July 29, 2014

Saybrook Point Inn Donates $25,000 to The Preserve

The terrace at the Saybrook Point Inn.

The terrace at the Saybrook Point Inn.

The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, through the Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Family Foundation, has donated $25,000 to “The Preserve,” a swath of 1,000 acres of coastal forest along the towns of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, Connecticut.  As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York and Boston, this land is rich in natural resources, wildlife and habitat that not only offers residents with outdoor recreational opportunities, but also provides an important coastal buffer against storm waters during natural disasters.

Residents of Connecticut treasure this 1,000-acre coastal forest as a place to connect with nature close to home. Known locally as The Preserve, the woodland plays an important role in maintaining water quality in Trout Brook and the Oyster and Mud rivers, which feed into the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound.  The partnership to preserve and protect this natural ecosystem in Connecticut consists of the State of Connecticut, neighboring towns (Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook), and The Trust for Public Land.

“On behalf of my family, we are proud to be able to preserve and protect one of Connecticut’s most sacred ecosystems for generations to come,” said Stephen Tagliatela, Innkeeper/Managing Partner, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa.  “It’s always been a founding principle of our family to care and maintain the environment we live in.  It’s through our efforts, in cooperation with the Trust for Public Land, Town of Old Saybrook, and Essex Land Trust, that we will conserve this important coastal forest to forever as a natural asset for our region and our state.”

On Tuesday, July 8, voters in Old Saybrook overwhelmingly approved the purchase of “The Preserve,” which will now be protected in perpetuity as open space for Connecticut residents for generations to come. As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, this 1,000-acre ecosystem will be permanently protected from future development. It will connect to 500 acres of existing town parkland providing expanded opportunities for hiking and viewing a variety of birds and other wildlife.

“We are very grateful that the Tagliatela family has made this very generous gift to support the Campaign to Protect the 1,000 Acre Forest,” said Kate Brown, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land.  “This is a wonderful boost that will help us move closer to the fundraising goal and permanent protection of the land.”

The Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Foundation was established in 1997 by North Haven business leader Louis F. Tagliatela. Over the years, the Foundation has donated more than $9 million to support local non-profit organizations including hospitals, schools and churches. In addition, the organization helped establish the Tagliatela School of Engineering at the University of New Haven and the Tagliatela School of Business at Albertus Magnus College.

The Preserve is a 1,000-acre coastal forest located in Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, Connecticut.  It is the largest unprotected coastal forest remaining between New York City and Boston.  The dense canopy of forest and the Pequot Swamp Pond act as a refueling stop for many migratory birds, and the many freshwater seeps on the property are home to amphibian species such as the northern dusky salamander, spotted turtles, and box turtles.  Bobcats and fisher cats have also been spotted on the property.  The land includes 38 vernal pools, 114 acres of wetlands, headwaters of the Oyster River, and tributaries of the Mud and Trout Brook Rivers.  These rivers eventually flow into Long Island Sound.

The property has a 15-year history of development proposals, foreclosure, and lawsuits by neighbors and conservationists opposing its development.  The land is currently owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings, the holding company that emerged from the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.  The holding company has agreed to sell the property to The Trust for Public Land for its fair market value of $8.09 million.  If protected, this highly unusual intact coastal forest will be preserved and the public will have passive recreational access to the property via trails.

The Trust for Public Land is working in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environ-mental Protection, the Towns of Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, the Old Saybrook Land Trust, the Essex Land Trust, The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the Alliance for Sound Area Planning, Audubon Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy, and others to raise the funding necessary to protect The Preserve.  The goal of the fundraising effort is to raise $10 million to cover the purchase price, costs and stewardship. A further $3 million is expected to be raised via a private fundraising campaign, to supplement $7 million in public funding.

Since it opened 25 years ago, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa has adapted and changed. It has taken a decidedly green direction, winning numerous awards for its often best-in-class green practices, including the first Connecticut inn to be named a Certified Energy Hotel in 2007.

The Inn now features SANNO, a full service European spa, as well as Fresh Salt, a restaurant designed by Peter Niemitz that opened to strong reviews in 2011.  The property employs more than 260 hospitality professionals in the town of Old Saybrook, Conn., and is among the town’s top employers and economic engines.

Saybrook Point Inn & Spa recently opened its new Three Stories guesthouse adjacent to the main Inn. This completely renovated Italianate home overlooking Long Island Sound was originally built in 1892 as a single-family home for the prominent engineer William Vars.  The property has been fully refurbished and revitalized as a seven-room guesthouse with wrap around porches and private gardens.

As a testament to its rich history, each room at Three Stories tells the story of a famed local resident who made sure that the history of the community was well preserved.  This includes Katharine Hepburn’s mother, who was a co-founder of Planned Parenthood and leading suffragette, and Anna Louise James, who had the distinction of being one of the first African-American female pharmacists in America and ran the James Pharmacy locally.

Situated along the picturesque coastal community of historic Old Saybrook, Conn. in the hamlet of Saybrook Point, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa features 82 elegantly appointed guestrooms, a rejuvenating full-service spa called SANNO, and a casual fine dining restaurant named Fresh Salt.

Fresh Salt diners savor fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in Old Saybrook’s most spectacular setting – the spot where the fresh waters of the Connecticut River meet the salt of Long Island Sound.

