Wakeman Town Farm
134 Cross Highway, Westport
When we first moved to Fairfield County I thought it’d be fun to grow our own Halloween pumpkin in our little garden next to the fence. I planted one or two seeds and watched its first baby leaves peep out and, eventually, take over the entire patch. In no time, it had clambered up the fence, crawled into the neighbor’s garden, and was poised to take over their entire yard before I hacked it down with an axe. The next day it had become bigger and stronger and was clearly preparing itself for world domination.
Long story short, I’m now the proud farmer of chives, weeds, and an unsettling crop of pale leafy carrots.
Now, I could go to Wakeman “organic demonstration homestead” and learn how to grow vegetables in an environmentally responsible way. Which I easily can, because they offer all sorts of ways to educate people on how not to destroy plants. But they also offer children’s camps and classes, so I’ll save the thrill of nurturing organic zucchini for my kids. Plus, there are a bunch of snuggly farm animals for them to care for and cuddle, including one very fluffy white chicken.
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Events + Places
Home + Garden
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 • Permalink
Las Vetas Lounge
29 Unquowa Road, Fairfield
The hodge-podgiest coffee shop I’ve ever graced with my presence, this café boasts an enormous selection of teas and coffee drinks (Flava-Mave, Shizzler’s Toffee Chocolate Shake), retro candy (candy bracelets, Bit O’Honey), single-serve bowls of sugared cereals, wall o’ bagged chips, some baked goods, sandwiches, garage-sale seating …you get the idea. Coffee’s okay but – let’s be honest – completely beside the point.
Robin’s note: Good news is, the environment itself is so loud no one notices when your children act like non-domesticated wildebeest.
Who you’ll see eating here: Fairfield U students, moms with young kids, and a random sprinkling of 50 year-old men.
Their specialty: Coffee drinks.
What you should order: One of their crazy coffee drinks, bag of fritos, handful of mini chocolate bars, and some sort of hard taffy lollipop that’ll keep the kids busy while you enjoy your lunch.
What you may not know buy should: They don’t have a liquor license, but bring in a bottle of wine and they’ll serve it for a nominal corkage fee.
Bars + Baristas
Saturday, April 05, 2014 • Permalink
Homes With Hope
The “joke” in Westport is that the town has the only homeless shelter in the country that’s four doors down from a Tiffany. I bet the executives at Tiffany get a good chuckle over that one.
Homes With Hope offers housing, over 30,000 meals a year, Masters-level counseling, and an opportunity for independence to homeless and mentally challenged people and their families. A lot of Tiffany customers volunteer at HwH, and the success stories are worth their weight in gold.
Robin’s Note: Currently, there are 86 people sleeping every night in close proximity to the jewelers. 30 of these people are children. Also, the HwH board appoints two high school student members, a junior and a senior, who volunteer for 2 years.
Who they are: “Homes with Hope provides facilities and supportive services in a structured environment that enable homeless people in the communities we serve to achieve an independent and self-sufficient life.”—ihawestport.com
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Wednesday, April 02, 2014 • Permalink
South Moon Under
14 Post Road East, Westport
Born from a surf shack in 1968, South Moon Under honors it roots by selling swimsuits year ‘round. Which is fabulous for those of you itching for a mid-winter bikini spree. Personally, I try to avoid that kind of reality (and many others, including my birthday, dirty toilets, and the tower of mail and overdue library books on my kitchen counter.)
If you don’t want a bikini but you want to show skin, they’ve got you covered. Tiny cut-offs, pleather crop tops, patterned halters. If the sight of your pasty thighs in short-shorts sends you screaming for a maxi-dress, you’re in luck: they’ve got those, too. Colorful ones. So you can cover up. Sort of.
There are all sorts of fun, relaxed clothing appropriate for a privileged teenager or working twenty-something on vacation. If you don’t like what you see, wait a week. New clothing and different designers will keep you and your budget in a constant state of wonder.
Robin’s note: The entire bottom floor is a sale room! It’s kind of empty now, but it won’t be for long. Retailers tend to overestimate the number of rayon-blend dresses and novelty sweaters it takes to saturate our market.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Moms of teens, shopping for themselves or for their teen daughter.
Their specialty: Swimsuits, sundresses, bold jewelry, and colorful tops.
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Monday, March 31, 2014 • Permalink
The critics have spoken!
Robinsresources.com delivers “…smart, informative and laugh out-loud hysterical reviews of Fairfield County charities, shops, restaurants, and more.” – nbc.com
If you like us, please “like” us on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/robinsresourcesfairfield!
And please tell others – the more the merrier!
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 • Permalink
1561 Post Road, Fairfield
The only problem with The Beehive is that it’s perfect. The store is airy and inviting, the gifts are lovely (and useful!) with a sense of humor, and the owners Sarah and Chris are manifestations of a J. Crew catalog. Even their rescue dog is purebred - not the wacky amalgams* most of us adopt.
None of this is a problem per se but, typically, gift stores carry a few items at which we can roll our eyes or buy as joke presents. That’s not happening here.
Tasteful items range from Allegra Hicks throw pillows to Jonathan Adler salt and pepper shakers, Loren Hope necklaces to charming stationary. The children’s gifts are deliciously whimsical, though geared more toward a hip mom than an actual toddler. But who cares. Better to keep the mom happy if she’s dealing with toddlers.
Robin’s note: Ironically, I’m not a huge fan of blogs. Especially those on store sites which I find to be a bit pandering. But their blog is (surprise!) really good. I found myself wanting most of their suggested gift items.
