Wilton Magazine | March/April, 2021

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MARVELOUS MUSHROOMS AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

SPOTLIGHT: AREA’S TOP DOCS FROM ECUADOR WITH LOVE

MAR / APR

MAGAZINE

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Own your worth Women‘s path to

Women hold a third of the wealth in the world, and that share is growing faster than ever. This gives them

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we can usher in a new mindset

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town

behind the scenes MAR / APR 2021

Wilton MAGAZINE Vol 19, Issue 3 March/April 2021

AMANDA DUFF

DANA FREEMAN is a freelance travel writer

Editor-in-Chief and Publisher

living in Vermont. While she loves her home in the Green Mountain State, she prefers discovering the roads less traveled. Through her original writing and photography, she provides authentic destination information, reviews, and tips. Dana’s work has been featured in CNN Travel, Yankee Magazine, Porthole Magazine, and more. In this issue, Dana spotlights must-see destinations in “America the Beautiful.”

COURTNEY PRESSLER

BRIDGET SHIRVELL is a freelance writer based

Digital Assistant

in Mystic, CT. Bridget covers food, travel, technology, and the environment. Her work has appeared in Martha Stewart Living, NY Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and more. In this issue, Bridget delves into Ecuador’s Fair-Trade flower farming in “From Ecuador With Love.” She enjoys exploring new places through their food, dreaming about the beach, and having fun with her husband, toddler daughter, and golden retriever.

DEBORAH HAYN

Creative Director

Copy Editor ALLISON GANEY

Editorial Assistant ALANA TAYLOR

KENZIE FOWLER

Editorial Intern SHARON PECK

Production Manager

Contributing Writers Megan Smith-Harris, Jennifer Bradshaw,

GERRI LEWIS is a freelance writer who spent the early years of her career as a features writer and columnist. Her work has appeared in Reader’s Digest and various airline publications. Her accolades include feature-writing awards from the New England Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Gerri grew up in Ridgefield and continues to keep an eye on the community. In this issue, she delivers another edition of “How We Met.”

ROGER GARBOW is a freelance writer based in Ridgefield, CT. He is a member of the International Motor Press Association, founder of Full Throttle Marketing, and a contributing writer for Road and Track, The Drive, Men’s Health, and Monticello Motor Club. In this issue, Roger reviews the Audi Q7, which he says was “the perfect choice” for a 340mile journey to and from Boston with his daughter.

Dana Freeman, Gerri Lewis, Roger Garbow, Bridget Shirvell

Contributing Photographers Erin Lubin, Kate Wark

EDITORIAL Amanda Duff editor@ridgefieldmagazine.com

ADVERTISING SALES Lisa Stiehl

This is a publication

reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the publisher.

2 //

March / April 2021


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Contents

MARCH / APRI L 2021

features

33

Medical Spotlight

We profile a few area doctors who

are keeping locals healthy, from head to toe. B y A m A n d A d u f f

39

From Ecuador With Love

Journey to the moun-

tains of Cotopaxi to learn about Ecuador’s fair trade flower farming industry. B y B r i d g e t S h i r v e l l

42

America the Beautiful

While international travel

still comes with many restrictions, our own great nation is bursting with beautiful backdrops. B y A m A n d A d u f f

And

dAnA freemAn

39 departments

06 Scribbled Note 10 ShoutOut 12 Eat + Drink Marvelous mushrooms, alcohol-free spirits

15 Life + Style Rabbits vs. hares, luxurious seven-seater, and more

22 Faces + Places Adirondack escape, pee wee hockey

4 //

March / April 2021

The Westy Mission To give our Customers peace of mind by continuously providing the finest service, buildings and ethical standards in the storage industry.


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Friends. Family. Community.

town

scribbled note

We’re all in this together. Georgann Hoffman Agent

State Farm® has a long tradition of being there. That’s one reason why I’m proud to support Wilton and all of )DLUƓ HOG &RXQW\

152 Danbury Road Wilton, CT 06897 Bus: 203.762.3332 The Kent Schoolhouse

KATE WARK PHOTOGRAPHY

Get to a better State®.

AS I WRITE THIS, it’s late January and the one-year mark of this pandemic is rapidly approaching. I’m at a loss for words, which is rare for me. So I’ll just be honest: these days are tough. It’s hard to keep looking for silver linings, right? To everyone who’s struggling, I hear you, I feel you, I see you. I hope you find joy in these pages. We’re keeping this issue light and uplifting. In “From Ecuador With Love,” writer Bridget Shirvell transports us to the mountains of Cotopaxi, Ecuador where she learned about the country’s Fair-Trade flower business. If you’ve purchased roses from the Westport or Danbury Whole Foods Market, chances are they’ve come from this region. In our Medical Spotlight, we shine the light on some incredible “top docs” in this area. We’re fortunate to have a great concentration of talented docs here. We also explore awe-inspiring destinations right here in the United States—no passport required—in “America the Beautiful.” (Thankfully, no restrictions apply to wanderlust.) In solidarity,

——Amanda Duff


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Nature’s Temptations Where Your Wellness Journey Begins

VITAMIN C aids wound healing and helps protect cells. Take 4,000 milligrams daily in divided doses. OSCILLOCOCCINUM prevents seasonal colds and improves symp-

