Roundup: Historic Homes, Terrible Traffic, WWPT Winners …

100 guests toured 4 unique houses yesterday.

Each was special, in its own way. All were impressive. The result was a very successful first-ever “Historic Homes of 06880” house tour.

Annette Norton’s small 1700s home on North Avenue was a great attraction for the many residents who drive by often, admire her exterior renovation, and wonder what’s inside.

Annette Norton (left) shows guests the original fireplace, with a mantel she found in upstate Connecticut. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Mark Yurkiw and Wendy Van Wie’s barn is a 2-story, wide-open, wood-paneled  delight that includes Mark’s artwork treasures in every corner.

A view of the Cross Highway barn, from the 2nd-floor landing. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Matt Burrows and Amy Gay surprised visitors to their 1742 home, also on Cross Highway. The exterior is a faithful restoration of a well-known, once-dilapidated property, while the interior is very modern, beautifully designed (by the owners), and open.

Matt Burrows (right) shows off the open floor plan he designed for his home. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Julia Gross and Mark Lamensdorf’s property on Old Hill Road delights at every turn, from original wooden beams and a formidable stone basement, to an old outhouse (now shed) in the back that “seats 3.”

The original door and beams in the original kitchen on Old Hill Road. (Photo/Amy Saperstein)

KMS Team at Compass co-sponsored the event. Karen Scott, Laurie Morris, Michael Mombello, Susan Seath and Karen Hagen were superb docents.

“06880” board members Amy Saperstein, Bill Scheffler and John Dodig (and his husband Rodger Lawrence) assisted, with help from Staples’ Service League of Boys.

“06880” often reports on Westporters who restore — rather than tear down — some of our oldest homes. Yesterday, readers went behind the scenes, to experience 4 of the homes they’d only read about before.


Speaking of restored homes: Here’s another shot of the continuing work being done at 44 Compo Cove, perhaps the most photographed house in Westport.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

The bones of the 1917 home will remain.

But the interior will look very, very different.


For the second weekend out of three, the feared “traffic-geddon” generated by the I-95 Saugatuck Avenue bridge replacement project was largely avoided.

Traffic flowed smoothly — well, as smoothly as our “new normal” on Friday night, all day Saturday, Sunday morning, and early Sunday afternoon.

Then — for the second Sunday afternoon out of 3 — Westport was suddenly gridlocked.

Just like 2 weeks ago, traffic materialized out of nowhere. And it was everywhere.

Saugatuck — and feeder arteries like Greens Farms Road and Bridge Street — were jammed.

A line of cars and trucks extended from the North Kings Highway/Wilton Road light, all the way past Hudson Malone.

And the stretch from Parker Harding Plaza to the Post Road/Riverside Avenue/Wilton Road cluster**** was as bad as its ever been.

Some drivers waited patiently. Others devised new maneuvers to try to gain an edge, creating (of course) further chaos.

The state Department of Transportation once again completed the “bridge slide” portion of the project ahead of schedule.

The southbound span of I-95 was open around 4:30 p.m. But traffic continued for quite a while on the mean streets of Westport.

“It defies logic,” says Dan Vener, who took this photo of I-95 traffic, while stuck in the ground-level jam:

(Photo/Dan Vener)

Meanwhile, for a fascinating time-lapse version of the “bridge slide” — from 6 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Sunday — click below:


it’s an annual tradition.

But it never gets old.

This weekend, Staples High School’s WWPT-FM broadcasters traveled to Chicago for the John Drury Radio Awards ceremony.

The station earned 16 nominations. They earned 11 honors — all (as anyone who ever listens to 90.3 knows), very well deserved.

Congratulations to:

  • Best Station Advisor: Geno Heiter
  • Broadcaster of the Year winner: Charlie Scott
  • Broadcaster of the year finalists: Elise Eisenberger, Henry Manning & Katherine Spada
  • Best DJ: Charlie Scott
  • 2nd place, News Feature: Maya Brody
  • 2nd place, Newscast: Charlie Scott
  • 2nd place, Radio Drama (@playersinsta )
  • 3rd place Talk Show: Henry Manning & Charlie Scott
  • 3rd place, Sportscast: Elise Eisenberger & Charlie Scott
  • 3rd place, Sports Play by Play: Devon Jarvis & Mason Siskind
  • 3rd place, Specialty Music: Cooper Sadler

Other nominations garnered 4th and 5th places.

