Category Archives: Beach

Friday Flashback #307

The new Burying Hill Beach jetty, and recent stories about the Compo Beach concession stand, have jogged a number of Westporters’ memories.

They remember summers at the small Greens Farms beach, which — unlike its much larger Compo cousin — was served only by an occasional Good Humor man.

But what a great Good Human guy Ray was.

I have forgotten his last name, if I ever knew it. But Ray was the man who kept Burying Hill beachgoers from starving — and whose Saturday morning route brought him to High Point Road, where kids like me bought toasted almonds for immediate joy, and (if we were lucky) our parents stocked up on other treats for the week.

Several years ago Jean Whitehead — a former High Point neighbor — sent this photo from Burying HIll. It shows herself, her sisters, and some random boy, with Ray.

It’s a classic image. All that’s missing is the jingle-jangle of Ray’s Good Humor bell.

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Roundup: Greens Farms Spirit Shop, Coffee, Hot Dogs …

“06880” reported yesterday that Greens Farms Spirit Shop was for sale. It was right there online, with an MLS listing.

Yesterday afternoon, owner Nick Conti emailed:

“Been hearing a lot of chatter today about my store being for sale. I can personally tell you: ‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’ The store is not, in fact, for sale. I have had the store for almost 4 years now and couldn’t be happier in Westport. It’s a tremendous community!”

It seems a broker Nick had not met before misinterpreted an offhand remark, and posted — without his knowledge — an item about the sale. (“The MLS is a strange place to market a business,” Nick adds.)

So, not only is Greens Farms Spirit Shop not for sale. But the store was just recognized as one of the nation’s Top 100 retailers, by Beverage Dynamics magazine.

It’s all good. Party on!

Not for sale!

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Alert — and thirsty (though not for alcohol) – “06880” reader Mark Lassoff writes:

“I get off I-95 at the Southport exit yesterday, on my way to my Westport office.

“The Maple Avenue Dunkin’ Donuts was shuttered, without warning.

“The ‘New Dunkin’ opening in 3 days’ sign in Compo Shopping Center had not changed in a week

“Coffee An’ is closed for vacation.

“And Mrs. London’s Bakery is closed and locked, with no lights on and no sign on the door.

“I was forced to get coffee at Manna Toast ($5.19, from a thermos).

“When will the new Dunkin’ open? Downtown office workers are having a coffee crisis!”

Too bad, Mark: You should have looked more closely (or perhaps driven by a few minutes later).

Westport’s newest/most recently relocated Dunkin’ opened yesterday. Enjoy!

(Pro tip: Park in the back lot. There’s plenty of room. Unlike, ahem, the front.)

Closed for vacation!

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Everyone continues to rave about Old Mill Grocery — the newly reopened deli/market on Hillspoint Road.

And by “everyone,” we mean all kinds of people.

And their pets.

With plenty of dog treats on the shelf (courtesy of Earth Animal), we’ve seen lots of tail wagging — inside, and out front.

Bobo, at Old Mill Grocery. (Photo/Sunil Hirani)

Cathy Malkin sent this photo of Yogi Bear, and says he  gives the new place “2 paws up”:

(Photo/Cathy Malkin)

Meanwhile, Maggie Moffitt Rahe reports — happily — “the line was out the door. One can only say ‘thank you” to the donors for opening the doors again. It’s bustling, and beautiful.”

Old Mill Grocery. (Photo/Maggie Moffitt Rahe)

Classic scene is back. (Photo/Patty Gabal)

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Not far away at Compo, every Tuesday during the summer, the Y’s Men picnic near the cannons. Once a year, they use it to raise funds for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

This week’s hot dog cookout for the camp was the most successful ever

Several dozen Y’s Men and spouses — plus frequent Y’s Men speaker and loyal supporter 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker — enjoyed hundreds of dogs. They were donated by Y’s Man David Kalman, and grilled by members Roy McKay and Larry Licht.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker drops a contribution in the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp bag. (Photo/Bob Mitchell)

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Also at Compo: For a few weeks after it was installed, the new electronic sign notifying beachgoers of the parking situation sat idle.

