Bethlehem, Connecticut’s Annual Christmas Festival

The little town of Bethlehem, Connecticut has earned local notoriety as “Christmas Town”. With a name like Bethlehem, it would be a shame if the town did not go all out on its Christmas tree lighting celebration. Luckily for us, Bethlehem does not disappoint in this regard. The center of town closes to traffic one weekend per year in early December to celebrate the holiday season with food, music, crafts, horse-drawn carriages, and even a 5k run.

The annual festival took place on Friday, December 6th, and Saturday, December 7th this year. Guests were delighted to walk down the festively decorated main street and enter each building in the town’s center to find the special surprises each had inside.

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Holiday Soiree and Winter Showcase in Westport, CT

Entrepreneurship and networking were the themes of the evening at the Enchanted Holiday Soiree Winter Gift Showcase with B.I.G. An amazing group of women without of this world products and services to offer showcased their finest Wednesday, December 4th at Positano’s Restaurant in Westport, CT. Each offered a detailed insight into their company and product along with holiday specials valid for the month of December only. As we shopped and networked we were treated to a selection of Italian appetizer favorites from Positano’s including bread, arancini, calamari, and a cheeseboard. While the shopping and appetizers were a welcome way to spend an evening, the real privilege was witnessing the camaraderie between the group of female professionals that make up Believe Inspire Grow, or B.I.G. Continue reading

Greenwich Connecticut Holiday Stroll

It’s that time of year again and the holiday season brings with it ample opportunities for shopping excursions. For the 11th consecutive year, Greenwich CT celebrates the best shopping days of the season with its townwide holiday stroll. This annual event highlights Greenwich’s downtown shopping district, often referred to as the “Rodeo Drive of the East Coast” which is an excellent place to find boutique clothing, shoes, outerwear, and accessories.

There is a shop for everything and everyone in the downtown Greenwich shopping area. Spas, antique dealers, art galleries, convenience stores, and so much more are all available in one convenient location. Restoration Hardware, Benefit, Sephora, Lulu Lemon, Apple, Good Stuff, Betteridge, Brooks Brothers, Hoagland, Orvis, and Fjallraven Kankin.

Since shopping is hungry work, it is quite convenient that the downtown area is peppered with superb places to dine or enjoy a cocktail or coffee. Greenwich coffee roasters, a short walk from Tiffany and co., Vineyard Vines and Saks 5th Avenue, roasts their beans by hand and offers cappuccino, lattes, and espresso. For lunch or dinner, be sure to visit EastEnd, Harvest Wine Bar, Back 40 Kitchen, Terra Ristorante or Mediterraneo for an unforgettable meal. For shoppers who preferred a bite on the go, a food truck court was available.

The holiday stroll also included the neighboring areas of Cos Cob, Byram, and Riverside. The shops put their best face forward with festive decorations in the storefronts and the town of Greenwich ensured that lights, garlands, and festive ornaments were lining the streets for the event. Toy shops, clothiers, and suppliers of products for the home all participated in the holiday stroll.

Greenwich Avenue is a lovely place to spend a leisurely day strolling, shopping, and dining year-round, however, it has a special sparkle during the holidays that is worth the trip. If you find yourself in the Fairfield County area, be sure to stop by.

Hartford Flavor Company’s Fall Mixology Class

The Hartford Flavor Company in Hartford, CT has been offering its in-house mixology classes for about two years. No two classes are alike. Each celebrates seasonal flavors with cocktail recipes starring their line of award-winning liqueurs. The Hartford Flavor Company mixology courses are a great way to learn the art of making the perfect cocktail, and about the innovative and delicious line of Wild Moon Liqueurs. Continue reading

Where to Celebrate Halloween on Long Island & in NYC

Whether you choose to spend Halloween in NYC or on Long Island this week, you are sure to stumble upon a scary good time. This week is already off to a great start with plenty of dinner specials, ghoulish cocktails, and fright-filled parties. With plenty of opportunities to wear your costume all week long, below are our favorite spots to celebrate Halloween across Long Island and in the city.

