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Enchanted Garden

Lee Link's Lifelong Passion



Photos by Wendy Carlson

On warm June morning, Lee Link stands inside her greenhouse looking momentarily perplexed as she watches a hummingbird dart back and forth in the eaves. “I’ve heard that if you put something red in water, they’ll be attracted to it,” she says. A crimson-orange Mexican sunflower placed in a glass vase at the open doorway does the trick, and the hummingbird soon escapes to the outside terrace garden.

Watering hose in hand, Lee returns to her morning ritual. The light is still softly filtering through the thick woods above the greenhouse, but Link—dressed neatly in a crisp white blouse and lime-green pencil pants—has been up since dawn watering, deadheading, clipping, rearranging the potted plants and the garden furniture—all under the watchful eyes of Flora, a fluffy grey house cat. 

Lee is a horticultural master: her gardens are regularly featured in the Garden Conservatory Tour and Trade Secrets. But she is also respects and revels in the robust wildlife that thrives in and around her gardens, whether it’s hummingbirds flittering above or snakes slithering through the lush summer grass below. “We have snakes all over here. It freaks people out. But I like them,” says Lee. Her rustic timber-clad house rests atop of a steeply sloping hill featuring three cascading stone walls.

So it is not surprising that the walls play host to usual garter snakes, and that  long, narrow goldfish pond has been home to a water snake, or that rattlesnakes have been know to take up residence in the in rocky outcropping above her woodland garden. “I won’t allow my gardeners to kills snakes, especially rattlers, because they’re endangered in Connecticut,” says Lee, emphatically.

Which may seem odd coming from someone who spends much of the week in New York City, with her attorney husband Fritz. Now, weekenders for more than 30 years, they have grown accustomed to living among the wild things: bears, snakes, coyotes, bobcats, and an annual explosion of chipmunks that require Lee to keep the doors shut at all times come summer. 

Her beautiful gardens have evolved over the years, engaging this natural setting and blending into the wild terrain. “I think my big concern was to keep it as much country as much as possible by keeping negative space rather than over planting all over the place,” Lee says.

When the Links first bought the house in the mid-1980s, they were nonplussed by it. Built as an A-frame, it was a throwback from the hippie-era with “an awful asphalt-shingle roof,” says Lee. But the Links fell in love with the seven-acre parcel of rugged land it stood on—they have since increased it to more than 20 acres. And they quickly realized that the house, while ugly, could be made attractive, and that the property, with its the backdrop of rolling hills and unfolding valley, was one of a kind.

So over the next 30 years, the Links transformed the house, renovating it into a 2,500-foot cottage suited to the surrounding wild beauty. It was to be primarily a weekend get-a-way. “So the first thing I did was put in a screened in porch on one end of the house. But that made it so out of balance,” Lee says. 

Because the dining room, living room, and kitchen were crowded together on one floor, they installed a winter dining room and conservatory on the opposite end to balance it out. The conservatory also serves as the front entrance, opening into a courtyard formed by pillar-shaped arborvitaes connected by yews.

As Links continued to build—installing another screened sleeping porch and an arbor to shelter an outdoor shower and spa that connects the main house to a small guesthouse—the building became an extension of the outside world. In the summer, the Links spend most of their time on the screen porch: reading, dining, and in the evening watching the bats swooping back and forth like fighter pilots. “The screens are like scrims creating a little bit of a theater to the outdoors,” Lee says.    

With the addition of new roof, dormers, additions, and architectural details, the house lost its weary 1970s look. Bright blue morning glories climb up the stone chimney, which features concrete rosettes that Lee salvaged from an exterior archway at their Manhattan apartment building. “The workers were taking them out to replace them with lighter fiberglass, and I said, ‘I’ll take those.’”

A stone path leads into a courtyard where potted succulents and a massive antique French oil jug command attention. Here, and elsewhere the influence of good friend and neighbor Michael Trapp is evident in the use sculptural artifacts. She ripped out a perennial garden and replaced it with gravel and cobblestone, accenting the space with garden orbs, pillars, and a trio of evenly spaced, matching dogwoods. Off one side of the house, a former vegetable garden was cleared away and replaced with a grassy field, and the Links installed a part-Asian and part-Arts-and-Crafts-style pool pavilion with a screened interior for relaxing—and enjoying the spectacular views. The greenhouse above the garage was constructed last, but it is where Lee first begins her morning with a cup of coffee in hand.

With everything in place that garden connoisseur could wish for, it’s no wonder that Lee spends most of her time here—Fitz, a confessed non-gardener, prefers golfing. “I rarely leave the campus. I just love the park-like feeling I have created here,” Lee says.

