Tag Archives: “A Taste of Westport”

Roundup: Taste Of Westport, Juneteenth, You Be You Day …

“A Taste of Westport” returned yesterday, after a 2-year COVID absence.

A record crowd — starved for great food for an even better cause — showed up at the Inn at Longshore. It was the perfect venue for the festive, almost-summer event.

A small portion of the large “Taste of Westport” crowd at the Inn at Longshore.

The traditional fundraiser for CLASP — the local non-profit celebrating its 40th year serving adults with autism and developmental disabilities — featured plenty of tasting stations, live music from the Bar Car Band`, a silent auction and a raffle.

Restaurants and vendors participating included Artisan, BE Chocolat, Black Bear Wines & Spirits, Boathouse, Cylinder, Evarito’s, Freixenet Mionetto, Little Dumpling House, Gabriele’s, La Plage, Little Pub, Lindsay’s Handmade, Mrs. London’s, Newsylum, Nordic Fish, Post Oak, Rive Bistro, Rizzuto’s, Romanacci, Tablao, Tarantino, The Spread and Walrus Alley.

It’s not an easy time to own a restaurant. Last night, all of them went above and beyond the call.

Artisan offered (among other items) a very tasty goat dish. Inn at Longshore principal Michael Ryan is at right. (Photos/Dan Woog)

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On June 19, 1865, Union troops  liberated enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas. Fifteen men from Westport took part, with the 29th Connecticut Colored Infantry Regiment.

For years, the day was informally called “Juneteenth.” Finally, it’s a federal holiday (Monday, June 20).

The Westport Museum for History & Culture celebrates with 2 events.

Tonight (Thursday, June 16, 7 p.m.) historic interpreter Dontavius Williams offers a virtual performance of the experiences of an enslaved man. Click here to register.

A walking tour — based on a 2018-19 exhibit about Westport’s African American history — is set for Saturday June 18 (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Click here to register.

The Westport Museum’s walking tour will include a stop at historic 22 1/2 Main Street.

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The Levitt Pavilion has never looked better.

As a quasi-town, quasi-private facility, the Pavilion itself is responsible for maintaining its ornamental plantings and beds — including the ones between the Riverwalk and lawn.

Every year, Friends of the Levitt volunteers answer the call. This year, Gault Energy helped out by donating all the mulch.

So the next time you enjoy a free show — enjoy the “free” scenery too.

Work day at the Levitt Pavilion.. (Photo/Jimmy Izzo)

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It was “You Be You Day” yesterday, at Westport’s elementary schools.

The night before, Kings Highway families helped “chalk the walk.”

Kings Highway 1st grader Siena Adams helps chalk the walk. Her mother, Cori Caputo Adams; is a Kings Highway and Staples High School (Class of 1994) alumnus.

Dozens of youngsters and parents wrote kind, motivating chalk messages on the walkway in front of the school. The goal was to encourage every student to be proud of who he or she is — and to feel proud too of being part of a community that accepts and celebrates them exactly as they are.

In the morning, KHS staff and students were greeted with colorful, positive sayings. It was a great start to “You Be You Day,” says PTA board member Meghan Bell.

Meanwhile, Greens Farms Elementary School celebrated in several ways.

Teachers read books with positive messages to their classes. Youngsters wore “You Be You” shirts. The sidewalk was chalked

And there was this bulletin board too:

(Photo courtesy of Leann Duggan)

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The Westport Kiwanis Club provides annual scholarships to graduating seniors who show exemplary community involvement and academic achievement.

This year’s recipients are Lena Lemcke, Elena Lim, Jaden Mueller and Ella Williams.

Funds come from Kiwanis’ annual Minuteman Triathlon. This year’s’ event is September 11, at Compo Beach. Click here for information and registration.

Kiwanis officials and scholarship recipients, at the recent awards ceremony (from left): Todd Ehrlich, Dave Fuggit, Jaden Mueller, Judy Stripp, Lena Lemcke, Rob Gould, Elena Lim, Elaine Daignault. Not pictured: Ella Williams.

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Osprey admirer/expert Carolyn Doan visited the Fresh Market nest this week. She was happily surprised to find “2 heads being shaded by mom. They must have been hot, as their mouths were open in the sun directly on the nest.

“They seemed to be having a serious chat with her. She listened patiently. She made a quick trip away from the nest. When she returned, they were thrilled.”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

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What could be more mundane than a midday chat?

