Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goshen Public Library- "Write What You Know"

Tuesday March 2nd, 2010 at 6:30 PM at the Goshen Public Library

Author panel discussion-Write What You Know, with authors Ruth McCarty, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and Jessica Speart.

All three are published authors.  The program is free of charge and for more information, click here to go to the Goshen Public Library web site.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Alternative Engery Providers

From The Connecticut Energy Blog

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More residents choosing alternative electric providers
20% of CT electric customers have now chosen an alternative provider for generation. you, too, can choose a better rate from this list. Read more about the trend in the article in the New Haven Register.

There has been some discussion about "re-regulating" the electric market in CT. Opponents claim that this would remove our right to choose alternatives (which is true) and further point out that the utility generation rates are higher than the alternatives. However, this does not necessarily mean that everyone's rates will go up if we eliminate the competitive market. States that have maintained the regulated monopolies have significantly lower overall rates than states like CT who have competitive markets. So your alternative provider might be saving you a penny or two over UI, but your rate is still 3 cents too high compared to the rest of the country.

The reasons for this are not 100% clear. Some may argue that we are now susceptible to market manipulation by the generation companies. Also, we now have an additional middle-man who serves as a broker between you and the generation companies. Regardless, re-regulating the market seems like an extremely difficult task. The utilities would have to buy back all the power plants that they sold off in the 90s. With only one buyer, how would they determine a fair price?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Aroma Of Spring

From Greg Hanisek's Nature Column

The Aroma Of Spring

Posted on February 20th, 2010 by ghanisek

February brings the first tangible signs of spring, aside from a few birds such as cardinals and titmice that tune up in the waning days of January. A sudden increase in turkey vultures cruising overhead, flocks of blackbirds rolling across fields and maybe even a woodcock displaying at dusk all rank as worthy heralds. I’ve got another I’ll add to the list.

Dead skunks.

I can’t say I eagerly await this seasonal development, but when I saw the first one of the year on Friday on a road in Watertown, thoughts of spring wafted through my mind. Eastern striped skunks, the resident species throughout most of the Northeast, hibernate. When they begin to stir in February males immediately go on the prowl for both food and females. They’re not cautious animals to begin with, because few predators can penetrate their pungent defenses. When they’ve got primal urges on their minds, they’re prime candidates for unsuccessful road crossings.

Keep an eye out when you’re driving.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recycling Presentation at the DEP

From CT Green Scene

Please join us for this exciting presentation and discussion about reuse and recycling!

Innovative Business Development for Reuse and Recycling

Presenter: Terry McDonald, St. Vincent De Paul Society of Lane County, Eugene, Oregon

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 -- 1:30pm EST

DEP Main Headquarters

79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106

Russell Hearing Room (3rd floor)

Terry McDonald has been Executive Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County since 1984. Under Terry’s leadership St. Vinnie’s has grown into the largest non-profit humanitarian agency in Lane County, Ore., with 350 employees, over 950 units of affordable housing, five emergency service programs, eight retail thrift stores, a vocational services department, and six distinct recycling and reuse programs.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County is an internationally recognized leader in developing waste-based businesses that responsibly reuse and recycle products, create jobs and generate revenue to support the agency’s charitable mission. The agency has found creative ways to reuse and recycle unusual items such as mattresses, candles, single shoes, industrial off-cuts from textile and wood products manufacturing, window glass and much more. Join Terry to learn more about these programs and how they could be replicated in Connecticut. St. Vinnie’s is currently seeking partners interested in mattress recycling and other landfill diversion programs.

Following Terry’s presentation will be a discussion about business development opportunities in Connecticut around reuse and recycling.

For additional information, please contact Sherill Baldwin at or call 860-424-3440.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Maple Syrup Time In Litchfield County

From the Litchfield County Times
By Daniela Forte

While many think that traveling to Vermont is the only way to get good quality maple syrup, Litchfield County and other parts of Connecticut are home to maple syrup producers whose product rivals that of any region in the Northeast.

