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SINGING WITH THE CHORALE JOINT EFFORT: LEGALIZING POT

HE’S TALKIN’ WITH CHRIS WALKEN WHO WON THE 1777 BATTLE?

Ridgefield EV MAGAZINE

BOOM No longer marginal and obscure, electric vehicles will soon be transforming our driving behavior in a very shocking way MAR / APR

green awards winners page 28

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MUCH IS happening on the energy front in Ridgefield, some led by the town Energy Task Force and the Economic & Community Development Commission. The Energy Task Force has made dramatic progress getting solar panels installed on municipal buildings, mainly the schools, resulting in tremendous savings both financially and in fuel use. There is more to come. ECDC, along with the Energy Task Force, has been leading efforts to get more electric-vehicle charging stations installed. Because as the article “Electric Avenue” in this issue reveals: the number of EVs on the road will grow from less than 1 percent now to as high as 25 percent by 2025. The change in driving behavior will be fairly dramatic. Ben Oko heads the Energy Task Force and for that and his decades of work on environmental issues won last year’s Green Award that Ridgefield Magazine publisher TownVibe organizes. This year, Oko acted as a judge and the winners and honorable mentions can be found on page 28. Some 500 people attended a Q&A between TV legend Dick Cavett, now of Ridgefield, and actor Christopher Walken, of Wilton, at the Ridgefield Playhouse. Portions of the interview appear in “Call Me Chris” in this issue. There is much else to read: the Ridgefield Chorale director, news on legalizing marijuana, and a tour of a fabulous custom home in Ridgebury.

——Geoffrey James Morris


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Ridgefield

CONTENTS // MARCH / APRI L 2 0 2 0

features

44

Call Me Chris Christopher Walken is one of the most diversely talented actors— playing more than 100 roles in films such as Annie Hall, The Deer

Hunter, Catch Me If You Can, Seven Psychopaths, and Pulp Fiction. On January 5, legendary TV personality Dick Cavett interviewed Walken on stage at the Ridgefield Playhouse. By Dick Cavett

36

Simple Elegance The founder and president of DPD Builders purchased a ranch house on nearly four wooded Ridgefield acres back in 2004. A single dad, sharing custody of his three children with his ex-wife, he wanted to create a warm and welcoming home for his kids

36 Green Awards // TownVibe received some 100 nominations and selected winners in three categories—businesses, non-profits, and individuals— for this year’s Green Awards. A reception and ceremony to be held in the spring. townvibe. com/greenawards. Page 28 6 //

RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

B y J e n n i f e r M o o r e S ta h l k r a n t z

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Electric Avenue For decades, electric cars have been a sideshow, a novelty act, a blip on the automotive sales chart. But over the next five years, electric vehicles will make up 25 percent to 30 percent of vehicle sales, and the consequences are, well, shocking. By Geoffrey Morris


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CONTENTS CONTINUED

16 14

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departments Put Your Foot Down

Measure your carbon footprint Live tracking Full digital readout No calculating, no recording Set reduction goals Pocket-size device, rechargeable Available on Amazon

4 Scribbled Note 14 ShoutOut This, that, and the other things

34 How We Met Something cooking in the kitchen

48 On the Town

16 We’ve Got Answers

The Ridgefield 25, Fairfield County

Who won the Battle of Ridgefield?

52 Ridgefield Eats

How to compost

19 The Vibe

Community Foundation

Organika Kitchen and so much else

Coming electric cars, organic

54 Out & About

wine, marijuana, house plants

The Ridgefield Theater Barn’s

30 Ten Minutes With

“Night of One Act Plays”

Ridgefield Chorale’s

56 The Art of It

Daniela Sikora

The Katonah Museum of Art

ON THE COVER “Simple Elegance,” by Phillip Ennis, page 36


town

behind the scenes MARCH / APRIL 2020

Ridgefield MAGAZINE Vol 18, Issue 2 Mar/Apr 2020

GEOFFREY JAMES MORRIS

HONORAH CREAGH is a writer, editor, and regular contributor to Wilton Magazine. Recently, she worked as an assistant publicist for the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival. Of her article “Getting Your Greens,” she says: “I’ve always loved plants but was a bit intimidated by the prospect of taking care of them. Writing this article showed me not only how helpful plants are, but how to choose low maintenance options.”

Editor-in-Chief and Publisher DEBORAH HAYN

Creative Director KIM ZEISS

Operations Manager LAURIE NEWKIRK

Director of Digital Strategy SHARON PECK

Production Manager

CODEY FOSTER is the Wine Director at Ancona’s Wines & Liquors, where he has been part of the wine team since 2011. After studying writing at Sarah Lawrence College, he accomplished Sommelier Certifications with the Sommelier Society of America and The Court of Master Sommeliers, Level II. Codey leads wine buying for Ancona’s three stores located in Ridgefield, Branchville, and Wilton. He writes about organic wines in this issue.

JENNIFER MOORE STAHLKRANTZ is editor of Bedford Magazine and has been a contributor to various TownVibe publications over the past 15 years. She also serves as a communications consultant to clients in the lifestyle, design, real estate, and construction industries and is the author of Reservoir House and co-author of Building Net Zero. In this issue, she brings us the story of an elegant custom home. 

DICK CAVETT has been a leading cultural voice since the 1950s, as an actor, a writer for Jack Paar’s “Tonight Show,” and eventually creating “The Dick Cavett Show,” where he interviewed everyone from Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon to F. Lee Bailey and Katharine Hepburn. On January 5, Cavett conducted a live Q&A with actor Christopher Walken, of Wilton. Cavett recently moved to the magnificent Ridgefield estate Sunset Hall. 10 //

RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

KELLY GELS

Operations Assistant Contributing Writers Heather Borbeau, Douglas Clement, Codey Foster, Roger Garbow, Gerri Lewis

Contributing Photographers Phillip Ennis, Rana Faure, Doug Foulke, Kristen Jensen ADVERTISING SALES 203-431-1708 Camille Giacomazza (ext. 113) Jennifer Hines (ext. 210) Jill Lawlor (ext. 115) Wendy Packer (ext. 117) Lisa Stiehl (ext. 112) Cara Vermeulen (ext. 213) We welcome input about this and future issues. Please address letters, queries, and ideas to editorial@townvibe.com. To advertise: advertising@townvibe.com or call us at 203-431-1708. For those outside Ridgefield, to subscribe for one year, send $25 to: TownVibe 386 Main Street, Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877 203-431-1708

Ridgefield Magazine is a publication of TownVibe. ©2020. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the publisher. townvibe.com


town

feedback

ROADIE I just finished reading the Holiday issue, and it was so enjoyable—particularly Roger Garbow’s article “Road Bonds,” about driving cross-country with his son. And I’m not even a car fan. —Sandy Grannis

CYCLE GUY Noah Manheimer’s cycle trip was really interesting and impressive [“Ten Minutes With,” Holiday]. What’s more, that these 60-plus-year-old former Navy Seals, to raise money for Beyond the Team, rode 1,000 miles is something else. —Michael Clancy

WEDDING BELLS Your “How We Met” feature is one of my favorite in the magazine, and I look forward to Gerri Lewis’ dispatch each issue. I thought the edition the Holiday magazine was particular interesting, because it dealt with the nail-salon owners. A nice way to shake things up. —Molly Edan I love “How We Met,” particularly this latest one, and it’s not even my nail salon. —Wendy Patchner

GIFT GUIDE The Gift Guide was very helpful and this online link makes it super easy. —@Jasmine

» Send comments to

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ShoutOut

This, that, and the other things

One Bite at a Time

The Ridgefield Economic & Community Development Commission has organized Restaurant Week, March 1-8, inviting area eateries and markets to offer special menus. “We have such a fine selection of great restaurants,” says ECDC chair John Devine. “If we attract people with great food, they will stay for a show, a museum, and to shop.”

E V E R Y V OT E C O U N T S One hundred years ago, the 19th amendment was ratified, granting women the right to vote. One woman leading the charge for that right was Alice Paul, for years a Ridgefield resident. The Ridgefield Historical Society has invited Darla Shaw to portray Paul in a meet and greet at the Scott House on February 23, one of many events taking place throughout the year, behind the efforts of the Ridgefield Library, Keeler Tavern, the League of Women Voters, and others. ridgefieldlibrary.org

Lounsbury’s Angels

ROOM FOR MILK Local furniture maker BassamFellows splashed its contemporary designs into the world’s largest Starbucks, in Chicago, the focal point for American modernism. The 35,000-square-foot former Crate & Barrel store was transformed this past November into a bold stroke of caffeinated modernity on North Michigan Avenue. BassamFellows designs were produced in raw effect oak, to pair with the building’s white steel, pale colors, and vast glass panels.

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RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

Day by Day ACT is currently half way through its run of Godspell, the famed 1970s musical by the Ridgefield composer Stephen Schwartz— also responsible for such hits as Pippin and Wicked. The play, re-imagined by ACT’s artistic director and the show’s director Daniel C. Levine, runs through March 8. “We are very excited to bring this performance to our Ridgefield audiences,” said Levine in January at a preview show for friends and supporters of ACT.

