Community: Library Days at Books on the Common returns Thanksgiving weekend, more news

Evelyn C. Peeler Children's Holiday Gift Fund raises money for Ridgefield children in need

The goal of the Evelyn C. Peeler Children’s Holiday Gift Fund is to make sure that Ridgefield children in need have gifts to open during the holiday season and a holiday meal at the table. For over 43 years, this all-volunteer nonprofit organization, operating under the auspices of the First Congregational Church, purchases gifts of new clothing and food certificates for families in town during the holiday season.

In addition, they team up with town groups and Toys for Tots to fulfill the gift wishes of these children. The organization also offers a Back-To-School program of clothing and school supply certificates in the fall.  The group works with Ridgefield’s Social Services to assist these families in need during two difficult financial times in their lives.

The program is supported by private donations and local charities. Donations would be much appreciated and may be sent to the Evelyn C. Peeler Children’s Holiday Gift Fund, PMB #218, c/o UPS Store, 54 Danbury Road, Ridgefield, CT 06877.

Library Days at Books on the Common returns Thanksgiving weekend

The Ridgefield Library has enjoyed a close partnership with Books on the Common for many years. Together they bring the community dozens of author and book events each year.  Ridgefield is so fortunate to have an independent bookstore in its town.  

The 18th Annual Library Days at Books on the Common will take place Nov. 25 through Nov. 27. Customers can simply show their Ridgefield Library card at the cash register, and 15 percent of the proceeds of their purchase will be donated by the bookstore to the Library.
Books on the Common is located at 404 Main St. and store hours during Library Days are Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Ridgefield residents who do not have a library card can register for one at the Library’s Circulation Desk at 472 Main Street, or by going to, click on My Account and Request a Library Card.  

The community’s support of Books on the Common, and the bookstore’s support of the Library, help keep Ridgefield an exceptional place to live, at the holidays and year-round.

'Tour the Castles, Palaces and Homes of The Royal Family' through Ridgefield Continuing Education

Take “Tour the Castles, Palaces and Homes of The Royal Family” and embark upon a fun and interactive Zoom tour of English and Royal Décor.

Students will visit the Royal Family's Castles and Homes, other British Country Estates, including many filmed in The Crown, Downton Abbey and Jane Austen films, including Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Sandringham, Balmoral, Highgrove and Clarence House.  Meet the Royal Family's interior designers, Robert Kime and Ben Pentreath, and see their decor work and also work by other English designers.  

Instructor Linda Keefer has degrees in History and Education, has taught interior design for over 20 years, and has 44,000 followers on her Pinterest Design boards.  This class meets on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom.  Cost is $39 per person; Ridgefield seniors (age 62 and older) and disabled pay $33.  Advanced registration is required.  

Visit or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 to register.

Tai Chi exercises classes through Ridgefield Continuing Education

Tai Chi exercises classes are available both in person and on Zoom through Ridgefield Continuing Education.  This class is a meditation in motion and a gentle, full body workout combined, all done standing (no mat).

This class consists of 35 basic Tai Chi exercises done as reps and designed to promote better health, stress relief, balance and coordination, concentration, and internal organ massage, based on Step by Step Tai Chi: the Natural Way to Strength and Healing by Master Lam Kam Chuen. You’ll need a set of 1 to 3 pound weights and a water bottle.  

You may join classes in person starting Nov. 30 (6:45 p.m.) or Dec. 1 (10 a.m.) or on Zoom starting Nov. 29 (10 a.m.).  Tuition is $88 for a seven-session class.  Instructor Rod Barfield, a former NYC teacher, has been doing Tai Chi exercises since 1994 and has studied under Gwen Roman for seven years.  New sessions of Total Body Reset, Zumba, and Yoga are also available.  

Advanced registration is required. Specific dates are available at or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

Zumba Express through Ridgefield Continuing Education

Zumba Express, an in-person class in Ridgefield Continuing Education, is a fun dance based workout combined with 2 to 3 toning segments focused on building cardio endurance and strength training. Choreography is taught at beginner to advanced levels and includes many dance rhythms including Salsa, Merengue, Reggaeton, Cha-Cha, Bachata, Swing, Bollywood and Bhangra.  Come join us and melt the pounds away!  

Class meets on Mondays (Dec. 5, 12, 19; Jan. 9, 23, 30 and Feb. 6) from 6 to 7 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School. Cost is $88 per person. Instructor Patti Larkin is a certified Zumba® instructor who has been teaching in New York for over 6 years.  Bring a towel and water bottle.  Yoga and cardio workouts (Total Body Reset and Full Body Strength) and Tai Chi classes (some in person; some on Zoom) also start soon.  

