New and Noteworthy Connecticut Getaways for Spring and Summer

From a New Luxury Hotel to Sky-High Adventures and Coastal Attractions, Connecticut Offers Distinct New England Activities

HARTFORD, Conn., (April 25, 2017) – Connecticut invites visitors and residents alike to kick off the warm weather travel season with new and improved attractions for families and adults, a new centrally located luxury hotel and plenty of arts and foodie events. Whether planning a romantic weekend getaway or family fun vacation, a day of adventure or retreat, travelers can find all the information they need, including suggested trip itineraries and travel packages, at www.CTvisit.com.

This spring and summer, there are even more reasons to visit Connecticut. Here are just a few top seasonal highlights.

connecticut getaway, ctvisit

Connecticut River

New this spring and summer:

  • Experience luxury at the Delamar West Hartford this June, Connecticut’s newest boutique hotel, offering a full-service spa, fine dining and even complimentary bicycle rentals. Other unique lodging experiences, including B&Bs, inns and campgrounds, are featured on www.CTvisit.com along with special travel deals.
  • Get up close and personal with wildlife at the Connecticut Science Center’s new exhibit, “Butterfly Encounter,” opening this June in Hartford; see an exotic array of species at Mystic Aquarium’s “Weird and Wonderful” exhibit, opening Memorial Day Weekend; explore the Maritime Aquarium’s expanded jellyfish exhibit in Norwalk, opening this summer; and, visit Changbai, a female Amur tiger on exhibit now at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.
  • Reach new heights at Skydive Danielson thanks to its new airplane that allows skydivers to jump from 14,000 feet; visit Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, where youngsters can experience two new rides this spring; or, try the two new 75-foot-high zip lines at Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park in Portland, opening Memorial Day Weekend.
  • Pick your own bouquet at Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth on select dates this summer, to be announced; and, use the new “See & Sip Itineraries,” designed by the Connecticut Wine Trail and Connecticut Art Trail, to pick and pair wine tasting locations with local museums.

    Brownstone ziplines

  • Learn something new at Mystic Seaport by visiting the Thompson Exhibition Building, currently showing its inaugural exhibit, “SeaChange;” and, learn all about minerals at Nature’s Art Village’s new state-of-the-art miniature golf course opening this summer, joining the 40 life-sized dinosaurs, pristine nature trails and indoor activity center.

 

Timeless favorites:

  • Explore 216 miles of Connecticut shoreline: soak in the rays at public beaches, including Hammonasset Beach State Park, home to the Meigs Point Nature Center; kayak around the Thimble Islands; take a lighthouse boat tour; and, devour a hot-buttered lobster roll at one of Connecticut’s legendary seafood shacks.
  • Hit the hiking and biking trails that crisscross Connecticut for hundreds of miles, including those in The Last Green Valley, a National Heritage Corridor that runs through 26 towns in Connecticut’s northeast corner.
  • Hunt for treasures along the Connecticut Antiques Trail. Make your first stop the town of Woodbury, the “Antiques Capital of Connecticut,” with more than two dozen shops to discover.
  • Play and stay at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket and Mohegan Sun in Uncasville; enjoy gaming as well as renowned hotels, restaurants, spas, shopping, and live entertainment.

Don’t-miss events:

  • Enjoy the blooms at any one of Connecticut’s major flower festivals, including the Meriden Daffodil Festival (April 29-30) and Dogwood Festival in Fairfield (May 12-14).
  • Cheer on the pros at the Northeast’s only PGA tour event, Travelers Championship, in Cromwell (June 19-25) or the Connecticut Open in New Haven (August 1-4), featuring tennis great Martina Navratilova; and, music fans won’t want to miss the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz in Hartford (July 14-16), the largest free jazz event in New England, and the Litchfield Jazz Festival in Goshen (August 5-6).
  • Experience the arts at the Greenwich International Film Festival (June 1-4) and take in more than 60 events, screenings, premiers and educational panels; then, enjoy the work of more than 180 nationally recognized craft artists at the Guilford Art Center’s Craft Expo (July 14-16).
  • Indulge in seasonal delights at the Milford Oyster Festival (August 19), featuring the largest variety of oysters at any festival in the United States; and, don’t miss all the special events at breweries along the renowned Connecticut Beer Trail.
  • Try something new on Connecticut Open House Day (June 10), when Connecticut residents enjoy discounted or free admission, giveaways or special offers at 150+ attractions.

