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Free Cone Day to Benefit town of Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS Department.

March 22, 2016 Business, Community, Fire No Comments

Submitted Release 

From noon to 8 p.m. on April 12, Ben & Jerry’s of Canton will be celebrating Free Cone Day to thank their customers for their patronage, and to raise money and awareness in support of the Town of Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department.

Volunteer fire and EMS members will be scooping ice cream, giving fire truck and ambulance tours and providing information about opportunities in the fire & emergency medical services. Sparky the celebrity firedog will make appearances throughout the day. … Continue Reading

Canton’s Hickory Ledges Featured in Yankee Magazine

March 22, 2016 Business, Community No Comments

Photo by John Fitts

Submitted Release 

DUBLIN, NH — Just in time for sugaring season, several of New England’s best maple experiences are featured in the newest issue of Yankee Magazine (March/April) in the story “Maple Mania Destinations.” Contributing Editor Kim Knox Beckius writes, “One of our region’s true treasures, maple syrup is as complex and subtly variable as fine wine.”

Among the top places to add to your “sap bucket” list, Beckius recommends a visit to Hickory Ledges Farm in Canton, to sample “Full Moonshine/Pete’s Maple 80.” The 80 proof corn liquor is handmade and bottled by owners Bill and Lynne Olson, and sweetened with locally sourced maple. It’s also named after Lynn’s late father Andrew ‘Pete’ Bouchard.

The other top maple experiences featured in “Maple Mania Destinations” include:

Gelato Fiasco – Brunswick & Portland, ME
Maple Adventure Ride – Woodstock, VT
Strawbale Café – Westhampton, MA
Manon on Golden Pond – Holderness, NH

The full story can be read here:

Images of Canton: Bridge Street Live Kicks off 2016 Season

Bridge Street Live kicked off its seventh season last Saturday night with a special St. Patrick’s themed edition of its New York vs. Boston comedy series, a show headlined by Tom Briscoe and Sean Lynch. Comedians Mark Riccadonna and Dr. Jay Sutay, the stand up Pediatrician, also entertained.

The Tipperary Knights, a popular Irish band, opened the evening.

This week, the venue kicks off its Homegrown Thursday series with Nate Ginnetty and his friend Daniel Amedee of New Orleans. On Saturday, it’s a night of string band music with Switch Factory and The Collinsville String Band. Tickets for both shows start at just $10.

The venue is located at 41 Bridge Street in Collinsville. See more details and a full schedule at http://www.41bridgestreet.com/calendar/index.php?id=573

Nodine’s Smokehouse to Open Deli, Restaurant in Canton

March 17, 2016 Business No Comments
This building is set to undergo numerous changes as Nodine's Smokehouse works to open a deli and restaurant there. Photo by John Fitts

This building is set to undergo numerous changes as Nodine’s Smokehouse works to open a deli and restaurant there.
Photo by John Fitts

Editor’s Note: This business is currently projecting it will open soon. 

By John Fitts

CANTON – A Litchfield County family known for its smoked meats is opening a deli and restaurant in Canton.

Owners of Nodine’s Smokehouse are currently working at 192 Albany Turnpike, with plans to open a retail store, deli and restaurant later this Spring.

“We’re looking forward to it,” said Calvin Nodine. “We’ve been wanting to do it for years and figure this is the right time to try it.”

For the business, Nodine has partnered with his stepson Jeremy Archer, a local chef and owner of “Amigo, The Friendly Hot Sauce.”

In Canton, Nodine’s plans to offer lunch and dinner with pizza, deli sandwiches, smoked meats and other menu items. Many – but not all – offerings will showcase Nodine’s own Torrington-made products.

Several others, such as Pizza, sauces and bread, will be made right on site. Meat will also be ground on site and Nodine’s will also cook its roast beef right in Canton. … Continue Reading

The Underground Gallery to Host First 2016 ‘Meet the Artist’ Reception on Friday Night

Lisa Sharp and Tom Kutz will host the first of the 2016 Meet the Artist receptions on Saturday. Photo by John Fitts

Lisa Sharp and Tom Kutz will host the first of the 2016 Meet the Artist receptions on Saturday. 
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts 

COLLINSVILLE – For the owners of The Underground Gallery, featuring Connecticut-based artists is a way to showcase local talent, bring in visitors and foster artistic ventures.

From 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 18, the gallery hosts the first of its 2016 “Meet the Artist” receptions with Jessica Fallis, a Southington painter who loves to “explore nuances of water and reflections, along with the fragmentations and abstractions that occur in the natural world.”

The gallery, which opened in July of 2014, has stayed true to its original mission.

“We want this to be an opportunity for Connecticut artists to showcase their work,” said gallery manager Lisa Sharp.

The Underground Gallery features three distinct exhibit areas. Artists will display for three weeks on a rotating basis, with an opening each Friday night.

… Continue Reading

Bridge Street Live Looks to Strengthen Community Ties, Broaden its Audience

Royal Southern Brotherhood plays at Bridge Street Live in March of 2015. Photo by John Fitts

Royal Southern Brotherhood played Bridge Street Live in March of 2015.
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts 

COLLINSVILLE — While Bridge Street Live will continue to showcase national acts during its seventh season, the venue is also looking to strengthen community ties, broaden its audience and add some new features for 2016.

