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In Our Neighborhood: A Visit to Bantam, CT

The Bantam Cinema is Connecticut's oldest continuously operated movie house. Opened in 1927 as 'The Rivoli', it originally showed silent movies accompanied by a Wurlitzer organ. There were several owners since that time but in 1990 it was thoroughly modernized by Lisa Hedley who also co-founded the Mayflower Spa. She started the 'Meet the Filmaker' series in which writers, actors and directors (Mia Farrow, William Styron and Arthur Miller to name a few...) discussed their work with the audience. In 2007, Ms. Hedley sold the cinema to David Koch, Sidney Koch and Elizabeth Merz who continued the series and brought Daniel Day-Lewis, Rebecca Miller and Joan Rivers to the theater.

Coming this January are three unique films:The Imitation Game, a story of war hero Alan Turing who in 1952 is arrested on charges of indecent activity; Foxcatcher which stars Steve Carell and tells of the relationship between a multi-millionare and two wrestlers and lastly, A Most Violent Year which highlights a particularly bloody period in New York City. To read more about the Bantam Cinema and for movie times, click here.

Before or after your visit to the cinema, a great local BBQ is right next door. Woodie, the owner of Wood's Pit BBQ, learned his culinary skills and knowledge of Mexican dishes during a long excursion in and around Arizona. He made another journey to the South including the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida to learn the magic of authentic pit BBQ and how to create the secret 'dry rub' that is still used today. Woodie can be found in the kitchen every morning, six days a week to make sure the tradition of great cooking continues in the restaurant. Some of the local favorites include pulled pork, ribs and fajitas. The maragritas are definitely worth a try and are made frozen, up or on the rocks. To see more menu options, click here.

Another great place to visit in the town is the Bantam Bread Company. This is perfect place to purchase artisanal breads and rustic pastries made fresh every day. The shop also features many local products including honey, maple syrup, cheese, seasonal organic fruit and vegetables as well as the work of local artisans. They also carry a wonderful selection of imported and regional cheeses as well butters. You can also find unique jams and jellies, mustards, oils, vinegars, sauces, tea and coffee. For more details on what is in the store, please click here.

A must stop in Bantam is the Arethusa Farm Dairy Ice Cream store. All the delicious flavors are made locally on the farm with the milk from their own dairy herd. You can also buy a wide range of Arethusa cheeses to take home. Right next door is Al Tavolo, a gourmet bistro run by the owners of the Arethusa, which is the epitome of a farm to table restaurant. The roasted beef tenderloin with a farm fresh cheese crust or the roasted Amish chicken ballantine wrapped with rillette are just some of savory dinner choices on the menu. This is exquisite spot for a dinner with friends or a celebratory meal. See more Al Tavolo menu options by clicking here.

Make it your New Year's resolution to vist Bantam, CT, one of the most charming towns in Litchfield County!