 

“Connecticut’s prime New England location makes it the perfect destination for visitors looking for a quick weekend escape from metro areas like New York and Boston, or an extended vacation,” said Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. “We welcome visitors to come and experience Connecticut for the first time, and encourage those who have visited before to discover what’s new.

To learn more about all there is to see and do in Connecticut, visit www.CTvisit.com. For additional travel inspiration, follow Connecticut onInstagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

 

Spring Menu at Fresh Salt is a Connecticut Must Try

I was invited recently with fellow CT Bloggers to sample Fresh Salt’s new spring menu at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa and it did not disappoint! Nestled on the waterfront of the Long Island Sound in Old Saybrook,  Fresh Salt’s views are beautiful including sunsets and lighthouses. Once the temperatures get warmer, drinks at the Marina Bar are a must before dinner.

fresh salt, saybrook point, old saybrook

spring menu, fresh salt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This menu had something for everyone. From fish and beef to salads and soups for a lighter fare. Full of fresh, artisan,  local ingredients, Chef Rodriguez has a flare for pairing flavors and textures well.

The Sushi Tuna Triangles were generous in size and fun to split with others. These overstuffed sushi pieces were perfect for picking up with your hands. No chopsticks required!

 

fresh salt, saybrook point, old saybrook, spring menu

Tuna Sushi Triangles

Another favorite was the Duck Confit Spring Roll. Beautifully displayed sectioned in half and paired with a Chipotle Cherry Salsa Cruda. These were not your ABC restaurant spring rolls. Fresh, savory and the perfect amount of crunch with fresh veggies and duck.

fresh salt, saybrook point, old saybrook, spring menu

Duck Confit Spring Roll

We were able to choose from a few specials this evening as well. We were told the Chef switches it up daily. The Short Rib was unbelievable and fell right off the bone. Accompanied by a savory sauce, mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts. Yum!

fresh salt, saybrook point, spring menu

Braised Short Rib

fresh salt, saybrook point, old saybrook

Pan-Roasted Cod

My sweetheart had the Pan-Roasted Cod Loin served with Crispy Potato, LIttle Neck Clams and Sweet Pea-Leek Veloute.

I am not sure how we were able to fit it in, but we could not pass up the dessert which had its entire own menu! We enjoyed the Dairy-free Coconut Sorbet and Spring Trio which consisted of Chocolate Mousse,  Semifreddo Berry Panna Cotta and Pistachio Macaroon. The sorbet was homemade and was rich with coconut flavor and bits inside and the trio was the perfect sampling of treats. That macaroon though… divine!

fresh salt, saybrook point, Old saybrook

Dessert’s at Fresh Salt

Fresh Salt’s Chef Gese Rodriguez has an eye for detail and fresh, local ingredients. The warm and attentive staff at Fresh Salt make this food experience a memorable one. We will definitely be back! Check out their events page for updated events. To make a reservation, contact Fresh Salt at 860-395-2000 or visit online at http://www.saybrook.com/restaurant/fresh-salt/

We were invited by staff at Fresh Salt to sample their spring menu and stay at the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

Fresh Salt Cuisine Series at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa

When I was invited to visit Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, as well as to be a guest at their Fresh Salt Cuisine Series for the Macallan Scotch Dinner, I knew I was in for a real treat!

Fresh salt, saybrook inn and spa, old saybrook

Fresh Salt

Nestled in the heart of the Old Saybrook waterfront, Saybrook Point Inn and Spa is rich in history and luxury. The Main Inn has beautiful cozy rooms as well as suites. Need more water views? Stay in the 1 room lighthouse suite surrounded by water! The Main Inn is also a fabulous place to consider for business meetings, private dinner parties or even weddings in their ballroom.

The Main Inn had many amenities including fitness center, spa, indoor pool and it’s award-winning restaurant Fresh Salt which has both indoor and outdoor seating in the spring and summer seasons. If sightseeing and local attractions have you tired, the Sanno Spa has luxurious massage and facial treatments to relax you during your stay. It was interesting to also hear that the entire property including the spa is “green” and they have put an emmense amount of time and effort to ensuring the property is eco-friendly.

