Booksink's HamletHub Tue, 21 Aug 2018 07:45:30 -0400 Gone reading

Books, Ink's editors and writers will be off reading for the months of July and August.

We wish you all a wonderful summer, and happy reading!

]]> (Books, ink editors) Readers Sat, 30 Jun 2018 23:33:41 -0400
My Life Off the Post Road: Procrastination: Top Ten List

10. Examine and pick at my cuticles

9. Do laundry and clean the flat. Again

8. Shop for things I don’t need online

7. Ruminate over how much I’m not getting done

6. Rearrange my stationery supplies alphabetically, by color

5. Put the kettle on

4. Read email and FB messages. Every five minutes

3. Plan my next meal. Especially if I’ve just eaten

2. Check FB/Twitter/Instagram. Again

1. Write Top Ten lists about what I do to avoid doing my dissertation.

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Fri, 29 Jun 2018 06:35:07 -0400
Happy Hour with Authors of The Last Mrs. Parrish at The Artisan on July 18

The Fairfield University Bookstore is partnering with The Artisan Restaurant, located in Southport's Delamar Hotel, for the paperback release of the psychological thriller "The Last Mrs. Parrish"—a national bestseller and the December 2017 pick for Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club.

The bookstore/Artisan event will take place on Wednesday, July 18 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. in the Folly Room and Outdoor Patio at the Artisan Restaurant. Authors Lynne and Valerie Constantine will be in attendance, and attendees will receive complimentary specialty cocktails, hors-d’oeuvres, music, book signing, surprise gifts, and more. Admission is free. To pre-order a copy of the book "The Last Mrs. Parrish," click here

Reese Witherspoon called the book "a fun and fast-paced psychological thriller about two determined women who play a high stakes game of deception that only one can win." In a starred review, Library Journal said it's “deliciously duplicitous. . . . equally as twisty, spellbinding, and addictive as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train.” According to The Skimm, "The Last Mrs. Parrish “will keep you up. In a ‘can’t put it down’ way. It’s ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ with XX chromosomes.”

About the book: Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces. 

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, "The Last Mrs. Parrish" is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

Delamar Hotel is located at 275 Old Post Road in Southport, Conn.

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Authors Fri, 29 Jun 2018 06:33:03 -0400
Two Roads Donates to Stratford Library

For the sixth year in a row, the Two Roads Brewing Company of Stratford celebrated “National Poetry Month” in April by honoring poet Robert Frost and the Stratford Library. The poet is the author of “The Road Not Taken” and the inspiration behind the brewing company’s name.

The company donated $1 to the Stratford Library for every pint poured on Tuesdays throughout April and this year raised an impressive $1,035. The money raised will be used for upcoming music, film, and lecture programs at the Library.

Pictured with Stratford Library Director Sheri Szymanski is Two Roads Senior Manager Ted Pert.

The Stratford Library is located at 2203 Main Street in Stratford, Conn. For more information call (203) 385-4162 or visit

]]> (Stratford Library) Readers Fri, 29 Jun 2018 06:32:09 -0400
My Life Off the Post Road: Making Mischief

The Other Place is a small complex a stone’s throw, and almost in the shadow of, the behemoth building that houses the RSC’s other theatres, the Royal Shakespeare and the Swan. Many visitors to Stratford Upon Avon don’t know what or where is it or that it is even affiliated with the RSC. At best they stumble upon it en route to visit Shakespeare’s grave at Holy Trinity Church, down the street from my flat. That’s a shame because in addition to having a really good bar and café (Suzy’s), it has a rich history and varied offerings well worth an intentional walk down the Avon riverbank. They host monthly jazz and poetry nights, and the black box theatre provides a flexible space for smaller, quirkier, and more experimental productions than its big brothers down the road can stage.

