Roundup: Jose Feliciano, Hiking Trails, Utility Wires …

José Feliciano is an international star.

And he’s our wonderful Weston neighbor and friend.

Many of those friends will be at New York’s Angelika Theater this Friday (September 2, 7 p.m.). They’ll celebrate the theatrical release of the film “José Feliciano: Behind This Guitar.”

The movie’s website says: “From the slums of Puerto Rico to the world stage, José Feliciano embarks upon a 55+ year career and becomes a 9-time Grammy winner.

“From ‘Light My Fire’ to ‘Feliz Navidad’ to ‘Chico and the Man’ to global stardom, the film chronicles this under-appreciated singer/songwriter/ musician.”

Click below for the trailer. Then — if you can’t be at the Angelika — watch the film when you can.

And when you see José around town, tell him: “¡Felicidades!”

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Thayer Fox writes:

“My wife and I moved to Westport about a year and a half ago, and fell deeply in love with Westport.

“I am an avid hiker, but have mostly struck out finding good hikes with great views. I’ve been through Devil’s Den, Lake Windwing and Bennett’s Preserve, but still feel like I haven’t fully figured it out.

“Can you ask your readers for suggestions? With fall coming, this is a great time to go hiking.”

Done!

Readers: Please help Thayer (and every other new resident/avid hiker). Click “Comments” below, and tell us your favorite trails.

Devil’s Den. Where else can Thayer hike this fall? (Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)

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Longtime Westporter Michael Brennecke writes:

“Driving around, I constantly see trucks stringing up new wiring on telephone poles. I wonder, given that there are only 3 companies (I believe) delivering cable services around here, are all of those fat wires still active?

“I asked one of the crews if they ever take down obsolete wires. The answer was that they have no clue. I suspect there are a lot of derelict wires, and taking them down is a cost the companies do not want to incur.

“Only the very top wires on the poles are actually power lines, and they are comparatively thin. It’s really unsightly wire pollution, and it’s getting worse all the time.”

Utility wires near Westport. Some may actually be in use. (Photo/Mike Brennecke)

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Wynston Browne — the non-speaking autistic rising Staples High School senior, whose ability to communicate using a simple board device inspired and thrilled Westporters this summer — returns to The Porch @ Christie’s today (Monday, August 29, 12:45 to 2 p.m.).

During his visit earlier this month, he used his letter board to speak with customers. He answered questions about his life, in a session that was as gratifying for them as it was for him.

Wynston looks forward to meeting new friends again today, at the popular Cross Highway gathering spot.

Wynston and Elisa Feinman, at work with his spelling board.

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I don’t care if you are from out of town. The sign is pretty clear: “Boat Launch Ramp/No Parking.” For extra clarity it’s paved, while all the cars around it are parked on grass.

But this Masshole didn’t care.

David Meth reports: “The driver took a photo of the sky while standing near the sign. She opened the back door, took out her folding chair and walked to another part of the beach. I was on my way out. I told one of the guys at the entrance.”

(Photo/David Meth)

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Continuing our drought coverage, Peggy O’Halloran says of this sad tree at Grace Salmon Park: “It looks like it already has a headstone.”

(Photo/Peggy O’Halloran)

And thought the lack of rain has done a number on Tracy Porosoff’s hydrangeas …

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

… her basil is thriving:

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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All of the above leads to today’s “Westport … Naturally” shot. No drab colors here!

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

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And finally … in honor of José Feliciano’s new film (story above), a few moments from his amazing career:

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. Please click here to support it!)

36 responses to “Roundup: Jose Feliciano, Hiking Trails, Utility Wires …

  1. Thayer, in Westport you can take a spin at Haskins Preserve on Green Acre Lane. It is part of Aspetuck Land Trust, which has numerous places to hike. Sherwood Island State Park is lovely, as is Weir Farm in Wilton. Additionally, although not in Westport, Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, NY is a fabulous place to view outstanding outdoor sculpture. It does require advance reservations. Have fun!

  2. Re: Hikes with views: Trout Brook Valley, on the Weston/Easton border, has an especially nice view from the blueberry patch at top. See Aspetuck Land Trust for info and maps. Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden has great views from the top, but it’s more of a suburban park.

    Also adjacent to Devils Den (and, I think within) there are trails with very nice views of the Saugatuck Reservoir. Look at the maps more carefully. Suggest using the AllTrails app if you don’t have it already.

    • Just to expand on Trout Brook Valley: it’s big (750+ acres), not quite as big a Devils Den, but much more varied, with open meadows as well as wooded and rocky trails. Also parking is easier because there are a variety of entrances on both the Weston and Easton sides.

