Roundup: Blight House, Tiny House, Stiles Market …


Partrick Road is historic, winding and beautiful. Tucked into Westport’s northwest corner, it’s one of our town’s true gems.

Except for the property that’s sat, unoccupied, for nearly 30 years.

First the home was abandoned. Then it became blighted. After it was removed, the lot became overgrown and unkempt.

The 3-decade saga is nearly over. New owners bought the property. They’re planning to build a nice, single family home.

The weeds and rotted wood will soon be gone. The entire neighborhood’s 3 decades of frustration is at an end.

Meanwhile, the homeowners would love to know more about its history — and previous plans to subdivide the land. If you know anything, click “Comments” below.

The formerly blighted house on Partrick Road.


Require masks, or not? Take a hard line, or soft? Make customers make a choice, or give them options?

With masks largely optional now — but COVID still real — every business has to decide what’s right for their customers (and employees).

It’s not easy. But Stiles Market seems to have threaded the needle as well as anyone. Their sign says:

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


Aspetuck Land Trust is seeking a community engagement coordinator. This is a paid 11-month service position through TerraCorps — the conservation version of AmeriCorps.

The coordinator would inspire and educate homeowners about how to build biodiversity into their home landscapes and yards. This is a key goal of Aspetuck Land Trust’s Green Corridor Initiative: to save the planet, one conserved acre and one homeowner at a time.

Activities include creating hands-on classes at ALT’s innovative model native landscapes, helping organize th annual native plant sale, and implementing a local “native” garden tour to showcase homeowners who have taken steps to create biodiverse yards. Click here for the full job description.

Qualifications include at least a high school diploma or GED (ideally a 4-year degree). The coordinator should want a career in conservation, and be passionate about repairing our natural world. This is a great opportunity for a recent college graduate to gain valuable work experience with a land trust.

For more information, email David Brant:


Several readers sent photos of last night’s gorgeous moonrise. (Tonight’s is the actual full moon. The “Strawberry Moon” — a signal to Native Americans to pick strawberries — will be the last “supermoon” of 2021, Betsy Pollak says.

“06880” readers sent in plenty of great photos. Among them:

(Photo/Dick Wingate)

And this:

(Photo/Alexandra Gay)


Politicians love photo ops. And free meals.

So the turnout was great yesterday, when Romanacci Cafe celebrated its expansion on Railroad Place.

Romanacci Xpress — which opened 5 years ago — has moved into the old Commuter Coffee location next door. Owners Graziano and Maurizio Ricci created an inviting new restaurant, with full bar and outside seating.

Guests yesterday were treated to a nice feast, including fresh burrata and seasonal zucchini flowers.

Among the dignitaries in the photo below: Selectmen Jim Marpe, Jen Tooker and Melissa Kane; State Senator Will Haskell; State Representative Jonathan Steinberg; Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce executive director Matthew Mandell; members of the Chamber staff; the Ricci brothers, and their staff.


Staples High School graduate and volunteer firefighter Peter Zarges died peacefully at home last month. He was 74.

After graduating from Staples High School, he joined the US Navy. He served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk off the coast of Vietnam and North Korea during the Pueblo crisis.

Peter began his 40-year career with the various ATT companies in 1970. He started with Southern New England Telephone, and moved to Southwestern Bell.

His lifelong commitment to the fire service started at Coleytown Volunteer Engine Company #6. He continued with Klein Volunteer Fire Department. Throughout the years he served as lieutenant, captain, district chief and fire marshal. Peter was also an advisor to Exploring Post 31.

Peter is survived by his wife of 49 years, Janet; 2 children, Liz (Kelcey) Trotty and Robert (Corey) Zarges; grandchild Jace Trotty, brother and sister-in-law David and Debbie Zarges and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Gary Sinise Foundation or Fisher House.

Peter Zarges


In all the discussions about current politics, it’s easy to forget Newt Gingrich. But we would not be where we are today without the 1990s-era House Speaker.

Princeton historian and CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer just wrote a new book: Burning Down The House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party.

On July 7 (7 p.m., Zoom) he’ll discuss Gingrich, American politics and more. The program is sponsored by the Westport Library and League of Women Voters. Bruce McGuirk, leader of the Library’s Pages Through the Ages history discussion group, leads the conversation.

