Category Archives: Beach

Next Attraction: A Drive-In Theater!

Today’s teenagers have out on a lot of things:

Dial phones. Dial-up modems. Drive-in movies.

Stephen Rowland is a very involved Staples High School senior. Among other activities he’s a varsity soccer player, serves meals at the Gillespie Center, and is a Homes With Hope youth board member.

A year ago, his father casually mentioned drive-in movies. Intrigued by the concept, Stephen searched online for more.

Kids: This was how America used to roll.

Kids: This was how America used to roll.

Not long after, the Homes With Hope youth board was casting about for a new, exciting fundraiser.

Bingo!

Producing a pop-up drive-in movie in Westport is not easy. But Stephen and the rest of the youth board found a company with a 40-foot screen, projector and sound system.

Compo Beach — near the kayak launch — seemed like the perfect spot.

Permits were needed, from town commissions. But Stephen and his peers pushed hard.

“The idea of driving up to a movie, not getting out of your car, being comfortable and having fun, is pretty cool,” Stephen says.

So this Saturday (October 1, 7 p.m.), “Ghostbusters” — a 1984 classic chosen for its broad appeal to kids, teenagers and parents — will be shown on what is believed to be Westport’s 1st-ever drive-in movie screen.

The only other better choice would be “Back to the Future.”

(The Westport Cinema Initiative is a partner with this project. The cost is $30 per car — cheap enough so that no one has to hide in the trunk. Besides, proceeds benefit Homes With Hope. Beach stickers are not required. Joey’s by the Shore will be open for food. For more information, click here.)

Andrew Colabella’s Summer

When this story was posted — at 10:20 a.m. — there was 1 minute of summer left. Autumn arrives at 10:21.

In honor of one of Westport’s 4 favorite seasons, “06880” photographer Andrew Colabella sent along these images. All were taken here, late in the day, throughout the summer.

Click on or hover over to enlarge. Enjoy! And don’t forget to mark your calendar.

Summer arrives on June 21, 2017. At 12:24 a.m.

colabella-8

colabella-5

colabella-1

colabella-11

colabella-12

colabella-4

colabella-3

colabella-7

colabella-10

Owenoke Beauty Bites The Dust

For residents of Owenoke Park, the week starts off with a bang.

This morning, the gracious home at #17 will be bulldozed into oblivion.

For nearly 100 years it’s been a fixture on the private road that juts between the Compo Beach marina, Gray’s Creek and Longshore. It’s an important part of the Compo Owenoke Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its early 20th century resort and beachfront architecture.

Neighbors love the understated elegance of #17. Boaters on the water, and everyone enjoying Compo’s South Beach, have also appreciated its handsome Georgian Revival lines.

17 Owenoke Park. (Photo/Ian Warburg)

17 Owenoke Park. (Photo/Ian Warburg)

According to local legend, a woman knocked on the door in 2010. She said she loved the house, and had to have it. It was not for sale. But she offered $12 million — double the home’s market value — and that was that.

The woman — who reportedly worked for Enron until its demise — later joined a former colleague in setting up Centaurus Advisors. The energy-focused, Texas-based hedge fund allegedly provided a loan of $8 million, which the woman used to purchase the house.

In 2014 or ’15 Centaurus apparently foreclosed on the loan, and took possession of the property. It’s been on the market at decreasing prices.

Some buyers were interested in preserving the magnificent structure, and restore it to its past glory. Others wanted it to build their own dream house. None, however, would pay more than $5 million.

Given the declining condition of the property, and the expense of bringing it to FEMA compliance, the owners — listed as Centaurus Energy Market, which seems to be a subsidiary or related company of Centaurus Advisors, LLC — decided that the real remaining value is in the land.

Demolition begins at 8 a.m. today.

Lobster Fest!

A lovely late-summer day.

Beer and wine. Music. A huge crowd of friendly, sociable people, ready to mix, mingle, kick back and chill.

And of course about 3,000 lobsters, shipped in yesterday from Nova Scotia.

Those were the ingredients for today’s Lobster Fest.

In just 5 years, the Rotary Club event has become a major highlight on the Westport calendar.

It’s the biggest block party in town. It’s Compo and community at its best.

And — best of all — it raises about $75,000, which the Rotary Club plows right back into good causes locally, nationally and abroad.

If you weren’t there, you missed a fantastic party.

And some really amazing lobsters.

lobsterfest-fresh-lobsters

The stars of the show.

Rotary Board member Rick Benson claws State Representative Gail Lavielle.

Rotary Board member Rick Benson claws State Representative Gail Lavielle.

Homes With Hope CEO and Lobster Fest volunteer Jeff Wieser pours a beer for 1-year-old Andy Wolf. Her dad, Jim, looks on amused.

Homes With Hope CEO and Lobster Fest volunteer Jeff Wieser pours a beer for 1-year-old Andy Wolf. Her dad, Jim, looks on amused.

Nearby, a slightly older youngster explored the Beaver Beer car.

Nearby, a slightly older youngster explored the Beaver Beer car.

First Selectman Jim Marpe and his wife Mary Ellen were also Lobster Fest volunteers.

First Selectman Jim Marpe and his wife Mary Ellen were Lobster Fest volunteers.

As the sun set on Lobster Fest, no one wanted to leave.

The sun set on Lobster Fest, but no one wanted to leave.

At the end, not much remained of the 3,000 lobsters.

At the end, not much remained of the 3,000 lobsters.

Saturday’s Lobster Fest Still On!

Yesterday’s thunderstorm knocked down several tents at Compo Beach. Three people were injured.

