Grace Salmon Park is one of Westport’s most beautiful — and underrated — places to relax.
Yesterday, it was a classroom.
University of Connecticut master gardeners (and Westport residents) Monica Buesser, Alice Ely and Nathalie Fonteyne conducted an invasive plant workshop. It was sponsored by the Westport Garden Club.
Sixteen participants learned about the park’s top 15 invasive plants. They then broke into 4 groups, each canvasing a quarter of the site — and found several different invasives.
The next step: using the data to apply for a grant for removal of invasives from Grace Salmon.
Buesser — the conservation chair of the Westport Garden Club — plans to be at Grace Salmon Park every Thursday from 8 to 10 a.m. (weather permitting). She invites everyone interested in weeding or learning more about the park’s plants to join her.
“You can’t miss me. I wear overalls!” she says.
Grace Salmon Park is a beautiful spot. Like many in Westport, however, it is home to several invasive species. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)
Sure, NASA is excited about the James Webb Space Telescope.
But the Westport Astronomical Society has Cal Powell.
The former WAS president hosts the “Cal & Friends Meteorite Show & Tell Party” on Tuesday (July 19, 8 p.m.).
Cal received his first meteorite in 2010, as a going-away gift from WAS. He started collecting them a few years later. His collection of nearly 400 specimens covers most meteorite classifications.
Cal will his present his extensive personal meteorite collection, and introduce Stefan Nicolescu with rare samples from Yale’s Peabody Museum. The WAS adds: “Bring your own meteorites and assemble your meteorwrongs!” Click here for more information.
On Thursday Adil Kassam, and Mehnaz and Atif Bhanjee — representatives of the Ismaili Muslim community — presented 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore, and the Westport Police and Fire Departments with gifts of appreciation.
During the holy month of Ramadan, it’s traditional to visit municipal offices, to express thanks and appreciation for the valuable contributions and services they provide.
Town officials, in turn, expressed gratitude for the Muslim community’s thanks.
Town officials and Ismaili Muslim community representatives, on Thursday.
Two Westport pizza restaurants are looking for new owners.
Ignazio’s — which after many delays opened in November 2019, just 4 months before COVID struck — is one.
A description on BizBuySell reads: “Fantastic opportunity to take over a well executed and furnished Pizza restaurant. Casual and contemporary interior with a wood fired Pizza oven as the center piece makes for a great setting. Keep the existing, highly acclaimed concept….
“Capitalize on this highly trafficked corridor on the Post Road E. in Westport with great visibility, easy access and a parking lot that can accompany 30+ cars. Indoor seating capacity of 60 plus outdoor seating.
“Seller will stay on to train incoming buyer on all operations and recipes. Add a driver(s) to your staff to capitalize on delivery. Target marketing and added delivery will definitely bolster the bottom line.”
The asking price is $275,000. Rent is $8,000 a month. Ignazio’s lease runs through 2028.
The other restaurant is Golden Pizza, in the Westfair strip mall. Less information is available; the price for this business is $85,000. Click here for details. (Hat tip: Tony Litman)
Janette Kinnally sends this obituary for her mother, Janet Kinnally, who died last week at 80.
“She was a loving, kind soul that cared deeply about her family and friendships. I don’t think I ever met a person who did not remember her with great affection and fondness.
“She grew up in London, during the war, and her family of 5 girls was displaced. She lived in a convent for 5 years. When she returned back home, her father suddenly passed away when she was 15. She needed to make money and worked in many jobs, including as an usherette. She met the Beatles. She worked in England until she moved to the States to help her sister, who had moved to Connecticut.
“While on a work visa, she met my father at an insurance company at the age of 23. It was love at first sight for my father. They dated for several weeks until she told him she had to go back to England. My father wrote and said he would like to visit. He went to England, but bought 2 tickets back to the States. He asked her to move back and stay with his family.
“They got married in 1967. They had a true love story. The ones you read about in books, that you wish you had; that was their love and affection for each other. They held hands and walked every day at the beach or her favorite place, Sherwood Island, until my mom could no longer walk a few months ago. They were married for 55 years. She was my dad’s one true love.