Yesterday, it worked.

Well, if you disregard those diagonal black lines everywhere.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Flyers distributed yesterday in Saugatuck announced a state Department of Transportation “I-95 Resurfacing and Median Reconstruction Project, to begin July 2022.”

The bridge over Saugatuck Avenue will be replaced, using “Accelerated Bridge Construction Methods called Lateral Slide, which minimizes the disruption to I-95 commuters.”

In addition, the I-95 bridges over Franklin Street and the Saugatuck River will undergo concrete deck repairs, replacement of expansion joints and installation of new standpipes.

A portion of the structure will be replaced over a weekend, with 2 lanes of traffic in each direction.

Other work includes:

  • Reconstruction of the center median and right shoulders along with resurfacing of the highway mainline and ramps at Interchanges 16 and 17.
  • Median will be reconstructed consistent with other stretches of I-95 to provide a 6-foot-wide capped concrete barrier section.
  • Wider left and right shoulders where possible.
  • Improve drainage by replacing and re-routing drainage structures
  • Replacement of the existing highway illumination system
  • Install new realigned Incident Management System (IMS)
  • Install new guide rail
  • Utilize wet retroreflective pavement markings to provide increased visibility of pavement markings in wet conditions.

(Hat tip: Ken Stamm)

I-95 bridge over the Saugatuck River. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

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Matthew Hooper and his wife live near downtown. On Tuesday night, walking in that often bustling area, he spotted 2 deer.

One was happily hanging out at the Millman & Millman law office. Moments later it as joined by another, strolling right down the yellow line on Main Street.

Whether they were looking for legal advice, or perhaps a gelato, they captured Matthew’s attention. And he captured one on camera, for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Matthew Hooper)

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And finally … Mark Lassoff may not be able to find a cup of coffee. But if he’s lookin for java:

 

Pic Of The Day #1927

Sherwood Mill Pond (Photo/Sunil Hirani)

Officials Respond To Racist Graffiti

Late last evening, Parks & Recreation Department employees discovered racist graffiti on the Compo Beach basketball courts.

They contacted their supervisor, and the Westport Police Department. Officers opened an investigation, which continues.

The graffiti was removed, nd the courts cleaned.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker says, “In my short term in office, I have repeatedly talked about ensuring that Westport is a community where everyone feels like they belong. This incident runs completely contrary to that goal and is inexcusable.

“I am grateful to the Parks & Recreation Department employees and the Police Department for the swift action they took to address the situation professionally and respectfully.”

Anyone with information about the incident should call t the Police Department: 203-341-6000.

The site of racist graffiti. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

 

Unsung Hero #248

The O’Briens and Greenlees were enjoying their usual Friday night at Compo Beach last week.

Nearby, a couple struggled to put up an umbrella.

The O’Briens and Greenlees did not notice.

But Midge Deverin — sitting at a different table — did.

She told her husband Bernie.  He walked over, dug a hole and secured the post with sand and rocks.”

Bernie Deverin to the rescue!Sure, it’s a small gesture. But Bernieand Midge  could have ignored the strangers. Their struggle with the umbrella was not his.

Instead, he took a few minutes to help. It’s little things like this that make all the difference — and that make Westport a community.

(If you know an Unsung Hero, email 06880blog@gmail.com)

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Roundup: Sweetgreen, Bridge Square, Saugatuck …

Sweetgreen went before the Architectural Review Board last night.

The salad-and-bowl fast casual restaurant — with over 150 outlets in more than a dozen states — will replace Organic Krush. The “lifestyle eatery” replaced Chipotle less than 2 years ago. Board members were pleased with the new look. (There were no comments on the menu.)

Representatives from Bridge Square faced more questions, about the new look of that venerable plaza. Questions centered around architectural additions, the back (river) side, and color.

Ultimately, the ARB voted to let the project continue, with the recommendation that the owners come back with a new color scheme.

