November 26, 2015

Friends of Essex Library Holiday Book Sale Starts Today, Runs Through Dec. 23

ESSEX — The Friends of Essex Library are preparing for their Holiday Book Sale, featuring books in pristine condition suitable for gift giving, stocking stuffers, and hostess gifts—all with very attractive pricing.  Also included in the sale will be adorable Teddy bears, Essex Library canvas tote bags, seasonal CD’s and DVD’s.

The sale will run from Monday, Nov. 23, through Wednesday, Dec. 23, at the Essex Library, 33 West Ave., Essex.  For more information, see the library’s website at

The proceeds from this sale will support the Friends ongoing projects, special programs, and activities making the library a better experience for all who enter the newly installed doors, which were a gift from the Friends of Essex Library.

Community Music School Presents New Horizons Band in Concert, Dec. 12

CMS New Horizons and John Winthrop Middle School Band

The New Horizons Band of Community Music School has several performances planned this December. On Saturday, December 12, they will perform at the Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook at 4 pm. The program includes well-known Disney tunes, English folk songs, and several holiday favorites, along with a few vocal selections performed by the Hilltop Four barbershop quartet. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Band is also collaborating on a piece with the John Winthrop Middle School band for their winter concert on December 10 at 7pm at the John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Road, Deep River. Together, they will be playing Tales from the Sea, A Sea Song Trilogy, arranged by Michael Story. This is the second time the New Horizons and JWMS band will perform together; the partnership continues to be very rewarding and fun for everyone involved. The New Horizons Band will also be performing in the Community Music School annual Holiday Concert on December 13 at 2 pm at Valley Regional High School.

The New Horizons Band is a beginning adult band of 16 members, many of whom have had never played an instrument before joining and is part of a national network. Under the direction of Patricia Hurley, the CMS New Horizons Band will perform marches, jazz selections, and music from the stage and screen, and much more. Come and meet Paddy and the members of the band to find out more about the program. Prospective new members are invited to attend a rehearsal any time. The band rehearses on Mondays and Thursdays, 10:45am-noon at the Community Music School, 90 Main Street, Centerbrook. No previous experience necessary! For more information about the concerts or New Horizons Band program, please call 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 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 that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives. Visit or call 860-767-0026 for program information.

CBSRZ Gallery “A Moment in Time: The People of Little Italy 1976”, Opens Nov. 17


It was the nation’s centennial year. The federal government had refused to provide financial assistance to New York City. The city was in the midst of a financial crisis. It was a time of change and transition. Those transitions were most evident in the area of lower Manhattan known as Little Italy. The predominantly Italian neighborhood’s span reached from river to river. Photographer Stephen Nadler roamed the streets of Little Italy during the year of 1976, capturing its spirit through the lives of its long time residents. “A Moment in Time” is the photo essay that documents that time and place. Nadler photographed both the local citizens and the business people who helped to keep the area economically viable during these changes.

Nadler-1 (1)The exhibition will run from November 17, 2015 to January 27 2016, with a public opening reception on Sunday, December 6th from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s Gallery.  CBSRZ will present Nadler’s work in an exhibit entitled “A Moment in Time: The People of Little Italy in 1976.”  The exhibit includes 30 images taken with a Mamiya C330 twin lens reflex camera with a 2¼ x21/4 format. The images have been digitized and printed on Canson Platine Fibre Rag photographic paper with Epson Ultrachrome K3 ink. The public is invited to view the exhibit Monday – Friday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

“I started out thinking only about photographing the physical area and wound up making friends and hearing wonderful stories,” said Nadler. “I think the reason I was so drawn to this neighborhood and its people is that it felt very much like my old neighborhood. Hanging out there brought back so many wonderful memories of my youth, spent on street corners, with my friends watching the world stroll by. While “A Moment in Time” is about the people of Little Italy I have come to realize that their stories reflect the universal American immigrant experience. I have recently had the pleasure to meet the next generation of many of my subject’s families. That dream of coming to America to have a better life for your children and their children has been realized by the families that it has been my privilege to meet.”

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway.  For more information about CBSRZ or this exhibit, visit our website at or call the office 860-526-8920.

About Stephen Nadler

Steve Nadler Photography specializes in both fine art and commercial photography. In 2007, Nadler retired from the telecommunications industry, after 37 years in sales and marketing management.

Community Music School Holiday Concert, Dec. 13

Santa (CMS faculty member Andrew Studenski) and his saxophone made an appearance at the 2014 Holiday Concert. Photo courtesy of Joan Levy Hepburn.

Santa (CMS faculty member Andrew Studenski) and his saxophone made an appearance at the 2014 Holiday Concert (Photo courtesy of Joan Levy Hepburn).