  3. Regarding hiking trails… locally we’re are blessed with water but true trails not so much… Dairfield has Lake Mohegan… Putnam Park in Redding …Wilton has some trails… sleeping giant is up in Hamden… there is an app called ALL Trails … all try talking with REI ver knowledgeable

  4. Thayer: in certain respects you are way ahead of me because I had never heard of Lake Windwing. In any case, I know someone who went on a hiking trail at Lake Waramaug a short while back and said that had some great views. Although I haven’t been to that area in quite a while due to health issues, I can say that the patio at the Hopkins Inn is a lovely place for lunch with, in my opinion, perhaps the most beautiful restaurant views away from the CT coastline. It feels a bit like Switzerland.

  5. Some of my favorite hiking trails are at the Ct Audubon Center and Lake Mohegan both in Fairfield, the Wilton Town Forest in Wilton, and Devil’s Den in Weston.

  6. The Greenwich Audubon Center is beautiful, as are Sherwood Island State Park, Earthplace, and the Newman-Poses Preserve here in town, Bent of the River Audubon (Southbury), Hoyden’s Hill Open Space Area (Fairfield), Brett Woods Conservation Area (Fairfield), and CT Audubon’s Larsen Sanctuary (Fairfield).

  7. Regarding Jose Feliciano – He and his wife were friends through the church with my dad Murray Bravin and his “girlfriend” of 30 years. In 2004, Jose came to my dad’s 80th birthday party at 76 S. Combo Rd.
    In 2008, Jose and his wife also came to the rehab place where my dad was spending what were his final few days. Jose was incredibly personal, funny, cracking jokes and really down to earth. I am forever grateful of this visit as it made my dad perk up just before his passing.

  8. Irene Mastriacovo

    Collis P Huntington State Park in Redding. It’s a beautiful 40min drive up via Newtown Turnpike especially in Autumn. Note: Newtown Turnpike gets narrow and some parts are dirt road but the drive up passing thru the reservoir is worth the trip. Happy trails,

  9. Trout Brook Valley (Weston) Brett Woods, Mohegan Lake (Fairfield) Earthplace, Newman Poses (Westport) Belknap/Gregg Preserves, Cherry Lane Park, Norwalk River Valley Trail (Wilton).

  10. Welcome Thayer,
    We moved to Westport from Berkeley, California 28 years ago. We could see San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge from our home in the Berkeley hills. The “views” here are different but no less fascinating. We still haven’t hiked all of the local trails often preferring our favorite trails in different seasons.

    I would start with the Aspetuck Land Trust website:
    https://www.aspetucklandtrust.org
    Aspetuck Land Trust maintains 40 trailed preserves for you to explore and enjoy year-round in Easton, Fairfield, Weston & Westport.

    Other choices not mentioned above::
    – Collis P. Huntington State Park, Redding
    – Centennial Watershed State Forest, Redding & Weston
    – Breakneck Ridge, spectacular views of the Hudson,
    near Beacon, NY:
    https://hikethehudsonvalley.com/hikes/breakneck-ridge/ New York
    Happy Trails!
    Jerry

  11. Richard Johnson

    A lot of very general comments above, but here are hikes specifically with scenic vistas in our immediate area:
    – Trout Brook in Weston – Red trail to the purple train takes you to the top of Popp Mountain with a great view of the reservoir.
    – Crow Hill (Part of Trout Brook) in Weston/Easton – Blue trail to pink trail takes you to orchard with nice hilltop views.
    – Huntington State Park in Redding – best views are right where you park on Sunset Hill – take a walk through the meadows at sunset. Also nice views across the ponds and lakes, and on the blue trail as you crisscross down a steep cliff towards a stream (dry this time of year), but they are not broad vistas. If you want to hike up to the great views, park at the small lot on Hopewell Road and go up to the meadow.
    – Devil’s Den in Wilton – For views, hike to the “Great Ledge.” It’s at the far end of the preserve. Great views of the reservoir from a different angle.
    – Further afield, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation – take the Leatherman’s Loop overlook trail for great views of the Cross River Reservoir.

    Most of these are best in fall or winter when the leaves are turning or down, but Huntington is beautiful in all seasons.

  12. Camille Guthrie

    Ridgefield has some nice hikes up some steep climbs that offer great vistas. Check out Seth Low Pierpoint Park.
    The view from the Ives Cabin site are worth the hike. https://www.ridgefieldct.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif4916/f/uploads/major_hiking_trails_-_11x17_2019.pdf

  13. Just the Centennial Trail in Easton/Redding off Rock House Rd. this morning with the Unitarian Church hiking group. About 5 miles total. Some nice little inclines. They did Mt. Frissell on Sat, which is the highest point in CT with a 3 state view. More organized hikes all through fall. All welcome.