The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa also features the historic Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark yachting dock conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River with easy access to Long Island Sound.  It can accommodate vessels from 12 to 200 feet and has received numerous premier Connecticut marina awards.  More information is available at www.saybrook.com.

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people.  Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation.  Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at www.tpl.org.

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Essex Town Meeting Gives Unanimous Approval for $200,000 Contribution to Preserve Land Purchase

ESSEX— Voters at a town meeting Wednesday gave unanimous approval for a $200,000 appropriation as the town’s contribution for purchase of the 70-acre portion of the Preserve property in Essex. More than 100 residents turned out for the meeting in the town hall auditorium, with a round of applause following approval of the funding on a voice vote without discussion.

First Selectman Norman Needleman said the $200,000 would come from an open space acquisition sinking fund available in the current town budget. The town meeting vote ends years of debate about the wooded property that includes the Essex acreage off Ingham Hill Road that had been the subject of a subdivision application in 2011.

Paul Greenberg with the Essex Land Trust, said the non-profit group is expected to at least match the town contribution for purchase of the portion of the property in Essex. Greenberg said the Trust has applied for a state grant of up to $350,000 that is awarded in October. He said the Trust would also use private fundraising for the purchase.

Old Saybrook voters in a July 8 referendum approved $3 million in bonding for purchase of the much larger 930-acre section of the property in their town. State bond funds will also be used for the total $8 million purchase, which is being coordinated by the non-profit Trust For Public Land. The purchase of the total 1,000-acre property for preservation as public open space is expected to close by the end of the year.

Greenberg said the Essex section of the property would be owned by the Essex Land Trust, while the larger Old Saybrook portion would be co-owned by that town and the state. Greenberg said access to the property from Essex would be off Ingham Hill Road, with trails in to the property to be improved for greater public access next year.

Selectman Bruce Glowac, who lives on Ingham Hill Road, spoke for the crowd when he expressed appreciation for the public acquisition of the total property. “We look forward to having 1,000 acres in the town next to us and in our town,” he said.

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Old Saybrook Voters Give Overwhelming Approval for $3 Million in Bonding for Preserve Land Purchase

Polling taking place at the Old Saybrook High School. (Photo by Jerome Wilson)

Polling taking place at the Old Saybrook High School. (Photo by Jerome Wilson)

Voters Tuesday gave overwhelming approval for $3 million in bonding for the town’s share of a planned $8 million purchase of the Preserve property, described as the “1,000 acre forest.” The bonding for the 930 acres located in Old Saybrook was approved on a 2,002 – 242 vote in an eight-hour referendum.

About 20 percent of the town’s 7,361 registered voters turned out for the referendum, with 115 property owners who are not registered voters in Old Saybrook also casting ballots. The bonding approval is the key element in a combination of funding sources that is expected to lead to a closing on the property by the end of the year.

First Selectman Carl Fortuna said he was not surprised by the huge margin of support. “This has been a generational issue in this town and it’s finally being put to bed,” Fortuna said, adding that he was aware of no organized opposition to the bonding authorization while, “There was certainly organized support.”

The parcel, which includes 70 acres in Essex and four acres in Westbrook, is located off Bokum Road and Ingham Hill Road in Old Saybrook and Ingham Hill Road in Essex. The property had been the subject of development proposals dating back to 1999 that once called for over 200 homes and a golf course. It is currently owned by River Sound Development/Lehman Brothers, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers setting the stage for negotiations that led to a purchase plan earlier this year. The purchase negotiations were coordinated by the non-profit Trust For Public Land.

Along with the Old Saybrook contribution, the plan calls for about $3.3 million in state funding and about $1.9 million from the Trust For Public Land. Essex voters will be asked at a July 16 town meeting to approve a $200,000 town funding contribution, with the Essex Land Conservation Trust also contributing through private fund raising. The Essex town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at town hall.

Fortuna said the acreage in Old Saybrook would be co-owned by the town and the state. The Essex Land Conservation Trust will own the section of the property in Essex. Fortuna said trails through the vast property should be improved and ready for public use by the summer of 2015.

Supporters of the referendum near the polling station (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Supporters of the referendum near the polling station. (Photo by Jerome Wilson)

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Blumenthal Urges “Yes” Vote by Old Saybrook to Grant $3 Million Towards Purchase of ‘The Preserve’

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal at July 7 rally for a “yes vote” at July 8 referendum

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal at July 7 rally for a “Yes” vote at July 8 referendum

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal came to the Old Saybrook Green on Monday, July 7, to urge Old Saybrook voters to vote “Yes” in a referendum to grant $3 million of town monies to help purchase 930 undeveloped acres in the open land known as The Preserve. The referendum for Old Saybrook voters will be held on Tuesday, July 8, at the Old Saybrook High School gymnasium, and the polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m.

Other public officials urging a “Yes” vote on the July 8 town referendum were: Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, State Representative Phil Miller; and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman.

Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna said in his prepared remarks, “This property has been at the center of attention, good and bad, for 20 years. It is now time for resolution. We are optimistic that enough private and public funds can be raised to purchase the property and preserve The Preserve in its natural state. The Town will work cooperatively with all parties in this effort, including DEEP. Most importantly, I will work for and listen to Old Saybrook’s residents as they decide the future of this parcel.”

State Representative Miller said in his prepared remarks, “We’re grateful to the citizens of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, and our allies, the Trust for Public Land, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Governor Malloy, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, Congressman Courtney, First Selectmen Fortuna and Needleman and the Connecticut legislature. A thousand acres forever preserved. What a rightful thing.”

