Category Archives: Downtown

Our Long Parker Harding Nightmare Has Ended

(Photo/Chip Stephens)

Honoring Noel duPont At Sconset Square Stroll

In 1955, Francois duPont opened a jewelry store. Twenty years later, he took it to Main Street.

In 1980, Francois’ son Noel took over the business. It was one of Westport’s go-to places for beautiful items, handsome watches, and of course that quick replacement watch strap or battery.

Noel duPont

A few years ago, Noel moved around the corner to Sconset Square. “He lit up the square with his smile, and his weekly visits to each shop to check in,” says neighbor Tracey Heinemann. He was a constant and beloved presence — always accompanied by his Yorkie-poo Ollie.

Two weeks ago, Noel duPont died suddenly at home. He was 59 years old.

The Staples High School graduate had attended Berklee College of Music. A gifted drummer, he was passionate about the music of his idol, Frank Zappa. He also loved skiing, swimming and hiking in Maine.

He leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Julia, and sons Maxwell and Lucas.

A celebration of Noel’s life is set for Saturday, January 5 (Tavern on Main, 1 to 4 p.m.).

As is sometimes the case, a business cannot survive the death of its owner. Julia is liquidating Francois duPont Jewelers. This weekend and next, all jewelry is 50% off.

It’s a bittersweet time for Noel’s fellow merchants in Sconset Square. They’re busy preparing for next Thursday’s Holiday Stroll. From 5 to 8 p.m. on December 6, the popular shopping center on Myrtle Avenue — nestled between the Post Road, Christ & Holy Trinity and Church Lane — will be filled with holiday singers. The Little Red Waffle Truck will sell food. There are prizes too.

Each store has something special. Swoon offers festive English treats, and shows off seasonal floral deocrations. Bungalow serves aperitifs, along with tarot card readings. Bespoke Designs features champagne and savory snacks. Kerry Rosenthal has festive nibbles and toddies. Roots Salon gives discounts on artwork, and a chance to win a free service.

At Le Penguin there’s happy hour prices, complimentary bar bites, and singer Antoine Blech.

Francois duPont Jewelers, in Sconset Square.

Of course, Francois duPont Jewelers will be open too — for one of its last days.

Amid all the merriment, his many friends will be thinking of the popular, ever-smiling, aptly named Noel duPont.

Pics Of The Day #591

Tonight’s Christmas Tree lighting at Town Hall included …

Staples’ Orphenians (with Rudolph, of course) …

… little kids and grown-ups …

… a somewhat slender Santa …

… and the feature attraction. (Photos/Dan Woog)

Pop (Up) Goes The Library Shop

The Westport Library’s Transformation Project roars along. It’s on schedule to be finished in June.

Of course, the library is still open. But to make sure that holiday shoppers don’t miss a chance to buy goodies from its store, the library has opened a pop-up shop.

It’s in Bedford Square — across from the Spotted Horse restaurant, and most recently the site of the CronArt gallery.

The space is filled with greeting cards, reading glasses, cards and notepads, socks and scarves, booties and onesies, toys, games, building sets, novelties, bags and pouches, jewelry, umbrellas, tech gadgets, decorative lighting, maker kits and more.

A few of the many items available at the Westport Library pop-up store …

Some items are handmade. Some are quirky. There’s something for everyone, of any age.

This being the library shop — even off-site — there are even books for sale. Fiction, mystery, coffee table, children’s books — you’ll find them all. The selection changes weekly.

The pop-up shop is open through the end of the year: weekdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 12-5 p.m. All proceeds benefit the Westport Library.

… and some of the books.

Name That Tree!

I guess we shouldn’t call it a “Christmas” tree.

A press release from the Selectman’s Office notes only that the town’s “annual tree lighting” ceremony will take place at Town Hall this Thursday (November 29, 5 p.m.).

Of course, the tree to be lit is a fir tree. You connect the dots.

It’s a fun, festive, kid-friendly event. The Staples High School Orphenians sing “seasonal” songs.