Looking for something different? Stay at one of the two guest houses Tall Tales or Three Stories located directly across the street. Tall Tales includes six guest rooms. Each room is fully equipped with beautiful furniture and art and has a small kitchen and dining area on the first floor. Many rooms have decks where you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee watching the sun come up. Three Stories houses 8 guests rooms and beautiful gardens in the outside and decks. to enjoy sunsets and the fresh salty air. Both homes have access to all the amenities at the Inn.

saybrook inn and spa, old saybrook, three stories

Three Stories

Tall Tales

Fresh Salt Macallan Scotch Dinner

The food a Fresh Salt never disappoints. The Fresh Salt Cuisine Series is a pairing of wine or spirits and decadent dishes. During cocktail hours, we dined on hors d’oeurves like Prosciutto-Basil Wrapped Shrimp, Crab Rangoon,  Pork-Chive Sui Mei and Roquetfort-Pear Phyllo all paired with a specialty Macallan Cocktail which was muddled with orange and cranberry. Yum!

We were lucky to sit with Macallan’s Brand Ambassador, Jeremy Fonicello and we were able to ask more questions while we dined. Not being a Scotch drinker, the biggest question I had to ask was “What is the difference between Scotch and Whiskey”? I found out I was not the only one that wondered that! Scotch…well.. has to be made in Scotland. Of course it does!

The amazing staff at Fresh Salt brought out 5 courses that evening starting with Big Eye Tuna Tartar with toasted coconut, dry cranberry and mango salsa. I am not gonna lie, I could have eaten 2 of those. Delicious. It was paired with The Macallan Fine Oak 10 year. Jeremy discussed how the scotch was made and the proper way to taste it. No twirling! Nose it and sip. Add ice or a cap of water if the drink is too strong.

saybrook inn and spa, fresh salt, cuisine series, old saybrook

Big Eye Tuna Tartar

fresh salt, old saybrook, saybrook inn and spa, cuisine series

Scotch Braised Short Rib

Herb Crusted Wild Boar Rack

My favorite course was Scotch Braised Short Rib with smoked potato puree, crispy brussel sprouts and short rib reduction. The meat was so tender and full of flavor. As a result, it was pure perfection! It was paired with The Macallan 12 Year Sherry Cask.

Can we talk about dessert? Beautifully plated and included flowers! We were served Tiramisu Entremets with an Amaretto Truffle, caramel espresso and vanilla sauce. If you are a chocolate lover, beware. This one is to die for. Decadent and just how dessert should feel. Sinful!

saybrook inn and spa, old saybrook, fresh salt, cuisine series

Tiramisu Entremets

Our stay was wonderful and we had the pleasure of having a guided tour by John Lombardo the General Manager upon our arrival who told us all about the history of the Inn, the surrounding property and how it has evolved. Most of all it was a truly special day and night.  Living in CT ,we sometimes feel we have to go far away to get away. If you are looking for a getaway, you do not need to look much farther than Saybrook Point Inn & Spa.

 

 

Jack Daniel’s Family of Whiskey Dinner

Upcoming Fresh Salt Cuisine Series includes Jack Daniel’s Family of Whiskey Dinner March 3rd at 6:30pm.  Join them as they pay special tribute to Frank Sinatra who used to frequent the Inn way back when! With each course you will enjoy a whisky drink along side expertly paired cuisine. If you are interested in making a reservation for an upcoming Fresh Salt Cuisine Series, call Fresh Salt at (860) 339-1327.

Special thanks to Stephen Tagliatela and John Lombardo for the excellent hospitality.

( I was invited to stay at the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa and attend the dinner in return for this blog post. All opinions and remarks are my own)

 

Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point To Host Frank Sinatra Jack Daniels Dinner!

Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point To Host Special Tribute to Frank Sinatra
Jack Daniel’s Family of Whisky Dinner to honor iconic performer’s unique relationship with the forerunner location on Saturday, January 21. I am so looking forward to visiting Fresh Salt again!

fresh salt, frank sinatra

(photo credit by Ted Allan at www.sinatra.com )

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn., (December 27, 2016) – Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point is hosting a special tribute dinner in honor of the legendary performer Frank Sinatra. Held in conjunction with Old Saybrook’s Seaside Wine and Spirits on Saturday, January 21, this creative Jack Daniel’s Family of Whiskey Dinner honors the iconic performer’s special relationship with the forerunner location during the property’s 1960s heydays when Sinatra and his “Rat Pack” were regulars at the Terra Mar Hotel & Yacht Basin, where Sinatra kept his boat and entertained friends on a regular basis. According to one newspaper, it was rumored that Sinatra was going to buy the Terra Mar. The hotel was raided twice for illegal gambling and finally shut down in 1980, owing a large tax debt. Louis and Mary Tagliatela then purchased the unoccupied and dilapidated hotel at auction, and nine years later, the Terra Mar was replaced with Saybrook Point Inn.

