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Column By Chelsea Murray Kaneb
In 1941 the late Remy and Virginia Morosani decided to plant 10,000 daffodil bulbs in Northfield, CT, across the street from their family farm in a rocky field they deemed unusable for farming. The rest is local history. Instead of keeping the butter-colored bounty for themselves, the family generously opens the property in early spring each year to share the acres of gorgeous flowers with the public to wander around and soak in this bright patch of nature.
It’s an incredible gift to enjoy this slice of tranquility for a few weeks out of the year, a gift that keeps growing and getting better each year. The Morosani’s 10,000 bulbs have now turned into a foundation that manages what has become hundreds of thousands of blooms over a 11-acre waterfront property.
In eighty years the plantation has grown to hundreds of thousands of daffodils.
They have planted more bulbs over the decades, but daffodils are self-propagating flowers and have also beautifully taken on a life of their own. When they dug into the soil and planted those first 10,000 bulbs on the eve of World War II, I wonder if they had any idea how much joy they would bring to generations of people and how many lives they would touch?
Visiting the Laurel Ridge Farm daffodils, wandering around the colored carpet, and snapping photos have become somewhat of a tradition for locals. Seeing the daffodils truly marks the beginning of spring in my book.
For 12 years, I attended Litchfield Montessori School right down the street from the property, and the peak bloom time often fell on Grandparent’s Day, one of my favorite school days of the year. Grandparents received invitations to join us for the morning in our classrooms as we showed them around the works we were diving into, shared snacks with them, and sometimes even gave a performance or two.
The picturesque Laurel Ridge Farm draws families from all over the region.
Afterwards, we would pack into the car and drive over to see the daffodils. I have fond memories of touring the flowers with all of my grandparents, my Dad, and friends over the years. I vividly remember holding my grandparent’s hands and excitedly leading them to different vistas on the property.
So it warmed my heart a few days ago to follow closely behind as my daughter gently clutched her grandfather’s hand as they walked down the path taking in the beauty together. I loved introducing my daughter to yet another seasonal family tradition. We hoped to have a little family photo session amongst the blooms; however, our curious toddler had other ideas and wanted to run around, play hide and seek, explore, and show off the flowers to her miniature dolls of Sally Ride and Maya Angelou.
The family tradition has passed to a new generation with 20-month-old Zoe checking it out with her grandfather, John Murray
Zoe and her Papa loving life amongst the daffodils.
We have read dozens of books about seeds, flowers, and springtime and prepped her on how to be gentle with the petals and stems before arriving. My daughter ran around shrieking with joy and saying “gentle, gentle” as the daffodils danced in the breeze, whipping up the intoxicating smell of the flowers.
The window of time to enjoy the blooms comes and goes like the breeze, and much like life itself. Yet it feels like just yesterday I was here as a tot, galloping around in a spring dress, singing songs surrounded by those I loved most without a care in the world. So now it’s my daughter’s turn.
In January, I recently lost my grandfather, my last grandparent, and I paused to breathe in some of the memories shared on these grounds with him. My daughter was holding her Papa’s hand the way I once did with my grandparents in the very same spot is the true magic of tradition and the embodiment of life beautifully continuing. When you pause to take it in, you can truly feel the energy of all who have spent time here making their special memories, especially the generous souls that carved out this magical spot in the first place. I’m grateful for the gift bestowed by the Morosani family, carried on each year, and will continue to live on for generations to come. Check it out…
Laurel Ridge Farm is located on Wigwam Road, Litchfield, CT 06759. There is no admission fee and people are welcome to roam freely from dawn until dusk as long as they follow these three simple rules- no dogs, no picking flowers and no picnics.
*Another great spot to bask in the daffodil energy is Hubbard Park in Meriden, CT. They have thousands of blooms on display and celebrate spring with their Meriden Daffodil Festival on April 30th and May 1st at Hubbard Park.
Some of our favorite children’s books to celebrate Springtime, gardens, flowers, seeds and more:
• Plantng a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
• Frog & Toad Together: The Garden
• Miss Rumphius Story and Pictures by Barbara Cooney
• The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
• Mud by Mary Lyn Ray
• Inch by Inch The Garden Song by David Mallett
• The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
• Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson
• If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
• A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hurts Aston and award winning artist Sylvia Long
• The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
• A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds by Jean Richards
• How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan
Upcoming evenings happening around the area:
• Woodbury Earth Day Festival on Saturday April 30 at Hollow Park in Woodbury, CT from 11 am- 4 PM
Woodbury Earth Day is a fun, family-friendly event featuring live music, food trucks, an artisan market, a children’s activities tent, as well as exhibits, giveaways on household sustainability, environmental conservation, holistic wellness, and much more. http://www.woodburyearthday.org
Silas Bronson Library: Click this link to check out The Silas Bronson Library Spring newsletter with up to date information about programs and other happenings at the library- http://www.bronsonlibrary.org/filestorage/1521/1555/BH_2022_Spring.pdf
Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury:
Amy Winehouse- Back from Black- May 5-22- Connecticut Premiere! Starring Alexa Renee. The haunting, bluesy Amy Winehouse returns to the stage with back-up singers, an astounding seven-piece band, and such hits as “Rehab”, “You Know I’m No Good” and, of course, “Back to Black”. Raw, biting witty and exhilarating BACK FROM BLACK is much more than a concert-it’s a journey.