Advanced registration is required. Visit or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

Voice-Over workshop through Ridgefield Continuing Education

Voice-Overs . . . now is your time is a fun and enlightening in person class available through Ridgefield Continuing Education that will show you how YOU could actually begin using your speaking voice for commercials, films, videos and more!  You will also have the opportunity to book a 1-on-1 script read and voice evaluation via phone with your instructor, Justine Reiss, an experienced voice-over talent and casting person with over 18 years’ experience in the business and a prior background in regional theatre and Shakespeare, which has given her a great ear for dialects, and strong sense of performance.  Her most recent clients have included Starbucks, Mitsubishi Air and Heat, Toshiba, Lexus and more.

This workshop meets Nov. 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School.  Advanced registration is required.  Tuition is $31. Visit or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 to register.

The Art of Giving at Ridgefield Guild of Artists

You may have heard there’s no Festive Home this year at Ridgefield Guild of Artists.

“After much consideration, the Guild board has made the decision to turn our annual Festive Home event into a bi-annual event,” announced Pam Stoddart, Ridgefield Guild of Artists’ executive director in September. “It requires a tremendous amount of preparation and people-power, consuming our gallery space for months each year. Many reasons led to this decision but one that came to the forefront for us is that we wanted to offer our artist members more opportunities to show their work.” 

This year, they committed to offering three gallery exhibits during the almost three-month timeframe that Festive Home normally fills. Festive Home will be back next year, better than ever, to kick-off the Guild’s 50th Anniversary in 2024. 

Come December, the Art of Giving Exhibit takes over the gallery, with everything from gift-sized (24” x 24” or less) wall art, and a small selection of unique handmade items in 3-D as well. Back again, is the Guild’s Donated Canvas Project when artists paint and bring back a 10” x 10” themed painting to sell for $50 as an annual fundraiser. This year’s theme? Favorite Beverages! So, come in and find a one-of-a-kind art piece, all while supporting Ridgefield Guild of Artists and its long-standing mission to support of local artists.

The Art of Giving Exhibit runs from Dec. 4 through Dec. 23 during regular gallery hours, Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. A Holiday Party & Art Auction fundraiser kicks off the Exhibit on Dec. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. Visit the Guild’s website at or call 203.438.8863 for more details about the exhibit and art auction.

Ridgefield Guild of Artists is located at 34 Halpin Lane at the bottom of the hill across from the Theater Barn. Since 1974, The Guild has been a town fixture, offering local artists the opportunity to create and show their work in a friendly and supportive environment. RGOA is a tax-exempt 501c3 non-profit arts organization. All contributions are gratefully accepted.

Ridgefield Guild of Artists holiday party on Dec. 3

Ridgefield Guild of Artists invites you to a holiday party and art auction as the kick-off to the Art of Giving exhibit for the month of December.

“Join us for a fun evening,” says Pam Stoddart, Executive Director of the Guild. “Save the date! It’s Saturday, Dec. 3 from 5-7 p.m. We are thrilled to have Colleen Cash, Senior VP for online auctions at and active Ridgefield resident, on hand as auctioneer for the party.”

Some of the Guild’s much-loved local artists are generously donating artwork for this event. Come and bid on your favorite! All the while, enjoy merry music, cocktails, appetizers, and conversation. Tickets are available online at for $20, or at the door for $25. This is a fundraiser event to support the Guild.

Be the first to take in the Art of Giving exhibit in the Guild’s gallery. “We think art makes the perfect gift! What’s better than something unique and original to give to the ones you love, or even to yourself! That’s the inspiration for this December exhibit.” There will be lots to choose from in addition to the live auction. All works are 24 x 24 or smaller, the perfect size for giving! The popular Annual Canvas Fundraiser is back, too! This year’s theme is “beverages.” Come find your favorite. Member artists donate canvases and the Guild sells them for $50 each. Some one-of-a-kind handcrafted items will be featured, as well.

The Art of Giving exhibit will continue through Dec. 23. The Guild’s antique barn is located at 34 Halpin Lane, at the bottom of the hill just before Ridgefield’s Rail Trail.  Regular gallery hours are Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.  For more details and to purchase tickets, along with information about all Guild offerings, visit or call 203-438-8863. RGOA is a tax-exempt 501c3 non-profit arts organization, now in its 48th year.  All contributions are gratefully accepted.

