Tag Archives: 4th of July fireworks

“Soundview Summer” Survey: Results Are In!

Should Soundview Drive be closed to vehicles more than once each summer?

An overwhelming number of Westporters say: Yes!

“06880” asked that question last week. The survey was sparked by the cool, leisurely, festival-like vibe that happens every year just before the fireworks. The cars and motorcycles are gone; instead, Westporters of all ages stroll, chat, meet and mingle.

So, we wondered, why not do it regularly (or semi-regularly)? And add music, perhaps a juggler or face painter or caricature artist, and maybe food trucks?

252 readers responded. 85.7% were in favor of closing the beach “for certain designated Saturdays or Sundays.” 14.3% were opposed.

Answers came from all over town. The survey did not differentiate between readers who lived near the beach — and would be most affected — and those who did not.

Those who answered “yes” were asked. “How often?”

“Occasionally (3-4 times a summer) led with 36.7%, followed by “A few (1-2 times),” 24.5%; “Every weekend in summer” (20%); “A lot (5-8)” at 12.7%, and “Not in favor” (6.1%).

Readers who were opposed to the idea were asked “why not?” They could write in their own reason.

The most frequent answer (25%) was “too much disruption and traffic.” Three respondents each said “Don’t like food trucks” and “Don’t like music on the beach.”

Other reasons (1 each) included:

  • They never signed up for this — it’s a private street
  • It’s a public road
  • Very dangerous and inconvenient for residents; harebrained idea
  • In favor, but need to be considerate of residents
  • Disturbance of relative peace and quiet of a lovely weekend
  • Too much disruption and traffic for the other street
  • Not enough spots in beach parking lot
  • More out-of-town people would use the beach
  • Speeders would now choose Bradley Street
  • Possible costs to the town (police?)
  • Opens the door to commercialism; would ruin the peace of the beach.

The most popular name suggested (63.5%) was “Soundview Summer.”

With so many people in favor — but with very valid opposition — the next steps are:

  • Devising a plan to propose to town officials and area residents
  • Addressing concerns raised.

If you’re interested in being part of this group, please email 06880blog@gmail.com.

Party on!

Peacefully, of course.

The view from a Soundview Drive home, on fireworks day. Odds are without pyrotechnics, crowds would be smaller. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Scene At The Beach

With just over 7 hours to go before the June 29th fireworks, Compo Beach is jam-packed with beach chairs, picnic tables and tents (and very few people manning or womanning them).

But that’s not what this post is about.

Here are a few photos to show what else is happening, down at the shore.

Compo Beach lifeguards, midway through a long day. (Photo/Jonathan Alloy)

Camp Compo kids and counselors play in the Sound, in the shadow of the fireworks barge. (Photo/Jonathan Alloy)

Human beings aren’t the only ones enjoying the Soundview Avenue scene. (Photo/Tammy Barry)

Okay, I lied. One more photo of the stakeout. This is at 10:30 a.m. (Photo/Brian Schiller)

8 AM Fireworks Report: Beach Stakeouts Grow

It’s still 13 hours before the first firework is lit.

But Compo Beach grows more crowded by the minute.

Things are getting a bit aggressive. Check out this scene, with not one or two but three large tents marking a prime viewing spot.

Meanwhile, the stakeout below may be a bit wide. But huge props to the 2 folks who are actually sitting there, minding the spot.

If they’re there all day, they will earn “06880”‘s Unsung Hero of the Week award.

(Photos/Matt Murray)

Roundup: Fireworks Traffic, David Pogue & Titan …

Longtime Westporters know the drill.

Newcomers may not.

The annual PAL fireworks display is set for this Thursday (June 29; rain date, Friday).That means tons of traffic,

Compo Beach closes at 4 p.m. Only vehicles with fireworks passes hanging on their rearview mirrors are allowed to remain. All others will be ticketed or towed.

The beach usually reopens to ticket holders by 5 p.m.

Access to the fireworks is through South Compo Road only. Hillspoint Road south of Greens Farms Road is open only to residents south of that intersection.

