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"Obviously, you would give your life for your children, or give them the last biscuit on the plate. But to me, the trick in life is to take that sense of generosity between kin, make it apply to the extended family and to your neighbour, your village and beyond."

— Tom Stoppard

Feeding the students at Simsbury’s public schools is a complex recipe for the Director of Nutrition Services

Feeding the students at Simsbury’s public schools is a complex recipe for the Director of Nutrition Services

Written by Lori Kase, Seasons of the Farmington Valley

Perched on a bookshelf behind Dana Tice’s desk in her Simsbury Board of Education Office is a sign that says “Eat Your Vegetables.” Encouraging Simsbury students to incorporate more veggies into their daily diet is just part of a day’s work for Tice, Director of Nutrition Services for all the town’s schools. Tice started her career in food sevices subbing in the kitchen in the Windsor School District, worked her way up to manager, and then served as Director of Nutrition Services in Bloomfield before taking the same post in Simsbury three years ago. Tice, who grew up in Simsbury — enjoyed many school lunches at Central and Henry James during her elementary and middle school years — says that “coming to Simsbury was like coming home.”

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Simsbury Ranked 9th In Money Magazine’s National ‘Best Places to Live’

Simsbury Ranked 9th In Money Magazine’s National ‘Best Places to Live’

By Kristin Stroller, Hartford Courant

SIMSBURY — The town was ranked ninth on a list of the 50 best small cities in the country, put out by Money magazine.

Money magazine, which is published by Time Inc., ranked Simsbury between No. 8, Coppell, Texas and No. 10, Solon, Ohio.

Apex, N.C. took the top slot in the rankings, based on data and in-person visits.

“The people that live in Simsbury and work in Simsbury, we recognize what an amazing jewel we have,” said Sarah Nielsen, executive director of the Simsbury Main Street Partnership Inc. “But it’s nice to get that recognition from an outside source.”

Money magazine has ranked the best places to live in America annually for the past 30 years, and Simsbury has been on the list three times: ranking No. 57 in 2009, No. 39 in 2011 and No. 50 in 2013, said Money magazine senior writer Donna Rosato.

Rosato said the rankings change based on multiple factors, including the town’s economy and school and safety rankings.

“We are very proud that Simsbury made this list,” First Selectman Lisa Heavner said. “It’s a reflection of the hard work of the many volunteers and committees and town staff.”

Heavner said the ranking will help the town’s economic development.

The magazine mentioned Simsbury’s “premier public schools” as the main draw to the town. According to the magazine, Simsbury students scored above average in every test category and 93 percent of graduates pursue higher education.

While I never put must stock in these rankings, Simsbury is a lovely town and arguable the best place to live in central CT.

Simsbury is also a friend to the arts, according to the magazine, and the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation named the town one of the nation’s best communities for music education. Residents are able to see national artists perform at the Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center.

Residents can also “bike on the 84-mile Farmington Canal Heritage Trail as it weaves through town along the Farmington River,” the magazine noted.

Though residents “pay a premium” in property taxes, the town’s unemployment rate is well below the national average, according to the magazine.

Simsbury tourism committee co-Chair Dominique Avery said the ranking will be good for the town’s businesses and tourism.

“We don’t do the kind of huge events that attract people from all over the world. We just quietly have these amazing things,” Avery said. “Sometimes, I wish more people knew.”

Rankings are derived from 39 data points in categories such as test scores, crime rates, commute times, weather patterns, health statistics and arts and leisure-based activities in the town and surrounding area. In some cases, representatives visited towns and interviewed residents, according to the magazine.

Rosato said the magazine started with the 3,625 towns in the U.S. with populations of 10,000 to 50,000. The magazine limited the results to three places per state and one per county to represent all regions evenly.

The magazine ranks small towns every other year, and towns with populations larger than 50,000 in the off-years, she said.

Nielsen said the town was contacted by the magazine in the past few months and asked them to submit photos or videos of the town. The town was not told where they were being ranked, she said.

With the Flower Bridge and Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community designation, Neilson said the town offers an excellent quality of life and quality of services.

“We are really becoming a wedding destination, which is amazing,” she said. “You can’t find a more picturesque town than Simsbury.”

The magazine also asked readers to vote for their favorite towns from its top 10 list. As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, Simsbury held the top spot.

