Category Archives: Totally random

36,000 Feet

The other day, Sean van Beever was flying here from Florida, via Bradley Airport Hartford.

Suddenly, the clouds broke. The 3rd-generation Westporter looked out his window. At that very moment, he noticed the unmistakable outlines of Cockenoe Island, Compo Beach, Old Mill and the Sherwood Mill Pond.

Quickly, he pulled out his phone. The result is a remarkable photo, from 36,000 feet in the sky.

(Photo/Seth van Beever)


Harvey Weinstein wears an ankle bracelet — part of his $1 million bail deal.

He sold his Beachside Avenue estate. But — in an agreement with the new owner and a New York judge — he can stay there until February.

So what’s with the couple of dozen big white tents that suddenly appeared on his property, next to Burying Hill Beach?

Were they part of a news media blitz, sheltering reporters as they uncover a new scandal involving the now-disgraced Hollywood mogul?

Perhaps they’re part of anti-Weinstein protest?

Maybe a special Greens Farms/Bankside Farmers version of a Civil War reenactment?

(Photo/Kathleen Fazio)


Turns out there’s a big wedding today, at another large Beachside mansion. The tents are for glampers.

Glamping — if you’re not cool enough to know — is “glamorous camping.”

You know: sleeping under the stars, in just a tent with a floor and queen bed, set up by workers, near other tents providing food, and plenty of high-end port-a-potties.

There are lights too, because that night sky can be so pesky.

The wedding guest glampers roughed it last night. They’ll be there tonight too, following today’s main event.

No word on whether they’ll hike down Beachside Avenue to the wedding, or be driven there in a glamping-style all-terrain limo.

(Want to know more about glamping? Click on the official website:

Pic Of The Day #478

Christy, pick up your damn towel already! This sign has been there on Saugatuck Avenue for a month! (Photo/Gene Borio)

And The Most Affordable Beach Town In The US Is …

… Westport.

No, not the one in Massachusetts. Or Washington state.

Yes, the one in Connecticut.

That’s not me talking.

It’s not the Westport (and Weston) Chamber of Commerce.

It’s WNBC. Channel 4.

Before you go all #FakeNews, read what the tri-state TV station had to say:

If you want beachfront property with oceans views, forget Florida or Hawaii — try Westport, Connecticut instead.

Yes, Westport.

The affluent Connecticut town actually ranks as the most affordable ocean-facing beach town in America, according to a new WalletHub survey released Wednesday.

This is the photo WNBC used to illustrate its story on Westport’s spectacular beach town ranking score. Based on the waves, it was not taken anywhere near Compo Beach.

The study compared 161 ocean-adjacent cities in 6 different categories, and Westport ranked 1st for affordability (calculated primarily by housing costs, household income and property taxes).

It also ranked 1st for education and health, which was based on the quality of the school system and local hospitals.

Overall the town ranked 9th, making it the only Top 10 city not located in California, Florida or Hawaii.

WNBC did not provide a link to the survey — unless you clicked on the one labeled “America’s Worst Ocean Beach Town To Live In Is In NY,”* which (with 1 more click) did lead to “Best Ocean Beach Towns.”

In addition to learning that we live on “the ocean,” the survey shows that our #9 score lands us just above Key West (!) in the overall rankings that combine affordability, weather, safety and economy.

But we are indeed the most affordable beach town — #1, Numero Uno, the Big Kahuna** — on the affordability index.

A typical home in the very affordable beach town of Westport. It was listed at a mere $8,850,000.

We lose points for the weather (duh). Perhaps that’s why we trail (in order, from #8 to #1) Kihei, Hawaii; Boca Raton, Florida; Santa Monica, California; St. Augustine Florida; Mill Valley, California; Sarasota, Florida; Naples, Florida, and the absolute bestest beach town in the entire USA, Lahaina, Hawaii.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Mill Valley is even less on “the ocean” than we are.

But who you gonna believe: National Geographic or WalletHub?

(Click here for the full survey. Then print it out and save it, for the next town budget discussion.) 

*It’s Shirley, Long Island

**Appropriate, considering that 2 of the Top 10 Beach Towns are in Hawaii.

We do lose points for weather. (Photo/Samuel Wang)

(Hat tips: Rick Leonard and Hedi Lieberman)

It’s Not A Bird. It’s Not A Plane. It’s … ?

Alert — and uncertain — “06880” reader Lara Willis just sent this photo:

She took it at 12:10 this afternoon, in the parking lot behind Trader Joe’s.

