Friday, June 15, 2018

6 Things I Love About Fairfield County, Connecticut



Image Credit: Pixabay

6 Things I Love About Fairfield

Back in 2007, my husband and I were looking to make a move, and find a house where we could call our own, and eventually raise our children in. Both of us had lived in MA prior, but we were looking for a change. We found ourselves visiting quaint CT towns on the weekends, so our house hunting search led us to CT. While we wished we could have looked at the Fairfield county area, we had to stay closer to the MA border as that is where we both worked, and would be an easier commute for us. We eventually found a home in the Quiet Corner of CT, and later started a family. We love being able to call CT home, and love being able to do day trips with our two girls -- usually to the Fairfield County area. Below are just some of our favorite "hidden gems" spots worth checking out, if you are in or near the CT area this summer, or planning a trip to CT soon. I hope you enjoy your visit to CT just as much as we love calling it home. :-)

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The quintessential New England town, Fairfield truly offers it all, with everything from picturesque scenery and historic delights to cultural attractions, a thriving food scene and a wide range of shopping venues. In 2014, Money magazine selected the city as One of the Best Places to Live in the entire nation.

No matter what the season, there’s something to love about owning CT real estate in Fairfield.

The Beaches

Fairfield boasts five miles of beautiful coastline along the Long Island Sound, including Jennings Beach with its 27 acres of glistening sands. It’s the prime spot for catching the annual 4th of July Fireworks display, learning how to swim with summer lessons offered, and right next door is the “Sand Castle Playground” and a skate park. Penfield Beach is fabulous for picnics and barbecues with tables and grills set up right on the sand. It also hosts a long stretch of sandy beach, a concession stand that sells snacks, and a playground.

Lake Mohegan

Not only can you enjoy saltwater shores in Fairfield, but a fabulous freshwater swimming spot: Lake Mohegan. It has a large sandy beach, and during the summer months the swimming area is staffed with a lifeguard. The scenic 2.5-mile loop trail that winds around the lake showcases a waterfall, and in autumn, the alder trees with their fiery red, vibrant orange and golden yellow leaves, create an especially postcard-perfect scene.

The Historic District 

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Fairfield Historic District is lined with exceptional examples of Colonial, Federalist and Victorian architecture. It’s like taking a walk back in time when you stroll the streets here. The 1780 Town Hall Green, “Rising Sun Tavern” once sheltered some rather prominent visitors during the post-revolutionary period. Today, visitors can enjoy an immersive experience, becoming a local while sitting at one of the tavern tables and even reading a newspaper from two hundred years ago.

The district includes some 75 buildings in various architectural styles, especially fascinating as the focal point for the first English settlement in the area, and an important British target during the American Revolution.

The Culture

Fairfield is home to both Sacred Heart University and Fairfield University which hosts lectures, musical, dance and theatrical performances, as well as sporting events, including football, basketball, baseball, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, swimming and more. The Fairfield University Art Museum showcases a variety of rotating exhibitions and a permanent collection featuring European and American drawings, prints, paintings and photographs, along with Pre-Columbian, African and Asian objects. The city’s Fairfield Theatre offers comedy, live music and community theater too.

The Dining Scene

There’s a thriving food scene in Fairfield and throughout the county, which offers everything from casual to fine eateries, outdoor cafes and historic taverns. There are dozens of restaurants here, including favorites like Liana’s Trattoria, a long-time staple serving homemade Italian, Wilson’s Holy Smoke BBQ which serves up all the classics, and Fin Japanese Restaurant renowned for its sushi.

It’s Easy to Get Almost Anywhere From Fairfield

Living in Fairfield, it’s easy to get to just about anywhere you need to go. You’ll have a wealth of transportation options available to you, and you’re more likely to enjoy a shorter commute too. The city is home to Fortune 500 companies Bigelow Tea and General Electric, while also hosting three train stations on the Metro North New Haven to Grand Central Terminal line as well as multiple access points to Interstate 95 and Merritt Parkway. 