‘Tis the season of celebration, traditions and the Community Music School’s Holiday Concert scheduled to take place on Sunday, December 13 at 2:00 pm at the Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Road, Deep River.  Free and open to the public, this community-wide annual event brings together faculty and students of all ages to perform vocal and instrumental holiday favorites.  Highlights include performances by the CMS jazz ensemble, acoustic guitar ensemble, New Horizons Band, and string ensembles and will be capped off by a grand finale medley with audience participation sing-along. In lieu of an admission fee, concert goers are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item or pet supply for donation to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.  This year’s concert is generously sponsored by Lewitz, Balosie, Wollack, Rayner & Giroux, LLC.

For more information on the Holiday Concert or other Community Music School programs or events, call 860.767.0026 or go to org.

Artist Janine Robertson Solo Show at Maple and Main, Dec. 2

Evening Light by Janine Robertson

Evening Light by Janine Robertson

CHESTER – Gallery artist Janine Robertson’s solo show, Reflections, opens Wednesday, Dec. 2 in Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery with a wine and appetizer reception Saturday, Dec. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The exhibition features over 20 landscape oil paintings by this well-known contemporary landscape oil painter who specializes in the panoramic views, marshes and vistas of the Connecticut shoreline and beyond.

Her work is mostly done on aluminum, a trademark and favorite substrate and of Janine’s because of its luminosity, glow and vibrant color retention. The ultra-smooth surface highlights brushstrokes and texture while adding a modern flare.

Janine begins with an under painting and builds a series of transparent colors adding depth to her work. She typically works on several paintings at once allowing each layer to dry before proceeding – a process that can take weeks to complete.

Madison where Janine lives with her husband – they have two grown children – gives her much of her inspiration but she also depicts the wider vistas of the Hudson River Valley and northern New England.

Her work is in private and public collections in this country and abroad.

Reflections in the Stone Gallery on the lower level runs through Dec. 31 and also runs concurrently with the gallery’s Holiday Exhibit.

Please visit to see a selection of the works in Janine’s show as well as paintings in the Holiday Exhibit. Gallery hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.;; 860-526-6065; visit us on facebook

Holiday Festival of Trees, Trains and Traditions, Dec. 4, 5

xmastreeThe 3rd Annual Festival of Trees, Trains and Traditions will be held on Dec. 4th and 5th on the Society’s grounds at 245 Main Street. We encourage you to take a walk through the memories of your childhood this year as we present the Festival of Trees, Trains and Traditions. There will be a Lionel Train display by Frank Santoro, a passion of his childhood. Search for other traditions as you stroll through the festively decorated Stone House and Carriage House.

Hours: Friday Dec. 4th from 5-8pm and Saturday Dec. 5th from 4-8 pm. A horse drawn carriage will stop in front of the Stone House as part of the Deep River’s Holiday Stroll. Parking is available on site for those visiting independently.

Deep River’s civic organizations are hard at work creating trees to tickle your fancy and urge you to vote for your favorites. We are proud to showcase these organizations and their missions. Come out and support them as they support the town of Deep River all year long. Voting will only be Friday evening. So come and vote for your favorites. It’s hard to forget the Lion’s Club tree with a pink pig wearing only his sunglasses on top of last year’s tree. Or the stunning display of a non-traditional tree from the Library.

Admission is free. Non-perishable food donations for the Deep River Food Panty are much appreciated.

Christmas On The Hill at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Essex, Dec. 5

Children from the  CCD class helping prepare crafts.  (L to R) Grace Laskowski, Abigayle, Gretchen and Maura Breitenbach

Children from the CCD class helping prepare crafts. (L to R) Grace Laskowski, Abigayle, Gretchen and Maura Breitenbach

Many hands and generous hearts have gone into the planning and preparation of this year’s Christmas Craft Fair at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex.

There will be raffle baskets, a bake sale, affordable gifts, crafts , music, refreshments…..and an abundance of good cheer.

 Ladies who have organized the fair including Kathy Bower, Irene Listorti, Betty Johns and Diane Montana  Ladies who have organized the fair including Kathy Bower, Irene Listorti, Betty Johns and Diane Montana (left to right)

Ladies who have organized the fair including Kathy Bower, Irene Listorti, Betty Johns and Diane Montana Ladies who have organized the fair including Kathy Bower, Irene Listorti, Betty Johns and Diane Montana (left to right)

Come to the old-fashioned church fair, and catch the spirit of this beautiful season, and Christmas shopping without the stress. Christmas Craft Fair Saturday, December 5th 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Our Lady of Sorrows Church 14 Prospect St. Essex, CT For more information: 860-767-0729 or

Shepherds and Stars: Con Brio’s 2015 Christmas Concert, Dec 11,13

Jürate Švedaite, soprano

Jürate Švedaite, soprano

Con Brio, the shoreline’s renowned all-auditioned chorus, offers another stellar Christmas concert on Friday, December 11 at 8pm, and Sunday, December 13 at 3pm at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme, Ct.   Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce, assisted by keyboardist Susan Saltus and the Con Brio Festival Orchestra, the chorus will be joined this year by returning bass soloist, Christopher Grundy, and two new superb soloists:  soprano Jurate Svedaite and tenor Steven Humes.  The concert will include a selection of the best of the music of the season, both classical and audience favorites.

