Summer on the Shoreline 2024

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SUMMER JUNE 2024 $3.95 Savor the summer with the shoreline’s farmers markets Take a spiritual retreat at Blue Iris Farm Discover the perfect trail this summer Explore the flavors of Sri Lanka in New London

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4 SUMMER on the shoreline 28 Savor the summer Letter from the editor Meet On the Shoreline’s new editor, Alicia Gomez 6 Explore Sri Lanka’s rich flavors At Cinnamon Grill in New London 8 Summer Shakespeare Returns to southeast Connecticut 14 Where discovery and recovery take flight A Place Called Hope 20 How to discover the perfect trail A guide to Connecticut’s trails and parks 38 Embracing nature & nurture Under the stars at Blue Iris Farm 42 JUNE CONTENTS Photo courtesy of c hester s unday market With fresh fare from your local farms
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Welcome to this year’s Summer on the Shoreline. As a newcomer to On the Shoreline publications and a non-native to the shoreline, I was thrilled to contribute to its creation and explore the shoreline through this guide. With its gorgeous beaches and family-friendly communities, the region is undeniably a picturesque place to call home and work, and we are eager to highlight what summer is like here.

Dive into our farmers market guide for a glimpse of our local farms. These markets are not just about fresh produce; they are family-friendly hubs brimming with entertainment, artisanal goods, and even enriching history lessons. They are lovely places to create cherished memories with loved ones while fostering healthy habits and supporting local businesses.

The shoreline has the most beautiful beaches in New England, but consider adventuring through the trails and paths running through East Haven, Old Saybrook, and Durham.

With a robust ecosystem and plenty of opportunities to explore and serve the environment, consider A Place Called Hope, a remarkable organization based in Killingworth. Here, injured birds of prey find sanctuary and rehabilitation while educational programs enlighten visitors on coexistence and conservation efforts. With opportunities for hands-on bird rescue and handling training, it is a chance to play a vital role in safeguarding our natural heritage this summer.

When it comes to experiencing the area’s rich culinary tapestry, New London’s Cinnamon Grill stands out as a culinary gem. This family-owned restaurant offers a delectable array of authentic Sri Lankan and Asian Cuisine. From sweet and spicy dishes to plant-based and meat curries, fried rice, noodles, vegetarian dishes, stews, and more, their menu is an adventure waiting to be explored this season.

As we embark on this journey through Summer on the Shoreline, let us indulge in the vibrant experiences and flavors this region offers and remember the importance of preserving and exploring its natural beauty.




Timothy C. Dwyer 860-701-4379


Louvenia Brandt 860-701-4247


Laura Robida


Alicia Gomez


Barb Dunn


Stephanie Anthony |

Paul Blanco

Laura Carpenter

Lori Gregan

Jack Hyzak

Christina Johnson |

Kristen Lennon

Lisa Martin

Sarah Mazzio

Jim Schiavone w


Heidi Carrier, Kara Conlon, Jennifer Corthell, Chris Dobbins, Alan Ellis, Nicole Martini, Richard Swanson

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS BY Cris Cadiz, Jennifer Carmichael, Gretchen Peck, Elle Rahilly

© Copyright 2024 by The Day Publishing Company and Shore Publishing

All rights reserved. Reproductions without the permission of the publisher are prohibited.

The views and opinions expressed in each article are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of On the Shoreline, The Day Publishing Company, or Shore Publishing.

on the cover In addition to fresh produce and hand-made artisan products, flowers are a common staple at local farmers markets. Photo courtesy of Bozrah farmers market

6 SUMMER on the shoreline
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Explore Sri Lanka’srich flavors


Ceylon cinnamon, cardamom, clove, coriander, turmeric, and coconut—these are the flavors of Sri Lanka. Rich, warm, fragrant, a little spicy but not blazing hot. Seafood, chicken, pork, goat, and lentils. Lots of fresh vegetables and rice. If you’ve never tried Sri Lankan food, you’re in for a delicious experience at Cinnamon Grill in New London.

Thanks to Mark Ranasinghe and Chanmany Noi, New London is home to the only Sri Lankan restaurant in southern New England. This restauranteur couple also owns and operates the popular Jasmine Thai and Tuskers at 470 Bank Street, serving Thai, sushi, and Southeast Asian dishes. Ranasinghe, a native of Sri Lanka, runs the front of the house for this trio of restaurants. His wife, Noi, grew up in family restaurants in Laos and shares her love of food and cooking as an executive chef. Ranasinghe and Noi’s goal in opening Cinnamon Grill was two-fold: cuisine and community. They wanted to introduce unique flavors and a little-known culture to shoreline residents and support the Sri Lankan community. The pandemic devastated restaurant businesses across the country. In 2020, Ranasinghe and Noi realized they could help support restaurant workers in New York City who lost jobs by

opening a Sri Lankan restaurant in Connecticut. They decided to renovate a long-abandoned building across the street and welcomed cooks and waiters to head north to live and work.

“Most people don’t know where Sri Lanka is, what it is, what the food is like. Sri Lanka is a beautiful island with beautiful people, and the food is great,” says Noi, who fell in love with the country when she first visited with Ranasinghe a decade ago. The couple saw a need and an opportunity in New London. “This place was vacant for a long time. We wanted to bring more business to town,” says Noi. Ranasinghe envisions turning their corner of Bank Street into a mecca for multicultural food.

Sri Lanka is a teardrop-shaped nation off the coast of India. Home to a dense population of about 22 million people, numerous cultures, languages, and ethnicities are represented on the island, a little larger than Virginia. Once known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka was colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch, and English and was part of the British Commonwealth up until 1972, when it became an independent republic. Historically known as one of the “spice islands,” Ceylon cinnamon and tea are Sri Lankan products we know and love.

