Category Archives: Saugatuck

Pic Of The Day #1650

Today marks the middle of Restaurant Week. Rowene Weems had “a lovely dinner outside on a beautiful night at Harvest. The atmosphere was magical, with lights and a full moon. There is also something cool about being next to the train station.”

For more on the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce event, click here.

(Photo/Rowene Weems)

Friday Flashback #267

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of stuff from old-time Westport.

But I’ve never seen this:

(Courtesy of James Gray)

But not only have I never seen this — I’ve never heard of any of it.

Not Pecos Porkers.

Not Saugatuck’s Pecos Livestock Company.

I haven’t even heard of a Westport’s phone number that’s just “138.”

If anyone knows anything about our town’s apparently once-flourishing pork industry, click “Comments” below.

And if you have any clue why an advertisement for porkers would include a well-dressed lady and 2 horses, add that in too.

Hiawatha Lane Neighbors File Lawsuit

A Representative Town Meeting vote in June seemed to be the final word. After a decades-long controversy, 157 housing units could be built on Hiawatha Lane.

But the bulldozers may have to wait.

A group of neighbors on the road, off Saugatuck Avenue near I-95 Exit 17, has filed suit in Bridgeport Superior Court.

The plaintiffs ask the court for a “temporary and permanent injunction enjoining the Defendant from constructing greater than a one-family house on any of the lots owned by the Defendant in the Subdivision in violation of the One-Family House Restriction.”

The neighbors claim that a covenant on the property restricts all development on land owned by the defendant — Summit Saugatuck — to one-family houses only.

The plaintiffs also cite health and safety concerns related to increased traffic, along with runoff and flood issues.

The redevelopment plan for Hiawatha Lane. Click to enlarge.

Roundup: Pushups, Steffi Friedman, Roses …

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There was a lot going on this beautiful weekend.

A beautiful sight was Staples High School’s Jinny Parker Field, where hundreds of Westporters of all ages banged out pushups for a great cause.

The 12th annual Push Against Cancer is a fundraiser for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp — the wonderful respite for kids battling life-threatening diseases. It was developed by Westport’s beloved Paul Newman.

Participants solicited pledges, in return for pushups. The top 2 teams were Staples girls soccer ($24,178) and Staples boys soccer ($23.311).

It costs $2,500 to send one youngster to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for a week. Those 2 soccer programs alone will send 18 children there.

Add in the $140,000-plus raised by everyone else, and that’s nearly 80 boys and girls. Well done, Westport!

The Staples High School girls soccer team at the Push Against Cancer … (Photo/Charlotte Strandell)

… and the boys.

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On Saturday, friends and family of Steffi Friedman honored the Westport artist who died 2 years ago at 94, and dedicated a new work.

Her bronze “Pas de Deux” (2002) is now part of the Westport Public Art Collections. Installed for years on her Yankee Hill Road lawn, it now sits proudly in the Staples High School courtyard. The work was donated by her family, in gratitude of Westport’s cultural legacy, and Staples’ commitment to the arts.

The event was organized by Steffi’s daughter Margie — a 1972 Staples graduate — and town arts curator Kathie Bennewitz.

Performances include poetry from town poet laureate Diane Meyer Lowman, and dance by Staples alum Grace Bergonzi.

Friends and family admire Steffi Friedman’s sculpture. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

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The River of Roses is one of Westport’s best fundraisers.

It’s probably the most colorful too.

The Survive-OAR program provides mental, physical and emotional healing after traditional treatment ends. It’s an empowering, supportive community for women to heal.

During next Sunday’s celebration (October 10, 4 p.m.) — honoring the Saugatuck Rowing Club’s Survive-OARS crew, plus anyone who has battling breast cancer (or is now) — names are read aloud, as rose petals are scattered into the Saugatuck River at high tide. They’re then swept out to sea.

Survive-OAR’s Kimberly Wilson will sing. There’s live music by Fake ID, plus Copp’s Island Oysters, a raw bar from Pagano’s Seafood, drinks, Chef Jason’s clam chowder and lobster bisque, and Donut Crazy treats.

Click here for tickets, donations, positivity bracelets and more. Questions? Email president and head coach Diana Kuen: diana@survive-OARS.org.

PS: Throughout October, new members can buy a one-month membership to the Saugatuck Rowing Club. 100% of the dues goes toward Survive-OARS.

