Category Archives: Saugatuck

Unsung Hero #78

The other day, a woman came into Ryan Meserole’s store.

He owns Quentin Row — formerly Suited.co, a men’s custom clothing shop on Railroad Place — so she wasn’t looking to buy.

In fact, she was crying.

Through her tears, she told Ryan that Sarah Kennedy had been her best friend.

Sarah Kennedy

Sarah was the owner of Cellar Workshop — a much-loved custom jewelry store that previously occupied the space opposite the train station.

The woman was upset that Ryan had changed the interior. It was all she had left to remember Sarah by.

Ryan chatted with her for an hour. As she got ready to leave, he said he had something that might cheer her up.

In the back of the building — where store owners and staff park — a sign said “Reserved for Sarah Kennedy.” Ryan got a screwdriver, took down the sign, and gave it to the woman.

Her tears turned from grief to joy.

Ryan says, “I realized then that I didn’t just lease any old space for a suit shop, in any old town. Westport is filled with legacies. Even though the signs on many buildings have changed, it’s up to local shopkeepers to share the stories of the past. I feel privileged to know and pass on the history of Railroad Place, and of Sara.”

So this week’s Unsung Hero is Ryan Meserole, and the many other local businesspeople like him — men and women who understand that being local storeowners means a lot more than just selling suits and jewelry.

It means you take something from this town. And then you give it back.

Ryan Meserole, with an apt saying on the wall of his store.

Pic Of The Day #602

Early morning sun over the Saugatuck River, seen from Riverside Avenue. (Photo/Nicola Sharian)

Friday Flashback #119

The William F. Cribari Bridge has been in the headlines lately.

For one thing, its future — replace? repair? rehabilitate? — is very much up for debate.

For another, it’s the holiday season — when Al’s Angels’ lovely lights bring smiles to everyone who crosses the span. Even if they’re stuck in traffic on it.

Color photography had not yet been invented in 1910 — the year this “colorized” photo may have been taken.

But the bridge was already more than 20 years old.

And William F. Cribari — the cop who spent years directing traffic at the west end of the bridge, and for whom it was named after his death in 2007, age 88 — had not yet been born.

(Photo courtesy of Seth Schachter)

NOTE: The postcard calls it a “draw bridge.” The Cribari Bridge is, of course, a swing bridge.

Mark Kramer: A View From The Bridge

Mark Kramer spent 3 decades as a writer-in residence at Smith College, Boston University and Harvard’s Nieman Foundation. He also enjoyed a storied career as a book and magazine writer, editor, speaker and consultant.

Mark has not lived in Westport since graduating from Staples High School in 1961. But — as an alert “06880” reader — he notes from afar that “the Saugatuck (Cribari) Bridge is threatened by traffic and time.”

It meant a lot to his childhood — and the town. Mark also has an idea for the bridge’s future. He writes:

I fished from that bridge in the 1950s. I loved watching the crew of volunteers (including John Santella from his dad’s barber shop), Paul Nette from Bridge Garage, and a few firemen from the nearly adjacent firehouse answer the call to pivot it open.

They appeared with a giant wrench — a waist-high T of iron, shaped like 3-pins of the traditional lug wrench that came in auto tool kits.

They stuck the socket into an embedded peg in the center of the bridge, and leaned into the crosspieces of the wrench. Slowly the massive bridge swung parallel to the river, a sailboat or two passed under, they swung it closed again and walked back to work.

Hand cranking the “Bridge Street Bridge,” back in the day.

People crossed the walkway for the pleasure of the view from midstream. They probably still do.

There’s an example of bridge preservation, connecting the twin towns of Shelburne Falls and Buckland, Massachusetts — not far from Smith College — that might be a feasible way for Saugatuck to go.

The “Bridge of Flowers” has had a big part in invigorating the commercial life of the twin towns, which has seen craft workshops and good restaurants come, along with scads of tourists on weekends.

After the local trolley quit, its bridge was long neglected. Then a local committee, led by a visionary real estate woman, raised some minimal funds, turned out lots of volunteer help, and turned it into a 3-season amazement, a walkers’ bridge bulging with horticultural wonders.

The “Bridge of Flowers.”

Now active committees, and perhaps a paid employee or two, keep flowers planted and flowing. It is a community-binding wonder, defying time and making folks happy.

Meanwhile, a new bridge across the Deerfield serves traffic a few hundred yards upstream.