Lounsbury House and Whip Salon have swirled together the #GetWhipped Makeover, offering five women a complete makeover—hair and makeup from Whip, fitness from the Fit Club, food from Salt Sugar Spice, and fashion from Bahr & Co. This fundraising event for the venerable Lounsbury House takes place April 16—the five winners were selected from nominations submitted in January. Says Lounsbury director Suzanne Brennan: “This dream team panel is going to make the lucky winners look and feel fabulous.” lounsburyhouse.org

Good Chance Ridgefield A Better Chance, a program that brings underprivileged high-school students from New York City to live in town and attend RHS, honored Jon and Allison Stockel at its Mardi Gras gala on February 7 at Le Chateau in South Salem. The Stockels are longtime supporters of the ABC House, where Jon serves as a board member. ridgefieldabc.org


town

we’ve got answers Who won the Battle of Ridgefield?

»

The short answer is the British, but that is not commonly known. In an online survey conducted by Ridgefield Magazine in January (completed by 392 people), when asked “Who won the Battle of Ridgefield,” only 56 percent selected “the British.” In April 1777, British General William Tryon marched his troops to Danbury to destroy artillery supplies of the Continental Army (colonists). The British succeeded, with little hindrance. General David Wooster gathered a militia to stop the British’s return back to Westport. Wooster and his army inflicted some casualties, but the British passed through easily and inflicted a deadly blow on General Wooster—a sign on North Salem Road marks the location and two roads now bear his name. The British continued into Ridgefield center, where General Benedict Arnold set up barriers and soldiers. Benedict was shot off his horse, which

died, and the British marched through town, and eventually to Westport— but not before burning a few homes, a church, and lodging a cannonball in the home of Timothy Keeler. The British suffered casualties; in fact, the remains of four soldiers, possibly British, were recently found in the basement of house on Main Street near where the battle ensued. That seems a clear victory. However many feel the battle inflicted long-lasting damage on the British. The town’s soon-released Plan of Conservation and Development notes: “Several skirmishes preceded a showdown near Ridgefield Center where the British suffered extensive casualties. As a result of this defeat, it has been proffered that: the British refrained from venturing so far inland for the remainder of the Revolutionary War, and colonists were emboldened to join the Revolutionary War ...” Yes, but the British won the battle. —Geoffrey Morris


How can I start composting?

GOOD NEIGHBORS AND INTERESTING THINGS TO DO?

»

I’LL PASS.

Composting is a fantastic way to reduce waste and enrich the soil. It keeps garbage out of landfills, and it’s a good alternative to chemical fertilizers. It’s easy to get started. You can compost almost anything in your kitchen or garden, but hold off on animal products, oils, weeds, and disease- or insect-ridden plants. Compost should be a balanced mix of moist materials like fruit scraps and grass clippings and dry materials like twigs and newspapers. Make sure the compost gets enough moisture and air: spritz it with water every now and then, and turn it regularly with a shovel or rake. To compost in your backyard, select a dry, shady spot for your compost pile or bin. The patch of ground should be about three square feet, and the bin should be roughly three feet in diameter and no taller than your waist. Composting can also be done inside the house, as long as you have a stainless-steel or plastic box with a lid, and a place to drop off the compost once a week. If you’d like to compost but don’t want to make a big project out of it, you can incorporate it into your routine on a smaller scale. Food scraps or coffee grounds buried in houseplants or window boxes will fortify soil and cut down on waste, without creating much extra work for you. Alternatively, you can subscribe to a service such as Curbside Compost that provides your household with a clean pail every week for all food remains including meat, fish, and bones. —Honorah Creagh

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Mar / Apr 2020

Electric Avenue The move away from gas-powered cars //

››

By Geoffrey Morris

PURRING in from over the horizon is a silent but powerful brigade of vehicles that will transform the American car culture. For decades, electric cars have been a sideshow, a novelty act, a blip on the automotive sales chart. But over the next five years, electric vehicles—EVs—will make up 25 percent to 30 percent of vehicle sales, and the consequences are, well, shocking. Right now EVs make up less than one percent of all vehicle sales. This includes all-electric, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. In 2018, there were 350,000 EV sales in the United States—compared to 55 million gas-powered-car sales—and 140,000 of those were the Tesla Model 3. And currently there are about 40 EV models available. By 2025, there will be close to 100 models available in the United States—from compact to luxury to SUV. In fact, the Ford F-150 pickup truck—the best-selling vehicle in the United States—will be available as an EV. One factor driving the greater available is price parity, and one thing driving price parity is battery cost. And the magic number of $100/kw (currently around $175 and dropping 20 percent per year) is just a couple years away. Which means a certain model car with a gas engine and with all-electric power will be comparable in price. For those who have not experienced driving an electric vehicle, think Jetson spaceship and not puttery golf cart. The speed and power are explosive. A recent drag race conducted between the Tesla Model 3 and a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S left the fiery

March/April 2020 RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE //

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cars

German sports car lengths behind. The switch from ICE (internal-combustion engine) to EV is dramatic, not just in car performance, but in fuel cost as well. A driver who might spend $150 per month in gas for his 30-mpg car would spend about $30 in home electric charges to fuel his EV. Public charging stations— particularly fast chargers—include an additional cost.

at least 30 minutes—and often more than a day with slow chargers—to power up. Supply is ramping up with demand. The interstates are placing high-speed charging stations alongside gas stations at rest stops, allowing EVs to fill up in 30 minutes or so at a premium cost. But in other places, EV chargers are popping up in pubic parking lots, in downtown areas, and parking garages. Because EV

THE PERKS // EVs are faster, environmentally

friendly, and require less maintenance.

Fueling behavior will become quite different. Now an average ICE gets 400 miles on a tank of gas. When it runs low, filling stations are plentiful, and the process takes a few minutes. It’s rare to become anxious about running out of fuel in an ICE. Even with super-fast chargers, EVs require

fueling will mostly occur when the car is not being used—at night while the owner sleeps, during the day while the owner works, or for shorter periods while the owner shops or dines. Seeing this trend, the Ridgefield Economic & Community Development Com-

mission is researching how many charging stations the town needs to install where and how much to charge for their use. It’s an “if we build it they will come” scenario, says ECDC chair John Devine. “People will come to dinner or a show in Ridgefield rather than another town knowing they can plug in their car for the three hours they are here,” he says. The town would need to increase the number of public EV chargers from the current six to at least 20 in the next few years. The environmental considerations are another factor—both good and bad. EVs will at the very least require significantly less fossil fuel and can benefit from clean-energy options, such as wind and solar. However the consequences of the disposal of used batteries has not been fully explored. It’s change all around. EVs are not only faster but require much less maintenance and perform differently. For example, when a driver takes his foot off the accelerator, the car slows itself, as it regenerates the decelerating power back into the battery. But the need for charging stations and the change in fueling behavior will have effects for years to come.

And That Dress—It’s Lovely! The Isabella MacTavish Fraser wedding gown is a vibrant tartan gown worn by Isabella MacTavish in a small town in the Scottish Highlands in 1785. The gown survives to this day, has been worn by a succession of brides, and is still owned by Isabella’s direct descendants. It is the only known pre-1800 extant example of such a gown. Rebecca Olds, independent researcher and designer of 18th-century reconstructed clothing for film and reenactments, will be at Keeler Tavern to discuss it, with a 2019 recreation, March 3. keelertavernmuseum.org

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RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

Take 5 How do you recycle books or a handful of crayons? Here are some fun ideas for putting hard-to-recycle items to good use. ›› FRAMES Turn old picture frames into an art project. A coat of paint will transform random frames into a cohesive set. Hang them on a wall to add flare to any room. ›› CRAYONS Upcycle old crayons into unique shapes. Preheat oven to 150 degrees; chop crayons and pplace in a silicone mold or muffin tin; bake 15 minutes. Let the shapes cool before removing them. ›› BUTTONS Use leftover buttons to embellish cards. With a bit of glue or a needle and thread, you can attach buttons to postcards, greeting cards, and gift tags to add pizzazz. ›› BOOKS Ever wonder where your books go after you donate them? BookCrossing, a social networking site that lets you track your book as it passes from reader to reader, solves the mystery. bookcrossing.com ›› MISCELLANEOUS If you’re holding onto furniture, toys, electronics, or other items that are in good condition but are just taking up space, consider listing them on Freecycle to donate them to others in your community. freecycle.org

—Honorah Creagh


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food & drink

Behind the Wine Organic, natural, and other ways to grow grapes //

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THERE IS a fascinating breakdown of transparency somewhere between the documentation of the “nutrition facts” for the food we eat compared with the opacity surrounding the wine we drink. Even fast-food restaurants have been nudged to catchup in the nutritional disclosure department. Yet the typical label on a bottle of wine still contains the same, generally irrelevant rhetoric: “Contains sulfites” and often little more. For those of us looking to hedge our wine consump-

tion toward low-additive, wholesome, and healthconscious—often our best avenue is to stick with the categories of organic, biodynamic, and, dare I say, natural wine. Certified Organic // Not only is organic wine farmed without the use of synthetic herbicides and pesticides but the wine in the bottle is made using only limited additives as verified by the various regulating bodies that certify organic. Thus “certified organic” generally provides quite meaningful insight on

By Codey Foster

not just how the grapes were farmed, but how the wine was made. On the label, look for the USDA organic seal or “certified organic” by a particular certifying agent, I.E. Ecocert, which is also sometimes marked “Vin Biologique,” as in France.