Strewing rose petals, in 2019.

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Yesterday’s Roundup gave an incorrect date for Westport Pride’s Zoom presentation: “When did you know?” (As in: When did you know you were LGBT?).

It’s tomorrow (Tuesday, October 5, 7 p.m.). Panelists include

  • John Dodig, former Staples High School principal
  • Zac Mathias, Weston High School senior and media influencer
  • Samantha Webster, Staples High graduate and former Staples Player
  • Luke Foreman, Staples grad and varsity tennis captain
  • Jen DeLoyd and Bethany Eppner, Westport parents
  • Kayla Iannetta, Staples teacher and founder of the Westport Public Schools’ Pride Coalition
  • Brian McGunagle, Westport parent and founder of Westport Pride.

Click here for the Zoom link.

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Westporter Lisa Seidenberg had a letter published in yesterday’s New York Times Book Review.

It was a response to a review by Simon Winchester that mentioned the Futurama exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair, and how General Motors drove many Americans into debt with the purchase of automobiles. That was a huge expense, in the post-Depression years.

Seidenberg knows the subject well. Her 2010 documentary on the Fair — “I Have Seen the Future” — premiered in Westport, before screenings at film festivals nationwide. It included commentary by the late Westport futurist Watts Wacker.

General Motors’ Futurama, at the 1939 World’s Fair.

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MoCA Westport has announced its fall music series. It includes:

  • Marielle Kraft (pop): Friday, October 8
  • The Figgs (rock): Friday, October 15
  • Priscilla Navarro (classical): Saturday, November 20
  • The Mark O’Connor Duo (violin/fiddle/bluegrass): Thursday, December 9.

Shows begin at 7 p.m. Click here for details and tickets.

The Figgs

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Congratulations to the Longshore Ladies 9 Holers. Their annual charity golf event at Longshore raised an enormous amount of food donations for the Westport Woman’s Club food closet, plus $1,175 in cash.

Longshore ladies who golf — and raise money for good causes. From left: M.J. Fusaro, Eileen Hart, Mandy Germishuys, Julie Gray.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is sweet!

Here’s a honeybee enjoying a dahlia:

(Photo/Nancy Diamond)

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And finally … I had never heard of the Figgs — the band that’s headlining at MoCA Westport next week.

Then again, there are lots of bands I’ve never heard of.

Now here they are:

Photo Challenge #353

There are few things more iconic in Westport than the Black Duck.

So when last week’s Photo Challenge showed hand-painted directional signs to 2 islands (Cockenoe and Long), and equally watery Key West, many “06880” knew where they can be found: the right side of our favorite dive bar. (Hey, that’s not me: Back in 2009, the Duck was a star attraction on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives“).

Elaine Marino, Derek Fuchs, Michael Calise, Robert Mitchell, Werner Liepolt, Tony Sousa, Andrew Colabella, Bobbie Herman, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Juliana Sloane Fulbright and Seth Braunstein are all (presumably) regulars, who nailed Seth Schachter’s photo as easily as they navigate the old barge’s sloping floor. (Click here for the image.)

This week’s Photo Challenge is also water-related. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Pic Of The Day #1628

View from the Cribari Bridge (Photo/Rose Porosoff)

Pic Of The Day #1617

Riverside Park (Photo/David Ader)

Roundup: Saugatuck Slice, Beachside Bridge, Dr. Scott Gottlieb …

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There’s a lot going on next Saturday.

But leave time for the Slice of Saugatuck. The 9th annual event runs September 25, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Over 50 restaurants and stores will participate. Over 2,000 people will stroll the streets, snack on samples, enjoy music and kids activities, and learn more about the joys of Westport’s original town center.

This year’s footprint expands to include Riverside Realty (with a band in the parking lot), and the VFW and Westport Paddle Club across the street.

The Maker Faire area will once again be in Luciano Park.

There’s live music at 7 locations: Outside Chance, Silver Steel, Otis & the Hurricanes, The Howling Barncats, Elana Zarabi, Accidental Breakdown and School of Rock. Plus roving theatrical performances, and taekwando demonstrations.

New this year: boat rides, courtesy of Carefree Boat.

