Category Archives: Saugatuck

Cribari Bridge Closed — Again

For the second time in a couple of weeks, the Cribari Bridge over the Saugatuck River is closed.

Once again, it’s stuck in the open position.

According to alert “0688o” reader — and nearby resident — Robbie Guimond, the last time it happened, a state Department of Transportation foreman said it “just stopped.”

A crew struggled to close it manually. The foreman told Robbie that the back-up apparatus is very old, and seldom used.

The scene on Riverside Avenue. (Photo/Robbie Guimond)

Menu Moments: What To Eat At The Whelk

The Whelk is a gem on Westport’s restaurant scene.

Fortunately, the Saugatuck spot’s tasty farm-to-table menu — specializing in seafood — does not make healthy choices seem like a sacrifice.

Chef/owner Bill Taibe has created a special dining experience. He is committed to locally sourced food, through farmers and oystermen.

As with all of Taibe’s restaurants, a “kitchen share” program enables them to increase wages for their hard-working kitchen help. That’s one more reason to feel good at The Whelk.

The Whelk (Photo courtesy of Our Town Crier)

This is not a place to make special requests. Enjoy your food the way it was meant to be prepared.

Also, the menu changes along with the seasons. What you see here is on the menu today. In a few weeks, it may not be.

The best strategy is to steer clear of bread, shoestring fries, pasta dishes and (of course, unfortunately) dessert.

Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or meat eater, you can’t go wrong with this impressive menu. Westport nutritionist Heather Bauer serves up her healthiest picks below.

For Vegetarians

Appetizer:

  • The gem lettuce salad is perfect for both vegans and vegetarians alike
  • The radicchio salad (if you’re okay with a little Parmesan cheese, which is relatively high in protein and low in fat)
  • The snap peas and feta salad is also a great choice.

Entree: Choose a veggie option. Current favorites:

  • Roasted squash and runner beans
  • Burrata (leave half the toast)

For Pescatarians

Appetizer:

  • Share the raw bar, ideally enjoying a half dozen oysters or littlenecks. Oysters are high in zinc, which boosts immunity
  • Any of the vegetarian salad recommendations

At The Whelk.

Entree:

  • Pair the radicchio, gem lettuce or snap pea and feta salad with either the king salmon crudo or scallop crudo.
  • Halibut
  • Cod

For Meat Eaters

Appetizer:

  • Any of the salad options above
  • Alternatively, order the raw bar

Entree:

  • Roasted Chicken is a great option (leaving some of the skin makes it a little healthier). Eat all of the squash; leave some polenta on your plate.
  • The burger. Just leave the bun!

  • Heather’s Tips

    Make sure you drink 8 cups of water every day, especially when you plan on having a rich dinner. Water helps your body process a heavier meal.

    When you get home, don’t blow it by having a second dinner! Instead, get ready for bed and call it a night.

    Fat and flavor are important in satiety and staying healthy. When you deprive your body of too much fat and delicious flavor, you end up craving less healthy food.

 

Pic Of The Day #898

Enjoying the Saugatuck River: at the dock … (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

… and upriver (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

 

Pic Of The Day #891

Lots o’ signs (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Roses Are Pink, The River Is Too

Every spring, the Sunrise Rotary Club fills the Saugatuck River with plastic yellow ducks. It’s a cute, fun fundraiser.

Well, Diana Kuen thought: If they can do that, what about rose petals?

She is the director and head coach of the Survive-OARS — Saugatuck Rowing Club’s breast cancer survivor rowing program.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink is its symbol — and the color of roses. What better way, Diana asks, to commemorate all of the warriors, past and present, who have been impacted by breast cancer than to turn our river pink?

And at the same time, raise money for charity.

Saugatuck Rowing Club Survive-OARS work out, on a beautiful day.

The 1st annual River of Roses Soiree is set for Saturday, October 5 (4 to 8 p.m., Saugatuck Rowing Club). Proceeds benefit the Saugatuck Survive-OARS program, in partnership with the Smilow Family Breast Health Center at Norwalk Hospital.