First Selectman Jim Marpe — and a bunch of little kids — lit the tree in front of Town Hall last year. Then came photo opps.

Speaking of Town Hall trees, this year the “Heritage Tree” — a longtime fixture in the building’s lobby — moves across Myrtle Avenue to the Westport Historical Society.

Each year, local artists add ornaments (yes, it’s that kind of tree). Past contributors include Mel Casson, Randy Enos, Stevan Dohanos, Hardie Gramatky, Howard Munce, Jim Sharpe, Leonard Everett Fisher, Jean Woodham and Hilda Kraus.

This year’s ornament comes courtesy of Victoria Kann. The author/illustrator of the popular “Pinkalicious” book series is a longtime Westporter.

Kids can help decorate the Heritage Tree this Saturday (December 1, 1 p.m.). Kann will read from one of her holiday-themed books (and sign them). Snacks will be served too.

The Heritage Tree — shown last year in the Town Hall lobby — moves across the street to the Westport Historical Society.

The next day — Sunday, December 2 — another tree lighting takes place. It’s at the Saugatuck Center plaza, between Saugatuck Sweets and The Whelk. Everyone is asked to bring unwrapped toys for children 10 and under. Al’s Angels wrap and deliver them to needy kids.

It’s set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Santa arrives at 5:15 — so I’m on safe ground calling this an actual “Christmas” tree lighting.

And the 28th annual Tree of Light ceremony will be held Thursday, December 6, at 6:30 p.m. It honors the memories of family members and friends who have died.

The site is Saugatuck Congregational Church. So, yeah: That’s a Christmas tree lighting too.

“Local Love” Is Live!

Shopping, dining and enjoying Westport just got more fun.

And a lot cheaper.

This morning, the “Local Love” card went live. Here’s the deep dive.

Beginning this Friday (November 30), and running through 2 weekends, stores and restaurants are offering great discounts. Over 100 retailers, salons, fitness studios and dining spots participate.

They’re downtown, in Saugatuck, and up and down the Post Road. The entire list is below; just scroll down.

But “Local Love” is a lot more than just a $40 coupon book. A portion of the sales will help build a playground near the new library.

Card holders can also enjoy special “Local Love” events at Terrain, Savannah Bee, FRED and more.

The campaign is the brainchild of WestportMoms, partnered with town officials, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

WestportMoms — aka Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post — have done yeowoman’s work to involve a wide variety of local businesses in “Local Love.” Most retailers offer 20% off. Spas and salons give 15% discounts; restaurants, 10%.

Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post are the brains behind “Local Love.”

“Westport is special,” they say. “We need to keep this incredible town thriving. And there’s no better time to shop and dine than over the holidays.”

They’ve done all the groundwork. Now it’s your turn. Click here for your card. For more information, click here.

——————————————————–

Participating “Local Love” businesses and restaurants

Appliances & Electronics

  • Stanton Miles (Vacuums) – 20% off

Arts

  • Westport Country Playhouse – $10 off tickets to The Pianist of Willesden Lane

Clothing & Accessories

  • Anthropologie – 20% off (some brand exclusions apply)
  • Athleta – 20% off purchase of one item
  • Bella Bridesmaids – 20% off
  • Brownstone – 20% off purchases over $200 (one-time use only). Not eligible on sale items
  • Fred – 20% off; 10% off for members
  • Groove – 20% off
  • J. Crew – 20% off
  • Joie – 20% off full-priced items
  • Lesters – 20% off
  • LF Stores – 20% gift card for every $250 you spend
  • Lucy’s – 20% off
  • Madewell – 20% off purchases over $100; 30% off purchases over $250
  • Marine Layer – 20% off purchase over $300
  • Millie Rae’s – 20% off one-time use
  • Mitchell’s – 15% off (some brand exclusions apply)
  • Pink Lemon Blue Lime – 20% off
  • Quentin Row – 20% off men’s tailored made to order suits
  • Saavy & Grace – 20% off of scarves
  • Scout & Molly – 20% off
  • Shoe INN – 20% off
  • Soleil Toile – 20% off purchases over $150
  • Southern Tide – 20% off
  • Splash of Pink – 20% off
  • Sunglass Hut – 20% off purchases over $100; 25% off purchase over $200
  • Vineyard Vines – 20% off
  • West – 20% off full-priced items
  • Winged Monkey – 20% off

The Brownstone, on the 2nd floor of 142 Main Street, is one of many “Local Love” participants.