She caught the gardening bug more than 40 years ago. “I had the luck of living in Paris for two years, and Fritz had found an apartment with a huge garden that was enormous, larger than the apartment. But it was a total mess.”

    She threw herself into renovating it, and in the process discovering the joy of gardening, now her lifelong passion. “That’s what got me started: It was like being given a gift,” she says.

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September 2018

Hunt Hill Farm will be hosting the first annual Autumn Roubaix a dirt-road cycling event on some of the oldest, windiest, quietest, and most-scenic roads in Northwestern CT. The event will bring...

Cost: $30-$95

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Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
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View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

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Cost: free

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New Morning Market
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Sponsor: New Morning Market
Telephone: 203-263-4868
Website »

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Cost: free

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Sponsor: Litchfield Farmers Market
Telephone: (860) 000-0000
Contact Name: Kay Carroll, Market Master
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
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Cost: Free for members; $5 non-members

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Litchfield History Museum
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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
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Sponsor: Loft Gallery at The Smithy
Telephone: 860-868-9003
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Byrde + the b
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Cost: $50.00 pp

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Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
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Telephone: 860-567-8302
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Cost: free

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Sponsor: Litchfield Farmers Market
Telephone: (860) 000-0000
Contact Name: Kay Carroll, Market Master
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Sponsor: New Morning Market
Telephone: 203-263-4868
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Cost: Free

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Oliver Wolcott Library
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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Victoria Kiszka
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Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
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Cost: $250.00

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
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Telephone: 186-056-78302
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Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
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View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery at The Smithy
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

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Scott Bond is pleased to announce three events to be celebrated with an opening reception on Friday August 24 from 6-8pm at “Byrde + the b” a full service hair salon, art gallery and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
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Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
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Website »

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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Litchfield Farmers Market
Telephone: (860) 000-0000
Contact Name: Kay Carroll, Market Master
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery at The Smithy
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

Scott Bond is pleased to announce three events to be celebrated with an opening reception on Friday August 24 from 6-8pm at “Byrde + the b” a full service hair salon, art gallery and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
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View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
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More information

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Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $5.00

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St North
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View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Telephone: 203-263-4868
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
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View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 186-086-87586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
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View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Victoria Kiszka
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
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View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Victoria Kiszka
Website »

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Cost: $99.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
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View map »


Telephone: 186-056-78302
Website »

More information

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View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Farmers Market
Telephone: (860) 000-0000
Contact Name: Kay Carroll, Market Master
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery at The Smithy
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

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Cost: 15.00

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St North
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Telephone: 203-263-4868
Website »

More information

Join us for a special evening as Nancy Schuler returns to perform three new plays. Letters Home is actually two short pieces. The first half is a monologue. Meet Margaret Griffin Carey born in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Victoria Kiszka
Website »

More information

Joan Morosani and Susan Spencer are excited and honored to be showing together for the third time at OWL. They draw from different approaches and traditions, but feel that their paintings perfectly...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Victoria Kiszka
Website »

More information

Scott Bond is pleased to announce three events to be celebrated with an opening reception on Friday August 24 from 6-8pm at “Byrde + the b” a full service hair salon, art gallery and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Washington Photographer Philip Dutton’s dramatic photos document The Chief Bigfoot Memorial Ride of 1990, a momentous event that helped commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Massacre at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 186-086-87586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Since 2007, the Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market has hosted over 15 vendors, farmers, bakers, chefs, artists and makers from throughout Northwest Connecticut. Visitors to the market will find...

Cost: free

Where:
Center School, Litchfield
West & Woodruff Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Farmers Market
Telephone: (860) 000-0000
Contact Name: Kay Carroll, Market Master
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery welcomes an exhibit of large-scale landscape and gardenscape paintings by South Kent CT artist, Lisa Brody. This show opens on Saturday, September 1st, and runs through Sunday,...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery at The Smithy
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Victoria Kiszka
Website »

More information

Scott Bond is pleased to announce three events to be celebrated with an opening reception on Friday August 24 from 6-8pm at “Byrde + the b” a full service hair salon, art gallery and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Dr. Vincent P. de Luise, Cultural Ambassador for the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, and frequent lecturer on the humanities, presents a musically enhanced visual presentation...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »

More information

Washington Photographer Philip Dutton’s dramatic photos document The Chief Bigfoot Memorial Ride of 1990, a momentous event that helped commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Massacre at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 186-086-87586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 186-056-78302
Website »

More information

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Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

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Cost: $15.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 186-056-78302
Website »

More information

Joan Morosani and Susan Spencer are excited and honored to be showing together for the third time at OWL. They draw from different approaches and traditions, but feel that their paintings perfectly...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Victoria Kiszka
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Joan Morosani and Susan Spencer are excited and honored to be showing together for the third time at OWL. They draw from different approaches and traditions, but feel that their paintings perfectly...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Victoria Kiszka
Website »

More information

Since 2007, the Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market has hosted over 15 vendors, farmers, bakers, chefs, artists and makers from throughout Northwest Connecticut. Visitors to the market will find...