The ARB took the most time on a pre-application review of a text amendment for The Hamlet at Saugatuck, the proposed redevelopment of the area bordered by Riverside Avenue, Railroad Place and Charles Street.

No decisions were made. Members asked questions about height and architecture. ROAN Ventures, the project developer, continues the process with the ARB and Planning & Zoning Commission in September.

Part of the proposed Saugatuck Hamlet project.

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One of Westport’s oldest best known liquor stores is for sale.

A commercial real estate listing for Greens Farms Spirit Shop says: “Prime location on well-traveled road. Fantastic selection of all types of Spirits, with experienced Staff. Full delivery service, and help with all Events, Weddings, as well as corporate outings. Truly a must see to get the full affect [sic] of the operation.”

It’s listed for $2,250,000. Click here for details. (Hat tip: Amy Swanson)

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Hook’d — the Compo Beach concessionaire — remains controversial.

A few “06800” readers accused me of being too harsh, with my recent report that my request for a rare cheeseburger was denied.

That’s the Health Department looking out for beef eaters, apparently. (Don’t forget: The girl at the counter said that all their burgers are cooked the same: medium. I couldn’t have gotten mine well done, either).

So take this next item with a grain of salt. Alert reader Martin Iselin writes:

“Joey’s (the previous concessionaire) was known for one of the best hot dogs around. After a bike ride I always rewarded myself with one.

“After finishing a recent ride, I thought I’d try the new place. I ordered a hot dog, and asked if they had sauerkraut. No!

“I asked about relish. No!

“Disappointed, a put a little mustard on it. I don’t what brand they use, but it was so salty I could not eat it.

“What kind of beach summer place has no condiments, and such bad food?”

I’m guessing that’s a rhetorical question.

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Marine Layer — the small clothing store next to the much bigger Gap — is closing August 1.

But they’ll reopen in late August, at a new location: 59 Main Street. They’re taking over Intermix.

I searched the “06880” archives for a mention of Marine Layer. Up popped a story from 2017.

It described a new group — Earth Guardians — that encouraged businesses to keep their doors shut when air conditioning (or heat) was on.

Of all the stores they visited, only one had its door closed: Marine Layer.

Marine Layer, with its door firmly closed.

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Sarah Jane Cion snagged first place in the 17th annual Great American Jazz Piano Competition.

Tomorrow, she plays the magnificent Steinway — direct from the legendary Village Gate club — at Westport’s VFW (465 Riverside Avenue). It’s the next, and one of the most anticipated, “Jazz @ the Post” shows of the summer.

Cion has performed with legends like Clark Terry, Etta Jones, Anita O’Day, Bucky Pizzarelli and Don Braden, and is a regular at Birdland. Judges for her award-winning competition were Horace Silver, Kenny Barron, Ellis Marsalis, Benny Green and Bill Charlap.

Music begins at 7 p.m. The cover charge of $10 goes directly to the musicians.

For more information and schedules, click here or here. For table reservations, call 203-227-6796 or emailjazzatthepost@gmail.com.

Sarah Jane Cion

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Tag sales wax and wane with the weather. We don’t see too many in winter — or summer.

But on Saturday, August 6 (8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; early bird special $10 for 8 a.m. entry), the Unitarian Church in Westport sponsors its always popular (and massive) sale.

Thousands of items are donated by dozens of families. Among them: outdoor tools, kitchenware, china, artwork, home décor, rugs, clothing, books, blankets, sheets, arm chairs, lamps — even a unicycle.

COVID knocked out the past couple of tag sales. So there’s plenty of merch — and demand 

Proceeds fund operating costs of the congregation, and the social justice causes they support.

A pre-COVID Unitarian Church tag sale.

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The eagle has landed. And it stayed at Schlaet’s Point for at least half an hour.

Alert “06880” reader Mary Gai captured this magnificent bird — at least with her camera — for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo?Mary Gai)

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And finally … speaking of bad hot dogs …

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Pics Of The Day #1926

One very low tide scene … (Photo/Molly Alger)

,,, and another (Photo/Chandler O’Reardon)

Roundup: Parks & Rec, Julia Marino, Twiddle …

Westport Parks & Recreation Department seasonal employees do it all.