WWPT rocks!

And obviously, does much more too.

At the John Drury Awards (from left): WWPT-FM advisor Geno Heiter, Devon Jarvis, Maya Brody, Katherine Spada, Henry Manning, Charlie Scott.


Jon Gailmor — the beloved Vermont musical icon — returned to his Westport home town yesterday, for a sold-out show at the VFW.

The 1966 Staples graduate was joined by a few talented friends: former classmates Rob Carlson (his singing partner from the 1970s) and Roger Kaufman, plus Suzanne Sheridan, the producer of the popular “First Folk Sunday” series.

It was a trip back to a magical musical time.

And just perfect for these days, too.

From left: Jon Gailmor, Roger Kaufman, Suzanne Sheridan, Rob Carlson. (Photo/Pam Washburn)


Yesterday was jam-packed.

The Westport Arts Advisory Committee sponsored its annual TEA (Thinkers, Educators, Artists) Talk at the Westport Library.

A crowd of 150 people heard experts — including Emmy- and Grammy Award-winning 1971 Staples grad Brian Keane, town-wide K-12 arts coordinator Steve Zimmerman, and artist/arts consultant Liz Leggett — discuss “What’s Next for the Arts?,” as it faces challenges from artificial intelligence.

Topics included whether or not AI poses an existential risk to the arts; the role of education; the pure joy of making art, and — intriguingly — how we decide what is real, not real, and “authentic.” Does, in fact, “authentic” matter at all?

Panelists used AI tools to create illustration and art, using prompts from attendees. Artists showed traditional techniques.

There was a lot to think about.

And every comment was generated by humans.

Panelists — each under their photo — at yesterday’s TEA Talk.


Field Trip jerky — the very popular producer of healthy, protein-rich snacks ranging from beef, chicken, turkey and pork to jalapeño, cracked pepper and everything bagel — is headquartered in downtown Westport.

But it reaches all over the country.


The other day, Bruce Miller and his wife were in Alaska. On a tour of Denali National Park, guests received a snack box.

Inside was a Field Trip Cracked Pepper Turkey Stick.

“We traveled 4,400 miles from home to enjoy a local treat!” he says.

You don’t have to go to The Last Frontier.

Field Trip is sold at retailers like Stop & Shop and CVS.

And in their only retail outlet, next to their Post Road offices opposite Design Within Reach.


Artists Collective of Westport member Maj Kalfus’ work is featured at the Weston Senior Center, through the end of December. Her 30 pieces include oil paintings, collage, brush and ink, graphite, digital art and drawings from life.

A reception is set for November 16 (6 to 8 p.m.). Kalfus teaches at the Westport Senior Center. Her portrait of Ella Fitzgerald was featured at the recent Westport Country Playhouse tribute to the jazz singer.

Works by Maj Kalfus


As we head into mid-fall — with winter not too far away — this is the “Westport … Naturally” scene from Ellen Wentworth’s living room:

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)


And finally … in honor of our great “Historic Homes of 06880” tour (story above):

(A lot went on this weekend — and, as always, “06880” previewed, and now reviews, it. If you enjoy our hyper-local coverage, please consider a contribution. Click here — and thank you!)

5 responses to “Roundup: Historic Homes, Terrible Traffic, WWPT Winners …

  1. Thanks for the great picture of my Staples ‘66 classmates Jon, Roger and Rob. Wish I could have been there to hear them

    • Hi Stephen, Wish you could have been there. It was a day to remember. So many Westporters who knew all the guys and Suzanne and it was basically a musical love fest. The food was great, too.
      Thanks, Dan, for posting and sharing

  2. Annette did such a wonderful renovation/ restoration of her home. It would be nice if more homes were treated that way. Outstanding job.

  3. The renovation and restoration work that had been done at the Cross Highway barn was meticulously in keeping with the historic time period. Kudos to Mark and Wendy for their magnificent work in retaining an important part of Westport history.

  4. what a nice day visiting those lovely homes. thank you to all the volunteers, and thank you Dan!

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