Their annual Mischief Festival features works around a common theme. This year, #WeAreArrested (by Can Dunder, adapted by Pippa Hill and Sophie Ivatts), and Day of the Living (created by Darren Clark, Amy Draper, and Juliet Gilkes Romero) completely captivated my attention and highjacked my emotions for two hours last Friday in a way that recent productions at the RSC and Swan hadn’t. In the former (and I quote from the program), “a journalist receives a flash-drive containing critical evidence of illegal government activity” and feels “duty bound to publish the story. But with the nation destabilized and divided, he soon finds himself risking everything for his profession. #WeAreArrested is the true story of a journalist’s commitment to expose the truth in the face of huge personal risks.” In the latter, its title an optimistic twist on the traditional celebration of the Day of the Dead, 43 Mexican students from Ayotzinapa “are forcibly disappeared” in 2014. “No one is brought to justice.” This musical piece is a “tribute to life and the Mexican spirit,” with “urgent, global issues at its heart.”

Both pieces examine, with heart wrenching and unflinching precision, the most basic issues of freedom and human rights. A friend told me that an exiled Turkish journalist and his son came to see the show and participate in the director talk back session; I’m sorry to have missed that. For many of my friends, this was their first exposure to the decades-old trauma of “Los Desaparecidos” in Latin America. Although this represented one specific event in Mexico, the actors mentioned the nearly 30,000 who had “been disappeared” over the years and said that in the time it took us to watch the show, one person would have disappeared.

It’s easy to forget, in a Shakespeare-centric town with a world famous Shakespeare theatre at its heart, that the world does not revolve around him. I applaud everyone involved in these two important and moving pieces, especially the RSC itself, for remembering that and striving particularly diligently to bring alternative and highly relevant works to the Bard’s backyard.

Photos by Diane Lowman

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Sun, 24 Jun 2018 10:16:37 -0400
Find Waldo in Darien

The iconic children’s book character in the red-and-white-striped shirt and black-rimmed specs returns to 25 local Darien businesses throughout July.

In celebration of Waldo’s longevity and popularity, his American publisher, Candlewick Press, is teaming up with the American Booksellers Association and 250 independent bookstores across the country to encourage communities to patronize their local businesses. There is no charge to participate, and the hunt lasts for the entire month of July.

Anyone who wishes to participate can pick up a “Find Waldo Local in Darien!” passport at Barrett Bookstore, located at 314 Heights Road, Darien. The passport contains the names of all participating stores. Find Waldo participants need to have their passport stamped or signed for each Waldo they spot. A mini Waldo figure is hiding in each of the locations. And to make things a little more challenging, Waldo and his friends have each dropped a precious item in Barrett Bookstore. These items can be spotted as well. Collecting store stamps or signatures at 20 or more businesses will entitle seekers entry into a grand-prize drawing on July 31, with the top prize being an eight-volume set of Waldo books.

Martin Handford’s collections of crowd scenes took the world by storm in the late 1980s. There are now over 70 million Waldo books in print worldwide, and they’ve been translated into more than 31 languages. A generation has grown up searching for Waldo. Participants of Find Waldo Local can also search for items dropped by Waldo’s intrepid traveling companions: Wenda, Woof, Wizard Whitebeard, and Odlaw.

Find Waldo concludes with a Wrap Up Party on July 31 at 3 p.m. at Barrett Bookstore for everyone who has a completed passport. Refreshments, raffle and prizes, including a six-volume deluxe set of Waldo books.

For more information about hunting for Waldo in Darien, call Barrett Bookstore at (203) 655-2712.

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Readers Sun, 24 Jun 2018 09:52:22 -0400
Westport Country Playhouse Stages Comedy “A Flea in Her Ear” Beginning July 10

Westport Country Playhouse will stage the lavish, large-cast comedy, “A Flea in Her Ear,” newly adapted by David Ives from the original by Georges Feydeau, and directed by Mark Lamos, Westport Country Playhouse artistic director. Fresh from a sold-out run by Delaware’s Resident Ensemble Players (REP), a professional theater located at the University of Delaware, the co-production with the REP will run in Westport from July 10 – 28.  

