Tag Archives: Bedford Square

It’s A Meat Market Down There

Once upon a time, you could buy meat on Main Street.

Gristede’s is long gone. But M.EAT — a high-quality purveyor of beef and lamb — opened today in Bedford Square.

The butcher shop’s primary source is Uruguay. Meat is also imported from Argentina, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia.

It’s a welcome addition to downtown.

Even if the M.EAT name is a bit too cute for my taste.

M.EAT, in Bedford Square

 

Honoring Westporters Who Preserve History

Though the 1 Wilton Road building disappeared, plank by wooden plank, there is some good news on the preservation front.

Next Monday (October 30, 7 p.m., Town Hall auditorium), 1st selectman Jim Marpe and Historic District Commission chair Francis Henkels will present the organization’s 2017 awards.

Eight properties — from all over town — have been chosen. They represent a variety of styles, and were selected for many different reasons.

Taken together, they are proof that Westport still cares about its architectural heritage.

Well, sort of.

Bedford Square

Since 1923, this Tudor revival has anchored downtown. Generations of Westporters knew it as the YMCA. When the Y moved to Mahackeno, there were grave concerns over the future of the building.

Bedford Square Associates — led by David Waldman — made a strong commitment to historic preservation. With hard, creative work and collaboration with town agencies, they and architect Centerbrook Associates designed a mixed-use complex that repurposed the Bedford building. Though there is significantly more space, the character and scale respects the streetscape of Church Lane, the Post Road and Main Street.

Bedford Square (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Wakeman Town Farm

This late-1800s farmhouse, with veranda, turned posts and a projecting gable is a Westport landmark. In the 1900s the Wakeman family supplied neighbors with produce, milk and eggs.

In 1970 Ike and Pearl Wakeman sold the historic property to the town. Today it is a sustainability center and organic homestead, open to the public.

Longtime Westport architect Peter Wormser donated his time and talent to rehabilitate the farmhouse. Public Works oversaw construction. Key elements include a rebuilt front porch, and new educational kitchen and classroom. Wakeman Town Farm is now even better able to teach, feed and inspire Westporters of all ages.

Wakeman Town Farm (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

190 Cross Highway

The Meeker homestead stood on the route taken by British soldiers, heading to Danbury to burn an arsenal. But after 2 centuries the barn and 1728 saltbox house fell into disrepair.

When Mark Yurkiw and Wendy Van Wie bought the property in 2003 it was in foreclosure. They rehabilitated the barn/cottage, and got a zoning variance to subdivide the property (making both buildings more likely to be preserved.) They’re now protected by perpetual preservation easements.

190 Cross Highway (Photo/Amy Dolego)

383 Greens Farms Road

This English-style barn was built in 1820 by Francis Bulkley. In 2000 Lawrence and Maureen Whiteman Zlatkin bought the property. They installed a new shingle roof, reinforced the basement foundation and floor beams, replaced exterior siding and enhanced the interior. All work was done with meticulous care, using historically appropriate materials. The barn now hosts civic gatherings, concerts and family events.

Maureen died last month. Her husband hopes that her focus on preserving the barn will inspire other Westporters to do the same to their treasures.

383 Greens Farms Road

8 Charcoal Hill Road

This 1927 stone Tudor revival is a classic example of the homes Frazier Forman Peters designed and built in the area. When Sam and Jamie Febbraio bought it in 2015, it had suffered from severe neglect. They meticulously restored it to its original form, adding 21st-century amenities. A 3rd-generation Westporter, Sam understands the appeal and significance of Peters homes.

8 Charcoal Hill Road (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

101 Compo Road South

Jenny Ong purchased this 1924 colonial revival — listed on the Westport Historic Resources Inventory —  in 2015 “as is” from a bank, with no inspection. Extensive water damage made it uninhabitable. The roof had collapsed, and the exterior was rotted.

The owner hired a structural engineer and architect. The original footprint was maintained, but with new windows, doors and roof. A dormer, stone steps and driveway were added. The rehabilitation replaced basement posts, first floor joists and flooring.

101 Compo Road South (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

37 Evergreen Avenue

The renovation of this 1938 colonial revival — located in the Evergreen Avenue Historic District — included the removal of a later-addition solarium in the front of the house. It was replaced by an addition within the existing footprint. Materials and design reflect and enhance the house’s original character. Owners Bruce McGuirk and Martha Constable worked with the HDC to ensure the work would be appropriate for the historic district.

37 Evergreen Avenue (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

6 Clover Lane 

This 1966 home — designed and built by George White — is a typical New England saltbox-style replication. Its 3rd owners — Lawrence and LJ Wilks — have taken special care to preserve the exterior.

6 Clover Lane (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

Pic Of The Day #186

Downtown at night, from Bedford Square. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Pic Of The Day #166

The alley by the old Bobby Q’s — now being renovated for Bedford Square. (Photo/JP Vellotti)

Pic Of The Day

Bedford Square (the old YMCA) reflected in Tiffany'(the old Ships, and before that Thompson’s Drug Store) (Photo/Laurie Brandow)

Pop Go The Photos

Michael Friedman has done a lot in his 73 years.