Click here to register. Bookplate signed copies of the new paperback are available here.

Julian Zelizer


Westport Country Playhouse presents a virtual symposium, in conjunction with the on-demand staging of the new comedy “Tiny House.”

The free Symposium features playwright Michael Gotch an WCP associate artistic director David Kennedy. will be on the Playhouse’s website from June 30 through July 18. They’ll hat about the themes of utopia and apocalypse, political polarization, downsizing, escaping urban life, and fresh starts — plus the challenges of producing a play virtually.

In “Tiny House,” fireworks fly when family, friends, and quirky neighbors come together for a Fourth of July barbecue at the off-the-grid, isolated mountain paradise of a young, urban couple.  “Tiny House” streams on demand from June 29 through July 18. A one-night, in-person screening at the Playhouse is set for Tuesday (June 29, 7 p.m.). Click here for more information.


Lou Weinberg sends today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo — and details:

“Mason bees pollinate up to 80 times more than honeybees. They are native too — and they don’t sting!”

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)


And finally … yesterday, “06880” saluted Banff, Canada’s first national park. Today we note the 141st anniversary of the first performance of “O Canada.” One hundred years later, it became the country’s official national anthem.

It certainly is a lot easier to sing than ours.

10 responses to “Roundup: Blight House, Tiny House, Stiles Market …

  1. Victor Belyaev

    I believe the vacant lot is at 46 Partrick Road. I do not have the story on what is happening there. I do remember reading about it somewhere though. I thought it was your blog.

    The picture in the post is of the old 21 Partrick Road house that had a fire in 2010. Here is the story:

    The burned down house got demolished and a brand new house was built on its spot in 2012.

  2. Victor Belyaev

    Here is your story, Dan, about 46 Partrick Road:

    “The word on the street about this one is very interesting. Apparently there was a bad divorce 20 or so years ago. The husband didn’t want his wife to have the home — but he didn’t want to live there himself. So he pays taxes faithfully every year — and does nothing else.

    It’s looked like this — abandoned and forlorn — longer than most residents have lived nearby.

    How oddly comforting to know that in a town with such a tear-it-down, build-it-back-bigger mentality, at least 3 traditional homes remain standing.

    Sort of.”

  3. My compliments to Stiles Market for their COVID sign. If you’d like to show your vaccination status and support a nonprofit, get your COVID vaccination pins at: All proceeds to charity, 10 handmade designs. Using the link will save you 25%.

  4. Fred Cantor

    Re your statement, “With masks largely optional now…”: just to clarify, masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals indoors in retail settings.

    Quite frankly, I like—and believe that many others feel the same way about—the signage/policy of Coffee An’, which spells out that fact on its sign while also requesting that everyone wear masks—and sets up social distancing markers on its sidewalk right outside.

  5. Michael Calise

    Mason bees are interesting and wonderful to observe. They live and multiply naturally in crevices. They can be kept domestically in hollow tubes such as harvested phragmites . the resultant tubes provide a home which they pack from end to end. they can be an amazing addition to your property and your garden.

  6. Matt Murray

    About the photo op:

    OMG! Free food and a photo op?! Was EMS there in case of a stampede? Hold on a sec. No Tony Hwang? Has the Earth spun off its axis? :^)

    Old joke: What’s the most dangerous place in Fairfield County? Getting in between a photographer and Tony Hwang.

  7. John D McCarthy

    Last time I checked (Monday) there was now no place to buy a cup of coffee on Railroad Place. Will Cafe Romanacci be opening up the coffee spot again?

  8. This house and Post Road West were the impetus for the anti-blight ordinance. I was contacted by a constituent who complained that the Town would do NOTHING about it. I inquired at Assistant Town Attorney Gail Kelly’s office and she handed me a file two inches thick and asked if I wanted to give it a try to pass a blight ordinance. With her hard work and sharp legal mind, we got it passed in 2012 by 26-3-2 vote at the RTM. The owner tore it down before he could be cited for Blight. Meanwhile, the Blight Board has done a wonderful job implementing the ordinance. The owner of 46 Partrick lived in Penthouse B in nyc, waiting for the Town to give in to his wishes to subdivide. Never happened.
    Congratulations to the new owners. Build a house of your dreams. Welcome to Westport.