Tag Archives: Lake compounce

What’s “The Best” According To CT Mag

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Courtesy of Connecticut Magazine

It’s that time of year again, and we’re not talking “unofficial end of summer” or “back to school and the regular work grind” time. But rather Connecticut Magazine’s 17th annual “Best Of” issue, the one where editors (with some reader input) rate the best places to eat, play and shop.

If you are in the Hartford area or don’t mind a bit of drive, lucky you! You have lots of “best of” choices to savor.

Let’s start by shopping!

Hartford’s own Stackpole Moore Tryon Tuesdaysstackpole was named best when it came to “Women’s Wear” while Lux Bond & Green, with several locations in the area, was judged “Best Fine Jewelry.”

West Hartford’s Kimberly Boutique was voted “Best Casual Jewelry.”

In the “Fun and Leisure” category, Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland was judged  “Best Action Park” and Crocodile Cove at Lake Compounce in Bristol  “Best Water Park.”

“Best Beer Garden” went to East Side Restaurant in New Britain, with On20 in Hartford named the “Best Draft Cocktail” award. And speaking of drinks, City Steam in Hartford was deemed “Best Happy Hour”  while Vinted in West Hartford was named  “Best Wine Bar.”

Middletown’s Oddfellows Playhouse garnered the “Best Children’s Theater” award with “The Kate” in Old Saybook named best small concert venue. Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford was named “Best Large Concert Venue.”

woodntapIn the “Food and Drink” category, Plan B with locations in West Hartford and beyond was named “Best Burger” and “Sweet Maria’s ” in Waterbury “Best Cake.” Rein’s in Vernon was named “Best Deli” and Dottie’s Diner in Waterbury and Woodbury “Best Doughnuts.” (watch for A La Carte online and in the Courant to read about those award-winning doughnuts and beyond!)

Doogies in Newington was named “Best Hot Dog” and in the “Best Ice Cream” category it was Arethusa Dairyarethusa11 Farm in Litchfield.

Wood ‘n Tap, with several locations including Hartford, was tapped  as having the “Best Nachos”  and Sixpence Pie company with locations in Southington and New Haven named, what else but “Best Pie.”  Bartaco, with several locations including one in West Hartford, grabbed the “Best Tacos” award and as far as “Best Wings,”  it was “J. Timothy’s in Plainville.

The “Best Consignment Furniture” went to Middlebury Consignment with RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison named as “Best Independent Bookstore.”

Over the Moon in Avon won “Best Kids Boutique” and when it came to “Best Toys,” the award went to Kiddly Winks in Canton.

shrineMohegan Sun and Foxwoods split awards in the “Casinos ” category with Foxwoods being named “Best Fine Dining” for its Paragon Restaurant.” Foxwoods Grand Theater was named  “Best Large Entertainment Venue” and its Shrine named  “Best Nightclub”

Mohegan Sun took the “Best Small Entertainment Venue” with its Cabaret Theater and “Best Shopping”  at its The Shops at Mohegan Sun.

For the complete list go here.



Camp Courant Kicks Off 120th Anniversary

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courantcamp2courantcamp3As everyone wrestles with winter, there was a group over at Arch Street Tavern Wednesday who had their collective minds set on something else. Camping.

“I can’t wait till summer when the buses pull up to Camp Courant and the kids pile out,” said Camp Courant executive director Josh Reese at the fundraiser marking the kick-off for the camp’s 120th anniversary.

The Farmington facility, the largest free day camp in the nation, provides free summer camping programs to Hartford youths.

Among those at the fundraiser was board chairman Gene Sheehan, the PR king from Sullivan & LeShane who will be stepping down from the board this year.

“I’ve been on for 17 years and we have a reenergized, vibrant organization,” said Sheehan who has been on the board for 17 years and served as president for the past several years.  “We hacourantcamp1ve come full circle. It’s time to pass it on to the next generation.”

Other topics of discussion were the pending Valentine’s Day holiday and Northeast Utility manager Tom Dorsey had a love story to share.

“I was named after Tommy Dorsey,” he confessed about his name that is the same as the famed 1940s musician and bandleader. “My mother and father met at the Lake Compounce ballroom were Tommy Dorsey was playing,” he explained, referring to the Bristol park ballroom that in it heyday was a renowned band/dance venue

Planning The Weekend Hartford? So Many Choices, So Little Time

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Momentum picks up as mid-September arrives and that means weekends and beyond  thatcalendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1] are full of good choices.

In the Hartford area that includes the mother of all fairs in these parts, the Big E in West Springfield. It opens Friday and runs through Sept. 29 and beyond the states’ exhibits entertainment, animals, rides and a lot of look at, there is the food that this year promises to be as full of calories and as decadent as years past. Gates open at 10 a.m. Tickets range from $10 to $20 depending on the day you attend and whether an adult or child and parking is $10. For information on the schedule, online discounts and directions go to www.thebige.com.