“I’ve loved the brilliantly dizzy comedies of Georges Feydeau for many years,” said Lamos. “I was thrilled to be able to stage his most popular, ‘A Flea in Her Ear,’ for the REP, a resident company of finely tuned and versatile actors, who will repeat their success on the Playhouse stage.”

Lamos added, “Writing at the very beginning of the last century, Feydeau’s genius would inspire such artists as Max Sennet, Laurel and Hardy, and Charlie Chaplin, and continue to create laughter in productions around the world. Playwright David Ives has adapted the comedy with a touch that is as light as a soufflé and as physical as a ballet.”

Set in Paris in 1907, the bawdy bedroom comedy is about a Parisian wife who gets “a flea in her ear” that her husband is cheating on her. She turns to her best friend to help gain proof. Together, they compose an anonymous love note to set up a phony rendezvous, instigating a whirlwind of wild accusations, mistaken identities, and ribald misunderstandings.

Westport Country Playhouse is located at 25 Powers Court, off Route 1 in Westport. For more information, visit, or call the box office at (203) 227-4177 or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529.

Photos by Evan Krape

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Beyond Books Sun, 24 Jun 2018 09:43:50 -0400
Shakespeare on the Green & Green Expo, Free Family Event at The Ridgefield Playhouse

Shakespeare on the Green & Green Expo at The Ridgefield Playhouse returns on on Sunday, July 22. 

The Green Expo runs from 12 – 4 p.m. and a family friendly version of Shakespeare’s "Hamlet," produced and performed by Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, will take place live under the tent at 2 p.m. Tickets for Shakespeare on the Green and Green Expo are free but must be reserved by calling the box office at (203) 438-5795, with a limit of six tickets per family on a first come, first served basis. Tickets will be held at the box office until 1 p.m. the day of the show. 

This haunting tragedy invites the question, Where should a young man turn when his father is killed, his mother remarries, and the life he knew has been taken from him? At its heart, "Hamlet" is a play about young men and women struggling with loss, death, and the inescapable feeling that they don’t fit into the world around them. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s production runs for 90-minutes.

The experts who will be participating in the Green Expo will explain how to implement sustainability in our workplace practices, in how we run our homes and how we can make everyday choices that are not only good for us but also for the environment. This “green” entertaining and educational event will include food samples, food for purchase, product information and demonstrations.

The Ridgefield Playhouse is located at 80 East Ridge Avenue, parallel to Main Street, in Ridgefield, Conn.

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Clubs Sun, 24 Jun 2018 06:46:00 -0400
Summer Movies at Candlewood Lake in July

Danbury Recreation Department will present Summer Movie Nights at Candlewood Lake. The outdoor movie series kicks off on Thursday, July 5 with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Movies take place every Thursday in July.

Shows begin at dusk. Bring your picnic blankets, lawn chairs, and the whole family!

The movies are free and open to the public. The concession stand will be open before and during the showing.

For the full lineup of movies, click here.



]]> (Tara) Beyond Books Sun, 24 Jun 2018 06:00:00 -0400
My Life Off the Post Road: To the Lakes

Near the end of term, a classmate asked me, “When are you going home?” Dazed after a marathon day of our 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Plays and Poems class, I said, “Now.” Clearly she meant to the States, not to my flat, so I told her, “some time in the fall, once my dissertation is done.”

“Oh, good,” she said, “then you can come to my wedding. Well, really not my wedding; we’ll be married already, but to the barn dance to celebrate. I live in the Lake District, so it’d be a great chance for you to see that region.” Done. I booked a train to Oxenholme and a room at the Watermill Inn and Brewery in Ings for two months hence.

On the way up, I was meant to connect with her friend from Sydney, but when I asked the most likely of the other travelers on the platform if it was she, I discovered instead that I’d met a Shakespearean actor from Seattle scheduled to play Richard III in the fall in her all-female company. We had a lot to talk about on the first leg of the journey to Birmingham Moor Street Station where I’d need to change trains. She was on a pilgrimage to research Richard III’s history before returning for rehearsals.

