April 24, 2014

Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber Hosts 14th Annual “Taste of Lymes” Business Expo, Sunday


Four local chefs will present cooking demonstrations at the 14th Annual  “Taste  of the Lymes Business Expo” on Sunday afternoon, April 27, from 3 to 5 p.m., to be held this year at the Old Lyme Country Club.

Many local businesses and Chamber members will exhibit at the Business Expo including Fresh Ayer Gallery, Amity Home Construction & Design, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Florence Griswold Museum, The Woman’s Exchange, and Office Express.

Food preparation demonstrations by chefs from The Bee & Thistle Inn, Amanda Cushman of Simple Real Food, Café Flo (Gourmet Galley) and the Old Lyme Country Club will provide seasonal recipe ideas.  Landscape Designer Sheila Wertheimer will conduct a demonstration on planting a spring patio pot, and Julie Garvin Riggs of the Florence Griswold Museum will provide ongoing demonstrations of how to create handcrafted greeting cards.

Sample delicious foods from local restaurants, refresh your palate with a treat from the Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe cart, and participate in drawings to win prizes at this annual event.  The Old Lyme Country Club will host a cash bar.

The promotional art work for this event was created by Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts graduate Rick Lacey, who is a past Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce scholarship recipient.

Tickets at $10 per person are available at “Lyme Tree: The Woman’s Exchange” in the Old Lyme Marketplace or at “Fresh Ayer Gallery” in the Old Lyme Shopping Center, or at the door.

For additional information, visit www.visitoldlyme.com or e-mail email@lolcc.com.


Shoreline Medical Center Hosts Open House Today


The brand new Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center, pictured above, which held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday, is hosting a community Open House on Saturday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 Bring the whole family to enjoy:

    • Medical Center tours hosted by the staff
    • Free health fair with blood pressure screenings, child fingerprint IDs and more
    • “Touch-a-Truck” featuring paramedic and other vehicles
    • A roving magician and balloon sculptor to entertain the kids
    • Local food trucks offering barbecue, seafood, desserts & more for purchase

The Medical Center is located at 250 Flat Rock Place, Westbrook, CT 06498 .

For further information, contact Kathleen Russo at 860-358-6200 or Kathleen.Russo@midhosp.org


The Bowerbird Donates Almost $5,000 From Gift Wrap Program to Lyme-Old Lyme Lions


Pictured presenting the check are (from left to right) Chris Kitchings, owner of The Bowerbird, Marianne Szreders, President of L-OL Lions club and Phil Parcak, Vice-President of the L-OL Lions Club.

Pictured during presentation of the check are (from left to right) Chris Kitchings, owner of The Bowerbird, Marianne Szreders, President of Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club and Phil Parcak, Vice-President.

The Bowerbird in Old Lyme recently wrapped up their 2013 gift-wrapping campaign to raise funds for the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club.  The organization was presented with a check in the amount of $4,883.00 representing 2,870 packages wrapped.  The Bowerbird charges a nominal fee for gift-wrapping purchases and then donates 50% to local non-profit organizations.

The Bowerbird has selected the Eastern Connecticut Ballet as the recipient of the proceeds from their 2014 gift-wrap program.  The program runs from Nov. 1, 2013 through October 31, 2014.

In the past 20 years, The Bowerbird has donated over $65000.00 to 26 statewide and local non- profits.

For a complete listing of past recipients, visit www.thebowerbird.com.


Celebrate ‘National Chocolate Mousse’ Day at the Old Lyme Inn’s ‘Local Night’ Tonight

The Old Lyme Inn is introducing ‘Local Night’ on Thursdays starting at 5 p.m.  Tonight’s theme is ‘National Chocolate Mousse Day’ with The Chocolate Shell

‘Local Night’ is being billed as an opportunity to connect with the people who live or work in your neighborhood.   The Inn will be promoting community events, businesses, artists and produce.

Owners Chris and Ken Kitchings invite readers to come by and get to know the other locals.  ‘Local Night’ is intended to be a casual, public event and will be held every Thursday evening at 5 p.m.

Upcoming events planned are:

  • April 10: National Sibling Day — bring a family member and get 15 percent your bill.  Produce from Pezzello Bros. Fruit and Produce will be offered.
  • April 27: National Joe Day with Ashlawn Farm Coffee

Cease and Desist Upheld Against ‘Chocolate Shell’

After the hours of testimony in two Old Lyme Zoning Board of Appeals meetings and an Old Lyme Zoning Commission meeting, it took less than 30 minutes for the members of the ZBA to determine that there has been a change of use at The Chocolate Shell and to uphold Zoning Enforcement Officer Ann Brown’s Cease and Desist order on the café being operated in the store by owner Barbara Crowley.

Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Judith McQuade stressed that members must simply answer the question, “Has the use changed?  That’s what we want to know.”

Karen Coniff responded, “I do think there has been a use change.  I appreciate what she [Crowley] is doing there.  I just don’t think it’s the same use.”

Noting that although the café is, “a really nice thing for the town,” Kip Kotzan said, “I can’t say I really like it, so I’m going to pass on it [enforcing the regulations.]  He cited the re-doing of the space, the change of hours, the introduction of wi-fi and the extension of the fence as indicators of a change of use at the store.