Despite opening in 2020, having to close for COVID, and then reopening in 2022, Cinnamon Grill is already popular with the area’s scattered Sri Lankan population, who travel

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JUNE 2024 9 on the shoreline
Lump Rice: a traditional dish of cashew curry, fish cutlet, stir-fried eggplant, plantain curry, and rice all wrapped in a banana leaf. Photo courtesy of mark ranasinghe
“Most people don’t know where Sri Lanka is, what it is, what the food is like. Sri Lanka is a beautiful island with beautiful people, and the food is great.”
Chanmany Noi

from as far as Hartford, New Haven, Providence, and Boston for a meal that tastes like home. Other customers include people who have traveled to Sri Lanka and enjoyed the food and culture, as well as adventurous diners trying something new. Cinnamon Grill is staffed entirely by Sri Lankans, ensuring a genuine experience that includes traditional food made from scratch and served with cultural understanding.

“Most Sri Lankans who visit say it’s like cooking they would get back home,” says Ranasinghe. “It’s not fusion or modified to different palates. I make sure they get the ingredients right.”

At Cinnamon Grill, the cuisine is super fresh and homemade, including the curry blend, which, compared to Indian

10 SUMMER on the shoreline
LEFT Chanmany Noi, left, and Mark Ranasinghe, right, at Cinnamon Grill. Photo courtesy of mark ranasinghe BELOW Decor at Cinnamon Grill. Photo by cris cadiz BOTTOM Traditional hoppers: Egg hopper, dal curry, chili chutney, choice of protein. Served only on weekends. Photo courtesy of mark ranasinghe

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and Thai curries, has its own unique spices and flavors. There are many vegetarian menu options, and most Sri Lankan food is dairy and gluten-free since it uses rice and coconut milk. Wait staff are excellent at explaining dishes, answering questions, and making suggestions.

“Our Ceylon crab curry is phenomenal,” says Noi about her favorite dish.

Hoppers are Sri Lankan street food, a crispy crepe-like item made from rice flour. String hoppers use the same dough made into thin noodles and woven into a nest-like shape. Hoppers are served only on weekends because they are time-intensive, and the batter must be fresh. Ranasinghe suggests that newbies try coconut roti and lump rice, which has many kinds of vegetables, meat, and curry. “Everything is wrapped in the banana leaf, and it gives you so many different flavors,” says Ranasinghe.

Ranasinghe and Noi see exciting potential in downtown New London’s dining scene and enjoy sharing the flavors of other parts of the world with southern New England. The three sister restaurants—Jasmine Thai, Tuskers, and Cinnamon Grill—are named after the jasmine flower, the elephant, and cinnamon, symbolizing Southeast Asia’s beauty, strength, and taste. Together, they welcome us to learn about culture through delicious, authentic cuisine.

New London. Hours are Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 12–9:30 p.m. Visit for more information or call 860-574-9414.

12 SUMMER on the shoreline
Cinnamon Grill is located at 385 Bank Street in TOP Traditional string hoppers: Dal curry, coconut chutney, and protein of choice. Served at Cinnamon Grill only on weekends. Photo courtesy of mark ranasinghe ABOVE Rice curry platter: a popular dish offering many flavors to taste. At least six different fresh, chopped vegetables, curry sauce, and protein of choice. Photo courtesy of mark ranasinghe
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Sri Lankan décor on display at Cinnamon Grill. Photo by cris cadiz


If it’s summer, it’s time for Shakespeare.

Chloe Parrington sees William Shakespeare’s plays as “universally beloved.” She’s an actor and director with Drama Works Theatre at 323 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook. Drama Works is a relatively young theater company, opened in 2021 by Founding Artistic Director Ed Wilhelms. The company performs at a 40-seat theater designed like an off-Broadway black box-style venue, creating a sense of intimacy between the actors and the audience.

This July, Drama Works will perform Mac Beth, a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Parrington is directing.

“This adaptation from playwright Erica Schmidt takes the text of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and recontextualizes it as the play being performed by a group of high school girls,” she says.

Given the casting, Parrington says this particular retelling of the tale will be more accessible to young audiences who perhaps haven’t yet been exposed to Shakespeare’s works or worry they won’t understand the dialog.

“Because this is meant to be a group of high school girls putting on their own production of Macbeth, it’s done in a very DIY style. They pull props out of their backpacks. Some of the more heavily used props are going to be their cell phones,” Parrington says. “So, when Lady Macbeth is reading a letter, she’s reading it off of her phone. Younger audiences can come and see it, and it will immediately click because they won’t get caught up in the language. There is so much energy and things happening on stage that they’ll recognize what’s happening visually. I think it’s a great gateway for kids and young adults to experience Shakespeare.”

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returns to southeast Connecticut

JUNE 2024 15 on the shoreline
LEFT Performing at least two Shakespeare productions each year, Flock Theatre Founder and Executive Artistic Director Derron Wood says at least one of those plays is a comedy. Flock Theatre actors are seen here in a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor Photo by flock theatre ABOVE Actors Sarah Paprocki and Eric Michaelian perform in a past Drama Works Theatre production of ‘The Baltimore Waltz’ by Paula Vogel. Photo by Patrick barry ABOVE RIGHT Chloe Parrington is directing Drama Works Theatre Company’s July productions of Mac Beth, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth Photo by Julia gerace BELOW Black box-style space where Drama Theatre Company performs at 323 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook. Photo by ed Wilhelms

Drama Works’ production of Mac Beth will be held on July 19, 20, 26, and 27 at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances on July 21 and July 28 are at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $27, and the runtime is 90 minutes without intermission.