The syrup season, which has short window of opportunity for producers, running from mid-February through March, is always a bit unpredictable. Four farms in Litchfield County offer their own brand of the natural sweetener.
Brookside Farm II, Litchfield

In Litchfield, the Brookside Farm II has been open for 10 years, offering residents and visitors alike top quality maple syrup during the season.
“We’re going two weeks into the season and we haven’t gotten any sap yet, so that leaves about six left. We have to get a lot in the remaining six weeks,” said Mark Harran, owner of Brookside Farm II. “I’ve done this for 10 years, and in 2007 I didn’t make any syrup the whole month of February. I made about half of what I normally make.”
“Incidentally, it’s a natural sweetener that I think is undervalued for what it is—it is the most nutritious and lowest in calories,” said Mr. Harran. “Maple syrup has low glycemic index; it’s the lowest of all the sweeteners. It’s a wonderful product.”
The process of making maple syrup may be difficult to understand, but Mr. Harran explained that the sap is produced when the nutrients from a maple tree’s roots start to flow to the buds. As the days get shorter in the fall, the tree drops its leaves and sends energy to its roots, and as days lengthen, beginning around Feb. 1, it begins to bring the sap, which is 2 percent sugar on average, up to its buds. In this area, that happens for about eight weeks.
“We can get sap on cold nights about 25 degrees and warm days about 40; right now we’re frozen out because we are not going above freezing,” said Mr. Harran of the sap that is gathered through tubing and spouts that run to a collection tank, or in a bucket hanging on the spout.
The sap is collected at the end of the day and brought into a sugarhouse, where it is boiled and taken from 2 percent sugar to 66 percent, an FDA standard for maple syrup, explained Mr. Harran.
It is then filtered. Mr. Harran uses an oiled-fired evaporator for the syrup, and the farm produces an average of about 150 gallons of syrup.
“It’s syrup when the solution is about seven and a half [to] eight degrees above the boiling point of water,” said Mr. Harran.

The most common trees, according to the Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut (MSPAC) Web site,, are acer saccharum, sugar maples, acer nigrum, black maple. These trees grow in the Eastern part of the United States and Canadian Great Lakes.
“I favor the sugar maple, it gives us a lot of gifts, certainly one is maple syrup, it’s the only one that really delivers high-quality maple syrup,” said Mr. Harran, who is the MSPAC president.

The MSPAC has 200 members, and its members represent about 80 to 90 percent of the maple syrup produced in Connecticut.

“Our goal is to encourage the production of high-quality maple products in the state of Connecticut,” said Mr. Harran.
“One of things I stress as president of the Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut, is quality. It is a singular, boiled product, so it doesn’t have the same requirements that a food factory might have, but I stress we should take pains to make the absolute best,” said Mr. Harran.

Mr. Harran explained that sugar maple trees grow in Connecticut, predominantly in the eastern and western hills, where the trees enjoy the elevation, the weather and soil.

According to the MSPAC Web site, the syrup-making process is the same today as it was hundreds of years ago. Sap is obtained through a group of maple trees and the water is removed until the proper density is reached. It involves drilling a three-inch by 7/16 inch hole into the tree and driving a spout into the hole, no harm is done to the tree.

In order for the maple trees to provide sap, there is a need for freezing nights and warm sunny days. Sap is a colorless liquid that has a light, sweet taste.
Maple syrup is considered one of the oldest natural food products that are produced in the United States. It is believed that Native Americans discovered the natural sweetener.
“Technology has improved immensely, this has been going on for thousands of years, Native Americans have been doing it long before we got here, but the basic process, the chemistry has not changed,” said Mr. Harran. “The ability to get it there has changed; technology is just becoming available within the last decade or so, that allows one input of energy to produce six or more times the syrup.”

Mr. Harran has been in the maple syrup business for 10 years in Litchfield. Workers on the farm include his son, Jay, his wife Kay Carroll, resident John Langer, Republican State Rep. Craig Miner and resident Jim Katzin.
Mr. Harran first became interested in maple sugaring when he was 4 years old and first visited his grandfather’s sugar bush in Hopkinton, N.Y.
As part of the family farm, Mr. Harran’s grandfather had one of the largest maple syrup operations in New York State. His grandfather tapped over 5,000 trees and had a crew of six men and three teams of horses committed night and day, seven days a week.
Mr. Harran spent 30 years in the food industry working for Kraft as a senior vice president of sales and marketing when he retired in 1995.

