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.
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 →
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.
The holidays are happier for everyone when we support fair trade and local artisans by buying conscious products for our loved ones this gifting season. Locally acclaimed health and wellness specialty store, New Morning Market in Woodbury CT makes this easy to do with their new holiday pop-up shop at the annex across the street from their flagship location. Continue reading →
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 →
The 5th annual Best of West Hartford event was a wonderful way to network over fantastic food and wine provided by Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. This award ceremony and networking event brings together hundreds of West Hartford, CT area small business owners to announce those who earn the title of “Best of West Hartford”.
If only the food and drink we love to enjoy were made of healthier ingredients. This was a need that drove Lelaneia Dubay of Wild Moon Liqueurs to create something brand new. After being plagued by headaches and stomach upset Lelaneia’s doctor advised she abstain from cocktails. She was able to heed this advice for about 6 months. One day, inspiration struck. Perhaps it was the ingredients in the drinks, not the drinks themselves, that were causing unpleasant symptoms. What if there were a line of distilled products that were free from gluten, artificial flavors, preservatives and chemicals?
Since none of the products on the market fit the bill, Lelaneia decided to make her own. Anyone who has tried her line of Wild Moon ‘healthy’ Liqueurs is very glad that she did. In March of 2015, the company and tasting room officially opened to the public.Continue reading →
The Hartford Flavor Company is unique in many ways to its industry counterparts. So unique, in fact, it is difficult to pinpoint precisely what industry to classify them as. From a formal perspective, they are registered as a distillery (this is where Wild Moon Elixirs are crafted) but they offer so much more. Events, a selection of curated gifts for sale, and possibly the most inventive cocktail menu ever created. If owner Lelaneia Dubay had her choice, she would register the business as an infusionary company. This unfortunately is currently not on the approved master list of business entity categories.
The one-of-a-kind nature of The Hartford Flavor Company (HFC) is well suited to its location in the Parkville area of Hartford, CT. Parkville is known for its art resurgence and is home to Real Art Ways. Real Art Ways is a multidisciplinary arts organization promoting film, theatre, and visual arts. Parkville is also home to several music and recording studios.
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.
Salem, MA has developed fame and tourism surrounding their historic and highly-publicized bout of witch hysteria in 1692-1693. What if I told you Salem was not the first New England colony to hold public trials, and subsequently condemn to death a number of their citizens accused of witchcraft? The distinction of the first colony to try and hang “witches” belongs not to Massachusetts, but to Connecticut, who experienced their own witch hysteria from 1647-1662, three to four decades earlier than the Salem witch hunt. CT would commit 22 executions in all (2 more than Salem’s total of 19). What many people do not know is that New England did not start the tradition of witch hunts. This is a social/cultural attribute brought over by the settlers from their homeland of England, who began hunting witches back in 1612.
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.
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.
Rich Farm Ice Cream dairy farm and ice cream shop is renowned across Connecticut. This ‘Dairy Farm of Distinction’ has been maintained by the same family since the 1950’s. Rich Dairy became a creamery in the mid-1990s and quickly amassed a cult following for their ice cream. Connecticut residents cannot drive within a ten-mile radius of Oxford, CT without making a pit stop at Rich Farm. Rich Farm is a working dairy farm, and children delight in visiting the cows while waiting in the consistently long line to get their ice cream.
History & Locations
What started as a small, little known location has grown to something of famed proportion. The creamery is so busy, lot attendants must be employed to help the masses park safely in the field. Rich Farm has also franchised. In addition to the original location in Oxford, CT, has locations in Brookfield, CT, Bristol, CT and Placentia, CA. Despite these changes and unprecedented growth, the ice cream is still made the same way it was nearly 30 years ago. It is made every day by hand on the premises in small batches.
Ice Cream Creations
From simple cups of vanilla soft serve to wacky limited availability flavors, Rich Dairy has something for everyone. Try the hot apple cider doughnut sundae a true farmhouse treat. They also offer Ice Cream Cannoli and Ice Cream Pies. Rich Farm also offers frozen Greek yogurt and no sugar added flavors. Other treats served include ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cakes, soda floats, and a superb soft serve and candy mashup known as a Razzle.
Whether you have fond memories of visiting Rich Dairy as a kid or are looking to create a new family tradition, this creamery is a stop you need to make this season.
Rich Farm is currently open seven days a week from 11:30am-9pm. Cash only.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.