June 19, 2019

Carney Hosts Office Hours in Old Saybrook, Monday

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Reps. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and Jesse MacLachlan (R-35th) along with State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) will hold Office Hours throughout the 23rd District on various dates between June 10 and 27.

These events will provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions or share their ideas and concerns about state government, local issues and the 2019 legislative session which will come to a close on June 5.

The remaining Office Hours schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, June 18, from 5 – 6 p.m.
State Rep. Carney
Lyme Public Library
Community Room
482 Hamburg Rd.

Old Saybrook
Monday, June 24, from 8 – 9 a.m.
State Rep. Carney
Vicky G. Duffy Pavilion
155 College St.

Thursday, June 27, from 6 – 7 p.m.
State Rep. Carney & State Rep. McLachlan
Westbrook Public Library
Community Room
61 Goodspeed Dr.

Anyone unable to attend, but who would like to speak to Rep. Carney may contact his office at 800-842-1423 or by email at: devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov.

Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District, which includes the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and a portion of Westbrook.


Old Lyme Celebrates the Summer Solstice, Friday, with all Genres of Live Music Along Lyme Street

Ramblin’ Dan Stevens entertains audiences outside Nightingale’s at lats year’s ‘Make Music Day.’

A children’s concert, modern dance, and a late day stroll with street musicians are just some of the highlights of Old Lyme’s Make Music Day celebration this coming Friday, June 21. An international celebration of free music for all, the Old Lyme Arts District is producing the town’s event in conjunction with the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition and the MusicNow Foundation.

Launched in France in 1982, Make Music Day is an international musical festival open to all who would like to participate, and takes place in over 1,000 cities in 120 countries on June 21, the summer solstice. The State of Connecticut Office of the Arts debuted the State’s effort in 2018 with 528 free musical performances at 224 locations across the state, including Old Lyme.

Like 2018, the Make Music Old Lyme celebration will take place on Lyme Street, from the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (corner of Lyme Street and Ferry Road) to Nightingale’s Acoustic Café (68 Lyme Street), and include a special finale dance performance at Studio 80 + Sculpture Gardens (80-1 Lyme Street.)

The celebration begins at 4 p.m., when a family concert will be held at the Lyme Youth Services Bureau (59 Lyme Street). A free musical performance will be provided by Sunny Train, a local duo popular with young children. Families are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket to enjoy the concert.

From 5 to 7 p.m. Lyme Street hosts over a dozen musicians along its sidewalks and in front of businesses along the half-mile length of Lyme Street (see below for a complete profile of musicians.) Genres include bluegrass, folk, indie-rock, and pop. Musicians along the Stroll include Whiskey & Aspirin, Eben Salter & Willoughby Gap, Ramblin’ Dan Stevens, Five Bean Row, Forever Fool, Woodsmoke, Sophia Griswold, Nightingale Fiddlers, Jess Kegler, Michael DeGaetano, Chris Gregor, Lonestar Caviar, and Gilead Road.

A teen open mic event for all genres of music will be held at the First Congregational Church during the stroll. This “Teen Hoot” will include several emerging artists such as Sophie Spaner, Cameron Gagnon, and Haley Stevens.

On the front lawn of Center School (49 Lyme Street), the String of Pearls orchestra will play a selection of big band sounds from the 1940s to today. Also on the front lawn, the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club will have grill items including hamburgers and hot dogs for sale during the concert from 5 to 7 p.m.

Other events welcome participation, including a Pickin’ Party, where guitarists, banjo players, and others are invited to join in for a strumming twist to a drumming circle concept. Children’s crafts will be available on the front lawn of the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. Impromptu “ukulele parades” are expected to sprout up New Orleans style.

A number of businesses on Lyme Street will be open during the Stroll including The Cooley Gallery, The Chocolate Shell, Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe, and Nightingale’s.

At the conclusion of the street music, all are welcomed to Studio 80+ Sculpture Grounds for a Finale to the event. GUSTO, a modern dance troupe, will perform a 10-15 minute piece “Gratitude: Solstice Dances” at 7:10 p.m.

Lawn chairs or blankets are encouraged for the String of Pearls, Teen Hoot, Studio 80 dance finale, as well as the Sunny Train pre-stroll concert.

According to Cheryl Poirier, one of the organizers of the event, “We were delighted to bring this event to life last year, and are excited to create an even bigger and better event this year. Lyme Street is the perfect location to enjoy a summer evening and catch the music of so many local performers. Musicians, including everyone from high school students to retired adults, are going to create a phenomenal evening.”

For a complete lineup of activities (including weather contingencies), check back to OldLymeArtsDistrict.com.  The District is a partnership of a dozen organizations and businesses promoting arts and culture on Lyme Street. Sponsors include LymeLine.com, Pasta Vita, Essex Financial Services/Essex Savings Bank, Paul Burdick Oil, the Merchants of Old Lyme Marketplace, William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, Coldwell Banker of Old Lyme, Caliber Computer, and Zelek Electric.

Additional Web Addresses for reference:

Southeastern CT Cultural Coalition: culturesect.org

Lyme-Old Lyme  Chamber of Commerce: visitoldlyme.com

MusicNow Foundation and Nightingale’s Acoustic Cafe: musicnowfoundation.org

International Make Music Day: makemusicday.org

Lymes Youth Services Bureau: lysb.org

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds: sculpturegrounds.com

Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club: lymeoldlymelions.org


The full line-up of events as at  June 11, is as follows:

Lymes Youth Services Bureau at 59 Lyme Street, Old Lyme
Sunny Train
Genre: Kids
Sing, dance, and play with LaLa and ChiChi of Sunny Train, Connecticut’s favorite rockin’ railroad family band! Kids and grownups alike adore their toe-tapping happy harmony filled original songs and catchy jams. While you listen to Sunny Train, enjoy Face Painting, Cotton candy, and oodles of fun in LYSB’s back yard. Bring a chair or blanket.