I lived a town away for years, and my perspective on the Bridge of Flowers shifted.

At first it was a great place to bring the in-laws. But then I aged enough so the neighborly generosity that made it happen came into view.

The visitors’ book at the Buckland end of the bridge fills daily with thanks from  people who drive there, and walk the bridge. Many stop for lunch or supper, and browse the shops selling ice cream, used books, ceramics and paintings — a good sort of tourism to draw.

Mark hopes Westporters will look into the idea of a Bridge of Flowers — with a new bridge built nearby. Click here for the Bridge of Flowers website. For more information and personal insights, email Mark directly: kramernarrative@gmail.com.

 

Pic Of The Day #595

After an all-night work session by Al’s Angels volunteers beginning just before midnight Sunday, the William F. Cribari Bridge once again lights up the holidays. (Photo/JD Dworkow)

Light Up The Bridge!

Westporters may be in the dark about the future of the William F. Cribari Bridge.

But during the holiday season, the historic span glows with festive lights. Driving across the Saugatuck River — surrounded by colors — is one of our town’s magical moments.

It doesn’t just happen, though. The lights need maintenance. In the past year, they suffered severe damage.

Thankfully, Al’s Angels — the volunteer organization that does so much for needy kids and families — is on the case.

The Cribari Bridge at Christmastime. (Photo/Joel Treisman)

This Saturday night (December 1), they’ll replace the lights. Work begins at 11 p.m.

They need 24 volunteers. They ask helpers to bring their own 10-foot ladder or bucket truck. And cutting pliers.

It’s a big job. The trees and walkway side of the bridge will be decorated first. At 2 a.m. Sunday they’ll work overhead, then finish on the other side.

Al’s Angels supplies all the lights and snap ties. They just need folks who want to keep Westport’s bridge tradition alive — and are willing to work.

If you’re in, email adiguido@yahoo.com.

And dress warmly!

Pic Of The Day #589

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is currently examining options for the rehabilitation or replacement of the William F. Cribari Bridge, over the Saugatuck River in Westport.

If they are paying the same attention to detail there as when they proofread their road signs, we’re in big trouble.

The Fallen Heroes (NOT “Heros”) Memorial Highway runs from the intersection of Route 136 and Route 33 through Wilton to the Ridgefield town line. This photo was taken on Saugatuck Avenue, just north of the I-95 Exit 17 interchange. (Photo/Jeff Wieser)

Name That Tree!

I guess we shouldn’t call it a “Christmas” tree.

A press release from the Selectman’s Office notes only that the town’s “annual tree lighting” ceremony will take place at Town Hall this Thursday (November 29, 5 p.m.).

Of course, the tree to be lit is a fir tree. You connect the dots.

It’s a fun, festive, kid-friendly event. The Staples High School Orphenians sing “seasonal” songs.

First Selectman Jim Marpe — and a bunch of little kids — lit the tree in front of Town Hall last year. Then came photo opps.

Speaking of Town Hall trees, this year the “Heritage Tree” — a longtime fixture in the building’s lobby — moves across Myrtle Avenue to the Westport Historical Society.

Each year, local artists add ornaments (yes, it’s that kind of tree). Past contributors include Mel Casson, Randy Enos, Stevan Dohanos, Hardie Gramatky, Howard Munce, Jim Sharpe, Leonard Everett Fisher, Jean Woodham and Hilda Kraus.

This year’s ornament comes courtesy of Victoria Kann. The author/illustrator of the popular “Pinkalicious” book series is a longtime Westporter.

Kids can help decorate the Heritage Tree this Saturday (December 1, 1 p.m.). Kann will read from one of her holiday-themed books (and sign them). Snacks will be served too.

The Heritage Tree — shown last year in the Town Hall lobby — moves across the street to the Westport Historical Society.

The next day — Sunday, December 2 — another tree lighting takes place. It’s at the Saugatuck Center plaza, between Saugatuck Sweets and The Whelk. Everyone is asked to bring unwrapped toys for children 10 and under. Al’s Angels wrap and deliver them to needy kids.

It’s set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Santa arrives at 5:15 — so I’m on safe ground calling this an actual “Christmas” tree lighting.

And the 28th annual Tree of Light ceremony will be held Thursday, December 6, at 6:30 p.m. It honors the memories of family members and friends who have died.

The site is Saugatuck Congregational Church. So, yeah: That’s a Christmas tree lighting too.

