Always local. Always positive.
That’s what made Bedford Magazine a must read and a coffee table staple for the last 16 years, for families in Armonk, Bedford, Bedford Hills, Katonah, Mt. Kisco, Lewisboro, North Salem, Pound Ridge, and Waccabuc. As a writer for the magazine over the last three years, I was often recognized by people I didn’t know, who would tell me how much they liked the biographic features I was doing, confirming the magazine’s dedicated readership.
So, despite Covid, in May, I jumped at the chance to purchase the venerable publication. I have print publishing experience, and I convinced my daughter, Casey, who adds digital and social media expertise, to leave her position at a large tech company to be the magazine’s President. Casey is a Tulane Business School grad, and is the top Instagram food influencer in New Orleans @nolagourmand.
Relaunching as Bedford & New Canaan Magazine, we’ve more than doubled the direct mail distribution in our New York towns (now including 100% of Armonk as an example) and expanded our reach to include New Canaan. Being residents of Pound Ridge for 20+ years, we understand that the State border does not divide our community, and that folks from New York eat and shop in New Canaan, and visa versa. We’ve also — as we hope you’ve already noticed — more than doubled the number of pages, increased paper and cover weight and print and ink quality, and re-designed the look and feel of the magazine.
Our mission will remain the same…Always local…Always positive. We aim to keep the coveted spot on your coffee table, and hope to even increase the hour-plus each of you enjoys reading each issue. And we’ve launched bedfordnewcanaanmag.com and @bedfordnewcanaanmag to supplement the print publication and provide you with updates, highlights and bonus content and a connection to our media partners network.
We’re a luxury lifestyle publication. We will get you in to the most spectacular homes in our area. We will introduce you to our famous and notable neighbors. We will highlight the careers, charity and achievements of our residents. We will feature wholesome activities and all things ‘green’ going on in our community. We will focus on your passions, whether they be in decorating, gardening, fashion, or as equestrians, golfers, hikers, bikers, skiers, or in other pursuits. And we will explore the places where you travel, vacation and spend your weekends and summers.
Pease enjoy the read, and take a look at our website and Instagram.
by: Megan Schinella
New Canaanite and Mommy Blogger (@campbymama)
As the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to change color, it's time to start thinking about what this Fall season has to offer. Fall activities are a great way to introduce a new season, a season of change, and all the fun that comes with it. Here are six incredibly awesome local Fall activities for toddlers, couples, friends, and the entire family.
3. Shop the local Farmers Market
New Canaan Farmers Market
South Avenue/Maple Street/
Main Street in New Canaan, CT
The New Canaan Farmers Market offers a wide variety of locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers, breads, jams, baked goods, cheeses, oils and more. All straight from the farm. Pre-registration is required for the first hour (10:00am-11:00am). Pre-ordering is available, but not required. Runs until Thanksgiving.
6. Pick out a pumpkin or gourd
Pound Ridge Nursery & Garden Center
6 Pound Ridge Road, Pound Ridge, NY
Pumpkins and Gourds come in a variety of sizes, colors and flavors. Each is unique.
7. Sign up for community solar
Sign up to enable locally generated solar energy and get 10% off your electric bill. Use the opportunity to teach kids about how they can have an impact on the environment. Find out more at sustainablewestchester.org/solar
By: Drew Bordeaux
Drew Bordeaux, the new Music Editor at B&NC Mag, was a COO of a business planning and analytics firm prior to focusing full-time on creative pursuits. Drew is a musician, who plays 8 instruments including guitar and violin, and performs over 100 shows per year. Drew is a photographer, recently featured in Vogue, and a writer, with pop culture articles appearing in Sports Illustrated, College Humor, and Maxim. Drew is a Fox Lane and Harvard graduate, and lives locally with his wife, Tammy.
Caramoor Center for Music and Arts is synonymous with top-notch musicians and amazing performances, tranquil gardens and beautiful landscapes, stunning architecture and compelling artifacts. While many of us in the area have visited to see a performance, taken a tour of the historic Rosen House, or even attended a graduation, one of the most exciting aspects of the venue is their growing commitment to sound art installations.
Caramoor’s annual series Sonic Innovations serves as one of the largest displays of sound art in the nation and is overseen by Chicago-based curator and Northwestern University professor Stephan Moore. To commemorate their 75th Anniversary, Caramoor has unveiled a permanent commissioned work by Trimpin, a majestic sound art sculpture entitled In “C”. Trimpin, an internationally acclaimed composer, musician, visual artist, inventor and MacArthur foundation “Genius” award recipient, created the 16-foot high double letter C as an “interactive and kinetic” structure that will welcome guests as they arrive. The steel sculpture has 24 tuned metal bell chimes suspended from the top of the “C,” which are activated by a motion sensor and can be played by a push-button that triggers pre-composed pieces. In “C” also
features an education mode, which will allow it to be played by a digital keyboard, with each key playing a different chime.