A nonprofit group, The Flock Theatre traces its roots back 30 years to Boston, where Founder and Executive Artistic Director Derron Wood led the street theater company. He’d studied theater at Connecticut College and ultimately decided to move the troupe to New London.

“One of my passions has always been Shakespeare,” Wood says. The company performs at least two Shakespeare productions yearly, including one from the playwright’s comedic catalog.

“I always thought The [Connecticut College] Arboretum was a perfect place to perform Shakespeare, so when I shifted the company down here, we approached The Arboretum, and they loved the idea,” he recalls. “It’s a natural amphitheater built for outdoor performances.”

“It’s a peaceful, beautiful place that allows you to focus on the language and performance in a different way,” Wood adds of The Arboretum. “Many people come with food for a picnic. Some will bring small children and sit in the backfield to watch. It’s different than being confined to a seat. You can get up and move around—a different way to enjoy the show.”

This season, they’ve chosen two of Shakespeare’s plays to perform: As You Like It, a romantic comedy exploring concepts of love and envy, and Henry V.

“We’ve had lots of people who come up to us after the performances and say, ‘I’ve seen this play before, but this is the first time I understood it.’ ” Derron Wood
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The nonprofit Flock Theatre company performs two Shakespeare plays a year. Actors are seen here in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Photo courtesy of connecticut college


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“Henry V is one of his more popular historical plays,” Wood says. “We’ve also performed War of the Roses, Edward III, and Richard II. These are plays that audiences in this area may not get a chance to see performed live.”

“Henry V is an action play depicting war and battles. We’ve got smoke machines and cannons and flying arrows. We pull out all the theatrical stops,” he says.

Printed programs feature “Flock Plot” summaries, which help the audience follow along as the plot unfolds.

“Our goal always is to make the story understood,” Wood says. “We’ve had lots of people who come up to us after the performances and say, ‘I’ve seen this play before, but this is the first time I understood it.’”

The Flock Theatre will perform Shakespeare’s As You Like It at the Connecticut College Arboretum from June 27

to June 30 and from July 5 to July 7. They’ll take the production on tour, performing in Hampton on July 12 (rain date: July 14) and at the Mystic Seaport on July 13.

Flock Theatre’s production of Henry V is coming to the Connecticut College Arboretum from July 25 to July 28 and August 1 to August 4. All performances begin at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are available at the door; general admission tickets are $20 (cash, card, or check) and $15 for students, seniors, and active military.

“We also make sure these shows are accessible,” Wood says. “The arboretum may be tricky for people with mobility issues to navigate, but if we know they are coming in advance [via email], we can have escorts there to help them drive their cars down into the arboretum.”

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Flock Theatre previously performed Shakespeare’s Henry IV This summer, the cast will perform Henry V at the Connecticut College Arboretum. Photo by flock theatre
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20 SUMMER on the shoreline
Wild raven and red-tailed hawk.
Photo by sPirit haWk PhotograPhy
“We wanted to dedicate the rest of our lives to these birds. It was obvious that this was our soul path.”
Christine Cummings

From Christine Cummings’ early days as an animal technician to Todd Secki’s unwavering love for nature and wildlife photography, the husband-and-wife duo has always had a deep passion for protecting animals and giving them a voice. Their commitment and love, especially for birds, led them to become full-fledged wildlife rehabilitators. In 2007, they founded A Place Called Hope, a state-licensed and federally permitted nonprofit rehabilitation and education center that cares for injured, orphaned, or ill birds of prey in Killingworth.

“Initially, we weren’t properly trained, but we were doing the best we could with what we knew and doing research,” says Cummings. “But we knew there had to be a way to become legal wildlife rehabilitators with training.”

They took an Intro to Wildlife Rehabilitation course through Middlesex Community College’s adult education program. When the teacher, who owned a bird of prey facility, brought out a bird for students to see up close and personal, they instantly fell in love with it.

“That was it for us,” remembers Cummings. “We looked at each other, and we looked at that bird again and knew we were hooked. We wanted to dedicate the rest of our lives to these birds. It was obvious that this was our soul path.”

After attending their teacher’s class in 2005, they decided to volunteer at her facility, which is no longer operational due to her retirement. Although they had always been fascinated by birds of prey such as hawks, owls, falcons, and vultures, they had only had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience once they joined the facility as volunteers. Within two years of volunteering, they established A Place Called Hope.

“It happened quick,” says Cummings. “But that’s how my husband and I are with our skill sets and determination. When we say we’re going to do something, we do it.”

From the start, A Place Called Hope was inundated with injured, orphaned, and sick birds. Its mission was rehabilitation and releasing them back into the wild. Today, on average, the non-profit has 600 to 800 birds passing through the center every year.

“We bring them back home, releasing them back where they were picked up or found,” says Cummings. “Most of these birds mate for life, so they look for their original mates. They mourn if something happens to their partner during mating or courtship season, but then they will move on. They have a territorial range, and their hunting skills are honed for the areas where they live. So relocating them is not something we like to do.”


A Place Called Hope holds educational programs featuring birds that cannot return to the wild. Instead, these birds become ambassadors, shared during presentations where people can see them up close and personal. However, not all birds are suitable for ambassador roles, and some may need to be euthanized. Cummings explains that this decision depends on the bird’s temperament and willingness to work with them or live in captivity for the rest of their lives.