(Mass Appeal events are deemed so by the Make Music organization because anyone can join in and participate, as opposed to watching a free performance)

Gilead Road will be back this year to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffins Noyes Library – Two Library Lane, Old Lyme
Children’s Crafts (Mass Appeal Activity)
Join us at the public library and enjoy making a children’s craft perfect for this Make Music summer celebration! (You’ll be able to hear the live music coming from across Lyme Street at the ice cream shop!)
Impromptu Fun between 5pm-7pm

Ukulele Parade (Mass Appeal Event)
Watch for Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and his kazoo- and ukulele-toting friends for a New Orleans style impromptu Ukulele Parade! Join us whether you have an instrument or not (clapping your hands to the beat counts!). We’ll be handing out kazoos and harmonicas as supplies last. It’s a celebration of the summer solstice!

First Congregational Church at 2 Ferry Road (corner of Lyme Street and Ferry), Old Lyme
Teen Hoot Open Mic (Mass Appeal event)
All Genres
Participate in the Open Mic music session for teens, or come and enjoy with your lawn chair! You’ll find Sophie Spaner, Haley Stevens, Cameron Gagnon and more at this great emerging artist venue.

Nightingale Acoustic Cafe’s Pickin’ Party (Mass Appeal)
68 Lyme Street, Old Lyme
All Genres – Bluegrass – Country – Rock – Folk
Bring your strings to the Café’s sideyard and join the Pickin’ Party! Ramblin’ Dan Stevens will be on hand along with the Tuesday night Pickin’ crew to keep things moving around the circle and to do some harmonizing. All levels of strumming and fingerpicking appreciated. Think drumming circle but with guitars, banjos and other strings.

MUSIC STROLL ALONG LYME STREET (in addition to playing to audiences in the above listed Mass Appeal events)
All the following artists will perform between 5 and 7pm
Nightingale Fiddlers
Bluegrass Country
Select Nightingale fiddlers will entertain with their mix of bluegrass, country, and toe-tappin’ classicst

Eben Salter and Willoughby Gap
Americana Bluegrass – folk – singer/songwriter
Willoughby Gap is an acoustic band rooted in bluegrass and mountain folk music. The band, which gets its name from a mountain gap in Vermont, sings and plays traditional and original songs of life and death in the old Appalachian style. With influences like the Carter Family, Bill Monroe and Gillian Welch, Willoughby Gap is sure to please their audiences with original and traditional songs comprised of innovative harmonies and novel arrangements that touch the heart and soul of the listener.  

Whiskey & Aspirin
John “Mustang” Brown and David “JPD” Gregoire met two years ago at a Tuesday night picking party. Shortly after, John had a gig and needed someone to step in since his original side man had to cancel. Dave sat in for the set and thus Whiskey & Aspirin was born. While sharing the love of Americana music, they have introduced each other to a number of artists in addition to each writing their own songs.


Five Bean Row
Americana-Folk-Blues music featuring Clayton Allen on lead guitar, Butch Foster and John Wood on acoustic, Joe Cavanaugh on bass, and Melissa Turner on fiddle!

Sophia Griswold and Friends performed outside The Ice Cream Shoppe in last year’s celebration.

Sophia Griswold and Friends
Jazz – Indy Folk –  Indy Rock – pop
Sophia brings jazz and lively pop to Lyme Street with a mix of instrumentalists and vocalist friends. You’ll hear current favorites and standards, and be amazed at the emerging talent here in Old Lyme.

Center School – 49 Lyme Street
String of Pearls
Standards – Swing
Bring your lawn chair and enjoy the Big Band sounds of String of Pearls, bringing you dance tunes from the ’40’s to present. Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glen Miller, and Sammy Nestico are just some of the influences of this bands great songlist. https://www.facebook.com/stringofpearlsbigband/

Ramblin’ Dan Stevens
Nightingale’s Acoustic Café – 68 Lyme Street
Blues – Folk — Early country blues
If he isn’t pickin’ with the party or leading a ukulele parade, you’ll find Ramblin’ Dan on the Café front porch with traditional and rockin’ finger-picking acoustic blues.

Emerging Artists Jess Kegler and Michael DeGaetano
Singer/songwriter –  Pop – Indy Folk
Two multi-talented emerging artists, Jess and Michael will each delight their audiences with everything from indy folk to soft rock.

Sophie Spaner
Pop – Singer/Songwriter
Sophie Spaner is an emerging artist singer/songwriter who uses her ukulele and pop sensibility to entertain. If you combine the musical styles of Jenny Lewis and Rilo Kiley you get Sophie!.


Americana Folk
Woodsmoke is as easy as a summer sunset –acoustic folk and Americana music that will have you leaning back and tapping your toes. Beautiful folky originals and covers with great guitar arrangements –Poignant and entertaining!


Forever Fool
Singer/Songwriter – Rock – Soft Rock
Forever Fool plays a large variety of original songs from soft, mellow ballads like Simple Melodies to folk punk like Red and Blue. Singer/Songwriter Drew Cathcart is always up to entertain.