I did eventually meet up in Birmingham with the Australian friend, another Shakespearean actress on a pilgrimage of sorts of her own, with tickets to see several plays in Stratford and London. She’d met our friend at a summer course on Shakespeare at Cambridge and the wedding celebration happily coincided with her theatre-hopping odyssey.

The bride (not blushing so much; she’s older than I) and her mother met us at the station and took the very scenic route home to let us savor the too-beautiful-to-be-real vistas, including one of the lakes of the eponymous region. “Do you pinch yourself every time you take this drive?” I asked her, oohing and aahing myself at every turn. “Yes,” she said. “It never gets old.” This area, from whence hail Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, is as green and sheep-dotted as the West Midlands, but infinitely more undulating. Its dry stone walls, dividing up the bye-fields, date back to the 10th and 11th centuries, remind me of those in my home county of Connecticut, except that these stones are flat.

I hadn’t seen, much less sailed upon (as I would do the next day) a lake in ages, and the expanse of fresh water brought back both strong joy and sadness for me. My father, gone 16 years, from whom I inherited all my anxious, Type A tendencies, found virtually his only peace in, around, or on the Upper Greenwood and Highland Lakes in New Jersey. We spent summers there as youngsters and later brought our own children and watched him beam as he taught them to fish and paddle. Mountains, not gentle rolling Costwold or New Jersey hills, ringed this lake.

We climbed in her car for what seemed like a very long time on a one-car wide windy road up to her stucco home, currently undergoing extensive renovation as she and her new husband combine households. It nestles into a hillside with sheep, chickens, and rabbits wandering together in the back garden. The party, she explained, would happen in the large adjoining stone working barn, being cleared, as we spoke, of hay and manure for the occasion. This was no rent-a-barn decorated and festooned within an inch of its life. We’re talking barn, with a capital “B.”

I looked forward to the festivities and settled in after dinner (of venison stew; I had a baked potato, coleslaw and some cheese) at her house into the room over the pub. Now, I was thinking of Andie MacDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral when I booked it. But alas, not only was Hugh Grant not waiting for me with whiskey when I returned, but the room was not much wider or longer than the lone un-canopied twin bed. At least I’ll get a good shower, I thought … the bathroom in my flat still generally gives me the creeps, so I look forward to nights away.  Alas, nor was that to be. The shower was one of those capsule-looking things with curved Plexiglas doors that slide shut, reminding me of the orgasmatron in Woody Allen’s Sleeper. But alas, that didn’t happen either. The plastic soap dispenser offered up a gooey liquid that offered to wash my body and hair equally well, and there was no conditioner in sight (I know this may seem a minor issue, but you don’t have my unruly hair.) The romantic notion of the Inn waned further when I looked out of the window, not to see rolling Cumbria pastures, but an old dilapidated house that was marked for demolition and the highway just beyond it.  My room was just over the door to the pub and the bar itself, so to say that there was some noise is a gross understatement. And the cute little angled ceiling in my already small space turned out to support the actual staircase that led up to the floor above mine. On the other hand, breakfast was good, the made-on-the-premises beer selection delightful,(my favourite was Shih Tzu Faced), and the pub itself full of canine friends with their owners.

On Saturday, my new Australian friend and I explored the delightful town of Windermere and walked a mile down to Bowness where we took a 45-minute boat tour of Lake Windermere aboard the Silverholme. After a lunch of Cornish pasties, we walked the mostly uphill 2.5 miles back to the Watermill past those impossibly beautiful fields, a dark cloud of rain just ahead of us keeping them green for us.

After another quick and immensely unsatisfying shower, I hitched a ride up the hill for the main event. Fairie lights leant a magical glow to the whitewashed inside walls of the barn. Greeters handed each guest a full champagne flute. A Ceilidh band, including a fiddle, Border pipes, guitar, and drums played Cumbrain folk music while a caller led dancers in traditional steps, akin to a Square Dance. Later in the evening, a rock band sang guests into the wee hours. Guests included the bride and groom’s families, and friends from near and far, both geographically and in time.  I sat and chatted with folks who had known them for over 30 years and others, like myself, who were more recent acquaintances. The bride literally beamed in a simple cotton sundress as she reeled around the floor with her beau and guests. 