Essex First Selectman Urges “Yes Vote”

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman said in his prepared remarks, “Over in Essex, we’re excited about the proposition for acquiring this majestic property. Essex will hold a public hearing and town meeting to approve a $200,000 appropriation for the purchase on July 16 and look forward to joining our neighbors in Old Saybrook in support of this wonderful project.”

The Essex town meeting to consider approval of the town’s $200,000 appropriation to The Preserve’s acquisition will be held at 6:45 p.m. on July 16 at Essex Town Hall.

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U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal with State Senate candidate Emily Bjornberg at the July 7 rally for a “Yes” vote.

Other Supporters of Acquisition

Other remarks for the occasion were offered by Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, who said, “Coming off July Fourth weekend, this is an exciting time for Old Saybrook to exercise their patriotic rights and vote to protect this important piece of land here in town.”

Also, Alicia Sullivan, Connecticut State Director of the Trust for Public Land said, “We commend Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for the state’s early funding commitment to this significant landscape. Also, we are grateful to Senator Blumenthal and our congressional delegation for supporting federal conservation programs that the state will use for this acquisition.”

An audience of some 30 to 40 persons attended the pre-vote July 7 rally.

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Help Your Rivers Celebrate Their Independence—From Trash

trash_on_CT_RiverThe Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) encourages you to do two things while you’re out celebrating this weekend: recycle and scout trash.

By recycling what you can and keeping an eye out for trash while you are outdoors, you can help keep trash out of our rivers. You can report litter sites in need of clean-up volunteers to CRWC on their website at www.ctriver.org/source-to-sea-cleanup and click on ‘Report Trash Site’ or call their office at 860-704-0057. CRWC will direct volunteers to those sites during their 18th annual Source to Sea Cleanup on September 26 and 27. “If you see a trash site, note the location and what kind of debris is there, take a picture if you can, and then let us know,” says Jacqueline Talbot, CRWC River Steward and organizer of the Cleanup.

The annual Source to Sea Cleanup is a two-day trash clean-up event coordinated by CRWC in all four states of the 410+ mile Connecticut River watershed (NH, VT, MA, CT), home to more than 2.5 million people. “Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers have worked hard to combat litter and illegally dumped trash,” notes Talbot. “It’s a big watershed and we rely on people to let us know about the problem spots. You are one of our best sources of information.”

Each fall, thousands of volunteers of all ages and abilities head out to clean the Connecticut River and its tributaries on foot or by boat. Volunteers remove trash along rivers, streams and stream banks, parks, boat launches, trails and more. Individuals can register now to start a clean-up group, register to work solo or join an existing group by visiting www.ctriver.org/source-to-sea-cleanup. Businesses are also encouraged to get involved by starting an employee clean-up group, making a donation of supplies such as gloves and trash bags, or by becoming an event sponsor.

In 2013, more than 2,200 volunteers pulled over 45 tons of trash from river banks and waterways in NH, VT, MA and CT. Volunteers use human power and sometimes heavy equipment to pull out everything from recyclables, fishing equipment and food waste to tires, televisions, refrigerators and junk cars. To date volunteers have prevented more than 851 tons of trash from flowing downstream.

“Lead sponsors NRG Middletown and TransCanada’s generous financial support enables us to organize the thousands of volunteers who participate in the Cleanup, and to take on complex projects that require the use of heavy equipment, scuba divers and other professionals to get those really trashed places cleaned up,” says CRWC Executive Director Andrew Fisk.

Anyone with questions or trash tips may contact CRWC’s Cleanup Coordinator Jacqueline Talbot at cleanup@ctriver.org or by calling 860-704-0057.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, we celebrate our four-state treasure and collaborate, educate, organize, restore and intervene to preserve its health for generations to come. Our work informs our vision of economic and ecological abundance.

To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201.

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Extension of Connecticut River Paddleway Celebrated at Gillette Castle in Lyme

canoes&river

The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC), along with the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Vermont River Conservancy, launched the extension of the Connecticut River Paddler’s Trail into Massachusetts and Connecticut at Lyme’s Gillette Castle State Park last Saturday, June 21.

The Council, along with project leaders from the other two organizations, unveiled the plan for the expanded trail, which currently just serves Vermont and New Hampshire.

“We’re excited to be a part of a collaborative effort to enhance this resource for those who paddle our great river,” said Andrew Fisk, CRWC Executive Director.  “This trail is an investment for those who are enthusiastic about being out on the water, and the 410-mile journey from the river’s source to the sea is one of New England’s iconic adventures.”

The Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail is managed by a collaborative of organizations working together on trail planning and development, building and stewarding primitive campsites, improving access points and portage trails, and disseminating information to visitors.

canoes

Steve Grant, a Pulitzer-prize nominated journalist, spoke at the Celebration.  Jim Dina, an intrepid explorer and author of The Voyage of the Ant, was also a featured guest. The two guests have deep connections with the river.  Grant has worked as an outdoor and environmental reporter for the Hartford Courant for over 29 years and wrote a 17-part chronicle of his journey from the headwaters of the Connecticut River down to the Sound.  Dina’s work, The Voyage of the Ant, relays his experience paddling up the Connecticut River in his birchbark canoe, made using Native American tools and techniques.

The Celebration also included the presentation of the Bud Foster Award and lunch on site at the state park.