Practicing Organic // This un-regulated term is used to refer to farmers that eschew the use of synthetic chemicals in their farming but have not had their wine tested and verified by a certifying body. Of course, it’s important to recognize that “practicing

GIVE ME A J // Founded in

Brooklyn in 1977 and with locations in Bedford, New Canaan, and Southport, J. McLaughlin—men and women stylish American sportswear—opens on Main Street this spring.

March/April 2020 RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE //

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organic” is effectively saying “chemical free, on the honor system.” Although you won’t find this term on a bottle of wine, it frequently appears on tasting notes, and shelf talkers and is generally a useful indicator that some care has been taken in the grape growing process. Bear in mind though, this terminology doesn’t necessarily offer any insight into winemaking processes or any additives that may have been used. Biodynamic // Biodynamics is an institution of farming that takes “practicing organic” as an absolute baseline and improves upon it—approach-

food & drink ing the vineyard not just as a farm, but as an ecosystem. This method was pioneered by Rudolph Steiner in the 1920s and applied to viticulture by Nicholas Joly in France’s Loire Valley starting in 1984. Of the many tenets of biodynamics, farm-animal inputs are considered an absolutely essential ingredient. Biodiversity is encouraged in the vineyard. In the place of chemicals, various tinctures and teas are used as a holistic medicine cabinet to treat maladies among the vines. It’s worth noting that biodynamic farming also offers rigorous astrological approaches that some wine producers swear by, while others take

that with a grain of salt. Demeter is the primary certifying agent of biodynamic wines, so look for the “Demeter” seal on the back label, and mind that “practicing biodynamic” techniques are common as well. Natural // This is perhaps the most highly charged of wine terms in circulation today. A variety of opinions exist as to what constitutes “natural.” Unlike “organic” or “biodynamic”—there is not yet a widely acknowledged certification. Among many circles of the industry, at a bare minimum, natural wine is produced from grapes that have been farmed

without the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides, fermented using indigenous yeasts, and bottled with very minimal additions of sulfites. Thus, “natural wine” is an all-encompassing process from vineyard to bottle and can easily be overlapped with certified organic and biodynamic approaches. Other definitions range from as liberal as the inclusion of conventionally farmed grapes (read: not organic) to as strict as “no added SO2/ sulfites added, ever, whatsoever.” Besides health-conscious insight, these farming/winemaking practices also provide

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us a glimpse into environmental impact. Of course, these categories aren’t a perfect gauge for sustainability, but it’s generally a step in the right direction. According to my friend Jennifer Buck, winemaker at Colline de l’Hirondelle in the Lauguedoc of Southern France: “Since we started converting the vineyards to organic farming we have seen birds and insects return and the soils slowly come back to life. We can also harvest delicious wild arugula and other lettuces in the vineyards, which in itself is reason enough for me to go organic.”

Wines to Try Certified Organic Colline de l’Hirondelle Oiseau—Languedoch, France (red blend: Carignan/Grenache/Syrah) Practicing Organic Bricco Maiolica Langhe Nebbiolo— Piedmont, Italy Biodynamic Brick House Gamay Noir, Demeter Certified—Willamette Valley, Oregon Natural Can Sumoi Serra de L’Home Xarello— Penedès, Spain. —Ancona’s Wines & Liquors

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new business

A Joint Effort

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B y K a r e n S a ck o w i t z

As marijuana legislation rolls forward, area professionals prep for progress

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WITH THE STATE’S legislative session just beginning, Governor Ned Lamont will likely continue the push to legalize recreational marijuana. As part of that effort, Lamont sat down with the governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts in October to discuss a collaborative regional approach to cannabis legislation and policies. Those tracking the Connecticut cannabis industry sensed progress. “It’s already legalized in Massachusetts,” says James Landau, partner at Mc­Carthy Fingar in Westchester and

24 //

co-founder of the firm’s Cannabis Law Group. “If New Jersey legalizes it, if New York legalizes it, if Rhode Island legalizes it—Connecticut, which out of all of those states probably needs the revenue the most, will be falling behind.” There’s certainly money to be made. According to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, customers spent a total $393.7 million on marijuana products during the first year of legalized adult use. The same time period also saw tens of millions in new revenue for the state, which imposes a 17-percent

RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

tax on marijuana sales. In Connecticut, Democratic lawmakers and proponents have estimated that a tax on marijuana could generate up to $70 million in the first year and potentially double that amount going forward. Landau and his co-founder, attorney Doug Trokie, participate in an energized networking group based out of South Norwalk called BOHCA—Business Owners Hemp and Cannabis Association. BOHCA co-founder Andi Gray says the group was formed to connect those who shared an interest in being part of the industry. “It’s

about underlying community building,” she says. “It’s very much the wild west out there; the real challenge in the next ten years will be helping business people make good choices.” Currently, 47 out of the 50 states have some form of legalization or pending legalization on the books; 33 states have adult use for medical and 11 for adult recreational. Connecticut’s participation in this fall’s summit may signal a group approach to taking the next step toward full legalization. While Connecticut is currently cleared for medical


use, Gray says the lack of recreational access can still hinder access for patients approved for medical marijuana. “One of the problems is that if I have a medical card that allows me to go into the dispensary, I have to go alone. I’m not accompanied by an expert. If I’m 90 years old with a walker, I have to go in on my own steam,” she explains. “I may need that product desperately but if no one can go in with me, that product is now restricted both medically and functionally.” The same applies for patients who may be incapacitated by their condition or illness, or who may be anxious about being seen visiting a dispensary. Landau says legislators developing regulations around the issue need to first truly see it as medicine. “If they really believed it instead of pandering politically to make it look like they are doing something, they would become very granular on these issues, and really understand the people who need it for their health.” If recreational marijuana is legalized in Connecticut, business owners are confident the positive impact on the small business community will far outweigh the controversy, particularly in Norwalk. “This is a small-business town. You walk down the road and you see some businesses doing well, some struggling,” says BOHCA’s Gray. “Here’s an opportunity to shift your business. You can morph,

you can develop, you can learn about things that can give your business a future.” Todd Dewitt, owner of Leven Cannabidiol in South Norwalk, says community networking enables the stigma around cannabis to be addressed in a positive setting. “You’re not going to quell anyone’s fears by not talking to them. BOHCA gives us an opportunity as business owners in our industry to make a connection with local politicians; those who may be interested but don’t want to pursue us because of political interests. It’s a happy medium,” he says. Gray says change on the state level will only come through advocacy, championed first and foremost by those who understand what cannabis can provide to those who need it most. “What got it over the finish line in the western states was local involvement— people willing to go to the statehouse and speak with their representatives, from the heart,” she says. “They had to say: ‘Look, this is what happened to my spouse, my child, my mother, to me. This is what this plant did and it’s important that we recognize and make it available because it has such power.” Dewitt echoes the emphasis on healing, saying he now sees his business as more of a mission. “When I started hearing customer feedback, their stories, it was different. Now I have an actual need to be here for these people.”

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town the

vibe

home & garden PLANT POWER Indoor plants add more than beauty—they can clean the air of pollen and allergens, improve focus, and provide medicinal benefits.

Getting Your Greens The many benefits of house plants //

››

A ROOM festooned with lush, green houseplants is an inviting one. Whether they’re a bright green pothos sitting on a desk or a string-of-pearls suspended from a hanging planter, plants make any space feel a little more cheerful and a lot more alive. But those plants don’t just look good. Research has indicated that keeping houseplants around can have some major health benefits. If you’re interested in starting your own indoor garden—or expanding upon your existing plant collection—there are a few things to keep in mind. Some of the pluses of houseplants may come as a surprise if you’re used to

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thinking of them as exclusively decorative. Bedecking your bedroom with plants that release oxygen at night may help you sleep better. Plants that fit the bill for improved sleep include snake plants, succulents, and bromeliads. Houseplants can also relieve allergies; rooms with plants in them have been found to have less dust and mold in the air than rooms without—just avoid plants with pollen or spores. Chinese evergreens and peace lilies should do the trick. And it’s not just dust and mold. Plants can work as natural filters to clean the air of pollutants released by common indoor objects like pho-

RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

B y H o n o r a h C r e a gh

tocopiers, cleaning products, and printer toner and ink. For this purpose, dragon trees, English ivy, and asparagus ferns are strong contenders. The benefits of houseplants aren’t limited to physical health—they can also have positive effects on your overall well-being. For one thing, plants can help improve focus. In one study, students in classrooms with potted plants did better on tests than students in plant-free classrooms. Adding plants to a room can also improve your mood. Colorful plants like croton, red aglaonema, and lipstick plants will give you the biggest boost. Another benefit of plants is stress relief. Flower-

ing plants are great for this, making African violets, anthurium, and begonias a good choice. With all these perks, it’s hard to imagine houseplants could have any drawbacks, but some varieties definitely do. Many plants that are common sights on windowsills are poisonous to children and pets. Peace lilies are incredibly toxic, for example, as are snake plants and ZZ plants.   Once you’ve picked out your plant, read up on how to care for it. While some, like aloe and spider plants, are low-maintenance, others need a bit more TLC, so know what you’re getting into before you commit.