Price points are kept low for “guilt-free” shopping - for those of you who’ve ever felt guilty about it. And once you’ve purchased gifts for yourself and all the party-throwers in your life, you can wrap them in gorgeous paper and ribbons, also for sale. So your OCD friends will love it, too.
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Home + Garden
Monday, March 24, 2014 • Permalink
Little Black Dog Rescue
We adopted a dog last summer - Addison, rescued from Puerto Rico. He’s a hybrid of, oh, 5 or 6 indeterminate breeds and it’s no exaggeration to say he’s the most amazing dog in the entire history of the world. So I was researching Playa Lucia, aka Dead Dog Beach, from where he hails. And I feel like someone just punched me in the stomach. Warning - the next paragraph is graphic.
Dead Dog Beach is a dumping ground for satos, or stray dogs. Up to 300 dogs at a time “live” there, abused and neglected, foraging for food, starving to death, and much worse. Not infrequently, men with guns or cross-bows use these dogs for target practice or hack them up with machetes. Others are poisoned or run over for by ATVs “for fun.” Those that don’t die from torture, starvation, or sickness are euthanized and tossed into the trash with hundreds of other dead dogs and puppies.
While this depravity is most pronounced in Puerto Rico, dogs are horribly mistreated and abused all over the United States.
To think this easily could have been our Addison’s fate is hideous.
Anecdotally, black dogs have the most difficulty finding adoptive homes. Reasons for this are conjecture, but theorires for “Black Dog Syndrome” include the Hollywood typecasting of black dogs in “evil” dog roles and that they don’t photograph well for promotional materials.
Amy Scarella, founder of Little Black Dog Rescue, has devoted herself to finding homes for these dark and deserving pups. She works with shelters in Puerto Rico, Georgia, and South Carolina to bring dogs to her home and foster families in Connecticut before matching them with the right families. All dogs are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and deemed healthy before they’re placed.
Robin’s Note: Adopt a dog this Sunday! On March 23, Doggone Smart, 15 Cross St, Norwalk, is hosting Little Black Dog Rescue and a posse of their cutest pooches, all eager for adoption. Please swing by between 12-3. http://www.doggonesmart.com
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Friday, March 21, 2014 • Permalink
124 Compo Road North, Westport
Ah, springtime. The weather warms, the crocuses pop, and tin birds that seemed to have sprung from a Blue Meanies and Yo Gabba Gabba cross-mating experiment lurk on random roadways. Yes, they appear (most) every March to herald the Annual Project Return Birdhouse Auction. And the cause makes those freaky creatures worth tolerating.
Who they are: Since 1986, Project Return has housed troubled adolescent girls. “Girls who are victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as those who suffer from eating disorders, depression, homelessness and other traumas make Project Return their temporary home.”
What they do: “7 girls at a time live in this family-like atmosphere. In the process of mending broken spirits, our teens regain a sense of their own power to change their lives for the better.” (website) Girls receive the education and attention they need to empower themselves and mend their lives. They receive counseling, drug screening, educational and hospital services, DBT skills training, 12-step area meetings for addiction, special education if needed, cultural enrichment, and much more.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014 • Permalink
CSA - Community Supported Agriculture
My husband and I decided to go organic when we started a family. Now that our kids are older, they really appreciate all the trouble and expense I go to to serve top-quality organic produce. They also fold their own laundry, balance my checkbook, and hold hands while singing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” when guests visit.
If your kids aren’t perfect like mine, but you still want to go to the trouble and expense of serving them organic produce, I have good news: it’s no longer expensive.
Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, has opened a Southport branch. It’s a wonderful way to support local farms and literally reap their harvest of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
Who they are: A core group of dedicated volunteers and certified organic local farmers.
What they do and how it works: “CSA is a means for consumers to buy a share in a farm’s seasonal production directly from the farmer. Consumers benefit from buying local, farm fresh, high quality produce at an attractive price and farmers benefit from pre-selling the harvest. CSA members pick up their weekly shares either at the farm or a location in their community.
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Monday, March 17, 2014 • Permalink
The Little Barn
1050 Post Road East, Westport
Opened by Kevin McHugh, co-owner of Spotted Horse and Grey Goose, I imagine the conversation he had with his Little Barn partner, Scott Beck, went something like:
McHugh: “I’ve had heaps of success naming eateries after farm animals.”
Beck: “But the only ones left are Pig, Cow… maybe a Housecat, a Rat.”
McHugh: “Right. Which one makes you hungriest?”
Beck: “Not… none.”
Thus, The Little Barn was born.
The Barn, made from reclaimed almost everything, has a collection of perfectly worn license plates and a neon “Liquor Store” sign. These touches evoke a cozy “Aw, shucks” roadhouse environment, belied by the high-end bar with a parade of designer cocktails and wonderful gastro-pub fares. Which, of course, is irresistible to those of us who enjoy fraternizing redneck-style without actually involving rednecks.
The basic kids (“Half Pints”) menu appeals to, like, kids.
Robin’s note: The cocktails, concocted from fresh juice and top tier liquors are good, if inconsistent. The margaritas are sweet. Very sweet. I kept looking over my shoulder, expecting to be attacked by a flock of hummingbirds.
Their Specialty: Chicken Pot Pie
What You Should Eat: Excellent burgers and kale salad, Fish ‘n’ Chips, and pulled pork.
What You May Not Know But Should:
- The chefs are flexible and happy to monkey around with your entrée. So if you want chowder on your chicken wings or bacon on your baby backs, just ask.
- No entrée is over $20
- The location used to Dairy Queen, then a lousy diner, then Swanky Franks. Some people remain wistful about these restaurants.
- Beck and McHugh are proud Staples grads.
- No reservations accepted.
Bars + Baristas
Thursday, March 13, 2014 • Permalink