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HOME A Hersam Acorn Special Section February 2011 Darien Antiques Show Antiques Add Layer Of
HOME
A Hersam Acorn Special Section
February 2011
Darien Antiques Show
Antiques Add
Layer Of Interest
Fireplace Safety
Flames Of Delight
Turn To Fright
Once A Jamesway Barn
Now A Vintage
Carriage House

Greenwich Post • The Darien Times • New Canaan Advertiser • The Ridgefield Press • The Wilton Bulletin • The Weston Forum • The Redding Pilot • The Lewisboro Ledger

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Fireplace Safety

FLAMES OF DELIGHT TURN TO THOSE OF FRIGHT

by Amanda Bomann

A home fireplace conjures images of

coziness on a cold winter’s day, where warmth and relaxation is provided away

from the stresses of the world outside. But

fireplaces can also be sources of destruc- tion, injury and, in extreme cases, death. This I know first hand.

A few years ago, I had embraced the

winter fun of a frigid January day. After

skating on a frozen pond, my husband and

I made a fire, warmed our feet and drank

hot chocolate. It had been a perfect way to

spend a chilly winter day. Perfect until our garage burned down two days later.

A woman who cleaned our house swept

the ashes from the fire – two days after

the fire had burned out – into a garbage bag and discarded it in a plastic garbage bin next to our detached garage. I hadn’t thought to tell her to not clean the fireplace, and she wanted to do a thorough job. Five hours later, a neighbor, looking out a window, saw our garage on fire and called the fire department. I came home from work to a charred garage. But every- one was safe, and while flames had come close to our house, the fire department had been called quickly enough to prevent damage to it. Needless to say, I thanked our neighbor profusely. The simple, preventive measure of not removing the ashes would have changed

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the outcome. I am aware of how fortunate we were that my dog had not been locked in the house, and our neighbor had ran- domly looked out a window she seldom uses. For many people, the result of not practicing basic fireplace safety can have devastating consequences. According to Greenwich fire chief Peter Siecienski, there is an average of 300 calls per month during the winter, most of which are related to heat sources and are preventable. “People need to be cautious with the ashes from fireplaces,” said Chief

Siecienski. “We’ve had calls from people who have vacuumed ashes and, days later, the vacuum cleaner is on fire. Ashes should be brought directly outside and put into a steel container.” “Just because a fire is out doesn’t mean the ashes are out,” added Greenwich dep- uty fire marshal Rob Natale. “Even if the ashes are not glowing and are not warm, they need to go into a steel container. The times we’ve responded to a homeowner

See Fireplace safety page 7

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Bryan Haeffele
Bryan Haeffele

This intriguing carriage house was once part of the estate of John Ames Mitchell, founder of Life magazine.

ONCE A JAMESWAY BARN

Now a vintage carriage house

by Jane K. Dove

“My wife, Bonnie, and I always wanted a house with character and always had a special inter- est in vintage carriage houses,” says Larry Gershman, the proud owner of a beautifully renovat- ed, Turn of the Century speci- men on West Lane in Ridgefield. “We were living nearby in North Salem, and had been driving by what is now our home for years, always admiring it.” In 2004, the carriage house the couple had long coveted

finally came onto the market, and Larry didn’t waste any time. “We saw the house at seven one eve- ning – right after hearing it was available. I made an offer; it was accepted, and here we are.” The Georgian Revival-style home, which has been given his- toric status by the town, is a classic example of a Jamesway barn, which was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. “Life” magazine founder, John Ames Mitchell,

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4 HOME , a Hersam Acorn special section , Ridgefield,

owned the original estate with its landmark stone-and-wood manor house on West Lane, and contracted to build the barn with Jamesway, circa 1899. Jamesway barns won numerous awards for excellence in design and construction in their day, and the West Lane structure is a classic example of that high quality, which has been enhanced by a painstaking and thoughtful conversion to residential use. The home has 4,300 square feet of liv- ing space on two levels, and the Gershmans have preserved many of the architectural details of the carriage house/barn, while making structural changes that are true to the spirit of the original. All materials were salvaged from homes of the same period.

Exterior Charm Looking at the home from the exterior, one of the most striking features of the wood-shingled structure is the gambrel roof, with a gable that rises above what was once the barn’s central door. In the space between the barn door and the roof is a fanlight with dentil trim. The same trim graces the roof’s gutters. Crowning the roof at one end is a turret with a swooping conical roof topped by a

period weathervane. The other end has a cobblestone chimney. The home is built on a fieldstone foun- dation, in harmony with the manor house on the adjacent site. Together, both homes capture the charm and look of that bygone era. Mature trees have been carefully pre- served on the one-and-a-half-acre site, and the property is lush with perennial gardens. A swimming pool with a stone patio and two vintage outbuildings, including a pot- ting shed, complete the home’s exterior.