Cost: free

Where:
Center School, Litchfield
West & Woodruff Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Farmers Market
Telephone: (860) 000-0000
Contact Name: Kay Carroll, Market Master
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery welcomes an exhibit of large-scale landscape and gardenscape paintings by South Kent CT artist, Lisa Brody. This show opens on Saturday, September 1st, and runs through Sunday,...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery at The Smithy
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

Scott Bond is pleased to announce three events to be celebrated with an opening reception on Friday August 24 from 6-8pm at “Byrde + the b” a full service hair salon, art gallery and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Washington Photographer Philip Dutton’s dramatic photos document The Chief Bigfoot Memorial Ride of 1990, a momentous event that helped commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Massacre at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 186-086-87586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Since 2007, the Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market has hosted over 15 vendors, farmers, bakers, chefs, artists and makers from throughout Northwest Connecticut. Visitors to the market will find...

Cost: free

Where:
Center School, Litchfield
West & Woodruff Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Farmers Market
Telephone: (860) 000-0000
Contact Name: Kay Carroll, Market Master
Website »

More information

Laura from Olive My Skin will be joining us to talk about her lovely natural soaps, wood wick soy candles and skin care line, all proudly made in Connecticut. All Fair Trade, paraben free,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: susan
Website »

More information

St. Michael’s Parish will present a special observance for their patronal saint on Saturday, September 29 beginning at 5:00p.m., with the doors opening at 4:30p.m.  The program, which includes...

Cost: Freewill Offering with suggested donation $20

Where:
St. Michael's Parish
25 South Street
Just off the Litchfield Green
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: St. Michaels-Litchfield
Telephone: 860-567-4456
Contact Name: Jo Ann Jaacks
Website »

More information

Joan Morosani and Susan Spencer are excited and honored to be showing together for the third time at OWL. They draw from different approaches and traditions, but feel that their paintings perfectly...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Victoria Kiszka
Website »

More information

YOUR CHANCE FOR AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT SOME OF WASHINGTON'S MOST INTRIGUING PROPERTIES! This self-guided tour features eco-friendly and architecturally significant houses, plus Back 40 Farm....

Cost: $50.00

Where:
Various Locations
Washington, CT


Sponsor: Washington Environmental Council
Telephone: 860-717-0819
Website »

More information

Celebrate the apple harvest the old fashioned way! The Litchfield Historical Society invites the community to the First Annual Apple Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 29, 2018 from 1 to 5...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Kate Zullo
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The Loft Gallery welcomes an exhibit of large-scale landscape and gardenscape paintings by South Kent CT artist, Lisa Brody. This show opens on Saturday, September 1st, and runs through Sunday,...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
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Sponsor: Loft Gallery at The Smithy
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
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St. Michael’s-Litchfield will present a special observance for their patronal saint on Saturday, September 29 at 5:00p.m.  The lively program, which includes the Black Rock Brass...

Cost: Freewill Offering

Where:
St. Michael's Parish
25 South Street
Just off the Litchfield Green
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: St. Michael's-Litchfield
Telephone: 860-567-4456
Contact Name: Jo Ann Jaacks
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In Italian cuisine, a ragù is a meat-based sauce, which is commonly served with pasta or polenta. Traditional recipes are all meat-based and can be a mixtures of beef, chicken, pork, duck,...

Cost: $95

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
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Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
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Scott Bond is pleased to announce three events to be celebrated with an opening reception on Friday August 24 from 6-8pm at “Byrde + the b” a full service hair salon, art gallery and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
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Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
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Washington Photographer Philip Dutton’s dramatic photos document The Chief Bigfoot Memorial Ride of 1990, a momentous event that helped commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Massacre at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
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Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 186-086-87586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
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The Farm-Fresh Market was created in 2007 with 15 local vendors, and has grown over the years to become a staple of the Litchfield Hills community throughout all seasons. We were so proud to be...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Center School Parking Lot
Woodruff Lane
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Telephone: 860-567-3871
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