Many of those present launched their canoes and kayaks at the ferry landing and paddled down to Selden Island State Park on the Lyme shore of the Conn River.

For more about the Paddlers’ Trail, visit www.ConnecticutRiverPaddlersTrail.org.

The CRWC works to protect the watershed from source to sea.  As stewards of this heritage, it celebrates the River as a four-state treasure and collaborates, educates, organize, restores and intervenes to preserve its health for generations to come.

To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201.

For more information, visit http://www.ctriver.org/river-celebration-announces-launch-of-expanded-connecticut-river-paddlers-trail/#sthash.nP6eiSVf.dpuf

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CT Historic Gardens Day Takes Place Today

Enjoy the beauty of the Florence Griswold Museum's historic gardens this Sunday.

Enjoy the beauty of the Florence Griswold Museum’s historic gardens this Sunday.

Fourteen sites throughout the state celebrate with special programs

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is one of 14 of the state’s beautiful sites that have joined to form Connecticut’s Historic Gardens.  This coming Sunday, June 22, from noon to 4 p.m, each site will offer special activities emphasizing their garden program for CT Historic Gardens Day.

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The gardens are a-bloom at the Florence Griswold Museum.

These delightful places, scattered throughout the state, offer visitors an opportunity to explore a  variety of garden styles and time periods.

The sites are: Florence Griswold Museum Old Lyme

At the Museum, outdoor activities are free from 1 to 5 p.m. Visitors are invited to stroll through “Miss Florence’s” historic gardens and watch members of the Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists as they work on paintings featuring models posed in the gardens and along the river. Painting materials will be supplied so that visitors can try their hand at creating their own masterpieces. Families can go on the new garden scavenger hunt. Museum admission applies to House and galleries.

The Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden Bethlehem

Stroll through the circa 1915 formal garden and landscaped grounds of the Ferriday Garden. Guides will be on hand to share informative and often amusing excerpts from Caroline Ferriday’s garden notebooks that illustrate her interests and concerns about the plants she chose for the garden and their care. Check out the plants for sale, the art exhibit featured in the visitor center and sip a glass of switchel, a recipe Miss Ferriday copied from the Boston Herald. “There’s nothing like switswitchelchel to allay thirst and generate optimism.” Ice tea will also be on hand. Grounds admission is free; regular admission applies for historic house tour.

Butler-McCook House & Garden Hartford

Stroll through the 1865 Jacob Weidenmann-designed Victorian garden where staff will tell the story of its history and answer questions. Enjoy a glass of lemonade and the Main Street History Center exhibition. Grounds free; regular admission applies for historic house tour.

Glebe House Museum & The Gertrude Jekyll Garden Woodbury

Garden tours led by garden volunteers “Gertrude’s Gardeners.” Enjoy lemonade and cookies and browse garden books, plants from the garden, and garden related items for sale. Enjoy a presentation about the discovery of the Jekyll Garden plans and how the garden came to be. We are celebrating the 85th anniversary of Miss Jekyll’s garden plan and the 20th year since its installation.

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Harkness Memorial State Park (pictured above) Waterford

Garden tours and talks about the history and Beatrix Farrand design of the Harkness gardens provided free of charge by Park Staff and Friends of Harkness volunteers. In addition, take a tour of the mansion from 10am to 2pm, visit the Gift Shop, or enjoy some refreshments with spectacular views of Long Island Sound.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Hartford

Grounds admission is free; regular admission applies for historic

house and garden tour. For Stowe’s bicentennial, treat yourself to a guided tour of her charming Victorian Gothic revival home, surrounded by ever-blooming gardens. The historic gardens are open for strolling every day.

Don’t miss a visit to the Stowe Center Museum Store for books and garden treasures. House and Garden tours offered every half hour. Find your favorite spot in the garden – watercolors, paper and brushes are on hand so you can tap into your inner artist and paint en plein air!

Hill-Stead Museum Farmington

Stroll the paths of Hill-Stead’s c. 1920 Beatrix Farrand-designed Sunken Garden, admire heirloom plants and consult with interpreters and master gardeners. A wedding in the Sunken Garden requires visitors to clear the garden by 2 pm. Ice-cold lemonade available from 2-4pm in the Kitchen Garden.

New London County Historical Society and Shaw Mansion New London

Included in the regular admission price are special tours and lectures. In the morning, Connecticut Master Gardeners provide tours of the Shaw Mansion Garden. In the afternoon, Miss Perkins and some of her friends from the 1860s return to her garden with some period music and to offer a guided tour sharing, “the Language of Flowers.” Presentations will be scheduled on the Shaw Mansion-Woodbridge Farm connection, and on the surprising connection between the Shaw Mansion gardens and famed modernist landscape designer Christopher Tunnard. Strawberry shortcake available.

Osborne Homestead Museum Derby

After strolling through the museum’s lovely Colonial Revival gardens, visitors can enjoy the historic house museum and learn about Frances Osborne Kellogg’s passion for gardening and conservation. Complimentary museum and garden tours will be offered every half hour on the hour.

Promisek at Three Rivers Farm Bridgewater

In 1921 Beatrix Farrand designed a formal garden on this property for Dr. Frederick Peterson, a noted New York neurologist, who entertained family, friends and clients on his country estate, which he called Three Rivers Farm.  By the time the 300-acre tract was acquired in 1978 by Promisek, all traces of the garden’s former glory had been buried under years of overgrowth. In 1992 a local resident and garden historian  rediscovered the historic value of the walled garden, and a restoration began using the plan found in the Farrand archives at the University of California at Berkeley. Come visit us in the garden and discover this unearthed treasure.