This year’s concert centers on the best-known Christmas music of beloved British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.  The concert opens with Vaughan Williams’ powerful Hodie, his last major choral work, composed in 1953-4.  Serene, at times even otherworldly sounding, Hodie centers on the mystery of one day, Christmas Day.  Flowing with vitality, force and inventiveness, Hodie is the Christmas story, rooted textually in the Bible, Milton and Thomas Hardy, among others, and musically in English countryside carols and the compositional style of Bach.  The piece’s dramatic full choruses, at times erupting into the brass fanfares, contrasting with haunting lullabies take the listener through all the moments in the Christmas story.

Steven Humes, tenor

Steven Humes, tenor

The second half of the concert opens with two works by contemporary composer Steven Sametz.  The first, an arrangement of Lo How a Rose, is sung in the round.  Three movements from Morales’ 16th century Magnificat follow.  Another Vaughan Williams piece, Fantasia on Christmas Carols, featuring the bass soloist, is founded on four traditional English carols.  John Rutter’s favorite- among-audiences, Shepherds’ Pipe Carol, is followed by Behold a Star, one of the most performed Christmas anthems by Felix Mendelssohn.  Two contemporary pieces include Gardner’s festive setting of Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day and Alice Parker’s version of While Shepherds Watched.  Mack Wilberg’s arrangement of Christmas season favorite O Holy Night features the soprano and tenor soloists and his arrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High sparkles.  Bashana Haba’ah (“Next Year when Peace Will Come”), a New Year’s Carol which the chorus will sing in Hebrew, is a most fitting carol for this season of peace.

Come, bring your friends, revel in the marvelous sounds and memories and promise of this Christmas season!

Tickets may be purchased on line,, or from any Con Brio member.  $30 adults, $15 students.  Address; 1 McGurdy Road, Old Lyme, Ct.

Biographer Discusses Life & Times of Playwright Eugene O’Neill, Dec. 3

Eugene O'Neill

Eugene O’Neill

The Essex Library invites you to meet with Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, Robert M. Dowling for a talk on the life of Eugene O’Neill and a signing of his biography: Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts on Thursday, December 3rd at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library. The Irish Times calls the book “a powerful narrative”, and it has won praise from The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, Booklist, Provincetown Arts, and Publishers Weekly.

Dowling’s extensively researched book recounts O’Neill’s tumultuous life and highlights how the stories O’Neill told for the stage are interwoven with the events in the playwright’s own life.

Robert M. Dowling is a professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. He serves on the board of directors of the Eugene O’Neill Society and on the board of The Eugene O’Neill Review.

Books will be available for sale and signing through Essex Books. This program is free and open to all. Please call the Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

Deep River Congregational Church “Ye Olde English Christmas Faire”, Dec. 4, 5, 6

Christmas Faire Mary Sara7321

Kick off the month of December by attending the 49th Annual “Ye Olde English Christmas Faire” Week-end at the Deep River Congregational Church, 1 Church Street, Deep River.  To order tickets for the Dessert by Candlelight or Festival of Music Concert, call (526-5045) or stop in at the church office, which is open Monday – Friday, 9:00 – 2:00.

Friday, December 4th  ~  Dessert by Candlelight ~ Two Seatings:  6:00  & 7:30 p.m.  Enjoy gourmet desserts & Coffee/Tea ~ $5.00

Saturday, December 5th ~Ye Olde English Christmas Faire, 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.  Stroll among decorated booths with unique gifts and baskets filled with surprises;  home baked   pies, cakes and sweets; knitted and crocheted items; toys & games for the children; and of course photos with Santa.  Stop by the Country Kitchen and take home seafood bisque, chili or a fresh-made loaf of bread.  Be sure to visit Reindeer Restaurant for a light lunch or snack.

Sunday, December 6th  ~ Festival of Christmas Music, 3:00 p.m. featuring Pianist, Bil Groth followed by a reception hosted by Adult Fellowship.   Tickets: $10.00, Children under 6:  Free

Hike the Preserve with OSLT Thanksgiving Weekend Hike, Nov. 28

OSLT’s Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Hike will be in The Preserve, Saturday Nov. 28, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

OSLT’s Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Hike will be in The Preserve, Saturday Nov. 28, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The OSLT’s Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Hike will be in The Preserve, Saturday Nov. 28, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Hikers will meet at Great Cedars parking area on Ingham Hill Road (the Hay House) at around 12:30 p.m., and walk a short distance up Ingham Hill to the trail head. Sturdy shoes and water are a good idea, the terrain can be a bit rocky and there are slight ups and downs along the way. Light refreshments will be served around the fire following the hike.

