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Category Archives: Longshore
If you didn’t have somewhere to go yesterday, you just weren’t trying.
In addition to Slice of Saugatuck — the gorgeous festival already covered on “06880” yesterday afternoon — there were several great events.
Wakeman Town Farm raised nearly $100,000 at their annual Harvest Fest. The evening featured fantastic food and drinks, a kick-ass band, and the always-special pastoral setting.
From the farm to the beach … yesterday evening, Friends of Sherwood Island threw their annual Shorefest, at Connecticut’s first state park.
Yesterday also marked the final day of StoryFest, the Westport Library’s celebration of the story in all forms. It’s the largest literary festival in Connecticut.
Panels included this one on activism …
… and the finale, which included food, drink, and the “Reading Glasses” podcast, live from the Library stage.
Also last night: guitarist Robert Cray, at the Levitt Pavilion.
Now get set for next Saturday’s Lobsterfest at Compo Beach, courtesy of the Westport Rotary Club.
September in Westport: It doesn’t get much better than this!
Friday was a big night for Staples High School football.
After an address by 3 active servicemembers, quarterback Caleb Smith led the Wreckers to a 42-13 rout of Conard-West Hartford. It was the season opener for both teams, at Paul Lane Field.
And the Gridiron Club presented Catch-a-Lift founder Lynn Coffland with a check for $23,000. Funds were raised this summer by the club and players, who participated in the “Murph Challenge.” The money helps post-9/11 combat wounded veterans, with gym memberships and fitness rehabilitation.
The Wreckers travel to St. Joseph next Saturday, for a 1:30 p.m. contest.
A reader writes:
“There is a severe water shortage. It is recommended to water lawns at night.
“Did Longshore not get the message? Or are they privileged? I’m curious …”
Jill Grayson witnessed this “Westport … Naturally” standoff recently. She did not mention who backed off first.
And finally … anyone who lived through 9/11 remembers the profound sadness that hung in the air, and crept into our hearts, for so long.
There was little anyone could do, besides grieve. But music — as it always does — helped heal.
Three songs in particular will always remind me of the weeks after September 11, 2001. The world changed forever that day.
And so did the way I will always hear these songs.
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Scott Smith writes:
“A recent ‘06880’ post showing a rocky Compo Beach of a century ago makes me realize that in these parts having a sandy beach to enjoy is a conscious act — one that requires proper land-use decisions and ongoing upkeep.
“With all the talk about the forthcoming Longshore improvement plan and anticipated dredging of the Saugatuck River, I also wonder: Wouldn’t the shoreline adjacent to Longshore pool, hard by ER Strait Marina, make a dandy children’s beach for Westport families?”
Here’s a recent view:
It did not always look like this. Here’s an illustration from the private Longshore Beach & Country Club brochure:
Don’t believe an illustration? Check out a 1934 aerial view. Longshore is at the bottom (Hendricks Point is the far left; the beach area, just below the pool, is the second white area from the left. The Compo marina is at the lower right:
More recently, we see:
Beaches are constantly eroding. Sand is redistributed all the time.
But Scott is right. As Longshore is reimagined, let’s not forget the “long shore.”
Speaking of sand: In this era of videogames, TikTok and 24/7/365 streaming, there’s something refreshing about this photo:
11-year-old Ben Kiev spent yesterday building this sand castle at Compo Beach.
And he seems to be smart enough to have chosen a site far enough from the tide so that it could last — at least, a while.
There’s a new ice cream shop in town.
Gofer Ice Cream opened recently at 1240 Post Road East. It takes over the former Silver Ribbon location, in the same strip mall as Fortuna’s and Greens Farms Spirit Shop (and not far from Carvel, which has been around since ice cream was invented).
Gofer features premium hard and soft serve ice cream, plant-based and fat-free options, smoothies, cakes and more.
Gofer’s other locations include Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Ridgefield, Riverside, Stamford and Wilton.
As their website notes, “It’s always a good day to Gofer ice cream.”
Among the nearly 3,000 attendees enjoying music, food and fellowship at yesterday’s Puerto Rican Day parade in Hartford: Westporter Ifeseyi Gayle.
An elected member of our Board of Assessment Appeals, she also co-chairs the Westport Democratic Town Committee’s outreach group.
And — because these are the dog days of summer — “Westport … Naturally” presents:
And finally … Happy 59th birthday to Tori Amos:
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In the days following Ted Diamond’s death at 105, Westporters have shared memories of the World War II hero, former 2nd Selectman and 67-year Westport friend and neighbor.