Lone Star Caviar
Indy Folk Rock – Singer/songwriters
Kipp Sturgeon and Jack Hardesty bring great harmonies and strong string melodies to their duo which includes strong influences from Texas country and folksy blues.

Chris Gregor
Pop – Soul – Soft Rock
Emerging Artist Chris Gregor wows his audiences with his soulful melodies and harmonies. A voice that doesn’t stop matched only by his soulful guitar.

Gilead Road
Soft Rock and Folk
Gilead Road is an acoustic duo singing originals sprinkled with gems of contemporary and traditional songwriting. Their songs tell stories of personal history, reflect on life and search for humor in today’s wild world.



Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds
80-1 Lyme Street, Old Lyme

Gusto Dance Troupe with Accompanying Music

(bring lawn chairs or a blanket to enjoy the performance)

GUSTO Dance is thrilled to again perform at the stunning treasure of Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in a two-part series of dance pieces, on Friday, June 21, the Summer Solstice, during the cool Old Lyme Make Music Day 2019!

“’GRATITUDE’ and ‘RADIANCE’ are two, site-specific pieces in the new series, “Solstice Dances,” which GUSTO Dance is psyched to continue with future solstices,” said Chloe Carlson, Artistic Director of Gusto Dance adding, “Pagan motifs associated with the feast day of summer solstice inspire the work, e.g. gratitude to the sun, appreciation of nature, light, fire, sunflowers, oak trees, deer, and celebration. And the abundant beauty of the Sculpture Grounds continues to provide endless fuel for our dancing!”

‘GRATITUDE: SOLSTICE DANCES’ is a dynamic homage to the pagan tradition of dancing gratefully to the sun for providing light for crops, as well as to the magic of the Sculpture Grounds and this community music festival. Celtic and other pagan motifs, like fire, light, the ‘turning of the wheel’ (seasons), reds and golds, and jubilation spark GUSTO’s dancing.

Come celebrate the Summer Solstice with dancers Chloe Carlson, Paula Fagan, Sara Gregory, Meghan Bowden Peterson, and Christine Poland. 


Old Lyme Historical Society Hosts Lecture Tonight on ‘Spies of the American Revolution’

The Old Lyme Historical Society hosts a lecture series this summer.  All the lectures will be held at the OLHS building starting at 7 p.m. at the Society’s building at 55 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, and the suggested donation at the door is $8 or two people for $15.

The dates, speakers and their topics are as follows:

Monday, June 17
7 p.m
Damien Cregeau presents ‘Spies of the American Revolution.’

Friday, July 5
7 p.m
Ramblin Dan Stevens presents ‘MusicNow Showcase.’

Wednesday, Aug. 21
7 p.m
James Kolb presents ‘Duck River Cemetery: How Gravestones Can Tell Us Our History.’

Thursday, Sept. 26
7 p.m
Ellis Jewett presents ‘History of Old Lyme Fire Department.’


Old Lyme Library, RTP Estuary Center Present ‘Pollinator Gardens’ This Evening

The Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library presents Pollinator Gardens tomorrow (June 17) evening with Anne Penniman and Eleanor Robinson.

Learn how to turn your garden into a pollinator paradise by discovering which plants will attract birds and insect to add environmental and ecological value to your garden.  Design features will be discussed to enhance your landscape to best suit and attract specific birds and butterflies.

This presentation is a joint event with the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center.

Visit this link to register for the program. All are welcome and admission is free.

For further information, call 860-434-1684.


‘Blooms with a View’ on Display at FloGris Museum This Weekend

One of the stunning bouquets inspired by a painting in ‘Blooms with a View.’ Photo by Linda Ahnert.

Blooms with a View: A Display of Art & Flowers is on view this weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Florence Griswold Museum.  Admission is free with Museum entry.

Visitors can enjoy stunning arrangements by floral artists interpreting works of art in the remarkable exhibition Fragile Earth: The Naturalist Impulse in Contemporary Art and special works selected from the Museum’s collection inspired by the Museum grounds.
This is a perfect weekend to visit the Museum and understand immediately the site’s appeal to the artists, who stayed at “Miss Florence” Griswold’s boarding house over a century ago. Her house, gardens, and river view were favored subjects of her artistic boarders.

Old Lyme Church Hosts Theatre Arts Camp This Week for Age 4 through Grade 8

The  First Congregational Church of Old Lyme hosts a Theatre Arts Camp for ages 4 through grade 8 starting tomorrow, Monday June 17, through Thursday, June 20,

Monday through Wednesday, camp time is 4 to 6:30 p.m. and Thursday is 5 to 7:30 p.m. with a performance at 6:30 p.m.

All are welcome.

Register at fccol@fccol.org.


Opinion: If You Do One Thing Today, Visit Old Lyme Town Hall to Give Your Thoughts on the Halls Rd. Project

This file photo shows Halls Road today. How do YOU want it to look in five or 10 years? Go and give your thoughts today!

Today the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen (BOS) and the Halls Road Improvement Committee (HRIC) are hosting an Open House at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  They really do want to hear from the residents of Old Lyme what their current thinking and opinions are regarding the future of Halls Rd.  Or maybe you just want to ask questions about how we have reached the point where we are now and find out the tentative ideas the committee has already discussed.  Or perhaps you want to vent about the project because you don’t think it’s necessary at all.

