This cheese shop really
takes the cake.

Yeah, I know. That’s kind of mixing metaphors. But it’s true. The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook really is in a class all by itself, and that’s because the minute you walk thru the door you’re greeted with a friendly smile, and a helpful staff who take the guess work out of buying artisanal cheeses. Stocked with some of the finest selections of cheeses in Connecticut, including cheese from all over the world, like France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Denmark, England, Switzerland, Canada, Germany, Holland, Ireland, and Norway, as well as some wonderful domestic cheeses. Indeed, it leaves you saying “Cheese, that’s a lotta Cheese” because it is. And don’t forget the delightful variety of charcuterie, handmade pastas, local breads, coffees, fruit, olive oils, condiments, chocolates, and gelatos. Of course, that’s not the only reason this cheese shop is so popular. It’s popular because it’s a relaxed sort of place, a place where stopping in feels more like an adventure than an errand. But don’t take my word for it, you really need to go see for yourself. After all that, the proof is (sorry!) in the pudding. — J.H.
The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook
33 Main St., Centerbrook

Feel well. Look well. Be well.
Whether you’re a visitor to Connecticut’s beautiful shoreline for a couple of weeks or months — or a year-rounder, there’s one place you’ll want to know about and it’s called Essence Center for Beauty and Wellness.

Located on Main Street in Old Saybrook, Essence was founded by Frank Jarrabeck, whose goal was to blend “positive energy and a zest for life with an appreciation of beauty in all its forms,” and he has more than succeeded. He has created “an oasis” where the synergy of outer beauty and inner wellness enhance one’s sense of self. And who can resist that?

It all begins with their salon services, which include cutting, styling, coloring, highlighting, and keratin treatments, as well as the up-dos and braids and make-up applications and make-up lessons special occasions call for. Skin care services comprise European, hydrolift, collagen, ultra-sonic anti-aging, four-layer, Express Radiant, Gentleman’s, Anti-aging, teen, and Sea-C Spa facials, as well as micro-channeling, red and blue light therapy, glycolic and back treatments, new Sound Therapy Treatments, and waxings. Essence also takes great pleasure in welcoming brides and their bridal parties on their big day, along with family members and guests — and even greater pleasure sending everyone off to the wedding looking and feeling their very best.

Ready for a new look? Increased self-confidence? A fresh perspective on things? Make an appointment at Essence for whatever you feel you need or simply want. And remember. You deserve it.— J.H.
Essence Center for Beauty and Wellness
121 Main St., Old Saybrook

Making “Merry” Memories
Imagine a warm, slightly humid summer evening — the sun casting long shadows and filling the sky with a mix of pastels as it arcs gently toward the western horizon. Children of all ages, the tips of their noses still pink from a long day at the beach, cluster eagerly around parents and grandparents, as extended families follow the sounds of a calliope and laughter coming from The Carousel At Old Lyme, the antique Allan Herschel Carousel, a fixture at Old Lyme’s Sound View Beach since the 1960s.

When it comes into view, they all stop to watch in awe, as all 24 of the merry-go-round’s colorful hand-carved horses and its two stationary chariots whirl by. The youngest riders giggle with pleasure, while the older ones, being taller and a bit more adventuresome, grab for the brass ring as the platform circles the center pole.

When the carousel slows to a stop, those clutching their tickets surge forward, trading places with those disembarking. The former hold on tight, anxious to begin their turn, while the latter make a bee line over to the Carousel Shop for penny candy, beach toys, and inflatables — not to mention 40 flavors of premium ice cream, yogurt, premium soft serve, sherbet or sorbet. Those still struggling to finish their cones and scoops dawdle in the dwindling twilight, while others browse the casual beach attire available right next door at the Carousel Shop Too.

Soon, daylight wanes and the stars begin to appear. The moon, whether full or new, glows just a bit brighter with each passing minute. And as families begin heading home to cottages awaiting their return, images of the evening’s adventure tuck themselves safely away to provide a lifetime of fond memories. — J.H.
The Carousel At Old Lyme
75-81 Hartford Ave., Old Lyme

Sometimes, the grass really is greener.
Especially if it’s on the other side of the fence — where DeMar’s Landscaping and their partner, Connecticut Irrigation, have been busy. But don’t be jealous, because you can have a DeMar’s yard, too. Starting from scratch? DeMar’s will provide not only a stunning landscape design but quality topsoil, expert seeding, installation of all trees and shrubs, and both the fertilization program and irrigation system capable of ensuring optimal growth, health, and beauty. Got a well-established yard that just needs better care? Not to worry. DeMar’s is pleased to jump in with whatever thatching, top seeding, new plantings, pruning, mowing, and fertilizing is called for, as well as the irrigation system essential for everything to flourish. Need pavers or a retaining wall? No problem. And here are two more advantages to having a DeMar’s yard: As summer wanes, they are ready to handle all your fall leaf and winter snow removal handily. So! Want to be green with envy — or “the other side of that fence,” where the grass (and everything else) really is greener? Yup. Thought so. Give DeMar’s a call. — J.H.
DeMar's Landscaping, LLC
Connecticut Irrigation
454 E. Main St., Branford











