Category Archives: Longshore

Longshore Lighthouse: The Back Story

For decades, no one thought about the Longshore lighthouse.

Yesterday, I published a photo of it as part of “06880’s” Friday Flashback series.

I had no idea that Westporters Dick Stein and Tracy Hinson had just offered an oil painting of that same scene to the town, as a gift.

Dick told official curator Kathie Motes Bennewitz that he found the painting behind an upstairs desk at last year’s Red Barn tag sale. Owner Tommy Nistico asked Dick if he knew where the lighthouse had been located. Dick remembered it instantly from  his youth.

The painting — by artist Harriet Horowitz, who moved from Westport in 1972 — was dusty and dirty. But Dick bought it, hoping it would one day hang in the Parks and Recreation Department office — at Longshore.

He had it cleaned and lightly repaired. Now he’s given it to the town.

Longshore lighthouse painting by Harriet Horowitz

That’s a great story. But there’s one more part.

According to alert “06880” reader Peter Barlow — who sent the lighthouse photo along for the “Friday Flashback” — in the late 1960s a popular Parks and Recreation Commission official ordered the demolition of the lighthouse.

Years later, he admitted it had been a mistake.

The commission member’s name?

Lou Nistico — father uncle of Red Barn owner Tom Nistico, who sold the lighthouse painting to Dick Stein.

Friday Flashback #3

This was not a working lighthouse.

But for decades it served as a welcoming beacon for everyone entering Longshore — first the private beach club, then (after 1960), the town-owned park.

I don’t think anyone was allowed inside. But I clearly remember where it stood: Just inside the entrance across from the tennis courts, near where the pavilion and snack bar are today.

If you’ve got any memories of the Longshore lighthouse — or never knew it, but want to react to the photo — click “Comments” below.

(Photo courtesy of Peter Barlow)

(Photo courtesy of Peter Barlow)

 

Here’s Looking At You, Longshore!

A few years ago — very quietly — the entrance to the Longshore pool and tennis courts was renovated and upgraded.

What had been a shabby, neglected piece of the park is now a warm, welcoming space.

Alert “06880” reader/longtime Longshore fan Fred Cantor took this image the other day. The entryway frames the park — and Fred’s shot frames it beautifully.

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

Fashionable Summer Wear

As Westporters try to figure out hot trends for this summer, we should look back too.

Longshore - Anne Peacock 1936

Eighty years ago — on June 1, 1936 — Westport’s “Miss Anne Peacock” strutted this look.

The photo caption describes her “suit with red and white halter neck, water proof woven beach bag, red and white practical and comfortable sock-beach shoes, and a natural straw coolie hat.”

The shot was taken at “the fashionable Longshore Club in Westport, Conn.”

(Hat tip: Seth Schachter)

 

Great Day For A Wedding

I was at the Longshore pavilion tonight, for Mary Ann West’s low-key birthday party and book launch.

But as I wandered past the tennis courts, to take a photo of the stunning sunset, I stumbled on a wedding at the Inn.

Or, at least, the picture-taking part of it.

Longshore wedding - 2

I have no idea who the happy couple is.

But they sure started their marriage on a beautiful night.

Longshore wedding - 1

Fred Cantor Grants Staples A Special Gift

All year long, Staples Tuition Grants raises money for scholarships.

Tonight, they give it away.

Staples Tuition Grants new logoOver 100 students — soon-to-be graduates as well as alumni from the past 4 years — will receive $300,000 in college aid.

The ceremony is low-key, but warm and inspiring.

And very, very important. Contrary to myth, there is plenty of need right here in Westport.

Fred Cantor did not receive an STG grant when he graduated from Staples in 1971. He no longer has formal ties to the school; he’s just a proud alum.

But the longtime Westporter is eager to give back. Recently, he found a unique way to do so.

For the 1970s on, he’s taken photos of iconic Westport scenes. Now he’s licensed 5 of them to STG: Main Street with Remarkable Book Shop; Fairfield Furniture and the Saugatuck River; Fine Arts Theater; Longshore’s main entrance, and Railroad Place.

They’re displayed on gift items like luggage tags, coffee mugs, magnets, note cards and tote bags. They’re on sale to the public — with all profits going to the scholarship organization.

Actually, they’ll go to one specific fund: the STG award named after Chou Chou Merrill. The 1970 grad reveled in her childhood and youth here — the memories she shared, the friendships she nurtured, the opportunities she was given. She died in 2014.

A luggage tag, with an image of the Longshore entrance.

A luggage tag, with an image of the Longshore entrance.

Fred says that the photos and souvenirs are a perfect way for Westporters, current and spread around the globe, to show their affection for this town. And help a great cause.

How generous of Fred — an avid “06880” reader — to think of Staples Tuition Grants in this way.

How fitting that he’s chosen Chou Chou’s scholarship to be the recipient of his generosity.

Now all you have to do is click here for a great Fred Cantor-themed/Westport-style/STG-assisting souvenir. (NOTE: More items will be added soon!)

(The public is invited to today’s Staples Tuition Grants ceremony [Thursday, June 9, 5:30 p.m. in the Staples library]. To donate to Staples Tuition Grants, click here.) 

all feature Fred Cantor's photos of Westport.

Luggage tags, coffee mugs, magnets, note cards and tote bags feature Fred Cantor’s photos of Westport. Fairfield Furniture is now back to its original name: National Hall.

Because The Nearest Garbage Can Must Have Been At Least 6 Steps Away

Harding Point at Longshore’s E.R. Strait Marina is one of the prettiest spots in Westport.