BY ALLISON GANEY

NATURE’S TEMPTATIONS is more than a store: it’s a community resource. A multifaceted natural food market, juice bar, café, and deli located in downtown Ridgefield, Nature’s Temptations has nourished and supported the community for over 25 years. Owner Jeff Konchalski founded Nature’s Temptations to provide locals with the highest quality organic foods and natural products available. After experiencing health challenges during his childhood, Jeff created Nature’s Temptations to cultivate a space that is as much an educational resource as a one-stop-shop. Each staff member at Nature’s Temptations has been through their own journey of self-discovery; they’re knowledgeable about the products they offer, having vetted each and every one. “Between Dre Dretzin, a holistic health counselor; Dr. Amy Johnson, a naturopathic doctor; Chef Liz, our executive chef

Jeff Konchalski, Nature’s Temptations’ founder, has assembled a list of essential nutrients aimed to keep your immune system strong all year long:

who has been committed to organic and Non-GMO food for decades; and myself; someone is always available to answer questions about anxiety, sleeping, weight loss, and more,” said Kochalski. The human body tells us when something is lacking and we often interpret that as merely needing more of one thing, but creating a robust immune system is a combination of so many things. Eating a clean diet, juicing, taking supplements, exercising, and getting plenty of rest are essential elements to building immunity. During flu season – and with the pandemic still raging – it’s more important than ever to keep immune systems in check. Educating the community about living a healthier lifestyle is part of Nature’s Temptations’ overall goal. Whether you want to start taking supplements or try natural remedies, your wellness journey begins at Nature’s Temptations.

For up-to-date information about Nature’s Temptations, follow them on social media @NATURESTEMPTATIONS naturestemptations.com ADVERTORIAL

three times daily when you’re sick. VITAMIN D helps to regulate calcium and phosphate in the body. Take 5,000 IU daily. FISH OIL is rich in omega-3s, supports heart health and improves symptoms of depression. Take 3,000 milligrams daily. B-COMPLEX vitamins impact brain functions and help prevent infections. Take twice daily. ECHINACEA has been shown and blood sugar levels. Take it four times a day at the onset of illness. GREENS add essential nutrients to your diet and should be consumed daily, alone or in powdered form as additions to drinks or smoothies.



ShoutOut

B

y

M

e g a n

S

M i t h

- h

a r r i S

This, that, and the other things

NANCY CRAMPTON

Helping Kids

MEMORABLE MEMORIAL The Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey, is the latest selection for Wilton Reads 2021, the community-wide reading program spearheaded by Wilton Library. The choice was driven by the need to address recent racial unrest and social injustice in a meaningful way. Trethewey’s powerful memoir has received a slew of critical acclaim including raves from The New York Times, Esquire, Amazon Books, The Washington Post, and NPR. Copies will be distributed to Wilton residents in March, courtesy of Fair-

R EAC H I N G O UT Over the past year, the pandemic has pleasures like shopping, enjoying a restaurant meal, or meeting up with friends to socialize, have been curtailed. For Wilton’s older residents, this has led to feelings of isolation, loneliness and anxiety. Stay at Home in Wilton has worked hard to alleviate meal delivery, grocery shopping, a popular handyman program, and Zoom get togethers. They have also been instrumental in providing critical vaccine information and resources. stayathomeinwilton.org

Every year the Wilton Woman’s Club selects a local charity to support. This year, they’ve chosen the Norwalk-based Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield, which serves over 1500 families. For over 60 years they have offered affordable group and individual therapy as well as mental health services for children struggling with anxiety, trauma-related disorders, depression, and bi-polar disorder. Kudos to the WWC for recognizing the importance of mental health among our youth. wiltonwomansclub.

A Smokey Welcome

Complexion Perfexion Wiltonian Christine Zarb, founder of boutique medical spa ComplexionPerfexion

that credits its unique gel

am thrilled to be among the The entrepreneur has also

10 //

March / April 2021

Guitarist Smokey Hormel, a popular session musician who has played with Adele, Beck, Tom Waits, Neil Diamond, Norah Jones and even “The Undertaker” himself, Johnny Cash, has put down roots in Wilton. Hormel’s new digs are in the distinctive mid-century modern residence on Millstone Road designed by renowned architect Beverley Thorne. The house originally belonged to jazz great Dave Brubeck and his wife Lola, who moved to Wilton in 1961 and raised their family here. Welcome to the ‘hood, Smokey!


This Thisisisnot not the thehospice hospice you youhad had ininmind. mind. Thank Thank goodness. goodness. Most of us think of aofhospice as aasdark, Most ofprobably us probably think a hospice a dark, depressing place where people go to depressing place where people godie. to die. TheThe Regional Hospice Center for for Comfort Care && Regional Hospice Center Comfort Care Healing is nothing likelike that. Nothing likelike that, at all. Healing is nothing that. Nothing that, at all. It isItaisgorgeous, light andand airyairy 36,000 square footfoot a gorgeous, light 36,000 square center located in Danbury. More likelike a hotel. It’s It’s thethe center located in Danbury. More a hotel. onlyonly oneone of its in Connecticut. Yes,Yes, people come of kind its kind in Connecticut. people come herehere to live out their last days, weeks or months. But to live out their last days, weeks or months. But we we putput thethe emphasis on on living. emphasis living. That means giving ourour patients andand their loved ones That means giving patients their loved ones thethe opportunity to live fully in the faceface of loss. opportunity to live fully in the of loss. OurOur goalgoal is toismake every dayday thethe bestbest it can be for to make every it can be for each andand every patient—from babies to adults. each every patient—from babies to adults. To To learn more, see see MakingtheBestofEveryDay.org learn more, MakingtheBestofEveryDay.org TheThe Regional Hospice Center for for Comfort Care Regional Hospice Center Comfort Care & Healing. & Healing. WeWe willwill change thethe wayway youyou think about hospice. change think about hospice.