We were eager to speak with both Trimpin and Moore to discuss sound art, this unique flagship sculpture and also about what it means to create and provide access to sound art during these unique times.
Moore, an accomplished composer and sound artist in his own right, helped explain what sound art is: “Sound art is music organized in space [and] the experience of sound that goes outside of the concert hall. [It] thinks about sound in a context where the context itself is subject to artist creation and manipulation.” Moore is on a mission to help make Caramoor the “Storm King of sound art.”
In 2014, Caramoor launched their first major sound art exhibition, In the Garden of Sonic Delights. Moore shared that, “Sound art at Caramoor wouldn’t exist without Trimpin.” While the venue has featured numerous works by many artists, Trimpin is a visionary and pioneer in the field, whose relationship with Caramoor dates back to that first exhibition, where he shared an installation entitled “The Pianohouse” - a work which included six upright piano frameworks configured in the shape of a house, that played as visitors approached.
Trimpin spoke highly about how the grounds shaped his thinking and inspiration for In "C”. “Through Stephan, I’ve had the opportunity several times to do work at Caramoor. It was always this magical place where nature is totally around...where you can listen to the birds and the environment. It’s quite a ways from the traffic and other industrial noises, so it’s really a magical place in terms of what you can do with sound art in this space.”
Sound art is a complex multidisciplinary field, where each piece can pose brand new challenges and opportunities. Trimpin outlined the unique considerations for the construction of In "C”, which included careful work with structural engineers to ensure the safety of the piece for the public and the selection of materials that provided both long term durability as well proper sonic resonance. Important compromises are made in the design of such outdoor structures to ensure it’s less likely for animals like squirrels to be attracted or for birds to nest in the installation. Interestingly, while the structure is complete, as of the writing of this article, the compositions that will be played by the push-button have not yet been written. Both Moore and Trimpin explained that because of the amount of variables that impact the final sound of an installation, it’s not uncommon to save this part of the process until after the “instrument” is built.
When asked about the role of sound art at Caramoor as our community and nation deal with the pandemic, Moore shared, “No matter what happens to the concert programming, people are going to be able to come in small groups, experience the work here, and do that in a way that is safe.” He continued, “We are still going to exist, we’re still going to be putting forward an offering. It’s a difficult moment for all of us in so many ways, but whatever small way it adds to people’s lives... to be able to come out of the house, to come to a beautiful spot to experience some art and have a destination… Every organization and everyone has their role to play in this, and if we can play that role for some people and offer some possibility in this difficult year, that’s what we have that we can do.”
When asked about the various configurations of notes from the chimes, and if he had any concerns over how the chimes could be played by others, Trimpin shared a valuable insight which holds an interesting lesson for all of us right now: “Dissonance doesn’t exist in nature. You don’t complain when birds are singing because they are singing completely out of tune. You don’t complain because they are in nature singing and suddenly it sounds beautiful.”
BEDFORD 2020 GOING BEDFORD 2030
By: Karen Sabath
Karen, the new Green Editor at B&NC Mag, is a sustainability advocate with several facets. She became Bedford 2030 Board President in June after five years as treasurer. She is also CEO of TBM Designs, LLC (whose patented InVert™ self-shading window system saves energy). Karen is a former managing director of BlackRock, having been president of their mutual fund division. She is an avid beekeeper, living in Katonah with her husband, actor, Bruce Sabath. They have two sons and a daughter-in-law.
After meeting and surpassing impressive environmental goals in its first decade, Bedford 2020 is changing its name to Bedford 2030, adding the new tagline “Climate Action Now”, and setting new goals for climate action in the decade to come.
The organization has been the driving force in driving down greenhouse gas emissions in the Town of Bedford by 44% since its inception, through the Town’s participation in Community Choice Aggregation for renewable energy and greater energy efficiency.
Bedford 2030 has vowed to reduce emissions and fight for clean, healthy air, water and land and the newly stated goal is to deliver 80% emissions reductions in the Town of Bedford in the next decade, from more locally generated renewable energy, electrification of buildings and homes and converting more drivers to electric vehicles. And in doing so, Bedford 2030 will continue as an example and mentor for other communities.