Fireworks attendees should hang their ticket on their rearview mirror. A few tickets ($50 per car) are still available at the Westport Police station (50 Jesup Road) and Parks & Recreation office (in Longshore Park), during business hours. The event is a fundraiser for the Westport PAL, thanks to sponsorship by Melissa and Doug Bernstein.

Vehicles without tickets will not be permitted beyond the Minute Man monument.

People arriving by Uber, Lyft, or taxi will be directed straight past the Minuteman on Compo Road South. They can walk from Soundview Drive to the beach.

NOTE: Return service by those methods will not be available until after 11 p.m., due to 1-way traffic exiting the beach.

Just prior to the conclusion of the fireworks, 2-way traffic will be suspended on Compo Beach Road and South Compo Road to the intersection of Greens Farms Road. There will be two lanes of northbound traffic on these streets until the beach is cleared.

Residents of this area will encounter delays getting to their homes for about one hour, or until traffic has cleared from the beach.

Residents who will pick up family members in the beach area should also plan for delays.

Don’t worry. The traffic is worth it. Enjoy the show — and thanks, PAL and Melissa and Doug!

Welcome to the fireworks! (Photo/Dan Woog)


In the wake of last week’s implosion of the Titan — the submersible that brought adventure-seekers to the wreck of Titanic — David Pogue offered some of the most respected and insightful views.

Last year, the Westport correspondent/writer/podcaster/tech expert reported on the Titan. As a guest of the submersible’s company, OceanGate, he traveled to the North Atlantic for a “CBS Sunday Morning” report.

Pogue’s own attempts to see Titanic were scrubbed. The closest he got was 37 feet  underwater. (Click here to see that video.)

But his questions of CEO Stockton Rush — one of 5 who died — about the safety of the vessel took on new resonance last week.

Yesterday, Pogue was featured in a 10-minute “CBS Sunday Morning” feature, exploring his trip and the aftermath.

The story — which includes interviews with Rush and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a French maritime expert and Connecticut resident who also perished — is a clear, compelling, compassionate but honest look at a modern-day Shakespearean story that gripped the world. Click below to see:


Jonathan Prager “spotted” this excellent specimen for our “Westport … Naturally” feature yesterday:

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)


And finally … on this day in 1927, the Cyclone roller coaster opened on Coney Island.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog — and a non-profit. Please click here to contribute. Thank you!) 

Roundup: Fireworks Tickets, Duck Race, Levitt Pavilion …

Tickets are going fast for the greatest party in town: the Independence Day fireworks.

They’re early this year: this Thursday (June 29). As always, Compo Beach is the place to be.

The event is sponsored — once again — by longtime Westport residents Melissa and Doug Bernstein. Their generosity allows Westport PAL to benefit from ticket sales — and run programs and offer scholarships impacting thousands of kids.

Tickets ($50 per car) can be bought at the Westport Police station (50 Jesup Road) and Parks & Recreation office (in Longshore Park), during business hours.

They’re first-come, first-served. And no one gets into Compo without one.

The greatest party in town. (Photo/David Squires)


Yesterday’s s Great Duck Race was a huge success. Attendees — win or lose — had tons of fun. The Westport Sunrise Rotary Club put on another successful event. And the many non-profits that will benefit from the fundraiser will be thrilled.

But there were smaller moments to celebrate too. Here’s one.

Jo Luciano grew up in Westport. She now lives in Florida, but had a special reason to donate to the Duck fundraiser: Her father — Police Chief Sam Luciano — died suddenly in 1970. The Westport Rotary Club generously paid for her, and her sister Carol’s, college educations.

Jo had trouble making the online donation. She found the address for the Rotary Club — but it was “Westport Rotary,” not the “Sunrise Rotary” that puts on the event.

No problem. Leslie Roberts of Westport Rotary forwarded Jo’s email to the Sunrise club.

Problem solved! Jo bought 3 ducks.

But there’s also this Westport-is-really-just-a-small-town postscript: Sunrise Rotary past president Rick Jaffe told Jo: “I live on the other side of the train station from Luciano Park. I take my grandchildren there whenever they visit.”

That’s right: the small park in Saugatuck is named for Jo’s father, the late police chief.

