As a boy, Manny Miranda participated in father-son bonding activities that were a lot cooler than catch. He worked alongside his father and grandfather at their family's winery in Portugal, where he busied himself each Autumn crushing and pressing the grapes, then preparing and casking the juices that would transform into wine.
As an adult, he hoped to recreate the verdant hills of Portugal in the states. That dream led to Miranda Vineyard, where Manny worked with his own sons to perfect the old-world techniques he remembered from his childhood. The vineyard is now the birthplace of hand-crafted and complex wines, from the bright, summery ros? to the lush, full-bodied farmhouse wine. What's more, every single varietal in the Miranda Vineyard family boasts at least one award, and many can lay claim to three or more.
A three-day lineup stocked with jazz legends and emerging talents blasts through more time signatures than a clock’s checkbook to usher in the 16th incarnation of the Litchfield Jazz Festival. The Springs Center stage kicks off Friday with genre luminaries The Clayton Brothers, whose silky sounds light a fire under the crowd that fellow Grammy nominees Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue stoke with brassy flares. Saturday hosts a veritable who’s-who of mind-blowing musicians with NEA Jazz Master grant winner Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band blasting buttery sounds after a Ray Charles tribute featuring Davell Crawford belts harmonies more memorable than “Happy Birthday” sung in Klingon. A collection of performers worthy of a Gatsbyan soiree closes out the festival on Sunday, with a hip-swinging finale from Jimmy Heath.
Thunder Crest Performance Horses instructor Kait takes a relaxed and positive approach to instruction. She's honed this technique over an equestrian career that started when she was just 8 years old, when she was riding and jumping on competitive circuits and most other kids were only climbing aboard horses as a way to pass roller coaster height requirements. Her work as an instructor, coupled with experience at a local thoroughbred breeding farm have taught her one of the most important skills any equestrian can have: the ability to foster a partnership with the horse. She tries to pass on this ability to her students, encouraging them to participate in all aspects of horsemanship during hands-on lessons, from tacking before the lesson to grooming, untacking, and watching game tape with the horse after the lesson ends.
Since opening in 1975, Haight-Brown Vineyard has churned out 2,000 cases of grape-based libations each year from its nearly 10-acre vineyard and welcomed visitors into its rustic, cottage-like wine house. Emphasizing vinifera and French hybrid grapes, the state?s first-established winery creates a selection of wines that include the Big Red, a bold syrah; the Morning Harvest, a rich malbec; and Honey Nut Apple, a traditional apple wine that incorporates local honey and cinnamon. Vintners share their time-tested expertise during regular classes that teach aspiring oenophiles about a variety of vintages and techniques for cheese and chocolate pairing. Amid the tasting room?s wood accents and crackling stone fireplace, customers sample vintages and attempt to describe taste sensations with adjectives such as ?silky? or ?very different from milk.?
Energy Fitness's certified personal trainers help clients capture elusive muscles by leading exercisers over savannahs of workout machines and weight equipment in a 15,000-square-foot facility. A personal training session gets clients off on the right foot by helping them design a fitness regimen tailored to their goals. Trainers have four lines of weight machines at their disposal with which they can personalize workouts for exercisers of all ages and fitness levels. The center's 45 cardio workout machines occupy both limbs and eyes, as personal televisions attached to each machine broadcast news stories about local squirrels who made good. In the weight room, dumbbells clamor to be hoisted.
Behind the exhibits at KidsPlay Children's Museum is a simple philosophy: children learn best through hands-on activities. There’s plenty of that at KidsPlay, from enclosing yourself in a giant bubble to designing glowing, 3-D shapes on a magnetic light table. Children can grace the museum’s stage in costumes and with props, imagine doing donuts in a racecar, or dash to pretend fires in a fire truck. Those are stored in the museum’s firehouse, part of a small-town play area complete with a grocery.