Making thethe Best ofof Every Day Making Best Every Day MakingtheBestofEveryDay.org MakingtheBestofEveryDay.org 203203 702702 7400 7400


[ MAR !

Eat + Drink

[ APR !

Throw Some Mushrooms In It It’s time you make mushrooms a staple in your kitchen By Bridget Shirvell

DID YOU KNOW... It’s estimated that 50,000 -

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March / April 2021


››

ONCE upon a time, mushrooms were the vegetable often ignored in the produce aisle. Sure, we might have grabbed a few white buttons to throw in a frittata for Sunday brunch with the folks, but more often than not, we walked right by them. That was a mistake. Turns out, humble fungi are surprisingly versatile (not to mention tasty). “I love mushrooms; you’ll find them all over my menu,” said Bernard Bouissou, who along with Sarah Bouissou leads dining at Bernard’s, Sarah’s Wine Bar, and a full-service catering company. While the types of mush-

FUNGI FEVER // Make mushrooms the main attraction. rooms and the dishes they appear in at Bernard’s vary given the time of year, it’s common to find them in pasta dishes, salads, starring in risottos, or as a side to the restaurant’s various entrees.

“They have so much flavor,” Bernard said. And there are so many different mushrooms. More than 50,000 species of ‘shrooms exist, although only about 20 species are regularly used

for cooking. If you’re most familiar with those white buttons, it’s time to expand your horizons. You’ll discover cremini mushrooms have a rich, nutty flavor and shiitake mushrooms are earthy with a wonderful meaty texture. If you passed by Bernard’s last fall, you might have spotted the pom pom mushroom growing on the front lawn. They’re huge, about the size of a soccer ball – or cotton candy, according to Bernard, and they are lovely to eat. Some of Bernard’s favorite, easier to find mushrooms include oyster mushrooms, golden chanterelle and porcini. Other, rarer varieties are the bright orange chicken of the wood and morelli mushrooms in the spring. Because they’re so versatile, you can add mushrooms to a variety of dishes. They’re great in sandwiches (I often sneak some into my toddler’s grilled cheese), pasta dishes, and even as a toast topper. Shiitake, in particular, works as an excellent meat alternative. Bernard suggests playing with them a bit to find what you like. “The cooking technique is a little different depending on the type but start with a very hot pan, add a little olive oil and don’t touch them; you don’t want them to boil. That’s the secret law of cooking mushrooms; don’t add salt and pepper until after they start to caramelize,” shared Bernard. Go ahead and throw some mushrooms in your shopping cart.


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March / April 2021

Still Spirited There’s nothing weak about today’s alcohol-free spirits

››

By AmAndA duff

THROUGHOUT the beverage industry, interest in low- and noalcohol products has been gaining pace over the past few years, especially as part of the larger health and wellness movement. While 2020 was a year of copious alcohol consumption for some, for others it ignited interest in the “sober curious” movement. Thankfully, the latter had many beverage choices. Not long ago, those refraining from alcohol were relegated to sugary soft drinks, plain club soda, and water. Yes, the rise of “mocktails” offered the excitement of festive flavors, textures, glassware, and garnishes, but let’s face it, even the name is a bit silly. Now, with the alcohol-free movement taking off, accelerated each year by “Dry January,” distillers have come up with non-alcoholic options to replace the nuances that traditional spirits provide. In New York City, there’s even a boozefree liquor store as well as a number of

booze-free cocktail bars across multiple boroughs. Closer to home, Wilton resident Brian Miller founded a non-alcoholic spirit brand, Seir Hill, named after the street he and his wife Bridgette, also his business partner, call home. One of their acclaimed spirits is Mashville, a non-alcoholic interpretation of whiskey. Miller shared with us the missing puzzle piece for many non-alcoholic spirit brands: mouthfeel. “While flavor and aroma are obviously important, mouthfeel is essential, too,” said Miller. “The most overlooked and underrated attribute of non-alcoholic whiskey is the mouthfeel. Mouthfeel includes the viscosity or consistency in your mouth, and mouthfeel must work in concert with aroma and flavor to deliver a fulfilling experience,” he added. If you’re curious to try Seir Hill yourself in a cocktail, visit Craft 14 in Wilton Center. To learn more about Seir Hill’s line of spirits, visit seirhill.com.


Life + Style

Right Place, Wrong Time… Love blossoms in paradise //

By gerri lewiS

››

WHEN Anita Kaplan and Mike Whitted first met, it was during a chance encounter in a hot tub. But the timing for them as a couple just wasn’t right. Fresh out of college, Anita’s job was a six-week stint in Puerto Rico. Mike, who lived in Atlanta, often traveled there for business and changed hotels when his go-to place had been booked. It was there that he decided to visit the resort’s hot tub, something very uncharacteristic of him. Anita, there with friends, “caught his eye” and the two struck up a conversation. Both immediately recognized that they had a connection, however their strong faith and moral code kept them from acting on their mutual attraction. Instead, they spent their time enjoying the island together as friends. After Mike left, Anita felt an enormous loss. When he unexpectedly returned two weeks later, she absolutely knew what her next steps would be. At the time, Mike had been wrestling with a separation from is wife, and Anita was engaged. She, too, had been wrestling with her

March / April 2021 //

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choice of partner. “I gave him my contact information sealed in an envelope and told him that if he divorced, he should get in touch.” They both departed saddened by the fact that they might never see each other again. Mike carried that sealed envelope around for a year until he reconciled with his wife and finally put it in the shredder. Meanwhile, Anita broke off her engagement and focused on her career. She eventually married and had children, moved to Wilton, and then divorced in 2010.