Next, select a good home for your new flora. Whatever pot you choose, make sure it has drainage holes so water won’t get trapped at the bottom, potentially causing root rot. Terracotta is a great material for pots, since it breathes well; however, it’s fragile. Glazed clay is also a great option, and plants potted in it need to be watered less often, since it isn’t porous. And of course, resin pots are always a solid choice: they’re lightweight and tough to break.   Light is crucial to growing healthy plants. If there’s a poorly lit room you’d love to add a splash of green to, a sun lamp that simulates full-spectrum light might be just what you need. If you’d like to utilize an existing lamp, full-spectrum screw-in lightbulbs are also available. But not all plants need a lot of light. Arrowhead vines, cast-iron plants, and philodendron thrive in the shade. Humidity is another con-

sideration. Air conditioning in the summer and central heating in the fall and winter dry out the air and can wreak havoc on your plants. A small humidifier can counterbalance arid conditions, as can lightly misting plants with lukewarm water each morning. If you yearn for a more laissez-faire approach, succulents and cacti are a good bet because they thrive in dry environments. Mold presents a big threat to houseplants. Dark, damp environments are where mold likes to grow. If it gets out of control, a mold problem can kill your plant. To prevent this situation, avoid overwatering, remove dead leaves from soil, wipe dust off leaves, and use sterile soil—like commercial potting soil—when potting. The rewards of houseplants are more than worth the work that goes into them. Besides, you’ll feel great when you see your well-tended plant flourish. n

A Plant for Every Pot EASY

MEDIUM

Marimo moss. Submerse your marimo moss in a glass container full of water, and let it sit in low to medium indirect light. Change the water once every two weeks.

FUSSY

Aloe. Plant aloe in cactus potting mix, and place it in bright sunlight. Let the soil dry out between watering, and be extra careful to choose a pot with plenty of drainage holes. Bonus: if you get a burn, just break off a piece and spread gel on the burn.

Calathea. Bright but indirect light; give them distilled water or rainwater. Fertilize monthly in the spring, summer, and fall.

Gardenia. Make sure your gardenias get six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day, and keep them at day temperatures of 65-70. Soil should be damp, but not soggy. Gardenias like to be fertilized every 2-4 weeks. —Honorah Creagh


S E V E N T H

A N N U A L

green awards The Green Awards recognize businesses, non-profits, and individuals who are leading the local fight to protect the environment while also creating a sustainable community. Winners highlighted here, as well as the 22 Honorable Mention winners, will be honored at a reception and ceremony later this spring. Details will be available at townvibe.com/greenawards.

Special Recognition Bedford 2020 // bedford2020.org In 2009 Bedford 2020 set out to reduce the carbon emissions by the town of Bedford, New York, 20 percent by the year 2020. It is now 2020. They succeeded in this mission and have become a leader for other communities by creating a manual that includes energy efficiency, food & agriculture, transportation, waste & recycling, and water & land use.

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RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

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CATEGORY

T H E

Business or nonprofit whose primary focus is producing or selling innovative green products, providing innovative green services, and/or promoting a green lifestyle. Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative // hvatoday.org Active since 2008, Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative is a network of 33 conservation organizations in Northwest Connecticut, a leader among the burgeoning movement of Regional Conservation Partnerships working across town and state borders to bring leverage and strength to landscape-scale environmental initiatives and realize efficiencies in sharing resources. By sharing and leveraging monetary and personnel resources, Greenprint has realized accelerated and increased conservation impact across a 29-town area.


honorable mentions ◗ Barts Tree Service

On the front line of climate change

◗ Ridgefield Apartments

Green Building Standard Gold Designation

◗ Paul Miller Nissan

completely solar on its entire rooftop

◗ Harbor Harvest

CATEGORY

3

CATEGORY

2

Businesses or non-profit organizations that have significantly incorporated green practices or products into their culture and operations.

Individuals who are actively promoting and living a green lifestyle.

Litchfield Distillery // litchfielddistillery.com Since launching Litchfield Distillery five years ago, Jack, David, and Peter Baker have operated the business with sustainability as a key pillar of their operational strategy. Included in the “Batchers’ Manifesto” is the phrase “Protect the Environment.” Day to day, the pursuit of sustainability can be seen in their sourcing strategy, which in 2019 became 100 percent Connecticut-grown for its bourbon line. The “Farm-to-Bottleto-Farm” philosophy guides them to return spent mash grains back to local farmers who mix it with feed for their livestock. Perhaps, the most significant sustainability accomplishment in 2019 was the installation of 174 panels on the roof of the distillery, providing close to 100 percent of the distillery’s electricity needs.

a hybrid boat to ship across the Sound

◗ MowGreen Organic Lawn Care all-electric, zero-emission lawn care

◗ BD Provisions

No-waste, bulk sales of food and coffee

◗ Food Rescue - Fairfield County reducing food waste to landfills

◗ NaturalAnnie Essentials

soy-based, clean-burning candle

Alex Toombs, Toombs Creative // toombscreative.com Alex Toombs leads Toombs Creative, an eco-friendly marketing company that works exclusively with eco and socially conscious businesses to streamline communications so ethical business can impact the world on a larger scale. From reducing her reliance on a car for transport, to reducing her use of plastics and packaging, to eating a plant-slant diet, Toombs lives her mission. She also does what she can to use her platform to educate others about how to tread more lightly on our planet. She routinely uses her social media and networking connections to educate others.

◗ Byrde + the b

non-toxic shampoo and body wash.

◗ Aspetuck Land Trust Green Corridor groundbreaking landowner outreach

◗ Indaba & Excelsior Wines

grape integrity and authenticity

◗ DeCicco & Sons

energy-efficient, clean supermarkets

◗ Eco Lustre

sustainable jewelry production.

◗ Quarry Ridge Animal Hospital reduced paper consumption

◗ Tracey Miller Associates LLC ecological landscape design

◗ The Ridgefield Thrift Shop Repurposing donated goods

◗ Wilton Go Green

the forefront of the Zero Waste movement

◗ Invasive Project - Pound Ridge Educating about invasive plants

Judges Ben Oko Ridgefield Energy Task Force

◗ Pound Ridge Organics

Feeding and educating the community

◗ Pound Ridge Pride Day

Using knowledge to inspire and lead

Mike Trolle BPC Green Builders

◗ Eugene’s Green Garage

Nick Skeadas Curbside Compost

advising through her business Tecknow

Eco-friendly auto service garage

◗ Kimberly Burke

March/April 2020 RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE //

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Ten Minutes With //

THE MUSICAL DIRECTOR OF THE RIDGEFIELD CHORALE

Daniela Sikora

learned the hard way that if she isn’t making music,

she isn’t happy. The former opera singer, who started on her musical path at the age of six, took a 17-year detour working in a lucrative career as a paralegal. But it wasn’t until 1998 when she became musical director for the popular Ridgefield Chorale chorus that she realized music wasn’t just a gift—it was as essential as the air that she breathes. We spent time to hear her story. What was the Chorale like when you took over? I say this with apologies to those

who had started the Chorale, but it was pretty bad. They had 14 members. When they asked me to take it over, I asked for two things—a five-year contract and that we become a contemporary group. How is the Chorale doing now? When I

held the first meeting, I thought, “No one will walk through that door.” But people came. Today we have 75 members. Now, 22 years later, we are an institution. Our next concert will take place on Saturday, May 2. You talk about acts of kindness that have defined you as a person. Can you explain?

Tell us a bit about your background.

My parents immigrated to Chicago from Germany when I was four. We were very poor. My father was a janitor. My mother was chronically depressed. As melancholy as she was, my dad was very joyful and life was an adventure to him. We were happy and always surrounded by music. My mother had a beautiful soprano voice, and my father was a tenor. When did you start singing opera? My father taught ballroom dancing, and I would bite the legs of the ladies because

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RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

I didn’t want them dancing with him. When I was six I began training with Zerline Muhlmann Metzger. By seven I was performing in Aida. I stayed with Mrs. Metzger until I was 17. Why the detour from music and what brought you back? I was struggling to

support myself. I took a temp job at a law firm using my language skills and ended up staying for 17 years. The hunger for music doesn’t go away—it ate a hole in my heart. I asked my therapist for medication, but she told me what I needed was music.

