CT Open House Day Invites Residents to Explore All The State Has to Offer

UnknownResidents are invited to explore all the state has to offer at its 12th annual Connecticut Open House Day on June 11! More than 170 attractions across our cosmopolitan cities and charming towns are participating in the event with free admission and special events at select historic and cultural sites, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. Locally, the 1750 Ogden House and Bellarmine Museum of Art in Fairfield, Art at Ives in Danbury, New England Ballet Company in Bridgeport, and the Westport Historical Society are participating.

For a full list of events, click here: CT OPEN HOUSE EVENTS!

Connecticut Staycation Guide!

UnknownSticking around for spring break? The Connecticut Office of Tourism unveiled its new 2016 Official Spring/Summer Connecticut Visitors Guide, an inspirational travel storytelling magazine for planning vacations, getaways and outings in Connecticut.

The new, re-envisioned guides offer seasonal-specific travel experiences designed to inspire visitors to travel to Connecticut multiple times year-round. Each features current travel stories, experiences, events, attractions and destinations. The 2016 Spring/Summer printed guide is available now for free at Welcome Centers throughout Connecticut, by calling 1-888-CTvisit, and through www.CTvisit.com, where consumers can also view the digital edition.

“With this type of experiential storytelling, the new Connecticut visitors guide is revolutionary in state destination marketing,” said Randy Fiveash, director of Connecticut Office of Tourism. “Through these stories, Connecticut destinations come alive and allow prospective travelers to immerse themselves in the place and experience. The reimagined guide better reflects how today’s travelers look for ideas and inspiration.”

The 72-page seasonal guide is ideal for families, couples, groups and individuals interested in discovering or rediscovering Connecticut. Reinforcing Connecticut’s still revolutionary branding, it is filled with colorful images, travel stories, experiences, ideas and information and includes a state map. For additional travel ideas and information, clickable graphics are interspersed throughout the guide so consumers can click to www.CTvisit.com, Connecticut’s official tourism website.

The inspirational guide is organized by features such as “Six Summer Escapes,” “Lobster 24/7” and “If Walls Could Talk”; by departments including “Live from CT,” “Make a Splash” and “License to Thrill”; and by Connecticut’s five tourism regions.

Birds of a Feather Gather in Bridgeport for Free Walking Tour

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A free, guided birding walk in the St. Mary’s By-The-Sea neighborhood of Bridgeport, observing shorebirds on Great Salt Marsh Island in Ash Creek is set for Thursday, August 13 from 5:45 pm to 6:45 p.m., according to Aspetuck Land Trust, sponsors of the walk.

The meet up location for the walk is on Gilman Avenue in Bridgeport by the sandbar. Parking is permitted on Gilman Avenue for this event which will be led by Milan Bull, Director of Science and Research for Connecticut Audubon Society.

Bull suggests participants bring binoculars. The walk will focus on the abundant shorebirds now in the area including osprey, shorebirds, ducks and herons as well as the conservation importance of this natural salt marsh.

Those interested in joining the walk should contact David Brant at dbrant@aspetucklandtrust.org

Photo Credit: Derek Sterling

Connecticut’s Adventure Parks – Your Zip Line to Fun

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After a long winter and chilly spring, it’s time to get outdoors! Challenge yourself at one of Connecticut’s exciting adventure parks. A day trip makes a great family outing – bond among the treetops and see who can get through the black diamond trails first!

Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum – Zip through the treetops at the Adventure Park at Bridgeport’s Discovery Museum. Test you skills (and your nerve) as you challenge yourself with more difficult courses. New this year is the Monkey Grove – discover an all-new way to climb trees in this exciting alternative to indoor climbing walls. Ages 5 to adult.

Adventure Park at Storrs – The Adventure Park provides family fun for ages 7 and up. This aerial forest adventure is fun, exciting and safe for all participants. They provide a harness and equipment and give you a safety briefing that demonstrates how to climb and zip line in the park. There are 5 separate trails of varying levels of difficulty. Each trail has 2 zip lines but primarily consist of “bridges” between tree platforms made of rope, cable and wood configurations creating over 60 unique challenges.

Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park No guts, no glory. That’s the theme of CT’s ultimate adventure park. Zip lining, cliff diving, scuba, wakeboarding, kayaking, rope jumping, and “Survivor” style obstacle courses…it’s an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. Located in Portland, Connecticut, at the Powder Ridge ski-area.

Catamount Aerial Adventure Park – Navigate 12 separate aerial courses with over 170 different elements at Catamount’s mountaintop resort. Discover the Berkshire mountains from a completely new perspective.

Celebrate National Spanish Paella Day at These Local Spots

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March 27th is the annual celebration of National Spanish Paella Day.  A rice dish from Spain, paella has become very popular and is known around the world.  It originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain when workers in the fields would cook their lunch in a flat pan over a fire. They started with rice and mixed in whatever they could find – such as rabbits, snails and vegetables. Later, for special occasions,  chicken was added.   Paella has spread to every region of Spain, as well as worldwide, using almost any type of ingredient that goes well with rice. There are many versions of recipes of paella, but a key ingredient is saffron, an essential spice that also turns the rice a beautiful golden color.

Celebrate National Spanish Paella Day at one of these local Spanish restaurants!  Ole!

Barcelona (Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk/SoNo, Fairfield)

Paella Restaurant and Wine Bar (Norwalk)

Cafe Madrid Wine & Tapas Bar (Norwalk)

Taberna (Bridgeport)

 

Rock Out! 17 Local Spots to Hear Live Music

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Sometimes you want a quiet date night or low-key evening with your best girls…other times, you want to kick off your shoes and party like it’s 1999. Relive those carefree (child-free) nights with plenty of beer and a rockin’ bandat a few of our favorite spots for live music on Fairfield County’s Gold Coast.

Greenwich

Beach House Cafe   220 Sound Beach Avenue Old Greenwich

Stamford

World of Beer, 18 Harbor Point Road

The Fez, 227 Summer Street

Coal House Pizza  Bulls Head Shopping Center, 85 High Ridge Road

Tiernan’s Bar 187 Main Street

Darien

The Goose,  972 Post Road

Darien Social,  10 Center Street

Norwalk

O’Neils 93 North Main Street

Mama’s Boy Southern Table & Refuge 19 North Water Street

Sparks Sports Grill, 280 Connecticut Avenue

Westport

Black Duck Café, 605 Riverside Avenue

Post 154, 154 Post Road E., Westport

Fairfield

Anna Liffey’s Irish Pub, 1494 Post Road

Old Post Tavern, 1418 Post Road

Bridgeport

Acoustic Cafe  2926 Fairfield Ave., Black Rock

The Copper Fox Saloon, 2931 Fairfield Avenue

Two Boots of Bridgeport, 281 Fairfield Avenue

 

Santa Returns to the Bijou

Last year, Santa got crazy at the Bijou…but this year, all bells are about to break loose!

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Bridgeport’s Bijou Theater is about to outdo itself with the return of Santa and his elves for a bigger, better, wilder, interactive holiday extravaganza! “Santa’s Crazier Christmas,” a sequel to last year’s “Santa’s Crazy Christmas,” is an interactive family experience guaranteed to get you into the holiday spirit.  From the moment guests walk through the Bijou’s magical doors, they are transported to a winter wonderland filled with friendly elves, Christmas treats and refreshments (including holiday themed specialty cocktails for adults – there are cookies and milk for the kids), and even a sprinkling of reindeer food!

Before settling into the theater, snap a Santa-selfie in front of the Bijou’s sparkling 14 foot Christmas tree. Once inside, guests will be treated to an exciting musical production starring Jolly Old Saint Nick!  Boost your “Nice List” rankings as you help Santa and his elves solve a Christmas mystery.  After the show is over, guests can pose for a photo op with Santa and his elves!

All performances sold out last year –  get your tickets now – CLICK HERE!