Unfortunately for me, but to the great joy of most of those in attendance, a van rolled up to set up the pig roast under a white tent.  The marinated, decapitated beast reminded me of the one hanging in the Swan Theatre all throughout The Duchess of Malfi. There was nothing else to eat, so I had four Thornton’s chocolates and three glasses of champagne. I went out to look for the loo at some point, following the directions that someone had given me, but found myself not at the port-o-potties, but simply heading down the narrow stretch of road to the pub. Hungry and lightheaded, the sun considering setting, I took it as a sign and simply walked the two miles back to the pub in hopes of getting something in my belly to sop up the champagne. It was the most serene, startlingly beautiful walk I have had since I can remember. At every turn I came upon groups of sheep and cow who just looked up at me, unconcerned if a bit curious, smelled honeysuckle and foxglove all along the road, and watched magpies and swallows gliding overhead. The setting sun lit up the fields in a soft, pinkish-yellowish glow that made the entire vista feel like the film I expected but didn’t find at the Inn. I am at a loss, for once, to describe the deep and profound beauty that I saw with every step. I was sorry to have missed the rest of the festivities (which apparently featured the groom doing a pretty good rendition of Mick Jagger) but immensely grateful for the journey that I did take.

I am so grateful to my friend and her new husband for inviting me to the Lake District and into her life to help her celebrate this happy event, and hope that they continue to experience that joy that I did on my sweet dusk walk.

Photos by Diane Lowman

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Fri, 15 Jun 2018 19:04:36 -0400
"Tempest" at Stratford Library June 30

The Hudson Shakespeare Company (HSC) returns for its 27th season of touring Shakespeare in the parks to Stratford Library on Saturday, June 30 at 2 p.m. with one of the Bard’s last and most magical plays, “The Tempest.” 

The play follows a group of Italian royals returning from a distant wedding and are shipwrecked during a violent storm on a deserted island; however, nothing is as it seems. The island hides mystical creatures and overseeing them is old enemy of the royals, the self-taught wizard and former Duke of Milan, Prospero. However, Hudson Shakespeare now flips the script, changing several characters to women.

In this new version set in the age of piracy, 12 years earlier Prospera (Kitty Mortland), the Duchess of Milan pursued the mystic arts in her vast library and turned over the rule of the city over to her brother Antonio (Jeffrey Robb). Antonio becomes well versed in running the state and thinks he can do a better job. He allies with Alonsa, Queen of Naples (Lily Warpinksi) and her sister Sebastine (Julia Geromin), and they overthrow Propsera.

She is then exiled with her young daughter Miranda (Giulianna Carr). However, some of Prospera’s key books and other supplies Gonzala (Emily Ann Banks). Prospera and Miranda eventually drift to an island inhabited by the witch Sycorax and her half human, half sea creature son Caliban (Victor Steel). Sycorax attempts to capture Prospera but in the ensuing fight she is killed and Prospera becomes ruler over the island and all its mystical creatures including Sycorax’s key spirit (Phoebe Cramer).

Returning to the present time and Prospera conjures up a massive storm to shipwreck the passing royal ship containing Antonio, Alonsa, Sebastine, and Alonsa’s son Ferdidnand (Patrick McAndrew). What begins as a plot of revenge and political intrigue takes some unexpected and magical turns.

“As a company, we’ve produced 'The Tempest,' twice before, once in 2000 and the other in 2010, both with powerhouse actors as Prospero”, said director Jon Ciccarelli , “and we were thinking what different spin could we do with a new production, and we settled on the challenge of seeing Prospero’s story from a woman’s perspective.”