In 1999 at the age of 60, Mr. Harran realized his love for maple syrup and came back to Connecticut after retiring and living in Florida. He and his wife acquired a small farm in Litchfield and began making maple syrup. And if maple syrup wasn’t enough, Mr. Harran gets 40 tons of hay a year off the farm.
He works closely with Wamogo High School in Litchfield, where he is the chairman of the Ag-science advisory council.

As well as from the farm itself, its syrup can be found at Litchfield Hills Farm Fresh Market in Litchfield, which is open year round on Saturdays.

Brookside Farm II is located at 79 East Chestnut Hill Road in Litchfield. t is open for visits mid-February through March. Maple syrup is sold year-round, please call ahead at 860-567-3805 and 860-567-3890.

According to Jaime Smith, marketing and inspection representative for the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, technology has played an increasing role in how maple syrup producers are producing their maple syrup during the season.
“I think majority of producers are using more high-tech systems and more efficient production and reduced labor because they aren’t going around emptying buckets,” said Ms. Smith Monday.

MSPAC, Ms. Smith said, provides educational programs and being up against big producing states such as Vermont and Canada there is a lot of shared education that takes place.

Woodbury Sugar Shed, Woodbury

The Woodbury Sugar Shed on Washington Road in Woodbury is hoping for a good year, starting the maple syrup season at 4,000 taps, beginning this weekend through the first week of April.

Woodbury Sugar Shed does the traditional tapping with buckets on trees in Woodbury, Southbury, Roxbury and two trees in Durham. It also barters with private home owners for maple syrup.

“My father started this business, I’m one of four boys. We also have greenhouses; maple syrup is just one area of our businesses,” said Mike Berecz.

Questions are always welcome, and the shed is open to the public on weekends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. through March. Mr. Berecz recommends that people call to see if they are boiling since maple syrup is dependent on the weather (203-263-4550.

Woodbury Sugar Shed maple syrup can be found in Washington Food Market, Woodbury Floral Designs, La Bonne’s Market in Watertown and Woodbury and Southbury Food Mart in Southbury.

Sullivan Farm and Great Brook Sugar House, New Milford

At Sullivan Farm and Great Brook Sugar House in New Milford, this weekend is traditionally when it begins to tap the trees
“We have 1,700 trees in South Kent on a private property. We transport the sap back here in New Milford. We use a wood fire evaporator,” said Mark Mankin, executive director of the New Milford Youth Agency, which operates the farm and sugar house.
Maple syrup tours are offered during the season. Visitors receive a history lesson dating back to Colonial times.
Further explaining the process, timing is everything, holes for tapping can seal up and it is very important, Mr. Mankin explained, to be very careful when you tap.
“With the change in climate, you are glued to 15 different weather forecasts and projections—you try to anticipate the best you can,” said Mr. Mankin, referring to the right time to tap the trees.
If you are a commercial operation you really need longevity,” said Mr. Mankin.

The Great Brook Sugar House has been open to the public for 27 years and began with five trees. The maple syrup is sold out of the sugar house, at the farm stand, at The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford, The Smithy in New Preston and the Litchfield Market in Litchfield. The New Milford Youth Agency offers educational classes during the day and tours.
The Great Brook Sugar House is located at 140 Park Lane Road in New Milford. For more information, call 860-354-0047, or visit
West Hill Sugar House, New Hartford

West Hill Sugar House has about 500 taps on trees located in New Hartford and Burlington.

“My partner and I started this 10 to 12 years ago, boiled over an open fire. One thing led to another; we had a small evaporator, then a bigger one. We built a sugarhouse and expanded it,” said Jack Trumbull, co-owner of West Hill Sugar House with Tim Mandel.

Mr. Trumbull hopes to do taps in the trees this coming weekend, and 90 percent of the trees are sugar maples, with a few red maples.

“In this part of the country you usually have red maples and sugar maples,” said Mr. Trumbull.

Most of their trees, Mr. Trumbull said, are not roadside trees, and they run mainlines down to the side of the road where there are collection tanks that are then pumped into storage tanks.