The sun sets at 6:30. Right before then, anyone who has purchased a rose petal will be invited to the dock, to help scatter hundreds. The high tide will carry them — biodegradable and freeze-dried — out to Long Island Sound.

The Survive-OARS team will read the names of everyone being honored.

That’s an important ceremony. But the event is also a celebration. Hummock Island will provide oysters — which they’ll shuck right there — plus champagne (sparkling rosé, very fitting) thanks to Chandon California. Cocktails are courtesy of TUCK Gini (named after the SaugaTUCK River), and Blue Ice Vodka.

The rowing club will serve clam chowder, lobster bisque and seasonal soup. Dessert includes apple strudel, and a huge wall donated by Donut Crazy.

Live music is courtesy of Fake ID, while Design Within Reach is loaning patio furniture. Le Boudoir Blow Dry Bar has offered to do ladies’ hair before thee vent.

A few of the rose petals, during a test run in the Saugatuck River.

Diana made sure to get approval for the petals from conservation director Alicia Mozian. A short time after that enthusiastic okay, the Saugatuck River suffered back-to-back sewage leaks.

“Now more than ever,” Diana says, “Westport will appreciate a river filled with beautiful rose petals, packed with powerful antioxidants and antiseptic properties!’

Not to mention, a great cause backed by some wonderful, very courageous women.

(To purchase tickets to the event, and/or rose petals — including those in honor of someone, even if you can’t attend — click here. To volunteer, email Dkuen@saugatuckrowing.com

Pics Of The Day

A rare photo of the William F. Cribari Bridge: no traffic, in the middle of a normal weekday … (Photo/Fred Cantor)

… but there’s a good reason: one of the lift jacks was stuck. The result: a 4-inch gap between sections (Photo/Austin Brown)

Unsung Hero #116

Jeff Seaver runs Seaver Interactive, a web design and digital marketing firm in Saugatuck. He’s been friends, and worked with, Pete Romano — a Saugatuck native — for 7 years. Jeff writes:

Walking around town with Pete Romano is like going for a stroll with the mayor: folks say hello everywhere he goes. Pete’s well known not just for his expertise in running Landtech — an engineering and environmental firm on Riverside Avenue — but also for his community service. His reputation spans generations.

His father, PJ Romano, grew up in Westport. He was a PAL volunteer for almost 50 years. The athletic field behind Saugatuck Elementary School is named for him, honoring his role in developing PAL’s football, baseball, wrestling and other programs, including the ice rink at Longshore.

Pete’s mom, Joan Romano, still volunteers with PAL. That spirit continues, as Pete maintains a strong family tradition of service.

Pete played baseball and football at Staples High School. His mom recalls that Pete “would knock a player down, but then afterward, stop to help pick them up.”

Working with his longtime friend and partner at Saugatuck Sweets, Al DiGuido, Pete is one of the forces behind DiGuido’s legendary Al’s Angels charity. Last year, Pete helped organize and oversee over 2,500 holiday meals to help those in need.

Pete Romano (left) with his mother Joan, and Al DiGuido, at Saugatuck Sweets.

Al DiGuido said, “I have never thought of Pete Romano as a hero. I doubt he regards himself that way. He just has a tireless passion for doing the heavy lifting for those in need, which inspires me and so many others.

“Pete doesn’t seem to need or want the spotlight. He’s not looking for trophies, awards or accolades. I think he does this because its in his DNA. His family has always been committed to doing all they could to help the community. Some are content to sit on the sidelines, but Pete gets his hands dirty doing the hard work that is truly needed.”

But Pete has a superhero alter ego. Every Christmas he plays Santa Claus. He arrives on a Westport Police patrol boat at Saugatuck Center, lighting the tree and entertaining kids.

Here comes Pete — er, Santa Claus!

His good works could fill a book. They include being a major contributor to the renovation of the Westport Weston Family YMCA, and helping sponsor events for the American Cancer Society, Project Return, ElderHouse, Operation Hope,  Westport Rotary, Little League Softball, plus many other local causes.