It’s great that Jo still feels connected to Westport. And that Rick now feels a bit more connected to Luciano Park.

Here’sPolice another Great Duck Race story: At the end of a very busy day, Dave Hoffman of the Makin’ Waves food truck had one coconut shrimp left.

He knew Sunrise Rotarian Sheila Keenan loves it. So he walked it across the street, and presented it to an equally exhausted — but very grateful — Sheila.

Dave Hoffman, Sheila Keenan and the coconut shrimp. (Photo and hat tip/Richard Jaffe)


Also last night: the Levitt Pavilion’s Michael Franti and Phillip Phillips show.

The sold-out event had everyone dancing.

Except one dog, who wished he was.

(Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)


Meanwhile, this morning — at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. — 21 teenagers and 6 adult leaders left Saugatuck Congregational Church, for their annual youth mission trip.

This year’s destination: Washington state. They’ll help with flood recovery, and work with families in need.

Previous mission trips have included Colorado, Arizona, Maine, Alabama, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.

Saugatuck Church youth group. (Photo/Mark Mathias)

Green’s Farms Congregational Church’s youth group left this weekend too, on their mission.

They’re headed to Tennessee.

Green’s Farms Church youth group.


Check out the eyes on this “Westport … Naturally” Compo Beach cormorant!

Colorful, beautiful, piercing — and very, very fierce.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … on this date in 1876, the 2-day Battle of the Little Bighorn began. It was an overwhelming victory for the combined Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes, and a humiliating defeat for the US Army’s 7th Cavalry. Five of their 12 companies were wiped out; General George Armstrong Custer was killed, along with 2 brothers, a nephew and a brother-in-law.

Roundup: Fireworks, Whoopi Goldberg, Chad Knight …

Fire up the celebration!

Westport’s Independence Day fireworks come early this year.

The best party in town is set for Thursday, June 29. The site — as always — is Compo Beach.

The Westport Police Athletic League and Parks & Recreation do the heavy lifting. The event is sponsored — once again — by longtime Westport residents (and veteran fireworks goers) Melissa and Doug Bernstein.

“This is our favorite time of year in Westport, seeing this amazing community gather together for such a joy-filled event,” they say.

Ticket sales begin on June 1 at the Westport Police station (50 Jesup Road) and Parks & Recreation office (in Longshore Park).

Tickets ($50 per car) are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Proceeds benefit Westport PAL, and their programs serving thousands of youngsters.

Middle row: Craig Bergamo, Westport PAL president hands Doug Bernstein the first fireworks ticket. Enjoying the Compo Beach scene are (front, left to right): Parks &  Rec director Jen Fava, PAL fireworks chair Emma Rojas, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Melissa Bernstein. Top: Deputy Police Chief Ryan Paulsson, Police Chief Foti Koskinas. (Photo/Dan Woog)


Whoopi Goldberg was in town last night.

So were Rosie Perez and Natasha Bedingfield. And many other names, boldface and Roman text.

The event was a benefit fashion show for Pink Aid. The site was Christian Siriano‘s The Collective West.

And yes, he’s another boldface name.

Rosie Perez, Whoopi Goldberg and Natasha Bedingfield — but you knew that. (Photo and hat tip: Dave Briggs)


Perfect weather drew a large crowd to yesterday’s Westport Farmers’ Market.

Several new vendors, plenty of old favorites, and fresh food, herbs and more make this the most exciting year yet, for the 18-year-old institution.

It runs every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Imperial Avenue parking lot, through mid-November.

Among the attractions yesterday in the photo below: samples from Alma Mexican food, dished out by their Staples High School interns (from left): Whitman Teplica, Cole Lieberman, Ben Douglas and (preparing a tostada) Steve Divino.


Chad Knight is a Westport legend.

The baseball star — who led his 2013 team to the Little League World Series championship game, then was a 4-year Staples High School starter who paced his 2019 team to the FCIAC championship, and was named Gatorade State Player of the Year — just graduated from Duke University.

Before he did, he capped off his Blue Devil baseball career (during Asian American Heritage Month) with a story for the Duke athletic department. He wrote eloquently about how his heritage shaped his life — both athletically and musically.

