Tag Archives: Mohegan Sun

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.



DWTS Derek Hough Comes To Connecticut With His Book

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derekHe’s the guy most women would say “that’s the partner I want if I were a contestant on “Dancing with The Stars.” Blonde good guy with a ton of talent and even more patience, Derek Hough has won five “mirror ball” trophies on ABC’s popular dance competition reality show. But now the 29-year-old Emmy winning choreographer, dancer, singer and actor has a new accomplishment to add to the list, author. Taking the Lead: Lessons From a Life in Motion,” is his first book, one that is half autobiography and half self-help book, focusing on how trying, facing uncertainty, being fearless and seeing opportunity rather than defeat can change a life. Hough will be meeting fans and signing copies of the book at RJ Julia in Madison on Thursday, Aug. 7 and at Mohegan Sun on Friday, Aug. 8. Known for his creativity, his exuberance and his seemingly non-stop motion, he was heading to Connecticut and sitting still when he Spilled the Beans with Java.

Q: After reading the book, you are either the greatest guy who has ever lived or someone who can give everything, even your shortcomings, a positive spin. Which is it?

A: The second one, I hope. So the thing is I just came off tour and hadn’t really stopped in seven months, and when I came off it, I had post-tour blues. I had this massive energy shift so I was in this weird place and read my book to bring me back. It was almost like I wrote it for the place I was in. My book has lessons that are meant to learned and relearned, and I know I will keep going back to that what I wrote when I get down. I am far from perfect and that is all in the book. But the point is I wrote something that was more than a commercial venture. It is what I learned and they are lessons others can tap into.

Q: I know you are friends with Tony Robbins and wondered if you see yourself following his path by becoming a motivational speaker and all that goes with that profession?

A: I could possibly see it as a career path. I never really consciously thought about being a motivator or self-help adviser. It just kind of happened. I kept journals for years and every time something happened and I learned from it I would write it down. As I began touring with DWTS I would meet people and the questions would come and I would talk with people and it all connected somehow. I reflected on my ups and downs and then was approached about doing a book and I realized I had already written it.

Q: But you do have another career path these days, a show on HGTV? I don’t remember you talking about your constructions kills in the book!

A: I know. I am no good with a hammer and neither is Mark Ballas. The name of the show is “Mark & Derek’s Excellent Flip.” Mark and I had bought a house and decided to flip it and HGTV heard about it and asked if we would do a show and we thought, ‘sure why not?’ It was all pretty funny to us because neither of us have any real skills. But I love the smell of wood, I love watching something being built and as a kid, I couldn’t stay away from construction sites. It’s a four episode series and we just finished filming the first one and people were actually pretty impressed at what we did know. And really, redoing a house is so much like DWTS. You take something that’s not very good but is full of potential and you say ‘let’s do it’ and you make it better.

Q: So this all begs the question, will you be on DWTS next season?

A: I don’t know yet. We are still figuring it out.

Q: If they offered you any partner to get you to commit, who would be the gal to seal the deal?

A: Megan Fox

Q: Are you seeing anyone?

A: No. I am available.

Q: Would she have to know how to dance?

A: I won’t lie. I think there is something attractive about a girl that can dance. I veered away from it in past relationships but I think it is something I would want.

Q: You talk at length about being bullied as a child. Do you ever want to call those guys and say ‘look at me now?’

A: I don’t. When I reflect on those times I have such empathy and sympathy for people who have to be mean like that or hurt somebody to feel worth something. Those kind of people, clearly there is something going on inside of them. I just moved on and never dwelled on it. I just learned from it.

Q: If you could dance with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

A: Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. I would love to do a trio with them and then pick their brains about how they did what they did.

Q: Do you have any goals before you hit that “30 years old” benchmark?

A: Spend more time outside. As a hobby I love being outside and love doing things that give me a rush like jumping off cliffs. My plan is to definitely do more.


Lionel Richie ‘Truly’ Coming To Mohegan

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He had us dancing on the ceiling and all night long and now he is coming to Connecticut.

Singer. songwriter, producer and the guy who helps us fall in and out of love will be at Mohegan Sun Saturday with his “All the Hits All Night Long” tour, also featuring CeeLo Green.

The 65-year-old was “truly” funny and sweet and serious as he Spilled the Beans with Java here.

CT Moms Score With Jake Owen At Mohegan

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It’s a story that just goes to show you never know who is eavesdropping on conversations between gal pals.