Lifeguards keep everyone safe at our beaches and pools, handle first aid and medical concerns, and answer countless questions (over and over again).

Guest Services staffers collect daily fees, organize parking, keep the beaches and lots clean, and answer countless questions (over and over again).

Tennis clerks greet customers, schedule reservations, collect fees, and maintain the courts and surroundings.

Dock attendants assist boaters n docking, sell gasoline and ice, and oversee the marinas at Compo and Longshore.

Those are thankless jobs. So of course, most of us never say “thanks.”

On August 8, Parks & Rec operations manager Carmen Roda and waterfront foreman Michael Giunta will.

They (and guest services supervisor Donny Christopher, and tennis supervisors Jamie Boone and Matthew Schwartz) are treating those employees — well, the ones who won’t be working, anyway — to a “thank you” picnic.

It’s a welcome gesture. These (mostly) young men and women help make our summers rock. 

Meanwhile, the next time you see a lifeguard, beach or dock attendant, or tennis employee, say “thank you” too.

Westport Parks & Rec staff help the summer run smoothly.

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Over the past few years, the dingy pedestrian tunnel underneath the Westport railroad station tracks has been transformed into a much more welcoming space.

A partnership between the Westport Police Department — they’re in charge of railroad parking — and the Westport Arts Center, with gifts from Bill Scheffler and his wife Ann Sheffer, Robin Tauck, the late Gordon Joseloff and others, turned the sometimes-scary passageway into a stunning art gallery.

Westport native and noted artist Miggs Burroughs created 16 LED-lit lightboxes. Each continued a lenticular image that combined one from a 100-year-old postcard of Westport’s past, with a current shot of the same scene. Compo Beach, Longshore, the station itself — all are represented.

This spring, a new lightbox was added, on the station wall itself. You don’t have to descend into the tunnel to see another handsome lenticular, with scenes of the cannons and downtown. This one actually says “Welcome to Westport!”

Now there’s a new one, with a modern twist. It honors Olympic snowboarding silver medalist (and Westport native) Julia Marino.

It’s another great lenticular image by Miggs. Unveiled yesterday morning, it will be displayed for the next year.

One view of MIggs Burroughs’ lenticular image …

… and the other.

At the unveiling yesterday (from left): 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Julia Marino, Deputy Chief Sam Arciola, Julia’s father John (hidden), Miggs Burroughs.

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Twiddle fans are all a-flutter for this Friday and Saturday’s special Levitt Pavilion shows (click here for details, and tickets).

An added bonus (besides the Vermont-based jam band, plus Mihail and The Nth Power):

The White Light Foundation supports causes and organizations important to Twiddle and its fans. They receive $1 from every ticket sold, then donate it back into each community where the band plays.

For their Westport shows, White Light has selected Earthplace and Project Return.

Great choices! The science/conservation/education group, and the empowerment program for homeless young women, both do wonderful work.

No wonder this weekend’s headliners have such a devoted following. They — and their fans — truly care about others. And they walk the talk.

They don’t just sit around twiddling their thumbs.

Twiddle. ©Jay Blakesberg

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Speaking of the Levitt Pavilion: Sunday’s Sweet Remains concert was a smash. A full house loved the sweet-sounding group, an annual Levitt Pavilion favorite.

But you didn’t have to haul a lawn chair to the grass to enjoy the show.

Dylan Germishuys has a different idea. He writes:

“I line up Sunday concerts with higher tides, then get some people on our boat to go up the Saugatuck River and listen  from the best seats ‘in’ the house.

“There was a perfect incoming tide for the Sweet Remains. We took a slow trip, found our spot, and had a picnic during the concert. The sound was great.

“At lower tides you have fewer options as to where you anchor, and have to be a little more cautious coming up this far. If the river was dredged, that might create more space.