We would urge two things:  first, take a minute to read Mark Terwilliger’s insightful op-ed on why, in his opinion, things have to change at Halls Rd.  He explains in simple terms why (again, in his opinion) sticking with the status quo is not an option, making the point clearly and succinctly that the world has changed since the 1950s when the Halls Rd. strip-mall was built.  He argues — and we agree — that if we fail to plan for the future in light of these changes, then change will happen anyway, but in an uncontrolled fashion and not necessarily in the best interests of the town’s residents.

The second thing we would ask is simply that you go to the Open House — whatever your opinions are about the project.  If you don’t go and share your thoughts, how can you then complain when a proposal is finally made?  It’s like that old adage, “You can’t win it, if you’re not in it” — the HRIC has deliberately made this Open House a non-threatening, informal environment so that people are comfortable speaking their minds to committee members.

We’ve heard plenty of comments both on and off the record about the HRIC and the BOS supposedly acting in isolation on the project and taking unilateral decisions.  This Open House is designed to put those rumors to rest and represents a great opportunity to give your input to the future of our town.

Don’t miss it … carpe diem!


Open House at Old Lyme Town Hall Today Offers Opportunity for Public Input on Halls Rd. Future

A schematic design of Halls Road in 2019. How do you want it to look in 2030?

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen and the Halls Road Improvement Committee (HRIC) are hosting an Open House this coming Saturday, June 15, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall. The theme of the event is “The Past, Present and Future of the Halls Road Neighborhood.” and its objective is to gather input from the public on a possible future commercial/town center for Old Lyme.

An overview of the evolution of Old Lyme’s town center will be presented in a series of posters along with ideas on how the Halls Road neighborhood might be developed.  The flyer publicizing the event states, “Public discussions to date have addressed such issues as safe pedestrian and bicycle access, business retention and growth, demand for down-sized housing, public gathering spaces, improved esthetics and signage.”

The public is invited to drop by the town hall any time between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., review the displays, and discuss ideas with the board of selectmen and HRIC members, who will be on hand. All feedback — regardless of whether it is positive or negative — is welcome.

To quote again from the publicity flyer, both the board of selectmen and the HRIC members believe, “Community involvement is key to the future success of Old Lyme.”

This is an opportunity to find out more about the project, ask questions, and give your opinions in an informal setting.


Sing! Cappella Cantorum Offers One-Day Vocal Camp Today

Photo by David Beale on Unsplash.

The valley-shore chorus of Cappella Cantorum offers a One-Day Vocal Camp on Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 5 Lyme St., Old Lyme. All singers ages 13 and up are welcome to attend.

The camp offers intensive choral practice in group and private lessons that will improve sight reading, ear training and blending in a choral environment.

Learn from accomplished choral leaders Simon Holt, director of the Salt Marsh Opera, Cappella Cantorum and the choir of the Congregational Church of Old Lyme, and Paul Laurence Fletcher, critically acclaimed oratorio and concert soloist.

Lunch will be provided. Cost is $45 for the group session and $55 for the group session plus a private vocal lesson with Mr. Fletcher. The private lessons are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Reserve a spot at www.cappellacantorum.org or by calling 860-941-8243.


Two New Exhibitions on View at LAA; Opening Reception, Saturday

One of the signature paintings in ‘Waterworks’ is ‘Sailing Off Weekapaug Point, Rhode Island’ by Tom Adkins. The medium is oil.

Visitors of all ages will enjoy Waterworks, the Lyme Art Association (LAA)’s summer exhibition of work by the area’s premier maritime artists. The show will be on view in the beautiful sky-lit galleries from June 14 through Aug. 2.

Gallery manager Jocelyn Zallinger notes, “The peaceful interior of the Lyme Art Association is the perfect venue for marine-inspired art. The artwork, by member artists, takes inspiration from the sea in all its manifestations. Children playing by placid shorelines, boats in raging storms, solitary fishermen, and waves crashing on beaches are likely to be among the works represented.”

Waterworks will be juried by Karen Blackwood, signature member of American Society of Marine Artists.

Concurrent with theWaterworks exhibition, the Hudson Valley Art Association (HVAA) will present its 86th Annual Juried Exhibition. This exhibition includes the finest representational paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture from HVAA’s member artists.

Elizabeth Rhoades’s “An Evening to Remember” in pastel is featured in ‘Waterworks.’

Lyme Art Association Board President Katherine Simmons states, “Waterworks continues an LAA tradition of exhibiting the best of fine contemporary American marine art. We are also very pleased to welcome back the Hudson Valley Art Association and what is sure to be a very impressive show.”

The opening receptions and award presentations for both exhibitions will be held on Saturday, June 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Lyme Art Association, 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Conn. and will feature great fun, music and refreshments for all.

The LAA was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. Located in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt within a national historic district, admission to the LAA is free with contributions appreciated.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, visit www.lymeartassociation.org or call (860) 434-7802.


Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

Graduates from the Class of 2019 celebrate receiving their Lyme-Old Lyme High School diplomas! All photos by Rosemary Comerford Reid.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019 on their graduation from Lyme-Old Lyme High School. The commencement ceremony was held outside yesterday evening under cloudy skies and included speeches from the Class President, Valedictorian, Salutatorian and Honor Essayist.  Chosen by the Class, English teacher Jennifer Burke was named the Mildred Sanford Outstanding Educator of 2019.

The Class of 2019 celebrates its graduation with the traditional hat toss.


These students patiently await their turn to go forward onto the stage and receive their High School Diploma.


Superintendent Ian Neviaser reaches out his hand to shake that of a just conferred graduate of Lyme-Old Lyme High School.


One happy Wildcat graduate!


