Category Archives: Restaurants

Roundup: Chino Cortez, School, Drought & Lanternflies …

In December 2020, I posted an email from Katherine Calise.

After a big snowstorm, her trash collector — Chino Cortez of Cortez Refuse — had shoveled his own path to her cans.

“He is the kindest person — all around, the nicest person you could meet,” she wrote. “In the summer he sprays the garbage cans so you will not get sick.”

Others agreed. On social media they praised him for hauling away Christmas trees, making sure cans were safely stored in the wind, and texting customers if they forgot to put the trash out.

The other day, Katherine contacted me again. This time, it was about helping out with Chino’s medical bills.

At work earlier this month, a bungee cord snapped and hit his eye. His retina was severely damaged. He’ll have surgery soon, as doctors try to save his sight.

A grateful customer has organized a GoFundMe campaign. Click here for more information, and to help.

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It’s an annual tradition: On the first day of school, parents take photos of their kids at the Juniper Road/Caccamo Lane bus stop.

Here’s this year’s edition. Parents: Save for posterity. Kids: Don’t be embarrassed — decades from now, you’ll appreciate this.

PS: The little ones on both ends? They’ll be graduating before you know it.

(Photo/Pam Long)

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Speaking of school: The Porch @ Christie’s on Cross Highway is located close to 4 of them: Staples High, Bedford Middle, and Coleytown Middle and Elementary.

It’s also on the route for people heading into and out of Westport.

A good number of folks passing near, or by, are teachers. To celebrate a new school year, The Porch is offering free coffee and tea to all educators, now through September 9, with any purchase (6:30 to 9 a.m.) or salad, bowl, sandwich or grill item (3 to 5 p.m.). Just show your school ID.

What a great way to honor teachers. Owners Bill and Andrea Pecoriello have learned their customer service lessons well.

Free coffee or tea for teachers here.

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Speaking of local businesses that care:

On Sunday, Tutti’s Ristorante held a fundraiser for Jimmy Nuzzo. “DJ Jimmy James” — a friend to the owners (the Funicello family) and many others — needs a new heart and liver. 100% of the proceeds from the $25 penne-and-meatball dinner went to help.

Westporters, Norwalkers and others came through — big time. Tutti’s raised nearly $4,000 for Jimmy.

Maria Funicello asked me to thank the “06880” community. Consider it done — and thank you, Tutti’s, too!

Tutti’s owners Pasquale and Maria Funicello opened their restaurant (and hearts) to Jimmy Nuzzo.

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There are many new families on Ludlow Road, Wright Street and Orchard Lane recently.

So the neighborhood near Old Hill threw an old-fashioned block party on Sunday.

There was food and drinks. Adults chatted; kids romped. It was a great way to come together at the start of the school year.

One attendee suggested that every neighborhood with new families should do the same.

Or how about: Every neighborhood in Westport, with or without newcomers?

Send us your block party photos. Party on!

Seeking shade, and familiar and new faces.

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Weston is taking steps to address its drought.

Yesterday, residents received this message from 1st Selectwoman Samantha Nestor:

“I am reaching out to remind residents that Weston (and all of Fairfield County), have been experiencing Stage 2 drought conditions since mid-July due to below normal precipitation levels across Connecticut. Stage 2 identifies an emerging drought event that could potentially impact water supplies, agriculture, or natural ecosystems.

“Per Governor Lamont, ‘Residents should be mindful of their water consumption and take sensible steps to reduce impacts on other water uses and on the environment. We must begin early steps now to mitigate the potential for harm should the drought become prolonged.'”

Weston asks residents to voluntarily take measure to help reduce the impact of the drought conditions, including:

  • Reduce watering lawns, gardens, and other landscaped areas; if watering is essential, late evening hours are best
  • Avoid burning in or near woodlands or brush-lands
  • Take shorter showers
  • Run dishwashers and clothes washing machines with full loads
  • Shut off water while washing dishes, shaving, brushing teeth, and lathering up to wash hands, rather than running the water continuously
  • Avoid washing vehicles or power-washing homes and other buildings
  • Do not use water to clean sidewalks, driveways, and roads
  • Postpone planting new lawns or vegetation
  • Minimize overall water use by fixing leaky plumbing and fixtures
  • Follow any additional conservation requests

For more information from the Connecticut Drought Information Center, click here. (Hat tip: Gloria Gouveia)

Meanwhile, one more indication that Westport is in a drought too:

Near Levitt Pavilion. (Photo/Seth Schachter)

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Speaking of environmental threats, consider the spotted lanternfly.

It’s crossed Connecticut’s southwest border — that’s us — and could threaten businesses, nurseries and homeowners, causing billions of dollars in damage while devastating the landscape, in 2 years.

The SLF is a sap-feeding plant hopper native to China. It is believed to have entered this country as an egg mass stuck to a shipment of stone sent to Pennsylvania in 2012. Since then, that state’s agriculture, vineyards, forests, nurseries and residential areas have suffered serious damage.

The SLF started making its way into Connecticut last year. The state Agricultural Experiment Station issued a quarantine order. The hope is that the pest will be slowed long enough to find a treatment to control or eradicate it.

The beautiful-looking insect affects fruit trees, grapes, hops and ornamental trees. The nymphs (immature stage of the SLF) and adults feed on sap from trees and vines, causing them to weaken. Excretions from the SLF stick to the leaves; black sooty mold grows, reducing the plant’s ability to photosynthesize properly.  This reduce crop yields, and weaken trees and plants further, eventually destroying them.

Spotted lanternfly

It can also wreak havoc on lawn furniture, sidewalks, sides of buildings, car tires and everything else outside, making them a sticky mess.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station urges everyone to report any sightings.

If you spot an SLF, kill it right away. Report it here; include a photo if possible. (Hat tip: Susan Iseman)

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Jenni Kayne opened its 4th store last weekend. The location for the “California lifestyle brand” is Sconset Square.