For more detailed directions visit, or send an email to

Sing or Listen to Messiah with Cappella Cantorum at The Kate, Dec. 20

UntitledMessiah Sing or Listen at the Kate, Dec. 20, 3:30 pm rehearsal; 4 pm to Listen.

300 Main St. Old Saybrook. Tickets available through the Box Office, 877-503-1286,

Collomore Concert Series Present Classical Guitarist Jorge Caballero, Chester, Nov. 29

Jorge Caballero, an internationally award-winning classical guitarist, will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available through

Jorge Caballero, an internationally award-winning classical guitarist, will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available through

On Sunday, Nov. 29 at the Chester Meeting House, the Collomore Concert Series is honored to present classical guitarist Jorge Caballero, the youngest musician and the only guitarist to win the Naumburg International Competition, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards given to performers of any instrument.

Caballero is known for his dazzling virtuosity, intense musicality and spellbinding performances. New York Times called him a “superb young guitarist” and praised his rare combination of “a deft, powerful technique and a soft-spoken interpretive persona.”

The International Guitar Symposium described him: “He has perfect technique and plays at a pace that’s spellbinding. He can also impress us with expression and loveliness, as well as stunning strength. At its most sensational is probably his command of voice leading that simply often sounds like two or three guitars and not one.”

Jorge Caballero’s Chester Meeting House concert will be at 5 p.m. on Nov. 29. Tickets are $24, adult; $5, student, and are available through the website, or by calling 860-526-5162. Ticket holders are invited to stay for the reception after the concert to meet the musician and enjoy refreshments donated by Dough on Main. This is the last concert in the 42nd season of the Collomore Concert series.

Local History Adds to Memories for Thanksgiving Visitors

These girondolas were made for the 1876 Centennial and belonged to the Southworth family of Deep River. They have been in place on the Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House parlor mantel for more than 150 years. The two end pieces depict a man and woman dressed in Colonial style with tricorn hat - the center piece is Daniel Boone and an Indian scout plus another figure representing the westward expansion of the US.

These girondolas were made for the 1876 Centennial and belonged to the Southworth family of Deep River. They have been in place on the Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House parlor mantel for more than 150 years. The two end pieces depict a man and woman dressed in Colonial style with tricorn hat – the center piece is Daniel Boone and an Indian scout plus another figure representing the westward expansion of the US.

Thanksgiving is a time of traditions and memories. For the second year in a row, the historical societies of Chester, Deep River and Essex are helping you begin a new tradition while you savor the memories of times past. The three historic museums in the tri-town will be open at no charge on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving so you can visit with your families and friends. Such a welcome alternative to dealing with crowds at the malls!

Chester Historical Society president Skip Hubbard said, “This year will be the fifth year we have been open over Thanksgiving and it’s become a popular thing to do. We expect to welcome another 50-60 people again this year to our museum.  Essex and Deep River opened their historic homes over the holiday for the first time last year and I know they were surprised by the number of people who came to their doors.  Some people even visited more than one of the three sites. The combination of free admission, rekindling memories and learning more about the local area can be hard to resist.”

The Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House, built by Deacon Ezra Southworth in 1840, will be open on Friday, Nov. 27, and Saturday, Nov. 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour the home to see the “Gems of the Society,”  collections of Deep River businesses and products including Niland cut glass, and enjoy the preview of this year’s Holiday Festival of Trees, Trains and Traditions. The Stone House, at 245 Main Street in Deep River, For more information, visit

The welcoming parlor of Essex Historical Society's 18th-century Pratt House awaits your post-Thanksgiving visit on Friday, Nov. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 28. Photo by Jody Dole.

The welcoming parlor of Essex Historical Society’s 18th-century Pratt House awaits your post-Thanksgiving visit on Friday, Nov. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 28. Photo by Jody Dole.

Essex Historical Society’s historic Pratt House, located at 19 West Avenue in Essex, will be open to visitors Friday, Nov. 27, and Saturday, Nov. 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The house, which was built in stages throughout the 18th century, interprets early farm life and the nine generations of Pratt smithies, many of whom lived there. Tour the house with EHS’s knowledgeable guides and visit its newly expanded museum shop.  This holiday season, the house features a new temporary exhibit on Essex’s E.E. Dickinson Witch Hazel Co. as EHS continues to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2015 with a “Dickinson Year.”  For more information, visit

At the Chester Museum at The Mill, listen to Peg Lieberman’s tales about sledding down the streets of Chester right to Jennings Pond and check out her childhood doll in the “Pastimes” exhibit.

At the Chester Museum at The Mill, listen to Peg Lieberman’s tales about sledding down the streets of Chester right to Jennings Pond and check out her childhood doll in the “Pastimes” exhibit.