Cribari Bridge Committee Moving Forward

It’s the holiday season — time for lights to shine on the William F. Cribari Bridge.

The bridge has been out of the spotlight recently. But plans to rehabilitate — or replace — the 133-year-old swing span are humming along.

The Cribari Bridge Project Advisory Committee meets tomorrow (Wednesday, November 28, 6:30 p.m.) at Town Hall.

On the agenda: 2 plans.

One shows a “rehabilitation” concept. It would add 4 feet to the present height of 21 feet, 3 inches.

A “replacement” plan shows a 38-foot high bridge. It would be widened too — from 21 feet to 32 feet.

A rendering of the replacement bridge.

The published agenda includes a rendering of a temporary span, to be used while the bridge is worked on. A similar structure was built during the last major renovation, 30 years ago.

A temporary span would be built just north of the current bridge.

“Local Love” Is Live!

Shopping, dining and enjoying Westport just got more fun.

And a lot cheaper.

This morning, the “Local Love” card went live. Here’s the deep dive.

Beginning this Friday (November 30), and running through 2 weekends, stores and restaurants are offering great discounts. Over 100 retailers, salons, fitness studios and dining spots participate.

They’re downtown, in Saugatuck, and up and down the Post Road. The entire list is below; just scroll down.

But “Local Love” is a lot more than just a $40 coupon book. A portion of the sales will help build a playground near the new library.

Card holders can also enjoy special “Local Love” events at Terrain, Savannah Bee, FRED and more.

The campaign is the brainchild of WestportMoms, partnered with town officials, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

WestportMoms — aka Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post — have done yeowoman’s work to involve a wide variety of local businesses in “Local Love.” Most retailers offer 20% off. Spas and salons give 15% discounts; restaurants, 10%.

Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post are the brains behind “Local Love.”

“Westport is special,” they say. “We need to keep this incredible town thriving. And there’s no better time to shop and dine than over the holidays.”

They’ve done all the groundwork. Now it’s your turn. Click here for your card. For more information, click here.

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Participating “Local Love” businesses and restaurants

Appliances & Electronics

  • Stanton Miles (Vacuums) – 20% off

Arts

  • Westport Country Playhouse – $10 off tickets to The Pianist of Willesden Lane

Clothing & Accessories

  • Anthropologie – 20% off (some brand exclusions apply)
  • Athleta – 20% off purchase of one item
  • Bella Bridesmaids – 20% off
  • Brownstone – 20% off purchases over $200 (one-time use only). Not eligible on sale items
  • Fred – 20% off; 10% off for members
  • Groove – 20% off
  • J. Crew – 20% off
  • Joie – 20% off full-priced items
  • Lesters – 20% off
  • LF Stores – 20% gift card for every $250 you spend
  • Lucy’s – 20% off
  • Madewell – 20% off purchases over $100; 30% off purchases over $250
  • Marine Layer – 20% off purchase over $300
  • Millie Rae’s – 20% off one-time use
  • Mitchell’s – 15% off (some brand exclusions apply)
  • Pink Lemon Blue Lime – 20% off
  • Quentin Row – 20% off men’s tailored made to order suits
  • Saavy & Grace – 20% off of scarves
  • Scout & Molly – 20% off
  • Shoe INN – 20% off
  • Soleil Toile – 20% off purchases over $150
  • Southern Tide – 20% off
  • Splash of Pink – 20% off
  • Sunglass Hut – 20% off purchases over $100; 25% off purchase over $200
  • Vineyard Vines – 20% off
  • West – 20% off full-priced items
  • Winged Monkey – 20% off

The Brownstone, on the 2nd floor of 142 Main Street, is one of many “Local Love” participants.

Fitness

  • Bar Method – 15% off a 10-pack or the New Client Special (or both)
  • CST 50 – 20% off a 5-pack (one-time use)
  • F45 Westport – 20% off Foundation Membership (normally $240); month-to month with no contract or commitment
  • Gym Source (fitness equipment) – 20% off
  • Joyride – 20% off a 10-pack
  • Pinnacle Health & Fitness – 15% off training packages
  • PureBarre – 20% off retail
  • Upper Deck Fitness – 20% off training sessions and/or a 10-pack

