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By Pat Grandjean
You don’t have to be cheap to enjoy a good cheap date. “Sensible” might be a better word.
So you believe your romance is written in the stars? Then you might want to head for the next free, public planetarium show and celestial observation at Central Connecticut State University’s Copernican Observatory and Planetarium—not to have such silly superstitions confirmed but to get a peek at the real thing. Planetarium shows are scheduled the first and third Saturday of every month at 8 p.m., followed by an observation session (if skies are clear). Here’s hoping the planets align for your visit. 860/832-3399; ccsu.edu/astronomy.
There are a zillion reasons to admire the superiority of the bald eagle. Eagles are masters of the coolest aerial courtship rituals ever, including one maneuver—a talon-locking, death-defying free-fall dive—that makes a shared bungee jump look pretty wimpy. They mate for life, but still live in the now: You don’t see eagle widow(er)s hanging around the assisted-living roost looking bereft. And the male is truly evolved, helping in the construction of the family nest (renovated each year) and staying in to incubate the eggs when his mate wants to go hunting with the girls. Anyway, you won’t necessarily scope the whole domestic 411 by going to a bald-eagle observation at Southbury’s Shepaug Dam, held Wed., Sat. & Sun. 9-1. But February is the ideal time to see their winter fishing technique at the dam, a prime spot because the onsite hydroelectric station keeps that stretch of the Shepaug River from freezing solid. Since the observation area opened in 1986, more than 130,000 bird lovers have visited; last year, they were rewarded with sightings of up to 20 eagles a day. 800/ 368-8954; shepaugeagles.info.
A Toast for Two
You drink plenty of wine in the spring, summer and fall; what you may not realize is that a winter weekend is a gloriously romantic time to visit Connecticut’s vineyards to enjoy a wine tasting—especially when their fields are covered in a pure blanket of white. Here are two highlights of the state’s wine trail: At Hopkins Vineyard, set on the northern shore of Lake Waramaug in New Preston, you can try seven wines for $6 per person, including a recent American Wine Society gold-medal winner, the 2008 estate-bottled, semisweet Westwind. Goshen’s Sunset Meadow Vineyards offers a tasting of five wines for $5.50; recommendations include the Grand Harvest International medal winner Cayuga White. 860/868-7954, hopkinsvineyard.com; or 860/201-4654, sunsetmeadowvineyards.com.