Educational programs take the three to five birds on the road, traveling to schools, libraries, garden clubs, summer camp programs, funerals, you name it, Cummings says. Not only do people see the birds up close, but they also learn about what happened to cause them to become permanent residents at A Place Called Hope for the rest of their lives. The mission is to teach people how to better co-exist with birds of prey to lessen conflicts. People learn about the species and biology of the birds and how we, as humans, can help, preserve, and protect them.

At the center, they also offer intimate programs, presentations, and tours on-site. The hour-long guided tours, with a maximum of

JUNE 2024 21 on the shoreline
Christine Cummings and a red-tailed hawk rehab patient. Photo courtesy of a Place called hoPe Todd Secki in the field rescuing a golden eagle. Photo courtesy of a Place called hoPe

six people, allow visitors to glimpse the 22 aviaries and learn about the different species of birds and what human conflict landed them at the facility. Cummings says the center aims to educate the public on ways to lessen these conflicts since 98 percent of injuries are related to humans.

“It’s important for people to see these birds up close, like we did, and have that connection with our wildlife and planet,” says Cummings. “When you just see these birds fly over, you don’t understand them until you are face to face, looking into their eyes, seeing every detail of their feathers, and learning about their characteristics and the ways that they defend themselves, hunt, or how they help to balance the ecosystem.”


It’s that feeling of connection that gives people a stronger sense of wanting to help. Volunteer groups come out on Sundays and Wednesdays to help clean the aviaries. All volunteers must be 18 years old or older and able to commit to three weekends per month at minimum.

The center initiated classes to train the public on how to safely rescue and handle dangerous birds, including birds of prey, swans, geese, egrets, and herons. Upon signing up for the classes, some individuals volunteer and receive hands-on training to become rescuers.

“We’re able to respond much better and more efficiently now because we’ve done this training, and we’ve put in that time to get a good team together,” notes Cummings. “A separate group is the ACT group (Already Contained Transport). This team can safely pick up already contained birds for transport from point A to point B.”

The center is fortunate to have the support of medical assistants and two veterinarians who generously donate their time and services. They offer on-site diag-

22 SUMMER on the shoreline
ABOVE A bald eagle. Photo by Julia luckett BELOW A wild baby great horned owlet finding its temporary home at the Center while awaiting a re-nesting project, now successfully completed. Photo courtesy of a Place called hoPe
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nostics, including x-rays, bone-splitting, and minor treatments. They bring the birds to vets for surgical procedures, or the vets come to them.


“Whenever you find an injured or distressed wild animal, you want to make sure you are bringing it to a properly trained wildlife rehabilitator,” says Cummings. “When it comes to birds, the person/ place must be federally licensed, on top of state permitted. In Connecticut, wildlife rehabilitators are listed through the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) website under ‘Dealing With Distressed Wildlife’. There, you will find a list of rehabilitators according to the town they reside and animal they are licensed to manage. It is an invaluable resource, especially when you are dealing with an injured animal.”

“To be legal, you must go through a state class, take a test, and be licensed through the DEEP. Places like ours that deal with federally protected birds have to be licensed through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and we also have to have United States Department of Agriculture permitting,” she continues.

For more information, please visit or call or text 203-804-3453 for wildlife emergencies, rescues, booking programs, and setting up tours. The hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

24 SUMMER on the shoreline
Wild osprey fledgling. Photo by sPirit haWk PhotograPhy
Otsi, resident snowy owl, amputated at the elbow after being flushed by photographers . Photo courtesy of a Place called hoPe

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With fresh fare from your local farms

Summer is here, which means farmers market season is in full swing. While year-round markets can be found along the Connecticut shoreline, the season brings an abundance of pop-up markets and farmstands, making it more convenient than ever to find the freshest produce, blossoms, baked goods, and more from your neighborhood farms.

From community markets to roadside farmstands, read on for where to find some of the freshest picks in your neck of the woods.

28 SUMMER on the shoreline


1 Church Street, Deep River @farmersmarketchurchgreen

Open June 8 through October 5 Saturdays, 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m.


2351 Durham Road, Guilford @dudleyfarmfarmersmarket

Open year-round with seasonal hours Spring & summer: Saturdays, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Atrip to the Dudley Farm Farmers Market is more than a shopping experience. Located on the historic grounds of the Dudley Farm Museum, Connecticut’s second oldest farmers market offers a selection of organic produce while enjoying the preserved beauty of the farm as it was in 1900. Local vendors also sell wildflowers, raw honey, grass-fed beef, craft goods, and more. Leap Frog Farm, Mena’s Garden, Bitta-Blue Farm, and Maple Grove Farm are just a few local favorites to look out for during your trip. Most Saturdays feature free live demonstrations and workshops like sheep shearing, butter churning, and lacemaking. Don’t forget to say hello to the chickens and sheep or check out an exhibit in the farmhouse museum!



T1030 Noank Ledyard Road, Mystic @whittleswillowspringgfarm

Open July through the fall Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sundays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

his fifth-generation family-owned farm has been around for over 100 years and is just minutes from downtown Mystic. Rustic homes and stone walls line the scenic drive to its roadside farmstand, loaded with seasonal summer harvest (think watermelon and sweet corn), eggs, honey, and more, all acquired on-site. Enjoy pumpkin and apple picking at the farm’s harvest patch and orchards at discounted per-pound rates in the fall. The farm and orchards offer lovely photo opportunities and family-friendly fun. Visitors recall their experiences of feeding baby piglets and now bring their grandchildren to share in the joy.



The Velvet Mill, 22 Bayview Avenue, Stonington @ stoningtonfarmersmarket

Open year-round (outdoors Memorial Day weekend through mid-October); Saturdays, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.



111 Lovers Lane, Guilford @guilfordfairct

Open May 16 through mid-fall (runs until October or November depending on weather) Thursdays, 4–7 p.m.