It showcases the interiors arm of Jenni Kayne Home, with furniture set in “real-room environments,: and home accessories. The store also carries Jenni’s skincare line, Oak Essentials.

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“Westport … Naturally” returns to the theme of drought. Deadman Brook looked particularly low the other evening:

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

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And finally … in honor of back-to-school (and The Porch @ Christie’s celebration of teachers — see story above), here’s this long-forgotten Elton John classic.

Okay, the lyrics are not exactly a paean to a classroom education. But still …

Roundup: Water, Weeds, Lichen …

Online registration for fall Westport Parks & Recreation Department programs begins at 9 a.m. on Wednesday (September 7).

Among the events: traditional favorites like tennis clinics, Sports Squirts, IST football, Wakeman Town Farm and Skyhawks Sports Academy, and new ones: Future Wreckers’ basketball clinics, Next Generation skateboard clinics, Overtime Athletics Heads Up dodgeball and Kaboom Kickball.

Click here to search for programs (adult and youth). Click here to make sure your online account and family information is up to date. Click here to register.

Having trouble accessing your online account, or need an address change? Do not create another profile; call 203-341-5152 or email recreation@westportct.gov for help.

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A resident of Pequot Trail, off Sylvan Road North, writes:

“A house on our street has the greenest lawn in town, because they water it twice a day. Many neighbors have reported the house to Aquarion and the town, and placed notes in the mailbox. Yet the sprinklers keep running:=

 

“We’re curious about what happens in this situation, when someone blatantly ignores repeated notices about water usage/restrictions.”

We’re curious too.

Aquarion calls its water restrictions “mandatory.”

But its website says that residents “should” follow the twice-weekly (not twice-daily) schedule.

And its FAQ page answers a question about penalties for “violating the two-day mandatory irrigation schedule” this way:

Our main commitment is to educate the public about how they can use water more efficiently and sustainably; however, we can penalize violators, including shutting off their water, if their failure to follow the schedule impairs public resources.

Sounds as if “can” has not yet translated to “will.”

Perhaps the next step is to print this story out, and put it in the green lawn owner’s mailbox.

And then send a copy to Aquarion.

PS: This was the scene this morning, with several sprinklers going. Sunday is a legal watering day for house numbers ending in even numbers, or homes without numbers. The Pequot Trail home has an odd number:

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Meanwhile, Seth Schachter offers this sad photo for our continuing drought coverage.

It’s at the Turkey Hill North/Post Road intersection. He calls it “weeds need water too.”

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

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On the brighter environmental side:

Fran Taylor graduated from Staples High School in 1971. She’s lived for years in her native Kentucky, and loves it. But she remembers Westport fondly too. Fran writes:

“I love the Ned Dimes Marina photos on ‘06880.’ They bring back many memories of hanging out there regularly with a variety of friends.

“Imagine my surprise when I finally identified the name (Maritime Sunburst Lichen) of the yellow lichen creeping on to my back porch in Lexington — a thousand miles from any ‘maritime’ setting.

Maritime sunburst lichen, in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo/Fran Taylor)

“It looked familiar, but I couldn’t place where I’d seen it before. Cue Ned Dimes Marina — and just like that, so many memories came flooding back.

“Thanks to 06880 for keeping those precious memories, which trigger sights, sounds, smells and emotions, alive a half century later.”

And thank you, Fran. Please come visit whenever you can!

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The curtain rose officially last night for “4000 Miles.” The Westport Country Playhouse production stars Staples High School Class of 2013 graduate Clay Singer, and Fairfield resident Mia Dillon. The thought-provoking, rollercoaster-of-emotions show runs through September 4.

Last night’s curtain call, wit Clay Singer and Mia Dillon. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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Jim White has lived or worked in Westport for 18 years.

His sister Kate White has no connection here, beyond knowing how much he loves this town.

But when Kate — a best-selling author, and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan — was writing her 16th suspense novel, The Second Husband, she set it in Westport

Jim had a great time helping his sister with background research. Among the local spots mentioned: Terrain, Spotted Horse and the Whelk.

Surprise! Those are some of Jim’s favorite restaurants too.

“It’s an excellent read,” Jim praises. And, he adds proudly, “Not only is she an amazing writer and editor, but she recently gave the commencement address at Union College — where she received an honorary doctorate of letters.

“She was in the first class of women accepted at Union, and was part of their celebration of 50 years of being co-ed. She has been a great inspiration to me, and I am sure many others.”

Jim hopes to get Kate here for a book signing or discussion. In the meantime, click here to order.

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Hayden S. Cabral died suddenly but peacefully in his sleep on Thursday. He was 21 years old.

Hayden is survived by his father Kevin Cabral, his mother Dawn Loecher, step-mother Laura Cabral, brothers Logan and Payton, sisters Lianna and Hailey, aunt and godmother Susan Cabral-Hiltz, uncle Harry Hiltz, uncle and godfather Scott Loecher, grand-uncle Carlo and aunt Marcy Cabral, cousins and many great friends.

He was predeceased by his grandparents Joseph and Betty Cabral, and Janet and Robert Loecher.

Friends will be received at the Harding Funeral Home tomorrow  (Monday, August 29, 4 to 8 p.m.) A Funeral Mass will be held at Assumption Church on Tuesday (August 30, 1 p.m. Burial will follow at Willowbrook Cemetery.

Hayden Cabral

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature features a beautiful blue heron. Amy Schneider sighted it on the Saugatuck River, near the Levitt Pavilion.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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And finally … today is the 67th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till. In 1955, the Black 14-yer-old was abducted, tortured and murdered in Mississippi. His brutal  death — and the decision by his mother to have an open casket, and a public funeral — helped galvanize the civil rights movement.

(“06880” is supported solely by readers. Please click here to contribute.)

Roundup: Outdoor Tables, Opioids, Oscar Edelman …

The Great Table Debate continues.

