December 12, 2019

Essex Land Trust Event – Saving Central Park

The Essex Garden Club and the Essex Land Trust are pleased to invite the general public to attend a program on Saving Central Park. Lane Addonizio, an Associate Vice President for Planning at the Central Park Conservancy, will discuss the various scientific and technological practices to maintain and restore Central Park, a man-made landscape. Some topics to be touched on are the Soil, Water and Ecology Lab’s role in maintaining the Park’s water bodies for its wildlife (mainly birds and fish) and its soil for the plantings and trees. Many technological innovations will be illustrated and discussed that have helped to restore the Park’s seemingly natural landscape, focusing on such high-tech sites such as the Great Lawn and the Lake and our three woodlands

The first public space of its kind, Central Park was conceived as a reprieve from the city for the benefit of all New Yorkers. The massive undertaking represented by its construction produced an idealized rurallandscape replete with meadows, lakes, and woodlands, all carefully orchestrated to transport urban dwellers from the reality of their daily lives. Frederick Law Olmsted suggested that the Park would be for working people—many of whom were destined to live their entire lives on the island of Manhattan—what a trip to the White Mountains or the Adirondacks was to those of greater means. It would provide what Olmsted referred to as the “sense of enlarged freedom” that comes from contact with nature. But the Park is not a naturally-occurring landscape. It is a man-made construct: a product of 19th century ingenuity designed to replicate the experience of nature at the heart of a great metropolis. As such, it has been subjected throughout its history not only to the pressures of encroachment and development that motivate efforts to conserve natural landscapes, but to the forces of deterioration, impacts of intense use, and periodic cycles of resource deprivation and management neglect.

Today, after thirty years of restoration and stewardship by the Central Park Conservancy, the Park is experiencing the longest period of sustained management in its 150-year history. The story of its creation, checkered past, and remarkable recovery supports the important idea that, as stewards, we can partner with nature’s improvisational energy to shape the character and nurture the intrinsic value of ever-evolving places that hold meaning for us.

Lane Addonizio oversees research and analysis for park wide and project planning, and collaborates with the Vice President for Planning, Design & Construction on the development and management of the program of the Park’s ongoing restoration and reconstruction. Ms. Addonizio is the author of the Report on the Public Use of Central Park, the most comprehensive study of the Park’s use in its more than 150-year history, which was published by the Conservancy in 2011.

The event is free and takes place at Essex Town Hall on Monday, March 5 at 2 p.m. Refreshments served. Parking behind Town Hall, 29 West Avenue, Essex.


Essex Corinthian Yacht Club Spring Commissioning Seminar

Essex Corinthian Yacht Club will be holding a Spring Commissioning Seminar with Captain Mark Bancroft from Wild Oats Marine Services, on Saturday March 3, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Captain Mark Bancroft has been sailing for over thirty-five years and been involved in the marine industry for over twenty years. After completing a successful career in the United States Navy as a Chief Petty Officer he retired in 1989. He started Bottoms Up Boat Service providing a wide variety of services including mooring placement & inspection, bottom cleaning and hull damage inspections. Mark has been the delivery captain for over 100 boats to various ports from Boston to Norfolk. His experience includes installation and repair of equipment/electronics, spring commissioning and winterization of yachts.

In 1999, after two years of cruising the Inter-coastal Waterway from Connecticut to the West Coast of Florida, including the Bahamas, he joined the staff of Hellier Yacht Sales in the Service Department to coordinate spring commissioning and provide for all warranty work. After another cruise to the Florida Keys and west coast, Mark joined Yachting Services of Mystic as the Fleet Captain for the charter fleet, providing all facets of the charter industry from check-out/check-in, training and maintenance.

Mark started Wildoats Marine Service, LLC in April 2007 to serve the desires of the boating public in need of marine related services at a reasonable cost.

Please register for this no cost seminar.  Contact the ECYC office at 860-767-3239 or email


Ivoryton Playhouse Announces 2012 Season

Ivoryton: On March 14th, 2012 The Ivoryton Playhouse opens its doors for a full year of exciting, live theatre. There is something for everyone this season – a season that is funny, upbeat, tasty, toe-tapping and even a little risqué! -you won’t want to miss even one of these shows.

Beginning March 14th through April 1st, the Playhouse will feature some down home country humor and still tug at your heart strings with Always….Patsy Cline. Based on a true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in 1961, and continued a correspondence with her until her untimely death, this production includes many of Patsy’s unforgettable hits such as Crazy, I Fall to Pieces, and Walking After Midnight.

And who can forget the steamy story of Mrs. Robinson and young Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate? From April 18th – May 6th you can see this exciting new stage production in Ivoryton.  On June 6th – June 24th, the Playhouse will welcome R. Bruce Connelly back to Ivoryton to star in Last of the Red Hot Lovers – a classic from the world’s most successful playwright, Neil Simon.

Our three big summer musicals are sure to delight audiences of all ages.  Starting on July 4th, the Playhouse will bring Broadway to Ivoryton with Hairspray – a musical comedy hit that won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical.  Hairspray will run through July 29th.  Dickens’ timeless characters will be brought to life from August 8th – September 2nd in Oliver!  The ever-popular story of the boy who asked for more, features some of theatre’s most beloved songs, including Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, I’d Do Anything and many more.  Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, featuring a score that includes 18 Neil Sedaka classics, opens September 26th and runs until October 14th.  Set at a Catskills resort in 1960, this is the sweetly comic story of Lois and Marge, two friends from Brooklyn in search of good times and romance over one wild Labor Day weekend.

The Kitchen Witches, running from October 31st– November 18th, ends the 2012 Season.  In this 2003 comedy, Dolly Biddle and Isabelle Lomax – archrivals in life and love – are tricked into appearing on a cooking show together on their local public access channel. Look out as spoons fly and family secrets are aired – it’s Martha Stewart meets Jerry Springer!

Don’t miss some of the most exciting and entertaining theatre on the shoreline!  Subscriptions are on sale now.  Single tickets go on sale February 13, 2012.  Visit or call (860) 767 7318 for the latest ticket information.


Explore the Works of Antoni Gaudi

The Sagrada Familia Cathedral of Barcelona by Antoni Gaudi is one of the works that will be covered in a talk by Dr. Chuck Benson on Friday February 24th at 7 PM at Essex Town Hall, part of the Essex Library’s Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series.

Spanish Catalan architect and figurehead of Catalan Modernism Antoni Gaudí will be the topic of a lecture by architect and professor Dr. Chuck Benson, part of the Essex Library’s Centerbrook Architects Lecture series, on Friday, February 24 at 7 p.m., at Essex Town Hall.

Gaudi’s passions – architecture, nature, religion, and love for his native Catalonia  — are woven through his astonishingly detailed, unique, and organic designs. Seven of his works have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Dr. Benson has been teaching Art and Architectural History for more than twenty-five years at various universities and colleges across the United States. His lecture credits include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, MOMA, the Whitney Museum, the Getty in Los Angeles, the Art Institute in Chicago, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  He studied the history of art and architecture at Yale as an undergraduate, and holds advanced degrees from Columbia University. Our Essex Library audiences have enjoyed his lectures on Edward Lutyens and Gian Loernzo Bernini.

The talk is free and open to all. Please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 to register or for more information. The Essex Town Hall is at 29 West Avenue in Essex.



Salome Unveiled at the Essex Library

The Essex Library presents Richard Strauss’ opera Salome, in a film version starring Teresa Stratas, Monday February 27th at 2 p.m. (Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley)

The Essex Library’s popular series of filmed operas, Monday Afternoon @ the Opera, presents Richard Strauss’ Salome, starring Teresa Stratas, Hans Bierer, and Astrid Varnay, on Monday February 27 at 2 p.m. Stratas, one of the world’s best singing actresses, is at the peak of her powers in the title role of this spine-chilling version of Salome, which is conducted by Strauss’ protégé Karl Böhm and features the Vienna Philharmonic.

The show is free and open to all. The Essex Library is at 33 West Avenue. For more information, please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560.


