Category Archives: Saugatuck

Greetings From Westport

Pop-up art galleries are a thing. They’ve popped up all over Westport, including the Post Road and Bedford Square.

There’s a new one in Saugatuck. But this is different: It’s the brainchild of a pair of fairly recent Staples High School alums.

Jake Shore and Alex Zukerman graduated in 2013. They earned degrees from Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt, respectively.

Since last fall they’ve staged a half dozen shows in Paddlecourt Gallery, a former catering storefront on Saugatuck Avenue. (It’s across from Westport Chinese Takeout. The name comes from its founding in a former paddle tennis court near Alex’s house.)

This weekend they present the work of up-and-coming artists Alicia Gibson and Butt Johnson. Though New York based, both have created drawings depicting well-known residents past and present, and local architecture and landmarks.

The show reflects views of the town by visitors. It suggests postcards, memories and impressions.

Jake and Alex have taken Westport’s artistic legacy to heart. They’re carrying on the tradition, in a modern, hip way.

The opening reception is tomorrow (Saturday, June 23, 1 to 6 p.m.). The show runs through July 29. Paddlecourt Gallery is at 58 Saugatuck Avenue.

(For more on Paddlecourt, check out this story posted today on ArtNews.)

Pics Of The Day #427

One view of the I-95 bridge on the Saugatuck River … (Photo/Amy Lamb)

… and another. (Photo/Ashley Skatoff)

Another Closing: Commuter Coffee

Commuter Coffee — for over 4 decades, a quick stop across from the train station — serves its last breakfast (and coffee) today.

Owner Fred Whelan was too busy with his final customers to speak with “06880.” But an employee said another restaurant may eventually fill the Railroad Place space.

Commuter Coffee was started by Thomas Papan — Whelan’s father — in 1976.

(Hat tip: Ben Sturner)

New Daycare Coming To Saugatuck

Lost amid last night’s Planning & Zoning Commission approvals of 9 housing units at 500 Main Street, and a Post Road East dispensary, was one other item.

The board unanimously passed a special permit and site plan for a Goddard School daycare center and outdoor playground at 20 Saugatuck Avenue.

That’s the former location of AAA, a quick-mart and gym, among other tenants. It’s since been upgraded, but has stood vacant for a while.

This morning — after the vote — a few neighbors voiced concern about traffic and noise.

Of course, a previous plan for the site — ultimately withdrawn — was a Tesla service center.

20 Saugatuck Avenue is currently vacant.

Sweet Sounds Of Summer

There are many signs of summer in Westport: The Yankee Doodle Fair. The 2nd of July fireworks.

And music on the Saugatuck Sweets plaza.

The series kicks off this Friday (June 15). The Dave Kardas Band plays from 6:30 until 9 p.m.

They play classic rock, blues, country, R&B, soul and jazz. They cover music from James Brown, Prince, BTO, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations and Michael Jackson to Eric Clapton, the Cars, Sister Sledge, Whitesnake, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Sade, Aretha Franklin, Jill Scott, Bruno Mars and Pharrell,

If you enjoy great ice cream and fantastic music by the river, you know how great this is.

If you don’t, I’m sorry.

There’s no hope for you.

This is not the Dave Kardas Band. But it’s what the “Sweet Sounds of Summer” series looks like, at the plaza by the river.

Pics Of The Day #413

A pair of storefronts on Railroad Place (Photos/Betsy P. Kahn)

Pic Of The Day #407

Westport train station (Betsy P. Kahn)

Pic Of The Day #404

The William Cribari Bridge footpath. Al’s Angels holiday lights are hung year-round. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Remembering Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy — the jewelry designer whose creations, discerning eye, store and helpful personality were beloved by Westporters — died peacefully on Monday in Lakeland, Florida, after a long illness. She was 75.

She was a graduate of Staples High School (Class of 1959), and of Rhode Island School of Design. Her jewelry career spanned over 50 years in Westport, where she owned and operated Cellar Workshop.