Roseland Cottage Woodstock

From 1-4 enjoy a guided tour of the garden and learn the history, significance, and theory behind the Roseland Cottage garden layout and design, including Historic New England’s on-going boxwood restoration project.  Tours on the hour. Free admission.

Thankful Arnold House Museum Haddam

Scents and Sachets!  Visitors to the Wilhelmina Ann Arnold Barnhart Memorial Garden learn how the Widow Thankful Arnold used herbs in the early 19th century for medicinal, household and culinary purposes.  The garden features over 50 varieties of herbs including many that were used to make an early American home smell sweeter.  We invite guests to make a scented sachet, complete an herb scavenger hunt and enjoy light refreshments.  The garden and museum are free between 12 noon and 4 pm.

Webb Deane Stevens Museum Wethersfield

Visitors enjoy a free garden tour focusing on the architect, Amy Cogswell, and the history of the garden. Master gardeners and other garden volunteers are on hand to answer questions on the garden. Garden visitors receive a coupon for $1 off the three house tours (regularly $10 for a one hour tour). The highlight is the Webb House, where George Washington met with the Comte de Rochambeau to plan the siege of Yorktown, which ended the Revolutionary War. Tea, lemonade and homemade cookies will be served.

Weir Farm National Historic Site Wilton

Weir Farm’s Garden Gang volunteers offer short informal talks in the Sunken Garden and Secret Garden about the gardens’ history, flowers, restoration, and ongoing preservation. In addition to the talks, visitors can spend an afternoon painting in the landscape. Experience first-hand the fun of creating art in a landscape that has inspired artists for over 125 years. Watercolor supplies available at no charge from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. The colonial revival Sunken Garden and the Secret Garden, which was created in 1915 and features a fountain, sundial, and rustic cedar fence, appear today just as they did to J. Alden Weir and the other artists that made this farm their home.

For more information, visit http://www.florencegriswoldmuseum.org

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Explore ‘Art in Nature’ This Weekend

Art_in_Nature_WeekendAn ‘Art in Nature Weekend’ is being held at the Lymes’ Senior Center starting Friday  evening at 5 p.m. and running through Sunday at 2 p.m.  A “Blooming Art Exhibit, Silent Auction and Sale” continues through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  A Family Trail Hike starts at 9:30 a.m. from the Center and a family Landscape Painting Class with Florence Griswold Art Educator Julie Garvin Riggs takes place at 10 and 11 a.m.  Lunch is being prepared by the Lions Club. and at 1 p.m. Paul Spitzer presents ‘Learning From Osprey.’

On Sunday, the art exhibition continues from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Another Family Trail Hike starts at 9:30 a.m. from the Center and there is a live bird presentation at 10:30 a.m.  Again, lunch is being prepared by the Lions Club and at 1 p.m., there will be a floral design demonstration.  The Silent Auction ends at 2p.m. when winners can pick up their prizes.

Click here to see enlarged version of poster above with more information.

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Two Nature Hikes Planned This Weekend

As part of the Lymes’ Senior Center ‘Art in Nature’ Weekend, Diane Blackwell will lead hikes to the second Fish Ladder and Watch Rock in Old Lyme this weekend.

The hikes will leave from the Senior Center at 26 Town Woods Road Old Lyme at 9:30 a.m. both Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22.

Pre-registration is required.  Call (860)434-4127 to register.

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Op-Ed: Coyotes in Town, Be Vigilant, Learn How To Respond

coyoteOur thanks to Joan Bozek of Old Lyme for sharing this important information with LymeLine readers.

My 55-pound yellow Lab, Holly, was charged by two coyotes at 9 a.m. yesterday morning. We were on our daily walk at the junction of the Lord’s Meadow and Lord’s Woods subdivisions in northern Old Lyme when the coyotes charged across the lawn of one of the houses onto the street. Holly was about 50 feet behind both my other, 65-pound Lab and me when the coyotes tried to circle and attack. Fortunately, I knew how to scare them away, and my Labs were not harmed. It was terrifying.

The DEEP responded that the pair was likely out hunting food for their pups and saw my dog as a threat to a nearby den. It is the time of year when coyotes will be more aggressive protecting their young. Still, it was clear to me from the way the pair approached my dog that they meant to do real harm.

The Old Lyme Animal Control officer, Lynn, reports that predator wildlife attacks have become much more common and devastating to our pets. More than 30 cats are missing this year. She told me that coyotes have even attacked a dog on leash. A bobcat the size of a medium dog has been spotted in the Jericho neighborhood. And the fisher cats are particularly brutal. And, these attacks are not limited to evenings and night time.

Both the DEEP and Lynn passed along these tips for staying safe:

  • Know how to scare away predators. Generally, make a lot of low pitched threatening noise and do your best to look really big and threatening to them! It worked for me.
  • Keep your dogs on leash always, particularly at this time of year. In my case, once the coyotes backed off on their attack, Holly, who was not on leash, began to chase one of them! Fortunately, she heard the terror in my voice and stopped on command (this time).
  • Do not leave dogs unattended outside behind electric fences! Both the DEEP and Lynn were adamant on this. Small dogs particularly are easy prey. As I discovered, coyotes have grown bold enough to be around houses and out in the open.
  • Cats are not safe outside. Since even fisher cats are hunting in daylight, outdoor cats are easy prey.
  • Finally, report any incident to our animal control office and to DEEP. They are looking for patterns and true dangers. And they want to stop problems before they escalate into human interactions.