Loving Restoration In the renovated carriage house, the care and thought that went into the renovation are readily apparent, and tranquility is in the air. Many of the original beams and thick oak flooring have been preserved, with an aes- thetically pleasing use of different patterns and shades of wood. Although the original carriage house lacked light, the Gershmans have added plenty, using multi-paned win- dows in a number of creative ways, while

See Carriage house page 6

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Carriage house continued from page 5

still preserving some of the original, smaller windows of the old horse stalls. The first floor of the renovated home has four major rooms: a large, central liv- ing room with the original entry doors for carriages at front and rear; a den; an office; a dining room and kitchen. The second floor, which housed the hayloft, has a large master suite with a spectacular bathroom and dressing/sitting room. There are two additional bedrooms and baths.

“When we purchased the home, there was no fireplace,” Larry says,” so we built a large double fireplace with a soapstone hearth. We put an 1890 replica nickel- plated stove in one of the openings, and that serves as a focal point for the room.” Throughout the home, Larry and Bonnie have taken care to add warmth, using a neutral color palette accented by colorful oriental rugs on gleaming wood floors to delineate areas of use and conversation. “We

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wanted a comfortable, easy-living space, where people could come in, kickback and relax,” says Bonnie. Built-in cabinetry abounds throughout the home, some of it housing Bonnie’s exten- sive collection of vintage pottery, which includes McCoy and Roseville pieces from the 1940s. The spacious kitchen makes excellent use of beadboard, and the ceiling contains old pine beams rescued from a warehouse in Irvington, N.Y. A chestnut center island is accented with black soapstone counters and gleaming stainless-steel appliances. New dark wood,

multi-paned windows, along with the care- fully preserved horse-stall windows above, add plenty of light, and original stall bars top a beadboard half-wall, which separates the kitchen from the dining area. Throughout the home, there is a rich variety of architectural detail, with some- thing pleasing to look at around every cor- ner. Patterns of wood harmonize from room to room, and the large, original barn doors with their diagonal wood add their own visual interest.

See Carriage house page 14

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Fireplace safety continued from page 3

waking up to find the side of their house on fire because of discarding ashes in the trash can are too numerous to count.” The type of wood used in the fire and what materials are put into the fireplace can lead to unsafe conditions. “During the holiday season, we have calls from people who have started fires by putting wrapping paper or parts of the Christmas tree in the fire,” said Chief Siecienski. “Pine trees have sap, and the needles burn quickly and become hot fast. Chimney fires can spread horizontally into the walls and create house fires.” “Newspaper can be used to start the fire, just don’t continue to add paper because this can lead to other areas out- side the fireplace catching on fire,” said Fire Marshal Natale. Carbon monoxide and smoke detec- tors are essential when using a fireplace. “We have been vigilantly working to let the public know the hazards of carbon monoxide. When wood is burned, carbon monoxide is produced, which is odor- less and colorless. Carbon monoxide can

leak into the house if the chimney flue or damper is blocked or there is a cracked brick or fire liner. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poi- soning can be similar to the flu or can be just a slight headache felt over a few days. The carbon monoxide levels can go up quickly, and people have died in their sleep,” said Chief Siecienski. “Look to see the life span of the sensor on carbon- monoxide detectors and change batteries on both carbon-monoxide detectors and smoke detectors every time the clocks change. And keep the carbon-monoxide detector outside the living area in the hallway, not directly next to the fireplace, to be accurate.” Hiring a licensed and certified chimney cleaner for an annual inspection and clean can prevent many problems. “Creosote is produced when wood is burned, said James Ball of James Ball Chimney Service in Stamford. “This is a substance resem- bling roofing tar. When it builds up to an eighth of an inch, it needs to be cleaned. When creosote builds up, it catches on

fire. Loose debris starts shooting out of the chimney, and your chimney will resemble

a roman candle. “Warning signs that your chimney needs to be cleaned include water drip- ping inside the chimney, and when fires are smoky and have an odor,” said Mr. Ball. “Once a maximum of a half a cord of wood has been burned, the fireplace should be inspected. And always burn good, hard wood, such as oak and cherry

that has been seasoned outside for at least

a year. Softer woods such as pine create

more creosote.” For care of ashes, Mr. Ball recommends allowing a bed of ashes to build up to one inch, as this helps insulate the floor of the fireplace and makes the next fire easier to start. Once over an inch, ashes should be swept into metal containers only. “And in the spring, old ashes can be sprinkled onto garden beds and lawns for

fertilizer,” he said. James Ball Chimney Service offers free inspections and can be reached at 203- 975-9242. Chief Siecienski said there are no foolish questions, and encouraged residents to contact their local fire depart- ments with any concerns.