  14. Just “did” the Centennial Trail I meant to say.

  15. Finally a topic for me, I was a ski instructor in Switzerland and a hiking guide in Iceland and Norway for a while. In terms to hiking trails, you are out of luck. Connecticut is nationally ranked 33rd, ranking low in outdoors sports and natural scenery. The best places to go in nearby is Upstate New York, New Hampshire, or Maine for the fall colours. Devils Den is nice for the casual stroll, but check out Kent waterfalls. In my opinion, the best trails in the country is Colorado, Idaho, and Washington. Alaska is on a different level.
    But I suggest travelling outside the country: Iceland, Norway, or Switzerland. There’s a bigger and better world out there, don’t get stuck to Westport.

    • Ben, I would be very curious to see a link to the national rankings you refer to. In “natural scenery,” CT is 33rd out of 50 states?! First of all, I think it’s a bit difficult to rank states in this manner; but, even trying to come up with some formula, I am very surprised CT ranks so low.

      • Agree, that list sounds bogus to me. Probably it’s the states with the highest mountains and the biggest wilderness areas. Where we are now, in NC, we have Mt Mitchell, highest peak east of the Mississippi, so we probably rank high on that mountain list (and beaches with 300+ miles of coastline.)

        But I’d still rank CT higher in natural scenery because it’s much better protected and there’s a generally high regard for conservation among the public that’s missing down here.

        We recently hiked in the Cherokee National Forest right by the Tennessee border, and the hike sure was beautiful, but our hotel in the closest town (Robbinsville, NC) was literally overlooking a junkyard and the entire town, in fact, is pretty unsightly.

    • I have to agree. Litchfield County is beautiful, though, and White Memorial in Litchfield is a great spot for hiking.

      Personally—and I suspect nobody would go for this—I think that Westport could atone for its overdevelopment wrongs, and “re-wild” Longshore Park, switching up golf for a mixture of meadows, woods and walking/biking trails.

      • Its ranked on a bunch of other sites you can find it anywhere. I can’t find the original site its ranked on. But I found this ranking by Thrillist, but CT is ranked 37th in the article. In my opinion, CT does not have much going for it in terms of nature or hiking, but again beauty is subjective.
        It was impossible for me to be a hiking guide or a ski instructor in Connecticut and its why I left. Not only the culture, cost of living, and politics is why I chose to immigrate and renounce my U.S. citizenship in favour of a German one.

        https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/most-beautiful-states-in-america

        • Ben, looking at this list, the fact that they rank New Hampshire 32nd and Vermont 13th speaks volumes to me. It is so subjective. I am admittedly not an expert re hiking trails but I firmly believe there is plenty of natural beauty, in general, around us.

          • Fred, its a valid opinion. And again this is an blog piece; you can find some beauty on the coastline or in the manicured mansion lawns. It doesn’t strike that New Hampshire and Vermont ranked higher than Connecticut as I’ve been everywhere in the state. It looks the same; boring landscape dotted with suburban neighborhoods and run down cities. Admittedly I can’t speak on what Westport or the state looks like now as I haven’t been back in years. But it’s a lot better being here in Germany than being a townie like Dan.

            • There’s a ton of room in the world for you to be fulfilled where you are, Ben, AND Dan to be fulfilled in 06880.

            • I love Westport, and I’ve loved getting to know Germany — the people and its beauty — having taken several soccer teams there (and throughout Europe). Travel expands the mind; home roots someone. I’m not sure why “it’s better being here in Germany than being a townie like Dan,” but if you dislike Westport and the US so much, Ben, why do you read “06880”?

            • Ben, one thing I just wanted to clarify: I can very well understand why someone might rank New Hampshire and Vermont higher than CT. What I meant was, I fail to see how there can be such a difference in the rankings between NH and VT (and the explanation offered in the short write-ups in the article fell way short of justifying that difference).

              Re your generalization about CT: “It looks the same; boring landscape dotted with suburban neighborhoods and run down cities”—we obviously have very different views. And, while I love the #1 ranked state in the list, CA—due to climate—there was much I missed about Westport when my wife and I got stuck out in CA at the start of the pandemic as I expressed in a guest piece Dan graciously allowed me to write: https://06880danwoog.com/2021/04/16/fred-cantor-seeing-westport-through-socal-eyes/amp/

              As for your choice on where to settle, I am also curious: why did you pick Germany over Switzerland? Thanks.

              • Fred, re: Germany, I have a funny anecdote dating back to 1970. Lufthansa launched a new ad campaign suggesting that Americans planning a European trip that year should “Think Twice about Germany.”

