NEW ENGLAND

Bridgeport Connecticut’s Historic Bijou Theatre Renaissance

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Bijou Theatre circa early 1900’s

As the oldest surviving movie house in the country, the revival of the Bijou Theatre brings a unique attraction to downtown Bridgeport.  First opening as a silent movie house and venue for vaudeville acts in 1910, the theatre continued to operate under the names the Rivoli and Studio Cinema, as it changed owners over the years, until finally falling vacant in the nineties. As part of a larger effort to revitalize the area in downtown Bridgeport known as Bijou Square, the three-story theatre has been completely renovated and will function as a venue for theatre, art, comedy and music in addition to continuing the tradition as an operational movie house, showing independent, foreign and classic films.

Bijou Theatre post-renovation

Visiting the newly opened theatre is an experience unto itself. Unlike traditional cinemas or film houses, the Bijou offers cabaret seating within the theatre to allow patrons to enjoy the current film or performance in a more intimate setting. The small candlelit tables occupy either side of the theatre with general admission chairs filling the center seating area. To further compliment your experience, grab a drink for your table from the theatre’s bar offering beer, wine and spirits or a snack from concessions, where you can grab anything from a box of popcorn to more upscale offerings like assorted cheese plates.

275 Faifield Ave, Bridgeport CT

Current Schedule Here: The Bijou Theatre

Connecticut: Visiting New England’s Colonial History at Essex’s Griswold Inn

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Situated on Main Street in the center of historic Essex Village along the banks of the Connecticut River is the Griswold Inn. Familiarly referred to as ‘The Gris,’ the inn is the oldest continually operating inn in the State of Connecticut. Built as an inn in 1776, today, ‘The Gris’ offers 33 rooms, each different and decorated with antiques, period reproductions and Leonard’s beds, adding historic character to each space. The inn’s popular Tap Room, a colonial-inspired, wood-built tavern adorned with maritime artifacts that harkens back to the area’s popularity during the bustling steamboat era of the mid-1800’s, offers a warming but lively atmosphere with live music nightly.

In keeping with the colonial theme, a popular activity in the area is to take the 2 and 1/2 hour steam train and river boat tour. Leaving from historic Essex Station, passengers board vintage train coaches pulled by diesel locomotives through the charming New England towns of Chester and Deep River. The train coaches are fitted with wooden passenger benches and have over-sized, open, panel windows. The wide-frame windows are ideal for viewing the scenery, but passengers closest to the opening can expect some soot from the engine to pass into the coaches. Following a 12 mile journey, passengers disembark at Deep River Landing to board the Becky Thatcher, a seventy-foot, 3 deck Mississippi-style river boat. The river cruise lasts for approximately an hour before passengers are returned to the steam train for the ride back to Essex Station. The train station in itself is something of a museum with various vintage trains and related equipment set-up along the property for visitors to view.

36 Main Street, Essex, CT

Connecticut: 121 Restaurant at the Waterbury-Oxford Airport

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Located alongside the runway at the Waterbury-Oxford airport in Oxford, CT, 121 Restaurant offers diners the unique experience of watching a range of aircraft, including personal jets, helicopters and even pontoon planes take-off and land on the runway right from their seats. Designed in the style of an airport hangar, the restaurant features an open-air kitchen, sectioned-off, raised bar area with sweeping views of the runway and a dining area that seats diners at the same level as the runway. The cuisine is American, with a definite highlight of the menu being the individual, homemade, wood-oven pizzas. The impressive views don’t stop with the planes as the window-lined wall along the runway is ideal for framing the sunset across the vast, open skyline overhead at the airport.

7 Juliano Drive

‘Merica: Stew Leonard’s: The World’s Largest Dairy Store

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The story begins in 1921 at the opening of Clover Farms Dairy in Norwalk, CT. By 1960 brothers, Stew & Jim had inherited the milk delivery business and continued to run it until they were forced to relocate in the late 1960’s as the State of Connecticut began work on building a highway that would run directly through the original location. The new location opened in 1969, with the name officially being changed from Clover Farms Dairy to Stew Leonard’s in 1971. The start-up was small, selling only eight items from two registers, but grew rapidly throughout the 70’s and 80’s. The combination of carefully selecting items for freshness, quality and value and the store’s mantra “Rule #1 — The Customer is Always Right”; Rule #2 – If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Re-Read Rule #1,” has not only enabled the store to expand to four locations, but has built it a legion of loyal customers. Its country fair atmosphere, complete with in-store animatronics, costumed characters and a petting zoo make a trip to the store an experience you’re unlikely to find at other markets.

Much more than a dairy store today, today’s Stew Leonard’s is also a renowned grocery store that actively works within the communities where they are located, making monthly donations to various local organizations. Their popularity led to the spontaneous start of Bags Around the World, when in 1974 a customer had here picture taken in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow and Stew Leonard displayed it in the store. Today, thousands of customers continue to submit photos of themselves holding Stew Leonard’s bags at different locations around the world.

Original Location: 100 Westport Avenue, Norwalk, CT

Additional Locations: Danbury, CT; Newington, CT and Yonkers, NY

Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills: WINVIAN: An Imaginative Luxury Getaway

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A truly unique resort spanning 113 acres set amidst vineyards and bordering a wildlife sanctuary occupying over 4,000 acres of protected woodlands, Winvian is a fanciful and playful luxury estate thoughtfully designed to exist in perfect accord with its countryside setting. The resort features eighteen distinctive cottages, each crafted around a theme, giving each one its own personal character and creating an imaginative space for guests to enjoy. Each cottage incorporates details that range from lavish to outright whimsical and are completely outfitted with luxury amenities to offer an unparalleled experience that can only be found through a stay at Winivian.

The cottages are divided into 3 tiers, with Tier 1 comprising of Golf, Industry, Secret Society and Music, Tier 2 consisting of Artist, Camping, CT Yankee, Helicopter, Library, Log, Maritime, Stable, Stone and Treehouse and Tier 3 including Beaver Lodge, Charter Oak, Greenhouse and Woodland. Standard amenities for all cottages include two bicycles for touring the property, wood-burning fireplaces, wet bars, extra large whirlpool bathtubs and walk-in steam showers among many other deluxe provisions and furnishings.

Camping (Exterior View)

Camping captures the serenity and allure of a secluded outdoor campsite without forfeiting any of the sophistication and style of the Winvian resort. The ceiling mimics a cloud dotted sky during the day before transitioning to a star filled night sky in the evening. The king size bed faces faces a floor-to-ceiling tree framed window that offers expansive views into the surrounding woodlands. The cottage also features a screened in porch, complete with adirondack chairs and an outdoor fireplace, the perfect setting for enjoying a glass of wine while toasting marshmallows and basking in the peacefulness of your surroundings.

Helicopter (Interior Cottage View)

Helicopter (Interview Aircraft View)

Another example of the extraordinary accommodations offered at Winivian is Helicopter cottage. Unassuming from the exterior, upon entering the cottage, guests will find a fully restored 1968 Sikorsky HH37 Sea King Pelican helicopter. The aircraft centers the room, with the fireplace, bathroom and bedroom situated in a horseshoe around the copter. The helicopter’s interior has been reconfigured as a bar and entertainment center offering seating in the cockpit and main body of the aircraft. An undoubtedly unique setting.

Due to the wide-ranging themes of the cottages, the resort has the ability to re-invent itself and provide its guests with a completely new and different experience upon each visit, making Winvian truly unique among other luxury properties.

 

155 Alain White Road, Morris, CT

www.Winvian.com