Community participation will be at the center of the effort. Getting everyone to commit to buying green power, use new energy efficient air source heat pumps, make their homes more energy efficient, and making their next car an electric one will have a substantial impact.
Bedford 2030’s Executive Director, Midge Iorio, promises, “Bedford 2030 will provide tools, programs, and campaigns to embrace renewable energy, get off fossil fuels to power our buildings and cars, reduce waste, capture carbon, and advocate for local and regional policies that advance these goals. Everyone will be able to make a difference.”
There’s an immediate opportunity to get started. Climate Week is September 21st-27th and will include educational and action-oriented activities for everyone. Bedford 2030 will host an Energy Tour and Electric Vehicle Car parade. The ‘Take it or Leave it Shed’ and ‘Repair Cafe’ will be open with special waste reduction tips. Local libraries and bookstores will host a climate book read and discussions and the Bedford Playhouse will offer a virtual film screening and discussion. Partner organizations will offer walks at area preserves, volunteer opportunities, and family activities. A full schedule of activities is on the Bedford 2030 website.
While 2020 will be remembered for the impact that COVID-19 has had on all of our lives, the pandemic may also be seen as a tipping point for socio-environmental change that will usher in a new decade of aggressive and widespread climate actions. At the local level, and as an example for other communities, Bedford 2030 will make the call and lead the charge for ‘Climate Action Now’!
To find out more about Bedford 2030, visit their website: http://bedford2020.org/cap2030/
by : Jill Brooke
Jill Brooke is the new Floral Editor at Bedford & New Canaan Magazine, and is the founder of flowerpowerdaily.com, the first daily floral news site. Jill has been Editor-in-Chief of Avenue, Travel Savvy and Show Circuit magazines, a CNN correspondent, and a Post columnist. She is the author of “Don’t Let Death Ruin Your Life” and “The Need to Say No” as well as the play “What’s Eating You?”. She and her husband, Gary, and son, Parker, have a flower and vegetable farm in Bedford.
Nature has pressed the pause button.
As a result of spending so much time at home, many have started to take a keener interest in what’s outside our doors.
It’s as though folks can finally appreciate artist Georgia O’Keefe’s prescient words: “Most people rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. To see takes time.”
During the first four months of Covid, more than 16 million new gardeners discovered the joy of planting vegetables and flowers, and seeing a garden grow.
Nurseries have had record sales, as curiosity and desire to garden has been activated - and this megatrend will continue to bloom.
As any veteran gardener knows, gardening teaches lessons about patience, perspective, serendipity, resilience, delicacy, and finesse. Most important - it will reward. Growing food feels primally fortifying at a time when feeling in control of anything is very much appreciated. Try lettuce as an easy first-timer foray. And seeing a kaleidoscope of color as flowers peek up with purpose never ceases to delight.
Fall is prime time to plant the most glorious flowers.
Siberian Iris, feathery fringed tulips, a dainty crocus, dreamy lavender alliums and canary-yellow daffodils require fall planting. Some flowers, such as tulips, are like dulce de lece for deer and other critters, so if the garden is not fenced-in, consider planting daffodils, hyacinth and alliums.
Vegetables and lettuce plants can go back into the earth with cooler temperatures, and a crop of quick-maturing fall vegetables includes: broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, spinach, arugula, kale and beets.
As soon as plants have passed their prime and are about to bolt, pull them out with abandon and then replant a different crop in that space. Rotating crops is healthy for the soil and not only helps avoid diseases, but adds new beneficial nutrients.
Another advantage to fall and cooler temperatures is that it’s an ideal time to plant shrubs and trees (before the first frost). Perennials such as hydrangeas do much better planted in the fall, after the summer’s heat, and just in time to hibernate before spring’s re-awakening and growth.
And think of something new. Each garden addition is a part of life’s adventure and a suggestion that the best is yet to come.
Since March, when the world started to count Covid cases and deaths, the Town of Pound Ridge has consistently ranked as the municipality with the lowest numbers in Westchester.
It takes a community!