Except when a very entitled dog owner decides he (or she) can’t be bothered to clean up after his (or her) pet.

ER Strait Marina

Perhaps the dog owner was just marking his (or her) territory, so no other Westporter would be able to enjoy such a lovely spot.

Golf Can Really Tee You Off

Spotted on the Longshore course:

Longshore sign

Tracy Yost Peddles Great New Bike Rental Service

When Tracy Yost’s husband was transferred to Santa Cruz, she stayed behind in Bethel. Her twin daughters were finishing high school, and she had a great job as a fitness director in Greenwich.

A year later, Tracy joined him in California. When she could not find fitness work, her husband encouraged her to unwind.

Tracy Yost

Tracy Yost

She hiked, played beach volleyball, and biked and walked everywhere. She fell in love with the wonderful weather, and “came alive.” She had never been so happy.

Looking back, she saw that she’d been caught up in Fairfield County’s long, daily marathon of work, driving, and running a high-pressure household.

Eighteen months later — right after her youngest daughter was accepted at Cal Poly — her husband’s company asked him to return to the East Coast. Tracy was devastated.

She moved back on January 16, 2015 — her birthday. With her driver’s license expired that day, she could not rent a car at the airport. Besides which, the airline lost her luggage.

But someone lent her a car. A friend took her to the Spotted Horse. She realized she’d be fine.

Leaving California, Tracy knew she wanted to live somewhere near the water, in a town influenced by New York with a vibrant downtown. Her home would be no bigger than 3,000 square feet — without a pool.

She had a preconceived, not-good notion of Westport. But realtor Lisa Duguay said, “It’s a jewel — a real community. People really support good organizations. There’s a great beach.”

Tracy found a perfect house near downtown. She and her husband moved in.

Then came 9 weeks of snow. And, a month after arriving, Tracy was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Today — after an operation and radiation — she believes it was cancer, not Santa Cruz, that made her understand she has only one life. She needed direction, and had to take care of herself.

Westport is not Santa Cruz. But it has its own charms.

Westport is not Santa Cruz. But it has its own charms.

She started juicing, and going to hot yoga. And she thought of what she could do for others.

Assessing her new life, she looked back on what she missed: Connecting with people in a fun, leisurely way. The California coastline. The “pedestrian” lifestyle.

Then she thought: Hey! I live on a coastline. I have a degree in fitness. I can do something recreational, connecting people with the beach, downtown, and a lifestyle that does not always have to be crazy busy.

Westporters were already rowing, and renting stand-up paddleboards.

But no one was renting bikes here. Whoa!

Bob Hogan, of Fairfield County SCORE — the organization that offers free advice to budding entrepreneurs — helped her write a business plan. They did it during her radiation. (“Now you have focus!” he said.)

Which is how and why Westport Bike Rentals is ready to take Westport by storm.

Tracy bought 20 bikes, and a van. She developed a few Westport routes (and can customize more, on request).

Riders call 203-917-9533,  click on www.westportbikerentals.com, or email thebikelady@westportbikerentals.com. She meets them, delivering bikes for one of 3 options: a twilight ride ($25), 6 hours ($39) or all-day ($49). Helmets and a bike lock are included.

Tracy brings her bikes to riders, via van.

Tracy brings her bikes to riders, via van.

Tracy chose her 3 drop-off locations carefully. One is Long Lots School.

Another is the Imperial Avenue parking lot. The bike can be locked for a walk downtown, through Baron’s South, then over to Granola Bar — or anywhere else.

Saugatuck train station is the 3rd spot. Tracy has a contract with Metro-North, so riders can purchase a ticket and bike rental together.

The idea is not just to hop on a bike and pedal. Tracy wants riders to “go slow and explore.” In other words: Don’t just ride. If you’re heading through Longshore, stop at Pearl and have an appetizer. Then examine the graveyard on the exit route.

She offers plenty of pre-planned routes. Some are “low-key and chill,” with stops at places like the Black Duck or Christie’s Country Store. Others are “hip and happenin'” (Bartaco, Neat).

Tracy enjoys getting lost in history, so many of her routes take riders past historic sites and landmarks.

Tracy Yost, with some of her 20 bikes.

Tracy Yost, with some of her 20 bikes.

She kicks off Westport Bike Rentals with a series of Monday 2-hour twilight  rides. They’re free — but donations are accepted. Each week, a different local non-profit will benefit. The first — on May 2 — aids Staples Tuition Grants(Click here for more information, or to sign up.)

Tracy says “I want to be part of the local community.”

It sounds like she already is. And bikers, explorers and everyone else should be glad that her local community is Westport — not Santa Cruz.

(Anyone signing up for Tracy’s newsletter receives 10% off a May rental — and a copy of “The Bike Lady’s 10 Secret Locations to Chillax in Westport.”)

Westport Bike Rentals logo

Longshore Seaplane: The Sequel

This morning’s post about Westport’s seaplane past brought an instant response from Scott Smith.

And a photo:

Last seaplane - Longshore - from John Kantor

Click on photo to enlarge.

The former chair of Longshore’s 50th anniversary as a town park got the image from John Kantor, longtime owner of Longshore Sailing School.

Scott writes:

John gave me this photo of a seaplane taxiing away from the sailing school dock. He described it as “the last seaplane” that took off from that area. Note the police vessel standing by.

Scott adds that Lucia White — a well-known artist, now in her 90s — told Scott that her brother was a seaplane pilot in the 1930s and ’40s. He once flew one of the Bedford family’s planes to Florida. When he was a few days late reporting back, Lucia’s mother raised a fit with Mrs. Bedford.