JUNE 2024 29 on the shoreline
OPPOSITE PAGE Photo courtesy of dudley farm ABOVE Photo courtesy of chester sunday market
RIGHT Photo courtesy of old saybrook farmers market



F210 Main Street, Old Saybrook @osfarmmarket

Open June 22 through October 30

Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

ree range eggs, freshly baked bread, and handcrafted soaps accompany the seasonal summer bounty at the Old Saybrook Farmers Market on Main Street. Entering its 28th season, the market has grown from two vendors upon its founding to an array of local farmers and artisans carrying Connecticut-grown produce, flowers, and fare.

The Old Saybrook Farmers Market wanted to give back to the community while honoring William Childress for all he does for the market by hosting it every week on his property. The market decided to give back with The William Childress Scholarship, granting two scholarships to Old Saybrook High School seniors each spring.



3049 Boston Post Road, Guilford 415 Forest Road, Northford @countryfarm2

Open year-round

Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sundays, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.


144 Pickett Lane, Durham @durhamfarmersmarket

Open June 6 through October 3 (with a two week break in September for the annual Durham Fair); Thursdays, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

30 SUMMER on the shoreline
LEFT Photo courtesy of old saybrook farmers market ABOVE Photo courtesy of madison farmers market BELOW Photo courtesy of bozrah farmers market
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1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford @bishopsorchardsfarmmarket Open year-round

Monday–Saturday, 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sundays, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

The driving force behind Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market in Guilford is providing the Connecticut shoreline with homegrown fruits and vegetables. From freshly picked strawberries and peaches during the summer to apples right off the tree in the fall, the market boasts a wide selection of native crops, locally made jams, potted herbs, and more. Conveniently located off Exit 57 and open year-round, all produce at the farm market is grown either on-site or gathered from nearby farms. Check out their llamas, alpacas, and goats while you’re there!



120 Pequotsepos Road, Mystic @denisonhomesteadmuseum

Open June 2 through October 27; Sundays, 12–3 p.m.

Celebrating 20 years, the Denison Farmers Market is the perfect place to shop for local produce while enjoying the beautifully preserved history of the Denison Homestead, a 300-year-old family farm and neighboring nature center. At the market, fresh fruits and vegetables accompany other specialty goods from regional vendors like walnut and pistachio baklava, freshly baked pies, smokehouse meats, small batch beer, and handcrafted candles. This year’s featured vendors include Better Together CT, which offers hemp products, Ms. Beer Haven, and Vestal Candle.


272 Saybrook Road, Higganum @higganumfarmersmarket

Open June 1 through October 9 Saturdays, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.

32 SUMMER on the shoreline
TOP Photo courtesy of chester sunday market ABOVE Photo courtesy of bozrah farmers market
BELOW Photos courtesy of hunts brook farm


97 Hayward Avenue (Town Green), Colchester @colchesterfarmersmarketct


Open June 16 through October 13; Sundays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

21 Mount Parnassus Road, East Haddam @easthaddamfarmersmarket

Open June 12 through September 25; Wednesdays, 3–6 p.m.

The Colchester Farmers Market and East Haddam Farmers Market are two weekly farmers markets in neighboring towns open from early to mid-fall. Both markets are put on by Community Pollinator, an organization committed to supporting our regional farmers, artisans, and vendors. The Colchester Farmers Market is open weekly on Sundays, and the East Haddam Farmers Market on Wednesdays. Both markets offer local produce, cheeses, meats, jams, herbs, bread, soap, pottery, baked goods, and more. The markets are open, rain or shine.

JUNE 2024 33 on the shoreline
Photo courtesy of dudley farm


45 Bozrah Street, Bozrah @bozrahfarm

Open July 12 through October 11; Fridays, 4–7 p.m.

The Bozrah Farmers Market is the heart of Bozrah’s community, a hub of local flavor and camaraderie at Maples Farm Park—a nineteenth-century estate boasting 32 acres of open land. Farmers, artisans, and neighbors unite to showcase Bozrah’s farms and small businesses. Every product at this seasonal market is a testament to the bounty of the area, from farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to artisanal cheeses and baked goods. Other Connecticut-grown products for sale include honey and beeswax candles, hot sauce, kettle corn, fresh-cut flowers, and more.



718 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard @ledyardfarmersmarket

Open June 4 through September 11; Wednesdays, 4–7 p.m.



156 Sterling City Road, Lyme @fromthefarmllc

Open May 25 through October 12; Saturdays, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m.



T23 Main Street, Chester @chestersundaymarket

Open June 16 through October 13; Sundays, 9 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.

his weekly town-wide market in the picturesque town of Chester is committed to supporting smaller farms. All produce, meats, seafood, cheeses, breads, and other goods available at the market are locally grown. Be sure to check out all that Main Street has to offer while you’re there—including shops, art galleries, farm-to-table dining, and the world renowned Goodspeed Opera House’s local Norma Terris Theatre. Although it doesn’t offer craft items, Chester Sunday Market features live music every Sunday with a rotation of regional talent. Visit the market online for a full live music schedule.