Click here for Chad’s insightful, introspective story. (Hat tip: Steve McCoy)

Chad Knight


Traffic alert!

This Sunday (May 21), the Bloomin’ Metric Bicycle Tour roars through town.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., riders will head out from Sherwood Island State Park. There are 4 distances — 25, 40, 75 and 100 kilometers — and 4 different routes.

So be aware: There will be even more bike riders than usual, all over town.


The Westport Library unveils 3 new exhibitions for spring. They highlight the work of Connecticut artists Nancy Moore and Charles Douthat, and “the art of the album” with a display related to the Chicago blues.

All three exhibits run through August 8: Moore’s “Women Telling Stories” in the Sheffer Gallery, Douthat’s “Three Seasons” in the South Gallery, and “Chicago Blues” in the Jesup Gallery.

An event and reception June 4 (2 to 4 p.m.) celebrates the exhibit with a talk between Moore and noted Westport artist Miggs Burroughs at 3.

Douthat comes to the Library June 14 (6 p.m.) for a reception and talk with Burroughs.

Chicago Blues features albums from the collection of Westporters Ellen and Mark Naftalin, the American blues keyboardist inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 2015. It includes album covers of important original blues musicians.

Click here for more information on the artists and exhibits.

Exhibits at the Westport Library.


The Black Duck women-in-the-men’s-bathroom-photo story continues to have, um, legs.

In the wake of yesterday’s story — in which Duck founder and former owner Pete Aitkin gave the back story — Brad French sent “06880” a photo of himself with Mary Scully, one of the 2 lovely bartenders.

It was taken at Compo Beach.

And what happened to the great-looking couple?

They got married.

The story continues …


Coming up at Earthplace:

Wildflower ID: Stroll through the gardens and meadow with a naturalist. (Sunday, May 21, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., $10 per person; register here).

Family Campfire: Earthplace provides the marshmallows and s’mores; bring your own sticks. Meet an animal ambassador; participate in a guided activity. (Friday, June 9, 6 to 7:30 p.m., member families $30, non-member families $40; register here).

Foraging 101: An Earthplace naturalist leads an introductory class on sustainable foraging for wild salad greens and pungent ingredients, including a walk. (Sunday, June 11, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., $10 person; register here).

Group Canoe Paddle: Search the Saugatuck River for egrets, ospreys, ducks, shorebirds and more. Canoes, paddles and personal flotation devices are included. One canoe each trip is reserved for participants and families with special needs. (Sunday, June 18, 2 time slots: 10 a.m. to noon, and 2-4 p.m.; click here for fees and more details, including scholarships for income-eligible residents).

Adult Crafting Night: Bring your adult beverages; use natural crafting materials guided by staff. Unwind while creating beautiful decorations or useful health and beauty products to take home. (Thursday, June 29, 6 to 8 p.m.; $45 per adult member; $50 per adult non-member; register here).


The Westport Weston Family YMCA is ready for their first Holi Color Festival.

People of all backgrounds are invited to the traditional Indian celebration of colors and unity, It’s Saturday, June 3 (10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mahackeno Outdooro Center).

Holi symbolizes the triumph of good over bad, the arrival of spring, the joy of friendship, and equality for all.

The event features activities for all ages, including color play (throwing non-toxic organic colors), BollyX (a Bollywood-style dance class), traditional Indian food, henna, face painting and bounce house.

Westport Y CEO Anjali McCormick grew up in India, and has fond memories of playing Holi as a child.

She says, “This celebration unites people with different beliefs, cultural traditions and experiences in the vibrant colors of friendship, renewal and acceptance. At the Y we believe in creating spaces where people of all backgrounds can come together, learn from one another, and build meaningful connections. We invite everyone to join us as we strengthen the bonds that make our community truly exceptional.”

Pre-registration is required. Click here to register, and for more information. Questions? Email kgiglio@westporty.org.


Moxie Salon & Beauty Bar invites the public to their grand opening May 25 (772 Post Road East, 3 p.m.).