Five minutes later, it was gone.

She’s pretty sure it’s not a rainbow. Hey: It didn’t rain.

If you know what this was, click “Comments” below.

If you just think it looks gorgeous, click “Comments” too.

Pics Of The Day #416

Natalie Kroft says: “The other evening, my family and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. We came across this ‘Little Free Library’ on a side street off Imperial Avenue, so neighbors can share books and magazines with each other.

“It was complete with free doggie treats and water bowl. Next to the post was also a wooded bench for readers to take a seat if they please.

“I never knew these existed. But I love the idea. It’s just another reason to show how wonderful our Westport neighbors are!”

Westport Shoes: Gut Für Das Wasser

Alert “06880” reader Kate Comstock Davis was looking for a local store. She googled “Westport shoes.”

Which brought her to “”

That’s the name of an entire line of boat shoes.

Surprised you’ve never heard of them?

Well, you might have. If you live in Germany.

“Westport Shoes” is based in Munich. Which is why the website proclaims, in somewhat garbled English: “Shoes that walk you to the best places!”

The site adds:

Westport Original boat shoes is an authentic brand that has made significance all over Europe since its establishment 10 years ago. Our shoes are designed for people who love sailing as much as staying stylish. Westport shoes are made of natural and comfortable fabric, making sure no synthetic fabric contacts your feet. The top of the shoes are made of 100% real leather guaranteeing you to feel extremely comfortable taking them on and wearing them all day.

Westport shoes are perfect for every kinds of weather because of the special technique that allows them to let the water out from under the shoe itself. Also the sole of the shoes are designed in a wavy style so you don’t have to worry about the risks of slipping either. The collection contains many styles from classical to modern, in a wide range of colours. You can always count on Westport in finding the shoes perfectly matching your personality, whether you’re looking for functional boat shoes or fashionable footwear.

They sound great! And they look pretty cool too.

Prices range from €79 to €95.

Naree Knows Trader Joe’s

In 1994, Naree Viner was a new intern at the Getty Museum. Her family was back in Indiana, so her colleague Madeleine invited Naree to her parents’ home in Pasadena for Thanksgiving.

“You’re going to Trader Joe’s house!” her co-workers exclaimed.

Naree had no idea what they were talking about.

Joe Coulombe and his wife Alice welcomed Naree with a flute of champagne. Each course had a different wine, which Joe described. The Coulombes were Francophiles so the main dish was goose, not turkey.

Joe and Alice Coulombe

It was a delightful day. And — as Naree learned — Joe Coulombe was also known as Trader Joe.

The Trader Joe.

A Stanford Business School graduate and serial entrepreneur, in 1967 he’d turned a poorly performing Pasadena 7-Eleven into a new kind of grocery store.

The target market was “people with bachelor’s and master’s degrees who made teacher’s salaries,” Naree says.

The concept caught on. By the time of that Thanksgiving dinner, there were Trader Joe’s — the store’s name — across California. Joe Coulombe had already sold the company to German conglomerate Aldi.

Last year, Joe Coulombe celebrated the 50th anniversary of Trader Joe’s with his son Joe Jr., and 2 employees.

In 2012 Naree and her husband moved to Westport. After leaving the Getty — armed with a master’s in art history — she became a headhunter. Specializing in museum directors, she’s worked with institutions like the Smithsonian and Yale Art Gallery.

She’s still friends with Madeleine. And Naree has never forgotten that Thanksgiving as an intern.

She marvels at what Joe developed. He thought of tropical costumes for employees, and created a corporate culture that celebrates smiles and good fellowship.

As she studies organizational culture for work, Naree is amazed that the now-national grocery chain has managed to maintain so much of its original charm.

Naree Viner

Today Naree lives just a mile from the Westport Trader Joe’s. She loves finding new items there, and is not disappointed when favorites (like mango lemonade) disappear. One of the keys to Trader Joe’s success, after all, is low inventory.

Naree has told a few of the very cheery Westport crew that she knows the real Trader Joe — and that at 87 he’s alive and well, still painting and gardening.

“They’re amazed and amused,” she says of the local store staff.

Still, Naree wondered, why did I think this would make a great “06880” story?

“It’s fun and quirky,” I said.

Just like Trader Joe’s.


The End Of The World: Now On Display At Whole Foods

Strange Object Spotted In Sky

Westporters were stunned a few minutes ago, when they looked up and saw this:

Apparently, it is something called “the sun.”

Not to worry. A few minutes later, the sky was back to normal.