“We’re probably the smallest example of a commercial operation that you can get,” said Mr. Trumbull. “We always try to have some sap boiling on the weekends, one-third of our business is customers that come to the sugar house.”

West Hill Sugar House is located at 525 West Hill Road in New Hartford. For more information, call 860-379-7312 or 860-379-9672. Calls may be made as early as 8 a.m.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Upcoming Events

At the Common Ground Coffee Shop  in Litchfield-February 20th-Nathan Day

At Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk- Stephen Bishop Feburary 20th

The Bacon Brothers-A concert to Benefit the American Red Cross Haitian Disaster Relief Fund-February 24th.

At the Warner in Torrington- The Play Doubt Febraury 20th-28th.  Also for the kids, Charlotte's Web Feb 20th-21st.

At The Hotchkiss School-Melvin Chen and Portlas Resident Quartet-February 19th (Free!)

At Geer Village in North Canaan, Robin O'Herin-(Free!)

At the Palace Theather in Waterbury- A Chorus Line February 26th-28th

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Day Cooking Projects

From The ktchn blog

If we know a storm is coming, we can stock up on key ingredients ahead of time, of course. But even if we find ourselves short a few ingredients, we can usually come up with something to make! Any excuse to turn on the oven will do.
1. Bread - The super easy no-knead bread is great for our weekly loaves, but sometimes we like to mix things up with a carefully crafted loaf of artisan bread. Kneading the dough, waiting for it to rise, and setting the finished loaf in the oven to bake are calming and meditative.

2. Braises - Dig through your freezer and you're bound to find something that can be browned, seasoned, and thrown in the oven to cook for a few hours! Here are a few of our favorite recipes.

3. Gnocchi and Other Pasta - While you're waiting for your braise to finish, why not make a batch of gnocchi to serve alongside? Shaping those little dumplings while watching the snow and keeping cozy next to the stove sounds like an excellent project! If gnocchi's not your style, you can try a batch of regular pasta instead.
4. Macarons - We've been meaning to try our hand at these delicate and notoriously finicky cookies for quite some time. They require a bit more planning than other projects, but the trade off should hopefully be well worth it.
5. Risotto - Whether you think risotto is labor intensive or not, it's a good one to attempt for the first time when you've got a free evening on your hands. It's also a good dish to make if you can get to the store - as long as you have some rice and some broth, you can throw in whatever other ingredients you have on hand.

What projects have you been saving for a snowy afternoon?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Upcoming Live Music Events

By Maria M. Sacco

Live music is alive and well in Litchfield County! Here is a listing of some events happening over the next two weeks. If you you have a favorite place, let us know!

At Common Ground Coffee Shop in Litchfield, on February 20th will be Nathan Day-music starts at 7PM

At The Hotchkiss School on February 19th, Music Guest Concert Series - Melvin Chen & the Portals Resident Quartet. Location: Esther Eastman Music Center/Katherine M. Elfers Hall7:00 PM - 9:00 PM.

Every Friday at the Cambridge Brew Pub in Torrington, it's live music and no cover charge!

At The Canterbury School in New Milford, February 18 Jazz Performance L. Michael Sheehy ’56 Choral Classroom at 8:00 PM.

Infinity Music Hall and Bistro have weekend performances, click here to go to their calander.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Year, New You…(And Some Sweetheart Deals)

From Rural Intelligence

Kathryn Matthews is a lifestyles writer based in New York City and Red Hook, Dutchess County. She frequently writes about travel, health, food and leisure for the New York Times, Town & Country and O Magazine.