All tickets are $15

Performances:

December 6 at 10:00am and 1:00pm

December 13 at 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 4:00pm

December 14 at 3:00pm

December 20 at 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 4:00pm

December 21 at 3:00pm

 

Taking a Bite Out Of Walrus + Carpenter

walrus & carpenterThe advertisement on the Metro North platform reads, “Eat More Walrus.” I’m not sure if the idea of chowing down on a saber-toothed sea mammal inspires gastronomic lust in the masses, but we have to admit that we were intrigued.  We had heard some good word-of-mouth about Walrus + Carpenter, including a nod from Connecticut Magazine‘s readers as their top choice in three categories (Best BBQ, Best New Restaurant, Best Cocktails) so we decided to take a trip to Bridgeport to take a big, blubbery bite for ourselves.

Walrus + Carpenter is located on Fairfield Avenue in the Brooklynesque Black Rock section of Bridgeport. Nestled in among a handful of restaurants, bars, and independently owned boutiques, the restaurant oozes a distinctly hip urban charm. Multi-pained windows, hewn wooden floors, and exposed brick walls create a warm and inviting space and the aroma of smoked meat tantalizes you even before you flip open the menu.

We had heard that W+C’s beverage program was off the charts good –  so we decided to begin our evening with a cocktail and settled on the The Boyd + Blair Witch Project – a refreshing libation that involved a carefully blended concoction of Boyd + Blair potato vodka, elderflower, lemon, cucumber, celery shrub bitters – and the equally good Treehorn Flip – a frothy, mudslide-like brew that featured trader vic’s coffee liqueur, exchange vodka, Source cold brew, and an egg.  For those who prefer beer or wine with their BBQ, you can’t beat W+C’s extensive craft beer menu that highlighted several local and limited-edition brews and impressive California Cabernet-heavy smokehouse-friendly wine list.

The menu boasts more than a dozen small plates, shareable appetizers that are far from your standard pub fare – a brisket loaded poutine (Canada’s answer to cheese and gravy fries), an elegant peach and burrata salad, and freshly shucked oysters.  A small selection of tasty bar snacks rounds our the nibbling menu; deviled eggs, stuffed olives, chipotle-cheddar popcorn, and a few other gourmet inspired bites are available to nosh.

Entrees, a.k.a. “large plates” include smokehouse faves; maple bourbon baby back ribs, garlic and pepper spare ribs, pit smoked pork shoulder, spice rubbed beef brisket, and house made andoulle sausage. We tried the maple bourbon baby back ribs – tender, flavorful, and finger-lickin’ good – served with a side of homemade slaw and a hunk of cornbread. Not limited to pork, the menu also boasts juicy fried chicken with an outrageously crispy coating and a side of sriracha-honey dipping sauce (beware: it’s addictive!), the WC Burger + Fries positively smothered in killer bourbon onions and cheddar, shrimp & grits, and organic steelhead trout.  Large groups may want to dig into the Notorious P.I.G. – three hefty courses of BBQ bliss that covers all the  must-have menu basics – including dessert (hello, bacon chipwich!).   To accompany your meal, the menu offers a few traditional sides – mac & cheese, cornbread, baked beans, and, if you feel the need to have something green on your plate, sauteed kale.

While the menu, disappointingly, did not include a walrus entree, we were exceedingly pleased with our experience – outstanding food, great drinks, attentive service and a lively environment.  Well worth the trip north to Black Rock.

Walrus + Carpenter 2895 Fairfield Avenue, Black Rock,  203.333.2733
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Walrus + Carpenter on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Party to Support Pfriem Breast Care Center

pinkpopupChances are you’ve been touched in some way by breast cancer – you probably have at least one family member, friend, or co-worker who has been diagnosed with the disease.  Thankfully, the prevalence of routine breast care has allowed for early detection and intervention and advances in treatment options allow those diagnosed with the disease to be treated more effectively.  This month, we invite you to join us as we celebrate our local resources dedicated to providing care for women in-need.  On October 16. we invite you to join us at the Pink Pop Up Party, an evening of libations, bites and fun sponsored by Porsche of Fairfield to benefit the Norma F. Pfreim Breast Care Center at Bridgeport Hospital, the first free-standing, community based breast cancer in Connecticut. The event will be held at Sono Studios in Norwalk at 6:30 PM and features music by New York City-based DJ Nomad NYC.  General admission tickets to the event are $50. each and can be purchased HERE.