                My dad happened to be a ‘Mad Man,’ so any new ad (this one NOT from his ad agency) was a dinner table conversation topic, and in this case we all laughed at the unfortunate potential meaning of that tag line.

                The ad campaign was quickly pulled, but not before a wicked short-lived magazine named Scanlon’s (sort of a precursor to Spy), satirized it. See this link. https://www.joelsolkoff.com/tag/kathy-forer/

              • Fred, I have German roots. After my grandparents immigrated to the US after the war. They changed their surname to avoid prosecution and discrimination and settled down somewhere calm. I moved to Germany because the cost of living is inexpensive, plus I can avoid paying income taxes by working in Switzerland. I love Switzerland, I think it’s an amazing country with the best to offer.

            • Ben, I was an expat in London (1998-2002). Absolutely loved it, and so did my family. And thanks to business trips and a generous expat package, we did lots of traveling to Germany, elsewhere in Europe and beyond.

              While I wouldn’t have given up any of that travel for anything, I do have to report that I experienced quite a bit of anti-Americanism along the way, and quite a bit of that rubbed off onto the American expat community. (A bit of a Stockholm Syndrome sort of thing.)

              Whether it was locals or expats, some of them clearly felt superior to Americans, not based on any good deeds they had done, but simply because of where they were born, or their good fortune in being able to wangle an expat assignment.

              (Ben, I don’t know how you got permission to live and work in the EU, but I can assure fellow readers it’s quite difficult and expensive unless you work for a large multinational firm, are married to an EU citizen or are one yourself by birth.)

              In any event, traveling and living abroad is a fantastic opportunity, but it’s not a contest of which places, or which people, are “better” for it.

              • Peter, that’s probably for a good reason as to why there’s so much animosity towards Americans. It probably has to do with America shaping every country into a little America. We try to impose our values and when possible governments amenable to us. This has resulted, particularly recently, in failures and those failures snowball. Another reason might be that many Americans fail to acknowledge America is not the only country in the world and surely not the best one, I’m not saying you are one of them.

                Also its not hard to live and work in the EU, especially Germany. I obtained by citizenship through Jus Sanguinis or “right of blood”, proving my German heritage and that my ancestors have honorably served in the German military. Passing the language tests, naturalization test, and renouncing my US citizenship. As well as being married to a German citizen made the process quicker.
                And yes, I grown up in Westport, albeit with a weird German hybrid accent (bullied a lot for that), was on the soccer team, and attended Staples. Never felt like I was at home, as I had no connection to the culture or country as a whole. Immigrated back to the Fatherland after graduating. Never looked back since.

  16. The best hiking trails can be found at Trout Brook which is in Weston and Redding

  17. If you’re thinking of 2 or 3 miles hikes, Norwalk River Valley Trail is a good start.
    https://www.nrvt-trail.com

  18. We just went on Meeker trail in Washington,CT a couple of days ago. Very well marked and good views at the top.
    https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/connecticut/meeker-trail
    The all trails app has a lot of info, and there are also good trails in NY not too far from Westport. There is a Connecticut hiking Facebook group where you can get some ideas as well.

  19. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Macedonia State Park in Kent, Ct. A pleasant hour drive to one of the most scenic park and trail systems. Along the way, see wide open fields with horses galloping, some Arabians.Just before you get to town of Kent , you will see a left turn to Macedonia following the Housatonic River. After a mile or so, a right turn takes you to the trails, most going up the mountain. There are ranger stations and camping. My favorite is Cobble Mountain. A good hike up to the top with views stretching to 4 states. You have a choice going down of descending the same way you came up or turn right at top and descend thru the Boulder trail, challenging but doable .
    After that exhilarating hike, drive into quaint Kent to refresh at a sidewalk cafe. Go a bit further North and there is Kent Falls, a hike to top of Falls, very scenic . Barbecues there. Keep going to the Covered Bridge in Cornwall. There are several vineyards in the area w magnificent vistas and wine tastings.

    You wil have no complaints anymore about not connecting with great trail systems and magnificent views! Enjoy!!
    Eleanor

  20. I’m puzzled by the out-of-town/out-of-state parking error at compo. When I pulled in two weeks ago they sold me a parking pass and told me to park in “Daily Parking” and provided instruction on how to get there. It’s also marked on the pass. Were there consequences for parking out of the lot and on the driveway for putting your boat in the water?

  21. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Relative to its land mass I can’t think of any state that offers the hiker, camper, cyclist or any other type of outdoor lover the “diversity” of experience that can be found in CT. You literally just have to go out and it will find you very quickly. I’ve been an expat for almost 50 years and whenever I want to get back to nature, that’s where I go.

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