Three Connecticut moms who were kicking back at Mohegan Sun not only ended up with quality time with country music artist Jake Owen, but along the way, may have also become country music fans, according to People magazine.

Read the story here.

Worst Kept ‘Bachelorette’ Secret Airing June 2

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bach (1)After months of keeping mum because of “confidentiality agreements,” and despite the fact that everyone knew the ABC reality show “The Bachelorette” had done an episode in Connecticut, two of the places that are being featured are now announcing they are part of the June 2 episode of the reality show.

This season’s bachelorette, Andi Dorfman, in one group date and two one-on-one dates, found her way to Mohegan Sun where the damsel looking for soulmate kind of love (after the dump by The Bachelor’s Juan Pablo, but that’s a different show) rappelled down the hotel, ate at BALLO Italian Restaurant there,  played a basketball game against some WNBA All Stars at the arena and went to a concert in MIST featuring country artist Jon Pardi.

And then the action shifted to  the 1776 Griswold Inn in Essex where, according to the approved release, “Andi will????????? go to the iconic Connecticut establishment for a very special one-on-one dinner with a lucky suitor.”

Episode airs June 2 at 8 p.m. EST.

A Weekend Of Crystals, Innovative Women and Taste Of History

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The weather is supposed to be warmer (we hope!) over the next few days so getting out should be a gentle spring breeze this calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]weekend.

On Thursday, the CT Technology Council will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its “Women of Innovation” awards program.

This year’s list of 59 nominated women  includes researchers, educators, engineers, managers, and entrepreneurs who work in biotech, pharmaceuticals, software, computer hardware, advanced materials, medical deinnovavices, and Information technology.

High school, undergraduate and graduate students who have demonstrated extraordinary and unique achievements in their technology studies disciplines are also among the finalists. The winner in the Youth Innovation and Leadership category will receive a $4,000 scholarship from Covidien, one of the event’s presenting sponsors.

For information go here.

Don’t forget about the kids!

The Commerford Kids Fun Fair and Zoo will be at the XL Center in Hartford  March 29 and 30, starting at 10 a.m. The event includes rides, games and a chance to interact with animals including elephants and camels. Admission is $15. Rides and other vendors inside the show are an additional cost.

Free children’s coupons are available at local businesses or at front box office during event. Information: www.commerfordzoo.com or 860-491-3421.

On Saturday, the Easter Seals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut will host its 27th annual crystalball2Crystal Ball at the Marriott Hartford Downtown. The event will feature Jeff Calhoun, son of former UConn coach Jim Calhoun, as the keynote speaker.

Dave Bedard, Senior Managing Director and CFO of New York Life Investments and his wife Ellen, are Honorary Corporate Co-Chairs.  Joseph Zubretsky, Senior Executive Vice-President, National Businesses of Aetna is serving as Honorary Corporate Vice-Chair and Bill & Sandy Selig are serving as Honorary Committee Co-Chairs.

Proceeds will benefit the organization’s Autism Initiative.

Foreaster information go to EasterSeals.com or call 860-271-0600.

Speaking of Easter,  a sure sign of spring is the arrival of the Easter Bunny. He will be alive, well and receiving visitors at Westfarms Mall beginning March 28. The Easter bunny will be at the mall Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the Easter season.

Make-A-Wish® Connecticut will celebrate its annual “Evening of Wishes” Gala on March 29 at the Mohegan Sun.

The mission of Make-A-Wish is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conSierraditions.

The evening will feature music, dinner, dancing and exciting live and silent auction items to bid on. About 600 guests are expected to honor the event’s special guest, Wish Kid Sierra. Sierra’s granted wish by the way, to visit “Harry Potter Land” in London.

For information on the gala go here.

On Sunday, take a trip to space in a space craft simulator , just part of the New England Air Museum’s annual Space Expo  from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Exhibits include demonstrations and hands-on activities, such as rocket building, designing a mission patch, donning a real space suit, meeting R2D2 and more.

Among the exhibits at the event are UTC Aerospace, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and the Aldrich Astronomical Society. NASA astronaut Daniel Burbank will also be featured. Information: 860-623-3305 and www.neam.org

Extend the weekend to Monday because you don’t want to miss the Amistad Center for Art &amis1 Culture’s  annual”Taste of History” at the Wadsworth Atheneum beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Popular chef/restaurant owner Billy Grant will be honored at the event that celebrates black history with art, food, music and more.