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RACKING I ONE’S I BRAIN

Cell phones make life easier, only when they don’t

by Tim Murphy

In the commercial for Microsoft’s new Windows phone, two men are standing next to each other at urinals. The one on the left is looking at text messages when he drops his cell phone into the urinal and then bends down to retrieve it, prompting the guy on the right to look over and say “Really?” The question is meant to address the clumsy guy’s inability to perform a routine task without needing time to check his texts – an issue that the Windows phone will purportedly correct due to a more efficient operating system. But the quizzical response could also apply to a broader phenomenon:

The lengths (or watery depths) people will go to keep their cell phones. The motivation is understandable. Nothing represents the triumph and terror of technology better than the cell phone.

Small, lightweight and mobile, it has become our personal assistant – a lifeline to family, friends, work and diversion. It allows us to do so many things that we are actually at its command – a digital example of freedom morphing into enslavement. More than 91% of Americans now own a cell phone, and a few years ago the device surpassed the personal computer as our favorite piece of technology. That bond comes into striking focus whenever a cell phone goes missing or stops working. “It’s a traumatic experience for someone when they lose their phone or it gets dam- aged and is unusable,” said Steve Gomez, manager of the Verizon Wireless store in Ridgefield. “They feel like they can’t survive without it. Even for one day.” Ironically, for something that people can’t

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go much time without missing, the cell phone has often gone missing. “Everybody loses their phone at least once,” said Mr. Gomez, striking an ominous tone. “We have some customers who lose them two or three times a year.” Non-scientific research reveals that he isn’t being dramatic. Of the roughly 20 peo- ple asked for input on this story, 12 had lost their cell phones at some point and needed replacements. “Bars, restaurants, the back of taxis those are among the most common places where people leave their phones,” said Mr. Gomez. While the most troublesome aspect of los- ing a phone is the loss of information, par- ticularly contact numbers (no one appears to back up anything), other non-expected

issues can arise. When Josh Fisher, editor of The Darien Times, lost his cell phone a few years ago, he stopped at a Sprint store in Norwalk to get a replacement. An employee grabbed a box from behind the counter and handed Mr. Fisher his new phone, which, he said, was as bright red as Commissioner Gordon’s line to Batman. “When I was covering a congressional hopeful’s campaign headquarters that fol- lowing Tuesday night, which required call- ing in reports every 20 minutes or so for various newspapers, I would stand in the corner of the press room, hiding the phone from my fellow journalists, who, I was sure, would laugh at me for my Solo cup-colored phone,” said Mr. Fisher. “That red phone, which turned out to be much worse than the phone it replaced, even

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broke for good on me once,” he continued. “But luckily Sprint had another red phone to replace it – even though I intentionally went to the Stamford store thinking they would have something better than the Norwalk store. I remember a man behind me saying, ‘At least it’s not pink,’ when I tried to fight for a non-red phone.” Perhaps even more frustrating than a lost cell phone is the one that has stopped work- ing, often due to owner negligence, abuse or the aforementioned clumsiness. “We had one customer who left his cell phone on top of his car and then ran over it when it fell off,” said Mr. Gomez. “And that happened to him twice.” Just like the distracted guy in the Microsoft commercial, Eric Silverstadt, a New York- based journalist whose mother lives in Ridgefield, watched his cell phone fall into a urinal at a courthouse in Manhattan. “I got it out but it was drowned,” said Mr. Silverstadt. “It was dead.” The court officer sent Mr. Silverstadt across the street to a hairdresser’s shop. “The owner came out and wrapped the phone in cloth and put the blow dryer on it for an hour,” said

See Racking page 23

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DARIEN ANTIQUES SHOW

Antiques add layer of interest

By asking questions, looking and learning, Darien resident Holly Friend has found just the right antiques at the Darien Antiques Show to add special interest to her very up-to-date home. While her family room has a state-of-the-art flat-screen TV, where her boys watch sports, the study has Chinese Foo Dogs crafted in 1740, nestled on old books, and a gorgeous painting by the English marine artist Arthur Meadows, c. 1890, above the mantel. “We’ve collected several pieces at the Darien Antiques Show over the years,” said Ms. Friend. “We like the dealers so much; they are friendly and knowledgeable. Antiques like the Foo Dogs are really fun. They don’t look like anything that is made today.” She also commented on an antique clock, c. 1900, which adorns a wall in her kitchen’s dining area. “This was in my husband’s family and was made in Waterbury, Conn. We love having the look and sound of the clock because it adds real warmth to the room and connects us to the past.” Her sentiments were echoed by Jean Marie McLaughlin, a local interior designer and owner of JMac Interiors of New Canaan.