From May 22-26, they offer:
● $19.99 blowouts for first time clients
● $20 off any color service
● $10 off haircuts
● $89 blowout and makeup
● 20% off hair extensions.

Owner Carrie Steele — a Greenwich teacher — offers 20% of all services to teachers, every day.

Moxie is a full-service hair salon. They have 17 locations in the tri-state area.


Lynroy Henry — former assistant track coach at Staples High School — is still working with kids.

He sends word that the Open Doors Foundation is collecting donations for its summer camp.

Items needed are bikes, used sneakers, Mead notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters, rulers, backpacks, laptops and electronics.

Donations can be dropped off at 10 Bay Street, by June 4.

Items can also be picked up weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Questions? Email lynroyhenry@gmail.com, or call 203-919-0921.


Jill Grayson made the most of being stuck yesterday while stopped on Easton Road by the firehouse.

She saw something she’d never seen in Westport: a pileated woodpecker.

Jill had enough time to take several photos — and then send this one to “06880,” for our daily “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Jill Grayson)


 And finally … on this day in 1895, José Marti — the Cuban poet, philosopher, essayist, journalist, translator, professor and publisher, who helped liberate his country from Spain — was killed by Spanish troops. He was 42 years old.

(“06880” is a non-profit, dedicated to bringing our community together. Donations are tax-deductible. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Friday Flashback #303

It’s been 10 years since Mark Krosse sent me this broadside, and I wrote this story.

But with July 4th approaching — and last night’s fireworks already a memory — it’s time to celebrate a long-ago Westport Independence Day tale again.

The broadside Mark found (above) invites Westporters to an “Exhibition of Fireworks!” — on the “Evening of the 4th of July, 1860.”

The site was “Compo House,” and the “programme” was extensive.

Signal Rockets will be fired from sun-down to 9 o’clock, when a brilliant display will commence with the splendid GREEK BENGOLA LIGHTS, illuming the whole entire area of the Fireworks Ground. This brilliant reflecting light was invented by the celebrated Indian Chieftain, TIPPOO SAIB, and is the most powerful known to the present age, eclipsing the Drummond Light for its brilliancy, &c. After which the following beautiful pieces will be fired in the order of the Programme.

Reading habits 2022-style not being what they were in 1860, I’ll note a few highlights:

  • Splendid Vertical Wheel
  • Rockets
  • Chaplet of Flora
  • Torbillions
  • Fairies’ Frolic
  • Glories of Mexico

Casting aside the question of why we were celebrating the “Glories of Mexico,” I’ll close with this description of the final Bomb Shells:

Commencing with a splendid wheel of Chinese, Egyptian and radiant fires, forming all the variegated and beautiful mutations of the Kaleidoscope, changing  to the American Coat of Arms, displaying the shield with the Stars and Stripes on each side in the appropriate colors, Red, White and Blue.

A rare old photo of the July 4th, 1860 fireworks. Or not.

On an arc above will appear the motto, UNION.

The whole mutating to a grand Mosaic Battery, composed of Greek and Roman Candles, filling the air for several hundred feet with all the beautiful colors known in Pyrotechny.

Sounds like Fun!

In fact, the descriptions are so vivid I can just imagine the scene. Colors fill the air. The crowd applauds. Finally everyone heads home, creating a massive horse-and-carriage jam on the roads from Compo House.


So what was “Compo House”? That’s worth a story in itself.

Also known as the Winslow Mansion, it stood where Winslow Park is today: the corner of Post Road East and Compo Road North.

Between 1855 and 1860, alert “06880” reader and super historian Wendy Crowther notes, “Henry Richard Winslow and his 2nd wife, Mary Fitch Winslow, invited everyone in town to their extensive and lavish property to enjoy July 4th fireworks. Henry died in February 1861, so the 1860 fireworks extravaganza advertised in the poster (above) was his last.”

How extensive and lavish was his house?

A lot more than you may imagine.

Unbelievably alert “06880” reader Paul Greenberg found 2 prints at the George Glazer Gallery website. Here’s the back story to what they show.