Martin Greenberg captured this scene, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Martin Greenberg)

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And finally … in honor of our elementary schools’ great “You Be You Day” yesterday:

 

 

  

 

Roundup: Mystic Market, Spencer Platt, James Madison …

Mystic Market — the successor to the Arrow, Jasmine and Blu Parrot restaurants  — is “regretfully” closing its Saugatuck location on May 27.

“The rent is 3 times what we pay for our other properties. And lease for the second term is even more,” says David Griswold. He’s senior vice president of The Coastal Gourmet Group, which owns 3 similar properties in eastern Connecticut.

The company is searching for a new location. A property in Wilton did not work out, because it was not zoned for a food establishment.

Mystic Market opened in the winter of 2019 on Charles Street, near I-95 Exit 17 and the Westport train station. It offers a variety of sandwiches, prepared foods, pastries, coffee and more.

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Two weeks ago, Spencer Platt won a Pulitzer Prize for Photography.

Next Wednesday (May 25, 7 p.m., Westport Library), the Staples High School graduate returns to town. He’ll talk about his career, his most recent award (for coverage of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol), and how and where it all began.

Platt has covered conflicts and news stories in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. In 2006 he won World Press Photo of the Year honors for an image taken during fighting in Lebanon. In 2021 he was a Pulitzer finalist for coverage of the COVID epidemic.

Spencer lives in Brooklyn with his wife — fellow Staples grad Erica Sashin — and daughter,

To register for a seat in the Trefz Forum, click here. For a livestream link, click here.

Spencer Platt at work, in 2006.

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Social studies teachers Drew Coyne and Suzanne Kammerman are 2 of Staples High School’s most celebrated educators.

Her “We the People” team competes regularly at the national level. She has won awards from American Lawyer and Civics First. He is a Connecticut Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year and University of Chicago Outstanding Educator.

But you don’t have to be a teenager to learn from them.

On June 8 (7 p.m., Westport Library), adults can enjoy the same “Community Case Discussion” they’re known for. Coyne and Kammerman will moderate a discussion on the role of the federal government in relation to the states — from the perspective of a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. (Think: James Madison.)

But you can’t just stroll into class. Participants must click here to register, and receive case study materials from the Library.

The good news: There are no grades.

James Madison

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David McCormick — former CEO of Westport-based Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund — remained locked in a tight race this morning for the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania senator.

With more than 90% of the vote counted, just 2,000 votes separated him from his closest challenger, Dr. Mehmet Oz. McCormick had 31.3% of the vote; the celebrity doctor had 31.1.%. Thousands of mail-in ballots remained to be counted.

McCormick joined Bridgewater in 2009 as president. He was named co-CEO in 2017, and sole CEO 2 years later. He resigned in 2021 to run for retiring senator Pat Toomey’s seat, in his native state.

David McCormick

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“A Taste of Westport” — the bring-your-appetite-all-you-can-eat-and-drink fundraiser for CLASP Homes — has announced the restaurants and vendors for the June 15 event (6 p.m., Inn at Longshore).

The mouth-watering list includes:

  • Artisan
  • BE Chocolat
  • Black Bear Wines & Spirits
  • Boathouse Restaurant at Saugatuck Rowing Club
  • Cylinder Vodka
  • Evarito’s
  • Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse
  • Gloria Ferrer Sparkling Wine
  • La Plage
  • Lindsay’s Handmade
  • Little Dumpling House
  • Little Pub
  • Mrs. London’s Artisan Bakery
  • NewSylum Brewing Company
  • Nordic Fish
  • Post Oak Barbecue Company
  • Rive Bistro
  • Rizzuto’s
  • Romanacci
  • The Spread
  • SoNo 1420
  • Tablao
  • Tarantion
  • Walrus Alley.

Click here for tickets and more information.

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Calling all teenagers!

The “Teens of MoCA” organization invites all of their peers to a free Spring Arts Festival this Sunday (May 22, 4 to 7 p.m., MoCA Westport, 19 Newtown Turnpike).

There’s a food truck (of course), live music by teen bands, and products for sale from local teen-run art businesses. Follow @teensatMoCAWestport to learn more.

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Shopping for nice things may seem to have little connection with human trafficking.

But Westporters Michelle Pollack, Sandra Rose, Becca Zipkin and Alex Cohen have just launched a new organization: Concierge with Conscience.

The inaugural event is June 3 (10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), in Westport. Brand partners include The Westside, Ever After, Freedom Moses, Metta10, LeSuperCool and more. 15% of all proceeds go to Partnership to End Human Trafficking.There’s a raffle too, with 100% of the proceeds going to PEHT.

Click here for more details (including complimentary piercing, with the purchase of an earring). RSVP at info@conciergewithconscience.com. Shoppers will receive an email, with information about the location.