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Southbury Craft Fair

Crafting can be a lot of fun. It is also quite time-consuming and requires a special combination of creativity, patience, and knowledge. Fortunately, for those who live in the New England area, there are many crafty local artisans willing to share the fruits of their labor with the public. Some of the best the area has to offer were supplying their wares to eager buyers at the recent Southbury Craft Fair. Handcrafted preserves, candles, soaps, scarves and more were on display this Sunday, October 20th. The fair was held at the Wyndham Hotel in Southbury, CT.

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High West Distillery to Cook at James Beard House this November

High West Distillery is heading east this November. The famous distillery will showcase its culinary classics paired with their award-winning spirits for an exclusive dinner. Led by Executive Chef Michael J. Showers, the dinner will take place at the James Beard House in New York City on Friday, November 8th, at 7pm.  

“It is an absolute honor to prepare a meal at the renowned James Beard House,” High West Executive Chef Michael J. Showers said. “We are thrilled to bring High West’s unique alpine cuisine and a selection of our finest spirits for guests to imbibe, savor and enjoy.”

After collaborating with five other renowned Park City chefs to prepare a meal at the historic James Beard House last fall, High West Distillery was hand-picked to return this year to create a purely High West dining and imbibing experience for James Beard guests.  

The autumn evening will feature a range of High West Distillery cocktails and hor d’oeuvres, followed by a 5-course meal.

To Start

Hor d’oeuvres served will include an American Prairie Compressed D’Anjou Red Pear with Sesame & Nori, and Ginger & Duck Meatball with Whiskey Fish Sauce Caramel.

Cocktails will be the High West Old Fashioned Old Fashioned: High West Rendezvous Rye, Double Rye!, Demerara, Angostura, Orange, Lemon; and Wand’rin Star: High West Double Rye!, House Made Campfire Drambuie, Ramazzotti, Angostura, Grapefruit.

“[For the menu], we want to take our version of hospitality in Park City and bring it to Manhattan,” says Showers.

Images courtesy of High West Distillery

The Menu

Chef’s culinary influences stem from his experience cooking in Seattle, Spain, and Montana before settling in Park City. He had the pleasure of working with James Beard Award-winning chefs in Seattle. Chef Showers was also at Montage Deer Valley for two years. His emphasis is always on local, seasonal and farm-to-table cooking.

“Once we distilled the menu (pun intended), we came up with something that we are really excited about and very proud of,” adds Showers.

Courses will include a Fried Rabbit & Waffle: Buttermilk Fried Rabbit, Malted Barley, Sorghum & Rosemary Waffle, Maple & Sweet Chile Syrup; and “Corned Beef & Cabbage”: Niman Ranch Bavette, Tallow Fried Heirloom Potatoes, Creamed Napa Cabbage, and Sauce Au Poivre.

Lastly, dessert will be a Huckleberry Posset: Spruce & Late Harvest Huckleberry Posset, Brown Butter, and Oat & Pine Nut Shortbread.

Steve Walton, High West Beverage Director, and Arianne King, Whiskey Ambassador, have chosen a mixture of cocktails and spirits that pair perfectly with Chef’s delicious creations.

Tickets to dinner are $140 per person for members and $180 for non-members.

https://www.jamesbeard.org/events/high-west-whiskey-dinner

15th Annual Garlic and Harvest Festival in Bethlehem

October 12th and 13th marked the 15th annual Garlic and Harvest Festival in Bethlehem, CT. This festival celebrates one of the world’s favorite flavors, garlic. An abundance of ingredients, spices, herbs, and kitchenware were available for purchase. At every turn, the delightful aroma of fresh garlic wafted from stands.

Chefs prepared their favorite garlic-based recipes and purveyors. They offered samples of pesto, garlic spreads, cheeses, dips, and even ice cream! Local farms offered some of the last harvests the season has to offer, including dozens of varieties of garlic.

I could not resist the smoked brisket chili Frito pie from Big Enzo’s BBQ and al dente penne with garlic and olive oil from La Zingara. Other highlights of the festival included frozen apple cider slushies, cotton candy flavored with natural honey, deep-fried pickles, lobster rolls, and old-fashioned soda.

