• Funny Bone ~ 40 FREE Tickets (Only 3 seats open)

    Hartford Funny Bone Comedy Club and Restaurant

    Ron and Jeff will be your host and between them they have secured 40 FREE tickets for our group. THANK YOU RON & JEFF!! Members only! Please RSVP if you are committed to this date. You MUST bring your ID. You MUST arrive no later than 6:15 to enter as a group at 6:30 PM and to be seated with the group and to get your FREE ticket. Doors & Bar open @ 6:00 PM. but you must enter as a group so you MUST ARRIVE BY 6:30 PM. Ron's cell is[masked]. We usually have dinner at the Funny Bone to support them and thank them for always stepping up with FREE TICKETS. In order to THANK the Funny Bone for offering us FREE TICKETS I ask that if you plan on having dinner.......................please have dinner at the Club. The food is pretty good and the prices aren't bad. Everyone will receive a separate check for dinner and drinks. DO NOT post any pre-arranged dinner arrangements elsewhere.

  • Savage Brother's @ Angelico's

    Angelico's Lakehouse Restaurant

    We love to dance and we love The Savage Brother's. I can't be there but say hi to Mike and the guy's for me.

  • Hiking to the Oven at Devil's Hopyard State Park (Moderate Hike)

    Devil's Hopyard State Park

    We will meet at the covered bridge in the main parking lot, hike up to the waterfalls, then over to the Devi'ls oven. This is a moderate hike with ups and downs, so please be prepared. Hiking shoes with ankle support are always best. Hiking poles, if you so choose, to keep your balance. Devil's Hopyard Directions From CT Route 9: take Exit 7, then a left at the end of the exit ramp onto CT Route 82 east/154 north. Take a right at the first traffic light following CT Route 82 east and follow the signs. From Interstate 395: take Exit 80 west. Take a right onto CT Route 82 west. Take a right onto Hopyard Road and follow signs. From I-91S: take Exit 22 for Route 9 South, Exit 7. Take a left at the end of the exit ramp onto CT Route 82 east/154 north. Take a right at the first traffic light following CT Route 82 east and follow the signs. There are no parking fees at Devil's Hopyard State Park. The Damned Story: In one of the more pretty parts of Connecticut is the 860 acres of a state park known as Devil's Hopyard, a parcel of land with a possibly damned history, including being one of the many hangouts of . . . perhaps . . . maybe . . .SATAN! The early Puritan settlers of Connecticut were inordinately obsessed with the Devil -- maybe because they truly believed Satan was hiding behind each tree waiting to claim their souls. According to author David Phillips (of Legendary Connecticut), as a result, there are some 34 places whose names were inspired by the Adversary, including five Devil's Dens, four Backbones, two Kitchens and a Dripping Pan, as well as a Hell Hole, a Tophet Ravine and two Satan's Kingdoms. Although any one of the aforementioned locations could be Hell on Earth, the one that seems to come up the most when talking about where the Evil One may be laying in wait is Devil's Hopyard in East Haddam. As with many of Connecticut's state parks, the Hopyard is steeped in natural beauty, from its picturesque forest to the steady Eight Mile River, which bisects the park. One of the draws to the Hopyard is Chapman Falls (as seen above), a 60-foot cascade of water over multiple ledges; legend has it that the Prince of Darkness himself has been seen sitting atop a huge boulder near the top of the falls, playing a violin (or fiddle) while his minions stirred nefarious brews in the naturally formed cauldron-like potholes at the bottom of the falls. (The potholes have also been thought to be the marks burned in the rocks by the Devil's hooves.) Native Americans may have used the area for rituals, further spooking the locals and adding to the mythos. Over the decades, dark shadows and phantoms have been purportedly seen moving around the woodland. In more recent times, people have allegedly experienced spirit orbs and mists, as well as strong feelings of foreboding. Others have heard demonic voices and inexplicable laughing. EVPs have also been supposedly recorded. And yes, there's evidence that in the 18th century there was a malt house near one of the tributaries of the Eight Mile River, near which hops were grown. Hence, the "hopyard." To read more about the history of Devil's Hopyard, as well as other Satan in Connecticut legends, check out Legendary Connecticut. Our Damned Experience: We haven't been to the Hopyard recently, but we're hoping to hop on over soon. More info to to DEEP CT.Gov web site https://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325188

