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 14, 2011

This Lofty Afternoon

Salisbury Winter Sports Association board of directors president Ken Barker, at left, oversees a practice Nordic ski jumping session last weekend in Salisbury. The association's new ski jump and its ongoing success story brought me to Salisbury on the afternoon of Jan. 14---but then I moved on from there.

Sometimes work rises to the level of exhilarating play, and, as the most progressive companies know, such play--the loosening of reins and encouraging of creativity--can prove far more productive, and produce greater dividends, than the chained-to-the-desk approach.

I'm riding that wave at this very moment, liberated from the office on a bone-cold winter's afternoon for an interview for an LCT magazine story, followed by some reconnecting and research in the town of Salisbury and its village of Lakeville.

From there I popped across the state line to Millerton, N.Y., where I'm currently ensconced at the Irving Farm Coffee House, enjoying a raspberry scone and a strong, beautiful latte as I post breaking news remotely on and write this blog.

Yes, I'm finally living the dream of blogging live on the road, albeit on a PC laptop, not my iPad, and for this first mobile post, without the benefit of a digital camera and the ability to point, shoot and post. But that's just a planning/time management glitch that will get ironed out before my next on-the-road post.

After the interview (I'll get to that in a bit) I flirted with stopping at The Roast, a coffee shop tucked behind the pharmacy on Main Street (Route 44) in Salisbury, but, to be honest, I got diverted on a trip to find the resources to adhere to The Roast's no credit/bank cards policy and, while wandering, remembered how great Irving Farm's coffee is. That and the desire to check out Millerton again pushed me over the state line.

Irving Farm didn't disappoint. Its cafe--soups, sandwiches and other hearty fare is also served---is one of those funky, open spaces given warmth and charm by the interesting people who gather here. Seen out of context, the wood floors, mostly utilitarian tables, functional display cases and close-up view of the main street may not impress, but add in the halo of ambiance the coffee and food creates, along with the people and the display of color photos on the yellow walls, and the place represents a womb-like invitation to settle in. (

On the walk over to the coffee shop, I saw signs for the stylish home style shop Nest, I'm next door to the landmark film venue, The Moviehouse, and driving in from Salisbury I was reminded by a sign of the great independent bookstore, Oblong Books & Music. Also here is Harney & Sons tea company with its cafe, a fine wine shop, other restaurants and cafes, and lots more to see/experience in a concentrated setting. For an overview, see the Web site at

Appreciating Millerton and it's near-the-state-line state of mind takes nothing away from Lakeville and Salisbury, community centers in one of the prettiest towns anywhere that are both full of charm and lifestyle friendly. My wife reminded me the other day of the many Sundays in recent years when we drove to Salisbury after church in Litchfield---maybe 30 or more miles away---just for the great homemade oatmeal in one former restaurant.

For bibliophiles, Dan Dwyer's Johnnycake Books is paradise found. As Christmas approached, Dan sent out his own personalized lists of books that would make great gifts, and in this age of technology, just reading the titles in a document attached to an e-mail was like a call to action not to abandon the best of human/intellectual comforts. The new Peter Becks Village Store for lovers of the outdoors has  become an instant landmark, joining many others, including the Chaiwalla Tea Room.

Lakeville, meanwhile, just a mile down the road, has its own concentration of shops, restaurants and art galleries. It's also home to one of the nation's finest private schools, The Hotchkiss School, whose Tremaine Gallery has top-flight exhibits, and whose music hall offers concerts by performers of national and international renown---most often for free.

For a closer look at all that Salisbury and Lakeville have to offer, see the Web site at To learn more about Hotchkiss and its stunning arts and cultural outreach, see the school's Web site at

The folks I met with Friday made me appreciate more than ever how Salisbury and Lakeville, despite having lofty demographics and being popular as second-home havens for successful New Yorkers, are tight-knit communities whose primary asset is the caring, quality people who live here. They appreciate the broad range of lifestyle options just steps away, and reciprocally, the merchants and businesses are grateful for the discerning, sophisticated and involved families they serve.

One of those families comprises the folks who run the Salisbury Winter Sports Association, the can-do organization that, in February, will sponsor its 85th annual Nordic ski jumping competition at its newly-upgraded Satre Hill venue in Salisbury center. Over lunch with a group that included the nonprofit group's board of director's president, Ken Barker, the builder of the new 65 meter jump, Rafe Churchill, and public relations energizer Andes Hruby, it was clear the rising-again sport of ski jumping is a cross-demographic speciality that has woven the fabric of these communities tighter than the best winter's blanket.

Scroll up to see that photo again, by Walter Kidd, of a practice session last weekend for young jumpers at Satre Hill, a venue with amazing views. (I was flown in a worker's lift bucket to the top of the new jump and was mesmerized by the views north and east over the southern Berkshires.)
For the full story, see the February issue of LCT magazine, in The Litchfield County Times and dropped in bundles across the region, on the last Friday of February. Or read all of the great content in the magazine online at

In the meantime, cure the winter doldrums with visits to Lakeville, Salisbury and Millerton, N.Y.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

My Photo
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

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]