will be open from 9:30 to 5:00, and admission is free.

Tickets for the tour are $30 in advance, $35 the day of the tour.  Checks payable to Child & Family Agency may be sent to:  Essex Holiday House Tour, 168 River Road, Essex, CT 06426.

Tickets are also available in advance at; at the Griswold Inn Store, One North Main, and Walker Loden in Essex; Centerbrook Cheese Shop in Centerbrook; Saybrook Country Barn in Old Saybrook; Lark in Chester; Celebrations in Deep River; Bowerbird in Old Lyme; Walker Loden in Madison and New Haven; and the Child & Family Agency in New London, (806)443-2896, ext. 1403.

All proceeds from the tour go to funding Child & Family Agency’s programs addressing the mental health, educational, and healthcare needs of children and their families to promote the well-being and development of all children.

Services are offered from birth through high school in southeastern Connecticut and include child guidance, early childhood development, and after-school academic, recreational, and artistic activities.  Adult services include parenting education as well as prevention training for scholars and professional practitioners.  Healthcare services address both physical and mental health issues facing children.  Office-based, community-based, and home-based mental health services are available from New Haven to Stonington, and 14 school-based health centers provide healthcare options to children in Waterford, New London, Groton, Norwich, and Stonington. Child Guidance centers are based in Essex, New London, and Groton.

Last year, with a professional staff of more than 190, Child & Family provided services to over 18,000 children and their families in 79 towns in New Haven, Middlesex, and New London Counties.

In other words, your enjoyment of the Essex Holiday House Tour will benefit thousands of children in our neighborhoods, so come and help us celebrate the holidays by exploring lovely historic homes, including a mansion, in a picture-book setting!


Essex Land Trust Hosts Hike This Morning in Doanes’ Woods, James Glen Preserves

Hike in Doane’s Woods Preserve, Dec. 9.

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust invites all to visit its newest property, Doanes’ Woods on Saturday, Dec. 9, meeting at 9 a.m. It is a large flat wooded area that drops steeply to the east and adjoins the James Glen Preserve. The two properties combined represent 21 acres and include trails that connect with each other.

Doane’s Woods was acquired in 2016 and includes a wooded ravine with creek, rock outcroppings and spectacular tulip trees as well as other deciduous trees. A great winter hike to explore some local geological features with our stewards.

Access is at the James Glen Preserve at the end of Hudson Lane off of River Road.


Deep River Historical Society Offers Trees, Traditions and Legends Today, 4-9pm

DEEP RIVER — Deep River Historical Society will be holding their 4th annual holiday event and welcome all to come and partake in the festivities. Both the Carriage House and Stone House, 245 Main Street, Deep River will feature decorated trees and holiday decorations. The houses will be open for viewing on Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9, from 4-9 p.m.

The event is free to all that wish to foster some Holiday Spirit.

This event has been popular in the past years and the theme this year will be the Legends of Deep River and feature interactive activities for the family. The trees are decorated by various civic organizations.

Categories include Best Theme, Traditional and Most Creative Use of Materials. Voting for your favorite trees will only be Friday night, so that the winners are announced and featured for the Saturday viewing.

As part of the Legends theme, we will feature our latest publication Deep River Stories. Books will be available for sale for all of the history buffs on your Christmas list. A scavenger hunt on finding the Legends in the Stone House will be a highlight.

This activity coincides with the Holiday Stroll that is sponsored by the Deep River Park and Recreation and includes town wide activities.  Include a visit to see us while taking part in their planned fun adventures and support our local merchants in our small town community.

Come join the fun and bring the whole family.

For more information contact: Rhonda Forristall, Curator at 860-526-5086


‘Con Brio’ Presents its Christmas Concert in Old Lyme This Evening, Tomorrow

Danielle Munsell Howard is the soprano at the Con Brio Christmas Concerts this weekend.

Con Brio presents two performances of its acclaimed Christmas Concert this weekend on Saturday evening, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m., both at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Imagine sitting in the center of the bright, high-ceilinged space of Christ the King Church in Old Lyme. The music begins. First from behind you. Then to your left, your right, up in front. It is surround-sound live – provided by the voices of the Con Brio Choral Society arrayed around the great space.

As each of 19 – yes, nineteen! –  parts begin to sing, the sound moves from place to place, the voices echoing one another, harmonizing and weaving a musical fabric that envelopes you.

It’s not like any other Christmas concert you have ever attended … unless you have been to one of Con Brio’s Christmas Concerts before. Attend one of this year’s concerts and experience a musical treat to calm your mind and move you into the Christmas spirit.

Under the baton of Dr. Stephen D. Bruce, Con Brio will perform with the professional 31-piece Con Brio Festival Orchestra, and soprano soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, acclaimed by Opera News Online for her “bright, pretty timbre and remarkable facility.”

