Tag Archives: Green’s Farms

There Goes The Neighborhood

Sure, you live in Westport.

But you also live in Greens Farms. Maybe Coleytown. Or Saugatuck.

Those are a few of the neighborhoods that make up our town. Some are long established, predating our founding in 1835. Some are newer, the result of growth or realtors’ whims.

All are part of ‘06880.”

Karen Scott knows Westport neighborhoods as well as anyone. A co-founder of KMS Partners @ Compass, the other day she took me on a (phone) tour of town.

The Mid-Fairfield County Board of Realtors defines 13 distinct Westport neighborhoods. Besides the 3 mentioned above, there are a few everyone recognizes: Old Hill and Compo Beach, for example. Some are less well known, like Red Coat in the far northwest, Long Lots, Roseville/North Avenue and Compo South (see map below).

(Map courtesy of Mid-Fairfield County Board of Realtors)

A couple are new. Hunt Club (from the Fairfield border and Cross Highway west to Bayberry and south to the Post Road) and Compo Commons (the smallest of all, more commonly known as Gault).

But 2 caught my eye. One is In-Town. The area between the Merritt Parkway, Saugatuck River, Post Road and Roseville Road — with, among others, North Compo and all its side streets — has, with the influx of families from Manhattan and Brooklyn, suddenly become very desirable.

They like the proximity to downtown — they can walk there in theory, if not practice. Until recently though, no one lived “In-Town.” They just lived “close to town.”

Washington Avenue, an “In-Town” neighborhood. (Photo/Google Street View)

The other relatively new name is “Saugatuck Island.” When I was a kid, there was just “Saugatuck Shores.” (And houses there were among the cheapest in Westport. Some were not winterized. Who wanted to live way out there, anyway?!)

But a while ago — no one is sure when — some residents living beyond the wooden bridge decided to become even more exclusive than what had then become the already prestigious Saugatuck Shores.

Hence “Saugatuck Island.” One long-time and embarrassed resident cringes every time she hears it. But there it is, complete with a large sign at the entrance. (Fun fact: No other Westport neighborhood has an actual “entrance.”)

(Photo/Gene Borio)

Karen Scott says that neighborhoods are a good way to describe Westport. “Everyone has preferences,” she notes. “Some people want land, not neighbors. Others don’t want a lot of land. Some prefer near the beach, or close to town. Some want to be close to amenities. Some want to be close to the train station, I-95 or the Merritt” — though with COVID, commuting convenience is less of a concern these days.

The hot real estate market has cooled the “neighborhood” concept a bit, she says. “When there aren’t a lot of homes for sale, some people say, ‘I don’t care. I just want to be in Westport.'”

The neighborhood concept itself has evolved (and become more formalized). At one time, Karen says, areas of town were designated by school districts. (That was probably easier when there were 3 junior highs — Bedford [now Saugatuck Elementary School], Coleytown and Long Lots — rather than just 2 middle schools, located a mile from each other.)

The Long Lots neighborhood has been “sub-divided.” It now includes the Hunt Club area.

As a realtor, Karen Scott is used to describing Westport’s 13 “official” neighborhoods, then squiring clients around to those that sound interesting.

Some buy in neighborhoods they took a quick liking to. Others end up in ones they did not originally consider.

But for all its different neighborhoods, Westport is really one big small town. And most people, Karen says, find “joy and happiness” all over, once they’re here.

Wherever that is.

Friday Flashback #237

As the real estate market continues to sizzle, Seth Schachter sends a couple of reminders that Westport has long been a favored destination.

And that realtors have long used lots of prose to sell homes.

The September 1925 edition of “Country Life” noted that “Amid century old trees … there is an old Colonial home available to him who seeks the peace and seclusion of the old order, together with the improvements of the present day.”

The 9-room, 2-bath (!) house featured old-fashioned fireplaces. However, it was also “equipped with electricity.”