The Polish community in Chicago who helped us immigrate—who would I be today if they had not helped us? Mrs. Metzger who trained me had an integrated studio with Latin and African-American children performing operas. Years later I found out that the two Hershey chocolate bars my mother purchased before each lesson was all that she charged us. These acts of kindness bring tears to my eyes and really shaped my life. What is Being Human Being Kind? A

couple of years ago The Chorale created Being Human Being Kind, asking the community to display a sticker—a blue dot in a store window—to say you have made a commitment to treat people with kindness. If a child feels threatened in any way, they can walk into any place of business with a blue dot and find safety. What advice can you give? If you want to sing, sing. The Chorale turns no one away. —Gerri Lewis

P H O T O / / D E B O R A H H AY N


How We Met //

By Gerri Lewis

DINE IN HISTORIC RIDGEFIELD 7 GLORIOUS DAYS, 1 BITE AT A TIME GREAT VALUES

Something’s Cooking

SPECIAL MENUS SPECIAL DRINKS PRIX FIXE MENUS

MARCH 1-8 RIDGEFIELDDEVELOPMENT.COM RIDGEFIELD ECONOMIC & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

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SOMETHING beyond a five-star meal was cooking in the kitchen of the highly acclaimed Le Cirque in New York City when Sarah Cannon and Bernard Bouissou first met. She was the first woman chef on the line and was working elbow to elbow with Bernard, the handsome but shy French poissonier. But in spite of what Sarah calls “love at first sight,” the meeting of the future owners of Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar was serendipitous.

Sarah had always loved to cook so when college wasn’t for her, she decided that she would be a chef. At 19, she boarded a plane and headed to France where she would train at a Michelin culinary school. At the same time Sarah was heading to France, Bernard was heading to New York. Also 19, he had been training since his father sat him down at the age of 11 and said, “You need to make a choice about your future.” The ninth of ten children, Bernard always loved cooking the family meals with his mom, so he decided that would be the direction he would take. With barely $40 in his pocket, his chef’s apron, a butcher knife, and the promise of an 18-month visa, Bernard arrived at Plaza Athénée to train under celebrated-chef Daniel Boulud. When Boulud moved over to Le Cirque, Bernard went with him. After her training, Sarah was accepted as entremetier at Le Cirque,

PHOTO, TOP / / K R I ST E N J E N S E N


but she wasn’t due to arrive until one month after Bernard’s visa would expire and he’d be back in France. And then chance stepped in. Bernard literally tossed his plane ticket in the trash when a coveted “green card spot” opened up last minute. Bernard was immediately attracted to the ambitious young woman with the outgoing personality who was fluent in French. But Sarah was offlimits, he thought, because he had heard she was engaged. “When you are the only woman in a kitchen of 30plus chefs it’s a good idea to say you are engaged or gay so they will leave you alone,” she says. Bernard had no intention of crossing that line. It was Sarah who made the first move. She decided to fix him up with her sister but abandoned that effort because she really wanted him for herself. Still thinking Sarah was engaged, Bernard was very surprised when one night she kissed him. They kept their relationship secret, making sure they arrived at work from different directions. During that time they dreamed of someday owning a homey restaurant with three fireplaces and a spiral staircase. This is where they would raise the four children they planned to have. Sarah first discovered Ridgefield when she drove through town on her way to a catering job. By then the couple had their four children, and she thought, “What is this town?” When they found that the Inn at Ridgefield was for sale with its three fireplaces and spiral staircase, they knew it was meant for them. “That was in October 1999,” she says. “By March 2000 we had sold our house, bought the Inn, and opened our dream restaurant,” which they named Bernard’s. During the downturn, they opened a more casual option—Sarah’s Wine Bar. After 20 years of ownership and 30 years of marriage, this couple is still cooking in more ways than one. n

Find the Fake Somewhere in this issue is a fake ad. Find it and send your answer to editorial@townvibe.com More than 200 people took part in our Fake Ad Contest in the Holiday issue. Congratulations to everyone who picked The Stocking Stuffer. The winner, selected randomly from a list of all those who entered and provided the correct answer, is Kathie McGuire of Ridgefield. Winner receives a gift certificate to an area business.

find it here townvibe.com

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elegance

JUST PERFECT—INSIDE AND OUT

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INSIDE OUT Windows and porches encourage an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. The living-room fireplace, one of four in the house, was made from vintage Boston street curbing and backs up to the sunroom that overlooks the pond. An arch beneath the custom staircase draws the eye through the dining room to the gardens beyond.


“Years

ago when there was a lot of vacant land and people wanted to build a church or temple, they would just walk the land until they felt good about a place—the energy—that’s where they would build,” says Dan Divitto, who has been constructing spectacular homes in Westchester and Fairfield Counties for more than three decades. “So, I looked at different places and I came here, I walked down to the pond, and something felt right about it. The energy felt really good.” The founder and president of DPD Builders purchased a ranch house on nearly four wooded Ridgefield acres back in 2004. A single dad, sharing custody of his three children with his ex-wife, he wanted to create a warm and welcoming home for his kids. “I moved in, and every night I would walk around with a glass of wine, working to manifest it—to figure out how the house should be laid out and what had to be done,” he says. Four years in, he had the ranch bulldozed, rented an apartment, and worked with architect Darren Mercer to create a basic footprint. By 2010, he had constructed an apartment above the new garage and then two things changed: he engaged a colleague—designer Chris Corcoran—to help him with interior details, and he fell in love with Meg Selfe. “Chris and I had worked on a few jobs together over the years, and he helped me focus on my goal of simple elegance. For example, he encouraged me to have a common, consistent thread. While things don’t need to match, they should relate.

March/April 2020 RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE //

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Then it looks pleasing to the eye as you move through the house.” The love story, on the other hand, started when two couples suggested that Dan and Meg meet. It took six months for them to finally connect, and when they did, there was no doubt. Nine months later, she moved into the garage apartment, and they began to work together on the final details with invaluable guidance from Corcoran. “Each morning, we would walk the space and talk about what Dan envisioned for himself and his family, and at some point, I became part of the equation, too,” says Meg Selfe Divitto, who married Dan in 2013. By 2014, the construction was complete. The Divittos moved from the apartment to the new master suite, and the kids— Blake, Steele, and Colette—settled into their thoughtfully designed and crafted new rooms. The couple painstakingly planned their formal front entrance under the shade of a gracious covered porch, but like many 21st-century families, they generally enter their home through the side entrance. “We wanted the alternate entrance to be an actual room,” says Dan. “In the old days, people would have porches, and when they needed more space indoors, they’d enclose them—complete with bead board on the ceiling and bluestone on the floor. We wanted to create that same feeling.” They added radiant heat to warm things up and French doors to frame the view of the pond and back garden. “We bring in our outdoor plants in winter, so it’s like a greenhouse which makes it even cozier. You can see through the plants to the outside and all the snow, but you’re nestled inside,” says Meg. To the right is a back staircase that leads to Meg’s office and the garage apartment where the couple likes to hole up on

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FOOD & WINE The kitchen, left and above, is a popular gathering place during parties, while the scullery, below, is where the Divittos have breakfast and send the pots and pans for clean up at night. Meg’s garden, right, provides produce all summer long for the couple who both love to cook.


SPECIAL SPACES The upstairs boasts a reading nook on the landing, family bedrooms, and a master suite with a breezy sleeping porch. The garage, where Dan likes to tinker, is outfitted with radiant heat, a sound system, and a bathroom.

weekends for a staycation. With a view overlooking the garden, it’s a romantic getaway that reminds them of their early years together. A hallway to the left leads to another popular destination in the house: the scullery and kitchen. Avid cooks and entertainers, Dan and Meg plan the upcoming week’s meals every Sunday. The scullery is a cozy kitchen where they hang out as a family during the day, do prep for larger meals, and send the pots and pans for clean up during dinner parties. The expansive kitchen is for entertaining and serving guests. It’s almost like having a family kitchen and a party kitchen, side by side. Around the corner is the front foyer where an arched doorway focuses an arriving guest’s view straight through the dining room to outdoors. “From every vantage point, I wanted there to be a view that made you think ‘I want to be there,’ ” says Dan. The recessed paneling and custom French staircase set the tone for Dan’s desired simple elegance. On the far side of the foyer is the living room, anchored by a massive stone fireplace made from vintage Boston street curbing. “In a blizzard, this is were we gravitate. It’s the central hub of the house, the balance point,” says Meg. The adjacent, wood-paneled sunroom serves as the TV room. Huge sports fans, the Divittos host a Superbowl party each year with guests flowing from room to room during pre-game hours, but when it’s time for kickoff, they’ve been known to cram 30 to 40 people in the tiny sunroom. Upstairs, there are five bedroom suites, and the basement is outfitted with an extensive workout room. Pressed for where one might find him if he had some free time on his hands, Dan says “with a glass of wine in hand walking the whole house and garden. I love to walk and look at everything and just feel good about it. Because everything here, I didn’t leave until it was perfect. Inside and out.” n