The Market at Pound Ridge Square has been central to Pound Ridge’s success. Even during the primal scare at the beginning of the pandemic, with an almost total shutdown of everything but essential services such as food, Market owner Billy Fortin never missed a beat. Billy and his staff of 110 worked tirelessly to keep the Market open for regular business hours and doing double and triple shifts to help fill curbside orders for the next day. With Pound Ridge Chief of Staff, Nicole Engel, coordinating the volunteer list, scores of townsfolk have helped out. Notable among these volunteers has been: Pound Ridge Police Chief David Ryan; Police Sargeant Mike Armistead; Members of the Pound Ridge Fire Department and Ambulance Corps, including Justin and Deborah Friedland and Tammy Rainford; longtime Pound Ridger Melinda Velez, who found the volunteer work to be so rewarding she’s taken a permanent position at the Market focusing on food delivery to some of the Market’s senior and more vulnerable customers, and; several residents who made helping at the Market virtually a full-time job, including Todd Sullivan, Lisa Zaino, and Colette Dow. The Town assigned volunteers to deliver groceries to all seniors requesting the help.
Always humbly focusing the spotlight on others, Fortin says: “I couldn’t be prouder of my staff. They’ve worked as a team, night and day, without a single complaint, on a mission to keep our shelves stocked, adhere to a whole new set of safeguards to protect against the virus, and continue the regular flow and delivery of groceries to our customers. I feel personally responsible to ensure a steady flow, and not just for everyone in Pound Ridge, but for the neighboring towns, too…we have as many customers coming from Connecticut as from New York. We’re pleased to be doing our part keeping Pound Ridge as safe and normal as possible.”
In the first 5 months of the pandemic, The Market at Pound Ridge Square packaged over 30,000 curbside pick-ups and served a total of over 152,000 customers.
Also key to Pound Ridge’s survivalist success is the special group of teachers at the Pound Ridge Elementary School. Amy Fishkin, Principal, stepped-up as soon as possible coordinating the shift to technology-based distanced learning and doings things such as distributing Chromebooks to make sure every student has access.
And kudos go out to Town Supervisor, Kevin Hansen, who, among other things, worked with The Pound Ridge Land Conservancy to keep the local preserves and reservation open. For many in Town, the ability to go for a serene socially-distanced walk has been a saving grace.
And for everyone else who has volunteered in the effort…you know who you are…the Town applauds your charity, and thanks you for your service to the community! It’s Pound Ridgers that make Pound Ridge so great!
A REPORT ON THE WAVE OF SUMMER RENTALS, HOME BUYING, AND HOME AND GARDEN IMPROVEMENT
Fueled by an ever-increasing wealthy population in Manhattan and relatively low interest rates, the real estate market in the Hamptons has been on fire for the last forty years. The days of the summer share-house have mostly passed, and in the last two decades summer rentals have gone for more a month than houses cost to purchase in other parts of the country. Lots with water views or on the beach sell for tens of millions. Although the 2008 recession slowed things down for a year or two, hedge funders have continued to drive prices through the roof over the last decade.
Now, Bedford and New Canaan are the new Hamptons! The extremely high cost of housing and education in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the relatively low and stagnant price of houses in leafy suburbs, started a demographic shift which has been catapulted by Covid. Families are fleeing the City for safer environs. Some looking for summer rentals, thinking it would be safe to return to New York in the Fall and that schools would be operational. More looking for a permanent change, whether seeking a weekend and summer retreat or a full-time residence and living solution.
And, because the traditional walk-through had all sorts of Covid complications, about half the renters at the start, and almost all the desperate ones in mid-May as all available supply was exhausted, were willing to rent based only on an online tour and no physical visit to the property.
888 Old Post Road
listed with Ginnel (Frank Geiger)
Rented for $50k/month for the summer, and now back on the market for $7,495,000
295 Crow Hill, Mount Kisco, NY | Listed with Ginnel (Muffin Dowdle)
Renovated 1931 5-bedroom Tudor home with a pool
270 Guard Hill Road, Bedford, NY (Tanrackin Farm) | Listed with Ginnel (Muffin Dowdle)
One notable exception to the must have pool rule, this house rented for almost $40k/month this summer, a steal given the offering... 50 acres, 6 beds, 6 baths, 2 half baths, 12,000 sqft
The home has multiple fireplaces, 3 levels, a covered porch, an elevator, sub zero appliances,
4 bay garage, spacious master suite with private porch and his/hers bathrooms, steam shower,
many bedrooms with adjoining sitting rooms, and radiant heat in the kitchen and master bath.
The property also boasts a 30 stall equestrian facility, direct access to BRLA, rolling lawns, fenced paddocks,
a fruit orchard with fig, peach, and apple trees, groomed walking trails, a gym, an outdoor kitchen and entertaining area, a pizza oven, gazebo with fountains, bocce court, 1 bedroom gate house, and 3 bedroom guest house.
The home was rented fully furnished and including all upkeep and twice weekly house cleaning by on site staff.