The Chester Museum at The Mill, at 9 West Main Street in Chester, will also be open on Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s “Pastimes in Past Times: Chester at Play” exhibit focuses on the ways Chester families spent their leisure time in the “old days.” You can even sit down and enjoy a game of Tiddly Winks and checkers or play the Jaw Harp. It makes no difference where you grew up or when, everything about the exhibit stirs your memories of pastimes you or your family enjoyed and reminds you of what you’d like to pass down to the next generation. For more information, visit


Pettipaug Yacht Club Seeks Assistance to Remove Boats for Winter, Nov. 21

Kathryn Ryan, Rear Commodore of Pettipaug Yacht Club amidst boats to be put away for the winter

Kathryn Ryan, Rear Commodore of Pettipaug Yacht Club amidst boats to be put away for the winter

ESSEX — Essex’s most active yacht club, the Pettipaug Yacht Club, has scheduled two work parties to help put the boats away and ready the club for winter on Saturday, Nov. 21. Both work parties will begin at 8 a.m.

In making the club’s announcement, Rear Commodore Kathryn Ryan said, “We anticipate working throughout the morning and early afternoon. We have lots of work to do to make sure the club is ready for winter.” She continued, “We rely on volunteer help to accomplish this. No special skills are required, just warm clothes and boots and a positive attitude.”

If there any questions on volunteering for the work parties, contact Rear Commodore Ryan at


LVVS Book Sale Promotion During November

November is a month dedicated to giving thanks for all those things in our lives for which we are grateful. For Literacy Volunteers and for many other non-profits in the valley shore, we are most grateful for our volunteers and those who serve and support those less fortunate among us. In honor of their service, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is offering a special discount program on books, puzzles, CD’s and DVD’s for the month. Every item is on special. Buy one item, you get another item free!

The book sale is open weekdays from 9 am to 2 pm and on the first and third Saturday of each month between the hours of 10 am and noon in the lower level of the Westbrook Library. Hard covers are $2 and paperback books $.50. Call 860-399-0280 for further information and for our special(s) of the month!

For further information contact the Literacy Volunteers office by calling our office, emailing or by visiting our website at .

The Ivoryton Players Staged Reading of “The Man Who Came To Dinner”, Nov. 21

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Players, a drama club for adults, will present a staged reading of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, on Saturday, November 21st at 7pm at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Joyce Beauvais, founder and director is a transplanted New York actor and producer who moved to CT in 2013 and formed this troupe to perform staged readings. No experience necessary and no memorization required – just a desire to have fun and entertain! This is the third staged reading by the Ivoryton Players and promises to be a hoot. Seating is limited and is on a first come basis – suggested $5 donation at the door but all are welcome.

For more information about the production or becoming a member of the Ivoryton Players, contact Joyce Beauvais at

Eastern Connecticut Ballet Performs Nutcracker at the Garde, Dec. 12/13


Share the magic and pageantry of the world’s most beloved ballet with friends and family of all ages at the Garde Arts Center on December 12 and 13.

New York City Ballet sensation, Sara Mearns, “the great American ballerina of our time,” returns to the Garde Arts Center in New London for another breathtaking performance with Eastern Connecticut Ballet. New London’s own “Nutcracker” is both a holiday tradition and a tour de force. Sharing the spotlight are guest artists from NYCB and Pennsylvania Ballet and more than 100 professionally trained dancers from ECB. Thirty-five musicians from Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Paul Polivnick, perform Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece. Live music and classic ballet in the tradition of Balanchine make this “Nutcracker” simply unforgettable.

Performances are Saturday Dec 12th at 1:30 & 7pm and Sunday Dec 13th at 1:30pm.  Tickets are available at The Garde Box Office. Call 860-444-7373 x1 or visiting

CBSRZ Celebrates Chanukah – Dec 6 and Dec 11

chanukaCongregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 East Kings Highway in Chester, CT invites the public to celebrate Chanukah.

Families are invited to attend our community Chanukah celebration on Sunday December 6.  Beginning at 11:00, children can participate in many craft making activities such as designing a menorah out of clay as well as enjoy traditional foods such as jelly donuts and latkes and play various versions of spin the dreidel.  This event is free and is open to the public.

On Friday, December 11th, join us as we celebrate Shabbat and the sixth night of Chanukah! At 5:45 pm we will have a non-dairy pot luck dinner. CBSRZ will provide brisket, latkes and beverages. We ask that those coming for dinner bring a meat dish (no pork or shellfish), or other non-dairy side dishes (salads, latkes, vegetables, rice or a non-dairy dessert). Services will begin at 7:00. Please bring your favorite menorah and 7 candles as we will continue our tradition of lighting all of the menorahs and basking in the glow of the candle light. Oneg (desserts and fellowship) will conclude the evening.