by Wyn Lydecker
by Wyn Lydecker

“When you intro- duce an antique into the home of today, you introduce layers of interest,” she said. “Antiques have a different texture than the furniture, which is mass produced in factories. The pieces are all hand-made, hand- carved, with an attention to detail that you just can’t find nowadays. “Antique art is also a wonder- ful thing to buy,” she continued. “Art is really an expression of yourself. When you see it, it should speak to you. I help my clients with framing and location, but I want them to pick out the art themselves.”

location, but I want them to pick out the art themselves.” A carved and gilded wooden

A carved and gilded wooden pilot-house eagle, c.1880, from Joseph Collins of Middletown, Conn.

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Jackie Perry, editor Jessica Perlinski, designer HOME •
Jackie Perry, editor Jessica Perlinski, designer HOME • Thomas B. Nash, publisher • For advertising
Jackie Perry, editor
Jessica Perlinski, designer
HOME
Thomas B. Nash, publisher
For advertising information
call 203-438-6544
FEBRUARY 2011
VOL XV, ISSUE 2
Special Section to:
Greenwich Post, The Darien Times, New Canaan Advertiser,
The Ridgefield Press, The Wilton Bulletin,
The Redding Pilot, and The Weston Forum in Connecticut,
and The Lewisboro Ledger in New York
Copyright 2011, Hersam Acorn Newspapers, LLC
Box 1019, Ridgefield CT 06877
Cover photo (Home of the Month): Bryan Haeffele.
203-438-6544

Ms. McLaughlin pointed out that find- ing the right antiques for your home can take time. “We live in an age of instant gratification. With antiques, you need to be patient. But there is a thrill to hunting for, and finding, the perfect piece. When you do, it adds a story to your home.” She will accompany her clients to antiques shows to help them discover the perfect item that will make their homes unique. She is donating a design consultation to the silent auction that is part of the Darien Antiques Show Preview Party on March 4. Ms. McLaughlin said that buying only

from reputable, knowledgeable dealers is of paramount importance. “Go to dealers who are experts in the periods they sell. The description of the piece should be accurate.” Janet Soskin, who has been a co-man- ager of the Darien Antiques Show for more than 20 years, said, “We’re now in our 44th year, and all of our dealers are required to sign a contract in which they guarantee the stated condition, age and description of all their items.” Patricia Hedlund, the other co- manager added, “All of our exhibitors are invited, a very important point of distinc-

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tion for our show. They give detailed sales receipts for every purchase. Regular patrons know that they can find excellent values and high quality in the art and antiques they buy from our dealers.” This year’s show will feature favorite dealers and some new ones, including Joseph Collins of Middletown, Conn., spe- cializing in Fine Americana and period accessories of the 18th and 19th Centuries; Find Weatherly of Westport, bringing marine and equine art and 18th- and 19th-Century furniture; William Macina of North Haven, with fresh merchandise from

estates, early 20th- Century paintings, sil- ver and ephemera; Lynne T. Ward Antique Prints of Rowayton, featuring botanicals, natural history, fashion and architecture; and Sweden Plus, a division of Lynda Willauer Antiques in Nantucket, Mass., specializing in painted Swedish furniture, ceramics and 20th-Century Swedish fur- niture. The First Congregational Church of Darien, founded in 1736, is home to the Annual Darien Antiques Show, which is

See Darien Antiques Show page 22

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Home of the Month • February 2011 John Noyes House LOCATION: Step back in time
Home of the Month • February 2011 John Noyes House LOCATION: Step back in time
Home of the Month • February 2011 John Noyes House LOCATION: Step back in time

Home of the Month • February 2011

John Noyes House

LOCATION: Step back in time and enjoy the bucolic delights of this antique Colonial in
LOCATION: Step back in time and enjoy the bucolic
delights of this antique Colonial in Weston.
PROPERTY: Four acres include sweeping lawns, colorful
gardens, patio with grill and an in-ground pool.
HOUSE: Built in 1795, this warm and welcoming home
has been entirely renovated, blending modern conve-
niences with vintage architectural details. In addition to
the living room, dining room, family room, library, great
room, kitchen with eating area, there are four bedrooms,
one a master suite, four fireplaces, two full baths and one
half-bath.
OUTBUILDINGS: Four-stall barn, paddock, shed, guest
house.
PRICE: $2,749,000.
REALTY: Coldwell Banker.
Agent: KMS Partners, 203-454-5411.
Photography: Bryan Haeffele.
house. PRICE: $2,749,000. REALTY: Coldwell Banker. Agent: KMS Partners, 203-454-5411. Photography: Bryan Haeffele.
Bryan Haeffele
Bryan Haeffele

Many of the original beams and thick oak flooring have been preserved.