For the first time in a very long time, it’s a seller’s market!
There’s been a dramatic increase in the number of sales and the median prices of houses sold and, by Summer, the pre-existing glut in long-time-on-market supply was absorbed. In early August, a top Armonk agent was ‘shouting out’ on her Instagram about having 5 buyers between $800,000 and $2.4M and no listings to show, posting “Need Inventory!”.
The mood in the market has shifted. Even if a relatively small percentage of wealthy Manhattanites has now determined that a single family house, with separation from neighbors, and rooms to work-from-home, and some property, and a private pool, etc., seems all-of-a-sudden more attractive than their city dwelling, that’s more than enough families on the demand side of the curve to overwhelm the supply in our area. Armonk has about 1,500 houses, Katonah 650, Waccabuc only 350, and Bedford and New Canaan have only about 13,000 combined.
45 Ogden Road in New Canaan, went to contract in less than a week, and closed in July only 36 days from listing. This resort-like 2 acre property, 6 bedroom house, with a pool and spa, went to a NYC all-cash buyer looking for a Covid-retreat and weekend home, for $2.7M.
In what may be an extreme example of Covid-crazed and virus-impacted buying, but one which is no longer unheard of, 45 Heather Drive in New Canaan, sold in August for $2.12M to a buyer who had only toured the house virtually!
In New Canaan, there were 79 sales in June/July 2020, compared with 28 in June/July 2019. There were 10 sales at $3M+ in March through July 2020, and only 3 in the same period in 2019. The median sale price at the end of July 2020 was $1,730,000, up more than 20% over a year before. And, at the end of July 2020, there were 25% less houses on the market than at the same time in 2019.
At the end of July 2020, the median price in Armonk is up almost 40%, and the inventory is down 35%, over 2019! Bedford’s median price is up almost 20% and inventory is down 36%! Katonah’s inventory is down 40%. In North Salem and in Pound Ridge, there were more than twice as many sales in July 2020 as in July 2019. For the first time in a while, there are a half-dozen sales pending in the Bedford area at or above $3M.
300 Mt Holly Road, Katonah, NY. | Listed with Renwick (Cynthia Mas)
Ask: $3,750,000, closing at the end of September for well over ask
We could not be more pleased to see the tremendous influx of young families choosing to move to our area. Their energy will not only revitalize the the real estate market but the area in general!
“It’s really basic. We have low inventory and high demand. This is the strongest real estate market we’ve seen in decades, and it’s only going up.”
There’s a boom in home and garden renovation, repair, design, decorating, upgrade, improvement and additions. As interior designer Rona Chowenhill of RC Interiors by Design said: “In addition to the mass exodus from cities to more rural locales, sheltering in place has everyone reinventing their homes. Multi-functionality has become a necessity, and there’s a true craving for comfort. Dedicated spaces for home- office, gym, ‘school’, sanctuary, and even camp are being incorporated. Renovations and projects previously on the back-burner have become top priority.”
Wealthy new buyers and existing home owners are looking for every opportunity to add or upgrade luxury amenities, and the sky’s the limit. California Closets’ Director of IT and Marketing, Masha Alimova, offers:
“Working from home has become a fact of life. Although that used to mean working on the couch or on your bed, now people want to define a proper workstation. We’re building small office spaces, multi-purpose areas, and larger dedicated offices. People are more productive when they’re clutter-free and feel good about their workspace.”
With what now seems like fortuitous timing, the Adirondack Store moved forward through Covid to anyway open its new store on Elm Street in New Canaan. Owners Stephen Dori Shin and Christopher English, who are as much art and antique dealers as they are a home furnishings store, have returned to New Canaan, and this version is quite impressive! The new store showcases their rustic style home furnishings and makes it easy to connect for their decorating services. Christopher English remarked: “We’re thrilled to be back in New Canaan. The response has been tremendous. Old customers welcoming us back, and lots of new customers coming in - with masks on - to see what we have to offer.”
Like 20 years ago in the Hamptons, young couples are stalking the area and new builds and renovations are once again in play. Jeffrey White of the firm Ecology Architecture Urbanism (EAU) was hired by a couple from the city who just purchased a four-structure compound in Pound Ridge. White recounts: “Overlooking the largest of the three lakes on the property, the focus of renovating the 1950’s Lake House was to create a seamless connection to the outdoors and lake from this guest house / entertaining space. In addition to the unobstructed views of the spectacular property that can be enjoyed fireside in the winters, the simple introduction of openness brings the outside in.”