Information: amistadartandculture.org or call 860-838-4122.



Flower Show, Parade Plans And More this Weekend

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1] Had enough snow? There is hope.

Three acres, yes three acres of spring and summer are a short drive away as the Connecticut Convention Center welcomes the  “33rd annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show.”

The show, which opens Thursday and continues through Sunday, features 20 gardens created by professional landscape designers and nonprofit organizations.

This year’s  theme is “Backyard Paradise.”

There will also be the  Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut’s 2014 Advanced Standard Flowerfshow Show with its judged entries and hundreds of displays and activities and aisles of fresh flowers, plants, garden ornaments, gardening books, patio furniture, ornaments and more for purchase. Among the guest speakers will be Baroness Maureen Haseley-Jones, also known as “The English Lady.”

Planning your own springtime plantings? People can bring a 1/2 cup of soil to the UConn Co-op booth at the show for free soil testing.

Information: ctflowershow.com

Alsrawlogo82x62[1]o on Thursday, it’s Creative Cocktail Hour night at Real Art Ways on Arbor Street in Hartford. Music, art, dancing and the chance to unwind are all part of the popular event.

Information: realartways.org

Get your book and author fix  on Friday and Saturday.

Mbookohegan Sun will be the place where more than 70 bestselling and award-winning authors will converge Friday and Saturday for “The Big Book Getaway, ” presented by The Mark Twain House and Museum. Featured speakers include Hallmark Channel’s Debbie Macomber; author and media personality Dr. Ruth Westheimer; political humorist P.J. O’Rourke; former CNN news journalist Kitty Pilgrim; plus Sarah Addison Allen, Pete Hamill, Charlotte Rogan, Eloisa James, Jane Green, Susan Conley and several others. Many different genres including memoir, history, military, travel, health, mystery, romance, theatre, fiction and non-fiction will be represented. Guests will have an opportunity to hear authors on the main stage and in concurrent break-out sessions.

Ticket information: mohegansun.com

Oh the snow, snow  ,snow and the cabin fever,  cabin fever, cabin fever.

Deal better with both by heading over to Lyman Orchards in Middlefield . WinterFest[1]

On Saturday and Sunday  the place will hold its 42nd annual Winterfest, an outdoor extravaganza featuring snow tubing, ice carving, sleigh rides, husky sled dog rides, food samplings, and the making of sugar-on-snow with Ct maple syrup.

The Winterfest is open both days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Information: lymanorchards.com


Nothing like a parade to get the spirits up. Even if it is still a few weeks away. parade_opt

On Sunday beginning at 1 p.m., head over to the Irish American Home Society in Glastonbury where the 2014 grand marshal and person of the year for this year’s Greater
Hartford St. Patrick’s Day parade will honored.

Beverly Concannon will be this year’s parade marshal and Dr. Pauline Olsen is Person of the Year in the annual parade that this year is held on March 15 beginning at 11a.m.

Sunday’s reception includes a buffet.  Tickets are $25.

Information: irishamericanparade.com





Food/Wine And The Grapevine At Mohegan Sun WineFest

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winefest5Oh yes, there was fine food ranging from cilantro Gremolata skirt steak and smoked lamb belly bacon  to fried chicken and lamb bourguignon,  and fine wines from Francis Coppola, J Lohr, Moet and Signorello at the 11th annual Mohegan Sun WineFest .

And there were celebrity chefs who were more like celebrity couples this year, with the well-known cooking personalities showing off their significant others at the three-day food and winefest1wine extravaganza.

Among the well-known peeps to see at Saturday’s sold-out Celebrity Chef Dine Around were Food Network’s Robert Irvine and wife Gail Kim (aka wrestler and fitness model La Felina), pastry chef and Sandra Bullock sis Gisine Bullock-Prado and husband, Ray Prado, and Terrance Brennan and girlfriend, Judy Lipton.

“This is a great event,” said Irvine. “It is one of my favorites and the people at Mohegan make it so easy for us,” said the “Restaurant: Impossible” host who was serving up Hudson Valley duck with preserved confit and py lentils.

Thewinefest2 (2) casino was more than hopping as crowds headed to ballroom and VIP areas for bourbon tastings, grand tastings, the dine around  and elite cru tastings, all providing the chance to break the dreaded winter cabin fever and get out of the frigid cold.