Hair & Nails

  • Amenity Nail & Spa – 20% off
  • Annette DeCarlo (at Sola Studios) – 20% off OR an add-on glaze
  • Blow Dry Westport – 15% off products and services
  • Greg & Tony’s Salon – 15% off products and services
  • Haus of Pretty – 20% off
  • Milena Ivanov (at Sola Studios) – 20% off color and glaze (new customers only)
  • Sharkey’s – 20% off retail products
  • Steven Mancini – 15% off products and services
  • Studio on Main – 15% off products and services; $90 for blow dry 3-pack
  • W Hair & Color – 15% off services (one-time use)
  • Westport Hair & Co – 15% off of blow outs
  • WHIP Salon – 15% off products and services

Health, Beauty & Spa

  • Avez Massage (at Sola Studios) – 15% off
  • Dominique Rochelle Beauty (at Sola Studios) – 15% off
  • European Wax – 15% off products and services
  • Eyebrow Girl – 20% off
  • Ideal Weight Loss – 15% off the first month’s supply of Ideal Protein meals at Ideal Weight Loss (“the Foodie’s Weight Loss program of choice”) if begin program by first week of January.
  • Lotus Cosmetic Surgery Center – 15% off all services, including Botox, Filler and /or cosmetic surgery (some restrictions apply)
  • Modern Dermatology – 15% off aesthetician services
  • New Beauty & Wellness Spa – 15% off all services
  • Restore Cryotherapy – 15% off all services
  • Westport Dental Associates (teeth whitening) – $200 ZOOM Teeth Whitening (67% discount) and 40% off Quip Toothbrushes
  • XO Skincare (at Sola Studios) – 15% off

Home Decor & Gifts

  • Dovecote – 20% off
  • Fig – 20% off
  • Indulge by Mersene – 20% off one item
  • Party Harty – 10% off
  • She La La – 20% off winter gear, including cashmere
  • Simple Elegance – 20% off
  • Taylor Place – 20% off
  • Tusk – 20% off select items (designated in store)
  • Westport Library Pop-Up Shop – 20% off scarves and metal ornaments; 10% off everything else
  • William-Sonoma – 20% off all William-Sonoma branded products

You can get all kinds of gifts at Indulge by Mersene — including some with “06880” themes!

Jewelry

  • Artemis Westport – 20% off
  • Faye Kim Fine Jewelry – 20% off select items
  • Lux Bond & Green – 10% off (20% off select items)
  • Mitchell’s – 15% off (some brand exclusions apply)
  • Noya – 10% off select jewelry items, and 20% of select accessories

Pet Care

  • Choice Pet – 20% off
  • Earth Animal – 20% off designer sweaters & coats for pups

Restaurants & Food Services

  • 190 Main – 10% off
  • A&S Food – 10% off
  • Bagel Maven – 10% off
  • Black Duck – 10% off
  • The Cottage – 10% off of dinner
  • Gold’s Deli – 10% off restaurant dining
  • The Granola Bar – 10% off
  • Green & Tonic – 10% off menu; 30% off detox cleanse
  • Jersey Mike’s – 10% off
  • Jesup Hall – 10% off OR FREE Happy Hour drink Tuesday-Friday, 5-630pm
  • Layla’s Falafel – 10% off
  • Little Barn – 10% off
  • Little Kitchen – 10% off
  • Match Burger Lobster – 10% off food
  • MEAT – 10% off
  • OKO – 20% off lunch
  • Organic Market – 10% off
  • The Pearl – 10% off
  • Le Penguin – 10% off (excluding dinner Friday and Saturday)
  • Planet Pizza – 10% off
  • Rizzuto’s – 10% off
  • Rye Ridge Deli – 15% off
  • The Spotted Horse – 10% off
  • Stiles Market – 10% off butcher and deli only
  • Tarry Lodge – 10% off
  • Tavern on Main – 10% off
  • Terrain – S’mores and Popcorn by the fireplace on 12/1 and 12/8
  • Westport Pizza – 10% off
  • Winfield Street & Deli – 10% off

Layla’s Falafel is one of the many participating places beyond downtown. There’s construction in front of the 1535 Post Road East restaurant — but plenty of parking in back.

Sporting Goods

  • ASF Sports and Outdoors – 20% off footwear
  • Downunder – 20% off
  • Olympia Sports – 20% off
  • Ski & Sport – 20% off one-time purchase (excluding Bogner and sale items)
  • Sports Attic – 20% off sports merchandise

Toys

  • Age of Reason – 20% off

Wine & Liquor

  • Country Liquors – 10% off