Tag Archives: Melissa Ceriale

in Greens Farms, A Meadow Grows

For decades, Westporters have watched meadows disappear. New homes replace open space. Natural grass gives way to well-manicured, well-meaning — yet artificial-looking — lawns.

It’s hard to imagine a new meadow being created anywhere. But it’s happening on Prospect Road.

John and Melissa Ceriale are already Westport heroes for the beauty they’ve brought to Greens Farms. Gardens, trees, bushes and walking paths fill their 8-acre property.

Looking northeast, on the Ceriales’ property.

The couple — noted philanthropists and volunteers — have a vision. Noted landscape designer Cindy Shumate brings it to life.

And they’re in it for the long haul. “In 40 years, the trees we’re planting now will be magnificent,” Cindy says.

Right now, it’s the meadow that’s drawing raves.

Early this spring, Cindy planted 4,600 3-inch perennial plugs on an acre of land, at the far end of #25 Prospect. They’ll grow in slashes, she says, self-sowing in the lawn grass to create a “wild meadow.”

Already, that lawn grass is 18 to 20 inches high. It moves in the wind. “So beautiful and natural,” Cindy says. “It’s what anyone’s lawn would look like if they stopped mowing.”

The Prospect Road meadow.

She likens her role to a painter. Instead of a brush, her medium is plants.

Neighbors notice.

“People out on their COVID walks pass by,” Cindy says. “They’re curious. I wave, and they come over to the stone wall to talk.”

One man stared as he drove by. Then he backed up to chat, and learn more.

“Everyone is amazed that someone would purchase a piece of land and not put a home on it,” Cindy says. “But John and Melissa have a larger perspective. As they add land, they’re putting this parcel together so that it really works with nature.”

A parcel of land with gardens, walking paths, and now a meadow. What is Westport coming to?

(Hat tip: Samuel Wang)

Pyramid grasses on Prospect Road.

Intrepid Entrepreneur Wanted

Alert “06880” reader Melissa Ceriale and her son 10-year-old son Jack recently spent 2 months in Paris. In between museum and Eiffel Tower trips they discovered Oya Café, an “out-of-the-way but amazing games shop.”

Inside are floor-to-ceiling displays of board and card games from around the world, and for all ages. They’re all available to rent, for an hour or an evening. You also pay 5 euros to sit and play for as long as you want.

Inside Oya Cafe.

There are competitive games, educational games, group collaboration games, war games, animal games — the variety seems endless.

The expert staff helps with everything, from selection to rules and questions.

Drinks (non-alcoholic) are served. Snacks too, but limited to avoid messes on tables.

It’s a very popular place for a non-custodial parent to spend an evening with children, Melissa says — much more interactive than a movie or play area.

Melissa adds: “I toss this out there as it is an interesting retail venue, one that could perhaps be of potential in a family community such as ours. Maybe there’s an entrepreneurial reader out there looking for the next big thing to hit our shores.”

What do you think, Westport? Is this just the thing for our next vacant storefront — perhaps Achorn’s, Talbots or the Liquor Locker?

Nah.  Probably another clothing chain.