34 SUMMER on the shoreline
TOP LEFT Photo courtesy of old saybrook farmers market BOTTOM LEFT Photo courtesy of chester sunday market ABOVE Photo courtesy of madison farmers market


108 Hunts Brook Road, Quaker Hill @huntsbrookfarmct /farmers-markets Open Mid-June through October Wednesdays, 3–7 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

wners Teresa and Rob Schacht of Hunts Brook Farm want you to say, “I know my farmer.” They be-lieve the energy put into the food they grow at the farm impacts their customers, environment, and nearby community. That is why the farm grows all of its crops ecologically and socially responsibly—with more than 30 crops ranging from summer squash and radishes to dahlias and zinnias. In addition to homegrown produce, the farm stand offers a selection of community-grown eggs, cheeses, meat, seafood, maple syrup, honey, and other products from neighboring farms. If you can’t make it to the Quaker Hill location, you can also find the farm’s produce at the Chester Sunday Market, Fiddleheads in New London, and Food Works in Old Saybrook and Guilford.

JUNE 2024 35 on the shoreline
Photo courtesy of chester sunday market
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36 SUMMER on the shoreline
Photo courtesy of bozrah farmers market LEFT Photo courtesy of dudley farm
ABOVE Photo courtesy of old saybrook farmers market BELOW Photo courtesy of chester sunday market


Waterford Community Center, 24 Rope Ferry Road, Waterford @waterfordfarmersmarket

Open June 15 through October 12; Saturdays, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.


211 Cove Road, Stonington


Open daily in season


26 Meeting House Lane, Madison @madisonctfarmersmarket

Open May through Thanksgiving; Fridays, 3–6 p.m.

Every Friday afternoon, the Madison Farmers Market serves organic fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, meat, dairy, fish, bread, baked goods, honey, and prepared foods to the town from its central location on the Historic Town Green. Artisanal kombucha, animal treats, and specialty items are also available from local farms across southern Connecticut. Check out the website for delicious recipe suggestions for your market finds—including Mediterranean salsa, strawberry crepes, and more.

Please note this does not include all farmers markets and farmstands in the area. Additional information about market events, updates, and special guests can be found online and on Facebook.

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How to discover the perfect trail

A guide to Connecticut’s trails and parks

Afew years ago, my husband and I camped at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison. I brought my bike to explore while he fished off the jetty. It was past Labor Day, and the beach roads were peaceful and quiet. Though I usually ride with friends at an “athletic” pace, I rolled along solo, enjoying a salt-tinged breeze off the Lond Island Sound, the piercing cry of seagulls, and the susurration of waves on the beach. I admired a golden marsh split by serpentine canals and dotted with bright white egrets and a statuesque great blue heron. I had no plan but to relax. I puttered along, following the paved road out to Meigs Point.

I explored multi-use dirt paths bordering the salt marsh and eventually discovered a path with signs reading “Shoreline Greenway Trail Connector” that I didn’t have time to investigate. “Where did that lead?” I wondered as I pedaled back to our campsite. As a resident of hilly, forested northeast Connecticut, I loved riding this gentle, wide-sky landscape and felt grateful that our compact state has so much variety.

Connecticut has a surprising number of places to explore on two wheels or two feet. West of the Connecticut River and east of New Haven, Middlesex County is only about 300,000 acres; yet according to Trailforks, a popular mountain biking app, it contains 109 riding areas and two bike

38 SUMMER on the shoreline
View of the river from the trails of Westwoods in Guilford. Photo by kim bradley

skills parks. Some trails featured in this app are designed to be enjoyed by mountain bikers, but hikers, trail runners, and other non-motorized trail users are also welcome. Trailforks ( and the state-funded website administered by the UConn Extension Program, CT Trail Finder (, are two useful and free tools to help you find your favorite place to enjoy the outdoors this summer.

“There is a wide range of off-road cycling opportunities in the south-central portion of Connecticut,” says Kimberly Bradley, CT DEEP Trails & Greenways Coordinator. “From the scenic, flat gravel of the Shoreline Greenway Trail that connects directly to the beaches of Hammonasset State Park in Madison to technical trails that challenge advanced mountain biking skills at Westwoods in Guilford, there’s something for everyone.”

Bradley’s entire family (including daughters aged 8 and 10) are experienced mountain bikers, she says. One of the family’s favorite trail systems in this area is Singletracks of Rockland (SOR) in Durham. Although SOR is hilly and rocky, there are trails for all mountain biking abilities, a fun pump track, and a skills practice area on this 650-acre property owned by the Town of Madison. The 20 miles of SOR

trails were built among long-abandoned forest roads starting in 2012. Volunteers spent thousands of hours designing, building, and maintaining them for mountain biking, trail running, and non-motorized use. They also raised funds to add a pump track, skills park, and children’s playground, according to

Bradley and her husband enjoy the technical challenges of Westwoods in Guilford (part of Cockaponset State Forest) when riding with advanced cyclists. She also recommends The Preserve in Old Saybrook, a 963acre property spread across three towns, which was conserved in 2015 to protect the largest intact coastal forest between Boston and New York City, according to Supply Ponds and Pisgah Brook Preserves in Branford are popular for mountain biking, walking, running, fishing, and birdwatching on a 1,100-acre parcel of protected open space with over 15 miles of blazed trails, according to

Mountain biking is my favorite sport, but navigating the roots, rocks, and short, steep hills that are endemic to much of Connecticut’s terrain is not for everyone. You need a bike

JUNE 2024 39 on the shoreline
LEFT Kids and adults enjoy the Rockland Preserve pump track in Madison. Photo by kim bradley ABOVE Hammonasset State Park Section of the Shoreline Greenway Trail. Photo by kim bradley BELOW Meigs Point Nature Center at Hammonasset State Park. Photo by cris cadiz

built to ride safely and comfortably and the grit to enjoy it. Luckily, our state also boasts mostly flat multi-use trails, including 50 mostly gravel miles on the Airline State Park Trail east of the Connecticut River and the paved Farmington Canal Trail, which starts in New Haven and runs more than 60 miles north to Southwick, MA. It’s fun to pick a section to explore, ride out and back, and enjoy local amenities where you park. You can always jog, walk, or even rollerblade if you prefer.