On New Year’s Eve, you swore that THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT. You’d eat healthier. Exercise more. Refresh your look. Think positively. Breathe deeply. Relax.
Unfortunately, one tiny backslide snowballed…….(and we know how THAT story ends!)
Recommit to those resolutions—with your partner—just in time for the upcoming Chinese New Year (The Year of the Tiger), which, in 2010, begins on February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Who says resolve and romance can’t mix?
Especially when our region’s rich network of spas, wellness and fitness facilities means that there’s no shortage of expert guidance to feeling good or looking good—both inside and out. Many are offering couples-themed packages through Feb 14th or until end-month, making Valentine’s Day weekend the perfect time to take those first baby steps toward The New and Improved You.
Canyon Ranch

Where else can you get a complete physical evaluation, spend 50 minutes with a physician and enjoy five-star hotel accommodations? At Canyon Ranch’s renowned Integrative Health Center, a roster of board-certified doctors, health specialists and nutritionists work with you in a 100,000-square-foot Spa complex within a restored 1897 marble and brick Bellafontaine mansion, a replica of Louis XVI’s Petit Trianon. The 120-acre scenic grounds laced with trails are ideal for snow-shoeing or cross country-skiing.
Wednesday, February 10th to Sunday, February 14th; All Day

Looking to make heartfelt changes that benefit you and a loved one? This week, Canyon Ranch Lenox teaches practical strategies for heart-healthy living with its “Nourishing Your Heart” event. Resort guests will be privy to the latest heart research findings presented by a team of wellness experts, who will also address common heart-health concerns, as well as various body, mind and spirit approaches to lifelong cardiovascular health. In addition to nutrition and cardiovascular fitness, classes include meditation instruction; mastering the art of forgiveness; stress reduction through Traditional Chinese Medicine; and biofeedback.
When it comes to l’affaire du coeur, activities like Partner yoga or massages a deux encourage couples to get physical. Or they can book a “Sexual Health” consultation with a certified sex counselor or licensed therapist to address sexual satisfaction and intimacy issues, ranging from post-operative concerns to menopause and inhibitions.

Through March 17th: a 3-night stay in deluxe accommodations starts at $1,930 (per person) for double occupancy and includes all meals, taxes and gratuities.
Canyon Ranch

Lenox, MA; 800.742.9000 or 413.637.4100
Cranwell Resort & Spa

Built on the site of what was originally the Berkshire Hunt Club in 1926, the Cranwell Resort, situated on 380 rambling acres, is known for its 18-hole championship golf course. But golf isn’t the only attraction at this small luxury resort with 114 guest rooms, charmingly appointed among an eclectic ensemble of buildings on the property that include an 1894 Tudor mansion, a late 19th century cottage and carriage house and three townhouses.

Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are pleasurable ways to explore a snow-blanketed landscape at Cranwell, and 6.25 miles of groomed trails crisscross the property. If you’d rather cocoon, the 35,000-square-foot Spa, which offers over 50 spa services, has 16 treatment rooms, a full-service salon and a fitness center with certified trainers on hand. Some treatments are geared specifically toward men (Man’s Facial and Man-icure) and teens (the Cranberry Yuzu Sugar Scrub). And spa-themed packages abound, from day spa specials that include lunch at the cafe, to overnight “Spa Stays”.
SWEETHEART DEAL: Though Sunday, February 28th

During the month of February, Cranwell is offering a “Romance & Relaxation” getaway package. In addition to full use of the spa facility, couples will receive a 50-minute Swedish massage and a complimentary, 30-minute instructional session, where, under the guidance of a massage therapist, couples learn to massage each other.
Cranwell Resort & Spa

Lenox, MA; 800.272.6935 or 413.637.4364

Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health

If you seek spiritual renewal, emotional wellness or creative expression, consider starting your journey at Kripalu, the largest yoga and holistic retreat center in North America. Founded in 1983 and named after Hindu yoga master Swami Kripalvananda, the original Kripalu Center was a fully functioning ashram (with a spiritual leader and 350 residents) until 1994. Now an educational and retreat center, perched atop 150 wooded acres, program offerings focus on personal growth—weight loss, fitness, emotional recovery from trauma, thinking “outside the box”, among others—and “Healing Arts”, which emphasize body work and energy work. The good news: you don’t have to be a yogi—or even like it—to practice the “yoga of life”, a philosophy and lifestyle that strives for balance and mindfulness in movement and thought—on and off the mat.