And then, the most amazing twists and turns brought Anita and Mike back together. Five years after her divorce, Anita had a dream about Mike convincing her that their story was not over. Meanwhile, Mike was at a low point, struggling to keep his wife, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, at home. It was during this time that Anita tracked him down on LinkedIn. She soon became the much-needed friend Mike could talk to. When his wife passed Anita and Mike continued to keep in touch and soon their communications

moved from social media to email, texts, calls and Facetime. On a family vacation to the Bahamas, Mike’s daughter gently encouraged him to “move on.” That night, while sitting alone on the beach, he had what he calls an epiphany. He knew he wanted to see Anita, who had become his friend, but who he had not seen in over 30 years. They met at Grand Central by the clock tower and while the place was bustling, they felt like the only two in the station. “I can even tell you today what square she stood

on,” says Mike. When he invited Anita on a cruise set to leave from Puerto Rico, he knew she was his soul mate. While reliving memories during a walk on the beach, Mike drew a heart in the sand with the words, “Will you marry me?” Mike and Anita plan to marry in June 2021. Both believe their meeting in 1985 was part of a bigger design, one that would allow them to find each other again when they were ready for their next chapter—one that started by being in the right place, just at the wrong time.


Life + Style

Ask Ms. Jen

››

Rabbits, wild birds, and geese, oh my! //

What’s the difference between a rabbit and a hare? —Mrs. Kovack’s 4’s Class, RCK Preschool, Ridgefield, CT This is a really good question! In Connecticut, we have the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit and the Snowshoe Hare. Hares are much larger in size, and have longer ears and hind legs. They often live alone or in pairs, whereas rabbits often live in groups. Snowshoe Hares can also change colors – well, sort of; their fur turns white in the winter to help them camouflage.

Should we fill our wild bird feeders all year long? —Lisa M., Ridgefield, CT Great question! I could write a whole book on this. It’s not necessary to feed birds yearround; they really only need help when their normal food sources are depleted, in late fall, winter and early spring. In early fall, bird feeders are a great source of food for black bears, since it’s when they are building their fat stores for winter. Why do geese fly in the shape of V’s when they migrate? —Mrs. Kelley’s 3’s Class,

By Jennifer BrAdShAw

RCK Preschool, Ridgefield, CT I wondered the same thing when I was younger. Geese and other migratory birds fly in a “v” formation, or echelon, for two reasons. Firstly, it helps them conserve energy on long flights because they catch the updraft from the bird in front of them. Secondly, they like to follow a leader, when one gets tired they move to the back.

tees. She was awarded the 2019 Excellence in Environmental Stewardship Award given by the CT Outdoor and Environmental Education Association. Jennifer lives in Ridgefield with her husband, Doug, and their children, Jase and Nicky. a nature question for »Ms.Have Jen? Send it to editor@ magazine com.

Jennifer Bradshaw is the Early Education Coordinator at Woodcock Nature Center. She is very involved in several advocacy and association commit-

March / April 2021 //

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Life & Style

The A-List

Swimfinity Swimming Academy

A few of Amanda’s favorite things seven, 20-minute, oneNot Your Average Gin The white spirit for brown

The Psychology of Money

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you want, when you want, with whom you you want, pays the

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No WiFi, No Problem

Mental Escape

Sweet Sounds

-

-

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March / April 2021


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Life + Style

The 2021 Audi Q7

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Stylish seating... for seven //

AS THE sport utility vehicle steadily takes over the hearts—and garages—of American consumers, manufacturers, ultra-luxury car brands like Bentley, RollsRoyce and Aston Martin, have added new vehicles to their lineups. Way back in 2005, Audi introduced the full-size Q7, its first SUV. While the Q7 wasn’t the first luxury SUV, it featured something other brands did not: quattroTM all-wheel drive. Audi’s current SUV lineup is one of the widest ranging in the industry, with 11 different models plus three wagons. From the compact Q3 to the super powered RS Q8, Audi offers something for everyone; even recently adding a pair of all-electric SUV’s to the family.

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March / April 2021

By roger gArBow

I spent a week with a new, three-row, Orca Black Q7 55 TSFI, the 55 indicating it had the optional 335 HP 3.0L V6 engine. It also included the luxurious Prestige Package, plus Cold Weather, Black Optic and Towing packages for a total MSRP of $76,000. Stepping inside an Audi, you’re greeted with ergonomic and design perfection. As a former Audi owner, I may be biased, but their interiors are among the best in the business. The overall appearance is luxurious without being gaudy. Throughout the cabin, even on the least expensive models, materials ooze quality with exceptional fit and finish. Behind the wheel everything falls perfectly to hand. The seats are comfortable yet supportive and the forward

visibility is excellent. Another Audi exclusive, one of my favorite features, is the virtual cockpit driver display. Spanning the dash in front of the driver, the fully customizable display delivers bright, precise vehicle information plus Google EarthTM mapping for next level navigation. For controlling all of the vehicle’s technology, performance, and features, Audi’s excellent MMI infotainment system is a champ. Control is accessible via voice commands or haptic touch screens, while the Bang & Olufsen audio system also has redundant buttons on the steering wheel and an old-school, simple round volume knob on the console, something I always appreciate. Unlike some competitors,