Comfort Food Kept Sophisticatedly Simple

Comfort Food Kept Sophisticatedly Simple

By RAND RICHARDS COOPER, The New York Times
October 12, 2012, Copyright © 2012

WHAT kind of dining experience would you expect to have in a restaurant serving corn chowder, pork and beans, and fried chicken with watermelon? Almost certainly not what you get at Millwright’s, where Tyler Anderson offers a brashly elegant take on these and other homey American classics. A winner on the Food Network show “Chopped,” Mr. Anderson decamped this summer from Copper Beech Inn in Ivoryton to open his own restaurant in a historic West Street mill. His fans have been thronging the place ever since. Fancying up comfort food is fraught with peril, and not every dish on Mr. Anderson’s menu succeeds. Foie grasmousse topped with grape jelly and candied peanuts — “the house p.b.j.,” our server quipped — was not only too coy, but unbalanced, the jelly overwhelming the duck liver. I also wondered about the crisped puffed rice adorning an appetizer of fabulously fresh raw tuna, introducing an odd, breakfast note.

But far more often, the gamble paid off brilliantly. A starter of chicken with dumplings turned out to be a complex presentation of velvety smooth gnocchi, confit chicken and hints of mint. Grilled cheese and tomato came in two components: an herbed tomato terrine, delicately held together with tomato gelée, and a deliriously tasty grilled mini-sandwich of Cheddar and custard-soaked brioche. Millwright’s chowder arrives via a showy tableside presentation, with corn and lobster stacked in a bowl and then the soup — a thinned-out sauce vierge scented with anise — decanted from a porcelain pitcher. Fried chicken is also not what you might expect:

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Landworks Development Wins Six Hobi Awards for Smart Growth Community —The Mill at Hop Brook

Landworks Development Wins Six Hobi Awards for Smart Growth Community —The Mill at Hop Brook

MILL COMMONS LLC, comprised of Landworks and Nelson Construction, the developers of smart growth communities—including the newly designed The Mill at Hop Brook in Simsbury, CT— announced that they received six HOBI awards sponsored by Homebuilders and Remodelers Association (HBRA) of Connecticut, including 2013 Community of the Year.

The 2013 HOBI Awards, which were held on Nov. 12, are the state’s most prestigious awards, given annually to recognize the very best in the housing industry. The awards honor builders, remodelers and other industry contributors for excellence in
home design and construction, home technology, home financing and community service.

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The Mill at Hop Brook Gets a New Lease on Life

The Mill at Hop Brook Gets a New Lease on Life

An innovative mixed use project in Simsbury by Landworks Development is exceptional in every way

On June 20th, sixty builders, suppliers and realtors attended a fascinating Sales & Marketing Council meeting hosted by Chris Nelson and Ron Janeczko at their outstanding new mixed use development, The Mill at Hop Brook in Simsbury.

One of the many interesting and market savvy aspects of this mixed use project is the apartment complex known as Mill Commons. As SMC chairman, Joanne Carroll, related in her opening remarks, so few single family builders venture into rental, yet the rental share of the housing market is projected to hit 41 percent by 2020, with an average increase of over 1 million rental units per year in
the U.S.

Carroll went on to say that three reputable studies — by NAR, Robert Charles Lesser & Co. (RCLCo), and Arthur Nelson — all found a nearly identical imbalance in US housing supply and demand.

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Savor/Review: Millwright’s Restaurant & Tavern

Savor/Review: Millwright’s Restaurant & Tavern

By SPENCER CALDWELL, Hartford Magazine
Copyright © 2012

In recent decades, certain landmark restaurants have advanced the conversation about food in Connecticut: Jean-Louis in Greenwich with namesake Gerin’s “la nouvelle classique” for which he was named the James Beard Foundation’s 2006 Best Chef Northeast; Ibiza in New Haven with 2003 Esquire Chef of the Year Luis Bollo’s contemporary Spanish fare; Miya’s Sushi in New Haven with chef-owner Bun Lai’s pioneering work in sustainability; Polytechnic ON20 in Hartford with Noel Jones’ precision cooking, pretty plating and flirtation with molecular gastronomy; Still River Café in Eastford with Kara Brooks’ seasonal American cuisine utilizing many ingredients grown on the property; and the team at Firebox in Hartford with its “locavore” approach and commitment to community building.

Injecting itself into the conversation is Millwright’s Restaurant & Tavern in Simsbury, where chef-owner Tyler Anderson and his talented team appear to be raising the dining experience to new heights of creativity and civility. Anderson says he wanted to
create a restaurant where the customers know where the food comes from, adding that he wouldn’t have located where he did were it not for the tremendous farms in the area. As I approach Simsbury from the south via Avon’s Nod Road through the fertile farmland fronting the Farmington River, the corn exulting to NBA heights, I wonder if I’m passing any of the fields where the food that I’ll be eating was grown. Yes, it turns out.

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