Friday, February 12th-Monday, February 15 th (3 Nights)

If you’ve been feeling out of sync with your partner or spouse, two Kripalu programs over Valentine’s Day weekend— “Couples Bodywork: Thai for Two” and “Deepening Your Love: A Retreat for Couples”—encourage physical and emotional intimacy. “Couples Bodywork” is designed to promote relaxation and playfulness through meditation and touch. “Deepening Your Love” teaches communication skills that help resolve conflict and foster authentic connection. For details, see Couples Bodywork.

Friday, February 12th-Sunday, February 14th (2 Nights)

Women game to indulge—and celebrate—themselves over Valentine’s Day weekend can follow the lead of henna artist and designer Stephanie Rudloe, who devotes a two-day workshop (exclusively for women) to the ancient art of shringara, an Indian word meaning “the process of adornment”. Henna and chocolate are her love-inspiring weapons of choice. (PS: Considered an aphrodisiac, henna, a natural temporary dye, has been used for centuries to decorate the body for beauty, fertility and abundance.) In “Shringara Sensual Rituals of Beauty” you master henna body art, massage and henna-designed adornments, sampling Vosges chocolates all the while. Total cost: $429-$960, depending on accommodations.

Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health

Stockbridge, MA; 866.200.5203; 413.448.3152

SEVEN Salon Spa

On Route 7 (hence, the name “SEVEN”), smack dab in Norman Rockwell country, this cheery yellow Federal-style building with white trim exudes sweet New England charm. Upon entering, however, you are in an airy, loftlike space with nary a Victorian tchotke in sight. In 2006, co-owners Mark Johnson (creative director) and Maurice Peterson (general manager) converted the 3,000 square foot interior into an open, light-filled day salon with buffed wood floors, recessed lighting, muted colors and minimalist modern décor. The ground flour divides into hair and nail stations, and the retail shop carries Jane Iredale cosmetics and other select hair and skincare products, including an organic hair care line. Body treatments and massages take place upstairs, where there are three treatment rooms and two private steam baths. “Natural” is a recurrent theme here, from incorporating natural building materials, such as local stone and wood, to the “natural and free” styling philosophy of Johnson, whose roster of clients have included supermodels and celebrities.


Through Sunday, February 14th

Peterson and Johnson suggest the “Duet Massage” ($180, with 15% off through Valentine’s Day), where couples receive two individual 50-minute massages together as well as a complimentary steam bath.

Through Sunday, February 28th

And, if you discovered SEVEN by reading this article on Rural Intelligence, say so: you’ll receive 15% off when you choose two or more spa services (including facials, massages and / or body treatments).

Seven Salon Spa

Stockbridge, MA; 413.298.0117

FACE Stockholm

If you’re ready for a new face—and we mean one that doesn’t involve bruising, hideout recovery time or potentially disastrous consequences—a visit to FACE Stockholm is your ticket. Founded in Sweden in 1981, FACE is the brainchild of Gun Nowak, who owns and runs the cosmetic company with her daughter Martina Arfwidson. Nowak’s guiding philosophy adheres to a Swedish beauty ideal: keep makeup simple, clean and natural. Known for its incredibly diverse range of colors, the brand carries over 200 lip colors and 150-plus eye shadows, along with blushes, foundations, powders and a natural skincare line.

Overheard on a recent visit to FACE in Rhinebeck:

“Grow out your eyebrows; they’ll better frame and balance your face.”

“Crème blush is a must to coax out your cheekbones.”

“Use your fourth finger—it has the most padding—to apply makeup with short, quick strokes.”

That was makeup artist and educator Helen Andersson in action during a private consultation. After 20 years as a professional makeup artist to famous faces, such as Isabella Rossellini, Heidi Klum and Halle Berry, this native Swede is well-versed in the art of illusion. And it behooves you to take her advice. In a short time, Helen’s experienced eye and finesse with a makeup brush transformed less-than-perfect women—from an acne-plagued teenager, to a weathered 50-something—into confident swans, who sailed out the door that day, smiles on their faces.

On offer: a menu of makeup application services (that can also be custom-tailored), including makeup lessons and bridal services. While both Hudson and Rhinebeck stores carry the full range of FACE Stockholm makeup, skincare and bodycare, the Make Up School is exclusive to the Rhinebeck location.

Through Sunday, February 14th (Valentine’s Day), FACE is donating 5% of all sales to Doctors Without Borders to assist earthquake victims in Haiti.