The Staples High School Class of 1961 graduate produced “Hello, It’s Me.” He managed Todd Rundgren and Kris Kristofferson — as well as (with Albert Grossman) the careers of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Band, Odetta, and Peter Paul & Mary. He did publicity for the Dave Clark 5 and Herman’s Hermits.

He sold Americana and folk art. He also owned the Ash Creek Saloons in Fairfield and Norwalk, along with Darien’s Goose restaurant.

With such varied careers — and so much going on — he could be forgiven for losing the negatives of photos he took nearly 50 years ago.

Of course, they were not random snapshots of the Friedman family at the beach, or their naked newborn in a bathtub.

These were up close, personal — and superb — shots of some of the biggest names in the music world.

Mick Jagger (Photo copyright Michael Friedman)

The Stones. Janis Joplin. The Band. Johnny  Winter. Gordon Lightfoot. James Cotton. Ian and Sylvia. Rita Coolidge. All are artists Friedman worked with in the 1960s.

Last January, his wife Donna stumbled upon them. Friedman spent the next several months printing, restoring and mounting the photos.

Soon, they’ll head to the California Heritage Museum in Los Angeles.

Janis Joplin (Photo copyright Michael Friedman)

But right now, they’re part of a pop-up gallery in Bedford Square. Friedman’s taken over an appropriately scruffy, unfinished space opposite the Spotted Horse. Dozens of images are on display there — and for sale.

Michael Friedman in his pop-up gallery. His photo shows Levon Helm, legendary drummer for The Band.

There’s been no publicity. Yet plenty of folks discovered the intriguing gallery during last weekend’s Blues, Views & BBQ Festival. The word is getting out.

But remember: This is a pop-up place. Soon, the photos will be gone.

At least this time Friedman will know where they went.

Adios y Hola, Villa Del Sol!

Villa del Sol has served its last margarita.

At its longtime Elm Street location, that is.

The interior of Villa del Sol, as seen from the outside steps.

The popular downtown restaurant is moving to 170 Post Road West. The former site of Peachwave has been vacant for over 2 years.

David Waldman — developer of Bedford Square — is purchasing the Mexican restaurant, adjacent to his new complex. It’s part of a land swap. He’ll demolish the old Villa del Sol. In return, he’ll construct a retail/residential building across Elm Street, behind Lux Bond & Green.

The old Villa del Sol on Elm Street. On the left is the new Bedford Square. The restaurant will be demolished, and used for parking.

(Hat tip: Steve Stein)

Pic Of The Day #77

Bedford Square (Photo/David Squires)

Savannah Bee Company Has Westport Buzzing

For a decade, honeybees died in distressingly large numbers.

But in downtown Westport, they’re alive and well.

At least, their honey is.

On Friday, Bedford Square welcomed its newest tenant. Savannah Bee Company — an artisanal honey and body care store — opened its 8th location. It’s the first outside the Southeast.

Savannah Bee Company’s entrance on Church Lane.

“They’ll have to sell a lot of honey to afford that space” is the reaction from some residents.

But others who have seen Savannah Bee in action — in its 3 eponymous locations, or its upscale locations in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, St. Simons or Lake Buena Vista — know it’s more than just a honey store.

And folks who have wandered in since its opening are all abuzz.

Savannah Bee is the brainchild of Ted Dennard. If you think his company is interesting, wait till you hear his back story.

Ted Dennard, at the “honey bar.” The front counter is made of bee boxes.

Dennard grew up in St. Simons, Georgia. When he was 13, a beekeeper asked his father for permission to put hives on the property. His father agreed — provided the man taught his kids about beekeeping.

Dennard studied religion and philosophy in college, then joined the Peace Corps.

He opened his first store in 1999, selling tupelo honey. He expanded slowly, adding sites and expanding his mission.

Customers at the Bedford Square store can sample a variety of honeys, from several continents; bottle their own (from local beekeepers), and enjoy treats like “artisanal honey chocolate” made by Fred Knipschildt.

The bright interior of Savannah Bee Company.

Dennard has spent time in this area, and loves it. Westport, he says, is a community that “seems to appreciate what we do, and understands the wonder of the honeybee world.”

He calls bees “an amazing species. They keep the world thriving.”

Dennard marvels at their complexity, their important (if unsung) role in nature, and their appeal to anyone who understands them. After 40 years, he says, “they never let me down. I’m always learning more.”

So he’s undertaken the Bee Cause Project (get it?). Savannah Bee donates hives to schools. Students watch bees build honeycombs, make honey, raise babies, do their dances and pass nectar.

More than 250 schools already participate, in 46 states. Each beehive is worth about $2,000.

Savannah Bee also gives honey to students, to sell. The money they earn helps fund more hives, in more schools.

“Bees have been around for hundreds of millions of years,” Dennard says. “We’re taking the long view. We’re trying to raise a generation that loves, understands and protects honeybees.”

He learns a lot from bees. One lesson: “You don’t get anywhere unless you’re moving.”

Savannah Bee Company has moved out of its Southeast hive. It’s now making honey — and happy customers — in downtown Westport.

Pic Of The Day #58

Flowers in front of Bedford Square (Photo/Mary Sikorski)