And on a personal note, we are so proud of our outstanding intern Katie Reid (center), who graduated yesterday with the Class of 2019, and is now off to Bowdoin College.

For a more detailed report of the evening, read Mary Biekert’s article on TheDay.com at this link.


Lyme-Old Lyme High School Hosts Graduation Ceremony Tonight

Hats high! Lyme-Old Lyme High School graduates celebrate their success. File photo by Kim Tyler.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School will hold its Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2019 this evening on the field between the middle and high schools starting at 6 p.m.

Entry to the field is open and the public is welcome to attend the event.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019!


Op-Ed: What’s Happening With Halls Road? Looking Back, Looking Forward, a Personal View of the Project

The view (minus traffic!) looking up Halls Road today — how will it look in 10 year’s time?

Editor’s Note: We felt it would be helpful to our readers to provide some context to Saturday’s Open House on the future of Halls Road and the important discussions it involves about the future of Old Lyme. While we were working on an article, Mark Terwilliger submitted his own thoughts on the project. We are publishing his piece here and will now publish our own later in the week.  In the interests of full transparency, we note that Terwilliger is the partner of Halls Road Improvement Committee member Edie Twining.

What’s going on with Halls Road?

The Halls Road Improvement Committee (HRIC) is tasked with leading a town-wide discussion on the future of the Halls Road district. The ultimate goal of these discussions is the creation of a master plan that will guide future outside investments and development in that area.

How did this come about?

Some people in town were pushing for road and traffic changes to improve pedestrian / bicycle access to the shopping area on Halls Road, and asking the town to allocate money for those purposes. The town seemed amenable.

Other people said, “Wait a minute. Why should we make a non-trivial investment in this when we don’t even know what other (private or state) changes are planned, or in the offing, for this district? For that matter, we don’t even know what the town as a whole wants or needs from the future of this district.” And that began the process of looking in a more formal way at what changes we might want to see in the Halls Road district over the course of the next decade or two.

Why not just leave it alone?

Change is coming, whether we want it or not. No one can stop it. Our only choice is either to try to shape that change in the directions we want, or to let the changes happen to us without our input. The only outcome that is flatly impossible is “no change.”

The grocery stores of Old Lyme make a good example of change. In the early 20th century there were multiple grocers, meat markets, and general stores in various districts of Old Lyme. Main Street (as it was called then) had several, one of which was the A&P. The A&P was still the main grocery (and still on Lyme St.) in the 1950s. They told the town they needed to greatly expand their store and nearby parking to stay in business. Eventually the town responded by making two major adjustments.

A group of local investors raised money for a “modern” strip center along Halls Rd., and the town changed the zoning in that area to make it only suitable for such use: they zoned it for commercial use only, and required a 60 ft. set-back from the road to leave ample space for cars. When the A&P expanded further, new investors were sought and the original community investors held only a minority interest.

The A&P eventually went bankrupt, but the owners of the shopping center found a new anchor tenant in the Big Y.

Attracting and keeping businesses requires cooperation and responsiveness on the part of the town. The Big Y has a much larger store nearby in Old Saybrook and several more along the shoreline. I have no idea what the Big Y’s plans are for their smaller Old Lyme store, and anyone who is privy to that sort of information might not be at liberty to say.

Businesses make their own decisions based on their own interests, and that is as it should be. And that is the point. The environment changes, and businesses adapt or die. The town itself has a role to play in creating an environment that favors the kinds of businesses, the kinds of investments, and the kinds of development that will create and support the town as they want it to be.

What should we, as a town, hope to accomplish?

There is more to the town’s role than simply reacting to some proposed change or hustling to stave off a bad outcome. The whole object of the current process is to point to the most positive future for the Halls Road area and devise a sound set of measures to help create it.

If we (with the help of the HRIC and others) can put together a solid picture of the economic advantages of locating certain kinds of businesses in Old Lyme, and if we can demonstrate that we are in broad agreement as to what kinds of development we would like in the Halls Road area, and show that we are prepared to make the changes necessary to permit and promote that kind of development, then we have a much greater chance of attracting developers who will make the significant investments of money and time required to make our plans a reality.

All of these “ifs” will take time, effort, and involvement from many different groups and individuals. The Halls Road Improvement Committee is looking for broad-based participation, particularly in the processes leading to the creation of a master plan that can guide future developments along Halls Road.

A master plan does not create anything by fiat. The objective, rather, is to create a plan that has broad support, has a firm basis in economic realities, and offers attractive opportunities for reputable developers and current owners alike.

If we do not make this effort, if we simply leave the future shape of Halls Road to the uncoordinated, one-point decisions of each current and future property owner with no guidance from the town, we will have no room to complain when things do not go as we wish. That could happen in a big way if we do not plan ahead. Changes well beyond the control of the town or any particular business are already under way.

How have things changed?

Retail stores, particularly in strip malls and big box malls, are under severe pressure from online shopping. More than half of U.S. households are Amazon Prime members. I would guess the percentage is even higher in Old Lyme. The online-centered lifestyle has nearly killed the bookstores and wrecked retail giants.

Curiously, it has also created a new demand for what Old Lyme once had: a centralized meeting place with a mix of stores and homes, public buildings and public parks — a place where one could park the car and walk to do errands, meet friends, hear the latest, or just watch the world go by. It’s the meeting places and public life that are missing in the online-focused world.