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CALL ME CHRIS

LIVE WITH CHRISTOPHER WALKEN AND DICK CAVETT

Christopher Walken is one of the most diversely talented actors—playing more than 100 roles in films such as Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, Catch Me If You

Can, Seven Psychopaths, and Pulp Fiction, plus dozens of stage roles, which he began as a child. On January 5, legendary TV personality Dick Cavett interviewed Walken on stage at the Ridgefield Playhouse. YOU PREFER CHRIS OVER CHRISTOPHER? Christopher takes too long. My name is Ronald. I was a dancer in a nightclub, doing backup for a woman named Monique van Vooren. At the end of the night, she introduced her dancers. “I don’t like your name,” she said to me. “I am going to call you Christopher.” And that was it. I’VE HEARD YOU PULL YOUR HAIR. Yes, I do. I was friends with Tony Perkins, and he said if you yank on your hair every

day, you will keep it. It keeps the scalp loose and the blood flow going. I heard that JFK used to have somebody come to the White House and yank on his hair. He had a terrific head of hair. YOU ARE A SONG AND DANCE MAN. ARE PEOPLE SURPRISED AT THAT? I got to be an actor by accident. When I was a kid, I was in show business—musicals. I was a chorus boy. I was a dancer until I was in my 30s. My mother put her three sons through it.

ARE YOUR OLD PERFORMANCES LOST FOREVER? Before videotape they had this thing called kinescope. They would point a camera at a television screen and essentially make a film of a TV show. Someone showed me a kinescope of myself when I was ten years old, on the “Colgate Comedy Hour.” I did a skit with Jerry Lewis. And they showed this to me and I thought: You have not changed one bit! Nothing’s happened. Same hair, same voice, same attitude. MANY PEOPLE SEE THEMSELVES ON SCREEN FOR THE FIRST TIME AND ARE HORRIFIED. It’s not pleasant. I have this idea. You can have a dieting regimen that you could charge for. Take a screen test, look at it, and immediately lose 20 pounds. They’d stop popping their eyebrows when

they talk. It’s very valuable as an actor to try to fix these things. It’s very good to watch yourself even if you don’t like it. JACKIE GLEASON WAS A WONDERFUL ACTOR, DON’T YOU THINK? People have asked me what to watch to learn something about actors. Watch “The Honeymooners.” It’s a real lesson in how to do it. He didn’t like to rehearse. He would shoot pool and they would say, “Places, please.” And they’d start. That’s what I’ve heard, but who knows? WHO’S THE WORST SCHMUCK YOU’VE EVER WORKED WITH? Chris Walken. You know, he’s so annoying. He’s always complaining. “When’s lunch?” “Are we done yet?” “Who wrote this?”

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PEOPLE LIKE TO DO IMPRESSIONS OF YOU. DO YOU FIND IT ENDEARING OR ANNOYING? It’s interesting. Lot of the time I don’t know what they are doing right away. I think, Why are you talking to me that way? Then I get it. I must be easy to do because a lot of people do it. YOU ARE ONE OF THE BEST HOSTS OF “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.” DID ANYONE BRING A COWBELL? That skit follows me around. In a way it got to be too much. It got to be the thing that is more important than anything else. More cowbell. ARE THERE ANY THINGS THAT YOU WON’T DO? Yes, there are things I won’t do: get on a motorcycle, get on a horse. I made Westerns when I was young and that is why I won’t do it again.

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WHAT WAS YOUR MOST CHALLENGING ROLE IN THE THEATER? I played a lot of parts and I played many badly. But it made me good at big speeches. That speech from Pulp Fiction about the watch: that was eight pages of just dialogue. Every day I would spend an hour learning that speech. Every time I got to that last moment, it made me laugh. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE TRYING TO GET INTO ACTING? Even if you are successful, the jobs are few and far between. You need to be prepared for the phone to ring. That’s tricky, staying prepared when no one is asking you to do anything. HAVE YOU EVER DONE HYPNOSIS? I was hypnotized once, and I remember that I pretended to be hypnotized. I didn’t want to hurt the guy’s feelings. He’d say: You’re a chicken. And I’d act like a chicken. I was just being nice. If I thought hypnosis would work, I would definitely do it.

RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

MANY EAST COAST ACTORS DON’T LIKE LOS ANGELES. DO YOU? I like it there, but I’m a terrible driver. I drive here early in the morning on Sunday to get the paper. And that’s it. I can dance. I can’t drive. Everyone in California is a fantastic driver. Fast. Cool. THIS NEIGHBORHOOD IS FULL OF ACTORS. DO YOU KNOW THEM? I live around here. Bette Davis used to live around here. I was driving around with someone who said, Yeah, she lived over there. I live here and I don’t see anybody. I stay in the house. It’s very nice. I have the cat. My wife. WHAT IS YOUR CAT’S NAME? My cat? My cats have names but I don’t call them that. I just say, Hey, where’s the cat?

MY CATS HAVE NAMES BUT I DON’T CALL THEM THAT. I JUST SAY, HEY, WHERE’S THE CAT?

THROUGH THE DECADES Walken played roles in more than 100 movies, such as Captain Koons in Pulp Fiction (1994), Nick in The Deer Hunter (1978), and Johnny Smith in Dead Zone (1983).


Excellence in Real Estate A passion for excellence, a strong work ethic and a commitment to getting the job done is the foundation upon which I have built my career as a full time realtor.

Roni Agress | 203.733.2656 ragress@williampitt.com | RoniAgress.williampitt.com ABR, GRI, Certified Relocation Specialist, Gold Award Producer

8 Longmeadow Lane, Redding | $900,000 | 4 Bed, 4/2 Bath Fabulous plantation style Colonial majestically sited on 2.9 acres. Set in Redding’s sought-after Longmeadow subdivision of preeminent homes, this 5,200 square foot home offers an ideal living & entertaining flow. Features include a classic butterfly staircase, gorgeous chef’s kitchen, sumptuous master bedroom suite, three additional en-suite bedrooms, finished 3rd level and an unfinished walk-out lower level. Four expansive verandas offer spectacular views.

553 Judd Road, Easton | $679,900 | 4 Bed, 3/1 Bath Nesled on three private acres in the small, unspoiled New England town of Easton, this Colonial is brimming with country ambiance. A stunning designer chef’s kitchen opens to a family room that has sweeping views of the property, there are formal living and dining rooms, an expansive rear deck, a beautiful center hall butterfly staircase, a private master bedroom suite with a sublime master bath - all this and more, in a stellar location.

22 Heron Road, Norwalk | $668,900 | 4 Bed, 2/1 Bath Graced with a stately brick and clapboard exterior this lovely Colonial is tucked into the private enclave of individual homes in desirable Saugatuck Landing in the Sasqua Hills area of East Norwalk. Highlights include hardwood floors, 9’ ceilings, updated kitchen, a spacious family room with fireplace, main level office, generous master bedroom suite, finished walk-out lower level, plus irrigation system, public water & sewer and a fantastic close-to-all location!

46 Huckleberry Road, Redding | $559,000 | 3 Bed, 3 Bath Fine finishes and architectural details combined with quality enhancements define this classic contemporary. The heart of the home is the exquisite custom kitchen... all the bells and whistles found here! The master bedroom suite is a serene haven with a sensational master bath and wonderful property views. There is a finished lower level with fireplace and full bath, a generator, garage workshop, storage shed, patio and 2+ acres of emerald-green lawn.

77 Stepney Road, Redding | $349,000 | 2 Bed, 2 Bath Charming 1780 Antique - the epitome of the quintessential country cottage. Lovingly cared for, updated and expanded with vintage beams, wide-board floors, cathedral ceilings, floor-to-ceiling fireplace and a country chic kitchen. Nestled on 1+ acre with spectacular perennial gardens, patio, native stone walls, rustic outbuildings, lily pond and waterfall. Newer roof, auto generator, thermal windows throughout, central air and much more.

R I D G E F I E L D/ R E D D I N G B R O K E R AG E | 4 7 0 M A I N ST R E E T | 2 0 3 .4 3 8 . 9 5 3 1 | W I L L I A M P I T T.C O M 7 0 C O U N T R I E S | 2 1 ,0 0 0 S A L E S A S S O C I AT E S | 9 3 0 O F F I C E S B E I J I N G | W E STC H E ST E R | R I D G E F I E L D/ R E D D I N G | M A N H AT TA N | LO N D O N Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated.