One of those aspects will be Homegrown Thursdays, select evenings that will showcase regional and local musicians. While the venue has featured some local acts in the past, Bridge Street really wants to develop deeper community connections and showcase talent in its back yard, said Rebecca Castellani, director of marketing and public relations for the venue.

“We have such talent in the area,” she said. “There’s no reason we can’t integrate that more into Bridge Street.”

Shows in that series include a March 24 date with Hartford area musician Nate Ginnetty and his friend Daniel Amedee of New Orleans.

While it’s not a Thursday, the general theme continues on March 26 with two area string bands – Litchfield County based Switch Factory and The Collinsville String Band, a locally based band with members from several area towns, including Canton, Avon, and Torrington.

On Thursday April 7, Collinsville singer-songwriter Krista Johnson will open for French-American singer Francesca Blanchard.

Another great thing about the homegrown series is the ticket prices, which generally run $10 and $15, Castellani said. She hopes that is more accessible to those who can’t afford a higher ticket price.

“We’re trying to encourage a wider demographic to attend and listen to music,” Castellani said. … Continue Reading

‘Established Grower’ to Open at Former Hinman’s Flower Shop and Garden Center

March 8, 2016 Business, Community No Comments
Steven Stang, with the help of local contractors, is fixing up 175 Albany Turnpike in Canton. Photo by John Fitts

Steven Stang, with the help of local contractors, is fixing up 175 Albany Turnpike in Canton.
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts

CANTON – An “established grower” is planning to sell plants at the former Hinman’s Flower Shop and Garden Center, said Steven Stang, who now owns the property at 175 Albany Turnpike (Route 44).

Stang said he could not yet divulge the tenant’s identity but said the plan is to get it up and running by the end of April. Initially it will be a seasonal business and Stang hopes it becomes a long-term venture.

“It would be my hope that it would grow into something permanent,” said Stang, who, in January, purchased the property for $380,000 from Collinsville Saving Bank. “It’s the kind of use I was looking for.” … Continue Reading

Fine Dining Returns to Historic Avon Venue

March 7, 2016 Business No Comments

By John Fitts

AVON – Paying homage to its originals owners, The North House Restaurant has opened its doors at a historic Valley location.

The North House is located at 1 Nod Road in Avon, home for many years to the Avon Old Farms Inn. Most recently it was Belle Terrance at Avon Old Farms, operated by the Riverhouse Hospitality as an events venue.

Members of the Chabot family, owners of Farmington Gardens, purchased the 6-acre property and 30,000 square-foot facility last summer from General Electric for $1.85 million. Since then, they have continued to operate it as an events venue. But the family also quickly realized the potential of re-establishing a restaurant – and weekend brunch – at the 30,000 square foot facility, which sits on the bottom of Avon Mountain.

“Upon further talk we said, ‘you know maybe the restaurant works,’” Chabot said, adding that numerous people talked about how Avon Old Farms Inn had, for many years, been the area’s go-to fine dining option.

“It was a shame to see such a beautiful property just go really unused and neglected because you weren’t really going into the property unless you were here for a special event,” Chabot said. … Continue Reading

Images of Canton: More than $2,500 Raised at Fundraiser for Scott Lindsay

A Saturday night fundraiser for local resident Scott Lindsay netted more than $2,500, organizers said.

The event, held at Wilson’s Pub, was to help Lindsay make it through as he deals with medical bills. In January, he was rushed to the hospital and later diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Lindsay is getting stronger daily but still has many diet and other restrictions.

Saturday’s event included a silent auction on numerous items donated by local businesses and residents, live music by Steve Jones and friends and a book signing by “American St. Nick” author Peter Lion.

“I‘m just overwhelmed by the kindness everybody’s shown,” said Lindsay, who was able to attend for a short time Saturday. “I feel like Tom Sawyer at his own wake.”

Lindsay, a New Jersey native, has lived in Collinsville for the past several years. He is an avid baseball player, hiker and kayaker. He also volunteers time reading to kids at Bakerville Library in New Hartford and also volunteers at Mary’s Kitty Korner in Granby.

On Sunday, Lindsay’s friend Kristen Stevens, the primary organizer of the event, said more than $2,500 had been raised. The total was a bit of a moving target as some additional items were up for bid Sunday and other amounts were being tallied.

It was a packed house Saturday and Stevens said she was just “amazed” at the generosity of local residents.

“That’s really all I can say – wow,” she said.

To access a full-screen gallery of the above photos, visit https://johnfitts.smugmug.com/Scott-Lindsay-Fundraiser/ 

John Fitts

Portraits of Canton: Repurposing with Sorek Minery

February 29, 2016 Business, Community, Photos No Comments

When Sorek Minery found some weathered wood and other materials in an attic at the the former Collins Company factory complex, he was intrigued, but cautious.

Like many woodworkers, he loves to repurpose old material but the pieces – an old flag pole, vintage fire hose, attic planks, repurposed steam pipe, hand-cut spikes and scaffolding planks – were in rough shape, well worn and, in some cases, even water damaged.

“I was so surprised to even find that,” said Minery, who for 9 years has operated his Blue Ridge Woodworks shop at the complex. “It didn’t look like anything you could use.”

But Minery managed to make of few pieces from the material including a shop cart turned conversation piece that takes advantage of a little asymmetry and plenty of imperfections.

“It’s putting a little piece of history in furniture,” Minery said. “It’s enjoyable because you have to think of how something can be reused.” … Continue Reading


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