I enjoy living in the woods and respect wildlife. But I want my doggies — my family — safe and comfortable outdoors with me. So please be vigilant and careful.

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‘Charles W. Morgan’ Departure Postponed Until Sunday

Photo by Mystic Seaport. The Charles W. Morgan in full sail.

Photo by Mystic Seaport. The Charles W. Morgan in full sail.

If you were planning to go and see the Charles W. Morgan set sail from New London today … don’t!  The restored whaling ship is now scheduled to depart for Newport, R.I., tomorrow, Sunday, June 15. The ship will cast off at 6:30 a.m.

The ship was originally scheduled to leave today. The delay is due to conditions expected off of Point Judith, RI, on Saturday.

“The cold front that is passing through will most likely leave the sea state in the area quite agitated, more so than we feel is appropriate for the Morgan. By delaying a day, we give the waters time to calm down,” said Dana Hewson, the vice president for watercraft preservation and programs at Mystic Seaport.

The decision to postpone the sail was made in consultation with meteorologists at the National Weather Service.

In a change from previous plans, there is a possibility that the Morgan will pass through Watch Hill Passage between Watch Hill, RI and Fishers Island, NY, on her way to Block Island Sound, and not through The Race as previously announced. The decision of which passage to take will be made by the captain on Sunday morning.

For the latest updates and to track the Morgan‘s position live, please visit the 38th Voyage page on the Museum’s website.

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Lyme Land Trust Annual Meeting Tonight Features Talk on CT Coast by Renowned Author/Artist

Lynch Book Cover PixConnecticut has some of New England’s most beautiful coastline, but its shores and marine environments face increasing challenges from urbanization, pollution and climate change.
Using images of his beautiful illustrations, Patrick J. Lynch will present a talk about these issues at the Annual Meeting of the Lyme Land Conservation Trust on Friday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at the Lyme Public Hall.
He will focus on the geology and biology of Connecticut’s coast, and place its current challenges within the context of 20,000 years of major changes in the shoreline since it was formed at the end of the Ice Age.
Lynch is a widely recognized artist, author, designer and photographer. He has received more than 40 national and international awards and honors, including a 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for A Field Guide to the Southeast Coast & Gulf of Mexico.
His Manual of Ornithology, co-authored with Noble S. Proctor, won several national awards for editorial and design excellence, and is one of the most widely used texts in undergraduate and graduate ornithology courses.
He turned his attention to the Connecticut coastline in his most recent book,Connecticut Coast and Long Island Sound, an ebook for the Apple iPad, available through the iTunes bookstore.
The meeting, which is also open to non-members, will be held at the Lyme Public Hall, 249 Hamburg Rd. (Rte. 156). Lynch’s presentation will follow refreshments and a brief Land Trust business meeting.
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Celebrate CT Trails Day Today, Two Hikes Offered by Lyme Land Trust

Photo by Lisa Niccolai. Looking for fairies in Hartmann Park.

Photo by Lisa Niccolai. Looking for fairies in Hartman Park.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust will offer two guided hikes on Saturday, June 7, to celebrate Connecticut Trails Day Weekend —the largest National Trails Day celebration in the nation with 258 events scheduled in 142 towns throughout the state.  The hikes will both start at 10 a.m. from the parking area at Hartman Park on Gungy Road in Lyme.

A short walk and scavenger hunt for young children will include a visit to the Fairy Circles in Hartman Park.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.

For those interested in a longer hike, explore scenic Walbridge Woodlands on the yellow and white trails, and then visit the old foundations of the Lee Farm in Hartman Park.  This hike will take a little more than an hour and is moderately easy.

Both hikes will end at the School Room in Hartman Park (where the picnic tables are) for water and a snack.  The event will conclude at 11:30.

Adult participants will receive a small book about the Heritage Trail in Hartman Park, and children will receive a booklet about a fairy who lives in the Fairy Circles there.  Pre-registration is appreciated.

For questions and to register,  email Angie Falstrom at angie.falstrom@att.net or call 860-434-3194. The rain date for the hikes is Sunday, June 8, also at 10 a.m.

For updates on this walk and other Lyme Land Trust events, visit  www.lymelandtrust.org

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Be Prepared: Hurricane Season Started June 1

Aerial image of Hurricane Sandy.

Aerial image of Hurricane Sandy.

With the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season beginning today, Old Lyme Emergency Management is reminding residents to be prepared.  The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with the principal threat period for Connecticut occurring between August and October.  This is when weather and ocean conditions become prime to support a tropical depression or hurricane coming up the east coast and threatening our shores.

This year, the National Hurricane Center is predicting eight to 13 storms occurring this year with three to six being classified as hurricanes, along with anticipating one to two storms being classified as major hurricanes Category 3 or above.

With the experiences of Storms Irene and Sandy still in residents’ minds, every home should have a basic emergency plan that can be used for any emergency.  Old Lyme residents should know what potential risks their neighborhood may face, such as the effects of storm or tidal surge, flooding, or roadway closures.

