Posts Tagged ‘Local Events’

Hayes Maze in North Granby CT is now open - the best Corn Maze around!

September 28th, 2011 by nancyross

Love a good corn maze?  Try your skills at this one!  A tradition that everyone in town looks forward to is the Hayes Maze located at 151 East Street in North Granby CT.  Stanley Hayes and his family choose a unique design each year, planting and hand-pulling the corn to create the most amazing designs for their corn maze.  Last year, the Hayes Maze depicted several well-known monuments.  Look at the photo here…can you identify the monuments in the corn maze from 2010? 


Hayes Corn Maze

The Hayes Maze has many twists and turns, and you’ll have such a festive time working your way through the maze.  To help you along, there are special stations set up within the maze that have questions for you to answer.  Each answer takes you in a different direction.  Answer the question correctly, and you’ll be on your way through the maze.  Answer incorrectly, and you head off in a dead-end direction.  New this year, for added fun, are 5 paper punch stations that are hidden throughout the maze. 

Want an added bonus to your trip?  Visit SweetPea Cheese, adjacent to the Hayes Maze.  SweetPea Cheese is part of House of Hayes Dairy Farm, and the Cheese Shop is open 10:00am – 7:00pm daily.  There you will find fresh goat milk and cow’s milk, yogurts and award-winning cheeses.  They have a variety of cheeses from which to choose, all freshly prepared on premises.  You can view the cheese preparation through the windows inside the shop.    GoatThe Dutch Iris Inn’s favorite goat cheese is the Chevre made at SweetPea Cheese.  …truly the best you’ll ever taste.  Really.  But we digress…we’ll share more about this cheese destination another time.  Let’s go back to the corn maze!

Bring your family out to the farm for a fun fall excursion.  The Hayes Maze is open Fridays 4:00-9:00pm, Saturdays 12noon-9:00pm, and Sundays 12noon-6:00pm.  If you come after dark for your corn maze challenge, be sure to bring a flashlight with you!  Admission to the Hayes Maze is $7.00 for Adults, $5.00 for Children 5-13 yrs., and Free for Tots (4 yrs and under).  Groups are also welcome, but please call to make arrangements ahead of time.


Granby Connecticut Celebrates 225 Years!

September 5th, 2011 by nancyross

Our beautiful New England town of Granby invites you to celebrate its 225th birthday!  October 1, 2011 will be the biggest day of celebration with a parade winding through our historic center to Salmon Brook Park, followed by a full day of festivities including rides, games, food, music, and spectacular fireworks sponsored by Windsor Federal Savings Bank.

Prior to this event, a fabulous evening at historic Holcomb Farm is planned on September 10thwith live music by “Still Above Ground” (classic rock), dinner and cash bar, 6:30-11:00pm. 

Still Above Ground

Still Above Ground

Contact the Dutch Iris Inn if you would like to purchase tickets in advance at $60 per person, or you may purchase tickets for $70 per person at the door.  Proceeds help benefit the BIG celebration on October 1st.

Pre-celebration events have been happening all year long.  Several that attracted much interest were the Awesome Auction held on Lake Manitook and Antiques Appraisal Days, where everyone attending could have up to three antiques appraised by experts.

These fund-raising events, as well as the sale of Granby 225 mugs, puzzles, magnets, tree ornaments and Granby artist calendars all benefit the BIG celebration on October 1, 2011.  The Granby Chamber of Commerce joined in the efforts by decorating the town with banners. The banners have the Granby 225 logo and can be found all over town, especially downtown where most of our small businesses are located.

Fireworks DisplayIf you have ever visited Granby CT, or simply passed through it, you know it is worth taking a closer look.  We are the northern-most town in the Farmington Valley, where settlers found beautiful land, rivers, hills and meadows in the late 1600s.  Our town offers breathtaking countryside, with so many places to explore.  Granby is quintessential New England, with its winding roads, historic homes and barns, white steeple churches sprinkled across the landscape, and four distinct seasons to enjoy.  We welcome you to visit our town as it celebrates its 225th birthday – Granby Connecticut, 1786-2011!

More details and a complete schedule of events can be found on the Town of Granby’s website.  Contact phone numbers, events, and a complete schedule can be found there. See you at the Granby 225th celebration!  GO GRANBY!

The Garlic Farm in West Granby CT Is a Unique Destination for All!