February Vacation Day Programs at Camp Hazen YMCA

Camp Hazen YMCA is offering programs for youth in grades K-6 during the week of February 20-24.  Campers will have a whole lot of fun and learn life skills in a safe, structured environment.  Camp Hazen also provides a delicious, nutritious hot lunch each day.   Daily themes include Eco Challenge, Kid Chefs, Amazing Race, Discovery Camp and Wacky World of Sports.  Families may register for all 5 days or just some of the days.  There is also an opportunity for children in grades 2-6 to try an overnight experience from February 23-24.

For more information, please contact Alex Learned, Program Director at 860-526-9529 or go to


Adult Ballet Dance Classes at Deep River Sports Academy

Adult Ballet at the Deep River Sports Academy (upstairs studio) on Wed. 6:30 – 7:45pm.

No experience need, come ready to move in socks.

Instructor: Linalynn Schmelzer, or 860-304-8459

Drop-Ins are welcome.


What’s Next For NASA? Illustrated Talk by Lon Seidman at Essex Library

Lon Seidman and Space Shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad

Connecticut has played an important role throughout the history of the space program, with both space suits and fuel cells manufactured by companies here in the state. Essex resident Lon Seidman and a few colleagues were granted media access to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to learn more about the Connecticut contributions to space exploration and be a part of the final missions of the Space Shuttle program. The Essex Library will host an illustrated talk by Lon Seidman on Thursday, February  16 at 7 p.m.

Over the course of a year the team witnessed and documented the final launches and landings of the three remaining orbiters, had an exclusive tour inside Space Shuttle Discovery, and visited companies working on the next generation of space vehicles that will carry Americans into space.

Lon will show plenty of pictures and video of these unique and up-close experiences and talk about where space exploration is headed next. The program is free and open to all. The Essex Library is at 33 West Avenue; please call 860-767-1560 to register, or for more information.




Essex Winter Series – Boston Chamber Music Society Concert at VRHS

The Essex Winter Series will present a concert by the Boston Chamber Music Society on February 19 at 3 p.m.  at Valley regional High School.

Hailed by Boston Globe as “… vivid, compelling and first rate,” the Boston Chamber Music Society, BCMS, is New England’s preeminent chamber music society, providing audiences with exceptional, impassioned performances of music from the Baroque era to the present day. Founded in 1982, BCMS is an ensemble of superb musicians who come together in different combinations to perform chamber music, expanding the artistic possibilities and allowing individual expression without one personality dominating. The effect is one of the miracles of music — sheer aesthetic beauty. For this concert, our “miracle” showcases violinist Harumi Rhodes, violist Marcus Thompson, cellist Ronald Thomas and pianist Mihae Lee – our artistic director – performing a Mozart duo, a Shostakovich trio and a Brahms quartet.

All concerts are held on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. at Valley Regional High School located at 256 Kelsey Hill Road, Deep River, CT.

Individual ticket prices for each concert are $30 for Adults; $25 for Senior Citizens; $12 for Children/Students. Subscriptions for all concerts are also available at a cost of $110 for Adults and $90 for Senior Citizens.

For more information, please visit or call 860-391-5578.


Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society Hold Event with Vin Capece

Middlesex United Way’s Young Leaders Society is to hold a Learn with Leaders event at Middlesex Hospitals Cancer Center hosted by Vin Capece, President and C.E.O. of Middlesex Hospital on Tuesday, February 28 at 8:00 a.m.

Mr. Capece will discuss changes in the health care system, innovation at the hospital, and the characteristics he looks for in young leaders. Following the discussion the group will be allowed a special tour of Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center’s Novalis TX Linear Accelerator.

“The Young Leaders Society is a great opportunity to recognize the potential that those in their 20s and 30s have to contribute while also finding ways to build our capacity to be leaders in the future,” says Young Leader Society Chair Justin Carbonella, Youth Services Coordinator at Middletown Youth Services Bureau. “Learn with Leaders events give community-minded young professionals an opportunity to connect and network with local leaders who know the importance of civic engagement.”

The Young Leaders Society is a unique and dynamic group providing community involvement, personal development and networking for individuals or couples 40 years of age or younger who live and work in Middlesex County. Our mission is to create opportunities for young professionals to get involved with Middlesex United Way, connect with colleagues and community leaders and give back to advance the common good.

The event is sponsored by Middlesex Hospital and a light breakfast will be served. There is a suggested donation of $5.00. Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center is located at 536 Saybrook Road, Middletown.

If you have questions regarding this event, please call Middlesex United Way at 860.346.8695.

To RSVP or for more information about Middlesex United Way’s Young Leaders Society visit or at


Chester Historical Society Presents Free Program about Chester “Characters”

Shirley Miceli started working in Collins Pharmacy on Main Street (which she later bought and renamed Chester Pharmacy) during her college summers. She remembers the early years of being a pharmacist when many prescriptions (capsules, ointments, suppositories, liquids) were compounded - made by hand, right there in the store. She ran the pharmacy just short of 40 years, closing it in 1989. This photo is from the 1960s. Shirley still remembers when she was held up at knifepoint inside the pharmacy, but the robber got away. Later a TV crew reenacted the burglary on a crime show to see if the man could be identified by any eyewitnesses. (Photo courtesy of Rob Miceli)

What makes Chester the town it is? Many residents would say it’s the people who live or have lived and worked there.

On Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, at the Chester Meeting House, the Chester Historical Society will present another in its series of programs about the colorful “characters” who have called Chester home for their family and their business.

As Historical Society president Skip Hubbard says, “As much as we often think of buildings and artifacts as history, it’s really about people – what they did, what they experienced, how they adapted and how they succeeded. That’s why we like to offer the ‘Chester Characters’ programs, as an opportunity to hear the stories of the people.”

Robbie's was a Chester Village institution for many years. From the Kate Silliman Scrapbook: "Robbie Collomore, born in Chester and a graduate of Chester High School,

A couple of “characters” who are still living will share how their Chester businesses got started along with interesting stories that happened to them.  Other “characters” will be described by family members or in some cases by their close friends or employees. This winter’s “Characters of Chester” will feature: Harry Archambault, the founder of Archambault Insurance Agency; Shirley Miceli, the pharmacist and owner of Chester Pharmacy; Robbie Collomore, the owner of Robbie’s store; John Dengler, owner of Dengler’s Service Station; Jim Grote, Chester Hose Co. chief and fire marshal; and John Zanardi, the original proprietor of John Zanardi Oil Co., Inc.

Come learn the history of what made Chester such a special place to live and work. As with all Chester Historical Society programs, audience participation is encouraged. We welcome your own stories of these Chester “characters.”

The program will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.




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Open Sugar House Saturdays at Bushy Hill

Bushy Hill Director Kelly Way, who runs the open houses, working in the Sugar House

Ivoryton, CT The Sugar House at Bushy Hill in Ivoryton will be open for the maple sugaring season starting Saturday February 18 and every Saturday until March 17 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bring the whole family and take part in the syrup making process using sap collected from the trees on the property, taste some samples or stop by to pick up a pint of syrup to go. Trails that cover 700 acres will be open to hike, snow shoe, or cross country ski on as well. The open houses are free to the public and no reservations are required. Different size jugs of the finished maple syrup will be available to purchase.

Bushy Hill at Incarnation Center is located at 253 Bushy Hill Road, Ivoryton, CT. The Sugar House is about 300 yards from the road entrance on the left next to the Activity Center. If you have any questions call (860)767-0848. Visit our website at for more information.



Connecticut River Museum To Host Free Live Birds of Prey Show

The public is invited to come meet Athena, a peregrine falcon who will be featured in the Live Birds of Prey Show hosted by the Connecticut River Museum at Essex Town Hall on Sunday, February 19. Photo courtesy of Horizon Wings.

Essex, CT – If getting up close and personal with live raptors sounds like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, then mark your calendar and set your GPS for 29 West Avenue in Essex on February 19.  The Connecticut River Museum will host Live Birds of Prey from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm at Essex Town Hall.  The show, presented by Horizon Wings, a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center specializing in birds of prey, will introduce the audience to a red-tailed hawk, a peregrine falcon, an American kestral and a barn owl while telling their individual stories of survival and conservation.  With funding support from the Essex Garden Club and Potapaug Audubon Society, the program is free to the public but seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-seated basis.

