NEWS&VIEWS by Jacqueline Bennett

Posts from the “NEWS” Category

Christmas Tree Sales Up Amid Pandemic

Posted on December 2, 2020

Story & Photo by Jacqueline Bennett   From the United Kingdom to Wisconsin, USA to local tree lots Christmas Tree sales are reportedly soaring as people seek to raise their spirits amid the COVID -19 pandemic.   “Demand spikes for real Christmas Trees,” reads one headline, with an estimated increase of 25 percent more customers buying trees this season than last season.   Ironically, it was only a few weeks ago that tree growers were worried about about a slow year. Turns out quite the opposite is true.   This first weekend in December is traditionally the busiest time for tree shoppers to visit lots or tree farms, such as the ever popular Dzen’s Christmas Tree Farm in South Windsor, Connecticut. Governors, TV…

84th Manchester Thanksgiving Road Race Goes Virtual

Posted on November 24, 2020

The 2020 Manchester Road Race has gone virtual so there will not be any shoulder to shoulder runners as in years before.

Write-up and photo by Jacqueline Bennett

This year there won’t be any large crowds running instead runners must register with a new app and then can run the 4.748 miles at any location of their choice, even at home . Virtual registration began October 1 and continues to Nov. 24 at 9 pm. The registration fee is $20 – registration is unlimited, according to the MRR website. Runners must complete the distance between 8 a.m. EST Thursday November 19 and 9 p.m. EST Wednesday Nov 28.


Elite runners, many from out of state, or global contenders have not be invited this year due to concern about the pandemic. Where ever runners are completing in the race, officials ask that they please practice social distancing.


Although most events connected with the race have been cancelled, the Ray Crothers MMR Blood Drive will still be held at Manchester High School Friday November 27th from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

Leaving Just Rt. 6 Shop, Shady Glen Closes Parkade Store

Posted on October 21, 2020

For those of us who grew up with Shady Glen as a part of our lives, news that the Manchester Parkade shop closed October 17 was indeed sad. I was so young when I began going to Shay Glen – the Rt 6 shop which remans open – that my father used to carry me in with him. The ice cream counter was always three rows deep with customers and Dad always took the time to let me admire the ice cream mural on the wall. We would bring cones out to the family waiting in the car. Their menu also includes signature items like fried cheese , cheesefurters, secret recipe cole slaw. Some years later the Parkade shop opened and was aptly described…

First Time Peach Picking at Irish Bend Orchard

Posted on September 7, 2020

By Jacqueline Bennett   With Labor Day Weekend upon us and the fairs held this time of year cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to do something a little special. My first time peach picking at Irish Bend Orchard in Somers, CT turned out to be a great choice..     The folks who run Irish Bend couldn’t have been more pleasant and it was fun to try a new adventure. As well, the customers and staff were following the current masks and social distancing protocols.  🍑 Peach picking Labor Day weekend at Irish Bend Orchard in Somers, CT #SomersCT — newsandviewsjb (@newsandviewsjb) September 6, 2020 I definitely got my steps in today because pickers follow the orange flags to…

On Foot Along Two of the the Nation’s Most “Amazingly Scenic” Trails

Posted on August 25, 2020

By Jacqueline Bennett   USA Today has named two trails in New England as among the top ten “amazingly scenic” in the country. It turns out I have short-hiked one – a portion of the Appalachian Trail that goes through October Mountain State Forest in Lee, Massachusetts and have visited Acadia National P:ark in Maine, home to the second, the Parkman Trail.   Admittedly, notions come over me from time to time and two years ago I decided I wanted to do something out of the ordinary specifically on October 1. Perusing online maps I discovered a place called October Mountain in Lee, Massachusetts.”Perfect” I thought, “October Mountain on October 1st “. And, easy driving distance from the Greater Hartford, CT area where…

Gradual Reopening on Cape Cod Amid COVID

Posted on June 3, 2020

By Jacqueline Bennett   For those of us who adore Cape Cod and typically vacation there each summer, interest is keen about if and when we can make the trip to enjoy our favorite spots.  As of today June 3 2020, Massachusetts remains in Phase I of reopening following the COVID-19 shutdowns that have been in place across the nation, however, Phase II is just days away of what is a gradual four-phase plan.   Beaches have been open right along but parking lots only reopened on Memorial Day Weekend with more limited parking allowed. If social distancing is not possible, face masks must be worn unless swimming. Don’t assume lifeguards will be on duty and don’t expect to use restrooms, changing rooms…

Is Scrod Even A Fish? On a Memorial Day Weekend Quest for Low- Fat Foods

Posted on May 23, 2020

By Jacqueline Bennett   With Memorial Day Weekend upon us and due to my own health considerations, I refreshed my memory researching low-fat foods and found a favorite of mine at the top of the list – scrod. There is disagreement, particularly in New England, as to whether or not schrod or scrod is a fish at all or merely an acronym begun by the Parker House in Boston, MA. standing for ‘select catch received of the day’ ?   As such, scrod can be cod, haddock or other white fish. That certainly would have been news to me back when I first ordered scrod which has become one of the dishes I most enjoy. For that first scrod dinner, I was out to…

Look Forward – With Each Dawn Comes Hope for a Better Day

Posted on March 31, 2020

    By Jacqueline Bennett   In the midst of trying times one must remember that with each new dawn comes hope for a better day. Take solace in what is ahead – the beautiful blossoms of springtime. I am so fortunate to have these blossoms – soon to be making an appearance – just outside my Connecticut home.   Not far from me, near the Hockanum River Hiking Trail, some trees already have small buds – nature’s promise of what’s ahead.   I’ve been thinking beyond this difficult space in time when the world is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic – thinking about some of my greatest joys in life, such as walking the beaches of Cape Cod in the early morning…

Adding Color with Lavender & African Violets

Posted on February 24, 2020

By Jacqueline Bennett   For some time I had my eye on a beautiful milk bottle vase. When I spotted fresh arrangements of dried lavender at a floral shop last week, I knew they would make ideal companions.   Even the sound of the word “lavender” is soothing. Thus, it makes sense that studies have shown essential lavender oils and lavender scent may reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and restlessness. Some studies suggest lavender is useful as an anti-septic and anti-inflammatory. *** However, lavender is not FDA approved for medicinal purposes ~ be sure to check with a physician about the use of any essential oils for health purposes! Lavender is also well-known as an ingredient in beauty products such as fragrance, shampoo, skin…

Happy National Bloody Mary Day

Posted on January 1, 2020

Photo & Write-Up by Jacqueline Bennett   In the spirit of starting 2020 off on a light note, let me wish everyone “Happy National Bloody Mary Day ! ” Well-known as a hangover cure, what better time to celebrate The Bloody Mary than January 1, the morning after New Year’s Eve.   The Bloody Mary “made its debut” at the Paris Ritz Hotel in 1921. It was said to be a concoction put together by bartender Ferdinand “Pete” Petiot, according to Food & Drink America: “Full Course” Encyclopedia, notes National Day Calendar. After Prohibition was lifted in America, Petiot brought his ~ now famous ~ drink to the King Cole Bar in New York.   Early on it was called a “Bucket of…