August 23rd, 2011 by nancyross

Garlic Farm Braid

The Best Garlic Ever!

The Garlic Farm in West Granby CT is a destination not to be missed!  In June, they tease you with their harvest of garlic scapes (stay tuned for more on that subject next June), and then the big season soon begins thereafter with the most wonderful bounty of fresh vegetables and, of course, GARLIC! 

The Garlic Farm market is located in a vintage barn on the property, with beautiful fields of pick-your-own zinnias out back.  Bushels and baskets overflow with bright colorful vegetables, all of which are grown pesticide-free in accordance with the Northeast Organic Farming Association. 

Garlic is sold by the head, by the bunch, by the pound or by the bag, and garlic braids are available in late summer.  At the Dutch Iris Inn, we use all of the Garlic Farm’s delicious produce in our breakfasts as often as possible.  As a matter of fact, we always use locally grown and seasonal ingredients to start your day at the inn – everyone becomes a locavore at our breakfast table!

When you visit the Garlic Farm, you will find freshly harvested vegetables as they become available throughout the season:  onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, hot and sweet peppers of many varieties (love those cubanelles!), eggplant, tomatoes (heirloom and modern – try the Fourth of July sweeties early in the season and the German Stripe beauties later on – heavenly and tomato-y!), summer and winter squash of all kinds, pumpkins, basil and more.  As for the garlic, it is flavorful beyond belief.  Once you taste it, whether fresh in vinaigrettes and the like, cooked into savory dishes, or roasted and spread on fresh baked bread, you will truly be amazed at the difference locally grown garlic makes. 

Garlic Farm Barn

The Garlic Farm Barn

…and speaking of bread, Collinsville Bakery offers some of their special breads at the Garlic Farm as well.  One of our favorite summer suppers to make at home is a Caponata Panini, full of sautéed Garlic Farm produce, sandwiched and grilled on Collinsville Bakery bread.  Yum! 

Selected conventionally grown produce from nearby family farms is also available, including sweet corn, berries, melons and seasonal orchard fruits.  So, what better way to spend your day than to come out and support your local farms?  Visit the Garlic Farm at 76 Simsbury Road in West Granby CT, open daily into October from 10am – 6pm.  They are just 8 minutes away from the Dutch Iris Inn …we’re spoiled by being so close!

Last Blast of Summer - Celebrate at The Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts

August 19th, 2011 by nancyross

The Big E, the largest fair in the Northeast, is home to The Big E Cream Puff & Craz-E Burger.  It’s a New England extravaganza with top name entertainment, The Big E Super Circus, The Avenue of States, Storrowton Village Museum, animals, competitive exhibits, adrenaline pumping rides, shopping, crafts, daily parades and Mardi Gras parades, and mouth-watering foods from around the world.  The 2011 Big E is proud to host a diverse line-up of talent this year, including Reba, Blake Shelton and Darius Rucker.  The Big E runs September 16-October 2, 2011, and is only 30 minutes from the Dutch Iris Inn!   

The Big E

NEW ENGLAND NAVY WEEK runs Sept. 24 through Oct. 2 and allows fairgoers to meet Navy personnel and learn about the Navy’s critical mission and broad ranging capabilities, while participating in engaging activities.

BIXBY’S RAINFOREST RESCUE, at the North End of the Avenue of States, is an exotic animal show that brings a message of preservation and conservation to The Big E through a variety of live rainforest animals, including a Burmese python, a singing toucan, and a kinkajou!

THE BIG EASY MEETS THE BIG E.  Fat Tuesday comes to life with music, lights, and beads galore at The Big E’s signature Mardi Gras Parade.  Want to take part in the festivities? Be a costumed reveler and toss beads to fairgoers on the parade route for just $10!

THE BIG E CORN CHALLENGE… The Big E challenges the food vendors to create a delicious concoction using corn. Try them all and find your favorite! You’ll find Red’s Tutti Frutti Popcorn at Red’s Red Apples, Corn Poppers at Osborne Mushroom Farm, Country Fried Shepherd’s Pie at EB’s in the Food Court and Corn Cake Pulled Pork Muffin at Scirrotto’s Cinnamon City behind the Stroh building.

ANIMALS GALORE!  The Big E’s roots are in agriculture and that tradition continues today with competitions for prize-winning animals from across the country in the largest livestock show in the East. In the Mallary Complex, animal lovers will observe cows, sheep and llamas as well as demonstrations on spinning, weaving and milking.  In Farm-A-Rama, look for pigs, the famous chick hatching exhibit, Hallamore Clydesdales, FFA exhibits and more.