“My mom and dad moved to Westport in 1967 and gave birth to me in 1969, her one and only child. We had a special bond. She said I taught her what true unconditional love was. I understand what she means, now that I have 2 boys (ages 16 and 11) of my own. She loved her two grandchildren, Mikhail and Andrew, more than anything.
“My mom was also a lifelong health and wellness pioneer. She sought out Eastern and holistic healing modalities throughout her life. She worked for a chiropractor, a naturopathic doctor and as a caregiver for end-of-life patients. She loved nature, gardens, the ocean and animals, and was a dog walker. She loved helping others. She was truly an amazing woman who inspired me daily.
“My mom and dad enjoyed traveling around the world. Every year they met up with her sister and brother-in-law to travel to a different destination around the globe. They had many stories to share of their adventures and the amazing people they met around the world.
“I moved back to Westport in 2012 with my husband Andrey and my two boys, wanting to be close to my parents as my mom’s health declined from dementia/Alzheimer’s. We lived together until the end of her life.
“I feel grateful that we had the last 10 years together, so she could spend time with me and my children. We have many special memories together, but the ones I remember most are singing at the dinner table and afterwards dancing to the music from the ’50s and ’60s, or doing karaoke at our house during the holidays with our extended family.
“My mom will be greatly missed by our family every day, but her love and her life lessons and generosity of spirit will live on in us forever!
“Please make donations in her honor to the Westport Senior Center or alz.org, an organization providing support, care and research for Alzheimer’s.”
A memorial service and reception to celebrate the life of Joel Hallas is set for Saturday, May 21 (2 p.m., the Memorial Garden of Saugatuck Congregational Church). A reception will follow also in the garden.
Yesterday’s Roundup noted the upcoming demolition of 14 Hillandale Road — writer A.E. Hotchner’s longtime home — as part of the construction of Authors Way, a new 4-house subdivision.
Developer Rick Benson says that while the Historic District Commission permit allows teardown any time after Monday (January 11), the final Planning & Zoning Commission hearing is next Thursday (January 14). It’s unlikely, he says, that demolition work will start for a few weeks.
He notes that the house lacks a satisfactory foundation; has no full cellar, first floor bathroom, insulation or central HV/AC system, and has rusted 1920 iron windows.
In addition, Benson says, it lands in the setbacks of the new lot layouts.
14 Hillandale Road
Also slated to be torn down: 27 Gorham Avenue. The home was built in 1933.
27 Gorham Avenue (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)
David Meth writes:
“On Wednesday night, to take a break from the dull routine of daily life and obscene anxiety of politics and pandemic, and actually run away from the assault of the news, a friend and I decided to go out for a delicious pizza at Ignazio’s next to the Sherwood Diner.
“It made the day, because it reminded us of the importance of a pizza and conversation, a glass of beer or wine, a burger at the diner, cup of coffee at the local café … just getting together and talking to one another without devices and electronic interruptions is so wonderfully refreshing and important—and how much we miss the tradition and sense of community of just being with friends, even strangers, to remember who we are as people.”
Remember normal life?
Residents of the Punch Bowl/Gault Park area have noticed a number of trees cut down recently — and others marked with the tape that means their end is near too.
Town tree warden Bruce Lindsay says it’s part of Eversource’s effort to target high-risk trees that could topple in a storm. Many are slender white pines.
The neighborhood bordered by Cross Highway and Weston Road suffered severe damage — including extended power outages — during August’s Tropical Storm Isaias.
Eversource analyzes circuit by circuit performance, then targets the circuits or portions with the most tree-related outages. They then identify trees needing trimming or removal.
Trees account for up to 90% of all outages in Eversource’s system.
Tony La Russa is coming to the Westport Library
Well, not really. It’s a livestream, and it’s not likely the Major League Baseball Hall of Famer will be talking from the Westport Library studio.
But he’ll be joined by a good friend — longtime Westporter Steve Parrish — and the Library is sponsoring the event. So — even thought fans can join from anywhere in the world — it does count as “ours.”
The event is set for Tuesday, January 26 (7 p.m.). La Russa will chat about his World Series victories, tell classic baseball stories, and describe his role as new manager of the Chicago White Sox.