  • Fiction Addiction ~ Bookclub ~ 1st Tuesday (12 New books start 8/7/18)

    We started the book club in June of 2014 and have come a long way. Thanks to all those who are avid participants and those that join us from time to time. August 7, 2018 starts our 4th year of Fiction Addiction. NEW LOCATION First Tuesday of each month @ Baci Grill, 134 Berlin Rd, Cromwell, CT 06416 unless scheduled at The Victorian House, 226 Maple Ave, Cheshire, CT 06410 . Watch for updates! We've chosen our books for the next 12 months and once again they all seem interesting and engaging. Some are fiction.................some are non-fiction. Regardless, they will each feed our FICTION ADDICTION. Below are the DISCUSSION/MEETING dates at The Victorian House or Baci Grill beginning in March. *********** August 7, 2018 "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance Moderator, Douglas Losty From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In HillbillyElegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck. The Vance family story began with hope in postwar America. J.D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country. ***** September 11, 2018 "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng Moderator, Ann Meacham From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster. ***** October 2, 2018 "The Sweetness of Forgetting" by Kristin Harmel Moderator, Kathy C. A baker in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, must travel to Paris to uncover a family secret for her dying grandmother—and what she learns may change everything. The Sweetness of Forgetting is the book that made Kristin Harmel an international bestseller. At thirty-six, Hope McKenna-Smith is no stranger to bad news. She lost her mother to cancer, her husband left her for a twenty-two year old, and her bank account is nearly depleted. Her own dreams of becoming a lawyer long gone, she’s running a failing family bakery on Cape Cod and raising a troubled preteen. Now, Hope’s beloved French-born grandmother Mamie, who wowed the Cape with her fabulous pastries for more than fifty years, is drifting away into a haze of Alzheimer’s. But in a rare moment of clarity, Mamie realizes that unless she tells Hope about the past, the secrets she has held on to for so many years will soon be lost forever. Tantalizingly, she reveals mysterious snippets of a tragic history in Paris. And then, arming her with a scrawled list of names, she sends Hope to France to uncover a seventy-year-old mystery. Hope’s emotional journey takes her through the bakeries of Paris and three religious traditions, all guided by Mamie’s fairy tales and the sweet tastes of home. As Hope pieces together her family’s history, she finds horrific Holocaust stories mixed with powerful testimonies of her family’s will to survive in a world gone mad. And to reunite two lovers torn apart by terror, all she’ll need is a dash of courage, and the belief that God exists everywhere, even in cake... ***** November 6, 2018 "The Alice Network" By Kate Quinn Moderator, Sue Thomas 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. 1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the “queen of spies,” who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth . . . no matter where it leads. ***** December 4, 2018 "Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah Moderator, Diane Henry “A compelling new memoir . . . by turns alarming, sad and funny, Trevor Noah’s book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . In the end, Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “You’d be hard-pressed to find a comic’s origin story better than the one Trevor Noah serves up in Born a Crime. . . . [He] developed his aptitude for witty truth telling [and]…every hardscrabble memory of helping his mother scrape together money for food, gas, school fees, and rent, or barely surviving the temper of his stepfather, Abel, reveals the anxious wellsprings of the comedian’s ambition and success. If there is harvest in spite of blight, the saying goes, one does not credit the blight-but Noah does manage to wring brilliant comedy from it.