Tag Archives: Old Mill Beach

Old Mill Wedding Proposal: The Sequel

This morning, I posted a photo and story about a guy who waited nervously at Old Mill Beach. He was about to propose to his girlfriend.

Patricia McMahon — who took the photo — did not know whether she said yes.

But —  coincidentally — her husband Matthew Levine’s cousin lives nearby.

Turns out the family was home. They saw the big moment from their deck.

And, they told Patricia: She said yes!

If they get married at Old Mill, “06880” will report that too.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

 

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Patricia McMahon was on her evening walk.

At Old Mill Beach, she spotted a serene scene. Quietly, she took a photo.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

The man turned, and looked at her. Patricia apologized for interrupting his moment. She told him she appreciates seeing people looking so peaceful — especially in these challenging times.

He laughed and said, “There’s nothing peaceful or serene about me right now. I’m a nervous wreck. I’m waiting for my girlfriend, to propose to her!”

Patricia smiled. “Let me be the first to congratulation you,” she said. “You got this!”

PS: Let’s hope he did.

Photo Challenge #297

There is so much that’s special about Old Mill, Sherwood Mill Pond and Compo Cove: the pedestrian-only wooden bridges. The oyster house, reachable only by boat. The old-fashioned garages, one of them festooned with seashells.

And the 3-wheeled vehicle that sits in Clark Hanford’s lawn, next to the narrow walkway leading to those garages and bridges (with the oyster house off in the distance).

That little car was the subject of last week’s Photo Challenge. Every reader who responded knew exactly where it sits. Congrats to Matt Murray, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Linda Revelli, Tom Green, Rich Stein, Fred Cantor, Seth Goltzer, Karen Como, Tom Risch, Amy Schneider and Bob Belciano.

Some of those readers live at or near Old Mill. Some enjoy walking there. All are intrigued by it. Click here, to see for yourself.

And see if you can identify this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d spot this, click “Comments” below.

Breathtaking Beach Beauty

Nearly half a year into the pandemic, it’s easy to dwell on what we miss.

The Memorial Day parade and July 4th fireworks. Large backyard barbecues. A normal school year. Life as we knew it.

But let’s not forget all that we have. Here in Westport, we are truly, bountifully blessed. We live in a loving, caring community. We have a broad array of resources to help us through.

And we have our beaches.

Staples High School senior Brandon Malin sent his drone flying over our shores. No matter how worried or down you feel, his astonishing photos will raise your spirits, and lift you high.

We don’t have a coronavirus vaccine yet. Until we do, these images are enough. (Click on or hover over to enlarge.)

Compo Beach: the cannons’ jetty.

Compo Beach: Ned Dimes Marina.

Compo Beach: Ned Dimes Marina closeup.

Compo Beach: the main beach.

Compo Beach: pavilion and concession stand.

Compo Beach: playground, pavilions and more.

Soundview Drive near Schlaet’s Point.

Schlaet’s Point toward Old Mill Beach.

Schlaet’s Point and Old Mill.

Sherwood Mill Pond.

Sherwood Mill Pond and Compo Cove.

Friday Flashback #205

The Old Mill parking lot has been reopened to all Westporters with a beach sticker.

When it was closed due to COVID-19, however, some folks wondered why Old Mill residents (and 2 guests) got to park there, and they — the non-residents — did not.

Well, because they have nowhere else to park.

That was not a problem in 1913. As this photo shows, no one parked anywhere.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)

But where did they keep their horses?

Old Mill, New Problem: The Back Story

Last week’s announcement that public parking at Old Mill Beach is reopened was straightforward. Parking is once again available for vehicles with beach emblems or hang tags, on a space available basis.

But the Parks & Recreation Department news underscored long-running tensions between residents of Old Mill and Compo Cove, and residents in other parts of town.

Parking at the small beach opposite Joey’s by the Shore has always been limited. There are 35 residences by the beach or over the twin wooden bridges (accessible only by foot). There are 13 garages in back (they’re private property, each deeded to a home). A few properties do have room for parked cars. After re-paving a year ago, the lot was striped for 64 spaces.

The parking lot in April 2019, after paving and re-striping. (Photo/Matt Murray)

Parks & Rec placards identify vehicles that belong to residents. Those allow residents to park overnight there.

Old Mill and Compo Cove owners and renters have also been allowed to purchase 4 passes: 2 for themselves (1 per car, license plate-specific), and 2 for guests. The cost is $330, and they do no guarantee parking spaces.

During the COVID shutdown — designed to minimize crowds on the sand — Old Mill residents bristled at charges that they had a “private beach” paid for by Westporters’ taxes.

Old Mill Beach, early July (Photo/Diana Griffin Coyne)

“We pay for the schools and other services we may not use,” Matt Murray says. “I’ve been here 32 years, and never had a child in the school system. It’s part of funding the town.”