Calling all politicos or anyone who loves to hear politicians talk. It’s  Crocodile Club luncheon time again on Friday at the landmark Lake Compounce ballroom.

Stacroco2rted in 1875 by then Lake Compounce owner Gad Norton as a ‘thank you’ to legislators who delivered a little favor he needed, the annual luncheon has morphed in recent years into a fundraiser for the New England Carousel Museum. But what has stayed the same is the lunch menu, that includes lamb, corn on the cob and warm beer, and the list of guests which includes a who’s who of the state’s most well-known politicians and political wanna-bes. Tickets are $50 a person with a social hour beginning at noon (and free carousel rides if you so choose)  followed by lunch and speeches. Information: 860-585-5411.

What nicer way to enjoy one of the last weekends of summer than to take a cruise and listen to some really good jazz. It is possible on Sunday when the Hartford Jazz Society hosts its 52nd annual Jazz Cruise from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. A host of musicians including bassist Nat Reeves ‘All Star Quintet’ and ‘The Don Palma Sextet’ and vocalist Linda Ransom will provide the entertainment on the cruise that sales from the state pier on the Connecticut River in Haddam to Long Island Sound and back.  Bring your own picnic basket, drinks and cooler. Cost is $65 a person. Adults only, no pets. Information: hartfordjazzsociety.com

 Alshillstead3o on Sunday, you could head to the hill as in Hill-stead Museum in Farmington which will host its annual Dinner On The Hill Farm-To-Table benefit beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Russell Pryzbek of Russell’s Creative Global Cuisine will be overseeing a one-of-a-kind menu that features Connecticut grown products, artisan breads and wine and cocktails. Tickets are $150  per person with proceeds benefiting the museum’s Farmers Market and its companion education and community programs. Information: hillstead.org.

Let’s make the weekend a couple of days longer this week, shall we? 

On Monday at 6 p.m. Comcast Business and the CT Restaurant Association welcomes celebrity chef Robert Irvine at The Society Room for a dinner and program.

Annbm8d on Tuesday, the New Britain Museum of American Art holds its annual “The Art of Wine & Food. ”

Honorary Chair is Gesine Bullock-Prado, sister is actress Sandra Bullock, is the author of the memoir “My Life from Scratch” and the cookbooks ‘Sugar Baby,’ ‘Pie It Forward’ and ‘Bake It Like You Mean It.’   She will be joined by many of the region’s most well-regarded chefs from various restaurants serving small plates paired with an array of impressive wines.  The evening will also feature live and silent auctions. 

All  funds raised will benefit the Museum’s Family and Educational Programming. Tickets begin at $175. Information: nbmaa.org

It’s On The Racks, CT Magazine’s 2013 Best of CT

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Courtesy of Connecticut Magazine

That time of the year again folks. The September issue of Connecticut Magazine is out and so is its coveted   “Best of Connecticut” list for 2013.

 The Hartford area has fared pretty well when it comes to who made the statewide “best of” list in categories including fun, dining, gift shops, spas and more, all part of the 16th annual edition compiled by magazine editors.

The Hartford area made its biggest mark when it comes to dining. Manchester’s Cosmic Omelet was named best “eggs” in the breakfast category with Daybreak Coffee Roasters in Glastonbury and JoJo’s Coffee Roasting Co. in Hartford making the list for best “coffee bars.”


Hartford Courant

Firebox in Hartford was named best “farm-to-table” in the menu/cuisine category while the city’s Trumbull Kitchen was named best for its “gluten free” menu.

Tulmeadow Farm in Simsbury made the best “ice cream” list while Hartford DISH made it into one of the new categories, “Dog-Friendly Dining.”  But it’s not what you think.

The category highlights restaurants who may not serve Rover his own entrees tableside, but the family dog “is welcome to enjoy the atmosphere and a table scrap or two at the outdoor seating area on warm sunny days.”

The landmark Rein’s Deli in Vernon once again named best “deli” in the dining out “ETC.” category. Named best “Greasy Spoon” was Middletown’s Mo’s Midtown.


Hartford Courant

Best new chef is Hartford On20’s Jeffrey Lizotte and best pastry chef, Millwright’s Kristin Eddy in Simsbury. Best tearoom went to Hartford’s Tisane and in the best “diners” category; Corey’s Catsup & Mustard, O’Rourke’s in Middletown and Parkside Café in Bristol all got the magazine’s nod.

Mondo in Middletown made the best “pizza” list and when it came to the best “neighborhood restaurant,” Hartford’s First & Last Tavern fit the best bill.

In the sandwich variations category, Plan B burger Bar with many locations including West Hartford and Simsbury made the “burger” grade, and on the best “barbecue” list, Smoking with Chris in Southington also pleased the editors.


Hartford Courant

The list also includes a “Family” activity category and in the Hartford area Riverfront Miniature Golf in Farmington was a best place to go along with the Brownstone Discovery Park in Portland and Crocodile Cove Water Park at Lake Compounce in Bristol.