It is recommended that all Old Lyme residents take three simple preparedness steps now:

  • Get a kit
  • Make a plan
  • Stay informed

In summary, this means residents should carefully monitor the summer’s weather reports, have a personal plan in place in case a storm hits and stay informed of any special information from local and state officials if a storm approaches.

Register your cell phone, work number, or other phone numbers for automated phone messaging during an emergency.  You can choose to be notified by e-mail, phone or text message.

Don’t wait for a power outage: visit www.ct.gov/ctalert and click on the blue Register for Alerts button.

Old Lyme Emergency Management offers the following preparedness tips:

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit

One gallon of water per person per day for at least three to five days, for drinking and sanitation

At least a three to five day supply of non-perishable food on hand

Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

Flashlight and extra batteries

First aid kit

Chargers, inverter or solar charger for cell phones and electronic devices

A whistle to signal for help

Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

A manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)

Local and state road maps to aid in an evacuation

Family Emergency Plan

Identify an out-of town contact.  It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members

Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.  If you have a cell phone, enter that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone.  If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know.  Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts

Teach family members how to use text messaging.  Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to be connected.

Stay Informed

In addition of using local TV and radio, Old Lyme Emergency Management utilizes the Town of Old Lyme website and social media such as Facebook and Twitter to share important storm related information to its residents.  Old Lyme Emergency Management also stays in close touch with LymeLine.com and we work with them to ensure we always have the latest information and publish all their announcements promptly.

Follow Old Lyme Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter.

Old Lyme Emergency Management Facebook

Old Lyme Emergency Management Twitter

For further preparedness information, contact the Old Lyme Office of Emergency Management at 860-434-1605 extension 231 or visit the additional resources at the attached links.

Weather and storm information:

Old Lyme Weather Forecast 

Old Lyme Radar

Emergency planning and homeowner information

Being prepared for emergencies

Insurance Information for homeowners

Flood insurance information

Animals and Emergencies

Preparation & Prevention

How to recover from a storm

The National Hurricane Center has developed video guides on hurricane preparedness

NHC Hurricane Basics

NHC What is Storm Surge

NHC Inland Flooding

NHC Hurricane Forecasting

Develop an Personal Emergency Plan

State and Federal Information

Federal Emergency Management Agency Home Page

CT Dept of Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Taking Action Against Upcoming Storms

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Tour de Lyme Today Benefits Lyme Land Trust, Bikes For Kids

SiloSmile Small Web viewThe Lyme Land Conservation Trust is teaming up with the charity Bikes for Kids to collect used bikes at its Tour de Lyme fundraiser being held today, Sunday, May 18, this year.

Bikes for Kids, a charity that collects, refurbishes and distributes bikes primarily to local families and kids in need, will have volunteers on hand at the Tour de Lyme cycling event to collect used bikes.

John Pritchard, president of the Land Trust that organizes Tour de Lyme, said “Bikes for Kids is an outstanding outreach organization. We are proud and excited to partner with Bikes for Kids to help provide bicycles to children in Connecticut.”

Pritchard urged anybody who has a bicycle to donate to Bikes for Kids to bring it on May 18 to Ashlawn Farm on Bill Hill Road in Lyme, which is the headquarters for this year’s Tour de Lyme.

Since its founding in 1989, Bikes for Kids has refurbished and distributed almost 16,000 bikes to families and children, mostly to the inner cities of New Haven, New London, Middletown and Hartford. Bikes for Kids efforts extend beyond Connecticut and include deliveries to Bell Harbor, NY, Haiti and 30 mountain bikes to Tanzania. All bikes are distributed with new cycling helmets.

Dave Fowler, President of Bikes for Kids and a former science teacher in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, said, “We put people on wheels who would either be walking or not really going anywhere at all. Last year we delivered 1,368 bikes and hope to deliver more this year.” Fowler said the motivation for starting Bikes for Kids is that “every kid needs a bike”.

The Lyme Land Trust inaugurated Tour de Lyme last year as an annual bike ride to raise funds to support its mission of preserving and protecting environmentally important land in Lyme.  More than 300 riders participated last year.

The Tour de Lyme is intended for all to enjoy. It is not competitive (there are no “races” or timed finishes), but rather is designed as a way to showcase and celebrate the preservation of Lyme’s spectacular natural beauty. While some of the courses will be challenging, there are others intended for casual cyclists, and there is even a family ride.

Departure times are designed so that all riders will return to Ashlawn Farm for lunch at about the same time.

Details of the ride options are as follows:

Road Bike Ride Start:
The Challenge: 57 miles, departs 8:30am – the name says it all.   Follow RED arrows.
The Classic: 26 miles, departs 9:30am – shorter but still challenging.  Follow BLUE arrows.
The Valley: 26 miles, departs 10:00am – a less hilly ride than the Classic.  Follow GREEN arrows.
The Family: 8 miles, departs 10:30am – ideal for riding with children.  Follow ORANGE arrows.

Trail Bike Ride Start:
Rider’s Test (~3 hour ride with challenging terrain) depart 8:30 am.
Woodland Tour (~1 hour ride fun ride through the woods) depart 10:30 am.

Tour de Lyme riders can donate bikes for Bikes For Kids as they arrive.  Bike donors not riding in Tour de Lyme can drop bikes off between 2 and 4 p.m. on May 18.

Alternatively bike pick ups can be arranged by calling 860-395-7321.