Bill Mitchell has been a pal of Pete’s for many years. They support many of the same causes, including Operation Hope and Project Runway. Bill notes, “Pete and his family have been a gift to our community.”

Steve Smith, Westport’s building inspector, said, “Pete Romano is a successful community leader who is generous and always willing to help out a community cause. He has given his time to our town unselfishly — and always with his characteristically great sense of humor.”

Phil Cerrone, an architect who has partnered in a number of efforts with Pete’s firm, said, “Pete is one of the most caring and considerate people I know. He can always be relied on to help a friend in need. Just as important, he can also be counted on to supply top quality food and drink!”

One of Pete’s most treasured causes is Wakeman Town Farm. Pete often joins with his friend, architect Peter Wormser, scooping ice cream at the Farm’s special events. 

Pete Romano and Peter Wormser, at Wakeman Town Farm.

Pete always has time for Westport schools. He and his firm helped create the night lights at the Staples High School football field, the fields at Bedford Middle School, and the Loeffler Field terrace (granite seating on the soccer field hill).

He is a generous supporter of Staples sports teams, Staples Players and middle school theater productions, the Staples robotics team, and more.

Pete’s firm collaborates with Gault Energy on many projects. Gault family members are effusive in their praise. Ginger Gault and Jimmy Donaher say, “He has keen insight to go along with a big heart, and on top of everything else, he’s hysterically funny. Pete is the complete package.”

He is especially proud of his 2 daughters. They went through the Westport School System, and are now smart, vibrant, strong women. Pete said, “They got the best public education one could dream of. How do you ever repay that debt?”

Pete Romano

Pete celebrated a birthday recently. As with many hard-working and generous folks, one of the hardest challenge is figuring out what to give them.

What do you give a man like Pete Romano who does not have everything, but gives everything?

The only answer is: love and genuine appreciation for all that he does.

 

Westport Paddle Club Surfaces On The Saugatuck

When Downunder closed earlier this month, kayakers and paddleboarders mourned the loss of a rental and launch facility on the Saugatuck River.

Karen Jewell mourned the loss of her job.

For 9 years she ran the Riverside Avenue shop, and worked as an instructor. The day before it closed, Robbie Guimond — owner of Bridgebrook Marina, just a few hundred yards away — and his wife Taryn Bolotin saw Karen at Garelick & Herbs. He asked what she’d do next.

“I’m not sure,” she said.

On the spur of the moment — justlikethat — Taryn suggested she run something similar out of Bridgebrook.

Karen Jewell gets ready to paddle.

That was the day before Labor Day. Last Saturday — at the Slice of Saugatuck — Karen’s Westport Paddle Club opened for business.

Quicker than you can paddle, she had created a website, made an Instagram account and printed business cards.

She provides many of the same services as Downunder: kayak and paddleboard rentals, lessons and tours. Next year, she’ll add kids’ camps.

Westport Paddle Club is not a retail outlet. But Karen will help people buy kayaks and paddleboards — making suggestions, and offering resources.

With a 30-foot dock, Bridgebrook is a perfect spot. And the location is even better than Downunder. There’s a beautiful view of the Saugatuck Rowing Club next door; it’s further from I-95 than the store was, and the entrance is away from the busy street.

Westport Paddle Club is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 10 to 5, and weekdays by reservation. Click here for the website, email karen@westportpaddleclub.com, or call 203-998-1519.

Life on the Saugatuck River is good!

Friday Flashback #158

Most Friday Flashbacks show how much our town changes over the years.

This one demonstrates how much it stays the same.

The aerial photo of the I-95 and railroad bridges seems like it could have been taken yesterday. In fact, it’s from 1977 — more than 40 years ago.

There’s something very familiar and reassuring about this shot.

Time marches on. But some parts of Westport are timeless.

(Hat tip: Seth Schachter)

 

Pics Of The Day #870

One view of the Duck …

… and another (Photos/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)