Carriage house continued from page 6

Moving up to the second floor via the original car- riage-house staircase, a visitor will find a luxurious master suite with a raised beadboard ceiling, large sitting/dress- ing room and a spacious white-marble bathroom with a free-standing tub and separate steam shower. The original half-moon window is a focal point of the master bath. Altogether, there are three bedrooms and three and a half baths.

Collectors Larry and Bonnie have collected fine art for many years, and the results of their efforts grace every room of the house. “We love art of all types, from vintage to mod- ern, and have used it throughout our home,” says Bonnie. “We also admire fine photography and have many trea- sured photos, including an extensive collection of the works of Edward Curtis. Everything is pieces we have found, loved and now brought together here, including a beautiful portrait of Larry’s mother as a young woman, painted during World War II.” Bonnie and Larry still view their home as a work in progress. “We may never completely finish because there is always something else to do,” says Larry. “But we love the results so far, and are always pleased when visitors tell us how warm and welcoming our home feels to them.”

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to open Dressing Room, a home-grown restaurant in Westport. Chef Nischan encourages readers to experience how the simple act of preparing organic food can have a powerful effect on the world around us. “Eating sustainably,” according to the chef/author, during an interview at Dressing Room, “means cooking from scratch, and starting with fresh produce. I believe wholeheartedly in sustainability, so it’s no surprise it defines how I cook and how I live. It means eating foods produced on farms and from orchards that apply no added chemical fertiliz- ers and pesticides, and that employ the sorts of sensible farming practices that nurture the soil for future generations of crops, as well as people. Once you get into it, you will find that buying even a few things that are grown locally and/or organically, is a major improvement. You will be making a difference environmen- tally and will not blow your weekly food budget. “I know this is so because although I am a restaurant chef by trade, and my wife, Lori, and I have five kids — Lauren, Courtney, Chris, Drew and Ethan — and my interest in sustainable home-cooking, while balancing a food budget, is not only genuine, it’s also nec- essary,” he said. Also the author of Taste: Pure and Simple and Homegrown: Pure and Simple, Michel Nischan won the James Beard Foundation award for his work on the PBS television series “Victory Garden.” In his third cookbook, he cuts through the confusion and shows readers how to prepare food that is good for the environ- ment, for animals, for farm workers and for our tables, and his holistic approach to food results in a cookbook that is rich with flavorful recipes, including use- ful advice with each recipe for cooking sensibly. He also shares inspiring stories from farmers, chefs and others working the front lines to safeguard food systems for future generations. In his previously owned restaurants in Chicago, New York City, and Norwalk and now Dressing Room, the talented chef has been an advocate of the sustain- ability movement, showcasing organic ingredients from local farmers, ranchers and fishermen. When Michel Nischan’s five-year-old son was diagnosed with juvenile dia- betes in 1994, he was inspired to cre-

ate a “cuisine of well-being,” focusing on local organic food without highly processed ingredients. Since then, his focus on sustainable cuisine has gone beyond the walls of Dressing Room. As president and CEO of Wholesome Wave Foundation, he “catalyzes” fundamen- tal change in the nation’s food system. The non-profit foundation’s mission is to increase access to healthy, fresh and affordable locally grown food to under- served communities. In his newest cookbook, published in April, Chef Nischan shows how home cooks can apply these same principles to the food they prepare, and do it without sacrificing variety or flavor. His recipes incorporate heritage grains and beans, less familiar cuts of meat, cultivated seafood offering a variety of fish that can be harvested without upsetting the ocean’s delicate ecosystem — all foods a sustainable cook should learn to know and love. Having grown up on an Illinois farm, the chef features heritage recipes at his award-winning restaurant. He offers a fascinating array of dishes with an affini- ty for rustic flavors and preparations pre- sented with finesse. Some of the innova- tive farm-to-table recipes in Sustainably Delicious include heirloom beet salad with savory marshmallows; pork loin roast with fried fruits and apple cider; French toast with brown sugar bananas; Nantucket scallop porridge with apples and chestnuts; homegrown fried chick- en; lobster with sweet-corn succotash; and sweet pea and lemon ricotta ravioli. Meatloaf is a “budget meal to be proud of,” according to the chef, who makes his meatloaf with high-quality ground beef, such as the pasture-raised beef sold by Niman Ranch, available from good butchers. “Because meatloaf is season- less, I serve it with a simple tomato and herb salad, dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt in the summer, and, in the cold weather, I often serve it with a caramelized onion gravy. “It’s slow steps to sustainability, and I try to encourage people by telling them if everyone chose one thing to change, we could save the earth, and you can be a sustainability hero. It takes some plan- ning, but your family will be healthy and happy,” promised Chef Nischan. For more information about Wholesome Wave Foundation; 203-226-1112; whole- somewave.org.