On the Town

CENTER FOR NONPROFIT EXCELLENCE

PHOTOS BY MARILYN ROOS

In 2009, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation established its Center for Nonprofit Excellence, dedicated to professional development for nonprofit leaders from 1,142 local nonprofits. FCCF held a tenth anniversary celebration on November 13 with at The Westport Library. Clockwise from top left: FCCF vice board chair Briggs Tobin of Ridgefield Academy, and Ron Herman, chair of FCCF’s Center for Nonprofit Excellence Advisory Council. Anthony DiLauro of Human Services Council with Nick Lieder of Open Door Communities. Corti Cooper of Dot Think Design, Kristy Jelenik of Housatonic Community College, and Marc Donald of RYASAP.

Helping teens and young adults thrive Martha Evans Morris, LMSW •

Therapy for ages 16 and up marthaevansmorris.com 203-247-4918 CT License #3772

Originals Copied or PDFs Printed 12 Mill Plain Road Danbury, CT 06811 203.743.6755 www.minutemandanbury.com printing@minutemandanbury.com


On the Town

RIDGEFIELD 25 AT BMW OF RIDGEFIELD Ridgefield Magazine hosted the Ridgefield 25 honorees at BMW of Ridgefield on November 23. Some 200 people gathered for a reception and ceremony to toast those who have been selected for the positive impact they have made on the community. Clockwise from top left: Honoree Sarah Bouissou, Theater Barn board member Lisa Riggs Hobbs and Linda Seay (Barn executive director Pamme Jones was an honoree). Ridgefield Magazine publisher Geoffrey Morris interviews honoree New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast. Adam and Glori Norwitt with honoree State Senator Will Haskell and 2019 honoree Allison Stockel of the Ridgefield Playhouse.

We’re Battle-Tested

THE 14TH YEAR BETTER THAN EVER SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 FAMILY AND FRIEND RELAY TEAMS WELCOME

T

he British tried cannonballs. Musket balls. Even torches. This is no ordinary museum. Visit a battle-tested survivor.

REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

Keeler Tavern

Museum and History Center

triridgefield.org

152 Main Street

I

Ridgefield, CT 06877

I

keelertavernmuseum.org

I

203.438.5485


On the Town

Members and prospective members of the 400-strong Ridgefield Bicycle Sport Club filled the Ridgefield Playhouse on January 21 for its kickoff meeting, to learn of ride scheduling, destination rides, cycling and multisport racing, education, and good fun. Food provided by Southwest Cafe and drink by Ancona’s Wines & Liquors. Clockwise from top left: The group says “let’s ride.” Stacy McAllister, Kathleen Whitmore, Kathy Gordon, Lee Whitmore, and Erin Gunther. Nicole Coleman, club president Jacqui Dowd, Taft Coleman, Noah Manheimer, Susi Manheimer.

PHOTOS BY CHUCK MAY

RIDGEFIELD BICYCLE SPORT CLUB


On the Town

NORWALK MAGAZINE LAUNCH TownVibe, publisher of Ridgefield Magazine, launched Norwalk Magazine in late 2019, and held a launch party on December 5 at Evarito’s Mexican Kitchen & Bar in South Norwalk. From top right: Norwalk Magazine publisher Geoffrey Morris toasted the 100-plus guests, including creative director Deborah Hayn, digital strategist Laurie Newkirk, TownVibe sales executives Wendy Packer and Camille Giacomazza, and Fairfield editor Robin Phillips. Evarito’s owner Christian Burns, Lucia Rilling and Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, and Geoffrey Morris.

Inspiring

e v i t a e r C

Art Center and Academy

Minds RPAC Academy provides Visual Arts enrichment for: High school students Continuing education Independent study Portfolio creation, preparation and review New 8 week class for WordPress Web Build starting January, 21st.

Enroll Now www.rpacartcenter.com Online Registration available. 424R Main Street, Ridgefield • (475) 215-5740 • info@rpacartcenter.com


Ridgefield Eats

MAR / APR 2020

The Cake Box

RIDGEFIELD Ancient Mariner

A long-standing favorite, it produces a solid menu for a casual night out. 451 Main St. / 203-438-4771 ancientmarinerct.com M

Bailey’s Backyard

This popular eatery, off Main Street, has long been a leading farm-to-table restaurant, featuring its Market Table Tasting Menu on Wednesdays. 23 Bailey Ave. / 203-431-0796 baileysbackyard.com M-E

Baja Cocina

Fresh, ounter served a-la-carte Mexican food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bright beachy interior. 426 Main St. / 203-438-0022 bajacocinact.com M

Clean and Simple town

Every day we learn of a new celebrity, athlete, entire sports team who has gone plant-based

in their diet. So the food business has followed. For months, the space on Main Street next to Olley Court got elegantly built out, then sat vacant, with its classy new sign and sleek, wood interior. Is it ever going to open? Then it opened and the tables have been filled ever since, with happy people chatting over kale salads and veggie burgers as if the place had been there forever. ORGANIKA PLANT BASED KITCHEN—“an all organic and vegan restaurant and juicer”—has locations in Southport and New Canaan too. It’s a well-run operation with counter service and an extensive menu with five main categories—organic breakfast, organic protein bowls, organic salads, organic sandwiches, and organic pizza. Each is made to order. Examples: Tofu Scramble (tofu, peppers, onions, spinach, avocado, mozzarella), Curry in a Hurry (chickpeas, red pepper, cauliflower, ginger, coconut milk, cilantro, and brown rice), Kale Caesar, Kalifornia Burger (quinoa, sweet potato, black beans, chipotle sauce, guacamole), Margarita Pizza. Salads are $12-$14; sandwiches $10, protein bowls $14. There are also smoothies and Organic Smoothie Bombs: Boom!

—Geoffrey Morris

Organika Plant Based Kitchen 424 Main St., 203-403-3346 organikact.com M

Bareburger

A trendy string of burger places in Brooklyn has settled in as a steady regular, offering organic, grass-fed meats and a non-meat option. 38 Danbury Rd. / 203-438-2273 bareburger.com M-E

Barn Door

A good selection of family-friendly, American-style food, including burgers, seafood, and homemade pasta, plus a raw bar. 37 Ethan Allen Hwy. 203-493-5038 barndoorridgefield.com M-E

Bartolo

Authentic Italian fare from a veteran of the Ridgefield restaurant world, now with an expanded bar and dining space. 103 Copps Hill / 203-894-8141 M-E

Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar

Bernard’s and its upstairs eatery, Sarah’s Wine Bar, provide exceptional food and service in elegant settings. Both provide a can’tmiss opportunity for any special night out. 20 West Ln. / 203-438-8282 bernardsridgefield.com E

I = lnexpensive 52 //

RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

On Big Shop Lane serving coffees, teas, one-of-a-kind cupcakes, and other bakery items. 1 Big Shop Ln. / 203-403-2558 thecakeboxofct.com I

850 Degrees

Pizza many ways—New York style or wood-fired. It also has a welcoming bar area. 424 Main St. / 203-894-5395 850degrees.com M

Gallo

This eponymously named Italian eatery has a welcoming owner and is involved in the community. Expanded bar, Italian-style menu. 5 Grove St. / 203-431-7726 galloridgefield.com M-E

The Hideaway

It’s a bar, it’s a pub, it’s a family eatery. Bar food, bar scene. Solid and extensive menu. 30 Grove St. / 203-438-7676 thehideawayridgefield.com M

Hoodoo Brown BBQ

The real-deal barbecue, with meats slow-cooked to savory perfection, offering family dining, reasonable prices, and a bar. 967 Ethan Allen Hwy. 203-438-6033 M

Hunan Noodle Bar

Winner of the Readers Choice Award in Ridgefield Magazine, offering top-quality pan-Asian food in a stylish modern setting. 461 Main St. / 203-431-4588 ridgefieldhunan.com M

Luc’s Café & Restaurant

An authentic bistro with outstanding food, attentive servers, and a true feeling of being in France. 3 Big Shop Ln. / 203-894-8522 lucscafe.com M-E

Mannen

Quality Japanese and other Asian food with lively and entertaining hibachi in a separate room. 15 Danbury Rd. / 203-438-8727 mannenrestaurant.com M-E

M = Moderate

E = Expensive


Marc’s Place

Ross Bread Shoppe

Tablao Wine Bar

Red Rooster Pub

Inspired by its sister restaurant in SoNo, Tablao has opened in a small alleyway off Main, with the same great tapas, bar scene, and vibe as in Norwalk. 426 Main St. / 203-244-5320 tablaowinebar.com M-E

A British gastropub recently opened by the owner of Luc’s Cafe. Casual and elegant. Excellent fish and chips. 59 Ethan Allen Hwy. 203-493-5050 M-E

Great bread, breakfast, coffee, special dishes, and more. Now under new ownership. 109 Danbury Rd. / 203-438-4822 rossbread.com I

Posa Ristorante

Family eatery with a long list of burgers and a large bar. 43 Danbury Rd. / 203-403-3021 redroosterpubridgefield.com M

High-end design mixed with ok service. Fresh handmade dishes distinguish this new eatery. 90 Danbury Rd. / 203-894-5355 posaristorante.com E