As part of the event, Mitchells of Westport has partnered the organization for the online”Like the Look Contest” that raises additional funds for the Center.  Click HERE to vote for your favorite outfit and make a donation to the cause.  The look with the most votes will be announced at the party.

The event is co-chaired by Brooke Bento of Fairfield, NPBCC President’s Council member and community volunteer, and Robin Righter, Development and Events Coordinator at the Norma Pfriem Breast Care Center. They received help from committee members Linda Blackwell, NPBCC Advisory Board Chair; Dana Scinto Colangelo, NPBCC President’s Council member and public relations professional; and Kelly Scinto, NPBCC President’s Council member and Near & Far Aid Association board member.

Proceeds benefit the Breast Care Center’s programs for women in need, including their Medically Underserved Initiative, which provides financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured women. Over 1,000 women receive screening and diagnostic services through the Initiative each year, making it the largest program in the area.

Tickets can be purchased at HERE. For information, call 203-255-5300.

Visit the Pink Pop Up Party Facebook page HERE!

They’re A Scream! Nearby Adventure and Amusement Parks

rollercoaster Put an exciting spin on summer at some of the area’s thrilling adventure and amusement parks.  Take a ride on sky-high roller coasters, make a splash at a water park, or zip over the treetops at these attractions within a two-hour drive from mid-Fairfield County.  Click on the links in the post to reach each website for directions and additional information.

Amusement Parks

Lake Compounce – Located in Bristol, Connecticut, Lake Compounce is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America! Opened in 1846, the park covers 332 acres and includes a lake-side beach and Crocodile Cove, a water park with several slick and slippery rides.  Roller-coaster aficionados take note: Lake Compounce is home to Boulder Dash, which has been voted the world’s #1 wooden roller coaster and the Wildcat, originally constructed in 1927!  Lockers and cabanas available for families.  

Quassy – Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury sits on Lake Quassapaug, offering beautiful views as well as tons of family-friendly activities.  Several kiddie-type rides and Splash Away Bay water park make Quassy ideal for younger children.  A few thrill rides, coasters, and lake-side beach appeals to older kids and teens.

Playland – A favorite destination for Westchester and Fairfield County residents since the 1920’s, Playland’s many amusements include an Olympic sized pool, water park, and sandy beach on the Long Island Sound.  In addition to thrill rides and an entire kiddie park for the little ones, the park offers free fireworks shows every Wednesday and Friday nights in July and August, and concerts by up-and-coming pop acts.

Victorian Gardens – Think the City is only for museums and Broadway shows? Think again! In Central Park’s beautiful Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink, ride the Carousel, Bumper Boats, or a dozen other kiddie rides.  Make a day of it and visit the Central Park Zoo and have a picnic on the Great Lawn!

Luna Park in Coney Island –  With a history stretching back to the 1800’s, beach-goers have been flocking to Coney Island for hundreds of years.  Explore the past while diving into the future at Coney Island’s newly-opened Luna Park.  More than 30 rides ranging from “extreme thrill” to kid-friendly, dozens of skill games, and eateries for every taste – that said…a trip to Coney Island without a Nathan’s Famous and a ride on the Cyclone…fuggedaboutit.

Adventure Parks

Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum – Zip through the treetops at the Adventure Park at Bridgeport’s Discovery Museum.  Test you skills (and your nerve) as you challenge yourself with more difficult courses.  New this year is the Monkey Grove – discover an all-new way to climb trees in this exciting alternative to indoor climbing walls.  Ages 5 to adult.

Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park– No guts, no glory. That’s the theme of CT’s ultimate adventure park.  Zip lining, cliff diving, scuba, wakeboarding, kayaking, rope jumping, and “Survivor” style obstacle courses…it’s an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. Located in Portland, Connecticut, at the Powder Ridge ski-area.

Catamount  Aerial Adventure Park – Navigate 12 separate aerial courses with over 170 different elements at  Catamount’s mountaintop resort.  Discover the Berkshire mountains from a completely new perspective.