The property included a large barn, old smokehouse and trout stream. Plus, of course, 49 acres of woodland and open fields.

All yours, for just $27,500.

Much has changed in the past 96 years. For example, Westport is now further from Grand Central than 75 minutes.

A second ad, also from “Country Life,” highlighted a “Charming Island Estate in the exclusive residence colony at Green’s Farms, Connecticut.”

The 35-acre waterfront property boasted 2 houses, “large stone garage with housekeeping apartments for chauffeur and gardener,” a stable, large poultry plant, piggery, well-stocked aviary, greenhouse and boathouse; beautiful sunken garden, extensive vegetable garden, and broad, sweeping lawns, meadows and wooded land.

The main house, with 6 mater bedrooms, had 4 servants’ rooms (in a separate wing). The smaller included 3 master sleeping rooms, plus double maids’ rooms.

The clincher: “Owner wiling to divide if required.’

Pics Of The Day #1183

A collage of Greens Farms traffic islands (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

These Questions Have Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Coronavirus …

… nor are they particularly important.

But — with time on our hands during the pandemic — why not ponder them?

Alert “06880” reader/longtime Westporter/concerned citizen Arlene Yolles took these 2 photos the other day:

So, she wonders: Which is it? South Compo Road, or Compo Road South?

To which I add, what about Morningside Drive (North and South), (North and South) Turkey Hill Road, Maple Avenue (North and South), and probably others as well?

Damned if I know.

But that brings up a related question: Why is one of these streets a “drive,” another a “road,” and a third an “avenue”?

What’s the difference? They all look alike to me.

And don’t get me started on the proper use of Greens Farms and/or Green’s Farms. Even the post office can’t decide:

(Photo/Nico Eisenberger)

What I do know for sure is, this is definitely wrong:

Feel free to weigh in below. If you’re on one of the drives, roads or avenues mentioned, we’re especially interested in where you think you live.

And why.

Photo Challenge #218

If Westport has too much of anything — besides people who don’t think the rules of the road apply to them — it’s rules of the road.

Like stop signs.

Every few feet, we (are supposed to) stop. It’s the law.

But, as alert “06880” reader and longtime Greens Farms resident Mary Ann Meyer noticed, there’s at least one place in Westport where only one set of drivers stops. Cross traffic breezes by.

Her photo (click here to see) was last week’s Photo Challenge. It shows the Hillandale/West Parish Road intersection, just west of Greens Farms Congregational Church.

Beth Handa, Mary Maynard, Tom Lowrie, Eve Potts and Lawrence Zlatkin all nailed it.

But there were plenty of other guesses. The spectacularly confusing Weston Road/North Main Street/Weston Road/Easton Road intersection; Clinton Avenue (near Ford Road); Roseville Road (at both Whitney Road and Cross Highway), and Newtown Turnpike/Woodcock Lane were all possible candidates.

Be careful out there.

This week’s Photo Challenge was taken a couple of weeks ago. It may be hard to remember, but it did snow once or twice this winter. Westport was — briefly — a wonderland.

If you know where you would have seen this scene, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Michael Tomashefsky)

Green’s Farms United: Neighbors Band Together

Greens Farms means many things, to many people.

It’s filled with rolling hills, old homes, a small beach, a friendly train station and post office, and a stately elementary school.

That school sits on the northern edge of the neighborhood. It’s an area that residents feel is under siege.

Just across the Post Road, a 94-unit apartment building is quickly filling up. Twelve apartments have been constructed on the site of the former Geiger’s property, with 32 assisted living apartments being built next door.

The bank/office complex at the Post Road/North Morningside corner has just been sold. That too may be converted into apartments.

Now 19 townhouses have been proposed for 20-26 South Morningside — the Historic District directly opposite Greens Farms Elementary School.

Green’s Farms United created this map to show recent and planned housing developments near Greens Farms School.

A group called Green’s Farms United has had enough.

Energized families created a website and GoFundMe page. They’re on Facebook and Instagram. They organized an email list, alerting Westporters about upcoming hearings.

