Accentuate the Positive

The editor of The Litchfield County Times, a 2010 SNA Newspaper of the Year, the national award-winning glossy magazine Passport and other publications, celebrates the best of what Northwest Connecticut and beyond has to offer.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spring (Passport) Is Coming

As I said during my appearance this week (Jan. 26) on "The Roundtable" show on WAMC in Albany (, the story in Northwest Connecticut at the moment is snow and its derivatives---ice, leaking roofs, school delays and closings, and headaches for parents, drivers and homeowners.

The record-breaking snows of January and their side effects had me, for once, not lamenting a kind of psychic jet lag phenomenon arising from our production schedule. Among our national award-winning publications is the glossy magazine Passport, in which we cover arts, culture and all the aspects of fine lifestyles in Litchfield County, the Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Greater Millbrook area across the border in New York.

To figure out what must be done by when, all magazines work backward from a publication date. Passport is a quarterly, timed to the seasons, and based on the schedule of our printer in Pennsylvania, along with many other factors, we're always working at least a season ahead. Our current issue, winter, (take a look on or link through the weekly paper was put together during the first blush of fall, and staff members were out working on stories when it was still technically summer.

As successful as Passport is, the non-stop cycle of constantly living in the future can be fatiguing. You find yourself mournfully looking out the window at glorious foliage, glowing in that refracted late afternoon purplish light of autumn, and longing to be abroad and soaking it all in, rather than looking at photos of landscapes covered in snow. You get ahead of yourself, and that, combined with the frenetic beat of journalism, can make it hard to take a breath and live in the moment. Your seasonal rhythms get thrown off and don't re-align easily.

Now we're heading into the production cycle for the spring issue of Passport. Christmas trees were still up in most households when the story list was polished and assignments went out, and all of the phone calls, live interviews, photographs and ad sales took place this month, as Mother Nature walloped the region with storm after storm---including another one overnight Jan. 25-27, which has left the landscape truly buried. Roofs are being raked, barns are collapsing, snow is piled into veritable mountains, and the forecasters say only that more storms are coming.

So as I prepare to dig into a very promising batch of content for spring Passport, for once the circadian sorrow of living on time not yet arrived is not present. Instead---and perhaps strangely for someone who loves all seasons---I feel hope and a sort of determination that working with purpose on a spring magazine is like the power of positive thinking, that the sheer psychic force will banish the look, feel and effects of winter sooner. Never mind what the calendar says, if the snow is gone, the temperature is bearable and a brave crocus or two pokes up, it's spring.

In the spirit of speeding its arrival, here's even more emphasis on Passport's spring edition, in the form of a teaser for some of the terrific content, which includes a hallmark interview with Robert Harrison, CEO of the Clinton Global Initiative (

Perhaps the best and brightest embodiment of the hopeful quality that runs as a subtext in this blog is our student essayist for the Passport to Education section of the magazine. Giving students a voice is a Passport tradition, and the spring piece comes from Emmeline Pappas. She chronicles the voyage from her high school years in Roxbury, Conn., to the challenges and possibilities presented at Syracuse University.

Emme Pappas; photo by Laurie Gaboardi
Because spring is, admittedly, raw, cold and a bit of a bleak season, the urge remains to seek havens of comfort. To fill the bill, one of our dining stories profiles The White Horse, A Country Pub & Restaurant, in the Marbledale section of Washington, Conn. ( An aspiring gastropub in the British tradition, it's a warm, welcoming place that will increasingly turn to its outside venues as the seasons progress.

Chef Fabrice Denis at The White Horse with chicken pot pie; photo by Walter Kidd
 Not far from The White Horse in the New Preston section of Washington is an antiques shop, Dawn Hill Antiques ( that has spawned another story, this one in the arts-and-entertainment category. Co-owner John Peden is also a very successful photographer ( with a passion for vintage guitars. (Wait until you see his photos; think Robert DeNiro and Keith Richards.)

John Peden with one of his classic guitars; photo by Laurie Gaboardi

Finally, once you read all of our great content and learn about a small, small fraction of the riches offered by the region, you're probably going to want to move here, or at least acquire a weekend residence. Passport can help with that too, via our Passport to Country Properties section, which features an interview with one of the most successful brokers in the region, Stacey Matthews of William Raveis Real Estate ( Lately, she has listed properties owned by literary legends, including William Styron, and has been marketing them very appropriately---by telling a story.

Realtor Stacey Matthews; photo by Laurie Gaboardi

Be sure to look for the spring issue of Passport in The Litchfield County Times March 18, dropped in bundles at select locations, or online via The more you think about the advent of this great issue of our magazine, the sooner it, and spring, will come.


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Location: New Milford, CT, United States

Executive Editor of a national award-winning publishing group with newspapers and glossy magazines: The Litchfield County Times, LCT magazine, Passport magazine, Fairfield County Life, etc. Contact me at

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