“Prospero is very much a father figure not only of his biological daughter, Miranda, but also to all of the island’s inhabitants. The character has favorites and some not and this informs his relationships with them. He has some affection for Ariel but not for Caliban. Seeing it through a mother’s perspective instead was interesting in how it brought a different energy to those scenes while staying familiar to Shakespeare’s story,” said Ciccarelli.

While having a female Prospero is not new, most famously done with Helen Mirren in Julie Taymor’s film version, HSC decided to take the concept further. “We decided to have King Alonso and his brother be women as well. In the play, the characters of Alonso and Propsero are mirrors of each other, so we wanted to explore that motherly relationship as well”, Ciccarelli said. “Historically, female rulers were around in Europe at this time due to being widowed or there were no men to succeed so they had to take up that mantle. 'The Tempest' is also a high seas adventure with mystical elements so we thought that 'Pirates of the Carribean' look and feel lent itself very well to the production’s setting.”

HSC’s production also incorporates several flashback sequences set to music and fights that showcase several character’s backstories. Admission is free. It is recommended to bring a lawn chair or blanket. In case of rain the production will be held in the Lovell Room. The company will also return in July with a Jane Austen set "Alls Well That Ends Well” and is also mounting a Halloween themed, “The Spanish Tragedy” in October, set in a Gothic Spanish motive. For more information on show dates and venues visit or call (203) 385-4164.

The Stratford Library is located at 2203 Main Street in Stratford, Conn. For more information call (203) 385-4162 or visit

]]> (Stratford Library) Beyond Books Fri, 15 Jun 2018 18:50:31 -0400
The Hickory Stick Bookshop at The Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa Presents Becoming Barbra with Adrienne Aurichio

The Hickory Stick Bookshop will host a discussion and signing with Adrienne Aurichio,  editor, long-time collaborator, and wife of the late photographer Bill Eppridge, in celebration of the book "Becoming Barbra," a collection of Eppridge’s photographs of Barbara Streisand. The event will be held in the Lounge at the Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa on Sunday, June 24 from 2-4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at The Hickory Stick Bookshop for $50, which includes a signed copy of the book and light refreshments. Please RSVP by June 15. 

"Becoming Barbra" presents a never-before-seen look at a star in the making by an award-winning photographer with full access.

From the humble beginnings of Barbra Streisand's career in 1963 to full-fledged stardom in 1966, renowned Life magazine photographer Bill Eppridge had full access to the young singer. He photographed Streisand shopping in a thrift shop; trying on outfits in her apartment; and an appearance on the The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson--then live from New York. Eppridge documented Streisand meeting with producer David Merrick, who wanted her for the starring role in Broadway's Funny Girl, which catapulted her to celebrity status.

By the time Eppridge caught up with Streisand in 1966, she was a star in full orbit. Funny Girl had just wrapped, CBS had signed her to star in three television specials, five of her albums had gone gold and one platinum, and she had received three Grammys and an Emmy. Eppridge photographed Streisand throughout her CBS rehearsals and recording sessions, then went to Paris where he covered her at fashion shows with Marlene Dietrich and Coco Chanel, and captured a Richard Avedon shoot of her for French Vogue.

Eppridge's photographs are vivid, candid, and a truly intriguing and unprecedented look at the beginnings of Streisand's career--an intimate photo album by a master photographer of one of the most talented performers of our time.

Bill Eppridge was one of the most accomplished photojournalists of the 20th century. He was one of the great photographers hired on staff by Life magazine. His iconic photographs have appeared in numerous publications, including Life and National Geographic. He photographed some of the most important moments in 20th Century History including the Beatles first six days in the United States, Heroin Addicts in New York’s Needle Park, the Woodstock Music Festival, Apollo 13, and the Presidential campaign of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Eppridge made the photograph of the Senator moments after he was shot in the Ambassador Hotel. His work has been exhibited at museums around the world.

Adrienne Aurichio has been living in the Litchfield Hills for the past 14 years since she and her late husband, photographer Bill Eppridge, moved to Connecticut in search of a quieter life. Once they settled in they began to collaborate on projects based on Bill’s archive of photography accumulated over a lifetime.

