Tag Archives: Compo Beach

Compo Marina: Then And Now

In the wake of my recent “06880” post about the upcoming Compo Beach marina dredging project — specifically, who should pay for it — plenty of folks weighed in (on both sides of the issue).

The 50-plus comments included several from long-time and once-upon-a-time slip owners. Some recalled an era before permanent docks, when you did not have to wait several years for a mooring permit.

Now, alert reader Matt Murray sends along this fascinating aerial photo:

compo-marina-aerial-1965-rp-lentini

Click on or hover over to enlarge.

The shot — taken by R.P. Lentini in 1965 – shows a much less crowded basin, for sure. And yes, owners had to toot horns to be ferried from their boat to the dock.

But there are some other interesting items too, which you can see clearly if you hover over the photo or click on to enlarge.

Chubby Lane’s concession stand sits where the volleyball courts are today.

To the south of Chubby’s and the pavilion are the old (and very scary) wooden bathhouses.

But what are those two rectangular things in the bottom of the photo, near the west end of the circular drive?

And — most importantly — why was there no one at the beach?

It’s mid-summer; the trees are full. But there are just a couple of cars, and no one on the sand.

It’s hard to tell from the photo. Perhaps it was taken just after a thunderstorm.

Or maybe no one went to Compo in the summer of ’65?

A much more recent shot of the Compo Beach Ned Dimes Marina.

A much more recent shot of the Compo Beach Ned Dimes Marina.

So Long, 2016!

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Timeless Compo

As we think about the end of one year, and the start of a new one, this is a great time to enjoy a “timeless” shot of a favorite Westport scene.

Happy New Year to all beach lovers!

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Winter…

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

While You Were Away…

You might not get to Compo Beach much these days — particularly on a chilly December weekday.

But 2 of Westport’s most talented photographers headed there this morning. Here’s what they found:

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

(Photo/John Videler)

(Photo/John Videler)

Click on or hover over the images to enlarge.

Only 21 Days Until Christmas…

(Photo/Robert Augustyn)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Robert Augustyn)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Luisa Francoeur)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Luisa Francoeur)

Surf’s Up!

The wind picked up today — and windsurfers kiteboarders headed to Compo.

Just another October 20 in Westport!

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compo-3-frank-bruce

compo-5-frank-bruce

compo-6-frank-bruce

compo-1-frank-bruce

RTM Votes May Bring Changes To Town

Westport’s Representative Town Meeting made 2 important decisions last night.

In a 23-9 vote, the RTM denied a petition to overturn the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of a 4-story, 94-unit rental building on Post Road East, opposite Crate & Barrel.

The decision brings the property one step closer to construction — and the town closer to a 4-year moratorium on building additional “affordable housing” units under state 8-30g regulations.

Thirty of the units would be “affordable,” as defined by Connecticut law.

The newest design looks “more residential” than an earlier version, developer Philip Craft says. It includes 54 studio apartments, and 40 1-bedroom units.

The redesigned 4-story 1177 Post Road East rental property.

The redesigned 4-story 1177 Post Road East rental property.

The RTM also authorized $70,000 for design and engineering plans, for a walkway and restrooms at Compo’s South Beach. That vote was 24-2, with 1 abstention.

Beach Bathrooms, Walkway Are Back

A few hours ago, RTM member Lyn Hogan posted this message on Facebook. Very quickly, Westporters responded — on all sides of the issue. She wrote:

I want to make you all aware of an important Compo Beach issue currently under debate: building bathrooms and an unobtrusive sidewalk at South Beach (the BBQ area).

Tomorrow night we on the RTM will vote on whether or not to approve funds for design and engineering services for restrooms and a walkway at South Beach. The RTM has been receiving dozens of emails against building bathrooms and a walkway at South Beach and against the proposed engineering plan, but none in favor.

The RTM will vote on funding design plans for a South Beach walkway. (Photo/Laurey Tussing)

The RTM will vote on funding design plans for a South Beach walkway. It would be built close to the parking area, on the right side of the photo. (Photo/Laurey Tussing)

I am surprised by the negative emails because so many residents I have talked to in the past have been in favor of bathrooms and a walkway along the beach. So I ask: Whether you are for the walkway and bathrooms or not, please let the RTM know your thoughts so we all have a fair representation of our constituents’ views. Email: RTMMailingList@westportct.gov

The current walkway along North Beach is unobtrusive and used only 7 feet of the asphalt parking lot to build (no beach). It is used heavily now, especially by parents with strollers and the elderly who find it difficult to walk in the sand.