For more information about CBSRZ contact the office at 860-526-8920 or visit our web site at

Deep River P & R Offer Newport Holiday Splendor Trip, Dec. 6

Be part of the fun!  Join Deep River Parks and Recreation, as they travel to Newport, Rhode Island, to visit and tour two historic mansions, The Breakers and Marble House. The glitter of gold, sparkle of silver and the thousands of brilliant red poinsettias will dazzle you as we visit these two properties decked out in their holiday splendor.

You will also stroll through the quaint village of Newport and visit Bowen’s Wharf and the Brick Market Place where you will enjoy lunch on your own, shop and enjoy the holiday decorations. The bus will depart at from the Route 9, exit 4 commuter lot at 7:45 am.  The bus will depart Newport at 5:00 pm and return to the exit 4 commuter lot arriving at approximately 7:00 pm.

Registration is on a first-come first-served basis and spaces are not held until payment is received.  Payment must be received to secure a spot.  Cost includes all tickets, tours and transportation by deluxe motor coach bus with restroom and Wi-Fi access. No refunds will be given unless event is canceled. Trip will take place rain or shine.  Please wear comfortable shoes as this trip involves much walking as we explore the mansions and the downtown area.

Date: Sunday, December 6th, 2015

Cost- Adults $ 65.00, youth $50.00 (ages 6-17)

Please call 860-526-6036 to sign up or visit and follow the link to sign-up on line.

‘Trees in the Rigging’ Community Carol Sing & Boat Parade, Nov. 29

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights.

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights.

ESSEX -– Kick off the holiday season in Essex with the annual Trees in the Rigging Community Carol Sing and Lighted Boat Parade on Nov. 29.   The Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Board of Trade, and the Essex Historical Society combine to present this annual event that includes a traditional, lantern-lit carol stroll down Main Street where spectators are invited to bring their own lanterns or flashlights and join in with the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps and a parade of antique cars.

Participants can gather at the Essex Town Hall at 4 p.m. The stroll steps off at 4:30 p.m. beginning on West Ave. and ending at the Connecticut River Museum with a parade of vessels dressed out in holiday lights and passing in review along the Connecticut River.  Santa and his elves will arrive by one of the parade boats for visits with children on the lawn of the Connecticut River Museum. The Connecticut River Museum will also be open that evening for all to attend the 22th Annual Holiday Train Show at a reduced admission of $6.

Register Your Boat for the Lighted Boat Parade

A critical and crowed-pleasing part of this free community event is the parade of boats dressed in holiday lights that sail along Essex’s waterfront. The decorated boats are part of a friendly competition.  A modest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize will be awarded to the best dressed boats. Winners will be invited to receive their prize and participate in a photo-op on Monday, Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Connecticut River Museum.

Registration is required to participate in the boat parade that usually begins around 5:15 p.m. from the south end of Essex Harbor. To register, send an email to Information should include: Vessel name; Type of boat and description; Owner(s) name; Contact information (phone and preferred email); Decorating scheme (if known at time of registration). Registration must be received by Monday, Nov. 24 at 4:30 p.m.

Make your Own Parade Lantern

Carolers can make their own lanterns for the parade.  Step 1: fill an empty aluminum can with water and freeze. This will make it easier to punch holes for the design in the can. Step 2: using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the can to make a connect-the-dots style picture of a holiday design. Use plenty of holes to allow the light to shine through. Step 3: punch two holes near the rim to attach a wire handle. Step 4: after the ice is melted, attach a votive or other small candle to the inside bottom of the can.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860.767.8269 or visit

St. Joseph Church Christmas Fair, Chester, Dec. 5

St. Joseph Church at 48 Middlesex Avenue, Chester, CT. will be holding a Christmas Fair complete with crafters, fresh wreaths & greens, baked goods and Dixie baskets on December 5, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Luncheon items will be available and Santa will make an appearance.

Call 860 526 5495 for more details.

The Natural Beauty of Plum Island: Paintings and Photographs at Essex Library

“Plum Island, Northeast View” by John Sargent

“Plum Island, Northeast View” by John Sargent

The Essex Library will host an exhibit of paintings and photographs of Plum Island during the month of November. The exhibit is free and open to the public during the Library’s regular operating hours. Photographer Bob Lorenz and artist John Sargent met on a tour of Plum Island organized by Save the Sound. Excited about the potential of the natural subject matter there, they decided to create an exhibit that could convey to the public the special natural qualities of the island and the surrounding waters.

John Sargent lives in Quaker Hill, CT and has been an artist and art teacher for approximately 40 years. He has lived close to Long Island Sound for much of that time in the New London and Old Lyme areas. He has observed Plum Island from both the Connecticut shore and from boats on the water and has been enchanted by Plum and the other islands near it. He has a long-time interest in nature and natural preservation. His artwork is influenced by observations of nature and he is particularly interested in having his artwork bring about awareness of the natural beauty of this local area. Old Saybrook resident Bob Lorenz has been a professional photographer of many subjects for over 40 years.