Following up on Sunday’s “06880” post about the tables outside the new Nômade restaurant — including a photo of only 3, when it was Tavern on Main —  owner Ciara Webster sent this undated shot, of 6 tables:

She adds: “We use smaller tables in order to give a safe walkway and clear access, and to support our neighboring business.

“Our umbrellas are the exact same height. They may appear bigger because they are vented so they don’t cause injury on a windy day by turning inside out. We made sure that they do not block any signs.

“That being said, I love the suggestion to keep them closed until people sit. That was a super idea, and we plan on doing this going forward.”

It’s unclear when Tavern on Main first put tables on Main Street. Here’s a shot from 2014, without them:

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Opioids and counterfeit drugs are everywhere.

Including Westport. The more we know about them — and the potential for overdoses — the better equipped we are to help.

In conjunction with International Overdose Awareness Day, Positive Directions is sponsoring free life-saving naloxone-Narcan training for interested residents. It’s at the Westport Library (August 31, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.).

Training will include how to recognize an overdose, and administer the drugs. Each participant will receive a free Narcan kit.

Space is limited. Click here to register. For more information on the Westport Prevention Coalition, cljck here.

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Schlaet’s Point — the waters between the Compo Beach Soundview/Hillspoint jetty, and Old Mill Beach — is known for many things: gorgeous views, fishing and disappearing islands, to name three.

Swimming and water sports — not so much.

But the Staples High School water polo team is set up a portable training court there. As they’ve done in past years, they use it for pre-season training.

(Photo/Karen Como)

We’re not sure how treacherous that part of the Sound is. We do know this, though: The Wreckers will rock this season!

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Speaking of sports:

Last month, Oscar Edelman was part of the US U-18 basketball team that finished first at the Maccabi Games in Israel. More than 600 players from across the country tried out for the American squad, which went undefeated at the “Jewish Olympics.”

It was quite a trip. Edelman had a bar mitzvah ceremony there (along with over 100 other athletes), while the opening ceremony was attended by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennet.

Yesterday, the 6-7 Greens Farms Academy rising senior was honored by his hometown.

RTM District 1 representative Matthew Mandell arranged the ceremony. Local and state dignitaries presented certificates.

Oscar Edelman, with state and town officials, yesterday at Town Hall. He’s the tall basketball player.

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Still speaking of sports (of sorts):

Earlier this month, “06880” reported on Chris Kelly’s training regimen. In preparation for the upcoming Leadville Trail 100 — a 100-miler in the Colorado Rockies, climbing and dipping through nearly 16,000 feet of elevation — he ran up and down Compo Hill.

Fifty times.

The race was last Sunday. Chris’ goal was 25 hours.

He did it — with 8 minutes to spare.

Congratulations, Chris! You earned your prize: a large belt buckle.

PS: Because this is “06880: Where Westport meets the world,” there is of course another connection. Local resident Chris Barnett also finished the great, grueling event.

Chris Kelly (2nd from left) with his crew, after finishing the Leadville Trail 100. He doesn’t even look tired!

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An “06880” reader is worried that Westporters are not worried enough about the current drought. Fairfield County is currently in Stage 2 — not as severe as eastern Connecticut, but our cup is not exactly running over either.

I’ve posted a few “water conservation” stories, including last month’s mandatory twice-weekly irrigation schedule from Eversource.

In an attempt to keep the dry conditions front and center: If you’ve got any photos to serve as visual reminders of what’s going on, please email them to 06880blog@gmail.com.

Shriveled shrubs? Shallow streams? Send pics along!

Low tide at Deadman Brook in 2019. It’s even lower these days. (Photo/Johanna Rossi)

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It’s almost back to school time. (Cue the applause/groans/forehead slaps).

That means it’s look-for-good-kids’-programs time too. Wakeman Town farm offers hands-on activities for ages “0 to 14.” They include “learning about our furry friends, planting and eating fresh veggies, pollinators, compost, and other activities.” Click here for details.

Eager students in Wakeman Town Farm’s “Cooking Around the Globe” class.

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Speaking of back to school: Staples High School rising freshman Paige Foran is getting ready by running a pet supply/food drive. It’s tomorrow (Thursday, August 25, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., PetSmart, 525 Connecticut Avenue, Norwalk).

The drive benefits the Connecticut Humane Society.

Donors can leave these items: newspapers (without inserts), paper towels, large garbage and Ziploc bags, Bounce dryer sheets, new or like-new machine-washable towels and blankets, HE laundry detergent, new or like-new pet beds, sound machines, clay cat litters, cat toys (no catnip!), cat carriers, wand toys, new litter boxes, laser pointers, new cardboard cat scratchers and litter scoops, Kong toys, slow feeder bowls, Nylabones, soft training treats, dog toys, collars and leashes, Pupperoni, Beggin’ STrips, Carefresh bedding, Yesterday’s news litter, small animal and bird toys, Oxbow small animal food, Snuggle safe heat discs, miracle nipples, 4 Paws Easy Feeder, Royal Canin baby cat food, Breeder’s Edge kitten formula, kitten bottles, adult dog and cat food, soft dog treats, cat treats, bird and small animal food.

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Speaking of cats:

This hungry-looking bobcat was prowling around Evergreen Parkway yesterday afternoon.

It’s a first for that neighborhood, says Yvonne Claveloux.

(Photo/Yvonne Claveloux)

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Tomorrow night’s Jazz @ The Post (Thursday, August 25, sets at 7 and 8:30 p.m.) features the Ben Williams Jazz All-Stars. The band includes Brian Glassman, Mitch Schecter, Aaron Alexander and “Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall.

Williams and Wall first met in 1978. They became close friends and even closer musical comrades, playing all styles and at all available venues. At the New England Conservatory of Music they started a roots jazz project that evolved into the Bourbon Street Bass Band, and jump-started their national touring career.

Later, as the Hi-Tops, Williams and Wall worked together in hard bop and avant garde.