Con Brio has sung many Magnificats over the years but Rutter’s setting manages to maintain the traditional approach to the well-known text while infusing it with lush contemporary harmonies and textures. Soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, has a voice well-suited to expressing the wonderment of Mary. The choral movements range from the delicacy of Esurientes (The poor) through the power of Fecit potentiam (He has shown strength) to the thrill of the Gloria Patri.

Stunning is the word often used to describe Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on This Shining Night. Its glistening harmonies and melodies so clearly express poet James Agee’s text and the magic of a December night. In 2007, two years after this piece was composed, President George W. Bush awarded Dr. Lauridsen the National Medal of the Arts, the highest artistic award in the United States.

Two pieces will be sung in the round—now a Con Brio tradition. The chorus loves to take advantage of the spacious and acoustically exceptional sanctuary of Christ the King Church. First will be the a cappella, eight-part, antiphonal motet, In Dulci Jubilo, by 15th century composer Michael Praetorious. That will be followed by the 19-voice Buccinate (Blow the trumpet), by Giovanni Gabrieli.

Other pieces include Fum Fum Fum in a playful arrangement by Mack Wilberg; Pietro Yon’s familiar Gesu Bambino which will feature the soprano soloist; Still, Still, Still in a special arrangement for chorus and harp; perennial favorite Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose); Hodie Christus natus est (Today Christ is born) is one of the greatest renaissance motets; and Claude Debussy’s spritely and expressive Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain (Winter, you are nothing but a villain).

Also, Con Brio will perform a rousing arrangement of the famous spiritual, Go Where I Send Thee. The concert will close with Stephen Mager’s wonderful arrangement of Ding Dong Merrily on High, which starts with a simple rendition of the familiar melody, accompanied by winds, and slowly transforms it into a thrilling finale featuring the full orchestra.

As always, each Christmas concert will include carols for audience participation.

Con Brio, over 70 voices strong, is the Shoreline’s auditioned chorus, known for the variety of its repertoire, and the strength of its programming and musical skills. Since it was founded in 1997, Con Brio has performed regularly to a growing and loyal local audience. Singers hail from more than 15 towns: from East Haven to Mystic and from Old Saybrook to Moodus. The choir has made six overseas concert tours, with the most recent to Portugal and Spain in 2016. The seventh will be to Slovenia and Croatia in May/June 2018.

Follow Con Brio on Facebook @conbriochoral or visit

Tickets are $30 each, $15 for students. Purchase them in advance online; major credit cards are accepted.

For more information, call 860-526-5399.


Old Saybrook BOE Receives Distinction Award at Major Education Convention

Gathered together to celebrate after receiving the CABE Level Two Leadership Award of Distinction are from left to right, Kelly Kennedy, Old Saybrook Board of Education Chair), Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook Superintendent of Schools), and board member Eileen Baker. Photo by Lifetouch National School Studios

OLD SAYBROOK — The Old Saybrook Board of Education was presented with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) Level Two Leadership Award during the annual CABE / CAPSS (Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents) Convention held at the Mystic Marriott on Friday, November 17 – Saturday, November 18.

CABE believes that Boards of Education and Superintendents which exhibit the most effective leadership are characterized by their ability to work together as “teams.” The CABE Board Recognition Awards are designed to recognize Boards which work effectively in this manner. In order to appropriately recognize those Boards which are truly exemplary, CABE has now established a second level of awards, the Board of Distinction Award. Only Boards which have achieved Level One distinction at least twice in the prior four years are eligible to receive the Board of Distinction Award. Boards must achieve at least two Level Two items in each Level Two category to receive this award.

The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) serves local and regional school districts in Connecticut and is dedicated to improving the quality of education throughout the state and the nation. CABE’s membership includes 154 school districts. CABE is a leading advocate for public education at the State Capitol and in Washington D. C., and offers many types of support services to local boards of education including the Board Member Academy, a continuing education program for local board of education members.


Community Music School Hosts Holiday Concert at VRHS, Sunday

The CMS String Ensemble will perform at the 2017 Holiday Concert.

AREAWIDE – ‘Tis the season of celebration and the Community Music School’s (CMS) Holiday Concert scheduled to take place on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. at Valley Regional High School’s auditorium.  Free and open to the public, this community-wide annual event brings together faculty and students to perform vocal and instrumental holiday favorites.

This family-friendly concert will include performances by the Community Music School New Horizons Band, Suzuki Violin Group, Americana String Band, and full String Orchestra, in addition to some beautiful solo piano holiday music performed by CMS’s top students.  Music Director Tom Briggs has arranged a special Holiday Jazz Ensemble to play some contemporary holiday favorites including “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Christmas Time is Here,” and more.

Bring your family and enjoy some of the best music of the season!

For additional information, visit or call CMS at 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at or call (860)767-0026.