Retailers and developers have taken notice and altered their plans accordingly. “Mixed use” is the one environment in which bricks-and-mortar retail still seems to flourish. It is a mix of residential, shopping, dining, entertainment, supermarkets, offices, and walkable public spaces that provide a place to linger and meet with friends.

When cars were the center of life, shopping required a huge parking lot. Now it takes a cell phone. More and more parking lots are half-empty or dead. It turns out you can’t have a neighborhood without actual neighbors, no matter how clever the marketing. When an area includes real, full-time residents, it feels different and alive. It isn’t just a place to run errands, but a place with a full life of its own.

People want the amenities of shops and so forth, but they also want the experience of other people around them. This is the one thing they cannot get when they are online — as they increasingly are whether at work or at leisure. Mixing residential and commercial, public and private spaces creates a more attractive environment for both businesses and residents.

Unmet needs and Halls Road

Older people who have lived in Old Lyme for decades find they must move to another town if they want to downsize. Mixed use housing in the Halls Road area could be an attractive alternative for many in this situation. It would also be attractive for younger people just starting out in life. Adding new uses to the land near Halls Road will also create new sources of tax revenue, providing some relief for existing tax payers.

What next?

The zoning we created to serve the 1950s’ car culture mandates nothing but strip malls — and that may now be an economic dead end. If we want anything new or different, we will have to make the changes to support it.

We as a town are a long way from having a shared vision of what is best for Halls Road. That process will take time and active participation. The HRIC works to lead the process, to make it transparent, and to keep people informed and involved. As a part of that effort, they are hosting an Open House at Memorial Town Hall this Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I urge you to stop by for a few minutes and take a look at some of the ideas that are in discussion. The future shape of Halls Road is not a simple yes or no question. Most of us depend on the services available there, and many of us have ideas about how it could be better.

The HRIC Open House on Saturday is the latest opportunity to get involved in the discussion.


Intake for 83rd Annual White Elephant Sale Starts June 27; Sale Takes Place Friday & Saturday, July 12-13

Intake, which starts this year Thursday, June 27, is always a busy time.

The ever popular White Elephant Sale (WES) hosted by the Ladies Benevolent Society of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme is just around the corner.

For those not familiar with it, this 83rd annual sale is one of the main events on both local town and church calendars.  It all starts with the intake period when you can drop off unwanted (but neither broken nor in poor condition) items at the church from your house — perhaps your basement, attic or closets — or yard.

Crowds anxiously await the first strike of 9 a.m. when the White Elephant Sale begins.

Garage, tag and rummage sales may be everyday affairs, but few, if any, can match the size and color of this one.  The sale items are organized into some 20 departments that fill the church buildings as well as every available space on the lawn.  The WES has grown so large that it has become a true “community event” since many of the donations are from non-church members and quite a number of volunteers are also from outside the church.

The sale raises a significant amount of money for missions and good works both locally and throughout the world.  Some of the beneficiaries include food pantries, health organizations, family support centers, children’s programs, literacy volunteers, affordable housing, and disaster relief worldwide.

Always a big draw are the huge number of bikes for sale at bargain prices.

Intake begins on Thursday, June 27, from 9 a.m. to 2 pm continuing for the same time period Friday, June 28, Saturday, June 29, and Monday, July 1.  Then there is a break for the July 4th holiday after which intake restarts for the final two days Friday, July 5, and Saturday, July 6.  There will be no evening intake sessions this year and also no large furniture pick-up. See the list below for a summary of donations that are welcomed, and those that are not.

The sale itself will be held on Friday, July 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday, July 13, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Most departments offer items at half-price on the second day.

For more information about the sale or if you would like to volunteer to help in any capacity, whether with intake, the sale itself, or clean-up, call the church office at 860.434.8686 and/or visit www.fccol.org.

Items that will GLADLY be accepted  [Quality Please!]
Antiques, Fine China, Silver                      
Appliances, Small (Working)
Art, Sculpture, Posters, Frames
Automobiles, Trucks [call church]
Bedding, Linens
Boats, Canoes, Kayaks
Bicycles, Tricycles
Books: Children’s, Non-Fiction, Fiction
Clothes & Shoes:
>Child’s, Men’s, Women’s
>Fine, Fashion
>Vintage, Costume & Accessories
Computer Hardware (working)
Curtains, Drapes
Electronics (Working)
Furniture: Indoor & Outdoor [call church 434-8686]
Gifts, Sundries, Knickknacks & Baskets
Jewelry: Costume & Fine
Kitchen Items (Appliances, Dishes, Cookware)
Lamps (Working)
Luggage [soft side or Steamer trunks only]
Musical Instruments
Plants, Containers
Skis – downhill must be “shape” style
Sporting Goods [good condition]
Tools (House & Garden)
Toys, Stuffed Animals [new]
DVDs (Family Content)

Items that WILL NOT be accepted:
Dirty or Broken Items or Junk

Appliances (Large):
>Air Conditioners
>Refrigerators, freezers & Stoves
>Washers & Dryers
Bike helmets [used – safety concerns]
Books: Technical or Textbooks, Encyclopedias
Car Seats – safety concerns
Cribs – safety concerns
Chemicals & Paint
Computer monitors [unless flat screen]
Fuel cans with Gasoline or Kerosene
Guns, Knives, Weapons
Luggage [hard sided]
Magazines, Newspapers
Mattresses and Box Springs
Particle board furniture
Rugs [used]
Sewing Machines
Skis – old style downhill
Stuffed animals [used]
Stuffed sofas / sofa beds
TVs [unless flat screen]


Talking Transportation: Why the Scorn for Bus Riders?