Audi’s climate control sits within a separate large touch screen panel and is super easy to use. Seat pictograms and arrows allow easy selection of desired air flow, while the temperature settings are large and easily adjustable. On the performance side, Audi’s Drive Select allows drivers to switch between multiple drive modes. In the Q7, these include allroad, comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. The allroad setting is for off-road or deep snow, and the suspension is raised to its highest setting for maximum ground clearance. Dynamic offers the opposite, dropping the vehicle down for limited body roll and improved handling. In addition to ride height and suspension stiffness, Drive Select also modifies steering feel and throttle response – and the settings work; you can really feel the difference in the way the car behaves in the different modes. For a road trip to Boston and back to pick up my daughter, the Q7 was the perfect choice. With first-rate ride and comfort, good acceleration and braking, plus a full suite of safety technology, the Q7 made the 340-mile round trip a relaxing journey. In Boston I had to load up a desk chair, a large monitor and some luggage. Folding the second and third rows offered up a flat floor with over 71 cubic feet of storage. On the drive back, we took turns selecting the tunes. I might not like all my daughter’s favorite artists, but through the Q7’s audio system, even the boy bands sounded great.



Faces + Places

Astonishing Adirondack Escape

››

Secluded, Safe, and Sensational //

ORIGINALLY built as a Great Camp for William Avery Rockefeller II, The Point is the first Relais and Châteaux hotel in North America. With only 11 guest rooms, this private, lakefront property’s intimate size allows the staff to anticipate guests’ every need. It is perfectly suited for travelers seeking a secluded, safe getaway. With the assistance of a personal butler, The Point is happy to formulate over-the-top experiences.

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March / April 2021

Whether it’s arranging a private island picnic or creating a one-of-a-kind, magical candle-lit dinner by the fire, the Point team is at your disposal. This sprawling 75-acre lakeside estate offers countless activities throughout every season. In the spring and summer, guests can enjoy boating, fishing, tennis, waterskiing, croquet, badminton, swimming, wake surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and hiking. During the fall

By dAnA freemAn

and winter, activities include cross-country skiing, ice skating, curling, and ice fishing. Ready to snuggle in and read until your heart’s content? Peruse the Algonquin, William Avery Rockefeller’s private study, which is filled with an exciting collection of antique books. Take one of the volumes out to the Lean-to, which is tucked away at the Pointof-The Point. This spot is the most picturesque place to take in the magnificence

of the Adirondacks. This all-inclusive adult retreat welcomes adults and children 18 and over. However, if families want to buyout the resort for the ultimate over-the-top summer camp, they are welcome to bring their younger children. With a reputation for offering ultra-luxury, guests at The Point enjoy a private getaway that doesn’t skimp on memorable experiences and personalized service. thepointresort.com


March / April 2021 //

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Faces + Places

Pee Wees in Placid

››

Ridgefield hockey on the Olympic rink //

Coach Pete spoke to the kids, then led the way to the tunnel, where we could see them silhouetted in the dim light of Herb Brooks Arena, where the 1980 Miracle on Ice USA Olympic victory over the USSR took place. The players were introduced one at a time. As each skated out, the scoreboard flashed a picture and stats: height, weight, favorite athlete, and favorite song. After we took the ice, the

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Lexington-Bedford Barons, who had not lost at the tournament, came out like stone-faced killers. This one with a sneer, that one with a mullet, this one with a scar, that one with fresh stitches. None was under five feet tall, nor less than a hundred pounds, which converted from Pee Wee to NHL equals 6’4”, 220. They executed precise drills during warm-ups. You could hear their freshly sharpened blades cutting the

By rich cohen

ice. Ridgefield was a rabble in comparison, a mismatched collection of height and weight. Not even our jerseys matched. The Bears looked lost in the early minutes. It was their first game on the Olympic-size ice, which is significantly bigger than the standard North American rink—200 by 100 feet compared to 200 by 85 feet. They never got used to it. They’d slow down where the boards would normally

be, dumbstruck that the ice continued on. You can tell a lot about a place by its hockey parents. Lexington and Bedford are affluent towns outside Boston. Many of these parents wore Patagonia coats or Burberry jackets, tweed pants, loafers. They had the air of overachievers, believers in the meritocracy. They worked hard, as did their children. Their kids would prevail because it’s what they deserved.


They also had an overdeveloped sense of decorum. Every time one of our kids slashed or threw an elbow, one of their parents would tsk-tsk the Ridgefield side as if to ask, “Did you teach them to play like that?” The Barons scored 72 seconds into the first period. Our goalie Dan had not even settled in. Early goals are often the coach’s fault. He’s failed to prepare his team for the onslaught. A few minutes later, they scored again, a kid from the Barons putting the puck between Dan’s legs—the five-hole. The kid said something to the players on our bench as he skated past. I did not hear it, but I

saw how our kids reacted. It woke them up. That’s when they started to play. I got a good look at my son Micah’s face in the second period. It was sweaty, happy, beet red. He was pressuring a Lexington-Bedford kid, who, hurried into action, flung the puck away. Micah chased it, got it, and went up ice. A defender pushed him to the outside. This being Olympic ice, he skated and skated, then set up behind the goalie. The defense backed off, anticipating a pass. Micah looked at his center, Patrick Campi, then skated around and shot instead. Next, Micah’s name was announced over the

