This past Monday, beach stickers went on sale.
For decades, that meant standing in line at the Parks & Rec office. Same for registration for tennis and golf handpasses, program registration — basically, if you wanted to do anything fun in Westport, you had to head down to Longshore, then stand in a long line in a tired old Mediterranean-style building opposite the much more handsome Inn.
These days, it’s all online. As a result, many new residents have no idea where Parks & Rec headquarters is.
The building was spruced up a few years ago. It’s much more user-friendly — and now it shows its age well, not poorly.
The roof of the Parks & Rec office was barely visible in last week’s Photo Challenge. Mostly, Chip Stephens’ shot showed trees and brush. (Click here to see.)
But Andrew Colabella, Fred Cantor, Clark Thiemann and John D. McCarthy have been to Longshore enough to pick that building out of the thicket.
Can you pick out where in Westport you’d see this week’s Photo Challenge? If you know, click “Comments” below.
The Inn at Longshore, after today’s snow squall…. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)
… and the Longshore exit road. (Photo/Nicola Sharian)
Longshore skating rink changing area (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)
Leaving Longshore (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)
Gray’s Creek cemetery (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)
The Westport PAL Rink at Longshore doesn’t get a lot of press.
But every winter for over 20 years — quietly, efficiently, and very, very joyfully — the outdoor skating center just a few feet from Long Island Sound has provided thousands of kids and adults of all abilities (and none) with hours of good fun, and a lifetime of memories.
It’s not easy keeping an ice rink going — especially one without a roof. There’s ice to groom (and remove snow from). There’s the weather — sometimes too cold, sometimes too warm.
There are schedules to make (and adhere to), lessons to give, parties to help out with, reckless teenagers and worried parents to tend to.
The Westport Rink at Longshore. (Photo/Michael Winser)
I can’t imagine how the PAL Rink staff does it. But they do — and they do it in a way that makes it all seem easy. They smile often, extend helping hands when needed, and create a warm environment on even the coldest nights.
So to longtime manager Tony Lantier and his loyal, hard-working and often-overlooked crew: Thank you! You are our deeply appreciated yet Unsung Heroes of the week.
Manager Tony Lantier, at his rink.
Longshore at night (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)
Longshore’s Westport PAL rink is open — and skaters are flooding in (Photo/Katherine Bruan)
End of the season at Longshore’s ER Strait Marina (Photo/Seth Goltzer)
A cold evening at Longshore’s ER Strait Marina (Photo/Seth Goltzer)