Glassman, Schecter and Alexander have also played with Wall and Williams, over several decades.

There’s a $10 cover, and dinner from 6:30 on from chef Derek Furino. Reservations are strongly suggested: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Ben Williams

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Spam email I stopped reading after the first couple of lines:

“Hi Dan, I hope this finds you well! I’ve stumbled across a few of your past articles, and I think you’d be very interested in hearing about our upcoming eBike conversion kit launch.”

Um … no.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature finds Frank and Winston — brothers from the same litter — enjoying low tide yesterday at Old Mill Beach.

(Photo/Nicola Sharian)

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And finally … combining two stories above — Jazz at the Post, and Westport’s drought — we bring you:

(“06880” is fully reader-funded. Please click here to help.)

Photo Challenge #399

“Sherwood” is a famous name in Westport.

The seagoing family — which included triplets — have a state park, diner, drive, lane and connector named for them.

They are most closely connected with Greens Farms. But they lived all over town.

So which “Sherwood House,” built in 1808, was last week’s Photo Challenge? (Click here to see.)

Bruce Salvo, Wendy Schaefer, Bobbie Herman, Derek Fuchs, Andrew Colabella, Janice Strizever and Sal Liccione all knew: the building that is now Spotted Horse Tavern.

It was moved a few feet from its original location on Church Lane, during the Bedford Square project. But the plaque attests to its history — even if most patrons, intent on snagging a table or seat at the bar, never see it.

Everyone has seen this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport it is, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

 

Seeking Grace

Nômade is the newest entrant on the Westport dining scene.

The long-awaited successor to Tavern on Main has earned great praise — and many repeat customers — for its eclectic cuisine, fresh-looking interior, and imaginative use of the upstairs patio (including a big new bar).

But several residents are concerned about its tables, chairs and large umbrellas by the Main Street entrance. They block the view of Savvy + Grace — the gift-and-more store on the lower level — and make it difficult to enter.

Tables outside Savvy + Grace …

Molly Alger writes:

Annette Norton, the proprietor, is one of the most enthusiastic supporters of downtown Westport, and of ‘shop local, shop small.’ Her shop is a delight, filled with great merchandise, much of it Westport-, 06880- and Fairfield-themed.

She is a philanthropic initiator of fund-raising efforts in Westport, and a champion of trying to make downtown Westport the best it can be. It saddens me when downtown businesses do not support each other. Each one that thrives improves our downtown Westport experience.

… and an umbrella near the entrance on Friday. The landlord moved this umbrella stand from the Savvy + Grace entrance yesterday.  (Photos/Molly Alger)

I asked restaurant owner Ciara Webster for her side. She replied:

We are aware that whatever store is in that lower spot, is of course going to want their safe and visual access and and I believe we have been very sensitive to that.

Tavern on Main always had tables (exact same number as we now have). I believe they were laid out in an identical manner. It would be very wrong of us to do anything that might harm the business of the ground floor shop below us and of course to give our community space to walk unobstructed.

Nothing has changed. It’s been this way for 30-plus years. I’m not sure if Chez Pierre had an outdoor sidewalk seating area, but ever since it became ‘Tavern’ it has.

An undated photo, however, shows only 3 Tavern on Main tables, with 4 seats each, in front of Savvy and Grace. There are currently 7 tables, also with 4 seats each.

Tavern on Main tables. Umbrellas were down, until used.

Nômade’s owner notes that the seating is seasonal, and that outdoor seating is important for people still nervous about COVID. She adds: “We are very conscious to remember it is a privilege and to treat it as such.

“We really do believe that our small outside dining area, will we hope bring new customers to our retail stores. In fact if I had a retail store in the immediate vicinity I’d be thrilled for the exposure to people eating lunch and looking around. ”

This seems like a simple fix. Fewer tables; repositioning them away from the entrance, and keeping the umbrellas down until needed will allow everyone to enjoy a nice meal, followed by a great shopping experience.

Or vice versa.

(“06880” is a non-profit organization, supported entirely by readers. Please click here to help.) 

 

Roundup: Tarry Lodge, Lost Swan, Trees …

Finally, the long-rumored news is official: Tarry Lodge is permanently closed.

A sign on the door says what’s been obvious to anyone driving past the Charles Street restaurant for weeks:

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

The Italian spot opened in 2011, on the site of the former Abbondanza (and, long before that, Esposito’s gas station). At the time, I described owner Mario Batali as a “chef, cookbook author, TV personality and philanthropist.” These days, I have to add “serial sexual harasser.”

The website lists 2 Connecticut locations for Tarry Lodge: Westport and New Haven. A dropdown menu indicates both are “no longer available.” The reservations link still allows requests, followed by: “At this moment, there’s no online availability within 2.5 hours.”

And a phone call still leads to this message: “We’re currently closed, but our phones open daily at 11 a.m.”

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Westport Animal Control officer Peter Reid is often called upon for dog and cat crises.

But his portfolio includes many other local creatures: birds, raccoons, snakes …

… and yesterday morning, a swan.

Karen Mather reports: “I saw a swan walking in the middle of Morningside Drive South, and pulled my car over. The poor thing looked tired, and a bit out of place. 

“I called Animal Control. Peter arrived. He’s such a good, friendly, capable guy.

He said he would find an appropriate place for it — wide, open (territorial problems with swans) — perhaps Saugatuck. Hopefully this feathered friend had a better day!”

Animal Control Officer Peter Reid, and the swan. (Photos/Karen Mather)

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Speaking of nature: Aspetuck Land Trust asks, “Want to ‘think like a forest'”?

On Friday (August 26, noon to 1 p.m., Zoom), Anna Fialkoff leads a discussion on “planting native trees to support local food webs.'”

Native trees purify air, shade and cool in hot weather, store atmospheric carbon, minimize flooding and storm water runoff, and help sustain vital pollinators, birds and other wildlife.