And finally … the War of 1812 roared back in the news this week. That’s the last time — until Wednesday — that the US Capitol suffered a significant breach from opponents of democracy.
On this day in 1815, the last major engagement of that war ended. American forces defeated the British in the bloody Battle of New Orleans.
Andrew Jackson and a ragtag group of frontiersmen, slaves, Indians and pirates held off, then inflicted tremendous damage on a much larger and better trained British force intent on capturing the important port.
In just over 30 minutes, the Americans suffered 60 casualties — and killed 2,000 British.
Jackson became a national hero, and set out on a path to the presidency. However, the battle was for naught. The Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, had been signed 18 days earlier. Word had not yet reached the US from Europe.
On Monday, Ignazio’s officially opens for business.
The new pizza place in the old Bertucci’s (and before that, the even older Tanglewoods and Clam Box) features both thin crust and Sicilian pizza, from a wood-fired oven.
Word of mouth already brought in customers. Louis Termini — who owned 7 Luna Pizzas in the Hartford area, and now runs the original (and very popular) Ignazio’s underneath the Brooklyn Bridge — handed out free slices all day today.
One man said, “I hope they’re as good as the hype.”
He wolfed it down. “It is!”
Some folks stopping by today were from Louis’ boyhood neighborhood. One went to high school with him.
“I gave them the Brooklyn treatment,” Louis says. “And they gave it right back to me.”
Owner Ed Freedman’s company started 6 years ago in Trumbull, as a small batch roaster. They supply stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market, and restaurants including Jesup Hall, The Whelk and Kawa Ni.
Two years ago they opened in the Brick Walk. Freedman says that customers — many from Westport, attracted by the bright space, knowledgeable baristas and (of course) great coffee — urged him to open here.
As in Fairfield, the new Shearwater will feature drinks like espresso and cold brew, along with small plates and salads.
“It will be warm, inviting and friendly — a place for everyone from millennials to retirees to enjoy great coffee,” Freedman promises.
A rendering of the interior of Westport’s Shearwater, by architect Amber Freedman.
He is proud of his “top-notch” customer service. In Fairfield, he says, baristas “really welcome people. They engage them, and help them select the right drink.”
Freedman believes that many people “tolerate” Starbucks coffee. “They add all kinds of flavors and sugars. That’s not us.”
Floor to ceiling windows and high ceilings will help make Shearwater a “real destination.” Freedman’s daughter Amber — an architect in Boston — designed both his coffee bars.
The Westport spot will be a destination in part because of its location near the Sherwood Island Connector, Freedman says.
Last August 1, I reported that work was proceeding s-l-o-w-l-y — yes, that was the technical term I used — at the former Bertucci’s property, on the Post Road near the Sherwood Island connector.
Now it’s exactly 6 months later. It’s still not finished. But the end is in sight.
Ignazio’s Pizza will — as noted previously — occupy part of the former Bertucci’s floor. This will be the 2nd location for the thin-crust restaurant. The original is in DUMBO — it is literally down underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
An art and design firm will take up another part of that floor. That leaves about 2,100 square feet still available — which is why the “Building For Lease/Space Available” signs has Westporters wondering if Ignazio’s was just pie in the sky.
The view from the parking lot.
Not to worry. Steve Straus — of Fred Straus Inc., the Yonkers-based family real investment company — says that exterior work is done. When Ignazio’s finishes their interior work, they’ll open.
And, Straus says, there are “very good prospects” for the remaining first floor space.
Upstairs, there’s another 2,840 square feet of office space to rent.
Straus is proud of his company’s new landscaping, sidewalk, rain garden, facade, parking lot and lighting on the spot that many Westporters will long remember as Bertucci’s. (Older generations recall Tanglewoods. Real old-timers know it as the Clam Box.)
Straus says that the redevelopment of the property coincides with the construction of the office/retail/residential complex across the street, at the Post Road/Long Lots junction. He believes it will create a “village” environment in that part of town.
As for what’s going on clear across town, in the old Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow property by the train station parking lot: Mystic Market announced they were moving in — back in November 2017.
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