There were far more exotic menus and healthier options this year. For example, options included Happy Cow Indian Eats and Poke Motion poke bowl. The lemongrass grill also featured a lemongrass tofu sandwich.

Highlights

Some of my favorite ingredients available at the festival were black garlic ghee from Simply Ghee and Turkeywoods Farm hickory syrup, a variation on maple syrup using the sap and bark from hickory trees instead of maple. It was impossible not to fall in love with the beautiful block printed cotton garments from Saar Lifestyle. Their garments included a collection of unique maxi dresses in colorful prints. Other stands offered jewelry, home decor, and herbal remedies.

In the small farming community of Bethlehem, CT, the weather was warm and sunny, and the fall leaves were at their peak of color. The Garlic and Harvest Festival was the perfect way to bid a fond farewell to the harvest season.

Hamptons International Film Festival Tips and Tricks

Make the 27th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival seamless and fun, reserving the majority of your time at the theater or out to dinner, rather than scrambling for parking or stuck in traffic.

Where to Dine

The Hamptons is full of excellent options for dining. To avoid being late to your film and finding that ideal parking space, dine at a restaurant within walking distance to the theater/venue. In East Hampton, I recommend The 1770 House, Rowdy Hall, and The Palm. In Sag Harbor, I would suggest the American Hotel, Tutto il Giorno, and Lulu Kitchen & Bar, in Southampton, I recommend the Southampton Publick House, Sant Ambroeus, and The Village Cheese Shop for a sandwich and soup.

What to Wear

Layers! Comfortable walking shoes are a must, a cropped jacket or tailored coat that can easily fold over the seat. Always keep an umbrella or poncho in your bag as well as a scarf for unexpected weather changes. A shawl or poncho is a great option for staying cozy and warm in the theater and transitions well to dinner afterward.

Parking

In East Hampton, park in the 24-hour lot or the Lumber Lane parking lot. Another option is near the train station or at Guild Hall for their scheduled screenings. In Sag Harbor, there is a parking lot opposite The Beacon restaurant and one diagonally across from Provisions. In Southampton, you may park for three hours behind the Southampton Arts Center, or behind the movie theater. There is a third parking lot adjacent to Agawam Park.

Pace Your Day

Do not overload your schedule! If you want to focus on seeing the films, I recommend viewing no more than two per day, plus one event. Have some time to rest, walk around, and stretch. If you are into fitness, take a class no later than 9:30 am to jumpstart. Eat your meals early, if possible. Also, do not forget to take advantage of the complimentary film festival transportation to and from the venues, sponsored by Hampton Jitney. 

Where to Stay

The Baker House 1650 is always beautiful and is hosting a wellness event with Purist on Friday and Saturday. Mill House Inn and The 1770 House are great choices as is The Maidstone Hotel. In Sag Harbor, stay at Baron’s Cove or next door at the Sag Harbor Inn. In Southampton, Southampton Inn, and White Fences Inn in Water Mill are two great locations. All, except White Fences Inn, are within walking distance to the theaters.

Transportation

In addition to the complimentary Hampton Jitney shuttles, Lyft and Uber are available (in select areas). Carpooling is always smart, especially for efficiency when finding parking.

This article originally appeared in Hamptons Magazine online in October of 2018. This article has been updated to fit this year’s programming.

Scandalous, A Film About the National Enquirer, Premieres at HIFF

Get ready for a wild ride as former National Enquirer reporters untangle over sixty years of covering the most shocking headlines splashed on the infamous supermarket tabloid. Unveiling the most ruthless (and often immoral) ways the paper did to uncover critical details to get a story, the ultimate goal of the National Enquirer was to sell the most papers out of any other print news industry in the world. And that they did by a landslide.

Scandalous discloses the pivotal moments throughout the paper’s history that not only stained a sense of integrity that journalism had always held dear, it also reveals the moments when the paper took a hard hit to its reputation.