After graduation from Pratt Institute, Aurichio began working for a photography agency, which eventually led to her meeting her husband Bill Eppridge. In 2003 they decided to start their own business and moved to Connecticut. They were together until his death in 2013. By that time they had collaborated on five books of Bill’s work and several exhibitions. With the publication of Becoming Barbra, the total is now six.

“Located in the idyllic town of Washington, Connecticut, Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa is an exquisite country retreat, nestled in 58 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and woodland. Just two hours’ drive from New York City, it is renowned as one of northeast America’s most distinguished luxury hideaways, offering the perfect accommodation for those looking for a boutique hotel in Connecticut and one of the finest spas in New England.” – The Grace Mayflower website

The Hickory Stick Bookshop is located at 2 Green Hill Road in Washington Depot, Conn. This event is ticketed. For further information about this event please call The Hickory Stick Bookshop at 860-868-0525, visit, or email

]]> (The Hickory Stick Bookshop) Authors Fri, 15 Jun 2018 18:43:34 -0400
My Life Off the Post Road: Daylesford

“It’s like Martha Stewart on steroids,” said my friend as we drove up to the movie-set perfect, yellow oolitic Jurassic limestone buildings, aged and mellowed to a perfect honey color, situated in a movie-set perfect lush, verdant Cotswold stretch of seemingly endless, sheep-dotted rolling fields of Glouscestershire.

OK, I thought, jaded New Yorker that I am, I hale from the land of Martha Stewart. How amazing could this be? But I need not even have put the other foot on the apparently handpicked gravel before I realized that, Toto, we were not in Westport any more. I spent the better part of that, my inaugural visit, trying not to gape or drool too much. My friend was right, except that the elegant aesthetic at Daylesford frankly made Martha Stewart and her various enterprises look like Costco. 

I returned this week with a group of friends from Uni to “work” on our dissertations.  Who were we kidding??? What we really needed was a change of scenery, some delicious organic food, and support and encouragement.  We got a proverbial mouthful of all of the above.

The lovingly cultivated project of Carol Bamford, wife of the construction equipment magnate Anthony Bamford, this place would be intimidating and make one feel completely inadequate in every way (read, Martha Stewart), except that each detail is curated and presented with such impeccable excellence that you cannot even resent it, no matter how much you want to or how hard you try.  The website ( describes itself thus: “Over forty years ago, we began to turn our family’s farmland over to sustainable, organic farming, first in Staffordshire and then in the Cotswolds.

What began as a simple passion for real food and a desire to feed our children better has grown into Daylesford as we know it today, one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK.” 

The entrance is a serene, neutral palette of wood and stone punctuated by colorful produce so perfectly arranged that surely a food stylist has just whisked in and tidied it up for an upcoming photo session. Too symmetrical to be real… but of course it is.  Beyond that veggie paradise and just to the left of the entrance is a cheese room – yup, a whole temperature-controlled room of cheese that could convert even the most lactose-intolerant digestive tract.  If you can wrench yourself out of there, more delights await: shelves of freshly baked bread, local honeys, jellies, and jams, and diet-ruining puddings.  The displays upstairs put Williams-Sonoma to shame. Everything and anything a home chef could desire to cook well and look good doing so. The arrangements in the floral shop simply cannot be real. They all look like old master still lives except that the aroma lets you know the flowers are indeed real.  And beyond that, the garden shop provides every possible accoutrement to allow the home chef to transition to understated-but-elegantly dressed gardener ready to put the the skills of those maintaining the grounds of Versailles to shame.

Across the courtyard the clothing shop - although it seems ridiculous to call it that; it’s really more like an art gallery or museum – features simple, high quality casual couture at extremely steep costs. Looking this good while looking like you made no effort to look this good comes at a price. We concluded that we simply could not buy the stunning, carefully crafted cream-coloured lightweight cashmere coat, not because of the £2400 price tag, but because if someone with, say, peanut butter or tomato sauce on their hands touched us, we’d have to hurt them. Even the small trinkets were way beyond our pay grade. A small coaster-sized leather elephant key chain went for £75, the life-sized granite pear for £85. We suspected that its larger-than-life companion ran to about £300, but we could hardly lift it to find out.