Two beer gardens (with wine — hey, this is Westport) are located on Bridge Square and Railroad Place. Many of restaurants will also offer specialty drinks indoors. Many will also hold special Saugatuck Happy Hours, with more food and drink after 5 p.m.

The price is again $15 per adult (with a two-for-$25 option). Kids under 13 remains $5; age 5 and under are free. Cash only!

The sponsoring Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has donated over $30,000 to the Gillespie Center’s food pantry, with proceeds from prior events.

For more information and a Slice of Saugatuck map, click here.

From Bridge Square to Railroad Place — and everywhere else — Slice of Saugatuck is packed. (Photo/Terry Cosgrave)

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With little fanfare, the Beachside Avenue bridge over I-95 has reopened. It took several months, but the new span should last for decades.

Speaking of decades: The Kings Highway project — which is such an itty-bitty thing, no one even knows it’s a bridge — continues its glacial pace.

Renovation began during the Coolidge administration. (Hat tip: Tom Lowrie)

The new Beachside Avenue bridge. (Photo/John Karrel)

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Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s new book will not be released until tomorrow. But — based on pre-orders — Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic — is already a best-seller.

The book by the former FDA commissioner (and our Westport neighbor) describes how the coronavirus raced through our nation. Gottlieb had a front row seat: he was in regular contact with President Trump, key players in Congress, and the drug industry.

Meanwhile, new dangers lurk around every corner. Gottlieb addresses our preparations for the next virus. Are we ready?

Click here for more information, and to order his book.

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Save the Children is no longer headquartered in Westport. But it maintains strong ties here.

On September 30 (6:30 p.m., Westport Library), they’re sponsoring an evening with Christina Baker Kline. The best-selling author will join STC’s CEO Janti Soeripto and chief strategy officer Mark Shriver to discuss what the organization is doing for vulnerable children, here and abroad.

The evening includes wine and hors d’oeuvres. To purchase tickets, click here. Questions? Email mleffel@savethechildren.org.

 

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Our “Westport … Naturally” photos are usually serene. But I can’t recall a more peaceful, soothing image than this.

(Photo/Lawrence Weisman)

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And finally … Brook Benton was born 90 years ago today. He died in 1988 of pneumonia, just 56 years old.

Versatile in rock, R&B, pop and gospel, he had 49 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100. This is one of my all-time favorites, from any artist.

 

Rush Of Events Fills Chamber’s Fall

The pandemic played havoc with our lives.

Not to mention the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s calendar of events.

A host of town activities — from Slice of Saugatuck and the Dog Festival to the Halloween Window Painting Contest — were postponed at least once.

Now they’re coming back. And the schedule is jam-packed.

On tap:

  • Slice of Saugatuck (Saturday, September 25): A walkable, eatable (tons of restaurant samples!), family-friendly and fun afternoon, in Westport’s funkiest neighborhood.
  • Westport Dog Festival (Sunday, October 10): Obstacle courses, K-9 demonstrations, vendors and more at Winslow Park. Make sure Fido brings you there!
  • First Selectman Candidates Forum – Tuesday, October 12: Get informed about the future of Westport, live at the Library.
  • Restaurant Week (October 19-31): So many great places to eat, we need more than an actual “week.”
  • Halloween Window Painting Contest (Saturday, October 23): Kids decorate downtown — and compete for prizes.

The Slice of Saugatuck will be back soon. (Photo/Terry Cosgrave)

While those events were put on hold the past 18 months, the Chamber helped the community cope in other ways.

“COVID hit our businesses hard, especially restaurants,” says director Matthew Mandell.

“The Chamber created a Take Out initiative, with a video and our BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket) campaign to promote outdoor dining. We also ran an hour-long livestream variety show in the middle of the lockdown, to support ur retail stores. We had to think totally out of the box, and I believe we did.

“People needed things to do that were safe, but still felt normal. We organized the first drive-in concert in the state, beating established music venues to the punch. We sold out all 10 of our concerts.

“When the time is right, we hope go back inside the Library for our Supper & Soul series.”

The beat goes on. And the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce seems to have hardly missed a beat.

 

Roundup: 9/11 And Westport, New Restaurant, Young Chefs …

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Peggy Lehn is a 1979 Staples grad. Her family has been in Westport for 11 generations (her grandmother was born on the property that is now Longshore).

She is also an American Airlines pilot.