Trees are part of forest-like systems, even planted near homes and businesses, in parks and public open spaces, along streets and highways, even parking lots. To learn more, click here.

Think like a tree.

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Two local authors have been added to Story Fest, next month’s Westport Library 6th annual literary-and-more event.

Tessa Smith McGovern and Patricia Dunn will hosting a conversation with  best-selling fantasy author Naomi Novik.

They’ll use the discussion to launch their new podcast: Go Ahead, Write Something!

McGovern is an award-winning English writer and teacher/coach. She’s written 2 best-sellers: the short story collection “London Road: Linked Stories” and Cocktails for Book Lovers.

Dunn is author of the young adult novel “Rebels by Accident.” Her next book, “Her Father’s Daughter,” is a psychological thriller. Her writing has appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, The Nation, LA Weekly and The Christian Science Monitor.

Click here for more information on StoryFest.

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Business Networking International meetings are usually limited to one person per profession.

But a Visitor’s Day on September 1 (7:30 to 9 a.m., United Methodist Church) is open to all.

It’s a chance to hear about classifications that can accept new members. Among them: LinkedIn expert, counseling services/psychotherapist, home security, HVAC, photographer, caterer or bakery, florist, event planner, home inspector, moving company, travel or tour operator, automotive repair, landscaper and electrician.

The Westport BNI group has nearly 50 members. In the calendar year starting October 2021, the group has passed over $3.2 million in closed business.

Pre-registration is required; email billhall747@gmail.com. For more information, click here.

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One Rivers is 10 years old.

Don’t freak out. They haven’t been in their location behind Shearwater Coffee, in the old Bertucci’s building, that long. But the unique art and digital design school is ready to celebrate with an Art Fest.

Set for Sunday, September 19 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), it includes a variety of workshops for children and teenagers. Some require advance registrations; other are drop-in.

There’s live music too; food from Goni’s Gourmet; local artists and vendors, and a raffle with a chance to win a free month of lessons.

Click here for full details.

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Giovanni (John) Mioli — a Westporter for 48 years — died peacefully on Thursday, surrounded by his family. He was 90 years old.

Giovanni was born in Santa Teresa di Riva, Italy (Sicily), the oldest of 5 children. He graduated from Istituto Tecnico Industriale, Messina, Italy and had a long career in electrical engineering.

Giovanni spent his 20s captaining sailboats in many regattas on the Caribbean Sea. This passion continued throughout his life. He loved spending time with family and friends on his sailboat on Long Island Sound.

Giovanni also loved communicating globally. As an amateur radio operator, he won competitions by contacting hundreds of amateur radio operators worldwide.

He was happiest traveling with his family to Italy, St. Maarten, Clearwater Florida, and anywhere there was a warm, beautiful beach. At home he enjoyed tending to his vegetable garden, and fig and lemon trees.

Giovanni is survived by his wife of 56 years, Concetta (Tina) of Westport;  daughters Rina (Thomas) Greco of Guilderland, New York, and Alicia (Joseph) Mioli of Hoboken, New Jersey; grandchildren Louis Greco and Victoria (Justin Valente) Greco; brothers Santo (Sabina) of Mamaroneck, New York, Joseph of Westport and Carmelo (Carrie) Mioli of Westport; his Rita Carolini of Harrison, New York, and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

A wake will be held on Monday (August 22, 4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home, , Westport). A funeral mass will be held Tuesday (August 23, 11 a.m., St. Luke Church). Entombment will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery, Westport.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the National Kidney Foundation would be greatly appreciated.  Online donations can be made at http://www.kidney.org.

Giovanni (John) Mioli

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Back to swans (see story above):

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature shows one that has not lost its way. Susan Lloyd spotted it, swimming serenely in Muddy Brook:

(Photo/Susan Lloyd)

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And finally … while Aspetuck Land Trust invites you to “think like a tree” (story above), Lerner and Loewe had that idea decades ago. Their musical “Paint Your Wagon” debuted on Broadway in 1951; a film version followed in 1969. Among the songs:

 

Roundup: Tutti’s, Kugel, Newman & Redford …

A man with a big heart needs a new one.

And one of Westport’s most big-hearted restaurants is helping.

Jimmy Nuzzo — known to many as “DJ Jimmy Jams” — was born with a congenital heart defect. After open-heart surgery at age 7, he lived a healthy life for years. He owns Dance to the Music Entertainment, and is a loving husband and father.

Now he needs a new heart — and liver.

Jimmy Nuzzo (3rd from left), with his family.

On Sunday, August 28 (4 to 7 p.m.), Tutti’s on Riverside Avenue is offering a $25 penne with meatball dinner — large enough to feed 2 people. It’s to-go (and cash) only. 100% of the proceeds go to help Jimmy.

Mangia!

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Speaking of dining (though a different cuisine):

Chabad of Westport hosts “Kugel with a Twist” (September 7, 7 p.m.).

The Nosher editor Shannon Sarna Goldberg and Connecticut food blogger Liz Arronson Rueven will chat about modern takes on Jewish comfort food.

It’s free, and open to the community. However, attendees are asked to bring one kosher item (dried fruit, raisins, dates, nuts, tomato/spaghetti sauce, cereals, oatmeal, jelly, canned tuna, ketch, mustard, mayo, vegetable/corn oil) to stock Chabad’s mobile kosher food pantry, to arrive this fall.

Anyone donating $180 to held fight food insecurity will receive a signed copy of Sarna’s “Modern Jewish Comfort Food.”

Click here to register, and for more details.

Eat!

Kugel

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Longtime Westporters Carl Addison Swanson and his editor Jo Ann Miller have just published their 54th book,

It details Swanson’s experiences — some fictional — during his 1969 Vietnam tour. tour.

“365 Days and a Wake-up” is “not your normal war novel with blood, guts and gore,” Swanson says.

“I was watching ‘M*A*S*H,’ the movie, on late night TV, and remembered some of the humorous things, amidst the insanity, of events which occurred. I attempted to capture them.”