The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex. For more information, please call the Library at (860) 767-1560.

Cappella Cantorum Holiday Festival with Chorus and Brass, Dec. 6

Cappella Cantorum’s concert, Sun. Dec. 6, 3pm, John Winthrop Middle School,

1 Winthrop Rd. Deep River. Tickets $30 at  or 860-388-2871 or  $35 at the door. Featuring Rutter’s GLORIA and Pinkham’s CHRISTMAS CANTATA.

Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT Essex Holiday House Tour, Dec. 12

Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT announces its 13th biennial Essex Holiday House Tour on Saturday, December 12, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The tour will feature seven beautiful village homes, including a landmark house, all decorated for the holidays and within walking distance from the Town Hall for easy access to village shops and restaurants as well.

Essex Historical Society’s Pratt House and Hills Academy and the Connecticut River Museum will also be open free to ticket holders. The John Pratt II Homestead is a fully furnished historic home that was started in 1701 and finished in 1732. The Connecticut River Museum will feature, for the 27th year in a row, its remarkable model railroad exhibit created by noted artist and railroad buff, Steve Cryan, who usually makes annual changes to his delightful work. Enticing boutique wares for everyone’s shopping list and a small café at Essex Town Hall will also merit exploring.

Tickets will be available at $25 each in advance from 1 N Main (Essex), Saybrook Country Barn (Old Saybrook, The Bowerbird (Old Lyme), Celebrations (Deep River), Ceramica (Chester), and Walker & Loden (Essex, Madison, and New Haven). Tickets on the day of the tour will be sold at the Essex Town Hall for $30 each, and tickets ordered after December 5 will be held there. For groups of 15 or more, tickets may be ordered in advance at $20 each. When ordering by mail, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and send your check to: Child & Family Agency, Holiday House Tour, 168 River Road, Essex 06426. For more information about the tour or the Agency, and to purchase tickets online, please visit our website at or call 860-443-2896.

Christmas Fair With Luncheon at the Ivoryton Congregational Church, Dec. 5

A Christmas Fair and luncheon will be held at the Ivoryton Congregational Church on Saturday, December 5th from 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.

Featuring an assortment of handcrafted gifts, famous bean soup mix, and newly published cookbook, teacup raffle, soup & dessert for lunch. Something for everyone!

A donation to our Mitten Tree is most welcome (mittens, gloves, hats, scarves) for children and adults donated to the Essex Elementary School and the Lower Valley Visiting Nurses.

Call Isobel for more information @ 860-767-8167

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children, Starts Nov. 22

Free 6-week parenting workshop starting Nov. 22.

ParentingDo you, as parents, struggle to find the balance between assuring your children that they are safe and loved, on one hand, and challenging them to take risks and become independent, on the other? Does our increasingly competitive culture raise concerns about the pressures on our kids to “succeed”?

In the past parents looked to their own upbringings and to family and community members for guidance as they shepherded their children from stage to stage. Today it’s not so easy.

Where to turn for guidance as we parent our kids from stage to stage? While we might think that our faith traditions could provide some answers, we don’t always know how to navigate the treasure trove of those traditions.

Enter psychologist and educator Wendy Mogel, whose book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, provides just the insights so many parents need. Mogel, a Jew who rediscovered Judaism as an adult, draws from specifically Jewish wisdom in her book to guide parents in raising self-reliant children.

She writes:

Through the study and practice of Judaism, I learned that the parents I counseled had fallen into a trap created out of their own good intentions. Determined to give their children everything they need to become “winners” in this highly competitive culture, they missed out on God’s most sacred gift to us: the power and holiness of the present moment and of each child’s individuality.

For six Sunday mornings, starting November 22, parents are invited to discuss this powerful book with Rabbi Goldenberg, along with lay-teachers Holly Starkman Smith and Pamela Crair. This parenting workshop will delve into themes such as chores, discipline, the value of the present moment, eating habits, and talking to your children about God.

There is no charge for this course, however, it is not a drop-in class. In order to create a consistent group experience, we ask participants to sign up and commit to the full 6-week course. We will be limiting the class size and will be setting aside a number of slots for non-CBSRZ members. You do not have to be Jewish yourself to participate in this class; however, this class is aimed at parents who are raising Jewish children.

Sunday mornings November 22 , December 6, 13, 20 , January 3, 10

Please call the CBSRZ office at 860-526-8920 to register and for more information.

Children’s Fall Story Times at Acton Public Library

The Fall Session of drop-in Story Times at Acton Public Library will begin the week of Tuesday, September 8 and end on Friday, December 11, 2015. All programs are free and open to all. No registration is required.


Wednesday mornings

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Drop in and share stories, songs and simple rhymes together. A program for children             age 0 – 2 and their families. Stay and socialize after the story time with our special toddler toys.


