Name: Vernon/Manchester Holistic Breakfast
Meetings: Third Fridays from 9-11 a.m.
Location: The Gathering
471 Hartford Road, Manchester, CT
Map & Directions
Contact: Jon Roe
Phone: (860) 875-4101
Year Founded: 2002
Email List: Yes
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The Vernon/Manchester Holistic Breakfast (formerly the Greater Vernon Holistic Breakfast) is not an organization, but a loose group of mostly practitioners meeting monthly for breakfast. Everyone is invited to join us and the conversation varies.
To keep it simple we don't have planned speakers and keep it informal. Although listed as beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 11 a.m. some people come late, some leave early depending on their day's schedule.
The first hour is chatting and eating. Around ten we come together and go around the table doing introductions, passing out information and updating the group on our life and activities. After that people break into little groups to learn more about something of interest they heard or just catching up with friends.
The breakfasts began in September of 2002 when DEBBY BAILEY and JON ROE planned to have breakfast together and decided to see what would happen if they invited a few friends. BETH LEAS of Total Life Care in Norwalk hosted a breakfast group and the idea intrigued Jon. Six people, including current regulars NORTON BERKOWITZ and REBECCA LOCICERO, attended that first breakfast. Although small everyone wanted to do it again and invite others.
The group grew with an average attendance of about 15 people. Some come regularly and some occasionally. At first it was a typical networking group with people promoting their workshops and businesses, but after a time it became more of a social gathering as we shared each others triumphs and challenges.
It was hoped the concept would catch on around the state and about a half dozen breakfast groups started, but the only other one to continue is a first Monday group in Enfield, which formerly met in Windsor for 12 years.
The group met for the first eight years at Charlie's. When he retired in December 2010 we moved to the Vernon Diner. In May 2012 we moved to the R Family Restaurant in Charlie's old location where we could have our own room for the meetings.
When R Family Restaurant closed in July 2015 we moved to Mitchell's Restaurant in Vernon. In February 2017 it was necessary to change again and we moved to our current location at The Gathering in Manchester. Change happens and we flow with it.
It's impossible to say how many new friendships were formed or how businesses were supported. We obviously came to know much more about each other's work and look for ways we can support each other.
In 2003 ALAN SLOBODIEN, Vernon's Youth Services Bureau Director and a holistic health advocate, was looking for a way to educate people in the area about alternate and complementary health resources. He and Jon decided to produce a health fair at a local school and with the support of the breakfast group the first Greater Vernon Holistic Healthfest was held in March 2004. The seventh Healthfest was held March 2015.
In 2007 KURT and DEB RAVENWOOD began discussing at the breakfasts ways we could work more closely together as a holistic community. We invited ANASTASIA OSWIAK to facilitate meetings at our breakfasts in November and December and the Alliance For Holistic Living was born.
At times we have interesting guests. In March of 2008 ELIZABETH EISENAUER bought her friend LEE LAWRENCE from Pennsylvania to a breakfast. Lee has a unique approach to healing and teaching. He did an unplanned mini workshop at the breakfast and we encouraged him to return to the area with a full workshop, which he has done several times.
Who Comes To Breakfast?
Most of our breakfast group are practitioners, some full time and some part time, although everyone is invited. Those ready to begin a practice find it particularly beneficial as they get suggestions, ideas and support to guide them on their journey.
Some come who are just curious or are looking for a place they can talk about their own holistic and spiritual experiences. And those who have been coming for a long time enjoy being part of a community.