Fitness

  • Bar Method – 15% off a 10-pack or the New Client Special (or both)
  • CST 50 – 20% off a 5-pack (one-time use)
  • F45 Westport – 20% off Foundation Membership (normally $240); month-to month with no contract or commitment
  • Gym Source (fitness equipment) – 20% off
  • Joyride – 20% off a 10-pack
  • Pinnacle Health & Fitness – 15% off training packages
  • PureBarre – 20% off retail
  • Upper Deck Fitness – 20% off training sessions and/or a 10-pack

Hair & Nails

  • Amenity Nail & Spa – 20% off
  • Annette DeCarlo (at Sola Studios) – 20% off OR an add-on glaze
  • Blow Dry Westport – 15% off products and services
  • Greg & Tony’s Salon – 15% off products and services
  • Haus of Pretty – 20% off
  • Milena Ivanov (at Sola Studios) – 20% off color and glaze (new customers only)
  • Sharkey’s – 20% off retail products
  • Steven Mancini – 15% off products and services
  • Studio on Main – 15% off products and services; $90 for blow dry 3-pack
  • W Hair & Color – 15% off services (one-time use)
  • Westport Hair & Co – 15% off of blow outs
  • WHIP Salon – 15% off products and services

Health, Beauty & Spa

  • Avez Massage (at Sola Studios) – 15% off
  • Dominique Rochelle Beauty (at Sola Studios) – 15% off
  • European Wax – 15% off products and services
  • Eyebrow Girl – 20% off
  • Ideal Weight Loss – 15% off the first month’s supply of Ideal Protein meals at Ideal Weight Loss (“the Foodie’s Weight Loss program of choice”) if begin program by first week of January.
  • Lotus Cosmetic Surgery Center – 15% off all services, including Botox, Filler and /or cosmetic surgery (some restrictions apply)
  • Modern Dermatology – 15% off aesthetician services
  • New Beauty & Wellness Spa – 15% off all services
  • Restore Cryotherapy – 15% off all services
  • Westport Dental Associates (teeth whitening) – $200 ZOOM Teeth Whitening (67% discount) and 40% off Quip Toothbrushes
  • XO Skincare (at Sola Studios) – 15% off

Home Decor & Gifts

  • Dovecote – 20% off
  • Fig – 20% off
  • Indulge by Mersene – 20% off one item
  • Party Harty – 10% off
  • She La La – 20% off winter gear, including cashmere
  • Simple Elegance – 20% off
  • Taylor Place – 20% off
  • Tusk – 20% off select items (designated in store)
  • Westport Library Pop-Up Shop – 20% off scarves and metal ornaments; 10% off everything else
  • William-Sonoma – 20% off all William-Sonoma branded products

You can get all kinds of gifts at Indulge by Mersene — including some with “06880” themes!

Jewelry

  • Artemis Westport – 20% off
  • Faye Kim Fine Jewelry – 20% off select items
  • Lux Bond & Green – 10% off (20% off select items)
  • Mitchell’s – 15% off (some brand exclusions apply)
  • Noya – 10% off select jewelry items, and 20% of select accessories

Pet Care

  • Choice Pet – 20% off
  • Earth Animal – 20% off designer sweaters & coats for pups