For those looking for an on-water adventure and a chance to see majestic bald eagles in their winter habitat, the Connecticut River Museum is also offering eagle-viewing boat tours on Fridays at 1:00 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. now through March 11.  Project Oceanology’s 65-foot vessel Enviro-lab III departs from the Museum’s dock for an up-close view of winter wildlife and big birds of prey.  Museum educators provide narration while passengers can enjoy viewing from the heated cabin or outside deck area.  Complimentary coffee and use of binoculars provided.  Every boat tour ticket includes free admission to the Museum where the story of the Bald Eagle continues to unfold in the Eagles of Essex exhibit.

For a full listing of event details, go to or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street.


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Photo  Caption: The public is invited to come meet Athena, a peregrine falcon who will be featured in the Live Birds of Prey Show hosted by the Connecticut River Museum at Essex Town Hall on Sunday, February 19.  Photo courtesy of Horizon Wings.


The Eagle Flyer Soars Again

Spotting for Bald Eagles (photo courtesy of Kim Tyler)

Essex, CT – –  In honor of the Bald Eagle’s winter migration South from Maine and Canada to the Connecticut River Valley, Essex Steam Train & Riverboat will operate its 3rd Annual Eagle Flyeron President’s Weekend.

Vintage Diesel Locomotive #0900 will pull the Eagle Flyer out of Essex Station on:

  • Saturday & Sunday, February 18 & 19, 2012 at 11am & 2pm
  • Adults:  $20.00 / Children Ages 2-11:  $15.00  (Free under age 2)
  • Coffee, Tea, & Hot Cocoa available for purchase on board.

Robert Bell, President of The Valley Railroad Company says, “The Eagle Flyer is a unique opportunity for families to adventure out and learn the story of our national symbol, the Bald Eagle.  The Bald Eagle’s wondrous migration South to the Connecticut River Valley is a rare natural event that we’re particularly delighted to share.”

 Bring Your Binoculars or Telescope

The Eagle Flyer will embark on a 2½ hour round-trip along the banks of the Connecticut River to Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam.  This family-friendly eco-excursion offers unique access to winter views of the wildlife and natural beauty that make the Connecticut River Valley “one of the last great places on earth.”

On-Board Naturalist demonstrating Bald Eagle Wing Span (Photo courtesy of Kim Tyler)

Naturalists will provide on-board narration and assist passengers in spotting wildlife, which in past years included bald eagles, hawks, deer and an unexpected harbor seal at Deep River Landing. Unobstructed views of historic landmarks, including Gillette Castle, Goodspeed Opera House and the Swing Bridge, are certain to impress as well.

 Making all Local Station Stops

The Eagle Flyer presents a rare opportunity for community residents to board at their nearby train station. While the Eagle Flyer originates at Essex Station, the train will make Local Station Stops in Deep River, Chester, Hadlyme, Eagle Landing State Park and Goodspeed Station.  Payment at Local Station Stops is cash only; fare will be pro-rated for less-than-full round trips.

For Schedule and Advance Reservations, visit or call 800-377-3987.

Dad & daughter pointing at the exciting wildlife (Photo courtesy of Kim Tyler)

The Valley Railroad Company   

Incorporated in 1969, The Valley Railroad Company opened the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat to the public 40 years ago, in July 1971.  The only steam train and riverboat connection in the United States, Essex Steam Train & Riverboat attracts over 140,000 visitors a year and continues to flourish as a Connecticut icon.  Tour goers enjoy a 2½ hour narrated journey through the scenic Connecticut River Valley.  Special events include The Eagle Flyer, Day Out With Thomas, The Valley Railroad Circus Train & Big Top Show, Santa Special, North Pole Express and Your Hand on the Throttle.


Musical Masterworks Present Concerts with String Quartet “Brooklyn Rider”

Musical Masterworks will continue its series of chamber music concerts at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme with concerts on Saturday, February 11 at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 12 at 3:00 p.m.  The concerts will feature the string quartet “Brooklyn Rider.”  Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron will perform with the quartet on cello and serve as host for the concerts.

The program will feature musical compositions spanning four centuries, including the Fantasia Upon One Note for Five Instruments by the early Baroque composer Henry Purcell.  Classical era composer Luigi Boccherini’s String Quartet in E Major will also be on the program, along with Beethoven’s String Quartet in c sharp minor, Opus 131.  The program will also include works by Brazilian jazz composer Joao Gilberto; a contemporary work by Italian composer Giovanni Sollima; and an original piece by Brooklyn Rider’s violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen.

Brooklyn Rider is a genre-defying string quartet that combines an eclectic repertoire with a electrifying performance style.  The quartet has performed at venues as varied as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center to Joe’s Pub in New York. This season the quartet made their Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall in October to great acclaim.

Tickets to the February 11 and 12 concerts are $35 with $5 student tickets available.  For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 860-434-2252 or visit


Take Your Child to the Library Day

Children’s Book Author and Illustrator Jane Manning Will be reading tales and helping children learn to draw 1pm on Saturday February 4 at Deep River Public Library.

Plus there will be many  other fun things to do.  Imagine….all that the Library has to offer you. Get a Library Card, borrow materials, download e-books & audios, attend programs, meet new friends, become a volunteer … and…

Visit Deep River Public Library, 150 Main Street, Deep River.


A Swashbuckling Party Promised at Connecticut River Museum’s Privateers’ Bash

Free Men of the Sea will lend their voice to the Connecticut River Museum’s Privateers’ Bash on March 2.

Essex, CT– AARRGH! If you are looking for a fun and lively way to let off a bit of winter steam, gather your crew and make plans to head out to the Privateers’ Bash on Friday, March 2 at the Connecticut River Museum.  All are invited to come in costume and relive Riverfront history at the sixth annual Bash, a playful nod to the privateers who made their wealth by relieving foreign ships of their valuable cargo during the War of 1812.  Grog, grub, music and dancing will fill the exhibit galleries from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm.  The Sun Kings, a Caribbean party band, will create the vibe while Free Men of the Sea will sing chanteys and banter about. Savory bites will be provided by Culinary Concerts, David Alan Catering, Gourmet Galley, Cloud Nine Catering, La Cuisine Café & Market, and Coffee’s Country Market. Great treasure can be found with great prizes up for raffle plus booty awarded for best costumes.   Supporting Sponsors for the event are Bogaert Construction Co., Caulfield & Ridgway, Inc., Clark Group, Marwin Mechanical Services, Reynolds’ Garage & Marine. Patron Sponsors include All Pro Automotive, Brown & Brown of CT/McCutcheon Burr & Sons, Drs. McAraw, Canter & Canter, Pages, Inc., Rachel Thomas Associates, and Sweitzer Waste Management.

A $50 Privateer ticket includes hors d’oeuvres, grog and one complimentary drink. Or take advantage of a two-ticket purchase deal and buy two Privateer tickets for just $80.  A $75 Commodore ticket also includes hors d’oeuvres and grog plus an open bar. Net proceeds benefit the Connecticut River Museum’s major new exhibits project.  Tickets may be purchased by calling 860-767-8269, online at, or at the door on the evening of the event.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street on the Essex waterfront.  It is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to lead in the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley.


Well-known Actor will Perform the Gospel of Mark, Old Saybrook Feb 19

Frank Runyeon, will present “Afraid” Sunday, Feb. 19, 10 a.m. during worship service, First Church of Christ in Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK – Professional actor, Frank Runyeon, will present “Afraid” Sunday, Feb. 19, 10 a.m. during  worship service, First Church of Christ in Saybrook, 366 Main Street. Start your Lenten journey with Runyeon’s spell-binding performance of the Gospel of Mark. A free-will offering will be collected. For more information visit, or call the church, 860-388-3008.

Frank Runyeon has won national acclaim for his work as a translator and performer of Biblical texts over the past 20 years. He has performed the gospel for hundreds of thousands of people in almost every state in America, earning rave reviews from critics, scholars, and church leaders of every denomination. He is regularly reviewed as “the best speaker we have ever heard” by students and faculty at private and public schools across the nation.

He is perhaps still best known, however, for his many roles on television. He starred for seven years as Steve Andropoulos on As the World Turns opposite Meg Ryan, a storyline that garnered the second highest ratings in the history of daytime television.