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HOME I MOANER

Busy as a bee in Bisbee

by Ben Guerrero

By some stroke of luck, when I got out of work the snow had only just begun fall- ing on Rusty Hinge Road. It was a lovely Wednesday morning and the world looked like the handiwork of a mad pastry chef with a ham-handed flour sifter. The world was surreal as I crept along the back streets in my red truck, all four wheels carrying me over the powdery roads. The problem was, Melissa and I were due to hop on an airplane Thursday morning. We had long ago planned to visit my father and his wife, Dixie, out in Arizona. I was worried that the airports might be jammed up in the snow. By the time I arose from my post night- shift coma, the sun was back in the sky, and working on the asphalt outside the window. The airline had called, offering us a later

flight in light of the backup of travelers, stacked up like cord wood, who had wisely checked their airlines on the previous day and stayed home. Nope, we were going, but there was the small matter of the buried cars, buried

walkways and the buried streets that needed

to be shoveled out before we headed off.

At the crack of dawn, cracked because the temperature had dropped like the GNP, we were headed down a dry highway. And by some other stroke of luck, parked the car, got through security and made it to the

gate with plenty of time left to do a cross- word puzzle, where applicable. The plane took off on time and the flight was smooth, and after some snoozing and

a crossword puzzle or two, we arrived in

Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport, and within

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a few short minutes we were in the rental car and out on the sun-bleached highway. My wool cap, vest and gloves were of no use to me now; the temperature was nicely ensconced in the 70s, and I was getting my money’s worth out of my sunglasses. My dad is the third generation of our fam- ily to live in the little town of Florence, Ariz. Florence is noted for its huge prison com- plex, as the filming location of “Murphy’s Romance,” and for one of the noisiest bars ever to be built, right across the street from my father’s guest house. My great-great-grandfather, Warner, built an adobe house down near the end of Warner Street. If you stand on the sidewalk in front of my father’s house and look to the left, you can see the house in which my uncle was born. If you look to the right, you

can see what’s left of the hotel where my great-grandmother died of peritonitis. My

grandfather, age 13, spent his first night as an orphan under a tree where there is now

a condominium complex. I could go on like this for a whole column.

Family history lesson notwithstanding,

it was good to be plunked on the old man’s

veranda, munching tasty snacks while he had his evening tequila cordial. The four of us got to talking, and by the time we had finished eating the first of many of Dixie’s delicious dinners, we had decided to take an overnight trip to Bisbee. Bisbee is an old copper-mining town near the Mexican border. The mine has long since shut down. Now all that’s left is a monstrous, man-made pit, surrounded by a chain-link fence. The old town itself sits on

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Ben Guerrero
Ben Guerrero

Renovated vintage RVs now serve as suites at the Shady Dell hotel in Bisbee, Ariz.

a hillside that is garlanded with the former shacks of the miners. The period banks and shops of downtown now hold art galleries and restaurants. A drive up the twisting, ascending roads provides a spectacular view of the surrounding desert and hills, all the way south, to Mexico. Dad and Dixie insisted that we stay at their favorite hotel. It’s called the Shady Dell, and it is actually a series of vintage RVs that have been fixed up, given utilities and decorated with period tchotchkes. Dad and Dixie stayed in their favorite chromium motor home c. 1950, while Melissa and I stayed in a 38-foot cabin cruiser that hadn’t been afloat for a long, long time. The Yacht was very cozy, although there wasn’t really enough room for two people to get dressed at the same time, but the decorator did provide sailor hats for us to wear as we sat on the poop deck with our feet propped up on the railing. We enjoyed our overnight stay in Bisbee and recommend the trip and the Shady Dell to anyone who is tired of the same old deluxe accommodations provided in the bigger cities. I kept an eye on my Droid, enjoying the many bars of 3G service that the nearness of Bisbee provided, and yet another stroke of dumb luck, we missed another snowstorm and a unpleasant-sounding ice storm that, according to the tiny screen, had pretty much crippled the old East Coast. My largest weather problem was trying

to choose just the right T-shirt to wear as we tooled through the desert in my oversized rental car, the thermometer happily rest- ing near the business end of 80 degrees. I thought briefly about the shoveling hoards back in New England, but was soon lulled back into bliss by the balmy breeze at twi- light and sunset among the Saguaros. The week went by quick as a thirsty lizard on a hot, black rock, and before we could believe it, we were being goosed and radiated by the TSA at Sun Harbor Airport’s departure gate. Like the trip out there, the trip back was without incident, except about 15 minutes into our eastward trajec- tory, Melissa looked out of the window and saw reality, 30,000 feet under our wings. Snow, ice, cold winter. The cats were huffy when we got in that night; they didn’t appreciate us leaving them in the creaky old house at Rusty Hinge Road under the care of strangers. It was cold in the house, and by noon the next day, by a final stroke of bad luck, I was shoveling a fresh foot of snow off the cars and the walk-

way and everything else.

