Of Sports, Smithson and Showhouses
By Bob Capazzo
It’s July, that wonderful midsummer month when life is perfect in the great outdoors. At night, fireworks turn black skies into Technicolor canvases; during the day, uncluttered trails through lush terrain beckon us to “Take a Hike.”
Thus the title of one of our informative features. Of course, it’s easy for veteran hikers Jim and Ann Sawyer and their kids to step out the door of their backcountry home and onto the trails of the neighboring Babcock property. A lot easier than jetting off to Patagonia or the Alps where they’ve also hiked. But in this article, expert trailblazer Chris Brooks takes us on out-of-the-ordinary wilderness walks around Connecticut and New York — complete with maps drawn by wife Catherine, who takes it all in stride.
Girls’ softball has heated up in Greenwich, too. Pretty exciting. We’ll fill you in. And by way of keeping our editorial balance, we go behind the scenes at the Greenwich Hospital Showhouse to see how decorators miraculously transformed a mansion in a last-minute power push. We also track a mystery man named Smithson, the illegitimate son of an English duke, who decided to leave his considerable fortune to a project in America, a country he’d never set foot in. The Greenwich hook? Homegrown author Heather Ewing has become the leading expert on this enigmatic character who founded the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum and research complex.
As some of you may know, Moffly Publications celebrated twenty years in business plus the sixtieth anniversary of Greenwich Magazine at a gathering at the Bruce Museum a couple of months ago. But you may not know about the very special cocktail piano player we engaged for the occasion — one Michael FitzSimmons. We met Michael when he was playing at an event at the Greenwich Arts Council. An engineer from Cos Cob, he trained at the Detroit Conservatory early on but decided not to make music his career. Now retired, he plays every chance he gets and — here’s the kicker — donates his fees to charity. Hire Michael and choose the charity. Simple and a win-win. “It keeps me out of saloons,”he says with an Irish twinkle in his eye, adding: “Actually, it gets me into saloons.”
A fine (and fun) gentleman.
Have a safe and happy Fourth.