The Jack Daniel’s Family of Whiskey Dinner will feature a robust selection of single barrel whiskey and rye by one of America’s most iconic distilleries, expertly paired with a hearty selection of fresh seafood, steaks and poultry creatively prepared by Saybrook Point’s talented Private Event and Banquet Chef Bill Titus and Fresh Salt Chef d’ Cuisine Gesé Rodriguez. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres featuring Crabmeat Salad-Sweet Potato Pancake, Assorted Sushi, and Braised Pork Belly with green tomato jam served with a Jacked-Up Cider Cocktail.

The five-course whiskey dinner begins at 7:00 p.m. featuring Ceviche Tartare Duo with Scallop-Tuna Citrus Sauce paired with Gentleman Jack, followed by Lamb T-Bone with Lentil Croquette, Trumpet Mushrooms and Marsala Glace paired with Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select. The third and fourth course feature Almond-Crusted Black Pearl Salmon with Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Stack paired with Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select and Roast Loin of Venison with Celery Root-Cauliflower Puree, Pear Chutney and Brussel Sprout Leaves paired with Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye. The evening concludes with a Black Jack Cake served with a warm malted barley-dusted pretzel paired with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Sauce.

Seaside Wine and Spirits from Old Saybrook will be in attendance, and guests can place orders for their favorite whiskey of the evening at specially reduced prices.  The Jack Daniel’s Family of Whiskey Dinner at Saybrook Point’s Fresh Salt is $94/person plus tax and service charge.  Reservations are necessary and may be made by calling the Fresh Salt reservations line at 860.339.1318

About Saybrook Point
Situated along the picturesque shores of historic Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Saybrook Point features a collection of 100 elegantly-appointed guestrooms, a rejuvenating full-service SANNO spa, and casual fine dining restaurant Fresh Salt, as well as a unique waterside Lighthouse Suite. In addition, the historic Three Stories and Tall Tales luxury guesthouses offer exquisite rooms that convey the story of famous local residents. The pristine Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark boating destination conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River, serves as a focal point for the Inn. More information is available at www.saybrook.com.

Press release courtesy of Regan Communications Group, Inc, Regan Communications 106 Union Wharf, Boston, 02109 MA, United States.

I was invited to attend this dinner in return for publishing this press release. All opinions are my own.

 

Wuji Comes to Greenwich!

My first experience with Wuji was when I attended the Westchester Magazine Wine and Food Expo. So I was thrilled to be invited to a tasting of their brand new location in Greenwich!

Wuji Greenwich, Greenwich, CT, Organic

Wuji, CT, Chinese food, organic, Greenwich

Upon entering the parking lot my first impression was “Whoa” very unassuming. I was wrong. The inside of this place is decked out in decor comparable to a Shanghai Supper Club. The decor was glamorous and decadent and full of texture and sheen. I felt like I was in an authentic Chinese restaurant in Hong Cong. I fell for the beautiful lighting and impeccable service by our server Walt and Manager Patrick.

 

Wuji is a term from Taoism, extension of Taiji in the universe:  Unlimited, unsurpassable, sublime. Sublime is right! Everything is certified organic, MSG free and local. They can also make many dishes gluten-free if patrons have allergy concerns.

Wuji’s award-winning Culinary Director is Peter How who has won countless competitions including the Culinary Olympics in Taiwan.

Wuji Greenwich, Chinese food, organic, CT

Sweet White Shrimp

Now let’s talk about the food. Wuji takes authentic Chinese ingredients and recipes and gives them a renewed approach by taking out all the unhealthy and adding in organic free range chicken, organic vegetables, wild caught fish and free range eggs while still keeping to the traditional Chinese cuisine cooking. A rare concept in America for Chinese food.

Wuji Greenwich, Chinese Food, organic, CT

Classic Peking Duck

Wuji Greenwich, organic, Chinese Food, CT

Chilled Peanut Sesame Noodles

I opted for the Sesame Peanut Noodles as an appetizer. I tasted these before at the food and wine expo and wanted to have the full experience now. They did not disappoint! Who can say they have had homemade noodles at a Chinese restaurant in America? I didn’t think so. Besides the noodles, we tried the Sweet White Shrimp which comes with lettuce wraps and they were divine! This was a good gluten-free option for those who have allergies.

Wuji Greenwich, CT, organic, Chinese food

Ginger Pear Ice Tea

I only have tried duck once and it was about 15 years ago. I decided to have this classic Chinese meat once again and see how it is prepared. It was crispy on the outside and very tender inside. It came with a Hoisin sauce for dipping and Chinese pancakes for scooping it up with. Everything in a wrap is better don’t you agree? Of course drinks to accompany our meal was a must have. I tried the Cucumber Martini and the Ginger Pear Iced Tea which was non-alcoholic and came with it’s own caraffe for pouring. Both fresh and light and very satisfying.

 

And then their was dessert. I loved that the dessert menu had no cake, no pie and no over the top cheesecake. It was all light, simple and fresh. I opted for the fruit platter which came with an amazing homemade chocolate sauce for dipping. Seriously good and not overly sweet. Then I tried the Banana Spring Roll which is exactly what it sounds like. Warm banana filling wrapped in a shell and chocolate ice cream made locally. Excellent!

Don’t look for the fortune cookies at the end of your meal at Wuji. If you are not getting dessert, you will still be treated to a heaping serving of cotton candy which tops off every meal when you come. This was making most of the kids screech in amazement when it came out to their table, and a few adults. 🙂 Wuji Greenwich, organic, chinese food, CT

Wuji Greenwich, organic, Chinese food, CT

Fresh Fruit Platter

Wuji Greenwich, CT, organic, Chinese food

Banana Spring Roll

Overall Wuji has got it right. It is no wonder they won the Best of Westchester’s Best New Chinese Restaurant this year!  The place was packed at 6pm on a Sunday evening not to mention a ton of families with kids. I look forward to coming back and bringing friends and maybe checking out their Rye or Scarsdale location.

Check out each location at Wuji Restaurant

Special thanks to Jody, Patrick and Walt for a delicious culinary experience.
(Sponsored: I was invited to Wuji for a tasting in exchange for social media posts and a blog contribution)

Sip, Indulge, Discover and Explore in Connecticut: Summer Vacation Packages Offer Travelers Deals on Lodging and Entertainment

Sip, Indulge, Discover and Explore in Connecticut: Summer Vacation Packages Offer Travelers Deals on Lodging and Entertainment

HARTFORD, Conn., (July 18, 2016) (Sponsored)– Connecticut invites residents and visitors to redefine their vacations this summer by experiencing something new just a short drive away, like one of the many curated travel packages available for families, friends and couples across the state at award-winning accommodations and attractions. Whether searching for an overnight adventure or weekend retreat, there’s a package to fit every traveler’s needs – and budget.

To help make planning easier, the Connecticut Office of Tourism is serving up a list of some of the hottest packages available right now through September and beyond. Package details and additional deals can be found at the all-newwww.CTvisit.com.

Make new memories with the kids by treating the entire family to an action-packed day and sleepover. Packages that cater to the whole family include:

  • Mystic Aquarium Vacation Package: Watch the whales and have fun among the fishes with a package featuring two adult and two child tickets to Mystic Aquarium, a welcome gift and accommodations for four at the Howard Johnson Inn-Mystic.
  • Science Center Discovery Package: Explore more than 150 hands-on exhibits with four tickets to the Connecticut Science Center and overnight accommodations at the Marriott Hartford Downtown.
  • Maritime Aquarium Package: Voted a top 25 U.S. aquarium, the Maritime Aquarium package includes two tickets to the aquarium and IMAX theater, overnight accommodations at Hampton Inn Shelton and breakfast.
  • Lake Compounce Four Ticket Package: Hop on dozens of thrilling rides, including Phobia Phear Coaster, the first triple launch coaster to hit the northeast. The package includes four adult tickets to Lake Compounce, overnight accommodations at the Residence Inn by Marriott-Southington and full hot breakfast.

Couples and friends looking to indulge in a spa experience, sip wine or just explore Connecticut can escape the heat with one of these packages:

  • Bike “Inn” by the Sea, Beach Cruiser Getaway Package: Unwind with a two-night stay at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina, breakfast both days, use of two bikes with itineraries, $25 gift certificate to Café Sol and more.
  • Spa-Cation Package: Escape for some R&R with accommodations for two at the Delamar Greenwich Harbor, a 60-minute Delamar Massage for each guest, champagne toast and $40 credit to l’escale for breakfast.

    Gouveia Vineyard, ctvisit, summer

    Gouveia Vineyard

  • Gouveia Vineyard Package: Taste award-winning vintages while perched high atop 140 sun-kissed acres. The package includes deluxe accommodations at the Courtyard by Marriott-Wallingford, tasting for two at Gouveia Vineyard and round-trip transportation to/from the vineyard.
  • Weekday Bliss Spa Package: Take a “weekday away” with this package for two including a $220 spa credit for services at Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Spa, overnight accommodations in an upgraded Whirlpool king at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa and breakfast buffet at Octagon.

“Summer is one of the best times of year to get out and explore all the state has to offer,” said Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. “Travelers in and to our state have a distinct advantage because of its size and the variety of easily accessible activities – they can spend less time traveling between attractions, and more time actually enjoying new experiences. The package deals are the perfect way to do just that.”

Delamar Greenwich, ctvisit, summer

Delamar Greenwich

Travelers looking for more summer vacation ideas and activities can find inspiration and suggested itineraries at www.CTvisit.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Celebrate Connecticut Open House Day Saturday June 11th

Celebrate Connecticut Open House Day on Saturday, June 11

connecticut open house,

Free/Discounted Admission and Special Activities for Residents at 170+ Attractions .

Watch video for details!

HARTFORD, Conn., (May 24, 2016) ­ Connecticut residents and families don¹t have to travel too far ­ or spend too much ­ to experience all the state has to offer this summer. More than 170 local attractions from historical sites and museums to renowned theaters and unique foodie stops will offer free or discounted admission, special activities, giveaways and hands-on activities for the kids on Connecticut Open House Day, Saturday, June 11.

Residents can browse the complete list of Open House Day participants, and view attractions by town, at the all-new www.CTvisit.com.

The popular statewide event, now in its 12th year, invites residents to discover and rediscover Connecticut¹s fascinating world of art, history and visitor experiences. And with more than 170 local attractions in towns and cities across the state participating, residents can plan a day to delight everyone in their group.

Just a sampling of the participating attractions include:

  • Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill: free admission from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks: buy one admission and get one free (higher price prevails) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wesleyan Potters in Middletown: free tours and demonstrations, including pottery wheel throwing and fun activities for children, from noon to 4 p.m.
  • Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry: free admission from noon to 4 p.m.
  • Fascia¹s Chocolates in Waterbury: free special chocolate experience and tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours include behind-the-scenes look at the factory and its history
  • Mystic Aquarium in Mystic: $6 off general admission when you mention Connecticut Open House Day at the gate
  • Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield: free admission from noon to 5 p.m.
  • Oaxaca Kitchen in New Haven: 15 percent off entire check for lunch or dinner from noon to 10 p.m.
  • SportsCenter of Connecticut in Shelton: one free activity per person from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Stamford Museum & Nature Center in Stamford: free admission for the first 100 visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Specials and discounts, as well as hours of operation, vary by attraction.

³The Connecticut Office of Tourism is thrilled to invite residents to enjoy the state¹s dynamic blend of attractions and experiences for another Open House Day,² said Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. ³So many businesses are eager to throw their doors open and participate. It is yet another example of the collaboration that fuels the state¹s $14 billion tourism industry.²

For more information about Connecticut Open House Day, visit www.CTvisit.com. Also RSVP to the Facebook event and follow @CTvisit on Twitter, #CTOpenHouse.

 

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Cruising Through Colorado

A week in the Colorado Rockies was a 3 year in the making trip full of activity, sights and experiences.  If you have never been to Colorado, please put this on your travel calendar.

Routt National Forest, ColoradoThere is something for everyone and so much to see and do. The landscape is by far nothing I have ever seen before having lived in the East Coast my entire life. Postcard perfection landscapes and scenery was everywhere we went.

 

Our travels started north up in Steamboat Springs which is a little over 3 hours north up the mountains in Colorado. Steamboat is a ski destination right up there with Vail and Aspen.

steamboat2Steamboat is more of a family community rather than party palace. The streets are adorn with local shops, bike paths, trails and creeks. And of course, springs! The one reason I wanted to come here was to go into the naturaSteamboat springs, Coloradol geothermal hot springs of Strawberry Park! Check it out!

http://www.steamboatchamber.com/events-activities/activities/hot-springs

Long before Steamboat Springs was known for its world-class ski resort, the 150 geothermal hot springs that dotted the landscape were revered among Native Americans and pioneers alike. Regarded as relaxing and healing for the mind, body and soul, it was a bubbling hot spring that even inspired the name of the town. There was also many resorts and hotels for all budgets which was nice to see.