Near the coast in south central Connecticut, the Shoreline Greenway offers safe, easy cycling for all ages and abilities. An all-volunteer, grassroots organization plans to connect five towns along 25 miles from New Haven to Madison for safe pedestrian and foot travel. This effort is a work in progress, so currently, usable off-road sections are short—which is great for families or less experienced cyclists. Nearly six miles are complete in Branford, East Haven, Madison, and soon in Guilford. See for parking, length of trails, and maps.

According to Bradley, there are many online resources to help plan outdoor exploration in Connecticut.

“You can use the new and improved CT State Parks website [] and the trail manager-approved and user friendly CT Trail Finder [] ,” Bradley says. “Offroad cyclists find Trailforks to be a high-value

app that provides cycling-preferred opportunities and information such as trail conditions and difficulty levels.”

Bradley also recommends a list of regional trails allowing various activities with downloadable maps or brochures found at

As an avid mountain biker, I use Trailforks frequently, but any trail user can benefit from this app. Users can post current conditions (mud, ice, downed trees, etc.). The app shows details such as elevation profiles, trail length, best riding direction, and other information on planning an excursion in unfamiliar territory. For the directionally challenged (like me), the app pinpoints your location in the trail system by GPS, so unless your phone dies, you can’t easily get lost.

CT Trail Finder currently displays 305 trails (over 1K miles and growing) and helps you find a trail to fit your needs. Drop-down menus allow you to choose an activity (hike, bike, snowshoe, horseback ride), trail length, difficulty level, and surface (dirt, pavement, gravel). It also offers popular searches (pet friendly, family friendly, waterfalls, nature trails, etc.) and searches by town.

With so many tools, resources, and venues to explore in our state, there’s no excuse not to get outside this summer!

“From the scenic, flat gravel of the Shoreline Greenway Trail that connects directly to the beaches of Hammonasset State Park in Madison to technical trails that challenge advanced mountain biking skills at Westwoods in Guilford, there’s something for everyone.”
Kim Bradley
40 SUMMER on the shoreline
View of the marsh at Hammonasset State Park in Madison. Photo by cris cadiz

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& embracing nature nurture

Under the stars at Blue Iris Farm

42 SUMMER on the shoreline
Those who attend Under the Stars at Blue Iris Farm enjoy comfort and camaraderie on a sprawling field far from the distractions of every day life. Under the Stars occurs Fridays from May through October.

If you don’t believe in miracles, a trip to Blue Iris Farm may change your mind. Tucked away in the wooded hills of Lebanon, what began as a safe haven for animals quickly evolved into a place of growth and transformation for people from all walks of life.

Photographer-by-trade Jamie Collins and her family opened the doors to the 114-acre property in 2022 with a mission to rescue farm animals in need while cultivating a community of people who want to make an impact with those animals. What she could never have predicted was how much she and every visitor to the farm would get in return. 10 months after purchasing the land, Collins lost her husband to COVID. Within the same year, she lost her sister to cancer.

“As my grief set in, a powerful thing happened between my animals and me,” Collins shares. “I cried to them for hours, and days, and months. There was a deep understanding without words, and it was so healing. Animals will just sit with us with compassion, and it is the best gift ever.” Collins was inspired to share the gentle nature and healing energy of animals with others and sought ways to open the farm’s doors to more of the community, near and far.

Today, Blue Iris Farm is home to more than 50 animals who weave their way in and out of the daily goings-on. Horses graze freely, while goats may trail behind you for a “goat walk.” Cows, pigs, and ducks cohabitate in harmony in the field. A bird sanctuary resides in a life-sized fairy house, and a butterfly garden surrounds the farm’s bee hives. “It’s very whimsical and playful, like Little House on the Prairie meets Charlotte’s Web,” Collins muses. “Meaning, we’re kind of back to the basics.”

Collins also turned to energy healing in the wake of her loss. Encouraged to share her journey, she teamed up with spiritual intuitive Traci Davis to launch “Under the Stars,” a series of retreat mini sessions at the farm where visitors can come to unplug and tune into themselves through practices like centering, meditation, and journaling under the stars. “We’re inundated with so much in our everyday lives; it’s important to take time for yourself. For me, that is what Under the Stars has become,” shares Collins. “Spending two and a half hours doing mindful work, which is so transforming.”

Entering its second summer, the series of mini retreats invites 10 to 15 folks at a time to the farm on Friday evenings to practice guided self-work in small groups. Each two-hour session takes place around a campfire overlooking a hayfield and a meadow. At the beginning of a session, the group sets the intention that it is a safe space where all can work on themselves free of judgment. “When you work together in a community and have people cheering you on, it’s a lot more

JUNE 2024 43

fun than doing it on your own,” Collins says. “We launched Under the Stars last year, and it’s attracted such a diverse group of people. We had people come all the way from New York.”

A plan is also set at the beginning of each session, ensuring folks have enough time to think, center, and write. About 20 to 25 minutes of free time is reserved in each session for group members to take time to themselves. “Some people lay in the hammocks, some go for a walk with the goats, some sit in the teepee. You’re just with yourself and your thoughts,” Collins says. “When we rejoin, we’ll open it up if someone wants to share. But it’s not mandatory. So, it’s very organic. And it’s gentle.” At the end of the evening, group members share what they worked on that session and how to integrate it into their daily practices.

This year’s inaugural session kicked off on May 17, focusing on wishes. Topics like accountability, protecting oneself from negativity, overcoming self-sabotage, and clearing the mind for success were on the agenda.