MEMORABLE MOMENT // Cohen and his son. loudspeaker. “Goal, number forty-five, Micah Cohen.” The game was tied at two with a minute left in the final period. Cowbells, air horns, kazoos—the Lexington-Bedford parents were on their feet, wild with anticipation. Their entire team had crashed our net and were trying to jam in the winner. Dan slid this way and that, making save after save. The Barons had already blown two good chances, but were intent to score. Then the moment arrived. Dan was out of position; the puck, having pinged off our defenseman’s skate, spun a foot from our empty net. As the Lexington-Bedford kid tried to finish the play, one of our wings dove onto the ice and

covered the puck with his hand. Everyone jumped on top, creating a pile. The whistle blew. This was a penalty. No one but the goalie is allowed to cover the puck. It should have resulted in a penalty shot, but the ref did not call it. When the Lexington-Bedford parents realized there’d be no call, they booed. They called us names and spoke to us sarcastically: “Congratulations, Ridgefield. You have taught your children very well. They are the very best. The very best cheaters.” The game went into overtime. Sudden death. There’d be a five-minute period of three-on-three hockey. Judd Meese sat next to me, keeping score. Sue Campi had broken her own rule and

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gone for a fourth beer. One mom was praying out lout: “Dear Lord, bring our boys and our girls the success they have worked so hard for.” The buzzer sounded and the game went into a second overtime—twoon-two. A minute into that overtime, with the spectators on their feet and the noisemakers wailing, Tommy skated toward our own zone with the puck, chased by two Barons, who left Joey uncovered. Tommy flung the puck backward down the ice without looking. Joey gathered it, turned, took two strides, and shot. It hit the top post and went into the goal—and that was it. Game over. The rest of the Bears jumped over the boards and sprinted across the ice, throwing off helmets and gloves

like Team USA at the end of Miracle. Dan pushed his mask up onto his forehead and leaned against the crossbar, grinning. The Barons cried in the handshake line. A red carpet was rolled across the ice, a podium set up. A Can/Am official talked about the importance of competition and sportsmanship. The medals were presented—silver and gold—with a captain from each team standing on a platform. There was a torch. It went hand to hand. For a moment, I thought it was going to set one of the Pee Wees ablaze. The players skated over one at a time to collect their medals. Barry pumped a fist as he went, then raised his medal skyward. Micah kissed his medal as he’d seen players kiss the Stanley Cup.

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ADVERTORIAL

MEDICAL SPOTLIGHT SHINING THE LIGHT ON FAIRFIELD COUNTY’S TALENTED DOCS P

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Almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s as important as ever to remain healthy. Fortunately for residents of Ridgefield and Wilton, we live in an area dense with talented medical professionals. These Fairfield County area doctors are keeping locals healthy, from head to toe.

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OrthoConnecticut is the regional leader in orthopedic care, caring for more than 36,000 patients annually and

performing over 8,000 surgical procedures each year. Experienced and highly trained orthopedic surgeons are repeatedly honored for their patient care and surgical skill. Dr. Angelo Ciminiello, knee and shoulder surgeon, and Dr. John Lunt, hand and upper extremity surgeon, are

Castle Connolly Top Doctors of the New York Metro Area, 2021 award. Dr. Ciminiello says their “white glove service” is what sets OrthoConnecticut apart from other practices. “OrthoCare Express is our urgent care facility that replaces the need to go to the emergency room. With weekday and weekend hours, our surgeons see acute

pediatric and adult orthopedic injuries. If surgery is needed, we have our own state-of-the-art outpatient surgical center, Western Connecticut Orthopedic Surgical Center. This means patients receive the same level of care from their initial appointment through their surgical recovery, and even during an emergency.” At OrthoConnecticut, hip and knee replacements are performed as outpatients utilizing robotic assistance, and the practice is the only group in the recovery period, a musculoskeletal anesthesiologist and recovery room nurse are with the patient for their entire stay,” says Dr. Lunt. “This is a positive advantage at a time when many patients need the oversight but prefer to avoid staying overnight in the hospimyorthoct.com or call 1-833-678-4628.


Advanced Specialty Care is a local, integrated, multi-specialty medical group of board-certi-

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Advanced Dentistry of Wilton’s founder, Dr. James T. Aris, DMD, MAGD, PC, knew early on of his desire to pursue dentistry as a profession. Inspired by his love of

to education allows him to perform sophisticated procedures including full-mouth reconstructions, root canals, implants, and bone grafts. To date, he has logged over 2,000 hours of continuing education since graduating from University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. He is among the top one percent of general dentists in this country who have earned a Mastership from the Academy of General Dentistry. He has completed an intensive one-year course on Advanced Full-Mouth Reconstruction at NYU Linhart Continuing Dental Education, is a member of the Spear Study Club, Dawson Academy Scholar, and is recognized as a Lead-

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ing Physician of the World and Top General & Cosmetic Dentist. and healthy environment. Safety guidelines including wearing N95 respirators, face shields, surgical gowns and caps, and employing the-art; it includes Planscan CAD/CAM, which he praises for accurate form and function, as well as same day results for crowns and veneers. “Maintaining your oral health is key to a healthy immune system and about Advanced Dentistry of Wilton, visit drjamesaris.com. To make