He next appeared for four years as Father Michael Donnelly on the Emmy award winning Santa Barbara, and as tycoon Simon Romero on General Hospital, opposite Emma Samms. Frank has also guest-starred in recurring roles on L.A. LAW as talkshow host Brooks Tapman, on Falcon Crest as chess genius Jovan Dmytryk, on Melrose Place as Father Tom, and on All My Children as Forrest Williams. Frank starred as Detective Marty Lowery in the feature film Sudden Death and as Pierre Lyon in Bolero. He appeared to rave reviews on the New York stage as Hercules in Aristophanes’ The Birds, and in regional theater as Clifford in Deathtrap and Oliver Costello in The Spider’s Web.

On the radio, he has hosted his own comedy talk show on the top-rated L.A. station, KFI, and on WCNN in Atlanta, and co-hosted Charles McPhee’s nationally syndicated show, The Dream Doctor.

Frank is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Religion. After studying acting in New York and Los Angeles for 15 years, he attended Fuller Seminary in preparation for the writing and performance of his first one-man play, AFRAID!: The Gospel of Mark. He continued his studies at Yale Divinity School and General Theological Seminary, from which he received his Masters, with honors, in l994. He work shopped his first productions in cooperation with the faculty of Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA, and the University of Dayton. Frank has now translated and adapted six Biblical texts for performance as one-man dramas.

He and his wife Annie, live in Los Angeles with their three children.



Falls River Preserve and Jean’s Island Winter Walk

Naturalist Phil Miller and Chet Arnold, former president of the Essex Land Trust, will lead groups through the spectacular Falls River Preserve on February 4, at 10 a.m. starting at the Preserve.

Walk to Jean’s Island if the ice is thick. Falls River Preserve is a 40-acre peninsula of forest and ledge projecting into Mill Pond on the Falls River. The lowlands walk is easy for all ages. More challenging trails cross over ledges of 800-million-year-old metamorphic schist forming the peninsula’s spine.

This walk is the year’s kick off for the Essex Great Outdoors Pursuit, co-sponsored with the Essex Land Trust and the Essex Park & Recreation Department. Park at the end of Falls River Drive in Ivoryton. Only really bad weather (blizzard or torrential rain) cancels. Admission is free and open to the general public. Cocoa and donuts served before the hike.


Bingo Night Hosted by Deep River Elementary School PTO

Deep River Elementary School PTO will be hosting their annual BINGO Fundraiser at John Winthrop Middle School on Friday,  February 10, from 6-8 p.m.

Doors Open at 5:30 p.m. Lots of prizes, pizza and goodies as well as a great raffle. Bingo will have guest MC – Dr. Jack Pietrich, Principal of DRES. Please come and support your local PTO.

Any questions or if you care to make a donation, please call Jimmy DeLano (860)227-1159.


History and Evolution of the Six Yacht Clubs of Essex – A Pictorial Event Hosted by Essex Historical Society

Boating and Essex just go together. Essex has one of the prettiest harbors anywhere in the United States. Just ask any one of the boaters in the six yacht clubs in Essex or any of the transient boaters who come here annually.

The “History and Evolution of the Six Yacht Clubs of Essex” will be the topic of the February 8th meeting of the Essex Historical Society to be held at the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, 9 Novelty Lane, at 7 p.m.

Representatives of each club will present short pictorial histories in the order of their club’s founding.  Starting off will be Tom (Danny) Daniells representing the Dauntless Club. The Frostbite Yacht Club,follows next with speaker Ed Birch.  Essex Yacht Club has George Graf as speaker. Toby Doyle speaks for Pettipaug Yacht Club. Next, the Essex Boat Club by Jim Core, and finishing with Essex Corinthian Yacht Club by Jeff Going.

Jerry Roberts, Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum, will start with a summary of how Essex evolved from a commercial shipping port into a world renown yachting hub supporting multiple recreational boating organizations that are each unique, yet interconnected through tradition and joint activities.

The presentation is open to the public.  Seating will be limited.  For further information, contact Lynn Herlihy, (860) 767-3373 of the Essex Historical Society.


“House, Form and Culture” With Architect Joeb Moore

The Essex Library’s ongoing Centerbrook Architects Lectures Series presents architect Joeb Moore, who will speak on “House, Form and Culture” on Friday February 3rd at 7 PM at Essex Meadows Auditorium.

The Essex Library’s ongoing Centerbrook Architects Lectures Series presents architect Joeb Moore, who will speak on “House, Form and Culture” on Friday February 3 at 7 p.m. at Essex Meadows Auditorium. In architecture, designing houses is often where the best young architectural talent has the opportunity to push the art of architecture forward.  Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright started their careers by designing houses that changed the way we think about home.  For adventuresome clients, their house is an opportunity to try something new.

Architect Joeb Moore has provided a decade of inspiration in how to design comfortable houses that also excite us about what is possible. Joeb will discuss how these houses were designed and built and will inspire us to think about our homes in a different way.

Mr. Moore is principal of Joeb Moore + Partners, Architects, an architecture and design firm in Greenwich, Connecticut, and is the recipient of more than twenty-five AIA New England, AIA CT, and AIA NY Design Awards since founding his practice in 1993.  Before joining the Yale faculty in 2007, Mr. Moore taught at Catholic University and Columbia University.

The program is free and open to all, and a wine and cheese reception will precede the program at 6:30 p.m.  Essex Meadows is at 30 Bokum Road in Essex. For more information or to register for this talk, please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560.


Winter Frolic at the Lyme Art Association

In the tradition of their founding members, the lively Lyme Impressionists, The Lyme Art Association is once again inviting you to a magical Winter Frolic Saturday, February 4 from 8:00 p.m. to  midnight.  This year the historic gallery will transport you to a Tyrolean winter wonderland – a scene straight from the Alps!  Once again, the galleries have been transformed under the design direction of artist Camomile Hixon – a scene sure to delight.  Join the fun for an unforgettable evening of dancing and merriment, featuring the sound of  String Theory.

Come inside to warm up against the chill and enjoy an array of delectable hors d’oeuvres, desserts and drinks, all with a European flair. Special thanks to our in-kind sponsors: Dagmar’s Desserts, Fromage Fine Foods, Restaurant L&E and French 75 Bar, and The Chocolate Shell.

A stunning selection of paintings by our very own Elected Artists will be available for bid during the evening’s Silent Auction.  Catch a sneak preview of Auction items on our website, beginning January 25th.

The Winter Frolic is a benefit for the Charles A. Platt Restoration Fund, established in 2008 to repair and refurbish our historic building.

Friends tickets are $75 per person in advance; $95 at the door.  Patrons tickets are $250, which includes two tickets and a listing on the Charles A. Platt Restoration Fund plaque.

The suggested attire is après-ski chic.

About the Lyme Art Association

The Lyme Art Association is a vibrant art center with a gallery where professional as well as developing artists mount major exhibitions throughout the year.

They also have a busy schedule of affordable art classes and workshops.  Visit the historic Lyme Art Association on your next visit to Old Lyme CT where art lives!


Dina Varano Unveils New Jewelry Collection and Inspirational Watercolors

A brushed sterling silver pendant with pink sapphires and rubies from Dina Varano's Amore Collection, featuring the watercolor that inspired her design. Photo by Dina Varano.

To help you find that special something for your special someone on Valentine’s Day, this February, Dina Varano will unveil her new Amore collection, sure to capture the hearts of many.  This special collection will feature a complimentary autographed watercolor card by Dina, which demonstrates her inspiration behind the collection.  Visit the Dina Varano Gallery in Chester from Friday, February 10, through Sunday, February 12, to be among the first to select from her beautiful jewelry and to receive your personally autographed watercolor by Dina.  Shop the collection through Valentine’s Day, February 14.

A visit to Dina’s working studio features a floor to ceiling wall of drawings and sketches that are the beginning stages of the inspirations behind each one of Dina’s jewelry designs.  “People have always commented to me how they enjoy seeing the inspiration behind each piece of jewelry.” said Dina.  So this winter, Dina decided she would create watercolors on handmade paper to illustrate her vision behind the limited edition, one-of-a-kind, Amore collection.  The autographed watercolors will depict Dina’s creative thought process.  “I am always looking for ways to show the process and demonstrate the meaning of my study and exploration behind each piece, and I hope these watercolor gifts will help depict the essence of what I’ve captured in metal.”  said Dina.

