Category Archives: Beach

Gloria Drifts Away

For years, “Gloria” was a glorious sight.

Alan Sterling built the wooden oyster boat himself. He named it after an old girlfriend, and took it oystering on 150 acres of beds, between Compo Beach and Cockenoe Island. It was a tough job, but Alan — a Staples grad — loved it from the day he began, in 1964.

Alan moored Gloria in Gray’s Creek, between Compo Beach Road and the Longshore exit. Some winters, he lived on the boat. It was cold — but it was home.

On July 4, 2014, Alan died of a massive heart attack.

Since then, Gloria has just kind of drifted. She was Alan’s baby, and now he’s gone.

The other day, “06880” reader Bruce McFadden spotted Gloria abandoned, on the Gray’s Creek shore.

Gloria, on the Gray's Creek shore. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

Gloria, on the Gray’s Creek shore. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

He wonders if anyone has plans for the boat. The Honda outboard has value. Perhaps, he says, funds from its sale could be used to place a plaque or bench at Longshore’s E.R. Strait Marina, honoring one of Westport’s last commercial fishermen.

The Davis Family Signs Out

Yesterday morning was the Davises’ last in Westport.

After 50 years in the same house, Bob (age 93) and his wife Agnes (87) headed south.

Nancy — one of their 5 born-and-raised-in-Westport kids — created a few dozen road signs. No, not the kind you grew so tired of during election season. These were much more personal.

Davis sign 1

They said things like:

  • “All 5 Davis kids had a great upbringing in Westport, thanks to you.”
  • “This is where we learned to ice skate.”
  • “St. Luke’s and the diner will miss you on Sundays.”
  • “The Minuteman statue will wonder where you went.”
  • “Enjoy this view one more time. Drink it in.”
  • “You have lived here a long time. You made a good life here.”
  • “Godspeed, Mom and Dad. I love you.”

Nancy placed them along Greens Farms Road, down South Compo to the beach, then back through Saugatuck. Mary Lou — another daughter — made sure her parents saw the signs as she drove them toward I-95, and on to their new life.

Davis sign 2 (2)

Bob and Agnes leave behind half a century of involvement here: Little League, Boy Scouts, PTAs, the Norwalk Hospital, mentoring, the Perkin-Elmer Retiree Club.

Davis sign 4

“I know I’ll miss my folks,” Rick — one of their sons — says.

“But I think they’ll miss Westport just as much.”

Davis sign 3

Davis sign 5

Just Another Day In Paradise

Not bad for November 8. Not bad at all!

Compo Beach - November 8, 2015

Old Mill Beach - November 8, 2015

Sherwood Mill Pond - November 8, 2015

Click on or hover over any photo to enlarge.

A Pond For All Seasons

Yesterday’s “06880” story — on a new book about the Sherwood Mill Pond — inspired many readers.

And it inspired Kendall Gardiner to send some photos.

Kendall is a longtime Mill Pond resident. Like everyone at Old Mill and Compo Cove, she sees the pond in ways those of us not fortunate to live there seldom do.

Kendall has photographed the Mill Pond in every season, and all kinds of weather. She knows it as a living, breathing place — with faces and moods as varied as any human being.

Among her favorites:

Mill Pond summer day - Kendall Gardiner

Mill Pond after storm - Kendall Gardiner

Mill Pond - winter - Kendall Gardiner

Click on or hover over photos to enlarge.


Dr. Jesse Wexler recently retired from his radiology practice.

His new job: scary window artist.

Dan and Betsy Kahn hired him to decorate their Soundview Drive home for Halloween.

Halloween 3 - Betsy Kahn

They loved all his work.

Halloween 2 - Betsy Kahn

But Alfred was a touch of genius.

(Photos/Betsy P. Kahn)

(Photos/Betsy P. Kahn)

Well, We Needed It…

…the rain, that is.

Though not necessarily the flooding earlier today at Burying Hill Beach.

(Photo/Chris Grimm)

Click or hover over photo to enlarge. (Photo/Chris Grimm)

Meanwhile, this was the scene earlier today, at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Chip Stephens)

(Photo/Chip Stephens)

The forecast for tomorrow is partly cloudy, with a high of 71.

Friday and Saturday should be — once again — beautiful.

Just Another Day In Paradise

Days grow shorter. The air gets chillier.

But even though it’s late October, our string of spectacular weekends continues.

Alert “06880” photographer Betsy P. Kahn captured these great Westport scenes earlier today:

Compo Beach - October 25, 2015 - Betsy P. Kahn

Compo Beach 2 - October 25, 2015 - Betsy P Kahn

Saugatuck - October 25, 2015 - Betsy P Kahn

(Photos/Betsy P. Kahn)

The holiday decorations just have to wait.


Pachelbel Meets Compo Beach At Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's

Tony Fama’s Compo

For most of us in late October, Compo Beach is just a memory.

We occasionally swing by, just to say hi. But unless we live near the shore, an afternoon is no day at the beach.

What a shame.

