Category Archives: Downtown

Pic Of The Day #930

Library Riverwalk (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Halloween Parade Moves To Town Hall

Bad weather has moved the Children’s Halloween Parade scheduled for today  indoors.

Boo!

Instead, all festivities will take place at Town Hall, starting at 3:30 p.m.

Kids and parents can parade through offices. Entertainment and refreshments will take place in the auditorium, at 4 p.m.

Yay!

The event is sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department, Downtown Merchants Association and Westport PAL.

Pic Of The Day #923

The old Max’s Art Supplies’ brown color scheme is changing. The new tenant will be LoveSac, a modular furniture store. (Photo/Kathie Motes Bennewitz)

Savvy And Graceful: Fun Shopping Night With A Serious Mission

Since opening Savvy + Grace on Main Street 2 years ago, Annette Norton has been one of downtown Westport’s biggest boosters.

Shoppers love her cool, funky, crammed-to-the-gills-gift-and-more shop tucked underneath Tavern on Main. Annette returns the favor, sponsoring fun events inside and out that showcase nearby retail neighbors (and Rye Ridge Deli) too.

Savvy + Grace, on Main Street. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

The next one is Thursday, November 7. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., she’ll bring a large white tent with lights, a food truck with light bites, and rinks to Main Street.

But the joyful gathering has a serious back story.

In 1976 Annette’s mother, Caryl Ann Stein Lagaris, moved as a single mother to Fairfield. Annette — then a young girl — says that her town had only a couple of interesting stores.

Westport, by contrast, had the Remarkable Book Shop, Klein’s, and many more, plus loads ofo restaurants.

When Annette, her sister and mother went out, her mother seldom drank even a glass of wine. She never used drugs

Caryl Ann Stein Lagaris

But after a serious car accident, Caryl Ann was prescribed opioids. She died 13 years ago, from a fentanyl overdose. She was 61 years old.

“She was my mother, a grandmother, a businesswoman and a woman with so much humor and character,” Annette says. “I miss her every day.”

At the time, she notes, little was known about opioids. Annette could not understand why her mother just did not stop taking the medication. Or why she surrounded herself with people who enabled the situation.

When her mother was addicted to opioids, Annette’s relationship was “tested, strained and in turmoil.” She had no idea how bad things were.

Looking back, Annette says, “I see she needed help. But she was probably too embarrassed to admit what was truly gong on.”

Annette feels guilty. “If I knew then what I know now, I often wonder if I could have stopped this.”

After Caryl Ann’s death, Annette and her sister asked the police if the doctor could be held accountable for prescribing so much medication. “Your mother had pills all over the bedroom,” the officer said. “She was a junkie.”

Annette felt stigma, shame and pain. Today, she knows her mother was not a junkie. She was a woman struggling with the disease of addiction.

As the mother now of teenage girls, Annette shares any information she can find related to drugs.

Annette Norton, her husband and their daughters.

On Facebook, she saw a post about a man in Easton who lost his son to opioids. That was Annette’s introduction to Shatterproof.

The non-profit works to end the shame and stigma associated with addiction, and end its devastation.

“I work downtown every day. I love what I do, and the people I meet,” Annette says. “I finally feel I have a large enough customer base to hold a fabulous fundraiser and, together, do something for such an amazing cause.

“For me, this is what having a business in this beautiful town is about: being part of a wonderful community.”

The event itself is free. Annette will contribute a percentage of proceeds from purchases that night to Shatterproof.

Any other businesses on Main Street that would like to help: feel free to join in!

(If you plan to attend the shopping-and-more event on November 7, please email savvyandgracewestport@gmail.com. Annette hopes to get an approximate head count of attendees.)

Annette Norton, with some of “06880”‘s favorite merchandise. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Pic Of The Day #920

Art thrives, at the most visible corner in downtown Westport.

A pop-up gallery — with the clever name of Pop’TArt — just opened at 1 Main Street. That’s the juncture of the Post Road, opposite Anthropologie.

Curator/director Jennifer Ruger Haviland relocated from Southampton, for the current show. Artists — who work in oil, photographs, and wood and metal sculpture — include Miggs Burroughs, Mark Yurkiw, Robert Braczyk, Betsey Fowler, Joe Sorge, Monica Bernier and Jim Velgoti.

Below, Haviland welcomes art lovers to the warm, inviting space. It runs through the end of the month. The next show — “Words Matter” — opens November 1.

Woodmen Spared That Tree!