Inspired by nature, Dina Varano’s work has great sculptural integrity. Succeeding as a self-contained object of art, each piece is the full expression of her intuitive process.  Her jewelry comes to life in a new way when worn, carefully articulated to create a harmonious balance with the body it adorns.  Her artist’s hand is deliberate, creating a rhythm of grace and movement. Dina’s jewelry captures the essence and gesture of nature. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Dina spent many years studying in Rome.  She continues to be passionate about travel and escapes to summer programs to further her artistic enlightenment and curious spirit.

Dina enjoys collaborating with other local artisans, and this year, she will be helping customers indulge their Valentine sweet tooth.  With every purchase of Dina Varano jewelry, customers will receive two handmade specialty chocolates from River Chocolates in Essex.

Dina Varano is not only a boutique, but also an artist who searches the world to gather a collection she has curated and wants to share in her inspiring shop in Chester, Connecticut.  The spirited shop features her own jewelry designs, accompanied by a collection of innovative gifts designed by fellow artists, as well as finely crafted artware for the home and for the soul, including gorgeous accessories.

Dina Varano is located in the artistic village of Chester, Connecticut at 27 Main Street.  To learn more and to read Dina’s blog, visit her website at or find her on Facebook.


Wild Winter Programs Planned For February Vacation Week at Connecticut River Museum

Ice formation (shown here on the Connecticut River in Essex Harbor) is just one of the many topics to be explored during February vacation week at the Connecticut River Museum.

Essex, CT — The Connecticut River Museum children’s adventure programs are all about winter during the February school vacation week.   Children age 7 through 12 are invited to embrace the cold with science and art projects featuring ice, snow and the big birds of winter.  On Tuesday, February 21 the Winter Wonderland program will include a winter hike through town and a search for clues about what plants and animals do to survive the cold and snow.  Back inside the Museum, adventurers will create winter landscape paintings and conduct snow and ice experiments. On Wednesday, February 22, the Raptors program will explore the big birds of winter that live in the River Valley with bird-watching activities using binoculars and spotting scopes and a design-your-own raptor art project.  Snow Science is the topic of the program on Thursday, February 23 featuring experiments, a magic trick and amazing art projects like making a glow-in-the-dark snowflake and hot ice sculpture.  Friday, February 24 is Eagle Adventure day where kids will learn how an eagle wing works, why eagles come to the lower River Valley and how to identify these amazing birds.  They’ll also draw eagles, create origami sculpture and take an EagleWatch boat cruise up the River on the 65-foot modern research vessel  Enviro-lab III.

Plan to come for a day or two, or join in the fun for all four days.  Each program runs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  A simple snack is provided, or kids can bring their own. The non-member fee is $30 per day for Tuesday – Thursday, $40 for Friday and $110 for the week.  The member fee is $25 per day for the Tuesday – Thursday sessions, $35 for Friday and $95 for the weekAdvance registration is required.  To reserve a space, download and mail in the registration form from the website, or contact the education department at 860-767-8269 x113 or  The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street.


Guest House Retreat and Conference Center Announces Free Yoga Classes

Chester, CT – Guest House Retreat and Conference Center in Chester, Connecticut, will offer a series of public events. The outreach programs will kick off with “Gentle Yoga for Every Body”, an all-inclusive gentle yoga class designed for all levels of experience, taught by Lisa Uihlein, owner and operator of Turning Point Yoga. These classes will run on Wednesday mornings, from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m., from February 1 to March 21.  Additionally on Wednesday evenings, Guest House will resume its year-long series of free meditation classes, titled  “Meditation in the World.”

About Guest House: Guest House is a delightful retreat and conference center in the scenic Connecticut River Valley. Founded in 2008, the not-for-profit educational facility rents out its conference rooms and provides accommodations to organizations and teachers who wish to present their own programs.  In addition, programs generated by Guest House aim to support the development of the human potential of individuals. Located in the town of Chester, Connecticut, the structure is a beautifully renovated country inn situated on private wooded land, adjacent to a state forest.  For additional information about Guest House and its programs, visit


Winter 2012 Zumba Program!

Essex Park and Recreation are offering a new Zumba Aerobics program beginning on January 23 with instructor Colette Mercier. Colette is a fantastic instructor and the auxiliary gym at the middle school is a great program space …

Zumba Aerobics

Zumba! A Latin inspired aerobic dance class that incorporates Latin and International music and dance. Zumba is exercise in disguise that is fun, different, easy and effective. This popular workout will provide full body toning while having a lot of fun. You do not have to know how to dance to take a Zumba class. We create a non-competitive party atmosphere where students can interpret the dance rhythms in their own way.

Ages                16 & up

Dates               Jan 23-Mar 19 (skip Feb 20)

Day                  Mon

Time                6-7pm

Fee                  $90 (8 week session)

Location          John Winthrop Middle School Auxiliary Gym

Class Size       Min 8 / Max 24

Instructor        Colette Mercier



Essex Winter Series Presents Jon Kimura Parker, Pianist on Jan 29

Internationally acclaimed virtuoso pianist John Kimura Parker’s career has taken him from Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House to the Canadian Arctic and war-torn Sarajevo. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian honor, and a Gold Medal Laureate of the Leeds International Piano Competition. He has collaborated with such artists as Joshua Bell, Bobby McFerrin and Pinchas Zukerman. Command performances have been given for Queen Elizabeth II, the US Supreme Court and the prime ministers of Canada and Japan. Gracing our stage for the first time, Mr. Parker will perform an extraordinary program, titled Postcards from Russia, featuring Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Stravinsky’s Petrouchka.

All concerts are held on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. at Valley Regional High School located at 256 Kelsey Hill Road, Deep River, CT. Individual ticket prices for each concert are $30 for Adults; $25 for Senior Citizens; $12 for Children/Students.

Subscriptions for all concerts are also available at a cost of $110 for Adults and $90 for Senior Citizens. For more information, please visit or call 860-391-5578.


Civil War Talks at the Essex Library

Civil War history buff John Proctor will give two illustrated talks at the Essex Library on the War Between the States, on two Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. On January 26, the topic will be Lincoln and the Problem of Fort Sumter, and Jefferson Davis will be the subject of Feb. 2’s talk. Both programs are free and open to all. The Essex Library is at 33 West Avenue. Please call us at 860-767-1560 for more information or to register.


Essex Library Launches Diamonds and Purls

Are you a knitter, or interested in learning how to knit? The Essex Library is launching a new knitting group this winter called Diamonds and Purls, appropriate for knitters of all experience levels. No preregistration is required; drop-ins are welcome. Librarian Anna Cierocki will demonstrate the skills necessary to get you started. Bring size 10 needles to learn on, and we will provide yarn for beginners. Experienced knitters are encouraged to bring a work-in-progress.

The group will meet at 4 p.m. on alternate Tuesdays, starting January 24, 2012. For information on this and other upcoming events at Essex Library, please visit our web site at For more info, call us at (860) 767-1560 or drop by during regular hours.


Two New Gallery Exhibits at Acton Library

Saybrook Lighthouse: Watercolor by Betsy Evarts

The Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, announces two gallery exhibits for the coming weeks:

The first floor gallery features New England shoreline watercolors by Betsey Evarts through February 18, 2012.

The second floor gallery hosts the photographs and mixed media work of artist Robyn Arrieche through February 6, 2012.

For further information, please call 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10–8:30, Friday and Saturday 9—5, and Sunday 1—5.

Sands of Time: Photograph by Robyn Arrieche


Camp Hazen YMCA Summer Camp Open House Jan 29

On Sunday, January 29, Camp Hazen YMCA will host an Open House from 2-4 p.m.   Families are encouraged to attend to learn more about summer opportunities for children as young as Kindergartners to High School Freshman.  Camp Hazen YMCA, located at 204 West Main Street on Cedar Lake in Chester, offers one and two week session of both day and resident camp.

Now is the time to plan your summer to ensure that sessions are available and to research the right camp for your child.  Camp Director, Kath Davies, states “Attending an Open House provides a valuable opportunity for families to meet the Camp Directors and see the facilities to determine if Camp Hazen is the right choice for their family.”