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today ***** January 8, 2019 "The Gilly Salt Sisters" by Tiffany Baker Moderator, Douglas Losty The author of the New York Times bestselling The Little Giant of Aberdeen County returns with a magic-tinged tale of dreams, family secrets, and betrayals on a New England salt farm. In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be. Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's salt farm, while Claire is popular, pretty, and yearns to flee the salt at any cost. But the Gilly land hides a dark legacy that proves impossible to escape. Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches, it doesn't stop Whit Turner, the town's wealthiest bachelor, from forcing his way into their lives. It's Jo who first steals Whit's heart, but it is Claire--heartbroken over her high school sweetheart--who marries him. Years later, estranged from her family, Claire finds herself thrust back onto the farm with the last person she would have chosen: her husband's pregnant mistress. Suddenly, alliances change, old loves return, and new battle lines are drawn. What the Gilly sisters learn about each other, the land around them, and the power of the salt, will not only change each of their lives forever, it will also alter Gilly history for good. ***** February 5, 2019 "Beneath a Scarlet Sky" by Mark Sullivan Moderator, Kathy C. Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior. In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders. Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share. Fans of All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love. ***** March 5, 2019 "Table Comes First" by Adam Gopnik Moderator, Mark From the author of Paris to the Moon, a beguiling tour of the morals and manners of our present food mania, in search of eating’s deeper truths. Never before have we cared so much about food. It preoccupies our popular culture, our fantasies, and even our moralizing. With our top chefs as deities and finest restaurants as places of pilgrimage, we have made food the stuff of secular seeking and transcendence, finding heaven in a mouthful. But have we come any closer to discovering the true meaning of food in our lives? With inimitable charm and learning, Adam Gopnik takes us on a beguiling journey in search of that meaning as he charts America’s recent and rapid evolution from commendably aware eaters to manic, compulsive gastronomes. April 2, 2019 "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini Moderator Laurie. Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love. It is a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms Hosseini's place as one of the most important literary writers today. Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival. A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love. ***** May 7, 2019 "Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje Moderator, Linda H. In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself – at once both shadowed and luminous – Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, and it is this journey – through reality, recollection, and imagination – that is told in this magnificent novel. ***** June 4, 2019 "Girl In Translation" by Jean Kwok Moderator, Diane Henry Introducing a fresh, exciting new voice, an inspiring debut about a Chinese immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures. When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent ***** July 9, 2019 "The Last Days of Night" by Graham Moore Moderator, Doug Losty This best selling author brings a thrilling novel based on actual events—about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America. New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history—and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country? The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?