More important, it keeps everyone from having to walk behind cars in the parking lot, allowing everyone to now stroll along the beach without worrying a car will back into them. The South Beach walkway would likely be similar.

The new walkway extends from the pavilion to the cannons.

The new walkway extends from the pavilion to the cannons.

Regarding building bathrooms at South Beach, the idea which the engineering plan would explore is to build 3 family-style bathrooms near the spot on which the port-a-potties now sit. I know when my children were young and I was BBQing with them, I would have loved family-style restrooms nearby as opposed to the port-a-potties currently in use. I also know when the port-a-potties were full, I could never have gotten my then 5- or 6-year-old to the North Beach bathrooms or Compo Boat Basin bathrooms in time!

Please let us know your thoughts: RTMMailingList@westportct.gov

Hanne Jeppesen And Westport’s “Big Chill”

We all come to Westport in different ways.

Some of us are born here. Others are brought here by parents, spouses or work. We come here wonderingly, wanderingly, willingly or by whimsy.

Hanne Jeppesen arrived as an au pair.

She grew up safe and secure, in a small town 30 miles south of Copenhagen. Wanderlust took her to a kibbutz in Israel, to Iceland, to a hitchhiking tour of England, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland.

Then a chance glance at a newspaper ad changed Hanne’s life.

Instead of heading to a Danish teacher’s college, she decided to become an American au pair. She knew nothing about Westport — her destination — other than that it was near New York City.

That was enough. She arrived on December 28, 1966, ready for adventure.

Hanne Jeppesen in 1968, as a Westport au pair...

Hanne Jeppesen in 1968, as a Westport au pair…

Life in the suburbs was lonely at first. But she met a German au pair. Hanne took a night school English class at Staples, where she met a “real live wire” Dutch girl. Fifty years later, they’re still friends.

Hanne started going out. The Ship’s Lantern bar downtown was a popular destination. So was the beach.

Westporters were very friendly. Hanne dated a few men. She had a wonderful time. Life was good.

“We drove around in a Corvette, with the top down,” she recalls. “This is what I dreamed America would be like.”

In October of 1968 she returned to Denmark. But her parents encouraged her to live the life she wanted, and 2 months later Hanne was back in Westport. She and  her Dutch friend rented a house here.

Soon, though they moved to New York  City. New adventures beckoned.

...and in New York, a year later.

…and in New York, a year later.

From time to time, Hanne and her friend returned to Westport to visit. Once, at Compo, she met a married man. He invited her to a party that night. And he gave her the keys to his car, in case she wanted to drive around and have fun.

In New York she met a man. They got married, moved first to New Orleans and then San Francisco. They divorced. She had a daughter, and a career in insurance. Now — still living in the Bay Area — Hanne works at Macy’s.

She stayed in touch with a few friends. She always thought fondly of Westport. But except for a couple of visits — the last was in 1998 — Hanne has not spent any time here.

A few years ago though, she saw news online about Jeff Simon. That’s a common name, but it was the same guy she’d dated in Westport. She was intrigued to learn about his life as a photographer and video director.

Then she stumbled on a story about Tracy Sugarman. She’d known his son.

Finding “06880” — including a story about her old friends Alan Sterling and Steve Emmett — helped her reconnect with Westport. She doesn’t know many of the people I write about, but photos and references to the past bring smiles to her face.

Hanne Jeppesen with Jeff Simon, at Compo Beach.

Hanne Jeppesen with Jeff Simon, at Compo Beach.

Living here during a very lively time in Westport and America’s history was wonderful, Hanne says. And she was exactly the right age to enjoy it.

“We did what we were supposed to do in our early 20s,” she explains. “We partied, at people’s houses and the beach. We went to Port Chester, because the bars stayed open later. We had a great group.”

While she lived here, Hanne kept a journal. It was stashed away for years. But after seeing the movie “The Big Chill,” she looked at it. Reading about her time here, and her close-knit friends, she felt a surge of familiarity.

Of course, a movie is not real life.

But Hanna Jeppesen loves the story line that Westport provided to hers.

Hanne Jeppesen, Christmas 2014.

Hanne Jeppesen, Christmas 2014.