Ridgefield Chiropractic & Wellness Center is helmed by board

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FROM ECUADOR WITH LOVE A FLOWER’S JOURNEY, FROM FARM TO VASE B

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urrounded by row upon row of rose bushes with flowers blooming in hues ranging from deep red to gray lavender to snow-white feels a bit like standing in the middle of a fairy tale. Except the air is stifling, and there’s work to be done. All around me, farmworkers snip stems with expert efficiency. They place the roses in carts they drag behind themselves while moving throughout the greenhouse. I try to help, but my unpracticed eyes are slow to find the roses ready for harvest, my hands not as quick with the scissors; I slow the process down. It’s early January in Cotopaxi, a rural, volcanic region in Ecuador, and the employees of La Victoria Farm are busy harvesting roses; 70,000 of them a day. By the end of the month, as production increases in preparation for Valentine’s Day, they’ll harvest as many as 200,000 per day. Within a few days of being snipped, those flowers will be in stores worldwide, including at the Danbury and Westport Whole Foods Markets. A boutique of flowers standing pretty in a vase is such a simple, little thing that sparks lots of joy. It only makes sense that a flower’s journey from the farm to vase be full of love. Years ago, the United States had a vibrant floral growing industry, with 80 percent of flowers sold coming from local growers, but today, that number is only 20 percent. The vast majority of the flowers come from Latin America. “Because of the customers, I have benefits, thank them.” It’s a phrase I hear over and over again from workers like Mayra Toaponta, who’s worked at La Victoria for 7 years, Loide Pruna for 18, Eva Chango for 19, Felix Rendon for 11, and so many more. Maybe I am standing in the middle of a fairy tale. La Victoria Farm is one of only a handful of Fair Trade Certified flower farms in Ecuador. Chances are you’ve heard of “fair trade” and have a vague idea of what it means. A silver lining of the pandemic may be that it’s

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forced many of us to think not only about how our products are made but how the people who make them are treated. Fair trade describes commerce in which producing, selling, and buying products supports and improves workers’ quality of life and the environment. “We want to grow the company, but we want to help our people grow too,” said Diego Espinosa, General Manager and Partner of the farm. At La Victoria, that means that farmworkers have access to a dental clinic, medical clinic, and laundry facility. A laundry facility may sound like a small thing, but for the women I spoke to, it’s the difference between a day off they can spend with their families versus a day spent hauling their laundry to a local river to wash. A process that can take most of the day. Through a farmworker run committee, the farmworkers at La Victoria and other Fair Trade Certified farms also have the power to decide what to do with some of the money the farm receives for the flowers, what’s known as the fair trade premium. At La Victoria, they’ve decided to buy land and build homes a short ways away from the farm. At nearby Agrogana Farm, the farmworkers built a childcare center and after school program for the farmworkers’ children to attend. “I haven’t gone outside of Ecuador for roses for two or three years,” says florist Jessica Bowen of Ridgefield’s Flower Girl Florist, a full-service floral studio. “I know they’re paying their workers well, providing them with doctors, and a lot more,” she said of the farms in Ecuador, where she sources her roses. What should you look for when purchasing roses? According to Bowen, look for a large bloom that feels firm and boasts lots of petals. When in doubt, ask your local florist. They should be able to guide you to different varieties and talk to you about their sourcing. After leaving the greenhouse at La Victoria, we went to the production facility where my counting skills were tested. Workers trimmed, grouped and packaged flowers, smiling, chattering and telling me again to thank the customers. So much joy packed into each box.

A KALEIDOSCOPE of hues span the rows and rows of rose bushes in greenhouses in Cotopaxi, Ecuador, where 70,000 roses are harvested each day. Some will end up at the Danbury and Westport Whole Foods Markets.


America

the Beautiful BRILLIANT BACKDROPS WITHIN OUR BORDERS B

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DREAMING ABOUT TRAVEL? You’re not alone. As weeks of pandemic life turned into months and vacations were traded for “virtual escapes,” many wondered when they’d experience the joy of travel again. Nearly a year into the pandemic, the vaccine rollout is in full swing and some are feeling comfortable planning for travel again. HomeToGo, one of the largest sources for vacation rentals with over 18 million rentals globally, tapped into its extensive

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search and booking data to share where Connecticut users are searching. (Spoiler alert: they’re seeking sunshine.) The top trending destinations, including yearover-year data, are Naples, FL (up 301 percent); Marco Island, FL (up 128 percent); and Hilton Head Island, SC (up 97 percent). Whether one feels comfortable traveling is a decision only they can make, but there are plenty of resources available for those who are ready.

Ridgefield-based travel agent Peggy Honore of Cruise Planners urges folks to remember that travel is not a “one size fits all” activity, and that there are alternatives to many forms of travel. “Instead of taking a large cruise, charter a small boat,” she says. “Or instead of flying, take a train and book a private sleeper car. Amtrak offers amazing routes, including journeys to many National Parks,” she adds. Wilton-based travel agent Susan Wilson of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting urges


travelers to seek out hidden gems, noting they’re often less crowded than more popular attractions. “In every state in our beautiful country are amazing destinations and experiences,” she says. While a number of international destinations are once again welcoming U.S. passport-holders, we’re sharing some incredible locales within our borders. Quintessential Americana // North Dakota and South Dakota A trip through the Dakotas is about more than natural beauty; it’s about exploring the past, honoring Native culture, and appreciating quintessential Americana: historic towns, oddball tourist stops, bison wandering free, cowboys, and insanely beautiful views. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, Minuteman Missile National Historic

Site, and more are easily accessible from a home-base of Bismarck, North Dakota or Rapid City, South Dakota. Badlands National Park is simply unforgettable. Its other-worldly geologic formations and deposits contain some of the world’s richest fossil beds. It is a truly majestic part of the United States – and it’s no wonder Theodore Roosevelt fell in love with the region when he first visited to explore and hunt bison, adventures that would set the tone for later conservation efforts. While panoramic views are forever in my mind, the appreciation I gained about the area’s Native culture is forever in my heart. Red Cloud Heritage Center, Wounded Knee National Historic Site, The Journey Museum, and Crazy Horse Memorial, will leave you with a greater understanding of this country’s history. If traveling by air, flying into Bismarck, N.D.