  • Hiking/Biking event at Hammonasset (Bring a lunch)

    Hammonasset Beach State Park

    Join us for our Hiking/Biking event. Jim Paine will lead us in a very low level hike at Hammonasset. We did a while back and it was wonderful. Different season, different views, different feeling. Dress for the weather. No charge other than entrance to the park. Pack a lunch and we'll take a break between hiking and biking. If you can't make the hike then by all means join us for the bike ride. Hike ~ 9:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. ~ Please be prompt. Meet in the West Beach parking lot. Lunch ~ Bring something for lunch. We'll take a break and chill before starting our bike ride. Biking ~ 12:30/1:00 p.m. ~ Get those bikes out of the garage or barn, dust 'em off or borrow one from a friend, or perhaps one of our members has a bike for loan. Just make a comment if you need a bike and we may be able to help you out. Let's get it another bike ride before any snow hits the ground! Jim Paine will lead the group through some of the bike trails at Hammonasset State Park. The ride will last approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Wear proper shoes and clothing (depending on weather). Bring plenty of water, suncscreen, a hat and sunglasses. Follow the link to check out the map of the Park so you'll know where to go ~ http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325210&deepNav_GID=1650%20 BRING YOUR EMPTIES. Thank you all for your support and donations in all the causes we post.

  • Airline Trail ~ Biking outing with Lunch @ Angelico's

    Airline Trail State Park

    Let's enjoy the nice weather that we HOPE is upon us. I hope to plan several bike outings this summer. If you have a bike, get it out of the basement or garage, dust it off, oil it up and let's get READY TO RIDE! If you don't have one and want to join us start looking for some good buys. If anyone has an extra bike they would like to sell or give away, PLEASE COMMENT, then...........if there is an interested member PLEASE PRIVATE message the member that is selling or giving away a bike(s). LUNCH or BRUNCH will be available @ Angelico's after the bike. If the weather stays nice and the showers are held off, we can sit outside. Don't forget sunscreen, hats, water, water, water (stay hydrated). We'll meet at the Cranberry Meadow Bog @ 10 a.m. Smith Street & Flanders Road. Detailed directions will be posted prior to the date. *Directions ~ I spoke to East Hampton Parks & Rec and they suggested googling "Airline State Park Trail Smith Street, East Hampton" and you will get there. We will also post more detailed info. Jeff is going to drive there and make notes and post for everyone unfamiliar with the area. There should be plenty of parking for up to 20-25 cars. We plan to depart @ 9:30 a.m. Cranberry Bog this pond offers benches for resting; the sights of wildflowers and sounds of bullfrogs in the summer; and picturesque ice skating and hockey games in the winter. Cranberry Meadow and Bog was once a natural cranberry producing bog. During the 1920’s and 30’s, the cranberries were harvested, transported to grocers, and bartered for groceries. Biking Courtesy (as per rules of trail) • Keep Right, pass to left, call out before passing • When approaching horses, dismount and ask the equestrian if it is safe to pass. This is especially important in the viaduct and bridge areas • Respect private property along the trail http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/greenways/airlinetrailbrochure.pdf History ~ The trail takes its name from the imaginary line drawn from New York to Boston, through the “air” so to speak, to illustrate the shortest possible route between these two major east coast cities. Building a completely new rail line however proved economically infeasible so, for practical reasons, the “Air Line” as it came to be called, used existing rails from New York to New Haven and began its journey to the northeast from there. On its way to Boston, the Air Line overcame tremendous obstacles in Connecticut’s eastern highlands including ridges, valleys and of course, politics.Construction began in the late 1860s and by 1870 the first construction milestone, track from New Haven to Middletown, was celebrated. Three years later, in 1873, the line was completed as far as Windham. This was an especially challenging run because of the landscape which demanded a winding or serpentine rail bed. Despite being limited to the technology of the day, tremendous cuts through the hillsides were accomplished in combination with equally massive “fills” in the valleys to keep the rail bed at grade. Nowhere was this more apparent than