For certain attendees, the transformation has been significant. One regular attendee, on the eve of retirement, is discovering new life goals and desires as she begins a new chapter; another has made incredible strides in adopting a more positive mindset and outlook on life. A gentleman from Westchester found emotional reprieve when he was brought to tears simply by sitting with the horses. “When we start giving ourselves permission to be a little more grounded and water what nurtures us, suddenly what wasn’t serving us begins to fall by the wayside,” explains Collins. “It’s fun to see the progress. Even if you’re curious but don’t want to share, you can just come and listen.”

The healing power of Blue Iris Farm doesn’t end there. Collins relies on about 25 volunteers to help open its doors to at-risk communities who want to pitch in at the farm. Guided volunteer work and leadership opportunities help children and young adults with autism unlock new possibilities when they visit.

“One of the girls we worked with never spoke much,” says Collins. “One day, she walks out with me to the bird sanctuary and starts listing off all 52 bird species based on their chirping.” Collins enlisted the girl to create educational bird programs with a group of student volunteers from Eastern Connecticut State University.

44 SUMMER on the shoreline
ABOVE Visitors toast marshmallows around the campfire during an Under the Stars session. BELOW When visitors first enter Blue Iris Farm, they are greeted by some of the more than 20 rescued goats that call the farm home.
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ABOVE LEFT Rescued ducks enjoy a sunny pond at Blue Iris Farm. Ducks are among the more than 10 species of animals that reside at the farm.

ABOVE RIGHT A plaque suggests ways for visitors to Under the Stars to relax and make the most of the experience.

BELOW One of the many ways that visitors can decompress during Under the Stars is by lounging in a hammock.

46 SUMMER on the shoreline

“I have another family that comes from Avon, and their autistic son was in really rough shape,” Collins shares. “Super intelligent, and he felt he wasn’t being treated fairly in a lot of situations. I said, ‘Come, we’re going to be doing all these projects.’” The parents reached out to Collins in tears over how much purpose their son found at Blue Iris Farm. “I love to empower others. I don’t want anyone who comes here to feel like they are less than. So, it’s really neat to see.”

Even volunteers at Blue Iris Farm have found growth, community, and purpose. Some in school for social work have switched paths to becoming veterinarians after working with animals. Others who wanted to work with older adults helped launch a Golden Hour program that brings senior communities to the farm. “I always tell my volunteers, when you give back, you get so much in return,” Collins shares. “The other thing is people love seeing when things start coming alive that they helped contribute to. We’re not only transforming the land and the animals here, but we’re also transforming ourselves.”

JUNE 2024 47 on the shoreline
Old Saybrook 28 Spencer Plains Rd. 860-339-5282 knowledge • inspiration • choice NOW OFFERING SAME DAY DELIVERY WITH DOORDASH & INSTACART Try our self serve dog wash stations! Available in both locations! Guilford 1059 Boston Post Rd. Store: 203-533-7010 since 1979 Looking to hire an experienced groomer at our Guilford location. Great pay and benefits! OPEN NOW! Great American Melodies OPENING ACT: MADISON LYRIC STAGE AT 6PM Wallingford Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Philip Ventre at 7PM 4 TH OF JULY CONCERT ON THE GREEN IN MADISON THURSDAY, JULY 4 TH 2024 (Rain date is J uly 6 TH) PRESENTS 32B Wall Street | Madison | 203 779 5128 | A RETAIL & TRADE LIGHTING SHOWROOM Open Tues. - Sat. or by appointment Come meet us, for all your lighting needs!
Under the Stars’ remote location makes for the clearest starry skies.

Under the Stars sessions take place monthly from May through October on Fridays from 7–9 p.m. “Oftentimes, people don’t have a full day or weekend for a retreat, so the mini-retreats are great because we get so much out of a short amount of time,” says Collins. Other booking opportunities at the farm include sessions with the goat herd, farm dates, and day stays.

Ultimately, Collins hopes to provide an opening for anyone interested in exploring Blue Iris Farm to come connect with nature, the animals, and themselves. “This farm has made so many people pause and listen to their own hearts,” she says. “So, anyone and anything that shows up, we just want to nurture and create a space for them to grow.”

Book by Linda Thorsen Bond, William Repicci and Charles Busch MAY 16 – JUNE 9, 2024

STORY By Kenneth Jones OCTOBER 3 – 20, 2024 MYSTIC PIZZA

Book by Sandy Rustin. Based on the MGM motion picture with story and characters by Amy Holden Jones JUNE 27 – JULY 28, 2024

Book by Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley. Music and Lyrics by Jimmy Buffett AUG. 8 – SEPT. 8, 2024

48 SUMMER on the shoreline
103 MAIN STREET | IVORYTON, CT 06442 860.767.7318 | IVORYTONPLAYHOUSE.ORG SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW! SINGLE TICKETS GO ON SALE MARCH 1, 2024 2024 SEASON IPH-405_2024_season_ad_7.5x4.75.indd 1 1/24/24 2:15 PM
LEFT A rescued draft horse grazes freely next to the teepee at Blue Iris Farm. RIGHT Anyone can volunteer to help feed
for the
cows, goats, pigs, and other resident animals that cohabitate at Blue Iris Farm.
By Jacqueline Hubbard NOV. 14–DEC. 15, 2024

Blue Iris Farm is located at 1339 Trumbull Highway in Lebanon and is open to the public by appointment only. For inquiries, bookings, and additional information about Under the Stars and other events at the farm, visit

JUNE 2024 49 on the shoreline
A butterfly garden is the latest project Collins and her group of volunteers are taking on at
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Blue Iris Farm.
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