Restaurants & Food Services

  • 190 Main – 10% off
  • A&S Food – 10% off
  • Bagel Maven – 10% off
  • Black Duck – 10% off
  • The Cottage – 10% off of dinner
  • Gold’s Deli – 10% off restaurant dining
  • The Granola Bar – 10% off
  • Green & Tonic – 10% off menu; 30% off detox cleanse
  • Jersey Mike’s – 10% off
  • Jesup Hall – 10% off OR FREE Happy Hour drink Tuesday-Friday, 5-630pm
  • Layla’s Falafel – 10% off
  • Little Barn – 10% off
  • Little Kitchen – 10% off
  • Match Burger Lobster – 10% off food
  • MEAT – 10% off
  • OKO – 20% off lunch
  • Organic Market – 10% off
  • The Pearl – 10% off
  • Le Penguin – 10% off (excluding dinner Friday and Saturday)
  • Planet Pizza – 10% off
  • Rizzuto’s – 10% off
  • Rye Ridge Deli – 15% off
  • The Spotted Horse – 10% off
  • Stiles Market – 10% off butcher and deli only
  • Tarry Lodge – 10% off
  • Tavern on Main – 10% off
  • Terrain – S’mores and Popcorn by the fireplace on 12/1 and 12/8
  • Westport Pizza – 10% off
  • Winfield Street & Deli – 10% off

Layla’s Falafel is one of the many participating places beyond downtown. There’s construction in front of the 1535 Post Road East restaurant — but plenty of parking in back.

Sporting Goods

  • ASF Sports and Outdoors – 20% off footwear
  • Downunder – 20% off
  • Olympia Sports – 20% off
  • Ski & Sport – 20% off one-time purchase (excluding Bogner and sale items)
  • Sports Attic – 20% off sports merchandise

Toys

  • Age of Reason – 20% off

Wine & Liquor

  • Country Liquors – 10% off

Photo Challenge #204

I said that last week’s Photo Challenge was hidden in plain sight. Many Westporters pass it every day, without ever really seeing it.

So no, it was not the “Golden Shadows” mansion at Baron’s South.

The intricate design photographed by Mark Jacobs is part of old Bell Telephone brick building on Myrtle Avenue. When you turn on Myrtle from the Post Road, it’s the 2nd property on your right — directly opposite Sherwood Square.

The building was once a key operations center for the phone company. Now it’s just part of the scenery. (Click here for the photo.)

It’s still a good-looking building. Check it out the next time you’re stopped in traffic there — which I’m sure will be soon.

Robert Mitchell was the first “06880” reader to “call up” the correct answer. Bob Grant, Darcy Sledge and Mary Ann Batsell followed.

Mark Jacobs also contributes this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where you’d see this beautiful scene, click “Comments” below. (Bonus points if you know the name of the waterway.)

(Photo/Mark Jacobs)

Pics Of The Day #585

First, the mystery message on the Post Road Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge read “Vote.” A new message popped up a few nights ago.

Here’s a tighter view. If you still can’t see, it reads “Thanks = Giving.” (Photo/Mark Yurkiw)

Lots Of Shoppers

With little fanfare, the new Elm Street parking lot is now open.

It’s next to Bedford Square — on the site of the former Villa del Sol restaurant.

It — and every other downtown lot — was packed today. Already, drivers are ignoring arrows and roaring the wrong way through it.

Meanwhile, temperatures rose from yesterday’s record-setting lows, and Westporters shrugged off the stock market’s lows.

Downtown was jammed, with shoppers seeking Black Friday bargains. The holiday season — the longest possible, as Thanksgiving came on the earliest possible date — is off to a strong start.

Friday Flashback #117

Today is Black Friday: the start of the holiday shopping season.

Merchants hope folks flock downtown, jamming Main Street to shop at the many chain stores and less numerous but very cool locally owned ones, then grab a bite at the few places left to eat.

If you want basics, you have to go elsewhere. But back in the day, Main Street was an actual “main street.” It was filled with grocery stores, drugstores, hardware stores: the lifeblood of any town.

Here are 2 photos, from years past.

3 Main Street, near the corner of the Post Road (then called State Street). The building looks the same today, though the tenant is long gone. (Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)

Another long-ago business — though the building next door looks almost the same.