Sarah Kennedy

Sarah was a creative and spirited artist who loved traveling, gardening and animals. Predeceased by husband Jack W. Kennedy, she is survived by her companion Mark Wilson; her brother Ian Goldy of Riverdale, New York; her  daughters Michele Mottola of Marblehead, Massachusetts and Sherry Schultz of Minneapolis, and 3 grandchildren.

No services are currently scheduled. Sarah will ultimately be laid to rest at Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport.

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In 2015 — as she was closing her Cellar Workshop — I posted this story on Sarah Kennedy:

In 2009, Sarah Kennedy moved her Cellar Workshop from downtown to Saugatuck.

The old spot — across from Christ & Holy Trinity Church — was easy to miss. Her new location — on Railroad Place, across from the train station — was warm and welcoming. It was the perfect location for the gem-maker to show off her unique, eclectic collection of rings, bracelets, pendants and pins.

It was a great move. She kept all her former customers, and added many more. They learned that Sarah is herself is a gem.

Sarah Kennedy wears one of her own handblown pieces.

Sarah Kennedy wears one of her own handblown pieces.

Now Sarah is moving again. This time, it’s a bit farther.

Tucson, Arizona.

She’s been in business here for 44 years — and in Westport far longer. Sarah is a 1960 Staples grad. Her father was the longtime owner of Compo Acres Pharmacy.

She knows Tucson almost as well as she knows Westport. Every year she attends the Gem and Mineral Show there, and stays with friends. Recently, she bought a house in the arts-minded city. “I think I know what I’m getting into,” she said.

For 5 years, Sarah has enjoyed being on Railroad Place.

For 5 years, Sarah enjoyed being on Railroad Place.

In 2009, “06880” visited Sarah. A customer raved that Sarah’s work was “exquisite, beautiful, a museum of fine jewels.”

The woman also described Sarah’s generosity — like polishing jewelry and rings without charging. As if on cue, in the middle of our conversation, the local FedEx guy walked in. His necklace had broken. Sarah said she’d solder it, while he made other deliveries.

Yesterday, the store was packed with Sarah’s fans. They too could not stop talking about her.

Steve Halstead said, “It’s such a pleasure to have a true professional and craftsman as part of this community, for so long.”

Sarah Kennedy (2nd from left) with assistant Eduardo Ewerton and admiring customers Rosemary and Steve Halstead, and Jim Stoner.

Sarah Kennedy (2nd from left) with assistant Eduardo Ewerton and admiring customers Rosemary and Steve Halstead, and Jim Stoner.

“I’m excited and sad” to be moving, Sarah said.

“We’re all sad,” Steve noted.

Sarah asked just one thing: That “06880” make sure readers know how much she’s loved being here.

“Please tell everyone thanks, and goodbye,” she said.

All good things must end. Fortunately, the lucky owners of Sarah’s creations will have them forever.

Effi’s Roots

In 1993, Effie Andriotis was 19 years old. Just out of hairdressing school, she joined Nic Mancini’s salon. Run out of his house on Riverside Avenue, it was one of Westport’s most popular spots.

Four years later, he retired. Effie moved on.

At 26, she opened her own place on Post Road East. She remained there — opposite Calise’s — for 17 years. Effi’s Salon (there is no “e”) developed a large and loyal clientele.

(Photo/Vicky Andriotis)

All along, Effie kept in touch with Nic — “an amazing guy.”

All along too, she thought fondly of Riverside Avenue.

Driving around several months ago, she saw a “For Sale” sign in front of the property. Immediately, she called Nic. He’d put it up just the night before.

Effie said, “Take it down. I’m buying it!”

That was no idle chatter. She did.

Which is how Effie is right back where she started, a quarter century ago. Her clients have followed her there.

“I feel like I never left,” she says. “I love the water. And everything is so alive down here!”

Especially now that Effie is back.

Effie Andriotis, at her new/old spot. (Photo/Vicky Andriotis)