Face Stockholm

Hudson, NY 518.822.9474

Rhinebeck, NY; 845.876.2200

Bodhi Holistic Spa

Helping people heal in a holistic, natural way inspired Melinda Macchiaroli, a massage therapist and yoga teacher, to open Bodhi Studio on Warren Street in 2004. Bodhi, a Sanskrit word that means “awakening” or “self realization”, embodies what Macchiaroli hopes are clients’ takeaway spa experiences. “Our treatments emphasize ancient healing practices, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, and we are also committed to using chemical-free products,” Macchiaroli says. You can consult with a naturopathic doctor, deep cleanse with colon hydrotherapy, detoxify in an infrared sauna, or opt for “face lift acupuncture” (facial rejuvenation without drugs or surgery). The boutique, located on the ground floor, carries natural products and organic clothing.

SWEETHEART DEALS: Through Sunday, February 14th

A special treatment available this week is the “Heart Opener”, a 30-minute Citron Sea Salt Scrub followed by a 60-minute therapeutic massage; $110.

The “Wellness Retreat Gift Certificate Special” includes 3 hours of head-to-toe treatments; $175.

Bodhi Holistic Spa

Hudson, NY; 518.828.2233

Rhinebeck Pilates

If you’ve been avoiding exercise because pumping iron (and fear of bulking up) isn’t your thing; you’re sporting a post-pregnancy potbelly; you’re recovering from an injury; or, you struggle with a bad back, Rhinebeck Pilates, run by owner and certified Pilates instructor Elaine Ewing, may be the solution easing you back into movement.

And, for the last time, Pilates isn’t just for women. Or for dancers. Or for elite athletes. It was, in fact, developed by German-born Joseph Pilates, a once-sickly child who trained as a wrestler, body builder, gymnast, boxer, diver and in the marital arts. In the early 1920s, he devised an eponymous series of exercises that came to be known as “Pilates” to strengthen, lengthen and tone the body with an emphasis on using core muscles and light resistance.

At the 1,000-square-foot studio, Ewing teaches all sessions on Gratz equipment, true to the original Joseph Pilates design, including the “reformer”, on which various exercises are done on cushioned board that glides back and forth on what resembles a metal bed frame, and the “Tower”, an elevated mat with attached springs and bars. In 2009, Ewings also became certified to teach Walk-ilates, ideal for improving walking and running biomechanics.

SWEETHEART DEAL: Friday, February 12th-Sunday, February 14th

It’s two-for-one: Recruit a partner to take a mat or tower Pilates class this Valentine’s Day weekend—and he or she can join you for free. Valentine’s Day gift certificates, from $100 (10 mat classes) to $240 (four duets together) are also available.

Rhinebeck Pilates

Rhinebeck, NY 845.876.5686

Haven Spa

Beautiful skin is the focus of this day spa, ensconced in a handsome Victorian in the heart of Rhinebeck village. For those looking to put their best face forward, Haven offers the latest in skincare technology, including microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and the Environ DF machine, which uses ultrasound and electrical current to promote the penetration of vitamins and antioxidants into skin. Facials are designed to address specific goals or issues, from rejuvenation and anti-aging, to acne and rosacea. The menu of spa services also includes massages and body treatments, like an exfoliating lemon chiffon body polish to cellulite therapy.

SWEETHEART DEAL: Through Sunday, February 14th

With the purchase of two gift certificates, Haven offers 50% off the third.
Haven Spa

Rhinebeck, NY; 845.876.7369

—Kathryn Matthews

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Collinsville Baking Company: Just...Go.

by James Simpkins of CT Green Scence

Three years of my life has been spent mixing, shaping, and baking bread. The four ingredients common to leavened breads—flour, salt, yeast and water—have near-sacred qualities to me, and the quirky, often- fervent types of people who create it hold a special place in my heart. Artisan bakers, like great bread, are hard to find, and to be treasured when you do. In the tiny town of Pine Meadow (just “up river” from the old locale) along Route 44, you can find both.