at the expansive bridges, or viaducts, over Flat Brook and Dickenson Creek in East Hampton and Colchester respectively. Only 1.2 miles from each other, these stream valleys were first crossed by lengthy bridges. The Rapallo viaduct needed 800 feet of length to cross Flat Brook, and the Lyman Viaduct, just to the east, needed 1,000 feet to span Dickenson Creek. Further east, another entity laid the rails from Windham to the Connecticut border for the connection with Boston. Here a major obstacle was the crossing of the Quinebaug River in Putnam. But the construction was complete in August of 1872 and, within a year, the reality of the original plan had come to fruition.Intermittent rail traffic for passengers built up until 1876 when the first dedicated passenger run was scheduled, but it could only be effective if it offered time savings from the pre-existing shoreline route. Slowly, incrementally, time was trimmed from the Air Line travel schedule and by 1885, with an hour savings on the six hour coastal run from New York to Boston, the New England Limited was established. The success of the Limited led to the delivery of new luxury cars by the Pullman Company in 1891. These new cars, white in color and highlighted in gold trim, prompted the railroad to paint the balance of rail cars white and the legendary Ghost Train was born.Successful businessmen and prominent citizens, including President Benjamin Harrison, rode this increasingly well known line that had gained its name as it sped across Eastern Connecticut with its seemingly luminescent cars being easily recognized - especially at twilight. As time marched onward to a new century, technology increased, railroad engines became faster, cars became longer and everything became heavier. The quaintness of the Air Line’s winding grades, and the weight restrictions of the spindly trestle bridges built for an earlier era of travel, began to show their limitations. As a result of these limits, traffic began to taper off. Though local runs and intermittent passenger trains continued to run along the line, passenger service of the Ghost Train era concluded on May 17, 1902 when service defaulted to the shore line rails.Once the faster passenger trains moved to the shore, it was the slower freight trains and local passenger traffic that kept the rail line alive for many years afterwards. In 1912, to accommodate growing weight requirements, the two viaducts were strengthened by filling out their form with 20 months worth of dumped sand, ultimately covered with cinders to stabilize its surface. This work of 100 years ago provided the massive appearance we still see today.Disastrous flooding of August, 1955 washed out critical bridge work in Putnam precipitating a string of route cancellations and section closures that, in retrospect, systematically crippled the line from ever regaining its usable status. The construction of the interstate highway throughout the 1960s sealed the fate of any future hope of rail bound traffic. Today: The trail exists in two sections: South - from East Hampton to Windham, and North - from Windham to Pomfret with the Thompson addition out beyond.The south section measures 22 miles and, with East Hampton and Hebron leading the way, is the most utilized and improved. This section is highlighted by the two tremendous viaducts, but nearly every increment offers locally favorite locations as the trail passes over streams with their requisite stone work, through state forests, past town parks, and along wildlife management areas. From the footbridges trail users still enjoy sweeping views throughout the seasons. Today’s surface conditions vary from compacted earth and crushed rock to gravel and stone dust. The northern section from Windham to Putnam measures 21 miles with an additional 6.6 miles existing in Thompson. Here the trail has been cut back to its original width, and gravel has been installed from the Massachusetts line south to Sand Dam road, and from the route 12, Mechanicsville parking lot, 1 mile north to the 395 overpass. The rest of the sections in Thompson have been rough graded and work is still in progress. Some sections still have the original rail ballast. Gravel has been installed in Pomfret, from Pomfret Station located on Railroad street, south to Covell road. Work is in progress from Covell road south to Brooklyn road. The level section through Goodwin State Forest in Hampton provides a smooth and scenic run, and the southern end of the trail in Windham features a paved surface. As surface improvements are being made, the various sections of the Air Line Trail State Park are combining to form one of the best greenways in all of Connecticut.