Folks wondered if the damaged tents would force cancellation of Saturday’s Lobster Fest — a major fundraiser for the Westport Rotary Club, and the town’s 2nd-largest community beach party (after the fireworks).

Have no fear. Tie those bibs. The Rotary Club promises that Lobster Fest is “100% still on.”

The tents are being fixed today (and the hundreds of chairs underneath them righted). Supplies arrive tomorrow. The fresh lobsters will come moments before they’re devoured.

Also featured at the 5th annual event: Jeff Northrup’s Hummock Island oysters; Baxter Urist and Bill O’Brien’s Beaver Beer, live music and more. Over 1,200 seafood lovers are expected to attend.

lobsterfest

Lobster Fest hopes to raise $75,000 for local, regional and international causes. The Westport Rotary Club does plenty of good, for plenty of folks. They’ve got a big tent, both figuratively and — now that it’s back up at the beach — literally.

The weather forecast for Saturday is clear, with a high of 76. Perfect lobster-eating weather!

(Lobster Fest is set for Saturday, Sept. 17, from 3-7 p.m. at Compo Beach. Click on www.westportrotary.org for more information, or to purchase tickets — they will not be sold after Friday. Parking is free for all attendees. )

9/11 “Taps”

An alert “06880” reader who has never emailed before — and who requests anonymity — shares a special moment:

A friend and I were walking today. We took a seat at Old Mill Beach, on the bench next to the old Positano restaurant. We’ve walked there many times, but never sat down.

About 10 minutes into our conversation, a man appeared on the sidewalk. He started to play “Taps.”

Everyone nearby stood. A young boy put his hand over his heart.

When the man finished, we applauded and yelled “thank you!” He gave a quick wave, then disappeared.

My friend and I — who on September 11, 2001 were both newly married, and living in New York — cried our hearts out, right there on the bench.

We felt badly we had not taken a picture of the man playing “Taps.” Then we realized no photo could have captured that experience.

I don’t know the man’s name. But I hope he knows what a special moment he provided to the handful of people fortunate enough to have seen and heard him today.

9-11-taps

9/11 Clouds

September 11, 2001 was a spectacular late summer day. It turned dark — metaphorically — very quickly

September 11, 2016 dawned dark. Right now — meteorologically — it’s gorgeous.

Maria Calise captured this scene, earlier today at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Maria Calise)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Maria Calise)

Feral Cats: The Sequel

I’d like to report that the problem of feral cats dogging the Compo Beach neighborhood has been solved.

I’d like to, but I can’t.

Alert — and exceedingly frustrated — “06880” reader Patricia McMahon reports:

This situation is not improving whatsoever.

Right now, fleas are swarming in our garage. Unfortunately my husband, myself, our aging dog with liver cancer and my parents are now infected by this.

A neighbor on Danbury Avenue has flea issues now as well.

A feral cat mother in the back of a Compo Beach neighborhood garage.

A feral cat mother in the back of a Compo Beach neighborhood garage.

We are fumigating our garage. Our home will be next, along with my parents’ place in Norwalk.

If fleas are on us, they travel.

The police department told us to call the dog warden. We have contacted other authorities, and not heard back yet.

I’m not sure how to handle this anymore. But we sure are frustrated on Danbury Avenue!


Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

Sherwood Island Shines Today

You could say that Sherwood Island made lemons lemonade out of lemonade lemons.

A better analogy would be: The state park’s admirers and friends made foie gras out of goose poop.

Less than 2 weeks ago, “06880” published alert reader Ellen Bowen’s complaint that the 9/11 Living Memorial there — Connecticut’s tribute to state residents lost on that tragic day 15 years ago — was an unkempt disgrace.

Very quickly, several things happened.

Tony Palmer — owner of T. Palmer Landscaping and Anthony’s Nursery and Garden Center, both in Westport — donated a 3-man crew. Working gratis for 2 days, they weeded, pruned rose bushes, cleaned and helped the overworked, under-budgeted park staff get the memorial in tip-top shape.

Tony returned this week, with a mission. He made sure that everything was perfect for today’s 5:30 p.m. ceremony.

Other volunteers turned out yesterday, to weed, clear and prune a large garden bed that visitors pass on their way to the memorial.

The garden bed on the way to the Sherwood Island 9/11 memorial.

The garden bed on the way to the Sherwood Island 9/11 memorial.

Bowen’s story also brought attention to Friends of Sherwood Island. The non-profit does important, seldom-noticed work everywhere in the park. Its annual fundraiser — ShoreFest — is set for 6 p.m. tomorrow.

Local businesses and individuals rushed to offer goods and services for the silent auction.

In addition, a major donation — for ongoing plantings — was made to the Friends’ tree committee.

It’s easy for Westporters to overlook Sherwood Island. Residents may not realize Connecticut’s oldest state park is also home to our 9/11 memorial — and a robust organization that serves the entire 220-acre property.

Thanks to Ellen Bowen’s alert, more Westporters now do.

And many are doing whatever they can to help make Sherwood Island sparkle.

Say Goodbye To Summer

You’ve probably noticed that “06880” does not run a lot of sunset photos.

I leave those to another local website.

But Andrew Colabella captured tonight’s sunset beautifully.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

It’s special for another reason: It’s the last one of the season.

Sure, the calendar says the 1st day of fall is September 22. Everyone here knows, though, that Labor Day puts the fork in summer.

Of course, whether you like sunset photos or not, this is a lot better than the one I thought we might have to run today.

You know: the one of floods, fallen trees and downed wires due to Hurricane Hermine.