Tag Archives: Neighbors & Newcomers

Roundup: Ida, Newcomers, Yappy Hour …


Last night was crazy.

Yesterday afternoon, Dick Lowenstein stuck an empty pail outside his home.

This morning, it showed nearly 7 inches of rain.

(Photo/Dick Lowenstein)

But just a couple of hours after Hurricane Ida roared away, our beaches were calm.

If it weren’t for flooded basements, tree limbs on lawns and some ponds in places they shouldn’t be, it could seem like last night never happened.

Old Mill Beach, just after sunrise. (Photo/Matt Murray)


Lost in last night’s weather news: The Parks & Recreation Commission approved a conceptual plan for a small area of active recreation (pickleball and bocce) on the Baron’s South property last night.

The vote was 3 for, 1 abstention.

In the plan below, one bocce court is just west (below) the Senior Center. The pickleball courts abut Imperial Avenue, on the lower left side of the plan. Click on or hover over to enlarge.


“Newcomers” groups are great — in theory. In reality, they often bring together only other newcomers.

Neighbors & Newcomers of Westport is different. The club is a mix of recent arrivals and more seasoned residents. It’s a perfect way for newcomers –and there are a ton — to immerse themselves in Westport, while meeting others in the same situation, and those who know the ropes.

N&N activities include a book club, beach walking, tennis, Girls Nights Out, meet-and-greet and other gatherings.

The new season begins with coffee at Compo Beach (September 14, 10 to 11 a.m.).

Click here for more information.


Congratulations to Jacob Troelstra. The 2015 Staples High School graduate — and 2020 graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point — completed Army Ranger School training.

Called the toughest combat leadership course in the world, t tests physical and mental endurance of soldiers under sleep and caloric deprivation for 62 days.

Jacob now heads to Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a platoon leader.

Jacob Troelstra


The first 2 nights of  “Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse” are already wrapped.

The final two tapings — for a national television audience, after noted producer Andrew Wilk works his editorial magic — are tonight. There are 2 shows: 7 and 9 p.m. Brandon Victor Dixon (NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Hamilton) is the star.

A few tickets are still available. Click here for details.

Shoshana Bean shined during Tuesday’s taping at the Westport Country Playhouse. She was joined by Luke Edgemon and Melanie Nyem. (Photo/Carol Rosegg)


Today at MoCA Westport, it’s double trouble: monthly Yappy Hour, plus the regular Happy Hour (5-7 p.m.).

It’s a great way to meet other people — and dogs — in the museum’s great outdoor space. You can also purchase cocktails from Bar MoCA (this week’s custom cocktail is Honey Lavender Bee’s Knees), and enjoy free admission to the new “Between the Ground and the Sky” exhibit.

All dogs must be leashed!

Happy scene from the August Yappy Hour.


This Labor Day weekend should be remarkable — at least, Remarkable Theater-wise.

The schedule for the Imperial Avenue parking lot drive-in includes:

  • Friday, September 3: “Stand by Me” (7:45 p.m.)
  • Saturday, September 4: “The Graduate” (7:30 p.m.)
  • Sunday, September 5: “The Sandlot” (7:30 p.m.)

Click here for tickets and more information.

The “Stand by Me” kids.


The Westport Weston Health District has a new director of clinical services.

Vanessa Hurta has worked in healthcare for over 17 years, including primary care and preventive cardiovascular medicine, clinical research and teaching. Her most recent position was nurse practitioner for Yale New Haven Health. She has lectured and written about hypertension and obesity.

In other WWHD news, travel and vaccination clinic operations are expected to resume by mid-September. Call 203-227-9571, ext. 224, for appointments.

Vanessa Hurta


The Levitt Pavilion is not quite finished.

They’ve added one more (great) show: Pete Muller and the Kindred Souls. The date for the intriguing instrumental/vocal quartet is September 26th (7 p.m.).

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Pete Muller and The KIndred Souls.


Marla Cowden, Democratic Registrar of Voters, will leave office September 13.  She has served as Democratic Registrar for 11 years.