Winslow — a state representative and senator — built Compo House in 1853. Six years later, former president Millard Fillmore was a guest. The property also included guest houses, servants’ and gardeners’ quarters, and gorgeous gardens.

The mansion no longer exists. It was torn down in the 1970s, after serving for many years as a sanitarium (and, in its final incarnation, a vacant party house for Westport teenagers). The outbuildings were demolished too.

The iron gate — alongside unpaved North Compo — still stands.

The Winslows also owned the land across Post Road East (then called State Street) from the park. Both properties were bought in the 1950s by Baron Walter von Langendorff, an Austrian-born chemist who founded Evyan Perfumes.

The town now owns the 2 parcels: Winslow Park and Baron’s South.

And how they have remained undeveloped is a tale for a non-holiday weekend.

Ghosts Invade Compo Beach

It’s only 8:30 a.m.

But much of the prime Compo Beach real estate has already been claimed for tonight’s 30th of June fireworks.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

Hundreds of chairs and dozens of tents fill the sand, from jetty to jetty. A large towel is draped across the Soundview Avenue seawall, near a particularly enormous circle of empty chairs.

There’s no report from South Beach, but I’m sure most of the picnic tables’ “Tables May Not Be Reserved” signs are covered up.

Some folks play nice  — staying with their stakeouts. (Okay, maybe they’re just protecting them.)

Others will return in a few hours.

(Photo/Karen Como)

Perfect weather, plus the return of Westport’s Best Party Ever after 2 COVID years, ensure that tonight’s crowd will be huge.

Remember: The beach closes at 4 p.m. Only vehicles with fireworks passes can remain. No one can enter Compo again until all passes have been checked — predicted to be around 5 p.m.

See you there!

A Need-To-Know Basis: The Basics

A reader writes:

My wife and I just bought a home in Westport. We will move there in September.

As a soon-to-be resident, reading “06880” has helped me get to know the town. For example, I already know that everyone on the railroad parking wait list will soon get a pass.

But what else should I know?

I’m looking for a quick crash course about the town. It could be anything from “avoid this road during these hours” to “this parking lot always has spaces” to “what do I need to know about Compo Beach.”

I realize you could write hundreds of tips. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

Great idea!

You’re right. I could give hundreds (if not squintillions). Here are a few quick ones, in random order:

You need a ticket for the 4th of July fireworks at Compo Beach. (Which in Westport are never actually on the 4th. This year, they’re June 30th.) Westport PAL puts them on, with help from Melissa & Doug (the innovative toy company). Tickets are available at Parks & Rec headquarters (in Longshore, near the 1st tee) and police headquarters (Jesup Road). The $40/vehicle ticket supports a huge variety of PAL programs — so even if you watch the fireworks elsewhere, or don’t park at the beach, consider donating to PAL.

If everyone cooperates, getting into the beach for the fireworks goes smoothly.

Speaking of which: Unfortunately, Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department website is the least user-friendly I’ve seen since dial-up modem days. From the non-intuitive way to sign up for hand passes (for tennis, golf, Longshore pool, etc.), beach emblems (we actually call them “stickers”) and boat launch permits — hint: click on “Memberships” — to the random, dizzying list of options in every category, on through all the clicks needed to jump from page to page and back again, it’s a cluster****.

The good news is: If you’re free when the office is open, head there yourself. (As noted above, it’s in Longshore, near the golf course 1st tee.) The employees are fantastic: knowledgeable, helpful, friendly and fun.

The bad news is: I can’t tell you when the office is open. It’s nowhere on the website — at least, nowhere I could find.

The Parks & Rec Department office, at Longshore. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Speaking of the beach: The best sunsets for miles around are at Compo’s South Beach. That’s the area from the cannons to the kayak launch. There’s often a convivial crowd — perhaps because that’s the only area on a Westport beach where alcohol is permitted. (No glass, please!)

South Beach is also where, on a beautiful evening, every grill might be taken. Tables are first-come, first-served. Despite that notice on every table, some people “reserve” them by leaving blankets, chairs, even coolers all around, then leaving the beach for the next few hours.

You are perfectly within your rights to take that table. However, I am not responsible for whatever happens next. I’m just sayin’….