An Evening with Lee-Ann Lovelace- June 4 from 8-10 PM- Have a wonderful evening with Waterbury’s own, Lee- Ann Lovelace and her band along with a showcase of Lee-Ann’s talented vocal students singing an eclectic mix of original songs. Tickets only $26.
Palace Theater in Waterbury:
Pilobolus- May 7 at 2 PM- World-renowned Pilobolus is celebrating 50 years of wit, passion, and stunning physical acumen. Join us for the revered classic repertoire and breathtaking new dances that surprise and inspire. The show will feature one dance with inventive and expressive choreography created and performed by Waterbury students from ASAP!’s Community Dance Project. The evening will be a delightful experience for all ages. Show is at 2PM at the Palace Theater.
An Intimate Evening with David Foster- May 12 at 8 PM – Foster seems constitutionally incapable of resting on his laurels, and his relentless drive has propelled him throughout his career. Few other individuals can claim to have their fingerprints on more major moments in all of popular music than David Foster. He has created hit songs and award-winning gold and platinum albums for a diverse array of artists including Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, Michael Bolton, Seal, Chaka Khan, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Chicago, Hall & Oates, Brandy, ‘N Sync, Boz Scaggs, Gloria Estefan and Katharine McPhee Foster. He has escorted singers who have straddled both pop and classical styles like Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban into the mainstream. He has created culture-defining soundtracks for blockbuster films like The Bodyguard, Urban Cowboy, and St. Elmo’s Fire. For his remarkable work, Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards, including three for Producer of the Year, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe, and racked up three Oscar nominations for “Best Original Song.” He has also earned a reputation as a keen spotter of new talent, playing a key role in the discovery and career launches of Celine Dion, Josh Groban, and Michael Bublé. As one of the most illustrious composers of our time, Foster’s skill set of creating hits, writing indelible melodies, and building dramatic moments, has primed him for this third round. “I think Broadway and I are a perfect fit,” he says. “The story becomes the co-writer. It’s a new adventure and creative outlet for me that I’ve always believed I could do and now it’s become a reality. It’s also exciting because, as a producer, I’ve spent 35 years in a room with no windows, churning out music. Now I plan to immerse myself in New York theater culture and learn the ropes slowly, and I’m not afraid of that.” This is the rescheduled date of the postponed May 2020 (and October 2021) engagement. All previously purchased tickets to this presentation through the Palace Theater will be honored on this new date. If there is a conflict with this new date, the Box Office will be happy to address any issues.
Warner Theater in Torrington:
Audition Notice: The Warner Stage Company will hold auditions for a Summer Main Stage Musical Production of Roald Dahl’s MATILDA on Sunday, May 8th (ages 8-17) and Monday, May 9th and Tuesday, May 10th (Ages 18+) by appointment. The production is directed by Richard McKenna with Jim Luurtsema as music director and Caitlin Beaudry as choreographer. It will be presented on the Warner Theatre Main Stage July 30th through August 14th for eight performances. Auditions are open to the community and no roles have been cast in advance. Some parts may be cast with actors of ANY ethnicity and gender neutral. We are also seeking male and female children, teens and young adults who can play ages 13-19 for the dance ensemble. *All actors are required to be at least 8 years old at the time of auditions. Additionally, roles may be cast without callbacks. All who are auditioning, schedule your audition time online at www.warnertheatre.org and read all audition requirements and complete the on-line audition form.
Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson on May 7-22- The Stage @ the Warner production of SILENT SKY by Lauren Gunderson will be presented in the Nancy Marine Studio Theatre. The true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth. Performances are May 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21 at 8 p.m., and May 8, 15, & 22 at 2 p.m.
Independent Bookstore Day
April 30- Independent Bookstore Day 2022 marks its ninth year of celebrating independent bookstores nationwide on Saturday, April 30th, with literary parties around the country. As a thank-you to customers who support their neighborhood booksellers, bookstores across the state have planned tons of fun, in-store events and stocked exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Not before. Not after. Nowhere else. Celebrate your local indies on Independent Bookstore Day (April 30) by participating in the Connecticut Independent Bookstore Day Passport! Visit all 17 participating bookstores over the weekend to win a Passport Prize, a 20% coupon from each store (some exclusions apply), and be entered into a Grand Prize raffle. Five (5) people will be drawn at random to win a Grand Prize of a $50 gift card from EACH store (that’s a $850 value!).
