Nuggets by Judy Henderson

Smart Cookie

OK, let’s face it. Dee’s forté is baked goods. And not just wicked good baked goods but wicked good baked goods that darn near anyone can enjoy, because yes! — Dee’s bakes cakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, breads and a whole lot more in a strictly allergen-free environment, where everything is gluten, dairy, soy, as well as tree-nut and peanut-free. There are even a number of egg-free items available, too. And Dee’s does it with such flair and flavor that you’d never know. So if you are or know someone who always has to pass up that piece of birthday cake or a cookie, if you’re just trying to eat a little healthier, or if you just like wicked good baked goods, then make Dee’s your destination. And Dee’s one smart cookie, not only does she serve sweets, but some great pizza, pastas, and soups for those who believe dessert should always follow a good meal. — J.H.
Dee’s One Smart Cookie
103 New London Tpke.

No Slivers Here

Frankly, it would be easier to tell you what Patty Cakes Bakery, Bagels & More does not offer their customers — but since that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun, here goes. For breakfast they serve awesome just-baked bagels and cream cheeses, as well as fresh pizza topped with scrambled eggs, cheese, and your choice of other breakfasty things. Lunch features more fresh pizzas, along with hearty sandwiches and grinders of all sorts. And while you’re on your own for dinner, who cares, because Patty’s got dessert covered with no less than 14 kinds of cakes (15 if you count the strawberry shortcake); Tiramisu; cheesecakes; apple, blueberry, cherry, and cannoli pies year round (pumpkin, pecan, and coconut custard seasonally); 25 different pastries, from tarts and éclairs to brownies — along with my personal favorite: cupcakes. And here’s the thing about cupcakes that I love (besides the taste): Being all the same size, there’s no need to feign self-control by saying, “Oh… just a sliver for me,” and I like that. But then what’s not to like at Patty Cakes. This is one sweet little place (although actually, there are two!) And they cater. — J.H.
Patty Cakes Bakery,
Bagels & More

217 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury

948 Cromwell Ave., Rocky Hill

Good Shopping

Whatever you do between now and the holidays, don’t put off spending some shopping time at The Sow’s Ear, because this little gem treats customers to a wildly diverse, delightfully distinctive, and completely engaging trove of new, old, and repurposed items that are not simply there to be sold — but discovered. And here’s the best part: Whether you’re shopping for your own pleasure or choosing a gift, whatever you select is going to be clever, because clever is what The Sow’s Ear does best. From jewelry, candles, linens, ceramics, pillows, glassware, fashion accessories, and furniture to the very cool old stuff turned into very cool new stuff, everything — new, antique, or repurposed — is gloriously uncommon. Indeed, there is simply nothing predictable or humdrum about anything you’ll find there. So pick a day and go. But be sure to eat a good lunch. You’ll be there a while. — J.H.
The Sow's Ear
2400 Main St., Glastonbury

Peddling Pedaling

Biking’s very big these days. Very. And especially in Glastonbury, where cycling trails abound in and around the town’s center, providing not only safe passage but some seriously beautiful scenery for those who love nothing better than a day of pedaling. And since those who love nothing better than a day of pedaling need something on which to pedal, along with equipment, accessories, apparel, and even pedaling pals, it just makes sense that Glastonbury is also home to a couple of great pedaling peddlers, offering all the things pedalers must have for the optimal pedaling experience: Cycling Concepts and Bicycles East. The weekend’s coming — and the weather looks good. Why not pay your local pedaling peddlers a visit? And what a coincidence. Depending on where you live, you might even want to ride your bike. — J.H.
Bicycles East
331 New London Tpke., Glastonbury
Cycling Concepts
2343 Main St., Glastonbury

No kidding.
This place is for everyone.

Children and toys. Adults and toys. It’s not really all that different, is it? And you know what? Pinwheels Toys & Games knows that — inviting both young and old and every age in between to come on in and play. They even stock the nostalgic toys their “taller” customers may remember, right alongside what they describe as “the newest, coolest toys on the block!” And they aren’t exaggerating either, with a brand list that promises A to Z enjoyment. A calendar of events — like Pokemon Swaps and their Rubik’s Cube Challenge Day, as well as craft classes that make weekends special. There’s a Customer Rewards Program, which should be music to the ears of parents whose kids are always heading off to some little friend’s birthday party. And yes! Gift wrapping is free! So stop in for a peek and stay for some fun. They don’t card. — J.H.
Pinwheels Toys & Games
60 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury

Yup. The holidays
are coming.