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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Civil War Buffs Will Love the New "Civil War 360" DVD from Public Media Distribution (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a screener copy from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.



SEE AMERICA’S CIVIL WAR LIKE
NEVER BEFORE IN




Available Now on Digital HD and DVD from Public Media Distribution
Click Here to View a Preview of the Program

"Public Media Distribution, LLC recently released the program “CIVIL WAR 360,” a powerfully moving three-part documentary miniseries that explores one of the most divisive eras in American history from multiple perspectives. Celebrity hosts Ashley Judd (“The Union”), Trace Adkins (“The Confederacy”), and Dennis Haysbert (“Fight For Freedom”) each helm an hour-long program that takes viewers back to a time when their ancestors – and those of many viewers -- were involved in the conflict. Through exploration of iconic and often poignant Smithsonian artifacts, the hosts gain insight into their own family’s experiences and uncover new dimensions of our nation’s history.

CIVIL WAR 360” is now available to own on DVD  as of May 1, 2018. The run time of the program is approximately 180 minutes and the SRP is $19.99 The program is also available for digital download.

Descriptions of each of the episodes are listed below:

Fight for Freedom
In some ways, the story that acclaimed actor Dennis Haysbert tells is perhaps the least known of all, but it is an agonizing and heroic account of a great struggle for freedom. Haysbert experiences painful reminders of this struggle firsthand as he encounters Smithsonian treasures: a ship’s manifest listing a cargo of slaves, the inkwell Lincoln used to write the Emancipation Proclamation, and a hymnal owned by Harriet Tubman.  As Haysbert traces his ancestry back to enslaved people in America’s deep South, we are transported back to the brutal and complicated time when those with the most to gain also had the most to lose.  For Haysbert the lesser known stories, especially of individual courage, are the most inspiring, “So many people stood up and fought together to make this country a free country. It just gave me a different perspective on what our country is about and what we can be.”

The Confederacy
Hosted by award-winning country music star Trace Adkins, this program begins back in 1861, when the South made the radical decision to leave the Union and form a new nation.  While honoring the experiences of everyday soldiers like his great-great grandfather, a Confederate infantryman from Louisiana, Adkins explores music, art, and firearm collections at the Smithsonian Institution. Said Adkins: “I’ve had a real personal connection with the Civil War ever since I was a kid. This is our last best chance to raise awareness. The battlefields, the guns, the pikes, the uniforms and flags – all these things are all that we have left from that pivotal period in this nation’s history.  They should be treated as treasures, and we should try to preserve them and save them for future generations. Because it’s impossible to know who you are if you don’t know your history, or where you’ve come from, or what you’ve done.”

The Union
It’s common knowledge who won the Civil War. But 150 years ago, a Union victory was anything but guaranteed. Acclaimed actress Ashley Judd seeks to understand the experiences of two of her great-great-great grandfathers, both Union soldiers from Kentucky. In the program Judd remarks: “I hope it inspires people to take a look at their own family history, and learn the interesting stories that can help enlighten them as well as move their hearts.”  Judd is visibly moved when she examines field surgical instruments, a Union private’s letter home about life in Kentucky, and battered dishes from Libby Prison - all providing glimpses of daily life during the grinding war."


My Thoughts:

My husband and I watched this last week and loved how viewers are given a panoramic view of the Civil War.  You are transported back 150 years and are shared different perspectives of this era to help you better understand the Civil War.  Like other Smithsonian Channel programs, this one goes into more detail about this period in time and not just an overview like we get in school.  Everything is discussed and we get to experience interesting stories that will move you and appreciate how what happened 150 years ago helped shaped the country we are today.

If you are a Civil War buff or just like history in general, then you will want to check out this new DVD, Civil War 360, available now on DVD and Digital HD.