Vail, Colorado, Skiing

Vail Village

After 2 days in Steamboat we headed back south and popped into Vail for a quick hour. How could we not stop into Vail Village for some coffee and to  check out the luxury shopping and creek path that goes behind the village?! A high end ski town atmosphere fills the village with high-end shopping, ski gear and remarkable restaurants all at the foot of the mountain. The place was deserted in May with mostly carpenters working on the exterior of stores and the ski grounds. We found a few people walking their dogs on the gorgeous creek path and some tourists, but other than that, all was quiet in Vail.

golden

Next stop was Golden! Yes. Home of Coors Light! This town reminded me of a quintessential old western town. Bouncing with bikers, a creek trail and ton of hiking trails, I did not see many people standing still.Except for the enormous amount RV folks parked across the street taking in the views of water and residents being active. Now they know how to live!

redrocks2

We made sure to visit Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Park as well in nearby Morrison.  I have never seen such beauty. If only there was a show in town for us to see the night. People do not only come for the music.Red Rocks, Colorado The amphitheatre is an athletic playground for the fit! People do the stairs, run the entire seating area and are squatting, jumping and doing push-ups all over the place. Happy to say I joined right in for a morning run the day we left like a true Colorado resident! Bucket list checked!

After Golden we trekked into Downtown Denver for some shopping and food. We had to visit the REI flagship store in Denver. If you have ever been to an REI, multiply it by 4 and you have the flagship store. Everything an outdoors adventure person could ever need and want is in this store. It is fun just to see the displays and full climbing wall inside! Denver is full of amazing eateries, shops and  um…. legal businesses.  🙂 We saw many people biking back from work or walking to the train or bus. Being an active downtown,  the bike path makes living and working in Denver very accessible.

benny duo, Snooze eatery, boulder, Colorado

Benny Duo at Snooze

snooze, colorado

Snooze, Boulder, CO

 

 

Our last stop on this amazing trip was Boulder. Home of the amazing Chautauqua Trails and Flatirons and a breakfast stop we just had to be sure to check out before the long hike.  Snooze! Snooze Eatery  was amazing. All non-GMO, organic and local when possible dishes served up diner style but with a twist. I had the Benny Duo. Eggs Benedict two ways! My sweetheart and I also shared a Tiramisu Pancake that was out of this world good.

Chautauqua, Flatirons, Boulder, Colorado

Chautauqua. Flatirons. Boulder, CO

flatirons, coloradoOnce filled up, we headed to Chautauqua park and came up to the  flatirons of Boulder. I am not gonna lie. I feel like I am in pretty good shape and this one kicked my butt. And  those views! So worth it. People of all ages, young and old were there that day climbing, picnicking and yes some extremists were running directly up the trail with ease. Mind you this was mainly all rock and gravel and all uphill. What champs!

All in all we did a ton in a short amount of time. We had 5 days to see everything we wanted. I suggest if you are coming out here, have a plan. You can easily get overwhelmed with things to do and end up wasting time. We mapped out the trip from start to finish and I highly suggest it. You could easily stay here another week and do more. But this gives us another excuse to come back. See you soon Colorado!

 

SavorCT is a Hit in Hartford!

My weekend at SavorCT was delicious! As a first time attendee, I was not disappointed. I was invited by SavorCT to attend as a social media representative and used the privilege to experience the event to the fullest!

SavorCT, Robert Irvine

Food Networks Chef Robert Irvine

savorct, hartford, robert irvineSavor is a three-day celebration of bold cuisine, stylish wines, world-craft beers and inspired spirits. Presented by Foxwoods Resort Casino and held at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, the event is hosted by Chef Robert Irvine, of Restaurant: Impossible on Food Network. Savor was open on Thursday, April 7, 2016 and continued with a variety of events through Saturday, April 9, 2016.

The entire venue was spilling out with food and drinks from all over CT and surrounding states highlighting the best of their menus and spirits. The first thing you saw as you approached the ballroom was rows and rows of wine glasses. My kinda event! After getting your glass you were free to start the sampling. Outside the conference room area was all the beer distributors. I skipped since I do not drink beer  but was happy to see many of our local brewery ‘s participating.

savorCT, hartford, robert irvine

Savor is the proud supporter of the Robert Irvine Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that honors the men and women defending our country. The Foundation’s mission is to support individuals and organizations committed to enriching the lives of our military personnel (active, retired and veterans) and their families. The Foundation also strives to create awareness and inspire community support for the sacrifices made by the men and women defending our freedom. To learn more about the Foundation and Robert’s commitment to our military, please visit http://www.RobertIrvineFoundation.org

SavorCT, Mary Anne Esposito, Italian Meatloaf

Chef Mary Anne Esposito’s Italian Meatloaf

You definitely had to pace yourself walking through each exhibit. Everything looked so appetizing and well put together, it was hard to pass by any of them.