In the antiques category, shops including Antiques on the Farmington in Canton, the Flea Circus in Canton and Irreplaceable Artifacts in Middletown were all award winners.

And as far as services, Vinnie’s Jump & Jive community dance hall in Middletown was cited as an award winning place to learn how to dance.

For the entire list go here.

GOPs And DEMs Share Croc Club Stage

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There was 150 pounds of lamb, five bushels of corn, 6 flats of tomatoes, 15 cases of beer and a couple of feet deep worth of political rhetoric as Republicans and Democrats made nice to each other at the 131st Crocodile Club luncheon at Lake Compounce Friday.

The annual event, a kind of pre-election bipartisan group hug now sponsored by the New England Carousel Museum, attracted about 200 people including a healthy handful of politicians like U.S. Rep Chris Murphy who is running for U.S. Senate and isn’t having a real good week.

While the media anxiously awaited his late arrival with questions about reports of a once-upon-a-time foreclosure and late rent payments, his opponent, Republican Linda McMahon breezed in at exactly noon with a smile on her face and renewed confidence about her chances of beating the veteran legislator.

“I think some serious issues have been raised,” said McMahon about the reports regarding Murphy and past financial problems. “I think he needs to set some records straight.”

Democrats including U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal, who like McMahon left before lunch was served (he, by the way, was celebrating his 25th year of attending the soiree), steered clear of the Murphy controversy. And as far as First Lady and Hartford Arts Council CEO Cathy Malloy and her reported rant in Charlotte earlier this week about the woes of public life and her s—-y car?

“I’m not going to comment,” he said.

The lunch was a traditional one, a meal that brought back good memories for Carrie Norton, whose late husband and former Bristol mayor Stretch Norton, had been honored just an hour earlier by the city. Norton, whose family established the Crocodile Club luncheon in the 1800s to “thank” legislators at the time, recalled the days when the political powwow was a “no women allowed” event.

Stretch, whose family owned the park until the mid 1980s, changed that, according to his widow.

“It was the mid 1960s and until then women had to meet downstairs while the men were up here,” she said as she waited for lunch in the park’s historic ballroom. “We belonged up here, too.”

Earlier Friday, a portion of roadway adjacent to the park on the Bristol/Southington line was renamed 1846 Stretch Norton Way in his honor and to mark the year the park actually opened

Emcee for  the lunch was WTIC radio personality Ray Dunaway who spent the cocktail hour dreaming up political pokes and jokes for the program that included speeches by an array of politicians.

“There’s a lot to mine from out there,” he said as he surveyed the room. “This luncheon is the brief respite from the hatred that is sure to follow as the election season gets serious,” said Dunaway. “But for today we are going to keep it all in good spirit.”


For more pictures go to: http://cour.at/RBiK0O



2012 Best of CT Announced

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It’s that time of year again when Connecticut Magazine announces its coveted “Best of Connecticut”  list.

The Hartford area did not fare badly with some repeat winners and some new ones as well, according to the list in the September issue.

Shady Glen in Manchester was deemed best cheeseburger; Wood-n-Tap best burger sliders; Grants Restaurant in West Hartford , best chocolate cake,  and Close Harbour Seafood in Southington, best Manhattan clam chowder.

Also in the foods category, Jojo’s in downtown Hartford was deemed best coffee bar, best crab cakes when to Carmen Anthony’s Steakhouse in Waterbury (although the crab cakes are available at all locations including Wethersfield location,) best Jewish deli, Rein’s New York-Style Deli and best diner, O’Rourke’s in Middletown.

On20 in downtown Hartford was deemed Best Bird’s Eye View at Dinner, Best Fried Chicken went to Greer’s in Bristol, and Best Guacamole, Besito in West Hartford. UConn Dairy Bar got the nod for Best Ice Cream and Hartford’s Carbone’s for best Caesar Salad. Best Cobb Salad went to Max Downtown in Hartford while Hartford’s  Salute won Best Side Dish for its mac’n cheese.

When it came to drinking, winners were Best Bloody Mary, Max Fish in Glastonbury ; Best Margarita, Coyote Blue in Middletown; the Cottage Restaurant in Plainville for Best Manhattan; Thomas Hooker Brewing for best Connecticut beer, and McKinnon’s West Hartford for Best Irish Pub.

Rooftop 120 was named Best Outdoor Bar, Sliders in Plainville for Best Sports Bar and Fleming’s in West Hartford for Best Wine By The Glass.

In the attractions category, Hartford’s  Connecticut Science Center won Best Indoor Family Amusement and Lake Compounce in Bristol, Best Outdoor Family Amusement.  New Britain Museum of American Art was named best Art Museum and Cinestudio in Hartford, Best Independent Cinema. New Britain Rock Cats was named Best Night at the Park, Artisan’s Marketplace in Plainville as Best Crafts Gallery, West Hartford Center as Best Destination Shopping, and Lux, Bond & Green in West Hartford,  Best Fine Jewelry Store.


For the complete list go to: http://bit.ly/U8DP6J