and out of Rapid City, S.D. is a great way to see both states. – A.D. Paradise, No Passport Required // Puerto Rico The perfect destination for Americans who typically vacation in the Caribbean, Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve, is a 1,400 acre sanctuary on Puerto Rico’s Atlantic coast. Originally envisioned by Laurence S. Rockefeller as the Caribbean’s first eco-resort, Rockefeller’s Dorado Beach Resort opened in 1958 with a celebration that included Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Elizabeth Taylor, President John F. Kennedy, and more. Today, Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve offers a true sense of barefoot elegance. The open-air enclave is a dream for golf and spa enthusiasts. Turquoise ocean views, swaying coconut trees, and a collection of diverse, ingenious holes define

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The Reserve’s two Tournament Players Club courses, while the award-winning Spa Botánico, built on a 5-acre pineapple field, blends local ingredients and soothing indigenous traditions for the ultimate zen. // Grand Teton National Park, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is often overlooked for Yellowstone National Park. But with just an hour drive between the two, travelers can visit both in one trip. Grand Teton’s close proximity to Jackson Hole means a home base with excellent dining and lively arts and culture. Jackson Hole features a Four Seasons Resort and an Amangani, but for a more private and unique experience, Fireside Resort offers 25 pint-size, LEED-certified, luxuriously outfitted tiny house rentals complete with their own WiFi, outdoor fire pit, and deck. They’re a hybrid between camping, a luxury hotel suite, and a private vacation rental cabin, and the ability to rent a 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee while staying on property makes day trips to Grand Teton National Park, just five miles away, a breeze. – A.D. // Utah Those seeking year-round, outdoor adventure without sacrificing luxury will love Park City, Utah’s 46-room Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection. Surrounded by dramatic peaks, lush hillsides and a spring-fed creek, contemporary, organic architecture showcases the land. Immersive private outdoor adventures include fly fishing, clay-shooting, dog sledding, hands-on horsemanship; and helicopter experiences including heli-yoga, hiking, and skiing. A restaurant helmed by a James Beard Award-winning executive chef and a luxe spa complement Blue Sky’s active outdoor adventures. – A.D. // Massachusetts Three to four hours away – depending on

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traffic and exactly where you’re traveling to – Cape Cod is far enough away to feel like an escape but still plenty accessible for a long weekend. The 429-acre Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, a AAA FourDiamond property in Brewster, MA, offers the convenience of a full-service resort with a quintessentially Cape Cod look and feel. With traditional guestrooms in The Mansion as well as spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, there’s an accommodation for every type of traveler. Ocean Edge’s sprawling, estate-like property affords a multitude of backdrops for outdoor adventures. Stand up paddle boarding on Blueberry Pond, hiking and biking through 26 miles of trails, and splashing around in the resort’s five pools offer fun for all ages. Additional amenities include an 18-hole Nicklaus Design golf

course, nine tennis courts, oyster bed tours, pickleball, a luxury day spa, and 700-foot stretch of private beach exclusively for Mansion guests. The resort boasts multiple dining establishments, including a beach bar that’s perched atop the dunes of Cape Cod Bay, offering undisturbed views of the surrounding area. – A.D. // Tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just 60 miles northwest of Atlanta lies Barnsley Resort, a 3,000-acre destination where history, outdoor adventure and Southern hospitality merge. Travelers looking to try something new and engage in a quintessentially Southern sport will have a blast - quite literally - at the resort’s


Beretta Shooting Grounds by High Adventure Company. The sporting grounds are home to two, 14-station clays courses. Hop in a golf cart and zip from station-to-station to experience a range of shooting patterns across diverse terrain, including stations in an open field, under a natural canopy in the woods, and over water. After the clay disks have been shattered, travelers can kick up their feet in cozy, cottage-style accommodations ranging from one-to-seven bedrooms, enjoy elevated Southern cuisine, or continue the adventures with canoeing, horseback riding, award-winning golf, axe throwing, and archery. – A.D. Quintessential Seaside Retreat // Maine With an emphasis on old-world charm and tradition, The Black Point Inn is the grand dame of Maine beachfront hotels. Located just 15 minutes south of Portland, this quintessential seaside resort is perfectly perched upon the hillside of Prouts Neck Point. Overlooking not one but two sandy beaches, the spectacular setting offers much for guests to enjoy. Their geothermally heated saltwater pool is kept at a comfortably warm 80 degrees. Hiking along Cliff Walk, a private path that circles the entire rocky peninsula, affords the most extraordinary views of the Atlantic and breathtaking oceanfront homes. Guests have the rare opportunity to play golf at the Prouts Neck Country Club, which boasts well-manicured, challenging greens and Saco Bay views. The Inn can arrange tennis on one of the fourteen clay courts across the street, but note that tennis whites are required. In the evening, enjoy sunset cocktails from the Adirondack chairs on the front lawn, followed by dinner at The Chart Room. For a casual meal, pop over to Shade located at their sister hotel, the Higgins Beach Inn. The historic Black Point Inn is the type of luxury property generations of families return for their summer holiday year after year. – D.F.

WANDERFUL DESTINATIONS Opening page: Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Opposite page: Fireside Resort in Wyoming, Ocean Edge Resort in Massachusetts. This page, clockwise from top: Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico; Black Point Inn in Maine; Barnsley Resort in Georgia; The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection in Utah.

EDITOR’S NOTE: THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS AN EVER-CHANGING SITUATION. IT’S WISE TO EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT RULES, REGULATIONS, AND RESTRICTIONS BEFORE TRAVELING.

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