Camp Hazen YMCA is committed to helping youth develop valuable life skills through camping experiences that build healthy bodies, open minds and awakened spirits.    Traditional camp activities like swimming, arts and crafts and campfires – along with more unique programs including a Skate Park, Alpine Tower, Mountain Biking and Windsurfing are available for campers.  All activities are designed to ensure that campers are having fun, making friends and learning valuable life lessons such as independence and leadership which are the core ingredients of the camp experience.

Camp Hazen YMCA believes the summer camp experience is a vital part of a child’s development and offers a tier pricing program to make camp affordable for all.  For more information, contact Danita Ballantyne at 860-526-9529 or visit


“Essex Ed” Comes Out of Hibernation on January 29 at Groundhog Parade

In previous year’s, Essex Ed has been a Beatle, Elvis and Birthday Boy. His 2012 identity will be revealed on Sunday, January 29 at 2 pm on Main Street in Essex Village.

Essex, CT– Grab your pots and pans and head to Essex Village on Sunday, January 29 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, fire trucks, residents, and visitors.  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 special attire to acknowledge a special occasion or person.  Past years have seen Ed dressed as historical figures, athletes, thespians, and musical performers.  As always, this year’s costume is a secret but organizers guarantee that it will be a “huge hit” when Ed makes his appearance.

Hundreds of people turn out for this annual tradition that was started over 30 years ago by a group of local citizens to wake up the town during the post-holiday doldrums.  Today, the parade is organized by the Essex Board of Trade and is the first of many winter celebrations that include EagleWatch boat tours and programs in February and March and the Essex Go Bragh Parade and Festival on March 17.  For more information, go to




Lyme Art Association Presents Two New Exhibitions: “20th Annual Associate Artist Exhibition” and “A Contemporary Look”

The Anniversary, 48 x 60” oil on canvas by invited artist Jaclyn Conley

Lyme Art Association’s 20th Annual Associate Artist Exhibition of landscape, portrait and still life paintings by Associate Artist members will be on view in the Association’s Cooper/Ferry, South and Cole galleries from January 13 – February 25, 2012.  “Associate Artist members make up the core community of the Lyme Art Association, and we are proud to highlight their work in this special exhibition each winter,” states Susan Ballek, the LAA’s Executive Director.In addition, the Association is pleased to present the 3rd Annual “A Contemporary Look,” a special invitation-only exhibition of progressive representational artwork by regional artists.  This exhibition will be on view in the Goodman Gallery from January 20 – February 25.  This year’s featured artists include painters Jaclyn Conley, Karen Sorenson, and Deirdre Kline.  Equestrian sculpture fabricated in steel by Marcia Spivak will also be displayed.

The opening reception for both exhibitions is free to the public, and will be held on Friday, January 20, from 5pm to 7pm at the LAA, 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut.

About the Lyme Art Association    

The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Lyme Art Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, Sunday 1 to 5pm. For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802.


Maple and Main Gallery Winter Show

CHESTER – Maple and Main Gallery is planting “Summer Dreams” in its downstairs gallery during the new Winter Show, opening  Wednesday, February 1.

Visitors can shake off the winter doldrums in the lower gallery where all the art will be devoted to the theme of flowers, gardens and bright, beautiful summertime.

Over 200 paintings, in a variety of mediums and all new to the gallery, will be on display during the Winter Show. Please come to the opening party Friday, Feb. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. when food and drink will be offered and the artists will be on hand.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is located at the corner of Maple and Main streets in Chester. The web site is and the phone number is 860-526-6065.


CMS To Present Cabaret Singers with Karli Gilbertson in Chester

Karli Gilbertson

CHESTER – Join Community Music School for an entertaining performance by members of Cabaret Singers On Thursday, January 26 at 7:45 p.m. at Chester Village West, 317 West Main Street, Chester.

Under the direction of Karli Gilbertson and accompanied by Sue Sweeney, the group of ten adult students will perform favorite ballads, Broadway hits and toe-tapping pop rock standards of the 1950’s. A selection of titles to be performed include: Standing on the Corner, Baby It’s Cold Outside, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, Hymn L’amour, Bella Notte, There’s No You, Secret Love, Lipstick on Your Collar, Sixteen Candles, and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me.

Karli Gilbertson, CMS Artist-in-Residence,  is a graduate in vocal performance of the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Minnesota. Her esteemed vocal teachers have included Doris Yarick-Cross, Susan Fischer-Clickner, and Donna Pegors. Ms. Gilbertson was previously a Resident Artist with the Connecticut Opera Company.

The concert is free and open to the public. Please call 860-767-0026 or visit for additional information.


Saint John School to Hold Winter Open House

Fall in front of Saint John School, Old Saybrook.

Old Saybrook, CT – The Saint John School PreK to 8th Grade Open House will be Sunday, January 29 from 1:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m.  The school principal, teachers, parents and students will be available to provide tours and answer questions.  The school is now accepting admissions registrations for the 2012-2013 school year.  Personal tours, registration, and classroom visits are also available by appointment.  For more information, please call 860-388-0849, email or visit our website

Saint John School is fully accredited with certified teachers, and is known for its excellent academics.  A comprehensive 6th to 8th grade Middle School program, including science lab and Spanish language instruction, prepares students to excel in high school and beyond.  Full day Pre-K and Kindergarten is offered, including structured academics and creative play.  A secure, modern facility, close-knit family atmosphere, and adherence to Christian values, provides the ideal environment for “educating the whole child.”  In addition to regular classroom instruction, the school offers a before and aftercare program, a tournament-winning sports program, instrument lessons and band, and many clubs and activities for all ages.


Region 4 Community Dinner and Strategic Planning Meeting

On Wednesday January 18, Regional School District #4 will be hosting a community dinner and strategic planning input event at the John Winthrop Middle School, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (with complimentary dinner served until 8 p.m.).  All  are welcome to join the event and enjoy meatloaf and mashed potatoes (with vegetarian option available).

  • Share your ideas for goals for Chester, Deep River, Essex and Region 4 Schools
  • Support our 5 school effort to foster early childhood education in Deschapelle, Haiti – Donations Welcomed
  • Bake sale items for purchase

Special Meeting of the Chester Board of Selectmen with a Budget Forum for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year

CHESTER, CT— A Special Board of Selectmen Meeting with a Budget Forum for the 2012-2013 fiscal year will be held at the Chester Meeting House  on January 17 at 7 p.m.

The Public is invited to share their ideas, concerns and solutions for preparing the 2012-2013 budget that maintains the quality of services and controls spending. The Board of Selectmen will hold a special meeting immediately following the budget forum.

Do you have any Budget Saving Ideas? If you have any budget saving ideas, please fill out this form available on the website and send it along to the First Selectman’s Office in the Town Hall. We would love to hear from you!




Last Chance – Essex Park and Recreation – Boating Certificat​ion Course

The US Power Squadron’s America’s Boating Course. Successful completion of the examination at the end of the course meets the requirements for the Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate and Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation which will be issued by the CT DEEP. There is a separate $50 fee payable to the State of CT for issuance of this Certificate.  Many boat insurance companies will offer discounts on boating insurance to boaters who successfully complete this program. An optional, two additional two-hour sessions are offered at the end of the course to introduce participants to the basics of coastal navigation. The course fee includes a Student Manual, America’s Boating Course 3rd Edition – which is a full-color 244-page boating safety course manual. For participants desiring to take the extended two weeks navigation sessions, there is an additional charge of $15 for a 4×15 plotter and dividers.

Ages: 14 & up
Jan 17, 19, 24, 26 (course), Jan 31 (exam), Feb 2, 7 (optional coastal navigation component)
Days: Tue/Thu
Time: 7-9pm
Fee: $45
Location: Essex Elementary School Media Center
Class Size: Min 5 / Max 25
Instructor: John McCarthy, Education Officer, Saybrook Sail and Power Squadron

Registration Information

There are three ways to register for a program, online, in-person, mail-in.