SHOPPING OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND!  If you need a break from the hustle and bustle, visit the new Shoppes at Mallary Garden outside the Mallary Complex.  Winning cheeses from The Big E Gold Medal Cheese Competition are displayed, sampled and sold.  Winning wines from The Big E Northeast Gold Wine Competition will also be on display.

CAPTURE THE PAST… Storrowton Village Museum is an authentic reconstructed 19th century, New England village arranged around a classic Village green. Special activities planned on the green include 19th century craft demonstrations, children’s games and tours of its historic buildings.

TAKE A WALK THROUGH NEW ENGLAND.  The Avenue of States is a broad boulevard featuring replicas of each New England state capitol with local products, crafts and vacation information within.  Experience what makes each state so special!


Excursions along the Farmington Valley Greenway: Rosedale Farms & Vineyards

August 11th, 2011 by nancyross

Rosedale Farms & VineyardsAnother jaunt down the bike path leads to a gem of a place that has been providing local produce to the community for over 90 years…and now wine!  Rosedale Farms & Vineyards, located in Simsbury CT, has been a delightful resource for buying local.  Fresh-as-can-be vegetables, fruits, flowers and other delicious offerings are available at this roadside farm store.  What makes it extra-special is its expansion into wine.  This 5th-generation family farm also has a beautiful 4-acre vineyard.  Flavorful red, white and blush wines are available for tasting on Saturdays and Sundays 12noon-5pm, July through October.  Rosedale wines have won several awards, and they are a popular destination along the Connecticut Wine Trail.

Rosedale Farms & Vineyards teams up with the Max Restaurant Group for special evenings including farm tours, wine tastings, four to six course feasts created with Rosedale’s farm-fresh ingredients.  Chef-to-Farm dinners are held on Thursday evenings throughout summer and fall.  Other local farm dinners using the farm’s produce pop up throughout the summer as well, keeping Rosedale Farms & Vineyards a community favorite.

The Bleu Willow in Simsbury CT - Party and Shopping!

May 28th, 2011 by nancyross

Yesterday, I (Nancy) went to one of my favorite shops – The Bleu Willow, located in Simsmore Square in Simsbury CT.  Laura, the owner, hosted a very nice springtime open-to-everyone reception, and I had so much fun talking with her and her colleagues, and sharing stories with the other shoppers.

I have followed this store from its birth in Granby CT to its relocation in Simsbury CT (thankfully,  just a few miles south of us).  It is definitely one of the best “feel good” places around.  This shop is exquisitely designed, stocked with wonderful vintage-hip finds, both trendy and antique, and has many unique artistic treasures.  The Bleu Willow offers an eclectic mix of antique and vintage pieces, as well as beautiful reproductions, that Laura has found in her travels – architecture, trinkets, new design trends – as well as the most fabulous artistic décor, accessories, furniture, and specialty gifts that are designed by local artists.  The jewelry is beautiful as well (and fun to try on!) – all designed by talented artists.

Here at the Dutch Iris Inn, we have several beautiful items from the Bleu Willow intertwined throughout our home, including unique pieces from the local artists.  One of our most commented on pieces is our Halloween tree, which is a beautiful table-top sculpture created by a talented artist from Simsbury.  Come visit us in October, and you’ll see it for yourself!

The Bleu Willow prices really and truly fit everyone’s budget…really.  Whether you are in the mood to shop, or simply in the mood to be inspired, The Bleu Willow will provide a fascinating experience for you.  At the moment, I have my eye on several garden gate pieces on display, and an old section of decorative curved fence…and then there is that little glass-glitter sign…and the decorative clocks… and the old vintage hooks… and on and on… I hope all of these are still there when I return!  But if not, that’s OK.  Laura always brings fresh items into her shop, so I am never without a new find to love, purchase, and cherish.  “Vintage Hip, Simple Living” is what The Bleu Willow is all about.  Check it out!