Jim Cameron

Why do many people have such scorn for those who take the bus?

Forty-one million trips are taken on 12,000 public buses each year in Connecticut in communities across the state (not counting school buses.)  Yet, those riders are regarded as losers, not by the transit operators, but by those who drive by car.

When Southington was recently considering restoring bus service for the first time since 1969, a local resident wrote a letter to the local paper declaring “Towns that have bus service are towns that frankly have a lesser quality of people.”

Really?  “Lesser quality,” how?  Because they can’t afford to own a car?  Or because they are minorities?  That comment is either racist or classist or both.

As I wrote recently, the Greater Bridgeport Transit bus system carries 18,000 passengers every day (5.2 million a year), 90 percent of them either going to school or work.  Something like 26 percent of all Bridgeport train riders got to or from the station by bus.

Sure, some are non-white or non-English speaking.  But why begrudge them transportation?  You’d rather they not have a job or an education?

And yes, their fares are kept low with state subsidies.  But their incomes are also low and for them, even a $1.75 bus fare is expensive.  Remember … Metro-North trips (26.5 million per year), though also expensive (the highest in the US), are also subsidized.

But the biggest target of transit scorn is CTfastrak, the four-year-old, 9.4-mile-long dedicated BRT (bus rapid transit) system running between Hartford and New Britain.  Transit planners from across the country come to study CTfastrak. The Feds are looking to spend $665 million on similar systems across the US.

Yet Connecticut Republicans were trying to close it before it even began.

When it first opened in 2014, the CDOT projected 16,000 daily riders.  To date, the ridership is closer to 11,400.  Fares are cheap ($1.75 round-trip) and service is frequent with buses departing every few minutes.  From New Britain to downtown Hartford, it’s only 20 minutes, even at rush hour.  That’s about half the time you’d spend on I-84 stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

From the dedicated bus-only right-of-way, buses can also transfer to local roads into downtown Hartford and communities ranging from New Britain and Bristol to Cheshire and Waterbury.  The stations are clean and modern and the buses even offer free Wi-Fi … something we still don’t (and probably never will) have on Metro-North.

Critics complain about “empty buses” riding up and down the system.  Sure, the buses may not be jammed like Metro-North on a summertime Friday, but they do carry thousands every day.  Imagine if those bus riders were in cars.  How’d you like the traffic then?

Why the scorn for bus riders?  Beyond racism and class-warfare, I think there’s actually some jealousy.  Why do they get a fast, clean, cheap ride when I’m stuck in traffic?  Well, for some it’s a matter of necessity: they don’t own or have access to a car.  For others, as with train riders, it’s a matter of choice: they prefer the bus for speed and convenience.

So can we please stop shaming bus riders?

Like all of us, they have places to go, so let’s just allow them to ride in peace and harmony.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  For a full collection of  “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com


See ‘Summer Sculpture Showcase 2019’ in Old Lyme

Sculptor Gil Boro in his studio in Old Lyme.

‘War’ by Craig Frederick is a dramatic work.

Gilbert Boro, owner and curator of the Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, Conn., presents Summer Sculpture Showcase 2019: An Exhibit of Intriguing Landscape Sculptures. Featuring 23 works by both well-established, nationally renowned sculptors, as well as fresh promising newcomers, the summer-long show will run through Oct. 26, 2019.

The reception is free and open to the public and includes live music and light refreshments.

Boro, a nationally acclaimed sculptor in his own right, hosts this fifth annual show to provide a venue for both young and mid-career sculptors to showcase their work. This summer’s show is curated by the Sculpture Grounds team that has collaborated for several years to produce dynamic exhibits. Each of the artists chosen, Boro says, “offers original creative thinking resulting in a combination of contrasting conceptual designs in a variety of media.”

Boro has a strong aversion to exhibits that prohibit touching a piece. His Sculpture Grounds not only permit – but encourage – visitors to touch sculptures. “I really think that three-dimensional art should be handled, touched, pushed, and experienced in three dimensions,” he says. The exhibitors for the Summer Showcase embrace this concept.

Artists from Connecticut, the Northeast region, and around the country are represented in the show. Massachusetts sculptor Madeleine Lord scrounges through scrap yards collecting all manner of discarded metal that she then assembles into playful humanoid type sculptures. Her showpiece Core is indicative of her imaginative creativity.

‘Closing the Deal’ by Jerold Ehrlich is one of the featured pieces in the 2019 Summer Sculpture Showcase.

Connecticut-based artist Craig Frederick was chosen for his sculpture “War”. Frederick says creating art “is my way of attempting to understand an increasingly complex world. In a world where order, as we perceive it, is a mere illusion, the work of my art becomes the ability to navigate the churning of many tides.”

‘Core’ by Madeleine Lord

Other participating sculptors include William Evertson, whose works examining our human failings and fragility have been displayed world-wide; the abstract sculpture of Joe Gitterman; and luminous glass sculptor Mundy Hepburn.

‘Can I Live’ by Lyme Academy College recent graduate Alfredo Carlson.

In the spirit of supporting and exhibiting promising new artists, the Summer Showcase will introduce the work of Alfredo Carlson, a 2019 graduate of Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and a native of Haiti. Upon his arrival in America at age 10, Carlson had no previous schooling. He says he never thought he would even make it to high school, let alone college. “I literally started from the bottom,”

Carlson says. “I get asked how it feels be a college graduate. I literally don’t know. I’m still in shock I’ve made it this far.” Carlson says, “I’m honored to be included in such a big show,” which will feature his senior project, “Can I Live?”

