Visit: Old Greenwich, CT

What better way to enjoy the sunny 70-degree weather than to grab lunch outdoors? The destination: Old Beach Café along the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare – Sound Beach Avenue.

Spring comes to Old Greenwich, CT

Shops and restaurants here cater to some of the country’s wealthiest people; the average annual household income is $278,000.

A variety of merchants, from a needlepoint studio (Village Ewe) to a Christian gift shop (CM Almay), line the street. Sweet Pea’s Baking Company is a good spot for breakfast, lunch or coffee. A CVS pharmacy and Feinsod True Value Hardware store cover the essentials. An added convenience is the Metro-North Railroad station, which is one stop west of Stamford.



See: A street view of the Farrel buildings in Ansonia, CT

A view of the Farrel building from the Maple Street bridge

The Farrel industrial and commercial buildings in downtown Ansonia, CT,  have seen better days. Talks have been underway to redevelop the properties. One developer proposes to replace the former Farrel Process Lab with apartments and retail stores. That’s why I decided to swing by Ansonia – with camera in hand – to capture this slice of the New England city’s manufacturing history before it disappears.

Ansonia’s Farrel building

The Farrel foundry got its start by making sugar mills for the cane sugar industry in 1870, according to Derby Historical Society’s “Images of America: Ansonia.” During the Civil War and World War I, the plant manufactured arms and ordnance. It produced propulsion gears for warships and hydraulic presses for airplane parts in World War II. Today, from the street, a visitor can see the hulking metal and brick building, a reminder of the city’s industrial past.

Visit: New England Cider Company in Wallingford, CT

A research project for an MBA class had me in search for entrepreneurs who manufacture and distribute hard apple cider. I found them in Wallingford, CT at the New England Cider Company.  The visit would be a crash course in cider production, which is closer to wine than beer production.

John pours “Fresh Blend” into a 32 ounce bottle to take home.

The cidery gets its apples from Lyman, Blue Hills, Hickory Hill and other orchards in Connecticut as well as Vermont orchards. It takes one bushel of apples to produce three to four gallons of apple cider, which is then allowed to ferment.

New England Cider uses four to five different varieties of apples, such as Pink Lady.  During one Saturday afternoon visit, local enthusiasts stopped by to refill their 64-ounce growlers ($15 to $18) and newcomers sampled a selection from a six-class flight ($14). I tasted  “Fresh Blend,” which is produced from dessert apples. It tasted like a light version of champagne — less bubbly and slightly sweeter.

For non-beer drinkers, the cider maker is a welcome addition to Connecticut’s craft beverage scene, which has been dominated by beer breweries. Connecticut is home to 35 craft breweries that produce a total of 105,000 barrels of craft beer a year, according to Brewers Association.