She flew both of the airplanes that the carrier lost on September 11, 2001. For 2 decades, Peggy has kept the answering machine messages from family and friends, wondering if she was alive.

She was not on duty that morning, 20 years ago today. But her brother Tom — Staples Class of 1985, and also an American Airlines pilot — was.

Peggy sent along this message he received, from a dispatcher in Texas. It’s a chilling reminder of the terror that day — and how close to home it struck.

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One more 9/11 story, with a local connection:

On that day, Westporter and Vietnam veteran Tony Anthony was a marketer on an assignment for AmeriCares. He was at their office when the news came that the World Trade Center had been hit.

AmeriCares has a helicopter. Their pilot flew around the towers, but was unable to help. He had to leave the airspace.

Tony was on board, taking photos. Jack Farrell shared this one, with “06880”:

(Photo/Tony Anthony)

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There’s action at Railroad Place — specifically, the former Cocoa Michele, and the spot Romanacci recently moved from.

It looks like another eatery is moving in.

(Photo/Gary Nusbaum)

This “Allium Eatery” is not to be confused with Allium Pizza Co. & Mo’ in — of all places — Westport Island, Maine.

“06880” will pass along info when we get it.

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Farm to Local — the new food-crafts-and-more Main Street store opposite Colf Fusion — has a soft opening this weekend (12 to 5 p.m.).

New products and merchandise are added daily. Another new feature: the Westport Artists’ Collective has a mini-gallery inside the store.

Local to Market – the first stocked shelves.

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The Westport Library is b-a-a-a-c-k!

On Monday, full operating hours resume. That’s Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

There’s another chapter: The Café opens weekdays (9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), Saturdays (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), and Sundays (1 to 4:30 p.m.).

The Café has partnered with Gruel Brittania, in addition to existing vendors Sono Baking Company and Cloudy Lane Bakery. The menu includes salads, sandwiches, pastries, cookies and quiche.

Though the Westport Library reopens full-time on Monday, we still won’t see scenes like this for a while.

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Mark your calendars: Westoberfest returns on October 16 (1 to 5 p.m.).

The Craft Beer Festival on Elm Street also includes live music, classic car rally and exhibition, kids’ activities and — because Halloween will be right around the corner — a pumpkin giveaway.

Click the QR code below, or click here for more information.

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Forget Easy-Bake ovens. (Do they still make them anymore?)

Among the fall class offerings at Wakeman Town Farm: a new cooking class for youngsters in kindergarten through grade 3.

“Pint-Sized Cooking: Everything Mini” teaches cooking, baking and “food experimentation, while creating meals in miniature. Young chefs will be put on a path to understanding the appeal of delicious food.”

Popular favorites for older kids — including Cooking Around the Globe and Young Chef’s Club — continue too.

Click here for more information, and registration.

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

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Worried about heating bills?

Low-income residents can apply for Connecticut’s Energy Assistance Program through Westport’s Department of Human Services. Applications are available starting October 1, and run through April 30.

Individuals and families qualify for CEAP based on annual income and household size. Click on the state website for full details.

Households with previous CEAP applications on file will receive mailed application instructions in the coming weeks.  New residents can contact Human Services for application information (203-341-1050) or email humansrv@westportct.gov.

DHS also operates a separate Warm-Up Fund.

For more information, click on Westport Energy Assistance.

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Duncan Hurley — father of 3 children, and a longtime Westport Soccer Association volunteer coach — died this week.

A grateful parent remembers seeing him on many Saturday mornings, with a toddler on his hip coaching older players.

“They were the most jovial and effervescent family, even in the midst of health struggles they dealt with privately,” she says. “I reflect on this passage from The Little Prince in his honor: ‘In one of those stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And when your sorrow is comforted 9time soothes all sorrows), you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. I shall not leave you.'”

She adds: “He was a king, raising princes and a princess in the best form. He was a gem, to any and all who had the pleasure of crossing his path.”

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When I was young, the only turkeys I saw were at Thanksgiving.

Now they’re all over town. This crew was “stuffing” itself at Earthplace — and posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” shot.

(Photo/Abby Gordon-Tolan)

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And finally … there are 2 great songs that stood on their own for years. For the past 2 decades though — and for the rest of my life — I’ll always associate them with 9/11.

They were played often then, on the radio, funerals and memorial events. They became the deeply comforting soundtrack of those truly awful days.