“At higher tides , the Cribari (Bridge Street) bridge is a challenge for bigger boats. We only had a foot or two clearance on the way out.

“There’s enough room for quite a few more boats to do the same. You have to test your Bridge Street clearance at high tide before venturing up at low though, and being stuck for a tide cycle!”

Boating by the Levitt. (Photo/Dylan Germishuys)

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Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup noted the (aaaaargh!) holiday music at the Bridge Square Dunkin’ Donuts.

Halloween is a lot closer than Christmas: only 97 days away.

So hurry on down to HomeGoods, which has already stocked all your costume needs.

(Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)

That area of town is quickly cornering the Halloween market. Just moments after Sandy Rothenberg sent her (aaaaargh!) HomeGoods report, Jack Krayson noted that Spooky Town — across from Stop & Shop, by Bulkley Avenue North — is open for business too.

No sign of pumpkins yet though, at either store.

Slackers.

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Connecticut’s Democratic and Republican parties have primaries on Tuesday, August 9.

Unaffiliated voters cannot vote in primary elections — unless they change their registration to either party. Unaffiliated voters have until noon on August 8 to change, and register with either party. Click here for the link, to make the change online.

In other August 9 primary news: The town needs poll workers.

Poll workers must be registered voters in Connecticut. They must take part in a training session, for which they are paid $25.

Pay for the August 9 election day: A full day is $200, with a $40 food allowance;  a half=day shift is $100, with a $20 for food allowance.

Election Day work starts at 5:45 a.m. (polls open at 6 a.m. sharp) and concludes at 8:15 p.m. (polls close at 8 p.m. sharp).

For more information, email dgreenberg@westportct.gov.

Voting machines and poll workers, at the Westport Library.

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From time to time, “auction” signs pop up around Westport. Recently, we’ve been overridden with these:

(Photo/Matt Murray)

Alert reader Matt Murray writes:

“I called this number. Just for laughs. I wanted to see where they were located. It had been disconnected. Gee, do you think you could have been a scam?”

I’m not a betting man, Matt. But I’d bet my Patek Philippe, Rolex or Lamborghini on it.

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Dream Spa & Salon is turning 22 years old.

To celebrate, they’ve hired an ice cream truck to treat their clients (and anyone else who wanders by).

It’s August 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. (1220 Post Road East — the funky house in front of Crate & Barrel).

Happy birthday, Dream!

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We head inside for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo — a cool image of Dusty Smith’s colorful zinnias.

(Phoro/Dusty Smith)

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And finally … if you’re intrigued by Twiddle (see story above), but have never heard of the band (or even if you have), give a listen:

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Pic Of The Day #1925

Compo Beach jetty (Photo/Sunil Hirani)

Old Mill Grocery: Open For Business!

A new era began at 7 this morning.

Old Mill Grocery & Deli opened its doors.

Once again, all’s right with the world.

Neighbors, dogs, open door — just like old times. This was Old Mill Grocery, minutes after it opened this morning. (Photo/Matt Murray)

The century-old wooden building on Hillspoint Road — most recently Joey’s by the Shore and Elvira’s — has been rechristened with its original name.

It’s once again a community center, for the neighborhood, anyone working there, and everyone passing by to or from Compo Beach.

The line was long this morning. But service was quick and attentive. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Old Mill Grocery sells everything from coffee and pizza to toilet paper, dog treats and swag.

Fruit, granola and OMG swag. (Photo/Dan Woog)

It’s a joint venture of the non-profit Soundview Empowerment Alliance (which bought the property, and will provide training and employment to people with disabilities) and TGB Hospitality (better known as Julie Mountain and Dana Noorily, The Granola Bar founders, who will operate OMG).

An official ribbon-cutting took place 2 hours after opening.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker cut the ribbon, moments ago. She’s flanked by Old Mill Grocery partners and staff, Granola Bar owners, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, and Koda, the OMG dog. (Photo/Dan Woog)

It was interrupted — joyfully — by honks and thumbs-up signs from grateful residents and passers-by.

Way to go, Westport!