And as I paused, wrapped in wool, shovel in hand, I stopped to contemplate the newly forming concept of adding a fourth gen- eration of my family to walk the wooden sidewalks of Main Street, Florence, Ariz. You know what? I have had a lot worse ideas. What will I do with all my sweaters? ben. guerrero@sbcglobal.net.

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Gourmet appliances surround the spacious classroom. Playtime in the kitchen AT CLARKE CULINARY CENTER by

Gourmet appliances surround the spacious classroom.

Playtime in the kitchen

AT CLARKE CULINARY CENTER

by Robin E. Glowa

Does the sleek styling of gleaming stainless steel appli- ances get your heart pumping a little faster? How about the professional power of thou- sands of BTUs at your finger- tips? Do highly stylized wine storage and integrated refrig- erator/freezer drawers turn you on? If you’re that passion- ate about your kitchen equip- ment, then you’ve probably

been fantasizing about your very own dream kitchen. Kitchens should be a multi- functional space where love and creativity can flourish. Whatever type of drama a cook may crave in the kitchen, from captivating cabinetry to lavish and luxurious surroundings, there is an amazing source of inspiration in South Norwalk, where even the most extreme

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kitchen design dreams can come true. At the Clarke Culinary Center, planning a luxury kitchen is serious business made fun. Clarke is the exclusive New England wholesale distributor of Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, well known in the industry as the crème de la crème of kitchen equip- ment. Not only is Clarke the go-to spot when shopping for high- grade kitchen equipment, it’s a wonderful playground where you can actually test drive the appli- ances. Make an appointment with one of Clarke’s expert kitchen consultants and, next thing you know, you could be whip- ping up your favorite cookie recipe in a Wolf dual-convection oven or flipping pan- cakes on a Wolf griddle! Marco Barallon, general manager at Clarke says, “One of the benefits of visiting our showroom is that you really get to play with the appliances, check the accuracy of the sizing and be inspired by the beauty of our displays. We don’t sell the appliances here, so there is absolutely no pressure to buy. We work with you, demonstrating every detail of the appliances so that you can make the best decision for yourself. We

can recommend a local retailer or kitchen designer who we know will take care of you when you are ready to finalize your project. “We’re very much into the details here,” Marco continues. “We’re lucky to have an amazing array of designers within a 30-mile radius who have helped us create our fantas- tic displays. Our display kitchens show just how inventive, sexy, creative and dramatic you can be with your design. Inspiration is what is really unique about this space.” The details are truly magnificent at Clarke. The kitchen displays are extraordi- nary examples of extreme efficiency com- bined with lush detail. Marco says, “We really wanted to wow the community! Over the past few years, as we have remodeled the space, we have created relationships that have given us access to amazing materials and the most creative of minds.” From a glittery white kitchen with coun- tertops composed of quartz chunks embed- ded in resin to a replica of John Wayne’s bar in the movie “Chisholm” to twin 36- inch refrigerators encased in Douglas fir with copper and leather inlays, the Clarke Culinary Center dazzles the eye and fires

inlays, the Clarke Culinary Center dazzles the eye and fires the imagination. But Clarke is not

the imagination. But Clarke is not just about creating beautiful kitchen spaces, Clarke is about creating beautiful food. And at the very heart of it all, is an immense, glorious- ly appointed professional kitchen, where Clarke has partnered with local chefs and culinary instructors to create an incredible array of cooking classes. The kitchen is a feast for the eyes with its lustrous hardwood floors, gleaming appliances, striking tile backsplashes, stun- ning marble countertops and rich, dark- wood seating. Two huge islands will accom- modate at least 10 students each. This is a superlative way to spend an evening, where you will feel much more like a pampered guest than a student. As everyone is seated, sparkling water, red or white wine is offered and the fun begins. Among the celebrity chefs on the roster is Matt Storch, the genius behind the bright and innovative food at local South Norwalk hotspot, Match. Surrounded by heaps of ravishing spring produce including fresh, fat asparagus, golden and ruby beets, plump fava beans, wispy fiddleheads and buxom mushrooms, Chef Storch prepared a mag-