Swanson, known for his fast-paced, plot-driven narratives as well as his prolific publications, owns a Bermuda publishing house, and is a senior editor at a national magazine.

“365 Days” is available Labor Day. The hardback version follows in mid-October. Click here to order. Click here for Swanson’s website.

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Paul Newman has been in the news lately.

The actor/car racer/philanthropist died in 2008, but his life in Westport with Joanne Woodward is featured in the CNN/HBO film “The Last Movie Stars.”

Arthur Klausner sends along a recent Tweet that “stars” Newman’s friend, Robert Redford. In the clip from 1980, the former Weston resident recalls a long-running practical joke the two men played on each other, involving melted-own automobiles and their homes.

Arthur wonders how long the “garden sculpture” remained at Newman’s North Avenue home.

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The Levitt Pavilion has just added a new ticketed show.

Orebolo — featuring Rick Mitarotonda, Peter Anspach and Jeff Arevalo of Goose — take the stage on September 7 (7 p.m.).

The trio has built a national following nationwide. Formed during the initial COVID surge, they shared a home. They learned new covers, and explored Goose’s deep catalog acoustically.

Tickets are $15 (members) and $18 (non-members, plus a $2 facility fee). Member pre-sale is active now; public tickets are available Monday (August 22) at noon. Click here to order, and for more information.

Orebolo

In other Levitt news, an opening band has been added to this Sunday’s (August 21, 6:30 p.m.) Allison Russell ticketed show.

She hand-picked Bailen, after opening with them at the Edmonton Folk Fest. Children under 12 are free (with an adult in the BYO-lawn chair section).

As for Allison: she released a new single yesterday, featuring Brandi Carlile:

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Also this weekend: a pair of Friends of Sherwood Island State Park programs.

Tomorrow (August 20, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.), 2 interns with a big net will set up on the beach across from the Nature Center. They’ll show how many creatures they can pull out of Long Island Sound.

On Sunday (August 21, 2 to 3:30 p.m.), butterfly expert Michele Sorensen will lead a walk. She’ll start at the Nature Center porch, then explore nearby gardens and dunes for a variety of species. Buckeyes, swallowtails, sulphurs, fritillaries, monarchs, skippers and pearl crescents are all possible. It’s suitable for ages 5 and up.

Click here for more information.

Monarch butterfly (Photo/Tammy Barry)

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Native Westporter and Pepperidge Farm manager Agnes “Aggie” Veno died peacefully last week, with her family by her side. She was 67.

Aggie was passionate about arts and crafts, and participated in craft fairs throughout Fairfield County. She was especially good at crocheting. She was also an excellent cook and baker, who enjoyed gatherings with her extended family.

She was an avid volunteer at St. Luke Church too.

She is survived by her mother Marie, sister Joann (Steve) Porch, godson Nicholas Vena, Jr., and many cousins, including Sadye Bella Bustillo, who had a special place in her heart. In addition to her father Andrew, she was predeceased by her brother, Andrew J. Veno, Jr.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held today (Friday, August 19, 10 a.m., St. Luke Church). Interment will follow at Assumption Cemetery in Greens Farms.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. To send an online condolence, click here.

Aggie Veno

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One more rainbow photo from last night — this one perfect for “Westport … Naturally.”

Koda lives on Soundview Drive. But he’s a frequent visitor to Old Mill Grocery, around the corner.

(Photo/Karalyn Hood)

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And finally … in honor of last night’s beauty, enjoyed by Koda (and many “06880” photographers):

(To share a pot of gold — or just a few pennies — with “06880,” please click here. Support for this blog is greatly appreciated!)

Roundup: Tarry Lodge, Fenway Park, Ukraine …

In late July, “06880” reported that Tarry Lodge looked closed.

The property was unkempt; there had been no life there for days.

But the website was accepting reservations. A phone recording announced “new hours.”

Readers commented. Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell said he’d spoken to the new manager, who “looked forward to the Slice of Saugatuck and will be one of the sponsors of the event.”

Clark Thiemann added: “Tarry Lodge had a sign on the door they were closed for vacation this week and will be back at the beginning of August.”

It’s now mid-August. Either the restaurant’s vacation has been extended for quite a while — in the middle of outdoor dining season — or plans changed.

Or perhaps management was, you know, lying.

The website still uses Open Table for reservations — though today, none were “available.”

More telling is the paper that covers the windows.

Then again, maybe that’s just part of Tarry Lodge’s “vacation” plans.

Tarry Lodge, in July. (Photo/Patti Brill)

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It wasn’t a mountain. But Julia Marino looked equally at ease Sunday night, on the Fenway Stadium mound.

The Olympic snowboard silver medalist — and Westport native — threw the first pitch, as the Boston Red Sox hosted the New York Yankees.

Julia’s mother Elaine watched proudly from just to the left of the visitors’ dugout — “serious Yankee fan territory,” she says.

Julia had a blast. So did the Sox: They won 3-0.

Julia Marino, on the Fenway mound.

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Speaking of sports: Saugatuck Rowing Club won the women’s points trophy on Sunday at the USRowing Masters National Championship in Sarasota, Florida.

Points are awarded throughout the 4-day regatta for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes. Multiple medals contributed to the win.

Back row (from left):) Coach/general manager Scott Armstrong, Barbara Phillips, Liz Brennan, Kate Weber, Vicki Lopez, Suzanne Dodge, Ellen Knapp, Carrie Mioli, Susan McInerney, Caroline Gill. 2nd row: Susan Quinn, Beth Bass, Linda Mandel, Liz Turner, Wendy Woolf, Bobbi Liepolt, Annamari Mikkola, Front row: Patrice Foudy, Joanna Moody, Silvia Durno, Izzy Sareen, Katie Derose, Kathleen Davis, Celeste McGeehan.

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The last day for lifeguards at Burying Hill Beach is this Sunday (August 21).