 

Like a Great Spy Novel

Scandalous particularly recaps when the National Enquirer was able to break the scoop on a person or story before anyone else. Notable instances include salacious stories about Bill Cosby, Bob Hope, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and OJ Simpson. With the Simpson trial, for example, the Enquirer went head to head with mainstream news sources for the first time. The Enquirer was able to catch OJ in a critical lie in the end, which was paramount to his being found liable in the civil case against him. This an more creates an overarching theme of the difference between tactful and mainstream journalism.

These moments and so much more in are told throughout the film, Scandalous. Even how the National Enquirer made significant changes in the course of our American history. In fact, former editor-in-chief Steve Coz called it “the most perfectly placed piece of propaganda in America.”

As told by Director Mark Landsman: “We wanted to chart a trajectory of a paper that started out very innocuously. It started out as a trashy supermarket tabloid that focused on UFO sightings, miracle cures, and celebrity gossip, and how that very publication gained journalistic traction, integrity and some sense legitimacy as a piece of journalism.”

Are consumers to blame?

But how far is too far when it comes to obtaining a story? Who or what is to blame when tragic consequences arise?

“It is discomforting to realize how we all have a role in this as consumers of media,” adds Landsman. “The consumer holds the purse strings in a lot of ways. The influence of tabloids is an undeniable reality we live in. The cat is out of the bag and we are not going back in.”

“Like an Ocean’s 11th story,” notes Landsman, “Scandalous involves espionage, bribery, global travel, while highlighting how the National Enquirer had a profound if not dangerous impact on our culture.”

Watch the full trailer here.

Film credits include notable Hamptonites like Ken Auletta and Carl Bernstein. Additional cast members are Iain Calder, Steve Coz, Jerry George, Gigi Goyette, Maggie Haberman, Barbara Sternig, and more.

Attend the Premiere at HIFF

Scandalous will premiere at the 27th annual Hamptons International Film Festival on Friday, October 11th. It will play in Southampton at 7pm (running time 96 minutes). The following day on Sunday, October 13th, it plays in East Hampton at 8:30pm.

hamptons film fest

Pomperaug Watershed Coalition Cocktail Brunch

Each year the Pomperaug Watershed Coalition hosts a fundraising event to support their mission: the cleanliness and health of the local water supply and rivers of the Woodbury, Southbury, and Bethlehem area of Connecticut. This year the event took the form of a cocktail brunch and was held at the newly renovated Woodbury Barns and Farm venue on Main Street in Woodbury this past Sunday, September 22nd from 11am-2pm. The cocktail brunch was a superb way to enjoy one of the last few warm days of summer. The importance of environmental stewardship was lost on none as guests enjoyed the breathtaking view of the fields, river, and pond.

Event Highlights

The event featured elements of brunch from area businesses, including brunch favorites and unexpected hors d’oeuvres prepared by New Morning Natural and Organic Market’s Catering Manager, Carol Byer-Alcorace as well as Mimosas and Bloody Marys by 2 Pour Guys bartending service. A string trio comprised of members of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra shared their talents in a spirited performance. Stretched around the outskirts of the large event tent were donations from every type of local business imaginable destined for the auction later that day. All proceeds from the auction went to the Pomperaug Watershed Coalition.

Venue

The venue itself made the event. Woodbury Barns and Farm was created with a luxurious meeting place in mind that highlights local business and provides a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. The space is part antique showroom and part independent art gallery. Plans are slated to develop a fine dining restaurant, a café, interior design space, retail space featuring local wares, and a wellness studio. The official opening is planned for early 2020.

Woodbury Barns and Farm is also a bed and breakfast complete with gym and spa and is situated on 3-acres of quarry land. Available for rent for weddings and events are the meeting room, wine caves, wine cellar, pond house, silo gallery, terrace, courtyard, and upper and lower showrooms. They also provide in-house catering.