Grace Farms’ uniquely blended goal is to serve ‘as a peaceful respite and porous platform for people to experience nature, encounter the arts, pursue justice, foster community, and explore faith’. It’s been doing just that since opening in 2015, the vision being enabled by generous contributors and corporate and nonprofit partners, implemented by a highly qualified staff, and produced with the help of numerous volunteers.
The Grace Farms property in New Canaan, features a complex of five structures that wind across the landscape, and are aptly named the ‘River’. This award-winning building, designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Japan-based architectural firm SANAA, include a sanctuary, library, dining/meeting space known as the ‘Commons’, with state-of-the-art catering kitchen, a pavilion, and an indoor basketball court and gym. Outside, nature trails lace the 80-acre property, and its gardens, ponds, and natural terrain. The entire experience is all about nature, as the River’s glass walls allow light to stream into every space and bring nature into view at every turn, and because the out-of-doors beckons with welcome.
But it’s actually the programming that Sharon and her team have delivered in their first five years of operation that have earned Grace Farms the embrace from, and a lead role in the community. Grace Farms is regularly open to the public! For free! With healthy and delectable food available for lunch, the basketball court available for play, the library available for study or contemplation, and scheduled nature programming, led by the local, expert naturalist Mark Fowler. The Foundation is now known for its ability to develop collaborations with diverse organizations and world-class experts. In five years, Grace Farms has hosted over 1,000 programs and events and welcomed an astounding 100,000 visitors a year.
But that’s not all. While the Foundation’s work sourcing and supplying PPE would be enough for any organization to have taken-on during Covid, Grace Farms determined to address the food insecurity in the region that was immediately exacerbated by the virus’ onset. With Grace Farms’ community gardens produce as a part of its food supply, the Commons staff, under the direction of Neena Perez, has been carefully prepping meals for 12 different local not-for-profit organizations. For some of these organizations, such as Inspirica in Stamford, and Staying Put in New Canaan, the emphasis is on delivering meals. For others, such as the Open Door Shelter in Norwalk, the need is for pantry items. For organizations such as Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, and Food Rescue US, it’s both food supplies and meals. In only three months (the same three months they delivered 1.9M pieces of PPE), Grace Farms has served meals to over 20,000 people!
“Food insecurity is not going away, and the need will continue even after the Covid crisis is resolved. Perez notes, ‘It's a passion of mine to make sure that we are thinking of the person as a whole. That's our mission, to do good in the world.’
Beyond its regular service to the community, Grace Farms has proven to be a real friend-in-need in these tough times. Sharon Prince commented, “Our interdisciplinary approach combined with an entrepreneurial mindset allowed us to pivot quickly. We’re able to leverage our networks and expertise in diverse fields, such as Justice and Nature. This crisis has really brought Grace Farms together with our neighbors.”
Five seemingly separate initiatives: Nature, Arts, Justice, Community, and Faith; but one vision to bring about real change, drive new outcomes, and move the needle on some of today’s most pressing causes. Covid tests us all, but Grace Farms has excelled. Grace Farms is a Covid Hero...and a Community Champion!
Diary by: Rob LaBritz
And I’ve been the lowest scoring club pro at the PGA Championship twice! In 2010 at Whistling Straits in Koehler, Wisconsin, and last year, 2019, at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York. They call that ‘Winning Club Pro’; I call it a tie for 64th and and a tie for 60th place in the tournament.
I work out daily to take care of my body. It’s my tool to compete on the world’s biggest golf stage. It will pay dividends. I turn 50 in 2021, and have access as a ‘Senior’ to the Champions Tour, Senior PGA Championship, Senior US Open, and Senior British Open. I know I’m going to be able to compete at the pro level as a Senior, and if I didn’t think I could win, I wouldn’t be doing it…period.
They say age is just a number and I for one do not feel at all like I’m going to hit the half-a-century mark in my life next year. As a matter of fact, my beautiful wife, Kerry, is pregnant with our third child. They are calling that a quarantine pregnancy. I’m calling it a bonus baby. And by the way, I still feel like I’m in my 20’s.
Monday, August 3, 2020
5:30 a.m. alarm woke me up this morning, and I felt like my head had just hit the pillow. A quick hour work-out and stretch to get my body online is just what the doctor ordered. A nice warm up on the short game area and a few hours of range work to get my distances dialed-in.
I played the back 9 holes with another club pro, David Muttit, from New Mexico. I felt like I was prepared and ready for battle, and I hit a few practice drives on each hole to get used to the lines off the tee. I practiced out of the most severe areas of rough on the course that I could find, to see what troubles the course has to offer. If my plan goes well, I won’t see any of those areas during competition.