Spectacular Garden Tour - Open Garden Days at O’Brien Nurserymen

May 24th, 2011 by nancyross

We always enjoy working in our gardens, digging in the earth and watching nature take its course. Over the past few years of owning the Dutch Iris Inn, a good friend of ours, John O’Brien, has helped us plan beautiful landscaped gardens and borders around our property. His artistic abilities and never-ending knowledge of horticulture makes him very well known in our neck of the woods…and he’s a great guy all around! He specializes in hosta, America’s #1 selling perennial, but he offers so much more to complement all gardens.
John’s home is also his business location – O’Brien Nurserymen, a specialty nursery here in Granby CT. His property is landscaped to the hilt (of course!), and a trip to his place is like visiting an arboretum – only better. John opens his grounds to the public on “Open Garden Days” during designated weekends April – October, and it is truly like strolling through a fairy tale when you visit. We spend hours roaming the lawns, walking among the trees and woods, stopping to admire the streams and pond. There is so much more to absorb when you visit, and John truly makes you feel at home. We would like to share with you some excerpts from John’s annual newsletter for 2011:

“We [have assembled] a plentiful array of fantastic plants to tempt you with. Actually, it’s a year round job acquiring plants to have new and exciting selections on hand. Our extensive display gardens feature over 1,900 hosta varieties as well as other shady characters including epimediums, woodland peonies, primroses, spring ephemerals, tricyrtis and arisaemas. The gardens also include a wide variety of unusual dwarf conifers as well as over a hundred varieties of Japanese maples. We also carry other gems, such as coralbells, daylilies, sedums, and daphnes.” …and don’t forget ferns, alliums, ornamental grasses, flowering trees, and on and on we go. “We continue to add new display gardens for your viewing pleasure. On occasion, we have customers arrive in the morning when we open, and then we are amazed when they reappear from the display gardens in the afternoon.”

O’Brien Nurserymen’s Open Garden Days have themed weekends – highlighting what is in season, offering expert advice on all things wonderful. His 2011 Open Garden Day Weekends run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and Memorial Day) on the following weekends: April 22, April 29, May 13, May 20, May 27, June 3, June 10, June 17, July 1, July 8, July 15, July 29, August 12, August 19, September 2, September 16, September 30, October 14. Visit O’Brien Nurserymen online at http://www.obrienhosta.comfor more information and to view a listing of his beautiful garden temptations.

5th Annual Maple Festival at Sweet Wind Farm, East Hartland CT

February 28th, 2011 by nancyross

Join in the fun on Saturday March 12th, 2011, from 10am-4pm.  Festivities at Sweet Wind Farm include maple syrup and sugar making demonstrations, narrated slide show,

video, story time for kids, sugarhouse tours, cooking and recipe class, food, free syrup samples, tree tapping demonstration, sugar-on-snow, and more!  Various maple products will be for sale.  As always, this event will be a fun and educational day for you and your entire family!  Free admission.  Sweet Wind Farm is located in East Hartland CT, just minutes away from the Dutch Iris Inn.

First Night Hartford

December 28th, 2010 by nancyross

Friday Dec 31, 2010 2pm-midnight, Downtown Hartford.  First Night Hartford is the city’s premier New Year’s Eve party with musicians, performances and exhibits at over 30 venues filled with an array of entertainment and activities for the whole family. Fireworks displays at 6pm and midnight in Bushnell Park. Explore the Public Library, City Hall, The Old State House, State House Square, Wadsworth Atheneum, Center Church and Charter Oak Cultural Center, The Bushnell Carousel and more. An alcohol-free event. Free shuttle and trolley service. $10 Adults, $2 Youth ages 3-15. Free admission 2 and under. Get your admission buttons at the Greater Hartford Welcome Center (100 Pearl St, Hartford) this week or at other locations listed online.  860-727-0050

Holcomb Farm Film in the Loft: Creepy Crawley

October 27th, 2010 by nancyross

Independent Film:  Creepy CrawleyFriday Oct 29th at 7:30pm:  Special screening of Creepy Crawley, a suspense/thriller independent film, filmed in part at Holcomb Farm, West Granby CT.  The director and actor, Mike Lombardi, and cast members will be on hand throughout the evening to answer questions and discuss the movie.  The Granby Prevention Council (Youth Services Council) will be selling candy, popcorn and hot beverages.  Doors open at 7:00pm.  Wear warm clothes and bring a blanket or sleeping bag to sit on (chairs will be available as well) as there is no heat in the Loft.  What a great way to kick off the Halloween weekend. Hope to see you down on the Farm!  $8 students/seniors, $10 adults; call Holcomb Farm for tickets:  860-844-8616