The other day, alert “06880” reader Susan Holden took Tony Fama — visiting from Boston — to Compo. He’s a photographer, so of course he brought his camera.

Here’s what he saw:

Compo Beach - Tony Fama 1

Compo Beach - Tony Fama 3

Compo Beach - Tony Fama 2

Click or hover over any photo to enlarge. (Photos/Tony Fama)

Tony appreciated those scenes as a visitor.

We’re so lucky. We can enjoy them any time we want.

Mike Goss Covers Westport

You can’t judge a book by its cover. But you can sure judge Westport by its New Yorker covers. Also by the 20 photos of the exact spots depicted on those covers, taken lovingly by Mike Goss and exhibited now, side by side, at the Westport Historical Society.

The photographic reproductions are astonishingly well done. They’re taken in the same season the covers were painted or sketched, at the same time of day and in the same light. The moods of each image and painting match. Taken together, they show Westport — then and now — in all its gorgeous, small town, maritime, bustling, artsy glory.

What is particularly remarkable is that Goss came late to the craft of photography. And the exhibit itself was designed long after “The New Yorker in Westport” — the wonderful book by Eve Potts and Andrew Bentley — was in proofs. It shows 50 full-size covers of Westport scenes, by artists like Charles Addams, Perry Barlow, Whitney Darrow, Jr., Albert Hubbell, Garrett Price and Charles Saxon.

Mike Goss, on the other side of the camera.

Mike Goss, on the other side of the camera. (Photo/Helen Klisser During)

Goss spent his professional career as a financial executive. After retiring in 2013, he took a few classes in one of his hobbies: photography.

Bentley — who had already written his “New Yorker” book — asked his friend Goss to take a few promotional photos.

Bentley liked what he saw. Goss took more. He showed nearly 2 dozen to the Westport Historical Society, and the Westport Arts Center’s Helen Klisser During. An exhibit was born.

Taking those photos was far harder than point-and-shoot. Each cover showed a different season. Goss created a spreadsheet, so he could take each image at the right moment. He tried to mimic the covers as much as possible, including light, color, even blurred lines.

His first photo, of Round Pond in the snow, was shot last February. Others had to wait for summer. “I drove by the beach for weeks, waiting for a lifeguard chair to appear,” Goss recalls, of another memorable cover.

Round Pond -- then and now. (Photo/Copyright Mike Goss)

Round Pond — then and now. (Photo/Copyright Mike Goss)

There were other challenges too.

“Artists can take licenses with their paintings,” he notes. “They can move buildings around, and eliminate overhead wires.”

A photographer can’t do that. As a result, he says, “some photos are not as bucolic as the covers.”

Some of the artwork was “cartoon-y,” Goss adds. A 1955 magazine cover showing construction of the Connecticut Turnpike showed a beautiful tree-lined street on one side, with steam shovels digging in a straight line on the other.

He spent hours trying to find attractive lines, before ending up one night on an I-95 overpass. That photo did not make it into the main exhibit. It’s shown instead in a side exhibit, “The Cutting Room Floor,” alongside other images that did not quite work.

The Bridge Street Bridge was a favorite spot in 19xx. It remains an icon today. (Photo/Copyright Mike Goss)

The Bridge Street Bridge was a favorite spot in 1954. It remains an icon today. (Photo/Copyright Mike Goss)

Others work fantastically. Goss loves his Round Pond shot, tinted blue and with the sun shining through trees. He’s also very proud of the deli counter at Oscar’s. Those 2 could stand on their own, he says.

Others would not. A dark picture of the train station is “ugly” — just like the original cover. Yet “complementing each other, they’re very interesting.”

The entire process taught Goss the value of a collection. “If we just did one cover, it might not have been interesting. But when you put them all together, you get a real sense of what Westport is all about.”

There’s a certain sense of history — but also timelessness — at the Historical Society exhibit. The bunting in Goss’ photo of the Westport Country Playhouse balcony matches Helen Hokinson’s 1936 painting almost exactly. The rafters and balustrade are almost identical too.

The Westport Country Playhouse -- yesterday and today. (Photo/Copyright Mike Goss)

The Westport Country Playhouse — yesterday and today. (Photo/Copyright Mike Goss)

Another strong image is of the railroad tracks in Saugatuck. A 1963 cover captures the beauty, in a strong black and blue painting. Goss does the same.

Just as there is whimsy in New Yorker covers, some photos elicit smiles. Next to 1961 artwork of children reading comics on a green Sunday morning, Goss captured his own kids in the same sort of setting — reading iPads.

Goss spent 6 months on this project, and took thousands of photos. You can see them at the Westport Historical Society through October 26 (weekdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturdays 12-4 p.m.).

They’ll also live forever on his website:

(Interested in the “New Yorker in Westport” book? Thanks to the generosity of Andy and Fiona Bentley and the Potts Book Fund, every cent of the $40 cover price goes directly to the Historical Society. Click here to order.)

The cover of Eve Potts and Andrew Bentley's book.

The cover of Eve Potts and Andrew Bentley’s book.