  • Fiction Addiction ~ Bookclub ~ 1st Tuesday (12 New books start 8/7/18)

    We started the book club in June of 2014 and have come a long way. Thanks to all those who are avid participants and those that join us from time to time. August 7, 2018 starts our 4th year of Fiction Addiction. NEW LOCATION First Tuesday of each month @ Baci Grill, 134 Berlin Rd, Cromwell, CT 06416 unless scheduled at The Victorian House, 226 Maple Ave, Cheshire, CT 06410 . Watch for updates! We've chosen our books for the next 12 months and once again they all seem interesting and engaging. Some are fiction.................some are non-fiction. Regardless, they will each feed our FICTION ADDICTION. Below are the DISCUSSION/MEETING dates at The Victorian House or Baci Grill beginning in March. *********** August 7, 2018 "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance Moderator, Douglas Losty From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In HillbillyElegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck. The Vance family story began with hope in postwar America. J.D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country. ***** September 11, 2018 "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng Moderator, Ann Meacham From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster. ***** October 2, 2018 "The Sweetness of Forgetting" by Kristin Harmel Moderator, Kathy C. A baker in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, must travel to Paris to uncover a family secret for her dying grandmother—and what she learns may change everything. The Sweetness of Forgetting is the book that made Kristin Harmel an international bestseller. At thirty-six, Hope McKenna-Smith is no stranger to bad news. She lost her mother to cancer, her husband left her for a twenty-two year old, and her bank account is nearly depleted. Her own dreams of becoming a lawyer long gone, she’s running a failing family bakery on Cape Cod and raising a troubled preteen. Now, Hope’s beloved French-born grandmother Mamie, who wowed the Cape with her fabulous pastries for more than fifty years, is drifting away into a haze of Alzheimer’s. But in a rare moment of clarity, Mamie realizes that unless she tells Hope about the past, the secrets she has held on to for so many years will soon be lost forever. Tantalizingly, she reveals mysterious snippets of a tragic history in Paris. And then, arming her with a scrawled list of names, she sends Hope to France to uncover a seventy-year-old mystery. Hope’s emotional journey takes her through the bakeries of Paris and three religious traditions, all guided by Mamie’s fairy tales and the sweet tastes of home. As Hope pieces together her family’s history, she finds horrific Holocaust stories mixed with powerful testimonies of her family’s will to survive in a world gone mad. And to reunite two lovers torn apart by terror, all she’ll need is a dash of courage, and the belief that God exists everywhere, even in cake... ***** November 6, 2018 "The Alice Network" By Kate Quinn Moderator, Sue Thomas 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. 1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the “queen of spies,” who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth . . . no matter where it leads. ***** December 4, 2018 "Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah Moderator, Diane Henry “A compelling new memoir . . . by turns alarming, sad and funny, Trevor Noah’s book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . In the end, Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “You’d be hard-pressed to find a comic’s origin story better than the one Trevor Noah serves up in Born a Crime. . . . [He] developed his aptitude for witty truth telling [and]…every hardscrabble memory of helping his mother scrape together money for food, gas, school fees, and rent, or barely surviving the temper of his stepfather, Abel, reveals the anxious wellsprings of the comedian’s ambition and success. If there is harvest in spite of blight, the saying goes, one does not credit the blight-but Noah does manage to wring brilliant comedy from it.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today ***** January 8, 2019 "The Gilly Salt Sisters" by Tiffany Baker Moderator, Douglas Losty The author of the New York Times bestselling The Little Giant of Aberdeen County returns with a magic-tinged tale of dreams, family secrets, and betrayals on a New England salt farm. In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be. Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's salt farm, while Claire is popular, pretty, and yearns to flee the salt at any cost. But the Gilly land hides a dark legacy that proves impossible to escape. Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches, it doesn't stop Whit Turner, the town's wealthiest bachelor, from forcing his way into their lives. It's Jo who first steals Whit's heart, but it is Claire--heartbroken over her high school sweetheart--who marries him. Years later, estranged from her family, Claire finds herself thrust back onto the farm with the last person she would have chosen: her husband's pregnant mistress. Suddenly, alliances change, old loves return, and new battle lines are drawn. What the Gilly sisters learn about each other, the land around them, and the power of the salt, will not only change each of their lives forever, it will also alter Gilly history for good. ***** February 5, 2019 "Beneath a Scarlet Sky" by Mark Sullivan Moderator, Kathy C. Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior. In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders. Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share. Fans of All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love. ***** March 5, 2019 "Table Comes First" by Adam Gopnik Moderator, Mark From the author of Paris to the Moon, a beguiling tour of the morals and manners of our present food mania, in search of eating’s deeper truths. Never before have we cared so much about food. It preoccupies our popular culture, our fantasies, and even our moralizing. With our top chefs as deities and finest restaurants as places of pilgrimage, we have made food the stuff of secular seeking and transcendence, finding heaven in a mouthful. But have we come any closer to discovering the true meaning of food in our lives? With inimitable charm and learning, Adam Gopnik takes us on a beguiling journey in search of that meaning as he charts America’s recent and rapid evolution from commendably aware eaters to manic, compulsive gastronomes. April 2, 2019 "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini Moderator Laurie. Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love. It is a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms Hosseini's place as one of the most important literary writers today. Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival. A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love. ***** May 7, 2019 "Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje Moderator, Linda H. In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself – at once both shadowed and luminous – Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, and it is this journey – through reality, recollection, and imagination – that is told in this magnificent novel. ***** June 4, 2019 "Girl In Translation" by Jean Kwok Moderator, Diane Henry Introducing a fresh, exciting new voice, an inspiring debut about a Chinese immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures. When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent ***** July 9, 2019 "The Last Days of Night" by Graham Moore Moderator, Doug Losty This best selling author brings a thrilling novel based on actual events—about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America. New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history—and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country? The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?