A little lunch and a few more hours of work on my short game and at the range. Back to the hotel for another work-out and a long stretch. The air is cold and my body needs the extra time to loosen up in the colder weather. I’m forcing myself to stay up tonight until 10 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, so I get acclimated to the time change. I have a practice round planned with old friend Rich Beem, Tommy Fleetwood, and Bernd Weisberger at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Full Day of Practice
5:30 a.m. alarm gave me enough time to get up, do my one hour work-out and stretching routine, get dressed, get to the course, eat breakfast, warm up, and get to the tee by 8:30 a.m. for my first full 18-hole practice round.
The course is long and the rough is up, so driving the ball in the fairway is paramount. My practice round went well. I’ve got a great feel for the course and understand where to attack and where to be a little more conservative. The new equipment feels great.
After the round I had to shoot a tip for Michael Breed’s show ‘Course Record’ that will air during the Championship. Then an interview with ESPN’s Sten Verret and Neil Everet. After that was an hour-long interview with the Associated Press about my past finishes in the PGA Championship and being the two-time and defending low PGA club professional.
Then back to the short game area to work on chipping and putting, before some time at the range for some swing work. Boom. Dialed in.
Back to the room for some stretching and dinner and a long overdue FaceTime with my family. Isaias hit Pound Ridge and GlenArbor pretty hard, there are a lot of downed trees blocking roads, and power is out, but Kerry texted me to say they’re O.K. It’s a lot on my mind as I prepare for my seventh major championship. Off to bed now. I have a practice round with Webb Simpson tomorrow.
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
You try to sleep. You breathe. You calm your mind… and it just won’t happen. The time change is tough. That was last night. Only four hours of sleep. What a bummer. I have to be at the course today for a photo shoot that includes the 20 PGA club professionals that qualified for the event at 7:30 a.m. Then another Zoom call with the professionals on the Golf Business Network.
My practice round with Webb Simpson was at 11:15, so I was able to catch a 30-minute power nap before we played, which was totally needed. It was a nice surprise when Dustin Johnson joined us for a few holes. I’m getting very used to this difficult course. If you drive the ball well, you will have chances to control your ball into the greens. If you miss the fairways your opportunity to do that is taken away due to the length of the grass and how thick it is in places.
After playing, I worked on my short game and swing for a few hours. I’m feeling great about my swing and ball control. My length is right there with the top players in the world. Todd Luigi, my caddie, always reminds me of that. He tells me the other tour pros and caddies don’t believe that I’m actually 49. I have started to get a few “Labritz, you’re going to clean up on that Senior Circuit” comments from guys around the PGA. It’s nice to hear, but my task at hand is to hoist that Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday.
Nice dinner at the hotel with Todd, my only company. We’re confined to the golf course and the hotel. What a weird time we are in. After dinner, quick work-out and stretch, and off to bed.
Friday, August 7, 2020
No Wanamker…this time!
5 a.m. alarm. Get up, get the coffee, warm up my body with some dynamic exercises, and off to the course to get a quick bite to eat. The ’late-early’ tee times are the toughest.
The day started with a birdie, but didn’t turn out to be one of my best. I started on #10 and my iron play just wasn’t crisp. When the wind is blowing, and you’re not hitting the ball in the exact center of the club face, it becomes very difficult to control your distance and trajectory. Sometimes this happens when you’re out there. I can’t explain it, but it happens. I will go to the television tape to see what my swing looked like during the round. Something was just a bit off.
I battled on every shot. I never give up, and have trained myself over the years to only focus on one shot at a time. This is something that every golfer should master. You must always stay in the present and never dwell on the past or try to predict the future. I managed to knock-out a par-par finish after some great shots into the very difficult 8th and 9th holes. But I shot 76 and finished the 36 holes at 7 over par…below the cut line…an early ticket home.
A few quick interviews and I’m off to change my flight to get home a few days early - sans the Wanamaker Trophy. Definitely not the result that I wanted but like all missed cuts, you reflect, learn, and move on, taking all the tidbits from the week, and applying them to the ever-improving process.
At the hotel, waiting for some dinner, and packing up…so I can get up early, stretch, do a Sirius XM PGA Tour radio show at 7:10am, and catch my 8 a.m. flight home. It never stops, but when you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. I know one thing for sure, my wife and family will be there at the airport waiting for me, to give me hugs and kisses like they always do, no matter how I play. I don’t carry missed cuts with me, and definitely don’t dwell on the negatives. It’s all just a learning experience that will make me a better player in the long run.