  1. Most programs allow for online registration. Visit our website and Login as a Member, or Register as a New Member.
  2. You will input your information, choose all the programs you wish to register for, and will be able to pay by credit card.
  3. You may mail in a registration form (available on our website) and payment to our office.
  4. You may register in-person at the office during business hours.
  5. Phone registrations are not accepted for any programs.    If the session you wish to register for is filled, you will be placed on a waiting list and notified immediately if and when an opening occurs.
  6. Children must be the proper age before the program begins.
  7. Only those enrolled in the program may attend. Sorry, but “visitors/family” will not be permitted in the program unless specified.
  8. Registration is accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis and class sizes are limited. Programs will be canceled if registration does not meet the minimum.

Julie Andrews Returns to Goodspeed to Direct New Musical

EAST HADDAM, CONN., January 14, 2012:  This afternoon at Goodspeed’s 7th Annual Festival of New Artists, the two-time Tony Award-winning theatre announced plans for the production of a new musical, The Great American Mousical,  to be directed by Julie Andrews. The musical is based on the best-selling book authored by Ms. Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, with illustrations by Tony Walton. This developmental production will run November 8 – December 2, 2012 at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Connecticut. Season tickets will be available beginning January 16 through the Goodspeed Opera House Box Office. The Great American Mousical will be sponsored by Essex Meadows.

Below the bright lights of Broadway, in the depths of the historic Sovereign Theatre, a troupe of musical-making mice rehearse a new show.  When the theatre is threatened by demolition and their diva Adelaide disappears, it will take all paws on deck to fulfill the time-honored tradition: the show must go on! Filled with singing, dancing, and show biz lore, The Great American Mousical is a tribute to life in the theatre and celebrates the two most glorious words in the English language: musical comedy!

Under the direction of theatre icon Julie Andrews, The Great American Mousical features an enchanting new score with Music by Zina Goldrich and Lyrics by Marcy Heisler, a book by Tony nominee Hunter Bell, choreography by Tony nominee Christopher Gattelli, and sets and costumes designed by Oscar, Emmy and Tony-Award winner Tony Walton. With boundless appeal, The Great American Mousical will entertain adults with its wit and musical theatre history while kids will fall in love with the wonderful characters that inhabit the Sovereign Theatre.

“Emma, Tony and I had so much fun working on this book and are now overjoyed that it will come alive on the stage,” said Julie Andrews.  “I’m so blessed to be working with this creative team in adapting our book for the theatre.”

Michael Price, Executive Director of Goodspeed Musicals, adds “Julie Andrews and Tony Walton have been part of the Goodspeed family for several years and we are thrilled to have them back with us to work on this delightful musical.   Adding Zina, Marcy and Hunter to the creative team makes the project even more exciting.”

About the Artists:

Julie Andrews is one of the most recognized and beloved figures in the entertainment industry. Her legendary career encompasses the Broadway and London stages, blockbuster Hollywood films, award-winning television shows, multiple albums and concert tours.  She is also a best-selling author in the world of children’s and adult publishing. Ms. Andrews has directed productions for Bay Street Theatre and Goodspeed Musicals including The Boy Friend and its National Tour.

Emma Walton Hamilton is a best-selling children’s book author, professional editor and arts educator.  She co-founded the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York where she served in numerous capacities through 2008, and is currently a faculty member for Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Writing and Literature Program.

Zina Goldrich, along with longtime lyricist Marcy Heisler, is currently working on the musical adaptation of Ever After with director Kathleen Marshall. She earned a Drama Desk Nomination for Best Music for the off-Broadway show Dear Edwina. She composed the scores for Junie B. Jones (Lucille Lortel Award nomination) and Snow White, Rose Red (and Fred) ( three Helen Hayes Awards nominations)  Honors include the Fred Ebb Award, ASCAP’s Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, Seldes-Kanin Fellowship, and a Jonathan Larson grant.

Marcy Heisler, with composer Zina Goldrich, was named the 2009 winner of the Fred Ebb Award for outstanding songwriting.   Off-Broadway credits include Dear Edwina (Drama Desk Nomination, Lyrics) and Junie B Jones, (Lucille Lortel Nomination, Best Musical).  Her many lyric projects include work for Disney Channel, Disney Toon Studios, Disney Interactive and adaptations for Disney Theatricals.  Songwriting awards include the Richard Rodgers New Horizons Theatre Award and Jamie De Roy and Friends Award (ASCAP), a Seldes-Kanin Fellowship, and others.

Hunter Bell earned an OBIE Award, Drama League nomination, and Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical all for the original Broadway musical [title of show]. Other credits include the books for Silence! The Musical; Bellobration! (Ringling Bros. Circus); Now. Here. This; and Villains Tonight! (Disney Cruise Lines.) As an actor, he has appeared on and off Broadway and in numerous regional theatres, including the Goodspeed Opera House and The Norma Terris Theatre. He is a distinguished alumnus of Webster University and a MacDowell Fellow.

Christopher Gattelli’s Broadway credits include the current revival of Godspell and the upcoming Newsies; South Pacific (Tony, Outer Critics Circle nominations); Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; Sunday in the Park with George; 13: The Musical; High Fidelity and off-Broadway’s Altar Boyz (Lucille Lortel Award, Callaway Award, Drama Desk nomination); Bat Boy: The Musical (Lucille Lortel Award); tick, tick . . . BOOM!; and more. As director he helmed Silence! The Musical, the world premiere of Jim Henson’s first musical, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, and the world premiere of Radio Girl, both with Goodspeed Musicals.

Tony Walton is an Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award-winning set and costume designer who in recent years   has added directing to his long list of credits.  He has been honored with Tony Awards for Pippin, House of Blue Leaves, and Guys and Dolls.   Walton directed and designed the triumphant Goodspeed production of Where’s Charley?, designed sets and costumes for the Goodspeed production and National Tour of The Boy Friend, and has received acclaim for his productions at the Irish Repertory Theatre, The York Theatre, Old Globe Theatre and Bay Street Theatre.

The Great American Mousical will be produced for Goodspeed Musicals by Michael P. Price.

The Norma Terris Theatre is located at 33 North Main Street in Chester which was recently voted “Best Small Town in Connecticut” by Connecticut Magazine. Season Tickets will go on sale January 16 for Goodspeed Members through the Goodspeed Opera House Box Office.  Individual tickets will go on sale to the general public on March 25, 2012. For more information call the Goodspeed Box Office at 860.873.8668 or visit

Dedicated to the preservation and advancement of musical theatre, Goodspeed Musicals produces three musicals each season at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn., and additional productions at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn., which was opened in 1984 for the development of new musicals.  The first regional theatre to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement), Goodspeed also maintains the Scherer Library


Industrial History of the Falls River at Ivoryton Library

Comstock Cheney ivory factory c. 1870, courtesy of the Connecticut River Museum

Bill Grover, longtime town resident and past Essex Land Trust President, will give an illustrated talk about how the Falls River became important in the industrialization and growth of Essex, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton on Sunday, January 22, 2012 – 2 p.m. at Ivoryton Library.

Bill is a graduate of the Yale School of Architecture and one of the founding partners of Centerbrook Architects, which occupies an early industrial building on the Falls River.  He has been a resident of Ivoryton and Centerbrook, along the Falls River, since 1970. The talk will be downstairs in the Library building and folks can come in the back entrance more easily than the front. This event is co-sponsored by the Essex Land Trust and the Ivoryton Library. Parking available on nearby streets. Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments provided.




TTYS Parent and Child Play and Support Groups

Tri-Town Youth Services, at 56 High Street in Deep River, will hold two parent/child play and support groups led by Parent Resource Coordinator, Meredith Adler.  During each session, children and their parents will play with age appropriate toys, experiment with art materials, and enjoy music and movement activities.  Parents will also receive parenting resources.

Both groups will run on Wednesdays from January 11 through March 21, Outstanding Ones, for ages 12 months to 24 months, will meet from 11:00 to11:30 a.m. with a cost of $45 for tri-town residents and $55 for non-residents.  Terrific Twos, for children 24 months to 36 months, will meet from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. with a cost of $60 for tri-town residents and $70 for non-residents.  Please call 860-526-3600 or email for more information and to register.



Final Call for The Conservation/Land Trusts Photo Contest Submissions

Time is running out on our 7th Annual Photo Contest, which closes for entries on January 31, 2012.

The Conservation/Land Trusts from the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Salem, Essex and East Haddam  are sponsoring the contest. All amateur photographers are welcome to enter the contest regardless of what town they reside in. Cash prizes from $100 to $25 will be awarded in each of 5 categories: Landscapes, Plants, Wildlife, Cultural/Historic and Under age 15 photographers.


This contest is being funded with the generous support of Lorensen Toyota, Oakley/Wing Group at Smith Barney, Ballek Garden Center, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Essex Savings Bank, Murtha Cullina LLP and ChelseaGroton Bank.

For questions, entry forms and a copy of the contest rules, contact the organizations at To see last year’s winning photos go to:



Smoking Hot Carmen at the Essex Library

Opera sensation Jonas Kauffman stars as Don José in CARMEN, screening January 16 at the Essex Library

The Essex Library’s Monday Afternoon At the Opera series continues with a smoldering performance of Carmen, starring superstars Jonas Kaufmann and Anna Caterina Antonacci .

Kaufmann’s burnished tenor and movie-star good looks plus Antonacci’s fiery intensity a  make for a musically memorable and erotically-charged performance, filmed live at Covent Garden. Bizet’s opera is a hit parade of wonderful, familiar arias that even opera novices can hum along to.

Join us Monday, January 16 at 3 p.m., at the Essex Library, 33 West Avenue, and bring your castanets. The screening is free and open to all; for more information or to register, please call 860-767-1560.




Connecticut River Museum Announces EagleWatch 2012 Boat Tours and Special Events

Passengers board Enviro-lab III at the Connecticut River Museum for eagle-viewing tours on the Connecticut River

Essex, CT — It is winter time at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex and across the river two adult Bald Eagles are sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on a branch above their old nest.  They’ve been breeding here for a dozen years and now they’re back, getting ready to repair their nest and begin a new family.  Soon they will be joined by 20 to 50 “visiting” eagles that come all the way from northern New England and Canada to spend the winter.  Bald Eagles are primarily fish eaters and as the lakes and rivers freeze up north the big birds begin to drift south looking for open water where they can catch fish and survive winter.  One of the best places to survive the hardships of a New England winter is Essex and the lower 12 miles of the Connecticut River.  The combination of river-flow, tides and proximity to the coast creates a micro-climate that keeps the lower river from freezing solid and is perfect for winter fishing.

This event signals the beginning of another season of the return of the majestic Bald Eagle to the lower Connecticut River and the Museum’s annual EagleWatch 2012 celebration.

Through a partnership with Project Oceanology, a Groton-based marine science and environmental education organization, the Connecticut River Museum will once again provide a dynamic, on-water, eagle-viewing experience.  Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting on February 3 and running through March 11, Project Oceanology’s Enviro-lab III, a 65-foot modern research vessel, will depart from the Museum’s docks for an up-close view of winter wildlife, Bald Eagles, and other big birds of prey.  Educators from the Museum and Project Oceanology will provide narration while passengers can enjoy viewing from the heated cabin or outside deck area.  In addition, there’s an opportunity to assist in collecting water samples and compiling data for water-quality monitoring programs that are part of an ongoing environmental study with the Museum.  Boat  tours are $40 per person and include free admission to the Museum where the story of the Bald Eagle continues to unfold through exhibits, workshops and other programming.    Advance boat tour reservations are strongly suggested.

Bald Eagle perched in a tree. Photographed by Dirk Samuelson

Opening on February 4 and running through March 11, the Eagles of Essex exhibit tells of why so many Bald Eagles winter here and how they went from near-extinction to becoming one of the greatest environmental come-back stories in history.  In addition to an interactive eagle nest, exhibitry illustrates how to identify birds of prey and where the best land-viewing spots are located.  An eagle sighting scoreboard and a digital photography display is also featured.  Amateur photographers are invited to submit their digital shots of eagles or other river raptors for inclusion in the exhibit.

Special programming events round out EagleWatch 2012.  On Saturday, February 4, drop-in arts and crafts, eagle nest building activities, birdwatching with binoculars and scopes, and more will be happening from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Eagles of Essex gallery. On Saturday, February 11 and Saturday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m., international nature photographer Stan Kolber will present an “Introduction to Bird Photography”.   And on Sunday, February 19 at 3:00 p.m. at Essex Town Hall, the Connecticut River Museum, together with the Essex Garden Club and the Potapaug Audubon Society, will host a free Live Birds of Prey Show presented by Horizon Wings.  For a full listing of event details, go to 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.



Community Music School Presents Three January Concerts

Community Music School starts the new year with a presentation of three area concerts by student ensembles. All concerts are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, January 10, 7:30 pm
Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, Essex

CMS Performing Ensemble and the New Horizons Band will perform in concert at Hamilton Hall at Essex Meadows.  The New Horizons Band is an entry level ensemble designed for adults who have had no prior experience with music or instruments, or those who have been away from it for many years.  There are currently 14 members who play traditional band repertoire, jazz, and Broadway tunes, among other styles. New members are always welcome.

Saturday, January 14, 7:30 pm
Centerbrook Meetinghouse, 51 Main Street, Centerbrook

One of the School’s premiere ensembles, the Jazz Ensemble is composed of very talented 13 to 18 year old students. Under the direction of Tom Briggs, the group will perform old-time and contemporary jazz standards.

Tuesday, January 17, 7 pm
Essex Library, 33 West Avenue, Essex

CMS Performing Ensemble Under the direction of Tom Briggs, the Performing Ensemble performs music from a wide variety of genres, including traditional, classical, jazz, folk, and pop. The group formed during the fall of 2009 and new members who play any instrument at an intermediate or advanced level are welcome to join. 

Please call 860-767-0026 or visit for additional information.


Author Musician Suzzy Roche at Valley Regional High School

The Essex Library presents author/ musician Suzzy Roche, who will appear at Valley Regional High School Auditorium, Saturday Feb. 4 at 4 PM to talk about her new novel, Wayward Saints  and sing some songs.

Suzzy was a founding member of the musical group The Roches, who performed for twenty years as a trio throughout Europe and the United States in a wide variety of venues, from their own sold-out show at Carnegie Hall to the concert halls of Europe and the street corners of New York City.  They appeared  on The Tonight Show, The David Letterman Show, and have sung with Philip Glass, Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, The Indigo Girls, Loudon Wainwright and  Linda Ronstadt, just to name a few.  After the Roches put the group on hiatus in 1997, Suzzy returned later that year with her solo debut Holy Smokes and its 2000 follow-up, Songs From An Unmarried Housewife and Mother, Greenwich Village. She also appeared in the film Crossing Delancy with Amy Irving, and performs with theater ensembles like the Wooster Group.

Books will be available for signing and sale courtesy of Essex Books, and the show is free and open to the public. Please call the Essex Library for more information or to register, at 860-767-1560. Valley Regional High School is at 256 Kelsey Hill Road, Deep River, CT 06417.


Connecticut River Museum To Present “Tugs & Trains: Further Adventures with Steve Cryan”

Artist Steve Cryan will present “Tugs & Trains: Further Adventures with Steve Cryan” at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex on Thursday, January 19 at 5:30 pm.

Essex, CT – The stories of commercial transportation in the Connecticut River Valley will come to life on Thursday, January 19 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm when the Connecticut River Museum presents “Tugs & Trains: Further Adventures with Steve Cryan”.  Using his colorful storytelling technique and vibrant images, Mr. Cryan will take the audience on a fantastic journey through place and time in this one-of-a-kind presentation featuring his photographs of tugboats and steam trains.  A special behind-the-scenes tour of the Connecticut River Museum’s 18th Annual Holiday Train Show created by Mr. Cryan will end the program.  Admission is $5 per person.  Museum members are admitted free.  Please call (860)767-8269 to reserve a spot.

The Connecticut River Museum, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley, is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street.  The 18th Annual Holiday Train Show runs through February 12.  For more information on this and other programs, go to or call (860)767-8269.



Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Council Meeting Jan 18

The next meeting of the Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Council will be held at Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High Street, Deep River at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, January 18, 2012.  Membership on this Council is open to all who live or work in Chester, Deep River, or Essex who are concerned about substance abuse prevention and interested in its prevention.  In addition to ongoing prevention programming in our schools and communities, the tri-town area is currently involved in Healthy Communities • Healthy Youth and is in Year 2 of the Drug Free Communities federal grant.

For further information, call 860-526-3600.