Scott Smith shares something else: a pair of videos.
In 2010, Smith chaired the town’s 50th-anniversary celebration of the purchase of Longshore. As part of the event, he conducted a series of interviews with longtime residents.
In this clip, Diamond describes how he and 1st Selectwoman Jacqueline Heneage worked to save the Inn at Longshore:
Smith also interviewed Diamond and Victor DeMaria about their Longshore memories:
Speaking of videos: A capacity crowd welcomed Twiddle last weekend, for a 2-day Levitt Pavilion festival.
They were not disappointed. The Vermont-based jam band put on great shows.
And Twiddle was not disappointed with Westport.
Yesterday on Facebook they said: “Still thinking about how incredible last weekend was at Levitt Pavilion in Westport, CT. So much love for everyone who came out and joined us. See you tonight in Wisconsin for Phlowfest.”
They also uploaded a fantastic video of their shows to social media. Their videographer captured the music, the audience, and some killer drone footage too.
We’re not quite Woodstock or Newport. But it makes us look pretty damn close. Click here to see.
Speaking of the Levitt Pavilion: There are many things to worry about in Westport.
Having a concert stage named for a convicted sex offender and disgraced financier is not one of them.
At 9 p.m. last night, I got an email from a worried Westporter. She said: “This stage name for Levitt Pavilion is a disgrace for Westport. Can you investigate? Just trying to enjoy a nice night at Levitt Pavillon. My visitors are very concerned about my home. EPSTEIN?”
The handsome stage was named — and dedicated — in 2015. It honors Geri and David Epstein, in recognition of their $500,000 gift during the renovation of the outdoor entertainment center.
Relax. Chill. Enjoy the show!
“Westport … Naturally” has featured ospreys on the Post Road by Fresh Market, and at Longshore, Sherwood Mill Pond and Burying Hill Beach.
There’s osprey on Cockenoe Island too. Carl McNair snapped this photo of the much-less-noticed raptor:
And finally … on this date in 1789, the US established the Department of War.
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Tweak it. Spruce it up.
But don’t make major changes.
That’s the strong sentiment from a town-wide survey about the future of Longshore, says the woman in charge of overseeing any changes to the 168-acre park.
Jen Fava — Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department director — has looked at the results and comments of the springtime survey. Administered by landscape architect, planning and engineering firm Stantec as an early step in the Longshore Capital Improvement Plan, it drew 2,658 responses.
“The surprise was that there were not a lot of surprises,” Fava says.
“People said ‘Longshore is great. We love it.’ They don’t want to change too much. They just want it tweaked, to fit their needs.”
Of course, not every resident has the same needs. One person’s priority for pickleball may conflict with another’s desire for a golf clubhouse.
Golfers weighed in strongly for an actual clubhouse, with a pro shop, locker room and grill. The golf course itself will not be redesigned.
Platform tennis players want 2 more courts, and a warming hut.
As for pickleball: 1,512 respondents want courts. 962 said no.
As expected, Fava says, survey respondents expressed a strong desire for the pools — and for keeping the current location, near Long Island Sound.
However, many asked for more shade there; a patio and picnic area, and renovated locker rooms.
There was a clear desire too for trails, paths and walkways throughout Longshore. “That fits in with national trends,” Fava says.
Stantec’s job now is to provide options. Fava calls it “laying out the jigsaw pieces.” Where, for example, would a golf clubhouse be constructed: on the site of the current ramshackle pro shop, or elsewhere? Should the current maintenance shed — right in the heart of the facility, near golf, tennis, the Inn and the pool parking lot — be moved? If so, where?
The driving range now occupies prime real estate, at the confluence of the Saugatuck River and Long Island Sound. A number of respondents would like to see that space available to more users. If so, what happens to that practice facility?
The survey asked several questions about parking. Most respondents rated it low on their concerns. “Perhaps we’ll look at a realignment of spaces, or better accessways,” Fava says.
Parks & Rec officials will go to the public this fall for more input. Then comes a detailed capital plan, with requests for specific items before town finance and land use commissions.
“We can’t give everyone everything,” Fava notes.
Moving forward, she says that she and other officials will keep in mind the main takeaway: “People said, ‘don’t overdevelop Longshore.’ We’ll keep its character, while meeting as many needs as possible.
“Longshore has very good bones. We just need to sculpt around it.”