Summer Bargain Blitz

 

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Check It Out: 29 Deals

Admission to Mystic Seaport costs $24 for adults and $15 for children over the age of 6. That’s close to $80 for a family of four—unless, of course, you prefer to get in for free. Yes, free—all you need do is to head to your local library. The Connecticut Library Consortium’s “Museum Pass Program” allows libraries to purchase passes for free or reduced-cost admission for attractions around the state and make them available for check-out just like the latest beach read. Better yet, many libraries allow nonresidents to use their passes and some have even begun to accept reservations. Consider the Lucy Robbins Welles Library (860/665-8700 or newingtonct.gov/library) in Newington, which has passes for 29 New En-gland attractions, and allows residents and nonresidents alike to reserve passes online or via phone up to 90 days in advance! Hot tickets include the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks (free for two children and reduced admission for two adults), the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme (free for two adults and two children), Mystic Seaport and even The Eric Carle Picture Book Museum of Art in Amherst, Mass. (free for two adults and four kids) and the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, R.I. ($3 off for four people).

Shop Till You Drop

“Good deeds. Great deals.” That’s the tag line at the new Savers stores that have been popping up around the state over the past year (Orange, Waterbury, Newington, Manchester and Meriden, scheduled to open later this month)—and we couldn’t agree more. The scenario: Savers is a privately operated chain that works with nonprofit “partners.” The nonprofits ask the community for donations of reusable clothing, books and household items, and Savers pays the nonprofits (in Connecticut it’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Connecticut and Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters) based on the number of boxes and bags of merchandise they deliver, as well as any donations customers bring directly to the stores themselves. From there, Savers staff sorts through donations to select the highest-quality reusable items, prices them—amazingly low in our estimation—and displays them in impressively well-organized fashion. Yes, these are used items in most cases—though we’ve seen more than our fair share of tags still attached—but they’re top brands—Land’s End, J. Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren and Ann Taylor, to name a few—in excellent condition. A final tip: Sign up on savers.com to be notified of periodic sales. At the Memorial Day Sale most of the store was an extra 50 percent off and among our finds was a new Hanna Andersson dress for $2.49—score!

The gals at The Firehouse clothing and gift boutique (860/868-6838 or shopthefirehouse.com) in New Preston call its PennyAnnie section their “own mini Loehmann’s.” It’s stocked with current fashions priced at least 50 percent off retail. Stock changes constantly so you never know what you’ll find. Hello, Sandy Starkman, Pure, Cino, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans—where have you been hiding?

And of course we have the outlets—Tanger (860/399-8656 or tangeroutlet.com) in Westbrook and Clinton Crossing (860/664-0700 or premiumoutlets.com) in Clinton—we always need to check in with what’s new here. Some 130 top-notch brand-name outlets and 20 to 65 percent off retail are hard to resist.

Westbrook additions include the LOFT Outlet, Catherines Plus Sizes, Uniform Destination, Lids, Buxton and the HANESbrands Outlet mega store for L’eggs, Hanes, Bali, Playtex and Champion. Clinton newbies are Talbots, Adidas, Gymboree, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Crocs—we saw women’s Mary Janes for $4.99—and DKNY (opening soon). Before you go, be sure to check both centers’ websites for coupons.

Music To Our Ears

Don’t you just love the words “free” and “concert” when they come together? Lucky us: Connecticut in the summer is loaded with ’em! Swing by the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts (203/221-2153 or levittpavilion.com) on the banks of the Saugatuck River in Westport just about any night this summer and you’re in for a treat. Each day of the week has a specific focus: Sundays are all about jazz, blues and big band, Wednesdays feature a children’s series, Fridays mean party bands and Saturdays feature folk, rock and blues—choose your groove and remember your lawn chair. Jazz returns to the New Haven Green on Aug. 14 and 21 via the celebrated New Haven Jazz Festival (203/393-3002 or jazzhaven.org). Performers include Joe Morris, Claudia Acuna, the Winard Harper Sextet and the Bobby Watson Quartet. The Manchester Bicentennial Band Shell (860/432-7728 or manchesterbandshell.com) has been jammin’ all summer long with concerts on most Sunday, Wednesday and Friday nights. Hot shows still to come include the Stardust Dance Band (Aug. 1), the Pratt & Whitney Screamin’ Eagles Big Band (Aug. 4) and Johnny Prytko and the Good Times Band (Aug. 11). Finally, The United States Coast Guard Band (860/444-8466 or uscg.mil/band) ends the summer on the waterfront with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture at Fort Trumbull State Park in New London on Sept. 5—get out that red, white and blue.

$12

 Paul Mitchell: The School (203/740-0443 or school.paulmitchell.edu/danbury-ct) in Danbury and North Haven Academy, a Paul Mitchell Partner School (203/985-0222 or paulmitchell.edu/north-haven-ct), are both open to the public for everything from a basic cut and styling to coloring, perms, highlights and up-dos. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can make an appointment if you prefer. Licensed professionals supervise the students performing the services, and two-tier pricing is determined by whether “your” student is phase one or phase two (honors students). To give you an idea: A cut/style is $12 with a phase-one student, $17 with a phase-two—not bad.

Summer Bargain Blitz

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