Compo Beach will be staffed by lifeguards through September 5.

Beach stickers are required through September 30.

Burying Hill Beach lifeguards’ last day is Sunday. (Photo/Yvonne O’Kane)

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There’s only one day each year when visitors to Sherwood Island State Park can stay past sunset.

It’s Shorefest — Friends of Sherwood Island’s annual fundraiser. This year’s event is set for September 9 (6 to 9 p.m., main pavilion).

Guests enjoy an evening of food, live jazz piano, silent auction — and of course, a spectacular sunset. Catered by Westfair Fish & Chips, dinner options include lobster, steak, salmon, or vegetarian. Burgers and hot dogs are available for kids. Appetizers, salad, beverages and dessert are included.

All proceeds support habitat restoration, education and advocacy. Click here for tickets and more information.

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Longtime Coleytown Elementary School physical education teacher Pearl Marcus died peacefully at home in Westport last week. She was 99 years old.

Her family calls Pearl “a Gigi, Momma and Mom. What a wonderful and beautiful life she lived. She had a fantastic group of friends and a loving family. She was always there for all of us. She will always remain the anchor of our family.”

In addition to decades of teaching at CES, Pearl was involved in the Westport community. She enjoyed traveling, entertaining family and friends, theater and tennis.

She was predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Marc (Melvin) Marcus. She is survived by 2 daughters and their spouses, 5 grandchildren and two spouses, and 4 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Quick Center for the Arts, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824, or Baltimore Squashwise, 2801 Sisson Street, Suite 100, Baltimore, MD 21211 (Pearl’s great-niece is executive director).

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Nearly 200 people watched live and remotely last night, as 2 Westporters reported on their efforts to aid Ukraine.

Brian Mayer recently returned from his third extended visit to the war-torn nation, where he was joined by Ken Bernhard. Mayer co-founded UkraineAidInternational.org, a non-profit offering humanitarian relief and refugee rescue.

The pair discussed the importance of their work, and the challenges they face. They noted that tax-deductible contributions can be sent to Ukraine Aid International, 88 Partrick Road, Westport, CT 06880, or made via Venmo: @ukraineaidinternational. (Hat tip: Dave Matlow)

Brian Mayer (left) and Ken Bernhard, on the Westport Library stage. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

Meanwhile, some Westporters headed to Georgetown last night, for a special show featuring Jackopierce at Milestone restaurant. The show did not disappoint.

The sold-out crowd included members of Staples High School’s Class of 1987. That’s when Cary Pierce — half of the popular duo, and a Westport native — graduated.

Jackopierce is based in Dallas. A couple of fans from there were at the show too. They enjoyed seeing the singer/guitarists in an intimate setting.

Cary Pierce (right) and Jack O’Neill: Jackopierce, at Milestone. (Photo/Rick Benson)

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Dan Johnson captured today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, in the sky above Imperial Avenue:

(Photo/Daniel Johnson)

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And finally … 53 years ago today, Woodstock was in its second epic day.

Among the memorable performances:

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(From Woodstock to Jackopierce, and Ukraine to Fenway Park, “06880” delivers a daily Roundup. Please click here to help support this blog.)

Roundup: Studio Cafe, Black Bear, Anti-Abortion Activism …

Westport’s restaurant scene is thriving. Many have been packed all summer long — both outdoors and inside.

But a few fly under the radar. “06880” reader hopes we can give Studio Café a boost. It opened last summer in Sconset Square — specifically inside The Tailored Home, the interiors and furniture design store.

Anne writes: “My husband Bob and I have had 2 meals there. We are very pleased with the innovative and delicious menu and impeccable service.

“We had aocado toast, loaded with herbs on a thick piece of toasted country bread; uiche with bacon and fresh asparagus, light, well-seasoned and cooked perfectly; eggplant and zucchini lasagna mushrooms and chicken, served in an individual casserole, bubbling with cheesy goodness, with a hearty toast on the side; gambas al ajillo, perfectly cooked and seasoned shrimp in a tasty brandy garlic sauce with shards of tomato and chili pepper.; carrot cake, topped with fresh blueberries, a whip of cream cheese, and a large cake-like brownie.

“The seating is eclectic and classy -= both outside under umbrellas, and inside with a mix of comfortable chairs in mixed fabrics. Clearly the aesthetic is a function of being incorporated into the design store. Lots of fun colors, and a simple yet well-appointed table setting.”

Both COVID and the lengthy renovation of Sconset Square may have contributed to Studio Café’s low profile. Anne wants readers to know about this special restaurant, in a perhaps overlooked and out-of-the-way spot.

Studio Cafe

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Interested in tonight’s (Monday) 6 p.m. Jackopierce show at Milestone restaurant in Georgetown? Bummed that it’s sold out?

Jim Honeycutt — a longtime fan of the duo, which includes 1987 Staples High School graduate Cary Pierce — has an extra ticket.

It’s available (free!) to the first person who emails him: jamespeterhoneycutt@gmail.com.

Enjoy!

Cary Pierce

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WARNING: Do not read the following item if you are in the midst of eating.

Nancy Diamond writes: “We often find coyote feces on our property in Old Hill.  I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying it.

“But this threw me today. I’d never seen a load filled with nuts or berries.

“So I asked Google and got: American black bear! Has anyone else suspected they’ve had a bear on their property?”

Perhaps. After all, everyone knows what bears do in the woods.

In 2013, Cablevision News 12 aired this shot of a black bear in Westport. I’m posting this, rather than the photo of bear feces that Nancy sent. You’re welcome.

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In May, a video of Max Bernegger went viral. The 2020 Staples High School graduate stood outside the Basilica of Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Lower Manhattan. He and several others taunted reproductive rights advocates; he wore a Fire Department of New York jacket.

The FDNY quickly noted that Bernegger — who used an alias during a subsequent media appearance, and on social media  — was not a firefighter.