This does not reserve you a South Beach table.

A few other tips: The town dump is called the “transfer station.” On the Sherwood Island Connector, it’s  where you toss household garbage, furniture, carpeting, lamps, televisions, electronics, batteries and similar items. Much of it is recycled. Workers there are very helpful and friendly. On Saturday mornings especially, it’s a great place to meet other Westporters.

The best shortcut in town that does not involve annoying other residents is the Merritt Parkway between Exits 41 and 42. You get from the YMCA/Wilton area to Coleytown/Weston without circling through Wilton Road, North Kings Highway and Main Street. Even when the Merritt traffic creeps along, it’s usually quicker.

The Imperial Avenue parking lot is underrated – not only for events at the Levitt Pavilion, but even for downtown. The pedestrian bridge connecting it to the Levitt and Library is easy and gorgeous — and the lot is nearly always empty.

Deadman Brook bridge, between the Levitt Pavilion and Imperial Avenue (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

You will see the Remarkable Bookcycle parked somewhere around town: the beach perhaps, or Bedford Square or the Westport Book Shop on Jesup Road. The concept is cool — take a book, give a book — but there’s a back story. It’s decorated with the “dancing man” logo of the Remarkable Book Shop, a beloved (and long-gone) Main Street institution. Fun fact: The Bookcycle is the brainchild of Jane Green. Yes, that Jane Green. The internationally known author is a fellow Westporter.

(Photo/Judith Shaw)

Those are just a few top-of-the-head ideas. I am sure every “06880” reader — at least, those who have been here more than 10 minutes — can add his or her own.

So, let’s do it. Click “Comments” below to pass along info that every newcomer needs to know. Along with this last one:

You don’t need to buy milk and eggs every time snow is predicted. But do pay attention to rain and wind advisories.

There’s not a lot that’s certain in Westport, but this much is: You will lose power.


Welcome to Westport!

Roundup: Salsa Fresca, Library Cafe, Fireworks …


Chipotle didn’t make it. Neither did Qdoba.

But Salsa Fresca is betting the 3rd time’s the charm.

The idea is the same: build your own Mexican meal — burrito, bowl, taco, salad, nachos, quesadilla — from a list of items.

Salsa Fresca is a lot smaller than either of the 2 chains that preceded it. They had hundreds. This will be just the 9th Salsa Fresca in New York and Connecticut. The closest locations now are Danbury and Bedford Hills.

They’ll open in the exact same spot — at the foot of Playhouse Square, underneath Kennedy’s Barber Shop — that Qdoba vacated more than 3 years ago.

So I’ll say this about Salsa Fresca: They’ve got some big cojones.

(Photo/Dan Woog)


The Westport Library Café is — like so much else — reopening up more and more.

Hours are now 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Come for the treats. Stay for the views!


Hey — it was a great idea while it lasted.

With no 4th of July fireworks yesterday, “06880” reader Jennifer McCarthy floated the idea of rescheduling the pyrotechnics — this year only — to Labor Day.

Looks like a washout, though (just like Friday night’s would have been). Westport PAL — longtime sponsor of the annual event — says that town officials nixed the concept a while ago, not wanting to risk being a super-spreader.

In addition, staffing would be tough. Many seasonal employees will already be back in college.

See you at Compo in early July, 2022!

Fears of another super-spreader event mean no fireworks until next year. (Photo/Rick Benson)


The Gillespie Center food pantry is out of essentials.

Items needed include canned meats (chicken, tuna, salmon, Spam), pasta sauces, jams and jellies, hot and cold cereals, canned fruits and vegetables,, and paper and reusable bags.

They can be dropped off at the Gillespie Center courtyard (behind Don Memo restaurant) today, tomorrow and Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Yesterday, America celebrated its 245th birthday.

But anyone wandering by the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot across from the Southport Diner yesterday — just over the town line — might have thought it was our 145th.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows delicious raspberries, ready to ripen at Baron’s South. Yum!

(Photo/Molly Alger)


And finally … on this day in 1954, Elvis Presley recorded his first single, “That’s All Right,” at Sun Records in Memphis. The world was never the same.