Prime Burger Burgers, fries, shakes, and salads, with counter service. 449 Main St. / 203-431-3000 primeburgerct.com I-M

Southwest Café

This sure-fire spot never disappoints—from green-chili stew to the open-faced quesadilla salad. 107 Danbury Rd. / 203-431-3398 southwestcafe.com M

Sucré Salé

Prime Taco A wide selection of tacos and margaritas with counter service. 32 Danbury Rd. / 203-403-3533 primetacoct.com I-M

This French creperie, with an enthusiastic following, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 109 Danbury Rd. 203-244-5653 M

Tony’s Deli

Tequila Escape The owners have transformed the former 439 Kitchen into a Latinfusion eatery, with a more upscale menu, a fun vibe, and a killer cocktail menu. 439 Main St. / 203-438-2500 tequilaescape.com M-E

TerraSole Quality Italian food in a dining space with a farmhouse feel— providing fine wines and nice outdoor space. 3 Big Shop Ln. / 203-438-5352 terrasoleridgefield.com E

The way a deli should be: good sandwiches and breakfasts. 622 Main St. / 203-438-8465 I

Tusk & Cup

Supercool coffee bar and hangout. Coffee, breakfast, salads, and other lunch items. Nice leather decor. 51 Ethan Allen Hwy. 203-544-0800 I

REDDING / GEORGETOWN Milestone

The newest addition to the Georgetown scene, a neighborhood gathering spot with simply prepared fare made from scratch and classic cocktails, with professional, understated service. 2 Georgetown Rd. 203-587-1700 milestonect.com M

“Where family, knowledge, and passion come together to create an unforgettable customer experience.”

3 LOCATIONS

Branchville, Since 1933, 720 Branchville Rd, 203-544-8958 ■ Over 2500 wines from over 15 countries ranging from $6-$600 Including top selling national brands with a focus on smaller production, organic and natural wines

■ Wine of the Month Club

■ Over 500 Ales and Lagers including Connecticut craft beers

■ Private in-home tastings

■ Over 600 Spirits and Cordials including rare Scotches and Bourbons ■ Easy online shopping at anconaswine.com with a choice of local delivery or instore pick-up at our 3 locations ■ Highly Educated Staff With Three Certified Sommeliers ■ Everyday Mix Case Discount “Save 6% on 6 bottles and12% on 12 bottles” ■ Daily Wine Tasting at Each Location “chose from 4 whites and 4 reds”

■ Educational tasting at our off site Annex space

Wilton, Since 2009, 5 River Rd, 203-210-7399 Ridgefield, Since 2018, 17 Governor St, 203-544-9017

■ Wine Cellar Consultation and Management ■ Special orders: never a problem ■ A wonderful selection of fine cigars

anconaswine.com Family Owned Since 1933


Out & About

MAR / APR 2020

Stepping Stones at 20 //

Kids don’t have all the fun at Stepping Stones. Mix fun and philanthropy at this very grown-up event to support Stepping Stones at Twenty growth plan, Mar 21. Enjoy an evening of Chemistry Drink Tricks, “Be A Kid Again” games, and a cupcake bar, $60. steppingstonesmuseum.org.

How Many Acts? One! town

Nine original short plays make up AN EVENING OF ONE ACT PLAYS at the Ridgefield Theater

Barn. This year’s production is sourced both locally, such as Carol Mark’s (Ridgefield) At The Water’s Edge, and internationally, such as Slow Dating and One Night

Stan, both by Adam Szudrich (Sydney, Australia). Audiences will notice some interesting parallels, particularly between Breaking & Entering by Ellie Martino (formerly of South Salem), and Sirens by Carol Mullen (Pittsburgh), two comedies that take place in the police world. As always, this (11th) annual event leans toward lightheartednees, but not without elements that ponder the human condition. Wait for It by Mary Ethel Schmidt,

Which Wildflower Are You by Linda Bidwell Delaney

2.29

Lounsbury House invites you to wake up your inner Sherlock Holmes. On February 29, 7 pm, a Murder Mystery evening allows guests to use their detective skills to solve the mystery set at the height of prohibition 1920, while enjoying a night of food and fun. $75 per person. lounsburyhouse.org

3.21

Colin McMullan will activate Tree Spa for Urban Forest Healing, containing a wood-fired maple syrup evaporator funneling maple-scented steam into a spa experience. Bring swimsuits and towels, and sit in the steam of the native forest, at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Mar 21. aldrichart.org

(Yorktown Heights), Home, Sweet Homeland Security by C.J. Ehrlich (Chappaqua), and Foothold by Patrick Lennon (Putnam Valley) all take relatable journeys, but with an interesting twist that require the audience to contemplate what possibilities in our everyday lives may lie just below the surface. An Evening of One Acts show Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, March 13 through April 4, with Sunday matinees on March 22 and 29 at 2 pm. The Theater Barn is cabaret-style, patrons are encouraged to bring food and drink to enjoy pre-show. ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org

54 //

RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE March/April 2020

River Walk Explore the River, a meandering glass building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects SANAA, and four site-specific installations commissioned for Grace Farms by prestigious artists. Tour begins with tea in the Pavilion. March 21, 10:30 am. Reservations required. gracefarms.org


Cray Cray for Blues

Open Wide Go backstage above The Maritime Aquarium’s “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit for a thrilling view of the sharks being fed and learn more about their habitat and care. The Aquarium is home to six sand tiger sharks and one lemon shark, all approximately eight to nine feet long. As the sharks snap at food presented to them on a long pole only a railing stands between you and these ancient predators. maritimeaquarium.org

Last in town for the Jazz, Funk & Blues Weekend this past September, Robert Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul, and R&B for decades, with five Grammy wins and more than 20 acclaimed albums. He performs Mar 7 at the Ridgefield Playhouse, with a BMW of Ridgefield on display. ridgefieldplayhouse. org

THE RIDGEFIELD

PLAYHOUSE

Non-profit 501 (C) (3)

WORLD MUSIC SERIES

Irish on Stage Altan, the award-winning, chart-topping Celtic band, brings its sensitive, old Irish songs all the way to hard hitting reels and jigs to the Ridgefield Playhouse on February 26. Known for its collaborations with country superstar Dolly Parton in U.S., Altan brings the music of County Donegal to audiences around the world for more than 30 years. ridgefieldplayhouse.org

Go Vote, Ladies // As part of a year-long effort to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, Keeler Tavern is hosting a reading and discussion of The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Votes, by Elaine Weiss, Feb 25 at Keeler Tavern. keelertavernmuseum.org

203.438.5795 • RIDGEFIELDPLAYHOUSE.ORG

March/April 2020 RIDGEFIELD MAGAZINE //

55


A Stitch in Time On March 15, the Katonah Museum of Art will open Bisa Butler: Portraits, the first solo museum exhibition of the artist’s quilts celebrating black life. One of the 20 works that she will exhibit is Broom Jumper, inspired by Ghanaian tradition in which the broom is waved over the heads of marrying couples to ward off spirits. Butler has created a mesmerizing feast of rich and vibrant color, pattern, and symbolism, and reinvented the quilt as a fine art form using silk, cotton, wool, and velvet. Her subjects are based on archival photographs. —Susan D. Grissom

56 //

ridgefield Magazine March/April 2020

Broom Jumpers, 2019 Cotton, silk, wool and velvet 98 x 58 in. (248.9 x 147.3 cm) Mount Holyoke College Art Museum South Hadley, Massachusetts

The Art of It


ETHAN ALLEN PREPARATORY at The Golf Performance Center

ACHIEVE YOUR GREATNESS IN THE CLASSROOM, ON THE COURSE AND IN LIFE Discover EAP, an innovative educational experience for scholar athletes in grades 9-12.

Now Enrolling for Fall 2020!

DARE TO ACHIEVE GREATNESS THIS SUMMER! TION A R T S I REG PEN NOW O MER M FOR SU ! 2020

2020 Summer Achieve Program June 29 – August 23 In partnership with

ETHAN ALLEN PREPARATORY at The Golf Performance Center

P R E PA R AT O R Y

To learn more about any of our programs or to schedule a tour, email admissions@thegolfperformancecenter.com or call 203.439.6758 824 Ethan Allen Highway, Ridgefield, CT 06877 | www.thegolfperformancecenter.com


Danbury Hospital is now part of Nuvance Health. A promising new health system. At Nuvance Health, we’re rethinking your healthcare experience with you and your family in mind. We let our curiosity guide us, asking the right questions, and discovering what matters to you. We’re finding new ways to fit into your life, with options for care you can trust. We invite you to experience that promise for yourself. nuvancehealth.org

© Nuvance Health

Profile for Ridgefield Magazine

Ridgefield Magazine | March/April, 2020  

Ridgefield Magazine, March/April, 2020 issue.

Ridgefield Magazine | March/April, 2020  

Ridgefield Magazine, March/April, 2020 issue.