Connecticut

Fun Day Trips In and Around CT: Gillette Castle and Caumsett State Historic Park

Do you know that Connecticut has its very own fortress? Gillette Castle in East Haddam looks like a decoration from a fairy tale book, a real medieval castle. Its robust, dark gray stone walls, bastions and towers hide an eccentric and surprising fantasy world of hidden doorways, tricky pieces of furniture and quirky installation. Once a property of Sherlock Holmes actor, William Gillette, the fortress is now open to the public. Its generous park mirrors the castle: its winding trails lead through arched bridges and little tunnels along the path of the castle's private 3-mile long railroad with its own Grand Central Station. So if you are ready to share something extravagantly out-of-the-ordinary with your family, plan a trip to East Haddam's Seven Sisters Hills.

Eco-Friendly Back to School Supplies

[UPDATED: August 10, 2012]

Did you know that the typical American family generates 4,320 pieces of trash annually during lunchtime? Yikes! If we all do our part we can change that number significantly. Besides helping the environment, you can keep your children safe by choosing products that reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals such as BPA, phthalates and lead in lunch bags. Using plastic wrap and baggies, individually packaged food items and plastic water bottles are all no-no's. With a simple change you can eliminate these Earth killers and pass on an awareness for the environment to your kids. I love all of the cool choices out on the market now. You can even get pencils made from recycled blue jeans!

Since it's the beginning of the school year it's the perfect opportunity to start back-to-school off on the right foot. Here's a few resources to help you out when purchasing eco-friendly back to school supplies. There are tons out there and I'm not going to pretend to know them all but these few should help a bit.

Fun & Free Things To Do With Kids This Weekend In CT: Milford Oyster Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Teddy Bear Fest 8/20-21

Here we are, the second to last weekend in August. School days are right around the corner so savor these last days of summer while you can. There's plenty of fun to be had this weekend including one of the largest annual festivals in CT: Annual Milford Oyster Festival. In Hartford the Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival looks like a great cultural event and the Peach Festival at Lyman Orchards gets me craving warm peach pie just thinking about it.

PS Don't miss out on our $50 Give Away at Three Monkeys & Me Children's Boutique and Toy Store. Drawing ends Thursday night.

Here's our list of best bets for the weekend. You can always check for more on our calendar.

$50 Give-Away at Three Monkeys & Me for Mommy Poppins CT Readers

It's time to start the annual back to school supplies and clothing shopping ritual. To help you out with that, one lucky reader will win a $50 Give-Away from Three Monkeys and Me for anything in the store. Three Monkeys and Me, a boutique in Kent, Litchfield County, specializes in fun contemporary clothing, gifts and cool toys for children (newborn to size 12/14 kids).  Wati, Pink Chicken and Patagonia are just some of the great brands they carry. Owner Liz Devos has impeccable taste and you'll love the store space she has created as well as everything in it. They've just added an entire toy section with unique high quality selections. Three Monkeys & Me's latest news can be found on their Facebook page.

Tween Concerts: Summer Jam Live at Stepping Stones Museum

Last week my boys and I had the pleasure of attending our first tween concert at Stepping Stones Museum's Summer Jam Live Lil P-Nut is an 8 year old rapper who has been featured on the “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and currently has a deal with Cartoon Network. The boys and their friends were mesmerized as he rapped about elementary school and puppy love. When asked to have their photo taken in front of the sponsor wall the boys said they felt like they were "on the red carpet". The next day, when I saw the photo on Stepping Stone's Facebook page I couldn't help but giggle at the excitement and awkwardness in their smiles.

Weekly CT Wrap Up: A Visit to Keeler Tavern, 5 Water Theme Parks, Day Trip Series

Last night I drove from the Litchfield Hills, leaving my view of (albeit small) mountains, to the quiet serene beaches of the Long Island Sound in little over an hour. It reminded me of the years I lived in Santa Monica, California where within one day, if you were crazy enough, you could surf in the morning and then ski in the afternoon. We don't have the California weather but we certainly have a diverse state full of fun things to do!

This week on Mommy Poppins Connecticut we began a weekly day trip series and the first two reviews were for Stamford Museum and Nature Center and the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Ride. For the history buffs, we also reviewed the Keeler Tavern Museum in Ridgefield.



Before summer is over I've got to take the kids out to one or two more water parks. Lucky for me, we wrote about 5 Water Theme Parks in and around CT and gave some great insider tips on what to expect.



It's World Breast Feeding Week and The Big Latch On world record attempt is happening this Saturday at various locations in CT.

This weekend we plan to relax at the Litchfield Jazz Festival and spend time with visiting friends. Maybe get some blueberry picking in too. You can't beat fresh picked-berries. Here's our list of picking farms near you.



Free and Fun Things to Do This Weekend for CT Kids: Litchfield Jazz Festival, Easton Carnival, 4-H Fair, Sharon Craft Fair

Did you know that every organization in Connecticut and the surrounds—can receive a free listing on Mommy Poppins Connecticut?  For more information about getting the word out about your event at no cost please email me at CT@mommypoppins.com.  

There are so many fantastic events happening it really is hard to choose. I hope this list makes things a bit easier and inspires you to do something fun with the family. Drumroll please….here's my top CT picks for the weekend, August 6-7th.

Keeler Tavern Museum Review: Experience a Slice of Life as it was 3 Centuries Ago

By Monika Nica

Why not take a refreshing short trip with your family back in time to visit one of Fairfield County’s many historical treasures, the charming Keeler Tavern in Ridgefield?

As soon as you walk through the doubly fortified heavy front door of the impeccably maintained white building from colonial times, you enter an entirely different age from three centuries ago. It was then that 26 brave and determined families from far-away Norwalk followed narrow paths through dense woods and rich meadows to settle in an area yet uninhabited by colonists, in the midst of an unknown wilderness to start a new community that was to become the serenely beautiful town of Ridgefield.

Calling All Breastfeeding Mamas: The Big Latch On Event is 8/6

I'm sad to say that gone are the days I would spend rocking my babies to bliss while nursing them to sleep. I may not be able to participate in this cool event happening around the world this Saturday but I will be there in spirit as I am sure will so many other post-nursing moms. In case you didn't know, over 120 countries are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week this week (Aug 1-7) in an effort to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

in 2005 in New Zealand, The Big Latch On started as an initiative to  increase support for breastfeeding in public. This Saturday (8/6) groups of nursing mothers can come together at registered venues around the country (or the world) to nurse their babes. All the mamas and babes latched on for one minute at the set time are counted by the witnesses. The point is to try to break the world record for the most women breastfeeding simultaneously! So bring your hungry babies on Saturday at 10am and take part in this important effort. Read more where you will find a list of the registered CT locations.

Free and Fun Things to Do this Weekend in Connecticut: Fairs, Sunflowers & Great Shows! July 30-31st

There are a bunch of fantastic outdoor events this weekend. Lots of sunflowers and weekend festivals. You'll find our best bets listed below. Interested in going on a family kayaking expedition? Check out our post about where to go and what to do. We also posted about Fairfield County's best beaches on a budget. Whatever you choose to do this weekend, have fun and enjoy the lazy days of summer. And remember, you can always find additional seasonal fun in our Events Calendar.

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