Over the years, “06880” has reported on too many tree removal stories.

This is not one of those.

Over the past months, there’s been an effort in town to improve the intersections and cross streets on Myrtle Avenue.

One victim of this modernization project was to be the island in front of Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, by Sconset Square. The plan was to remove everything, to form a “T” intersection.

The site is lovely. It’s also historic.

It’s where the Disbrow Tavern was located, back in the 1700s. George Washington is said to have had some ale there, and maybe even a room for the night.

The original Myrtle Avenue traffic island was much larger. (Photo courtesy of Morley Boyd)

A tree sat on the island for centuries, until the 1960s. It was removed in an earlier modernization project.

Church members took it upon themselves to inform the town of the site’s history and beauty, and the utility of the island and tree.

In the mid-’60s, parishioners planted what they called the new “Trinity tree.”

Fifty years later, that history has been forgotten by — or is unknown to — many Westporters. Construction has decreased the size of the island, and damaged the roots. All of that endangered the Trinity tree.

Some area residents and members of the Planning & Zoning Commission worked through a variety of town agencies to save the tree, and the island.

Over the last couple of weeks, a contractor hired by the town has loosened the soil, injected it with mulch and nutrients, trimmed the branches — and removed campaign signs.

The tree, after trimming last week. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Thanks to tree warden Bruce Lindsay and others, the Trinity tree now has a good chance of adorning, and shading, the island for another 50 years.

That is, if people don’t tramp on the island and its roots, while putting up signs.

Lindsay placed 4 small signs on the island, asking people to stay off and give the tree a chance.

A campaign sign appeared this morning. Town officials say they’ll remove them, as long as the tree is convalescing.

This is not about politics. It’s just about common sense.

And the history and beauty of a downtown tree we all love, admire and respect.

Pic Of The Day #915

Classic fall scene: Across the Saugatuck River (Photo/Jen Greely)

Willkommen, Westoberfest!

If you’ve ever been to a German Oktoberfest — a real one — you know the drill.

Volks enjoy beer from steins the size of kegs, and sausages larger than pigs. They dance in lederhosen to oompah bands. It is quite a party, no?

Westport is not Munich. But if you want great fun without a passport, Westoberfest is the place to be.

The 2nd annual event — set for this Saturday (October 19, 1 to 5 p.m., Elm Street) — builds on the success of last year’s inaugural event.

A slew of restaurants, businesses and non-profits joins together for this fun afternoon in the heart of downtown.

A scene from last year’s Westoberfest.

It’s family-friendly, but let’s start with beer. Beginning at 2 p.m., over 30 New England craft breweries will offer more than 50 pours, for unlimited tasting.

But man does not live by beer alone. Rothbard Ale + Larder (of course!) and Kawa Ni (surprise!) provide traditional brats and pretzels, and untraditional spicy miso ramen, tofu pockets and sesame noodles.

Live music comes from StompBoxTrio. Nearby, there’s a classic car rally.

Meanwhile, kids enjoy pumpkin decorating, face painting, apples and a live animal exhibit.

Westoberfest is sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, with support from The Grapevine, Westport Farmers’ Market, Air-cooled Car Company, Earthplace, Westport Museum of History & Culture, Artists Collective of Westport, One River, Gault, Princeton Review, Southern Tide, Lux Bond & Green and the Goddard School.

Prost!

(Advance ticket prices are $40 for 1, $70 for a pair, $320 for a party pack of 10. Click here to purchase. Single tickets are available for $45 at the gate.)

Photo Challenge #249

I thought last week’s Photo Challenge might be too tough for any “06880” reader.

I did not reckon on Mary Papageorge and Lynn Untermeyer Miller.

Both knew that Amy Schneider’s image of a painted smiling face is located on the back side of the large star sculpture that Howard Munce created years ago. It sits on the bank of the Saugatuck River, in Parker Harding Plaza directly behind Rye Ridge Deli.

The fisherman — that’s what the face is — faces the river. It’s not easy to see — and not too many people actually stroll by there (though it is a nice, beautiful spot).

Mary no doubt knows it because the Papageorge family owned Oscar’s — the long-time, beloved predecessor to Rye Ridge.

Lynn knows it because — well, she sees and knows everything.

Can Mary, Lynn and/or you figure out this week’s Photo Challenge? If you think you know, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Tim Woodruff)

 

Pic Of The Day #900

Deadman Brook bridge, between the Levitt Pavilion and Imperial Avenue (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)