  • Tubing, Tailgating & Picnic - READ ALL INFO Pay @ Entrance

    Farmington River Tubing

    Farmington River Tubing is a 2.5 mile ride down the wild and scenic Farmington River. Come tubing or just come and enjoy the picnic. Everyone must be of adequate physical capabilities and maturity levels to use the rented equipment properly and safely. River tubing is not for some people. It is not a man made amusement park ride. Farmington Tubing is going to work with us to secure a great spot for our parking and picnicking. I will be there early to set up. IF YOU CAN ARRIVE EARLY TO HELP SETUP, PLEASE MESSAGE OR COMMENT. Just ask the lot attendants where The Dynamic Professionals are, they'll get you to the right spot. Don't forget water shoes and if you have your own approved life vest, bring them as well. GRILLING ~ YES, we have permission to grill and will have a grill on site. So bring your steak, chicken, fish, burgers, hot dogs, veggies or whatever you want to throw on the grill. I'll bring some utensils and paper products. Bring your own food and beverages. Please bring coolers with ice for your own items. Bring a dish to share if you'd like! Group tubing ~ We are planning to START tubing as a group by 11 a.m. so try to arrive by 10:30 a.m. It's a 2 - 2 1/2 hr trip down river so we should be back at the picnic spot by 1:00 ish. Someone will be at the picnic area at all times, so you can unload your chairs & coolers before tubing if you'd like. Be sure to eat something before we head out as this is a 2.5 mile. Cash Only ~ Pay direct to Farmington River Tubing ~ $20/person ~ Unfortunately, they do not offer any group rates. Tubing options - 2nd rapid option ~ The river is unattended! There is a assistant at the 2nd rapid only so this is the one the group will do. You can choose either 1 or 3 if you want to go on your own. I would suggest the "buddy system". Be sure you are tubing with one or more persons. Their purpose is to assist you if your feet get stuck in the rocks and you are trapped under water. (This can happen if you try to stand up in the rapids; for your safety, Do Not try to stand up in the river.) The assistant cannot leave their post, retrieve tubes, or assist people who have fallen out of their tubes. They must maintain their focus for foot entrapments in the rapids. Deposit Required for Rental ~ A deposit is required for rental. Your car keys are preferred so you don’t lose them in the river and they have numbered key hooks to hang them on. You can also leave a drivers license, I.D. or something similar that will fit in a snack sized bag and hang on our numbered key hooks. IMPORTANT Information • Everyone who uses the rented equipment must be able to swim through class 1,2, & 3 rapids. • Wear bathing suits or shorts; or whatever you are comfortable swimming in. It's also a good idea to wear something on your feet: Sneakers, Teva's, water shoes, or wetsuit boots. Don't wear heavy boots. • Leave all unnecessary items that you don't want to lose, at home(eyeglasses, watches, rings, favorite hats, and jewelry are commonly lost during tubing.) • Our P.F.D.'s (life jackets) get a lot of use and are always wet. We do wash them weekly but they still smell. You can bring your own coast guard approved P.F.D. (life jacket) to wear instead of using the ones that we supply. If you bring your own it must be a coast guard approved P.F.D. (life jacket). • Changing houses and restroom facilities are also available. • Although no effort is spared to provide you with a safe tubing experience, water and river activities have both inherent and unknown risks and dangers. These include but are not limited to injury or loss of life. RULES & WARNINGS!! • River tubing is NOT for some people. This is NOT a man made amusement park ride. • No smoking, no pets. • No food, beverage, or other potential litter allowed • Maximum age – although there is no set maximum age you must be able to swim through class 1/2/3 rapids and withstand strong to severe impacts with rocks.