New Castle Hotels & Resorts selected to manage nine Widewaters properties 

 New Castle Hotels & Resorts, a leading hotel investor, developer and operator in the United States and Canada, announced that it has been selected to manage nine hotels owned by Widewaters, a diversified commercial real estate organization with expertise developing, acquiring and managing numerous asset classes across North America, including retail, hospitality, residential and office/industrial. The management change, effective February 2023, will increase New Castle’s portfolio to 28 hotels, comprising more than 4,000 rooms across 11 states and two Canadian Provinces. 

New Castle and Widewaters first joined forces in the late 1990s to develop the Hampton Inn & Suites in Victor, N.Y., and have since developed 13 additional hotels in the Northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada with notable brands including Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Sheraton, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites and Courtyard by Marriott.  

The Widewaters Portfolio of four full-service and five select-service properties include   more than 1,200 rooms, six restaurants, 85,000 square-feet of meeting space, a full-service spa and USGA-rated golf course.  The portfolio spans five states including:

Woodcliff Hotel & Spa – Fairport, N.Y.
Craftsman Inn & Suites – Fayetteville, N.Y.  
Cherry Valley Hotel and Ohio Event Center, BW Premier Collection – Newark, Ohio  
Aviator Hotel & Suites, BW Signature Collection – St. Louis, Mo. 
Hilton Garden Inn – Pittsford, N.Y.
Hampton Inn & Suites – Victor, N.Y.
Hampton Inn – Solon, Ohio 
Hampton Inn – Erie, Pa. 
Hyatt House – Herndon, Va. 

NUTMEG Chapter of National Charity League announces annual membership drive

The NUTMEG Chapter of National Charity League, Inc. (NCL), the nation’s premier mother-daughter volunteer organization,  has announced its Annual Membership Drive and has begun accepting applications from women with daughters for our incoming class of Ticktockers (girls that are currently in 6th grade and will be in 7th grade in fall 2023). We also have a fair number of spots open for girls going into 8th, 9th and 10th grade in 2023. The Nutmeg Chapter is comprised of nearly 250 members who reside in Ridgefield. 

Nutmeg Chapter mother-daughter teams volunteered almost 3000 philanthropy hours in the last year for a wide variety philanthropic organizations in the community, including R.O.A.R, Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce, Compassionate Ridgefield, The Ridgefield Thrift Shop and Meals on Wheels!

“We are excited for the opportunity to welcome new mothers and daughters into our chapter as we continue to create life-long philanthropists who graciously serve the community,” said Norma Bernard Chapter President.   

For more information, prospective members are encouraged to visit the email

Membership Drive Details:
•    Timeline: Applications for membership are only accepted during the Annual Membership Drive which is underway now! 

•   Eligibility: A prospective member shall reside within the Ridgefield and have a Daughter(s) that are currently in 6th grade and will be in 7th grade in fall 2023. There are also open spots open for those going into 8th, 9th and 10th grade in 2023

•    Prospective Member Meeting: Interested mothers are encouraged to attend one of the prospective member meetings.  To receive an invitation, please contact the chapter at

•    Prospective Member Meeting: Interested mothers are encouraged to attend one of the prospective member meetings.  To receive an invitation, please contact the chapter at

Women’s Morning of Reflection on Dec. 3

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s life reads like an epic story – kidnapping and escape, multiple pregnancy losses, divorce, remarriage, life threatening illness, meeting Saints, and more. Through it all she found that Jesus was blessing her life and giving her strength. Her latest book "Divine Mercy in a Woman’s Life" discusses the sometimes-messy details of a woman’s life to offer hope as well as spiritual and practical guidance.

Donna-Marie will be coming to St Mary Parish on Dec. 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to speak on women’s issues, their God-given gifts and dignity, as well as blessings and burdens in a woman’s life as seen through the lens of God’s love and Divine Mercy. She’ll also share some of her own experiences and will conduct a workshop.

As you listen to her gentle and peaceful voice, your spirit will be uplifted, and as you reflect, pray, and worship with other women. A light breakfast will be provided.  You are invited to pray through inspiring music. Prayer teams and confession will be available. Book signing to follow.
Register by Nov. 29 at Registration fee is $25. 

The event will take place at St. Mary School, 183 High Ridge Ave. in Ridgefield. For more information,, email or call St. Mary Parish Office at 203-438-6538.

Raised in Ridgefield and a former parishioner of St. Mary Parish and St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is a Catholic wife, mother and grandmother. She leads retreats and pilgrimages worldwide and is an award-winning best-selling author of more than thirty-five books. She is also an award-winning journalist, international speaker, and the EWTN TV Host and creator of three television series: Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms, Catholic Mom’s Café, and Feeding Your Family’s Soul. Learn more about Donna-Marie by visiting her website: