Tag Archives: Remarkable Bookcycle

A Need-To-Know Basis: The Basics

A reader writes:

My wife and I just bought a home in Westport. We will move there in September.

As a soon-to-be resident, reading “06880” has helped me get to know the town. For example, I already know that everyone on the railroad parking wait list will soon get a pass.

But what else should I know?

I’m looking for a quick crash course about the town. It could be anything from “avoid this road during these hours” to “this parking lot always has spaces” to “what do I need to know about Compo Beach.”

I realize you could write hundreds of tips. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

Great idea!

You’re right. I could give hundreds (if not squintillions). Here are a few quick ones, in random order:

You need a ticket for the 4th of July fireworks at Compo Beach. (Which in Westport are never actually on the 4th. This year, they’re June 30th.) Westport PAL puts them on, with help from Melissa & Doug (the innovative toy company). Tickets are available at Parks & Rec headquarters (in Longshore, near the 1st tee) and police headquarters (Jesup Road). The $40/vehicle ticket supports a huge variety of PAL programs — so even if you watch the fireworks elsewhere, or don’t park at the beach, consider donating to PAL.

If everyone cooperates, getting into the beach for the fireworks goes smoothly.

Speaking of which: Unfortunately, Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department website is the least user-friendly I’ve seen since dial-up modem days. From the non-intuitive way to sign up for hand passes (for tennis, golf, Longshore pool, etc.), beach emblems (we actually call them “stickers”) and boat launch permits — hint: click on “Memberships” — to the random, dizzying list of options in every category, on through all the clicks needed to jump from page to page and back again, it’s a cluster****.

The good news is: If you’re free when the office is open, head there yourself. (As noted above, it’s in Longshore, near the golf course 1st tee.) The employees are fantastic: knowledgeable, helpful, friendly and fun.

The bad news is: I can’t tell you when the office is open. It’s nowhere on the website — at least, nowhere I could find.

The Parks & Rec Department office, at Longshore. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Speaking of the beach: The best sunsets for miles around are at Compo’s South Beach. That’s the area from the cannons to the kayak launch. There’s often a convivial crowd — perhaps because that’s the only area on a Westport beach where alcohol is permitted. (No glass, please!)

South Beach is also where, on a beautiful evening, every grill might be taken. Tables are first-come, first-served. Despite that notice on every table, some people “reserve” them by leaving blankets, chairs, even coolers all around, then leaving the beach for the next few hours.

You are perfectly within your rights to take that table. However, I am not responsible for whatever happens next. I’m just sayin’….

This does not reserve you a South Beach table.

A few other tips: The town dump is called the “transfer station.” On the Sherwood Island Connector, it’s  where you toss household garbage, furniture, carpeting, lamps, televisions, electronics, batteries and similar items. Much of it is recycled. Workers there are very helpful and friendly. On Saturday mornings especially, it’s a great place to meet other Westporters.

The best shortcut in town that does not involve annoying other residents is the Merritt Parkway between Exits 41 and 42. You get from the YMCA/Wilton area to Coleytown/Weston without circling through Wilton Road, North Kings Highway and Main Street. Even when the Merritt traffic creeps along, it’s usually quicker.

The Imperial Avenue parking lot is underrated – not only for events at the Levitt Pavilion, but even for downtown. The pedestrian bridge connecting it to the Levitt and Library is easy and gorgeous — and the lot is nearly always empty.

Deadman Brook bridge, between the Levitt Pavilion and Imperial Avenue (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

You will see the Remarkable Bookcycle parked somewhere around town: the beach perhaps, or Bedford Square or the Westport Book Shop on Jesup Road. The concept is cool — take a book, give a book — but there’s a back story. It’s decorated with the “dancing man” logo of the Remarkable Book Shop, a beloved (and long-gone) Main Street institution. Fun fact: The Bookcycle is the brainchild of Jane Green. Yes, that Jane Green. The internationally known author is a fellow Westporter.

(Photo/Judith Shaw)

Those are just a few top-of-the-head ideas. I am sure every “06880” reader — at least, those who have been here more than 10 minutes — can add his or her own.

So, let’s do it. Click “Comments” below to pass along info that every newcomer needs to know. Along with this last one:

You don’t need to buy milk and eggs every time snow is predicted. But do pay attention to rain and wind advisories.

There’s not a lot that’s certain in Westport, but this much is: You will lose power.

Often.

Welcome to Westport!

Roundup: Staples Rugby, Sky Show, Wave Show …

Congratulations to Staples High School’s newest state champions: the rugby team.

The Wreckers romped over perennial powerhouse Greenwich 35-7, in Thursday’s final. That avenged a 30-12 loss to the Cardinals in the national tourney (when Staples was saddled with injuries and illness).

During the regular season, Staples defeated Greenwich 28-16.

Well done, coach Neal Seideman and the gang!

The joyful Staples High School rugby team.

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The Remarkable Bookcycle has a new home: Old Mill Grocery.

It’s a great spot for the popular free library. It will get even more use when the deli/market opens. As the sign promises, it should be soon.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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The Westport Astronomical Society’s astro-photographers are lighting it up again.

A new show — “How Beautiful, the Universe” — opens at the Stamford JCC’s Art Gallery this Tuesday (June 14, 7 p.m.). Photographs showing the beautiful objects found just by looking up in the night sky will be on display through August 31.

Among the WAS photographers showing works: Shannon Calvert, Steven Labkoff, Carl Lancaster, Michael Southam, Stuart Stakoff, Dana Weisbrot
and Kurt Zepetello

Proceeds from images on sale will support new observatory domes on the WAS campus (Bayberry Lane, behind the Westport Weston Health District).

Photos from the Westport Astronomical Society exhibit.

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Speaking of art: Westport artist Dale Najarian is among 8 female painters featured in George Billis Gallery’s new show: “Ride the Wave.” Her works in this exhibit were influenced by Westport photographer Stacy Bass.

The summer group show runs June 19 through July 23, at Billis’ new 180 Post Road East space. An opening reception is set for July 7 (4 to 7 p.m.).

Other artists include Maureen Chatfield, Kristin Coates, Kerry Irvine, Lori Leckliter, Wendy Briggs Powell, Diana Tremaine and Margery Gosnell-Qua.

“Salt Pond” — oil on canvas (Dale Najarian)

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“06880” would not normally post a photo of a guy in a kayak.

But, as Jamie Walsh — who took the image — notes:

“This is my neighbor, dear friend and longtime fellow Westporter Ed Perrault. He recently built this amazing kayak at home. He commissioned it yesterday.”

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

Congratulations, Ed!

PS: Thanks for making me feel like a slug.

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Former Westport Planning & Zoning Department planner Carolyn Warnow Makover died last month in Danbury. She was 83.

The Cornell University graduate worked in publishing, marketing and graphic design, while raising her family. She found her calling while attending the Conway School of Landscape Design, and received a Master of Arts in Landscape Design in 1986.

Besides the P&Z, she worked at Tate & Associates and Frederick P. Clark Associates as an Environmental Planner. She later served as webmaster for the town and several non-profit organizations, and remained active in local initiatives. Throughout her career and in her volunteer work, she focused on utilizing good design and communications to support people and communities. Carrie also cared deeply about keeping family and friends connected.

During the pandemic, she used her technical skills to ensure that her personal and professional groups could easily move to online gatherings. With her brother and sisters, she founded Reckless Night Music to help preserve the musical legacy of their father, composer Raymond Scott.

Carrie is survived by her daughter Kathryn, son Daniel, long-time partner Richard Stein, and many friends and family members.

A memorial gathering will be announced at a later date. Click here to leave online condolences. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or the Regional Hospice in Danbury.

Carolyn Makover

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Patti Brill describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“This is the time of year that turtles lay their eggs. I caught this one today doing that at Covlee Beach. I took this quick shot without disturbing its task. They do not like to be interrupted while hiding the eggs in the sand. I didn’t want to get too close.”

(Photo/Patti Brill)

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And finally … in honor of the new George Billis Gallery show, “Ride the Wave” (story above) — well, this is close enough:

Book It! A Remarkable Local Market Story.

Remarkable!

The Remarkable Bookcycle — Westport’s free and mobile library, started by Jane Green (yes, the Jane Green) and now kept rolling by others — is back where it belongs.

In front of the old Remarkable Book Shop.

The 3-wheeled library pays homage — in color, logo and spirit — to the remarkable (upper and lowercase) store that sat, for 3 decades, happily on the corner of Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza.

Folks of all ages came from all over the area to sit in comfy chairs, read, and — yes — shop locally.

The Remarkable Book Shop then spent a few unhappy years as a Talbots. Now it’s back as a local shop — called, of course, Local to Market.

The Remarkable Bookcycle, outside Local to Market. (Photo/Chris Marcocci)

Westport’s little free library has left Compo Beach — where it summered — and Bedford Square, where it most recently resided. It’s now parked perfectly on the patio outside Local to Market.

Chris Marcocci, the owner of the food/coffee/gift/gift basket/and more shop — who gives a portion of sales to (of course) local charities == has agreed to keep the bookcycle fully stocked.

So drop on by. Pick up a book. Drop one off.

Then shop locally. Just as so many Westporters did at that same spot, for years.

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Judith Shaw writes:

“Westport will always be home. I regularly visit my mom, Freda Easton, who came here in 1955 and still lives in the area. My visits always include a trip to Compo Beach.

“This morning was no exception. I couldn’t help smiling when I came upon the Remarkable Bookcycle. It warmed my heart, as the beach and bookstore are 2 venerable locations embedded in my memory.”

(Photo/Judith Shaw)

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The Remarkable Bookcycle returned to Compo Beach this weekend. It’s fun — and free! (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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Remarkable Bookcycle (Photo/Dave Dellinger)

Roundup: Remarkable Bookcycle, MoCA Art, More


Sure, the Westport Library is open now by appointment only.

But — just like the Hotel California — you can check out any time you like, at the Remarkable Bookcycle.

Westport’s favorite mobile library (named for our favorite former bookstore) has been parked recently on Church Lane, at Bedford Square.

Check it out! And if you’ve got any books to give as well as receive — well, bring ’em on.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


“Hindsight is 2020” — the high school student art show opening January 23 at MoCA Westport — has extended its submission deadline. The final date for entries is now next Monday (January 11).

The show is open to all high schoolers. It’s a great opportunity to have their work reviewed by noted Westport artist Amy Kaplan and dealer/gallerist Paul Efstathiou — and have it showcased at the museum.

It’s also a chance to earn cash prizes of $500, $300 or $100.

We know students have had a challenging year. Art and creative expression have helped many students with coping and resilience,” museum officials say.

A wide variety of entries have alrady come from across Connecticut and Westchester County.

Click here for submission deadlines.



Fleet Feet Run Club’s winter session starts this Saturday (January 9).

The Sconset Square store’s coaches can help everyone reach their goals. It can be  running a marathon — or running down the block.

For details, stop in the shop or call 203-557-3608.


And finally … the 1972 disaster film “The Poseidon Adventure” had an all-star cast: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Albertson, Shelley Winters, and Red Buttons.

Also starring on the tsunami-struck ship was Pamela Sue Martin. She earned more fame later, as Nancy Drew on the ABC-TVseries, and Fallon Carrington Colby on Dynasty.

Well, Pamela Sue — or “Pam,” as I knew her as a classmate at Long Lots Junior High and Staples High — celebrates her birthday today.

“06880” celebrates with the most famous song from “Poseidon Adventure.” It was nominated for an Academy Award, then became a hit the next year for Maureen McGovern. Happy birthday, Pam!

 

 

Remarkable Bookcycle Pedals On

Growing up in Appalachian southeastern Ohio, Christie Stanger vividly remembers the Bookmobile.

Stepping into a rehabbed school bus, she could borrow any book on board. The arrival of the Bookmobile was as exciting as the ice cream truck (and that’s saying something).

The Remarkable Bookcycle is Westport’s version of the Bookmobile. The brainchild of international best-selling author Jane Green, it’s a mobile version of a free library.

Jane Green and the Remarkable Bookcycle, at Savvy + Grace downtown.

Jane (or her husband Ian Warburg) pedal it from their Owenoke home to Compo Beach, and other spots in town. Anyone is free to take a book — or leave one. It’s a brilliant idea, made even more “remarkable” by its homage to Westport’s favorite lost store, the Remarkable Book Shop.

(Click here for the Bookcycle’s amazing back story. It includes the factoid that Jane asked noted artist Miggs Burroughs to paint the book store’s “dancing man” logo on the Bookcycle — without knowing that Miggs’ mother Esta had worked at the store, from the day it opened to when it closed.)

Like Jane, Christie now lives in Westport. Also like Jane, her love of books has never wavered. So when Jane Green announced she was looking for a custodian for the Remarkable Bookcycle for the coming year, while Jane, Ian and their family is in England, Christie immediately typed “ME!!!”

Other Westporters offered to help, in other ways. Ryan Peterson — who as a recent Staples graduate 2 years ago transformed Jane’s cargo tricycle into the Bookcycle — gave it a touch-up. Ethan Olmstead fixed the emergency brake. And a small band of librarians will restock its shelves.

Remarkable Bookcycle librarians (from left): Kate Parente, Christie Stanger, Sue Goldman, Margo Amgott and Jennie Lupinacci. (Photo/Jaime Bairaktaris)

As Westport rolls into autumn, the group is excited. They’ve got big plans, including creating a children’s Bookcycle from an old-fashioned tricycle owned by Christie’s mother-in-law.

Also ahead: a collaboration with the “People Politics Planet” downtown art show, set for early October.

You can follow the Bookcycle — including its stops around town — on Instagram (@remarkablebookcycle) and Facebook (@TheRemarkableBookcycle). For the next few weeks, it will be parked at Compo Beach.

Neither Christie nor Jane visited the Remarkable Book Shop. But — thanks to both women — Westport’s long love affair with books, in out-of-the-ordinary but way-cool settings — lives on.

Melody Stanger touches up The Remarkable Guy. (Photo/Christie Stanger)

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Compo Beach lockers at night …

… and the Remarkable Bookcycle (Photos/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

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Remarkable Bookcycle, at Compo Beach (Photo/Amy Schneider)