Wednesday mornings

11:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Expand your baby’s story time experience with a 1/2 hour of social time immediately following Wiggle Bookworms. Parents and caregivers can mingle as babies enjoy social play with toys provided by the Library.


Thursday evenings

6:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Wear your pajamas to this drop-in evening story time with simple craft.                                    For kids ages 2-6 with their families .


Friday mornings:

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

A drop in preschool story time for children ages 3-5. Have fun sharing stories, music and a craft together. (A special Music with Miss Martha will take place on the 3rd Friday of every month. See below.)


3rd Friday of every month

10:00 – 10:45 a.m.

Sept. 18; Oct. 16; Nov. 20 and Dec. 18.

Join Miss Martha from the Community Music School for a special musical story time! Ages 3-5.

About our Story Times:

All story times are drop-in, free and open to all. No registration is required.

Although each program is designed for the specific developmental needs of its

intended age group, siblings are welcome to attend with their parent or caregiver.

Our Story Time Goals Are:

  • To foster a love of language and books.
  • To develop early literacy with stories, movement, and music.
  • To provide young children with an early group experience.
  • To foster parent connections through shared story and play experiences.

Come and share the love of books and music with us this fall

Essex Historical Society Celebrates 60th Anniversary with Series of Events in 2015-16

The Pratt House in Essex is the town’s only historic house museum.

The Pratt House is home to the Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — The Essex Historical Society (EHS), a private, non-profit organization boasting 250 members and dedicated volunteer corps, is celebrating its 60th anniversary year throughout 2015 and early 2016 with a variety of special events and programs.  Of special note is the Dickinson Initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the impact of the E. E. Dickinson Witch Hazel business on Essex.

The E. E. Dickinson Witch Hazel Company was an important part of Essex for much of the 20th century.  The EHS and the Valley Railroad Company have partnered to refurbish the original Birch Mill /Yellow Label building that sits on the southern end of the railroad depot property.  As part of the project, EHS will refurbish the Yellow Label signs and install Dickinson exhibit panels in the newly repaired space.

A pre-construction kick-off took place on May 15, 2015.  The dedication and unveiling of the refurbished building is targeted for one year later on May 15, 2016.

Upcoming Events 

An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History 

Sunday, Sept. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m.  A self-guided tour of private properties along North Main Street in Essex village and formerly owned by members of the Dickinson family. Tickets are $60 per person with proceeds to benefit the Essex Historical Society. Includes a commemorative book and refreshments.

Essex Historical Society Antique Car Rally 

Sunday, Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The 5th Annual Fall Foliage Antique Auto Show and Tour with a Purpose:  Dickinson business and family sites. Co-sponsored with the Belltown Antique Car Club.

EHS Program 

A special program Creating the E. E. Dickinson National Brand will be presented by EHS and held at 31 North Main St., Essex, the Dickinson corporate office, now the Wells Fargo office building.

Yellow Label Building Dedication 

Sunday, May 15, 2016. Dedication of the refurbished Yellow Label Building and tour of the Dickinson Witch Hazel Plant.  Co-sponsored with the Valley Railroad Company.  Details to be announced at a later date.

Essex Historical Society: Three Villages, Two Rivers, One History 

The EHS strives to be the center of excellence for collecting and sharing historic resources for Essex and the surrounding area, and to be the facilitator among other organizations focused on the history of the area, so that we may inspire future generations.  Our mission statement reflects this vision: Engaging and Inspiring the Community. Essex.  Ivoryton.  Centerbrook.

History of the Essex Historical Society

The Essex Historical Society was formed and incorporated in 1955. According to news reports at the time, the Town of Essex was about to announce its intention to sell Hills Academy located on Prospect Street. It was no longer useful to the Town for classroom space and had been rented to various tenants for many years.

A concerned group sprung into action and the first unofficial meeting of the Board of Directors was held at Essex Town Hall on Friday, Dec. 10, 1954. The newly formed Essex Historical Society purchased the Hills Academy building from the Town for one dollar.

From 1955 to 1985, Hills Academy served as the Society’s meeting house, as home to its growing collection of Essex memorabilia, and as exhibit space depicting the story of Essex history. Then in 1985, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (known then as S.P.N.E.A. and now renamed Historic New England) deeded the Pratt House Museum on West Avenue to the Society and the focus of activity shifted to the Pratt family narrative.

Today, Pratt House continues to interpret 18th century farm life in Essex and the nine generations of Pratt Smithies, many of whom lived in the house. The barn houses a set of panels depicting a time line of Essex history and an early loom that is worked on by an award-winning group of weavers.

The beautiful meadow to the rear of the property is the site of the Community Garden and often the scene of antique car shows and old fashioned summer fairs. Hills Academy provides additional meeting and exhibit space on the first floor and storage and office space on the second floor for the collection and archival files.

The EHS serves the three villages of Essex — Centerbrook, Essex and Ivoryton.