Savor Litchfield 2019

The 2019 Savor Litchfield Fest was a great opportunity to sample perfectly sized bites and sips of the best culinary offerings Litchfield County, CT has to offer. On the beautiful grounds of South Farms in Morris, CT what was once a working barn has been renovated to become an ideal rental space for parties and events. Fields of wildflowers and the smell of fresh-cut hay were the perfect accouterments for this outdoor showcase of superb local small businesses. Clothing, home good, spa and an abundance of fine food and wine purveyors were all in attendance. Live music by Switch Factory was a delight to hear and children were invited to paint in the pop-up process art studio offered by Art Room Atelier (Bantam), a wonderful local business whose mission is to help children and teens explore art through discovery and self-expression.

Some edible highlights from the festival included local bakeries The Bakery (Litchfield) and Love Heart’s Bakery (Litchfield). These bakeries offered samples of their fresh-baked bread, including sourdoughs, multigrain and delicious olive bread. The Mayflower Grace Restaurant and Spa (Washington Depot) offered salmon and dill roulettes and delicate cups of custard made with local Washington orchard Averill Farm’s apples. The Barn served up pulled pork sliders and clam chowder. The White Horse Tavern (New Preston) offered guests Raj Chicken Salad in tiny ice cream cones. Infinity Hall music venue and bistro (Norfolk) offered shrimp salad and calendars of upcoming events showcasing can’t miss musical performers.

Photos courtesy of Savor Litchfield

In the drinks department, The Marketplace Restaurant located in the old Litchfield Jailhouse served fig martinis and Asylum Distillery (Bridgeport) served their celery vodka and maple bourbon. In the locally crafted category veterans like Litchfield Distillery (Litchfield) and Hopkins Vineyard (Warren) poured alongside some fantastic newcomers. These included Spring Hill Vineyards from Washington who offered a red blend, Cabernet Franc, and my favorite, Marquette. Another remarkable new business on display at Savor Litchfield was Mine Hill Distillery (Roxbury) who offered an incredibly complex yet balanced gin as well as a vodka.

Emirates Suite at the US Open 2019

On Sunday, September 1st, we attended the Men’s & Women’s Round of 16 Day Session at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at the US Open in Flushing Meadows. During the two daytime matches, I was hosted at the exclusive VIP Emirates Suite at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, which offers premier views of the courts as well the utmost level of privacy and exclusivity. The air-conditioned Suite boasts the same highly sought after hospitality and luxurious detail as one would receive on a Business or First Class flight on Emirates Airline.

The Suite was at capacity that weekend, as two coveted matches were being played that afternoon: Roger Federer v David Goffin, and Serena Williams v Petra Martic. Everyone was at the edge of their seats while the matches were played; you could feel the waves of enthusiasm throughout the suite, especially when it was a close tie between Williams and Martic.

The week prior, my family and I attended Arthur Ashe Kids Day, and were invited to spend the afternoon at the Emirates Suite, which hosted a variety of activities and delicious treats including a create-your-own sundae station.

Food

Guests of the invite-only suite are offered cold towels, sunscreen, and the signature red Emirates baseball caps to combat sun’s rays. During the afternoon, a full buffet spread was served at 12pm, when the Suite opened. The buffet included salad, fresh fruit, pasta salad, crab cakes, steak, chicken, and a full sushi and sashimi bar. The Emirates Suite is also the only space to have a private sushi chef throughout the entire US Open.

Drinks

Drinks include soft drinks, coffee, tea, beer, wine, champagne, and a selection of top shelf liquors. For dessert, macarons, a carrot cake, miniature pies, fruit tarts, brownies, and cookies were served. One of my favorite conveniences of the Emirates Suite is that you are able to discreetly step away from your stadium suite and retreat for a beverage refill or some snacks.

If you prefer to stay inside and watch the matches, there are high top tables and booths, as well as two flat screen televisions for your viewing convenience.

Watching the US Open from the Emirates Suite is a one-of-a-kind experience. Lucky fans from the stadium were gifted with an upgrade to the suite, which the Emirates Airline team has done for ticket holders in previous years. Emirates also hosts a variety of giveaways and fan experiences throughout the grand slam event, including airline tickets to Dubai.

Photos courtesy of Emirates

Emirates is the official airline of the US Open. Emirates Airline is among the top sponsors of the US Open, alongside J.P. Morgan Chase, and American Express.

http://www.emirates.com // https://www.usopen.org