For additional information regarding bike donation, contact: Dave Fowler at 860-395-7321 or davefowler05@gmail.com or info@tourdelyme.org

For additional information about the Tour de Lyme, visit http://www.tourdelyme.org/

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Early Bird Walk Today in Lyme

bird-walk-4-6-2013_307Local naturalist and artist Rob Braunfield will lead a bird walk in Lyme’s Pleasant Valley Preserve Saturday morning, May 3.

If it’s true that the early bird gets the worm, then this early morning walk should provide the opportunity to see a lot of our feathered friends.

Braunfield will lead the group into the Preserve where the annual spring migration and mating season should provide exceptional opportunities to look for and learn about a variety of birds busy with their spring rituals.

Birders should bring their binoculars and meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Lyme town swimming hole parking lot off Macintosh Road, just west of Rte. 156.

The Spring Bird Walk is organized and sponsored by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust and is open to both members and non-members at no charge.

For updates on this walk and other Lyme Land Trust events, visit its website at www.lymelandtrust.org and select the “Upcoming Events” menu item.

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Very Rare Sturgeon Found on Bank of Connecticut River in Lyme

These youngsters stand by the sturgeon found yesterday at the end of Elys Ferry Rd.

Anna and Elliot Bjornberg stand by the sturgeon they found yesterday with their grandmother, Carleen Gerber, at the end of Elys Ferry Rd. Photo by C. Gerber.

This very rare sturgeon (pictured above) was found Saturday on the banks of the Connecticut River near the end of Elys Ferry Road in Lyme.  It was about five feet long.

Labelled an endangered species by the Connecticut DEEP, the sea-run population of sturgeon in the Connecticut River is concentrated along the lower part of the River.  There is a landlocked population surviving above dams in the upper watershed of the river.

For more information on sturgeon in Connecticut, visit the DEEP website at http://www.ct.gov/deEP/cwp/view.asp?a=2723&q=326092&deepNav_GID=1655

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Old Lyme Land Trust Hosts Mile Creek School Nature Trail Guided Walk Today

The poster promoting the walk features a salamander and a crocus.

The poster promoting the walk features a salamander and a crocus.

The Old Lyme Land Trust is sponsoring a guided walk on the new educational Nature Trail across from Mile C reek School at 191 Mile Creek Rd, Old Lyme in honor of Earth Day.  The walk will be held Sunday, April 27, at 2 p.m.

Trail map of the Mile Creek Preserve.

Trail map of the Mile Creek School Nature Trail.

The walk will be led by Pamela Hine, a professor of Botany at Connecticut College.

The Mile Creek Nature Trail was created last year with help from the then third grade class, who painted all the posts that dot the trail.  The trail, which is walking distance from Mile Creek School, will hopefully be incorporated into the curriculum of the students, who will eventually span from preschool to fifth grade.
Points of interest along the trail include interesting facts about the geology and history, as well as the flora and fauna.
The walk is anticipated to take about an hour and all are welcome.  Parking is possible at the preserve entrance, which is 0.2 miles from the entrance, or at Mile Creek School.
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U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy Tours ‘The Preserve’ in Old Saybrook

Chris_Murphy

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined representatives from the Trust for Public Land and the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and about 40 other environmentalists and town officials on Thursday afternoon on a short guided tour of ‘The Preserve’ in Old Saybrook.  The Trust for Public Land is currently working with the towns of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook to acquire the 1,000-acre forest for public enjoyment and to prevent it from further development.

“I’m thrilled to be here with you today.  My family, for as long as I’ve been alive, has had a little tiny summer house in Old Lyme, so this part of the world is like a second home to me,” said Murphy.

Sen. Murphy took off his office shoes and replaced them with hiking footwear as he joined the rest of the group on the hike through to the middle of ‘The Preserve.’

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Senator Murphy joins the group on the short hike through ‘The Preserve.’

After a short hike, the group reached the center of the 1,000 acre property, overlooking Pequot Swamp.  Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator for Connecticut Fund for the Environment, described the swamp as an area of particular environmental significance.  “Pequot Swamp is a 113-acre wetland area that feeds two tributaries of the Connecticut River and is an important resting site for migratory birds,” said Cryder.

Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator for Connecticut Fund for the Environment, explains the environmental significance of Pequot Swmap to Senator Chris Murphy

Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator for Connecticut Fund for the Environment, explains the environmental significance of Pequot Swamp to Senator Chris Murphy.

The Trust for Public Land has been working with the towns of Old Saybrook, Westbrook and Essex, Land Trusts for the three towns, the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Audubon Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy and the State of Connecticut to raise the necessary funds to purchase the property.  The Trust hopes to raise $2 million -$3 million in private donations towards the re-negotiated price of $8.1 million.  The remaining funds could potentially come from the state and from the town of Old Saybrook, who will be holding a referendum in June when town voters will be asked to vote on the issue.  If successful, the land would be owned by the town and would be kept open to the public for hiking and recreation purposes.

“In our office, we eat, sleep and breathe land conservation,” said Murphy, “so this is really exciting when we have a big piece of iconic property like this that, hopefully with a little bit of luck and some good partnership, we can preserve for the ages.”

After returning to the trailhead, the group posed for a photo with Senator Murphy.

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Chester-Hadlyme Ferry Resumes Service

ferryThe Chester-Hadlyme Ferry has resumed daily service after being suspended because of high water on the Connecticut River from spring rains and upstream snow melt.

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