‘Stance’ by Michael Thron is an intriguing piece.

Situated halfway between Boston and New York, Summer Sculpture Showcase 2019 is set on Boro’s four-and-a-half acre estate in the heart of Old Lyme’s historic village. The permanent display consists of approximately 100 works strategically placed around the park-like grounds. Now in its 15th year, the Sculpture Grounds host more than 5,000 visitors a year.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic to the patio cafe. The grounds are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, year-round, admission is free, and touching the sculptures is encouraged. For more information, artist’s statements and brief bios,  visit www.sculpturegrounds.com.



Tickets Sold Out for High Hopes ‘Big Barn Bash’ Tonight

ALL TICKETS ARE SOLD!  We are proud to be a sponsor of this wonderful event and hope everyone who attends has a fabulous evening!

Join High Hopes Therapeutic Riding on Saturday and dance the night away during an inspirational and elegant evening to benefit High Hopes’ programs and participants.

The Big Barn Bash is one of Eastern Connecticut’s premier gala events and takes place at High Hopes’ facility, which is transformed into the ideal setting for cocktails, silent auction, sit-down dinner, music and dancing.  Over 600 guests are expected.

Event proceeds benefit the programs and participants of High Hopes’ year-round equine-assisted therapy programs.

The Big Barn Bash is a community-sponsored event with over 200 volunteers working annually to support the event and is sponsored financially by Northstar Wealth Partners, LLC and Dominion.

Corporate sponsorship is a critical portion of the funds raised, which accounts for 20 percent of High Hopes’ operating support.

For  tickets or more information, visit www.highhopestr.org or call 860 434-1974.

High Hopes is one of the oldest and largest therapeutic riding centers in the United States, operating since 1974 and accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH Intl.) since 1979.  High Hopes is committed to providing the highest quality service to all who might benefit, regardless of their financial means. www.highhopestr.org


Next ‘Hiker’s Happy Hour’ at the Old Lyme Inn to be Held Sept. 5

Photo by Pratik Gupta on Unsplash.

The Town of Old Lyme Open Space Commission, the Old Lyme Inn and the Old Lyme Land Trust are sponsoring another “Hiker’s Happy Hour” immediately after a relatively short guided walk Thursday afternoon/evening.

This hike will take place at the Old Lyme Land Trust’s George & Woodward Griswold Preserve located off the Boston Post Rd., about two miles west of Laysville Center and almost opposite Stoneleigh Knoll.  

Hikers should meet at 4:15 pm at the Preserve Parking lot.  Note that parking is very limited in this lot.  Additional parking is available across Boston Post Rd. on Stoneleigh Knoll.

The hike is a fairly relaxed walk of one mile or less over flat terrain, which should take about 45 minutes.  It will start from the parking lot and head to the Lower Mill Pond dam and fish ladder.  A trail map can be found at the Land Trust’s website.

After trekking the trails, hikers can enjoy a 5 p.m. happy hour at the adjacent Old Lyme Inn.

If the weather turns to steady rain, hikers can just go to the Inn, where Open Space Commission members will be happy to chat and discuss future walks. The public need not hike to enjoy the event; the happy hour at the Inn will begin at 5 p.m. regardless of whether those present have hiked!

Future “Hiker’s Happy Hours” at the Old Lyme Inn are scheduled for Sept. 5 and Oct. 3, with more information to follow.


All About Opossums; Potapaug Hosts Talk in Old Lyme This Evening

Potapaug Audubon will host a talk on the Virginia Opossum, Thursday. Public domain photo.

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 6, Potapaug Audubon hosts a slide presentation titled, “The Virginia Opossum,” starting at 7 p.m. in Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall with ME, Barbara Hawes, a wildlife rehabilitator with the state of Connecticut for 21 years, specializing in exclusively opossums for the last 14 years. She is also a Potapaug Audubon board member.

The opossum is quite misunderstood. There will be answers to these questions:

  • Do they “play possum”?
  • Are they related to rats?
  • Do they hang by their tail?

Plus numerous other facts will be revealed that most people do not know.

All are welcome.

Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall is at 52 Lyme St.


Legal News You Can Use: Injured at Work? Should I Make a Worker’s Comp. Claim?

Looks safe enough, but injuries can happen anywhere in a work environment.

Sponsored Post from Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law 

Imagine that you’re working at your desk. There are no significant hazards around you. You reach up and pick up a heavy box above you, and you suddenly feel a snap along your shoulder. You’ve been working in the same position for many hours, and combined with the strain of the weight of the box, you’re now struggling with a painful injury.

Situations like yours aren’t uncommon. It’s actually relatively common for accidents to happen on the job with little that can be done to prevent them. Whether it’s because of repetitive motions, picking up something too heavy or other causes, injuries can happen in an instant.

When they do, you need to know what to do next. No matter what kind of injury you suffer, your employer should help you file a claim with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If your injury is extremely painful, a coworker can take you to the hospital, or your employer can call for an ambulance.

It’s important that you receive care right away so that you can prevent the injury from worsening.

What information should you keep from the hospital visit?

Keep every piece of paperwork you receive. You should also inform the medical provider that this is a work-related injury so that they can give you copies of the correct documents for your employer.

If you are hurt on the job in any way, workers’ compensation should be there to protect you and pay for your medical care. Don’t delay in telling someone if you get hurt so you can get care quickly.

The Suisman Shapiro website has more information on the compensation and benefits you may receive after a work injury.