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About Smithsonian Channel
Smithsonian Channel™, owned by Smithsonian Networks™, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel combines the storytelling prowess of SHOWTIME® with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian, to create award-winning programming that shines new light on popular genres such as air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture. Among the network’s offerings are series including Aerial America, America in Color, First Ladies Revealed, Polar Bear Town, The Lost Tapes, Amazing Monkeys, America’s Secret Space Heroes, Mighty Ships, Mighty Planes and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include Titanic’s Fatal Fire, The Obama Years: the Power of Words, Nightmare on Everest, Diana and the Paparazzi, Diana: the Day We Said Goodbye and Flying High with Phil Keoghan. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Earth™, through SN Digital LLC., a new subscription video streaming service delivering spectacular original nature and wildlife content. To learn more, go to www.smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Public Media Distribution, LLC
Public Media Distribution, LLC, is a leading media distributor both domestically and internationally. We offer high-quality, distinctive programs to our customers, including documentaries (The Sixties), dramas (Fortitude), and popular children’s programming under the SkipRope brand (Kate & Mim-Mim) in multiple formats including DVD, Blu-ray, digital download, and digital streaming. 


CIVIL WAR 360
Street Date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Documentary
Run Time: Approximately 180 minutes on 1 disc
SRP: DVD, $19.99
Format: DVD and Digital HD

Disclosure: I was sent a screener copy from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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DISH NEWS: DISH Presents New Amazon Alexa Controls for Hopper




DISH Hopper + Amazon Alexa 
Even Better Together



Easily Control TV with your voice 
Only Dish + Amazon Alexa gives you hands-free control of the Hopper

 
- Adds new Alexa voice control capabilities for Hopper, Hopper Duo, Joey and Wally
- Customers can now set a recording, launch apps like Netflix and YouTube, and open menus like Home, Guide and DVR using their voice
- Compatible with Alexa-enabled devices, including the new Fire TV Cube
"DISH today introduced new Amazon Alexa voice capabilities that give customers the ability to set recordings, launch apps and navigate menus on Hopper family set-top boxes. This update enhances the Hands-Free TV™ experience by building on DISH's existing Alexa voice functions, including the ability to play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and search content.



"We are working to create the best Hands-Free TV options for our customers, and these new voice capabilities are an important step in that direction," said Niraj Desai, DISH vice president of product management. "DISH customers already love the convenience that our Alexa compatibility brings to their home, so we're continuously identifying popular voice commands to enhance that experience."

In April 2017DISH became the first pay-TV provider to offer direct compatibility with Amazon Alexa. In October 2017, the company unveiled whole-home Hands-Free TV by extending Alexa support to all Joey clients.

DISH's Alexa capabilities

DISH customers can ask Alexa to navigate, play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and search content based on channel, title, actor or genre. With DISH's newest update, customers can also use Alexa to set recordings, launch apps like Game Finder, Netflix, Pandora and YouTube, and easily access the Home, Guide, DVR, On Demand, Settings and Help menus.

Examples of DISH's new Alexa commands include:

  • "Alexa, record this"
  • "Alexa, launch Netflix"
  • "Alexa, open Game Finder"
  • "Alexa, go to my Home Screen"
  • "Alexa, go to my DVR"
All DISH customers with an internet-connected Hopper DVR (all generations), Hopper Duo, Joey (all models) or Wally can ask Alexa to control their TV content after pairing with an Amazon Echo, Echo Show, Echo Dot, Fire TV Cube  or another Alexa-enabled device. Each DISH set-top box must be paired with its own Alexa device.


For more information about the Alexa integration with DISH, including possible commands and set-up instructions, visit www.dish.com/AmazonAlexaIntegration."

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About DISHSince 1980, DISH has served as the disruptive force in pay-TV, driving innovation and value on behalf of consumers. By listening to customers and taking bold steps to make TV better, DISH's award-winning entertainment technology and in-home installation services remain unmatched by competitors. DISH continues to push the industry forward with its over-the-top television service, Sling TV. DISH Network L.L.C. is a wholly owned subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH), a Fortune 250 company. Visit www.dish.com.
Subscribe to DISH email alerts: about.dish.com/alerts
Follow @DISHNews on Twitter: twitter.com/DISHNews
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