nificent menu, celebrating the bounty of the spring marketplace. “I love all aspects of food — for me, it’s all about touch and taste, love and texture,” said Chef Storch. “Spring is my favorite season,” he said with a smile. “I just love the new crop — the freshness, the lightness of the flavors. Freshness and crispness are so important; if the food doesn’t look good, it’s not good.” The evening’s menu was an explosion of textures and flavors, both raw and cooked. The class tasted freshly shelled organic peas, which Chef Storch loves to put out for his own guests as an appetizer, mixed with a bit of chopped mint. He went on to prepare a salad of shaved raw asparagus dressed with fresh lemon juice, parmesan cheese, olive oil, earthy truffle oil, lightly fried leeks and shards of truffle, served atop a custardy warm truffle polenta. A resounding “Wow” was heard from the assembled crowd. Those shelled peas were married with rendered bacon, mint, lemon, butter, slow- roasted onions, salty baked proscuitto chips and a young pecorino cheese. Doesn’t it just

See Clarke page 23

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A pair of Chinese Foo Dogs, 1740. Darien Antiques Show continued from page 11 staffed

A pair of Chinese Foo Dogs, 1740.

Darien Antiques Show continued from page 11

staffed by volunteers working to raise funds to support carefully selected local charities, including emergency shelters, food banks and social-service organizations. The show, which features 35 of the Northeast’s better dealers, will kick off with an elegant Preview Party on Friday, March 4, at 7. The party’s primary beneficiary will be St. Luke’s LifeWorks of Stamford, a not-for-profit organi- zation that plays a critical role in providing learning opportunities, housing and support services to people overcoming homelessness right here in Fairfield County. Party hours are 7 to 9:30; tickets are $50 at the door and include weekend admission to the show. The evening features an opportunity to make early pur- chases before the show opens to the public, plus a silent auction, entertainment, fine wines and hors d’oeuvres.

The show will be open on Saturday, March 5, from 10 to 5, and Sunday, March 6, from 11 to 5. Admission at the door is $10, $8 for seniors. Visitors to the wonderful variety of booths will find American and Continental furniture; fine art in diverse media on canvas, paper and cloth; Georgian silver; antique and estate jewelry and antique glass for every budget and deco- rating need. A tearoom, open from 12 to 3 both days, serves delicious home-cooked lunches and treats. The First Congregational Church of Darien is at the corner of Brookside Road and the Post Road, just south of exit 13 on I- 95. For details and to view photos of the 2010 show, visit darienan- tiqueshow.org. Become a fan of the show on Facebook. For additional information, call the church at 203-655-0491.

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Ceramist Mindy Friedman Horn of Weston is among the 11 new members of the Silvermine Guild of Artists whose work is displayed in the Silvermine Galleries through Feb. 20. The arts center is at 1037 Silvermine Road in New Canaan; gallery hours are 12 to 5 Wednesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 on Sunday. For more information, call 203-966-9700 or visit silvermineart.org.

Clarke continued from page 21

sound spectacular? The incredible good- ness continued as Chef Storch prepared a sweet, meaty, wild striped bass with spring vegetables and enormous loin lamp chops, perfectly grilled and presented with a mint puree, roasted beets and a tangy goat cheese.

As one guest, lost in delicious delirium mur- mured, “This food is incredible.” Incredible experiences are cooking at the Clarke Culinary Center! Clarke Culinary Center, 64 South Main Street, South Norwalk; 866-838-9385; Web, clarkecorp.com. Match, 98 Washington Street, South Norwalk; 203-852-1088; Web, matchsono.com.

Racking continued from page 9

Mr. Silverstadt. “He said he had done this before.” Mr. Silverstadt got a new phone, but about two weeks later – after more warming on an apartment steam heater – the soggy cell dried out enough so that contacts could be transferred. Not as fortunate are those secretly hoping for a new phone – only to be thwarted by the intervention of strangers, believing they are performing acts of kindness. A few months after getting a new smart- phone, my wife began complaining about how clunky it was to use. One morning at

the Stamford train station, the phone trick- led out of her bag, bounced off the platform and fell down on the tracks. A man standing next to her offered to jump down and get the cell, mentioning how terrible it was to lose a phone. After she told him that was far too dangerous, he flagged down a Metro North employee, who went downstairs and emerged with a pole equipped with a small basket at the end. He used the device to scoop out the phone, which was still func- tioning. As my wife relayed the story, I mentioned that she didn’t sound too happy about get- ting the phone rescued. “I thought it might be my chance to get a new one,” she said.

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24 HOME, a Hersam Acorn special section, Ridgefield, Conn.

24 HOME , a Hersam Acorn special section , Ridgefield, Conn. February 2011

February 2011