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Lauri Weiser sent today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo with this simple note: “Mother Nature is amazing.” She’s absolutely right!

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … the great opera singer Ezio Pinza was born today in 1892. He died in 1957 — after (among other notable achievements) more than 750 performances of 50 operas, during 22 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera.

Plus this:

CLASP Serves Up A Tasteful Event

Many Westporters know Chris.

He arrived at CLASP 30 years ago. At 20 years old, with a developmental disability, he was shy and lacked confidence.

CLASP — the Westport-based organization that provides life skills training, homes and employment, so adults with autism and other developmental challenges become contributing, respected community members — helped Chris gain social skills, overcome shyness, and become one of the first residents of the Kings Highway group home. (There are now a dozen more — and an apartment program.)

Chris got a job at Food Emporium, collecting carts. When Whole Foods replaced that store, he made the transition. He’s been promoted several times. Today, he helps in all departments.

Shoppers know him. They look for him, and stop to chat.

Chris enjoys himself at a CLASP event.

In 1995 Chris moved into his own apartment. He learned to swim. Competing in Special Olympics, he won many medals.

Today he lives a very independent life. He works, swims, eats out, and stays current on political issues.

Being on his own was always his dream. With hard work, determination — and the support of CLASP — he made it come true.

CLASP is a low-key — and highly effective — organization. Though their work costs plenty of money, they seldom ask area residents for funds.

Once a year though, they do. In a very “tasteful” manner.

CLASP Homes’ A Taste of Westport brings 2 dozen restaurants to the Westport Inn. Westport’s own Amis, Garelick & Herbs, Harvest, Matsu Sushi, Pane e Bene, Pearl, Rive Bistro, Romanacci and Tarantino offer tastings. There’s dessert from Le Rouge, beverages from Black Bear Wine & Spirits and Greens Farms Spirit Shop, plus music by the great cover band Green Eyed Lady.

A silent auction includes tickets to the Jimmy Fallon Show, the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Yankees tickets, and a night at the Met opera.

Westport is filled with worthy fundraisers. If you’ve never been to this one, take a taste. You’ll clasp it to your heart forever.

(A Taste of Westport is this Thursday, May 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Westport Inn. Tickets are $75 by clicking here, $85 at the door. For more information, call Robin Hammond: 203-226-7895, ext. 144. Hat tip: Roy Fuchs)

 

“A Taste Of Westport”: A Testament To CLASP

Tracy Flood grew up on South Compo Road — just down the street from CLASP’s Pine Drive house.

The raised ranch is home to 6 women — members of the long-time, low key organization that provides family environments for people with autism and intellectual disabilities.

CLASP’s Pine Drive home.

As a grad student in 1984, Tracy began working weekends at Pine Street. What started as a short-term job turned into a passion — and her calling.

Like many CLASP folks, she found an extended family among colleagues and residents.

Shortly after Tracy began her Pine Street job, her mother died. The residents swarmed her with hugs, and told her how beautiful she was. Their support helped her through a very tough time.

Tracy realized that being part of the CLASP family meant not only giving love, but receiving it back in volumes.

CLASP residents on a baseball outing.

More than 30 years later, Tracy is president of CLASP. The organization has grown to include 13 group homes. Four are in Westport: Pine Drive, Weston Road, Kings Highway and Sturges Highway. Residents — some of whom have lived there for decades — are deeply rooted in the community. They work, shop and play here, leading full, productive lives.

CLASP is one of those local organizations most Westporters are only vaguely aware of. Many don’t even know that the big spring event they always see signs for — A Taste of Westport — is CLASP’s major fundraiser.

It’s one you can really dig your teeth into.

Many of Westport’s finest restaurants offer specialty dishes. You can sample wine, beer and specialty cocktails — and end with dessert from Le Rouge Chocolates.

There’s music too, plus a silent auction.

All money raised goes directly to the residents. So they can continue to thrive — and give back the love they receive, to CLASP staffers and the entire community.

(A Taste of Westport is set for Thursday, May 4, 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Westport Inn. Participating restaurants and vendors include Amis, Black Bear Wines & Spirits, Bobby Q’s Cue & Co., Da Pietro’s, Dough & Co., El Segundo, Garelick & Herbs, Geronimo, Greens Farms Spirit Shop, Harvest, Hummock Island Oysters, Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti, Little Pub, Matsu Sushi, Mionetto Prosecco, Pane e Bene, Pearl at Longshore, Rive Bistro, Tacos Mexico, Tarantino Restaurant, The Spread and Washington Prime. Click here for tickets and more information.