Back to being Director of Golf at GlenArbor…after I quarantine…and training for the next tournament.
An Interview with Bedford & New Canaan Magazine's Congressmen
Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY 18) & Jim Himes (D-CT 4)
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney - NY-18 (Maloney): Well, Jim is smarter and better looking, so it’s not easy to be around him, but yes we’re good friends, and he has an amazing family. We serve on the Intelligence Committee together, so we spend a lot of time in some wild, undisclosed locations around the world and, when in DC, working down there in the SCIF (“Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility”). Our districts share a lot of common interests too, so he’s a great ally for helping our region.
Congressman Jim Himes CT-4 (Himes): That’s right, except for the ‘better looking’ part. We see things similarly. We’ve both spent most of our careers outside of elected office, including in the private sector, and we both flipped Republican districts and have managed to keep winning. That makes us a little different from most of our colleagues. We have no choice but to listen to and respect different perspectives and to handle disagreements in a civil and constructive way. And I’d like to think we both have well-above-average senses of humor. That’s important when you’re standing on the Venezuelan border or driving through a Peshawar chicken market together.
B&NC: Yeah, so you both serve on the Intelligence Committee. Tell me about that.
Himes: Sorry we can’t do that.
Maloney: Well, we could, but then, you know, we’d have to kill you.
Himes: In all seriousness. It’s a huge responsibility. The country is spending some $80 billion a year on intelligence activities, including things that are hugely controversial like surveillance and lethal activities, and they’re pretty much all secret. So we’re two of a handful of people who are asked to keep an eye on that stuff so that it stays consistent with the law and with our values.
B&NC: How have you responded to COVID?
Maloney: My office has a simple, three-word mission statement: “We help people.” When this virus first hit New York, we were calling every hospital, every school district, and every health center in the Hudson Valley to make sure they had what they needed to meet the height of this crisis.
Another key element of our effort has been helping families and small business owners who are struggling. For example, we helped one local business recover $20,000 in lost income from a canceled trip to Costa Rica by getting United Airlines to refund their tickets. We also helped them get an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. That’s pretty typical.
I want to remind everyone in NY-18, call my office (845.561.1259) if you need help. We’ll do our best to get your problem solved.
Himes: We’re both really about getting things done rather than talking about getting things done, or demanding that things get done, or complaining about why things don’t get done, which is too much of politics these days. We’re both in the orbit of New York City, so we had no choice but to go to work 24/7 solving everything from shortages of PPE to financial aid for the people and businesses in our districts. Because so many people stepped up to do the right thing, our districts are in much better shape than they were in March. But March and April really were tough.
B&NC: You’ve both focused on the environment as a critical issue for everyone. But we know you also work to protect our local environment. Can you give us some specifics?
Maloney: We have so much work to do, which is why I support the Green New Deal and a refundable tax on carbon. In addition, protecting our drinking water and preserving the Hudson River are top priorities. I’m about to pass legislation that will permanently prevent the Coast Guard’s proposal to locate 43 new oil barge anchoring sites between Yonkers and Kingston on the Hudson River. We are stewards of this national treasure and I intend to protect it.
Himes: My district is bisected by the Merritt Parkway and 95. Open space is increasingly rare. We have dirty decaying industrial sites that hold real promise for redevelopment. The Long Island Sound is critical to my district. One of my hobbies is harvesting oysters, clams and mussels from the Sound. So being a strong environmentalist is critical and personal to me. I make a point of leading wherever I can on conservation, responsible reuse of land and sustainable practices from our agriculture to our transportation.
B&NC: Is there any one message you have for our readers?
Maloney: Yes – get out there and vote! Exercise your sacred right. We’re working hard in Congress to make sure mail-in ballots are available everywhere this November. People need to be able to participate in our democracy without sacrificing their health.
…AND STAY SAFE! The virus is still with us. Wear a mask.
Himes: We’re living in really difficult political times. I see President Trump as a real danger to our democracy. But a significant number of Americans support him, some strongly. We need to grapple with that. It is not OK to call the President’s supporters deplorable or to dismiss them. They’re coming from somewhere, and we all need to work harder to understand where each of us is coming from. The way we fix our poisoned politics is to have some humility about our own beliefs and some desire to walk in the other guy’s shoes. If all of us do that, we can convert destructive tribalism into constructive debate, worthy of our country.
B&NC: What do you miss most about pre-pandemic times?
Maloney: Besides crowded bars? Everything.
Himes: Amen, buddie.