(Old Mill residents have their own complaint. This spring and summer has seen a steep rise in the number of tweens and teens jumping from the wooden bridge into Mill Pond. Some ride bikes there; others dropped off by parents. Residents say the youngsters have been loud and disrespectful, and have vandalized cars in the lot. Parks & Rec has now assigned an employee to the area. But that’s another story.)

A time-honored ritual, in 2019. The parking garage — part of some owners’ property deeds — is in the background.

For years, Old Mill was Westport’s forgotten beach. Once upon a time, there was a lifeguard. Then it eroded so badly that swimming became almost impossible. The Mill Pond behind it was in bad shape too.

But Old Mill is back. People swim, go crabbing and fishing, use skim boards and boogie boards, and walk out (and party) on the mud flats. The Mill Pond is healthy again too.

Old Mill in June (Photo/Les Dinkin)

The popularity of Joey’s by the Shore/Elvira’s Coffee Bar — particularly now that the Compo concession stand is not open — has added to the allure of Old Mill Beach.

With Compo operating at half capacity (meaning occasional closures on great-weather weekends), plus some Westporters’ hesitancy to hang out at still-crowded Compo — along with the fact that more people (including kids) than ever have stayed home this summer — Old Mill has never been more attractive.

Old Mill Beach (Photo/Dan Woog)

For a couple of weeks, a social media firestorm pitted Westporters demanding more access to the Old Mill parking lot against residents defending their right to park there.

Parks & Rec’s recent decision to reopen Old Mill Beach — under the regular, first-come-first-served parking rules — has quieted the tempest.

For now — let’s hope — everyone can play nice in the sandbox.

Roundup: Old Mill Parking; GFA; Senior Center; More


Starting today, the Old Mill Beach parking lot is fully re-opened.

That means a reversion to previous rules: Parking is available for vehicles with beach emblems or hang tags, on a space available basis.

As in the past, Parks and Recreation Department staff will strictly enforce all parking regulations.


Greens Farms Academy has announced plans for in-person, on-campus instruction, 5 days a week, beginning September 1.

The private school on Beachside Avenue has spent the summer making numerous preparations — everything from changing physical spaces and furniture, to mandating one-way building pathways, to delivering lunch to assigned spaces.

One more change; There will be no formal uniform at GFA this year.

Meanwhile,  the fall sports season will look different this year. The Fairchester Athletic Association has canceled all regular season games and tournaments. The league cited “differing return-to- school plans and academic models” for its member schools, in light of COVID-19, as the reason.

However, GFA says, the league’s announcement does not preclude the school from scheduling interscholastic opportunities between and among like schools, if able.


The Senior Center is sponsoring 3 interesting events this month.

Next Thursday, August 6 (10 a.m., Zoom meeting), a Westport Weston Health District panel will discuss COVID-19 in Connecticut. Viewers can ask questions too. Click here for the link.

A Caregiver Support Group meets on Wednesdays (August 5 and 19, September 2 and 16, 10 a.m.). Positive Directons’ Terry Giegengack will facilitate the sessions. For more information, call Holly Betts (203-341-5096) or email hbetts@westportct.gov.

Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities hosts a free summer concert series in August and September. The stars are local musicians. First up (August 14, 1:30 p.m.): pianist Mathew Graybil, who has played around the world. He’ll feature works by Chopin, Schubert and Brahms. Click here for the Zoom link.

The Senior Center is closed. But programs continue.


At Staples High School, 2004 alum Charlie Stoebe was a soccer and track star (and captain). He graduated from Dartmouth College, and is now working with NBC Sports.

Charlie is multi-talented. In his spare COVID-related time, he created a new party game.

“What Was the Question?” tests how well you know your friends and family. But unlike most getting-to-know-you games, it starts not with a question, but an answer. Players must figure out the question. After each reveal there are fun discussions on the answer the player gave, and the predictions everyone else made.

“What Was the Question?” is now in Kickstarter mode. To help get it to market — and help out a really great Staples grad — click here.


And finally … Danish pianist Bent Fabricius-Bjerre died yesterday at 95. You may know him as Bent Fabric. Or maybe you just know his most famous song:

Pics Of The Day #1185

Clouds near Ned Dimes Marina … (Photo/Michael Tomashefsky)

… and the marina itself … (Photo/Michael Tomashefsky)

… and Old Mill Beach … (Photo/Jim St. Andre)

… and out to Compo Cove … (Photo/Jim St. Andre)

… and colorful Compo (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Pics Of The Day #1176

Last night’s full moon, as seen from Old Mill Beach … (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

… and Saugatuck Shores (Photo/Debra Levin)

Pics Of The Day: Special Rain Clouds & Rainbow Edition

For the 2nd straight day, rain clouds gathered over Westport this afternoon …

(Photo/Stephanie Mastocciolo)

(Photo/Matt Murray)

(Photo/Katherine Ross)

… and then the rains came …

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

followed by (of course) a (double) rainbow!

(Photo/Seth Goltzer)

(Photo/Chris Tait)

(Photo/Janine Scotti)

(Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

Even I-95 looks great! (Photo/Seth Goltzer)