  • Barb's Big Bash w/Nugroove Band (Pre-payment required) READ BELOW

    Please join us for our 5th year as we celebrate summer at Barb's Poolhouse ("The Barn") ~ on July 27 (Rain Date Sunday 7/28) from 1-9 pm. Our Hostess ~ Barbara Angelico Barbara has invited our group to her fabulous home in Middle Haddam. It's just off 66 on rte 151. (5 minutes from Angelico's Lake House). Wil and the guys of Nugroove will once again be our entertainment, for some great dance tunes and a day of fun & sun. Bring your lawn chairs, umbrella's, bathing suits, towels and drinks. Pool opens at 1 pm. We will be eating from 4-5:30, Band will start at 5 PM so be prepared to dance til 9 PM. Pre Payment Required - $20.00 Per Person (1 guest per member allowed) This includes payment for our favorite band, Nu Groove, grilled chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers, paper and plastic products Please Pre-Pay in the form of a check or money order prior to June 15th. Your payment will CONFIRM and SECURE your attendance. Be sure to include the name of your guest on your payment notation along with the correct amount. Mail checks, payable to BARBARA ANGELICO, P.O. Box 267, Middle Haddam, CT 06456. Make sure your MEMBER NAME is on your payment and reference guest name (1 guest allowed, please add $20 for each of you). NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN!! You are welcome anytime after 1 pm on Saturday. Barb's address will be sent several days prior to the event. Her home is in Middle Haddam, CT (If you have problems with GPS or an older GPS, use East Hampton). You will be sent the address no later than 48 hours prior to the party. PLEASE READ ALL BELOW! We need TENTS ~ If you have a tent let us know via a comment. Please plan on setting your tent up either Friday or Saturday before 1pm. WE NEED VOLUNTEERS- SET UP- ( 4 MEN PLEASE) FOR SET UP ON FRIDAY. PLEASE BE WILLING AND ABLE TO "WORK". We have to put up tents, pick up BBQ Grills, set up tables and help Barb with whatever she needs. We need an additional grill. SET UP Saturday morning- 3-4 Volunteers to help set up Saturday morning starting at 10 am. CLEAN UP ~ We will need 4 or 5 volunteers to clean up after the party Saturday night. TAKE DOWN- We also need a few guys to help Sunday take down the tents, return the grills, and put back all the furniture. CHECK IN ~ We will need a few people to check everyone in. We do 2 hr shifts. 1-3, 3-5. Thanks in advance. WE NEED 2-3 VOLUNTEER GRILL MASTERS. ANYONE WILLING TO VOLUNTEER PLEASE CONTACT BARBARA VIA MESSAGING AND LET HER KNOW WHEN YOU ARE AVAILABLE AND FOR WHAT. WHAT TO BRING We will be providing hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and veggie burgers. We are asking everyone to bring something to share. Suggested items are: chips and dips, appetizers, tossed salads, potato salad, pasta salad, fruit salad, baked beans, chili, roasted veggies, desserts. We will provide condiments for the grilled food. Please let Barbara know what you plan to bring when you mail her your check. Please bring food ready to serve as we have limited oven and refrigerator space. Two grills will be available and we'll have volunteer Grill Master's. We plan to eat between 4-5;30 Nu Groove will play from 5-9 pm Bring ~ Bathing suits, towels, chairs, SUNSCREEN, sunglasses, hats, umbrella's, games. BYO , Beer, wine, alchohol, or soft drinks. If you are drinking mixed drinks, please bring your mixers. We will provide ice and coolers. Always DRINK RESPONSIBLY!!! Barbara has a beautiful home and a grand property. The home was built in 1790 and was a ship Captains home. She and her family turned the old barn into a fully functional pool house. It's the size of a small home in itself. Just outside is a large deck and a wonderful pool that gives you the feeling you're visiting a resort. The pool house is fully equipped with kitchen and full bathroom facilities. She has plenty of property for volleyball, tug of war, bocce ball, croquet and more. Bring games if you have them. We are opening this up to a large number so we will be spread out throughout the property. We NEED ~ TENTS, UMBRELLA'S & GAMES-if you have one please bring it. If you want us to set it up, you must arrange to drop it off prior to the party. We're asking Bob Hayes to bring the Corn Hole/Bean Toss game. Barb has Bocce Ball, and you can bring other lawn or pool type games. Kayaking If you wish to go kayaking, the river is across the street from property and a short walk down the hill where there is a boat launch. Go down Knowles Rd, bear right to the bottom of the hill, past the waterfall and put in at the boat launch. Park on the street. Parking We can park along the street, only on one side, go past Barb's house, up the hill to the old school house field and the field above it. (left hand side of the street). Just Stop and DROP OFF chairs, food, bags etc at Barb's. Please leave allowances for others to park and depart. This is a very safe area so need to worry about your vehicle. If you have any questions, message Barbara. As always, THANK you for your support and membership. This will be another great event that will fill up fast so sign up ASAP!