Putting the “Din”
in Dinner

There’s only one place we know of where you are guaranteed actual sizzle with your meal, and that’s Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Fact is, Ruth’s Chris Steak House learned a long time ago that broiling the finest cuts of beef to perfection, topping them with a buttery mix of freshly chopped parsley, then serving them on a 500-degree plate so customers can actually hear the savory flavor isn’t simply the way to a man’s (or woman’s) heart. It’s the shortest route. And when they discovered that they could make chicken and chops and seafood deafeningly delectable, it sort of lit a fire under them — and before you knew it, Ruth’s became an international favorite. The good news is there’s one close by in Newington. Where? Just follow your ears. — J.H.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
2513 Berlin Tpke., Newington

A Small Company with
a Passion for a Big Idea

Lasa Extract is one of Connecticut’s newest CBD manufacturers, but the management team brings decades of history and experience to the products they create. The Suffield-based business located in a repurposed tobacco factory, was established by former jai alai player, arborist and woodworking-aficionado Rick Sotil and his wife Valentina.

For nearly two decades, Rick, a native of Cuba who grew up in the Basque region of Spain, was a standout jai alai player, winning world championships and serving as the players’ union leader. After retiring from the sport, his love of woodworking drove him to launch Sotil Tree Service, all while salvaging wood to create one-of-a-kind tables and furniture. When Connecticut launched its hemp program in 2019, Rick and Valentina saw an opportunity to utilize the old tobacco factory for a new business – extracting CBD oil.

Today, the couple works with a small team to produce some of the purest hemp oil on the market, using environmentally sound, state-of-the-art processes. In its extraction processing, Lasa Extract uses carbon dioxide, a naturally occurring gas that leaves no residue, while protecting the environment.

Rick capitalized on long-standing relationships to form partnerships with local farmers who provide hemp; a kiln used for years to dry wood for Sotil’s furniture projects now dries racks of hemp; the buildings that housed the tree service offices and a furniture showroom are now also home to a lab and clean rooms where the hemp is processed and CBD oil extracted. “Lasa,” which means “calm” in Basque, is the nickname under which Rick played jai alai. Lasa Extract hopes to bring that calm to the CBD business.
Lasa Extract LLC
426 South Grand St., Suffield

Elizabeth’s 24 Hour Home Care
At Elizabeth’s Home Care Agency LLC, our philosophy is two part, first to provide qualified personnel to the home care industry and second to provide our clients with the peace of mind they deserve. Top-quality service with affordable and competitive pricing.

Elizabeth cared for the first woman doctor to graduate Yale University, Dr. Jean Celentano. Elizabeth’s mission for the company is to bring comfort, safety, and peace of mind with exceptional experienced care. Elizabeth’s Home Care Agency provides 24 hour 7 days a week in-home care for senior clients who need assistance and want to continue their daily activities while in the comfort of their own home. With the help of our experienced staff of licensed providers it is Elizabeth’s goal to treat our clients and staff like they are part of our extended family.

Elizabeth A. Hoban, Founder
Elizabeth’s Home Care Agency
127 Cedar St., Branford 203-488-8889 www.elizabethshomecare.com

Repair. Refresh. Restore.
Remodel. Reimagine. Rejoice.

What a time we’ve had since January of 2020, with everyone staying home as much as possible — and very few places to go even if you had a mind to. And while “normal” is returning and the worst is behind us, many are just downright weary of their surroundings, which is precisely when Gulick & Co. Renovation Contractors — winner of local awards for historic preservation, recipient of five consecutive Best of Houzz awards, and well known for more than 15 years along The Shoreline — becomes a lot more than a renovation contractor and something of a hero.

Gulick & Company’s myriad of services include consulting with prospective homebuyers. Design and planning for homes in special zoning and historic districts where feasibility studies, permitting, and presentations are required. Expert general contracting and construction management. Precision window installations, repairs, and replacements. Superbly crafted custom cabinetry. Residential additions designed to provide that extra room while blending seamlessly with existing architectural features. Years of historical preservation experience, with a preservationist right on staff. Interior and exterior renovations, from kitchen, bath, or basement projects to whole-house remodels. They even refurbish barns, handling everything from complex structural repairs to the fine art of transforming a farm’s simple outbuilding into an elegant home.

And the Gulick team does it all with a commitment to “the green building that promotes efficient insulation and heating and cooling systems, healthy indoor air quality, and the use of sustainable materials” — all while remaining heedful of each customer’s needs and budget.

If it’s time to repair, refresh, restore, remodel, or reimagine aspects of your living space — or your whole house, then rejoice. Whether your needs are large or small, contemporary or historic, Gulick & Co. is ready to go. — J.H.
Gulick & Co. Renovation
45 Wall St., Madison







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