I personally enjoyed tasting the many wine vendors that were there in addition to trying some of the local food presenting by our own Connecticut restaurants many of which I had not visited before. Besides food exhibits, we were treated to many cooking demonstrations.

Two of the ones I watched were Chef Mary Anne Esposito of PBS Ciao Italio and Food Network Star of Restaurant Impossible, Chef Robert Irvine. Chef Irvine brought his knowledge of food and cooking as well as having participants come on stage and participate in the demonstration and just pure fun silliness.

If you have not attended in the past and love food and drinks this event is a must for next year!
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For more information on http://www.savorct.com

I was invited and given a media pass by SavorCT to attend as a social media representative. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

CAKE by Franck Sweeten’s Up Foxwoods!

Foxwoods® Resort Casino, the largest resort casino in North America, is pleased to announce the opening of Cake by Franck, a New England residential Cake Shop by master pastry chef Franck Iglesias, who was recently named a 2016 Top Pastry Chef by Dessert Professional magazine. Cake by Franck will serve as an outlet for Chef Franck’s fine-tuned talent – serving up exquisite cakes, handmade pastries, decadent chocolates and other fine delicacies

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Cake by Franck is a celebration of pastries, offering classic New England and seasonal desserts with a twist. The price-conscious daily menu includes handmade macaroons, chocolates, candies, pies and muffins, as well as whole cakes and cake by the slice, all crafted under the guidance of a world-class pastry chef. The shop will also feature a personalized wedding cake design section, a selection of gluten conscious and no-sugar-added offerings and limited-time specialty desserts. Guests will be delighted year-round by the spectacular in-store displays, fragrant aromas and unparalleled selection of must-have treats including a build-your-own Belgian Waffle station.cake

Furthermore, Cake by Franck will feature “Air Franck,” an in-shop shipping depot that delivers Chef Franck’s famous treats worldwide. Orders can be made through the Resort Call Center at 800.369.9663.

The broad spectrum of cuisines offered at Foxwoods Resort Casino has been an excellent outlet for me to showcase my passion for crafting unique confections,” Chef Franck Iglesias said of his sevenyear tenure at Foxwoods. “I feel very fortunate to be opening Cake by Franck for our guests who appreciate and enjoy gourmet cakes, pastries and other delicious desserts. I can’t wait for customers to experience the process from start to finish and, most importantly, indulge in my creations.”

cakeCake by Franck was designed to take on the personality of a New England Country Store with a playful

and interactive environment. In addition to the Cake by Franck storefront, Chef Franck unveiled a custom cupcake vending machine on the Foxwoods property in December, located on the Concourse Level of Great Cedar Hotel. The vending machine offers a vast selection of fresh cupcakes 24 hours per day, at the press of a button. Selections include the decadent Sinatra’s Jack Daniels Cupcake, the mouthwatering Poker Face PB&J Cupcake and the fiery Mashantucket Campfire S’Mores Cupcake.

cakeChef Franck’s desserts are featured in restaurants and dining locations across the Foxwoods Resort Casino property. His incredible confections have landed him in magazines such as Food & Wine, Modern Bride and Pastry & Baking North America. Born in Argenteuil, France, just north of Paris, Chef Franck spent many years as both a cook and pastry chef in France and Spain. Prior to joining the Foxwoods team in 2009, he worked with Chef François Payard at his Upper East Side restaurant Payard Patisserie & Bistro in New York City.

Cake by Franck is located on the Concourse Level of the Great Cedar Hotel. The shop is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. For more details click Cake by Franck

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About Foxwoods® Resort Casino

Foxwoods Resort Casino is the premier resort destination in the Northeast. As the largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods offers a vast array of gaming in six casinos; AAA Four-Diamond hotels, restaurants from gourmet to quick service, world-renowned spas, award-winning golf, state-of-the-art theaters, and exclusive retailers. Perfect for both recreation and business, Foxwoods provides modern and versatile convention and meeting space to infuse new life into any meeting or event. Foxwoods Resort Casino is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. For a comprehensive look at Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation visit Foxwoods.com.

cake( I was invited as a social media representative by Foxwoods Resort and Casino and Shift Communications to meet Chef Franck, tour his bakery and learn about his offerings and services. which included a tasting of course and  participation in a cake decorating contest. You will be happy to know, I am keeping my day job. 🙂