‘Spicing Up’ New Canaan: Grand Opening of Spice and Tea Exchange Set for Friday

The New Canaanite 2024 Summer Internship Program is sponsored by Karp Associates. A melting pot of countries, exotic flavors and aromatic spices exists here, in our very own backyard. Enter the Spice and Tea Exchange, nestled downtown in the middle of Main Street. 

Pulling open the front doors invites a journey for the senses: displays abundant with clear glass jars housing colorful contents; a strong aroma of fragrant spices wafting through the air; and a soft bubbling noise emanating from the tea dispensers in the back, which contain the week’s newest selections. The Spice & Tea Exchange is a franchise that has been in business for about 16 years, growing out of a mom-and-pop store, said store owner Pam Robinson. “This is the 92nd store to open,” Robinson said.

Town Preps Parking Area as Bristow Nears 100-Year Celebration

The New Canaanite 2024 Summer Internship Program is sponsored by Karp Associates. Did you know New Canaan has the third oldest bird sanctuary in the United States? 

This year that bird sanctuary turns 100 years old. 

The centennial anniversary celebration of Bristow Bird Sanctuary is slated for this coming September, marked by five years of significant restorations to the park. 

Starting five years ago, in collaboration with the Friends of Bristow volunteers, donors, and the Town of New Canaan, improvements have been made to the park with a focus on public accessibility. Restorations include updated senior and stroller accessibility, improved bird habitats, and native plantings. 

“The restoration project began back in 2019 when the park responsibility for the Bristow Park was transferred to the Conservation Commission,” Former Conservation Chair Chris Schipper said. “We felt like if there was going to be a centennial, the park should be upgraded or restored to be in great shape so that it set the tone for the next 100 years.”

Director of Public Works Tiger Mann said that the town now is “in the process of putting in a pull off parking area and a sidewalk that leads from Bristow to Park Street so that the park is now connected to our sidewalk network.”

Currently, the park’s restoration is in its final stages. 

Schipper said: “The clear goal of the restoration program was to restore and improve the bird habitat and visibility within the park, but also to improve the accessibility of the park – accessible meaning all the way to senior and more stroller friendly access.”

A comprehensive list of improvements are as follows:

Deer fence surrounding the preserve repaired and raised
The Pond and its surroundings have been dredged and armored
Streams have been lined with boulders to limit erosion
Pathways have been graded and surfaced with fine stone; walking trails have been cleared
Historic Perambulation wall rebuilt
Boardwalks have been raised across wetlands
Bridges rebuilt across streams
Granite steps laid
Benches placed
Native plantings that sustain local and migratory bird populations installed
Fernery and pollinator gardens planted
Two overlook viewing areas opened up
A center crossing pavilion built suitable for education sessions
A birdhouse education trail with information signage and photos created
A wetlands bird blind installer
A nature oriented lending library placed
20 native trees planted and tree identification markers place
Francis of Assisi statue being replace
Pollinator Pathway Garden installed by wildflower meadow, dedicated to the late resident, naturalist and volunteer Cam Hutchins
New White Oak planted to replace the fallen Mighty Bristow Oak
A four-car pull-off by the Old Stamford Road entrance under construction
Senior and stroller friendly flexipave accessway from Mead Park is being laid in July
The sidewalk will be extended from Park Street by September

Officials said they are hopeful that the restoration will be completed by Sept. 8, the day of the centennial celebration.

‘Everyone’s Movie Theater’: New Canaan Playhouse Reopens to High Praise 

The New Canaanite 2024 Summer Internship Program is sponsored by Karp Associates. Exactly halfway down Elm Street a historic landmark has been given new life. 

The New Canaan Playhouse Theater’s doors finally reopened following a four-plus-year closure. “We are thrilled that after two years and a lot of hard work and commitment from the taxpayers and private investors, New Canaan now has a beautiful, state-of-the-art theater right at the 50 yard line,” New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laura Budd said. Through the front doors, the theater boasts an impressive lobby where a balance of history and modern design coexist harmoniously. Upon entrance, individuals can find to their left a beautiful new bar and on the right, a concession stand from which wafts the redolent aroma of freshly popped popcorn. 

“When I attended the opening event last week, everyone was blown away at what the team had done to take this beautiful 100-year-old building and turn it into a modern functioning building,” Budd said.

‘They’ll Chew Down Everything’: The Goats Are Back at the New Canaan Nature Center

The New Canaanite 2024 Summer Internship Program is sponsored by Karp Associates. Invasive plant species here in New Canaan have met their match … goats! For the second straight summer, the New Canaan Nature Center has introduced goats to help combat invasive plant species in a chemical-free manner. The goats are sourced from a company out of Rhinebeck, N.Y., according to the executive director of the New Canaan Nature Center, Bill Flynn. 

“[The company] does this all over the Northeast,” he said. “They rent [the goats] out who do their work, and then they go back.”

The goats are used primarily to remove an invasive plant called Japanese Knotweed.