And while we all love them, I just sensed a lot of eyes rolling at the thought of heading to the attic (or basement), hauling out the Christmas decorations, dragging out the ladder, then climbing that ladder with tangles of twinkly lights and a great fat Santa over one’s shoulder to create the display that your kids remember (and have insisted on), that the grandkids gaze at with heartwarming wonder, that your friends all tell you they sooooooo look forward to, and that your one pesky neighbor stares at from the street until he or she can find the one dead bulb. So here’s a thought: Picture Perfect Landscape, LLC, not only provides picture-perfect landscaping to homeowners throughout the Glastonbury area, including superb landscape design, construction, planting, and maintenance. They’ll happily install your annual holiday display. Fat Santa and all! So give them a call. They’ll come for the holidays — and stay for as long as you want. — J.H.
Picture Perfect Landscape
Picture Perfect Landscape
87 Main St., Hebron

Art. And soul.

No question about it. Souls need tending. For some, cooking or baking can lift the heart, while others crave long, solitary walks in the woods or by the sea. I have friends who find calm in a good book, serenity at the symphony, or pleasure in an evening of old movies. Then there are the artists among us. The writers and musicians whose hearts beat just a little faster when the right words or notes fall into place. The dancers, who crave expression through movement. And the visual artists, whose creative spirits are enhanced by sharing their private inspiration with an appreciative public — and in Glastonbury, those visual artists do their best sharing at Glastonbury Arts. There, they can enjoy all sorts of classes and workshops, along with the studio and gallery space and exhibits and festivals that artists, established or aspiring, need to blossom and flourish — their souls a bit fuller, yet ironically, lighter. Stop in to create or appreciate. — J.H.
Glastonbury Arts
1396 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury

Start barking up
the right tree.

In the dog-eat-biscuit world of Glastonbury’s canine companions, there’s really only one thing better than food, belly scratches, and a place on the couch — and it’s called Appalachian Tails. Family-owned and operated since 2005, this place offers everything a dog could need or want, including the finest brands of food (no by-products, no corn, no wheat). All-natural treats and chewies (for healthy between-meal snacks and rewards). Their Planet Dog Store-in-a-Store for hours-of-fun toys (made in the USA and guaranteed). Great outdoor dog gear (including eco-friendly collars and leashes and coats and harnesses). Pooch training and puppy play groups (for proper manners and socialization). And yes! A DIY dog spa where you can fluff Fluffy — and leave the mess behind. And listen to this: They price match on all food and supplies. Thinking “bow WOW!?!?!!?” Then you’re probably going to want to head over and get acquainted.
— J.H.
Appalachian Tails
119 Griswold St., Bldg. 4

Choosing great gifts is,
well…something of a gift.

I don’t do a Christmas list. Or a birthday list. Never have — which, I admit, has resulted in some odd gifts. But I feel that letting gift givers pour their love into a Buddha that sprays air freshener, earrings made from pretzels, or a book of poetry in pig-Latin is the right way to go. That said, there’s no reason I can’t suggest a store, is there? (Let me know.) So, if anyone asks, just tell them that shopping for my birthday or Christmas gift at Anything Goes would be smart. Home to quality antiques and consignment furniture (including upholstered pieces)…jewelry, candles, wreaths, and other crafts (often using local resources, recycled woods and other materials) made locally by talented artisans…and featuring two local artists (Colchester’s Kim Ford, whose pottery is both practical and beautiful, and Dawn Tyler of Hebron, whose paintings come in original, matted-print, and notecard form), Anything Goes is the place to shop for me. Stop by and take it all in. Then bring something wonderful home for yourself or someone you love. — J.H.
Anything Goes
255 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury

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

Make Your
Yard Work

Robert Frost once wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors” — and I suppose the whole notion of how boundaries can actually enrich human relationships is worthy of exploration. But not here. Here, I want to share my own personal take on them, which is this: A good fence makes sense. Simple as that. And it is as simple as that because a good fence can provide definition and charm to a plain landscape, serve as the ideal backdrop for a garden of glorious flowers, offer a sense of security, ensure the safety of children and pets, and enhance privacy — all of which just makes sense. Indeed, good sense. Thinking of getting a fence? Then think Cape Cod Fence Company. Now in it’s sixth decade, they offer a great selection of wood, metal and vinyl fencing, plus year round expert installation and a host of other great stuff, including sheds and cupolas, outdoor furniture, and wooden play sets. And that means they don’t just make good sense. They make great sense. — J.H.
Cape Cod Fence Company
30 Old Albany Tpke., Canton


all nuggets copyright Judy Henderson