Some rules: This event takes place over Independent Bookstore Day weekend (Saturday, April 30th, and Sunday, May 1st) during each bookstore’s business hours.
Participants can pick up a passport at any participating bookstore on or before Independent Bookstore Day.
Participants must visit ALL participating bookstores on April 30-May 1 to qualify for the passport prize and gain entry to win a Grand Prize.
Participants must visit ALL participating bookstores between April 30-September 5 to qualify for Slow & Steady Prize drawing.
No purchase is required to participate.
Each participating bookstore will issue an original stamp/sticker in the passport during your visit.
Upon completion of the passport, a bookseller at the final stop will review the stamps and confirm your eligibility to win. You will be asked to fill out a form with your contact information, which will be used to mail Passport Prizes and for entry into the Grand Prize or Slow & Steady Prize drawings.
Participants can finish their passport at ANY of the stores and are welcome to keep their passports.
Bank Square Books 53 W Main Street, Mystic
Book Trader Cafe 1140 Chapel st. New Haven
Byrd’s Books 178 Greenwood Ave. Bethel
Goods & Curiosities, The Griswold Inn Store 47 Main Street, Essex
Harbor Books 146 Main Street, Old Saybrook
House of Books 10 North Main Street, Kent
RJ Julia Booksellers 768 Boston Post Road, Madison
The Hickory Stick Bookshop 2 Green Hill Rd, Washington Depot
The Key Bookstore 1429 Park St, ST 214, Hartford
Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore 413 Main Street, Middletown
The ninth annual National Independent Bookstore Day is sponsored in part by Penguin Random House, Ingram, Sourcebooks, Wiley, and The American Booksellers Association. In previous years participating bookstores saw an average increase in sales of 200% on Independent Bookstore Day, with some stores up as much as 1000% over their average Saturday sales in April. “Independent bookshops are wonderful places where the act of pulling a book off the shelf can spark a conversation that leads to authentic and meaningful connections. Independent Bookstore Day is a national celebration of the role we play in building healthy communities.
Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury:
• The Village Project Exhibition- March 20 – May 8
The Village Project brings together communities from across Connecticut to express personal and universal aspirations of home and community. The exhibition is an arrangement of over four thousand tiny clay homes and intricate vine sculptures linked together into a patchwork of organic shapes, each created by a participating community member. The Village Project was conceived by artist Denise Minnerly and collaborator Don Bracken 25 years ago and the exhibition has traveled to galleries, colleges and museums.
The project was expanded by ASAP! by bringing the artists together with Waterbury youth. Nearly one hundred students discussed their ideas of home and community, then constructed their own tiny homes and vine sculptures to add to the exhibition.
The exhibition at the Mattatuck Museum runs now through May 8, with an opening reception on March 20, from noon-4 p.m. $5, children (5 and under) and members free.
Litchfield Art Festival 2022: Spring on May 14 and 15th at Litchfield Community Field 10 AM-5 PM.
The Voice of Art is thrilled to invite you to its second annual outdoor juried fine art show. This show will be a highlight for collectors and residents from the Tri-State region, New England, and beyond. The Litchfield Hills have a history and reputation of featuring top fine artists from across the country, and also many well-known and beloved New England and Connecticut artists who are widely admired by art enthusiasts.
Friends & Family Weekend at the 12th Annual Robin Hood’s Medieval Faire on May 21 and 22 at the Harwinton Fairgrounds
The 12th annual Robin Hood’s Medieval Faire is an enchanted recreation of an old-world spring festival as one might have been in the days of yore. Watch jousting knights, armored combat, and circus-style performers from around the country. Grab a turkey leg or an ice-cold craft brew, and then explore our massive artisan marketplace filled with fantastic gift treasures. Test your skill at archery and other games of skill.
All of Sherwood Forest is a stage with stage performances in six locations throughout the village. Costumes are encouraged but not required. Come as you are or as you wish to be. Public-friendly pets welcome. Dogs must have proof of rabies vaccination. See their website for details and restrictions.
Robin Hoods Medieval Faire runs seven consecutive weekends, every Saturday and Sunday through to July 3.
FRIENDS & FAMILY WEEKEND: It’s the opening weekend of Robin Hood’s Faire and your chance to take advantage of some incredible savings. On Sunday, May 22, kids ages 15 and under receive complimentary admission when accompanied by a paid adult.
Harwinton Fairgrounds, 150 Locust Rd., Harwinton, CT 06791
10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
General admission $15 (ages 16+), children (7-15) $10, children (6 and under) free.