Throughout the summer, anti-abortion groups have gathered outside Old St. Pat’s, as well as clinics where pro-choice groups have escorted women to clinics.

Bernegger was at the New York church again earlier this month. The photo below circulated on social media.

Max Bernegger (left) and fellow anti-abortion protesters holding crucifixes outside Old St. Pat’s, earlier this month.

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Congratulations to Julia Kaner!

The daughter of former 2nd Selectman Avi Kaner got engaged to Nick Meisel on Friday evening.

Appropriately, it was the Jewish “Valentine’s Day” holiday of Tu B’Av.

Julia Kaner and Nick Meisel.

Julia’s proud parents hosted an impromptu lunch in the backyard yesterday. Former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and his wife Mary Ellen were there.

It was the same spot where 10 years ago, as Kaner hosted a barbecue, the duo decided to run as a ticket. At the time, he was chair of the Board of Finance; Marpe led the Board of Education.

Yesterday’s celebration of Julia Kaner’s engagement.

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The Compo Beach jetty starts the week’s “Westport … Naturally” feature off with beauty and color:

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I) was born on this day, in 1769.

Almost exactly 200 years later, Napoleon XIV — actually Jerry Samuels, an American who had nothing to do with the French military and political leader — achieved pop infamy.

His “song” “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haah!” zoomed to #1. Almost as quickly it disappeared, yanked from radio play after a torrent of complaints that it mocked mental illness.

This may be the first time you’ve ever heard of the record — or heard it since 1966.

(“06880” is supported entirely by readers. Please click here to contribute.)

 

Roundup: Lanternfly, Dead Tree,, Orchestrating Change …

Chuck Greenlee, acting Y’s Men Gardening chair, writes:

“Wednesday afternoon at the very popular Westport Community Garden, our our Ys Men Gardening group noticed an unusual flying insect. JP Montillier got an eerily good photo.

“It was our newest American insect invasive scourge: the lanternfly.”

Click here for more information on lanternflies.

Lanternfly (Photo/JP Montillier)

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Speaking of the less-wonderful side of nature:

Dave Wilson sent a photo of a dead tree on New Creek Road, near the Greens Farms Station and Beachside Avenue.

(Photo/Dave Wilson)

It’s dangerous. Dave says that a few requests have been made over the years to remove it.

He thinks it may have been tagged this week.

Fingers crossed …

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Nômade — the new restaurant replacing Tavern on Main — has had a few previews, before opening officially next week.

The previously dark interior has been reimagined, much more brightly. (The fireplace remains — but it’s now white). The patio is filled with tables, and a large bar. Wicker baskets hang from the ceiling.

The eclectic menu ranges from burgers and steaks to octopus, clams and ravioli.

The Nomade patio, overlooking Main Street. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Tickets are going fast for tonight’s (Friday) Levitt Pavilion show — the inaugural one, launching Hiss Golden Messenger and Aiofe O’Donovan’s “Turn Tail in the Milky Way” tour. (Next stops: Chautauqua, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.)

And kids’ tickets (12 and under) are free.

Both bands are part of the Levitt’s “Stars on Tour” event.

The show starts at 7 p.m. tonight. Doors open at 6; the Walrus Alley food truck will be there. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Tonight’s “Stars on Tour” folk double-header follows the free one last night. Intergenerational greatness was on stage, as Clueless (with School of Rock stars Ethan Walmark, Anais Preller, Jake Greenwald; Zach Rogers, Francesco Perrouna and Witt Lindau teamed up with perennial favorite the Mill River Band.

Dancing to the Mill River Band last night at the Levitt Pavilion, under a super moon.

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Yesterday was the first of the 3-day Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition.

The international event includes master classes by finalists at the Westport Public Library, and performances at MoCA Westport.

Today’s (Friday) events include a lecture by educator and musician Clipper Erickson, plus more master classes at the Library, and performances at MoCA. The competition concludes with an awards ceremony at MoCA on Saturday, (August 13).

Click here for tickets for all events, both in-person and virtual, and more information.

Heida Hermanns finalist Artem Kuznetsov leads a master class at the Westport Library. (Photo/Feria Sewell)

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Speaking of music: Me2/Orchestra is the only one in the world created by and for people living with mental illness. R

It was created by Ronald Braunstein. On a trajectory to becoming a leading conductor, he made his diagnosis of bipolar disorder public and was shunned by the classical music community.

He vowed to erase the mental health stigma. one concert at a time. The film “Orchestrating Change” follows Braunstein and several musicians for 2 years, capturing their setbacks and accomplishments.

The film ends in triumph for Braunstein, who thought he might never conduct again — and for the musicians and audience, whose perspective on mental illness is forever changed.

The Westport Library will show “Orchestrating Change” on September 13 (7 p.m.). Executive producers/directors Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin, and several people featured in the film, will be on hand for a talkback after the screening. Click here for more details. 

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The Staples High School football program was inspired yesterday by a visit from a combat wounded Army veteran, Intelligence Sergeant Quincy Lopez.

He cheered on the athletes, as they did a Marine Corps “Murph workout.” It’s a fundraiser for both Westport football and Catch a Lift, the program that helps wounded vets.

Sgt. Lopez spoke of being part of something “bigger than yourself.” He added:

“You are as strong as your strongest link, and as weak as your weakest link. If you guide your decisions by what makes the team better, that in turn makes you better.

“We will soon approach another anniversary of 9/11. The darkest of hours and ultimate tragedy was followed by the greatest period of camaraderie and unity.  Incredible gains can happen when everybody works together.  Keep this in mind as you persevere for whatever you do and aim to achieve.”

Staples football players listen intently. (Photo courtesy of Adam Vengrow)

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Colorful seacoast mushrooms at the Westport Farmers’ Market make today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo particularly colorful.

(Photo/Mike Hibbard)

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And finally … on this day in 1966, John Lennon apologized for saying that “the Beatles are more popular than Jesus.”