They hired an environmental engineer. And a lawyer.

They’re mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore.

They want everyone to know what’s coming up — and what’s come before.

They’ve seen the effects after the Morningside South developer removed trees near Muddy Brook in 2017: soil erosion and flooding increased.

But something else happened.

“We started as a group of Greens Farms families, concerned about the 20-26 Morningside Drive South future,” says one of the organizers, Aurea de Souza.

“We are now a group of friends and neighbors fighting for a cause, while enjoying and appreciating meeting so many incredible people on the way.”

They take heart from neighbors on the other side of town, who are battling the proposed 6-story, 81-unit apartment complex between Lincoln and Cross Streets, off Post Road West.

They are Green’s Farms United.

That’s more than just their name.

It’s their neighborhood.

And their lives.

The current view of 20-26 Morningside Drive South (left), directly opposite Greens Farms Elementary School, and an overlay of where the proposed 19 townhouses would be built.

Photo Challenge #207

Last week’s Photo Challenge was quite bucolic. Bob Weingarten’s image showed the remains of a high stone wall, now covered with vines and bushes. A quiet road ran behind it. (Click here to see.)

It could have been many places in Westport. Many readers thought it might be found in a cemetery. Assumption on Greens Farms, and Willowbrook on Main Street came to mind.

Nope. It’s on Beachside Avenue, opposite #76.

That’s all I had. But — of course — “06880” readers knew more.

Both Susan Lloyd and Morley Boyd identified it as “Bedford’s Folly.” Mary Ann Batsell got the location too, though not the name. Apparently it was once part of the ginormous E.T. Bedford estate in Greens Farms.

But why the “folly”?

Susan Lloyd offers these fascinating facts: “A garden folly is a useless structure in a garden.”

She adds, “Bedford Gardens was open for walking on Sunday afternoons. There was also a fake canal with a small bridge.”

Sounds like a great place to play mini-golf!

And Morley Boyd notes, “The folly, in this case, served as an important garden design element intended to lend a sense of mystery and romance by imitating an old ruined structure. Trickery is an age old tool in large scale landscape garden design.”

So it’s not really ruined — it just looks that way.

Mary Ann Batsell says the gardens were once open to the public. In the 1980s, her father helped uncover them. (So maybe they were “ruined,” after all.)

Speaking of Sunday afternoon strolls, here’s this week’s Photo Challenge. Click “Comments” if you know where it was taken:

(Photo/Judith Bacal)

HINT: Like last week’s Photo Challenge, this too was not taken in a cemetery.

Pic Of The Day #421

The Kowalsky farm in Greens Farms — the last big open private space in Westport? (Photo/Nico Eisenberger)

We’re Not Sure What’s Right. But This Is Definitely Wrong.

It’s a never-ending debate: Green’s Farms (with an apostrophe) or Greens Farms (without)?

There’s even a sign that says Greensfarms.

But everyone agrees there was more than 1 farm.

Except this, on the Post Road near South Turkey Hill:

 

Mailboxes Etc.

Last night, a number of mailboxes in the Greens Farms and Cross Highway neighborhoods were vandalized or stolen.

Police believe it was the work of teenagers.

Normally, this would not be an “06880” story. But there’s more.

This weekend marks the 3rd anniversary of a Westport woman’s husband’s death.

When they moved into their home, she wanted a red mailbox. He bought it for her, as a gift. Now it’s gone.

The post that held the missing mailbox.

This Sunday is also Mother’s Day. The woman calls this “the hardest weekend of the year for me.”

She adds:

“I love Westport. I feel proud of calling this community home. I have great respect for the families that live here.”

However, she is appalled by what happened. She feels that her family — and others — have had their privacy violated. She calls what happened “irresponsible and damaging.”

This is a long shot. But if you’re reading this, and you stole that red mailbox — or know where it is — do the right thing.

Bring it back.