“It certainly is nicer in here,” said celebrity chef Donatella Arpaia, one of the event veterans who not only provided a cooking demonstration but also served up her signature meatballs at the dine around later in the day. “I think I have been part of this for eight or nine years and it’s one of the better ones I do participate in,” said Arpaia, one of several of the celebrity chefs who are veterans of the annual food and dining extravaganza.

Among the many celebrity chefs at the event were Kim Canteenwalla, who had a secret to share, He is planning a restaurant in West Hartford.

“We are still working on it but I have always wanted a place there,” said Cateenwalla, well-winefest3 (2)known for developing food and beverage venues at five-star resorts and co-founder of Blau & Associates.  His wife, Elizabeth Blau, hails from West Hartford, but that was all Cateenwalla wanted to share.

“It will be an American cuisine-themed restaurant but I can’t say anything else yet,” he grinned as he went back to preparing his charred octopus with roasted fingerling potatoes.

A not-so-secret secret making the grapevine was that very outgoing WFSB personality Scot Haney is turning 50 soon and is planning a very public celebration.

Haney is holding a birthday party on March 1 at Glastonbury Hills Country Club where he will turn twinefest12he landmark birthday into a fundraiser for the Chanel 3 kids Camp.

Among the special guests at the event will be WDRC radio personality Brad Davis who coincidentally, is also celebrating a landmark birthday around the same time. Davis will be in Florida celebrating his 80th birthday but plans to fly back for an overnighter to help Haney raise money for the good cause.

And speaking of radio personalities,  WTIC 96.5 FM radio personality Gary Craig was doing a bit of glowing at the dine around and it had nothing to do with the hundreds of wines being served.

It was apparently because he made the “pool.”

See Craig, who seriously dabbles in art and acting when not on the air, appears in the blockbuster “American Hustle” with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale.

And while his spoken lines are on the editing room floor, his appearance as a mobster in a bar scene is intact and he found out he is eligible for residuals when the Oscar-nominated film goes DVD.

“Make sure you watch the bar scene when you see the movie,” he advised. “You can’t miss me.”



‘Undercover Bald Boss Bozsum’ On CBS Friday

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undercover1 (1)undercover2You might want to tune in CBS at 8 p.m. Friday. Mohegan Sun’s well-known former tribal council chairman and now council member, Bruce ‘Two Dogs’ Bozsum is going undercover  as “Sam”on  ‘Undercover Boss.”

Bozsum will be undercover at two properties, Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania, and don’t be surprised if you don’t recognize the guy. That signature head of hair, well, he is unrecognizable to the employees he meets with as part of the show. But his hair is back and Bozsum offers a sneak peek at what’s to come when he Spilled the Beans with Java.

Q: How much convincing did it take for you to do the show?

A: Not much. I am a huge fan of “Undercover Boss” so when the show called at the beginning of summer we talked about the offer and I said ‘yes.’ I was excited to do it.

A: But part of the show is the fact that bosses sometimes get not so good surprises when it comes to finding out what is really going on down in the trenches. Weren’t you a little bit afraid of what you would find?

A: I have always been pretty involved and down on the floor when it comes to our business and I already knew how employees feel about us and about me.  I knew we would find imperfections that would need fixing would be brought to light. The world is not perfect.

Q: Another component is what jobs you did as your new “character.” What are some of the chores you were assigned to when you went undercover?

A: I did valet parking, some beverage service. I was a slot attendant. In Connecticut I helped set up the arena for a show and did some usher work.

Q: And of course, one of the most amusing elements of the show is the makeover the “boss” goes through so he or she is not recognized y employees. How did that go?

A: My own son didn’t recognize me. (Son Jacob works at the Pennsylvania location) We tried three or four options in make-up when we were getting ready for the show and finally decided on being an older biker guy. I shaved my head.

Q: Did you cry?

A: Not in front of anyone. But it all grew back in a couple of months.

Q: The most touching part of the show is when rewards are given to some of the outstanding employees who surface during the segment. Is it happening this time too?

A: Yes there are rewards including for some in Connecticut. I knew we had good people out there in our organization. But when you sit and talk with them alone for 10 or 15 minutes and hear their stories beyond the job. You take the time to learn about them. That was amazing.

To view a sneak peek of the show go here.