Exhausted by all the shopping that we couldn’t afford, we wandered back to the spa where a rudrashka bead mala that I bought for about $6 at home had a £35 price tag. We hovered at the counter while the gracious receptionists patiently explained the classes and services they offer. We promised ourselves that once we pushed the “submit” button on our dissertations, we’d come back and treat ourselves to some pampering.

Interestingly enough, the prices in the café and restaurant are comparatively reasonable, especially given the incredibly high quality and deliciousness of the food. We discussed dissertation progress over the asparagus (surely cut just for us in the adjacent fields) and Greek cheese tarts, with side salads of rainbow quinoa, organic slaw, seasonal greens, and beets. It was the most healthy and yummy meal I’ve had since…. I actually cannot remember.

We did indulge ourselves on the way out with a bit of grocery shopping; glad we live as far away as we do. This is not a place you do your regular weekly shop. I bought organic soda bread, very mature cheddar and very smelly blue cheese, unfiltered Greek olive oil, black olive tapenade, and raw Shropshire Heather honey. I ignored the total when the really charming clerk asked for my signature on the credit card slip. I don’t indulge here very often, and as I always told nutrition clients back home, the food you eat literally becomes you. It seemed like a good investment.

Daylesford’s unique combination of style and substance could be intimidating – off-putting – but it isn’t because while the prices are high, so is the level of very genuine feeling courtesy, knowledge, and professionalism of every member of staff. This is simply the best of everything – and you get the sense that the quality justifies the prices. It’s worth a visit because it is a sensory delight. Everything from the bee-stencilled flour on the perfectly browned crust of the round sourdough loaves to the woven heart sculptures suspended overhead to the mosaic hearts embedded in the walkways, makes you fall in love with this special place.

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Fri, 08 Jun 2018 07:03:20 -0400
Book Reader's Festival at Darien Library June 19

Not sure what to read this summer or looking for reading recommendations? Then the Darien Library’s Book Readers Festival is for you. The event will take place on Tuesday, June 19 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Library’s courtyard. Attendees will discover new books, get personalized reading recommendations and learn about new genres. There will also be prizes, ice cream, and children’s activities taking place during the event.

The Book Readers Festival is part of the Library’s second annual Adult Summer Reading program happening all summer long.

About Adult Summer Reading: Summer reading is the ultimate escape, and the library is delighted to transport its readers on a reading adventure with this year’s Adult Summer Reading “Be Transported” program.

This year’s reading challenge features a destination map game board, fun prizes for book lovers, and special events throughout the summer. The program will run June 4 through Aug. 31. Patrons can pick up their game maps at the Library’s Welcome Desk.

The Darien Library is located at 1441 Post Rd. in Darien, Conn. For more information, phone (203) 655-1234, or visit

]]> (Darien Library) Readers Fri, 08 Jun 2018 06:52:28 -0400
National Theatre's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" Screening Live in HD at Ridgefield Playhouse

On Friday, June 15 at 7 p.m., Ridgefield Playhouse will screen live in HD the National Theatre's critically acclaimed production of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time."

Christopher, 15 years old, stands beside Mrs. Shears’ dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork. It is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain, exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road; he detests being touched, and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.

The Ridgefield Playhouse offers free tickets to shows in The National Theatre Live series to students 18 and younger as a way for parents to introduce their children to the arts. Free tickets to students 18 and younger are also offered for all Benchmark Senior Living at Ridgefield Crossings Live in HD screenings of The Bolshoi Ballet and The Met Opera.

The Ridgefield Playhouse is located at 80 East Ridge Road in Ridgefield, Conn. For more information, visit

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Beyond Books Fri, 08 Jun 2018 06:49:22 -0400