No, ironically enough, the Collinsville Baking Company is not located in Collinsville.Quick story: I first became acquainted with the Collinsville Baking Company when my wife and I found out that we would be moving to Canton from Boston. I started looking for work and discovered that CBC (still at old location) was looking for a baker. I spoke with Gail on the phone, emailed my resume and went in a worked for a night to try things out (a common practice in cooking/baking known as a stage). I loved their products and was appreciative of the rare mixture of passion and ability that was so evident in how Gail worked. I did not end up working there (I cost a lot), but I had found the best bread between the Farmington River Valley and New York City. ANYwho…back to the current CBC...

Greg Histed and Gail Case, partners at the latest incarnation of the Collinsville Baking Company, brought back this after leaving the previous location on Bridge St. in Collinsville sometime in-between period was sad—check that, nightmarish—for us loyal fans, but worth the wait. I am positive there is a great story behind the location change, and I would ask, except I really do not care a lick: The bread is what matters; and the chocolate chip scones; and the chocolate croissants (just to name a few).

CBC makes thirteen types of breads on a regular basis, with some specialty creations from time to time, especially around holidays. While I will not list them all here, check out their website for a list. Breads aren’t the only products worth going in for. Their pastries are all produced in-house and won’t set you back a paycheck to try them out. For me, the offering of numerous types of biscotti is remarkable (try the fig!) and the coffee cake is textbook; not too sweet, and with the proper swirl of buttery, cinnamon-walnut perfection in the middle. A recently purchased coffee cake (I am a big fan) at Whole Foods had a decent crumble topping, but the cake was too spongy and no swirl. What? How can you have a coffee cake without the swirl?

Another personal favorite are the bialys. A cousin of the bagel stemming from Bialystok, Poland, they are virtually unknown in my native Ohio, but are a New York City must-have. Unlike bagels, they aren’t traditionally boiled before baking and lack the hole in the middle. Instead, there is a small depression, usually filled with onions (like the CBC version), but sometimes with poppy seeds or garlic. CBC’s bialys are a fine representation with a nice crust, a proper chew, and seeping with baked onion. Not a breath mint, but freakin’ awesome. Like any bakery, you want to go early as production is done overnight. However, if you, too, are not a morning person, remember that a few minutes in a hot oven does wonders for bialys and breads alike. (NO microwaves, please)

Other mentionables include the stuffed breads (great for hors d’oeuvres or potlucks!) in several varieties, an abundance of homemade spreads with the Gorgonzola at the top of the list; even if you are one of those “I don’t like blue cheese” people, you’ll like this. Since the cheese is blended with other ingredients, the powerful tang of the Gorgonzola is tapered to suit more palettes than not, and it is a pure wonder over broccoli.
In case you are wondering, there isn't a preservative in the whole place--anywhere. Soups, breads, dips, cookies, cakes, tortes, etc.---all made like you would (like to be able to) at home.

I could go on and on about this place…really; but I will stop here. As the title of my post suggests, you should just…go. You will go back.

The Collinsville Baking Company
8 Wickett St., #Y
Pine Meadow, CT 06061
(860) 238-7691

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February Real Estate Update

PPG publishes a monthly real estate update newsletter, the link to it is

This Newsletter is full of interesting and useful information that I think you will enjoy whether you are a buyer, seller, homeowner, or renter.

This month's issue includes topics such as:

"Sell Faster When You Understand The Buyers Mindset";

"Exterior Remodeling Proves Best Bang for Your Buck";

"Homebuyer Tax Credit Boosts Economy";

"Is Your Credit Score as High as You Think?";

"What To Take And What To Leave Behind When Downsizing";

Plus a roundup of January real estate activity as well as much more advice and information.

I hope you enjoy this monthly newsletter. If you have any comments, please e-mail them to us. Or, if you would like to see a certain topic covered in future months, let us know that too!

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Green Rebate

Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced that $3.4 million in stimulus funds would be allotted to an energy efficient rebate program. The program that began last Monday allows consumers to receive a $50 to $100 rebate with the purchase of an EnergyStar appliance.

The rebate covers purchases of clothes washers, refrigerators, freezers and room air conditioners units. Consumers can also get up to $500 for purchasing energy efficient central air conditioning units.