The new Democratic Registrar is Deborah Greenberg.

Marla Cowden


The September/October issue of Westport Magazine includes a cover story on Kitt Shapiro.

The lively owner of WEST is the magazine’s face for its fall fashion feature. There are also interviews with Instagram stars Emily Rosnick, Zac Mathias and (the biggest) little Piglet.

Particularly timely: a chat with Rob Marciano about covering the weather.


The view from the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s fitness center is gorgeous — and ever changing. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out over woods, water — and wildlife.

Treadmill, erg machine and elliptical users are used to seeing interesting things. But yesterday’s view was particularly intriguing. And worthy of inclusion for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/William Strittmatter)


And finally … the great, versatile (R&B, rock, funk, soul, gospel) keyboardist Billy Preston was born today, in 1946. He played with Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers, Rolling Stones, and Beatles — among others — and also achieved fame with solo recordings.

He died in 2006, age 59, from kidney and other ailments.


Neighbors & Newcomers: New President, New Ways To Build Community

Elizabeth Haynes jokes that with all the new arrivals from New York, Westport should be called “the 6th borough.”

She’s not one of them. A Michigan native, she came east after high school “3 or 4 lifetimes ago,” and moved here from New Jersey’s Bergen County with her 2 girls in 2018.

But — after living up and down the East Coast all her adult life — Elizabeth feels “very much at home” in Westport.

Now — as the new president of Neighbors & Newcomers — it’s her job to help recent residents bond with more established  ones, so that all feel a sense of community.

Elizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth joined N&N as soon as she moved in. She appreciated that it was not just a welcome wagon, for newcomers only. “It spoke to the character of Westport,” she says. “People here have strong roots, but they embrace new people. There’s an eagerness to grow.”

Informal events had an “organic feel,” she notes. “There are lots of ‘Events’ — with a capital ‘E’ — in Westport. I loved Neighbors & Newcomers’ coffees, wine get-togethers, cooking lessons at someone’s house. It was very neighborly.”

COVID-19 put a halt to gatherings like those. As she takes over from president Jenifer Gilbert — who moved to Texas — Elizabeth must lead a social group at a time when social distancing is crucial. Most in-person meetings have been suspended, or dramatically curtailed.

Yet, she notes, “if there was ever a time we needed community, it’s now. It’s poignant and painful to try to build community in a way we’re not used to, or want to. I feel a big responsibility to Westport.”

But, she says confidently, “We’re up to it.”

Elizabeth points to wine-and-cheese tastings. “Maybe we can partner with local businesses to have wine and cheese delivered to homes, or picked up. We might have a small gathering somewhere, with everyone else on Zoom.”

In 2015, Neighbors & Newcomers enjoyed wine and fun at Painting With a Twist …

Two informal bring-your-own coffees are planned for this week, near the brick pavilion at Compo Beach. One is today (Tuesday, September 15, 9:30 a.m.). The other is Thursday (September 17, 1 p.m.). The morning and afternoon times follow the bifurcated school schedule. Social distancing and masks will be enforced (and a beach sticker is needed to park).

“We’ll take advantage of the nice weather as long as we can,” Elizabeth says. “When it gets colder, we’ll come up with creative ideas. We’re open to anything.”

The Book Club, Kayaking Club and Walking Club will all continue, with adjustments as needed. The end-of-the-year holiday party — a great event — “may look different,” Elizabeth acknowledges. “But we won’t cancel it. We’ll figure something out.”

… and a hike in the woods.

As for all those “6th borough” newcomers: Elizabeth is excited to have them join neighbors who have been here longer: whether 2 years like her, or much longer.

“My impression is the families arriving from New York, with younger kids, are exceptionally friendly, outgoing, and eager to make connections and put down roots,” Elizabeth says.

“Right now, we’ve got an incredible opportunity for all of us to really enrich this great community.”

“Neighbors & Newcomers wants to support not only residents, but local merchants and restaurants as much as possible. If anyone has a great idea or wants to brainstorm, let us know!” Email presidentnnwestport@gmail.com, or click on the website or Facebook page.