Mary Stone similarly stressed that the board should confine their decision to “a very narrow area,” and then also expressed the view, “There has definitely been an expansion of use.”

McQuade said it was important to distinguish between an ‘expansion’ of use and a ‘change’ of use, as the former might be permissible.

Commenting, “It was a whole different proposition,” after the café opened, Arthur E. Sibley noted, “It wasn’t there before,” adding, “The decision was made in this town to preserve Lyme Street as much as they possibly could … I don’t think there’s any doubt this is a change of use … this operation is not really compliant and I don’t think we should allow it.”

Kotzan summed up that the café is “pretty clearly a change of use,” but stressed again that the board was, “not making a judgement that it was a bad thing.”  He suggested that if the process were followed, a permit application for the café might be approved by the Zoning Commission in due course.

When McQuade called the vote after a motion by Sibley was made to uphold the Cease and Desist, the vote was unanimous.




Traveling Tea-Cart is Art Student’s Dream, Business Funding Campaign Currently Underway

Erik Peterson

Erik Peterson

Erik Peterson is an accomplished artist.  A senior at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, he will graduate in May of this year, but rather than pursuing his craft  in the more traditional fields of the post-graduate art world such as illustration or teaching, Peterson has chosen a very different path.

Fascinated by the tea-making process since a young age, Peterson has formed a company called Thorn Tea with the goal of building a traveling  tea-cart that he can, “Bring out of a trailer alongside a road, in the city, at a farmer’s market.”  He plans not only to sell cups of his own freshly-brewed, hand-blended tea from the cart but also to sell the tea itself.

Sketch by Erik Peterson.

Sketch by Erik Peterson.

Peterson’s aspirations, however, go far beyond the sheer financial side of the business.  He explains that the mission of Thorn Tea is, “to bring strangers together over a cup of tea,” or as he puts it another way, “to re-establish personal communications between people through tea.”  Peterson feels strongly that people have what he describes as, “such small circles,” and asks rhetorically, “Why not extend them through tea?”

Peterson is currently working to raise seed capital for his business through Indiegogo.com, which is, according to the company’s website, “a platform [used] to raise millions of dollars for all types of campaigns.”  The Thorn Tea  campaign is open through Thursday, March 20, and readers can contribute directly to Peterson’s project at this link, where Peterson has created a mini-website with extensive information about his plans.

Although his future is in tea, Peterson’s skills as an artist are not going unused.  He has designed all the company’s promotional materials, including its attractive logo, and is also working on the construction specifications of his tea-cart concept.

Thorn Tea packaging features Erik Peterson's original designs.

Thorn Tea packaging features Erik Peterson’s original designs.

Peterson, who says he has been making tea since “around the age of 14,” blends and packages his teas himself:  he has a variety of organic blends with exotic names like Morning Mint and Queen of Wild Flowers, along with the more traditional Chai.  Sales of his teas have been growing steadily among family and friends, but Thorn Tea is his first foray into the business world.

Driven by the idea of the old-fashioned tea-house, where, in his words, there is, “community, support and love,” Peterson is passionate about bringing “that ritual back into everyone’s lives,” and giving people the opportunity to “break down the barriers” that are keeping them from communicating effectively, thus “bringing people together again” — and all through the medium of Thorn Tea.

Editor’s Note: For more information about Thorn Tea or to donate to Peterson’s project, visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/thorn-tea–2

Click here to see more art by Erik Peterson.


Chamber Hosts Scholarship Fundraising Event Tonight at Lyme Academy

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce is hosting a fundraising event, “Paving the Way to a Brighter Future,” on Friday, March 14, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Chauncey Stillman Gallery at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, 84, Lyme Street, Old Lyme.

This event is being held to raise funds for a new scholarship for a graduating senior from Lyme-Old Lyme High School, who plans to pursue a career in business.

Tickets are $20 per person and  refreshments will be served.

All are welcome.

Reservations to assist with planning the event would be appreciated.  RSVP to either olwenlogan@gmail.com or rosemary@bonnesantellc.com.


Middlesex Hospital on Target to Open New Westbrook Medical Center in April

Middlesex Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook is on schedule to open in April

Middlesex Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook is on schedule to open in April

Middlesex Hospital is on track to open a new emergency and outpatient medical center off Exit 65 of I-95 in Westbrook this coming April.  The new 44,000 square foot medical center is located at 250 Flat Rock Road, which is on the road that leads up to the Tanger Outlet Mall.

As soon as the new Westbrook Medical Center is completed, Middlesex Hospital will make the transition from its existing Shoreline Medical Center in Essex.  The new Westbrook location will be double the size of the Essex facility.  In addition, it will have the capacity to expand up to 60,000 square feet, if there is a need to do so.

Middlesex Hospital’s new Westbrook facility will have many improvements over the present Essex facility.  These include an expanded emergency center with 24 beds, as well as an urgent care area for non-emergency patients.  Patient privacy will be also be improved at the new center and there will be a separate outside entrance to the adjoining outpatient area.

In addition, the new facility will have a full service laboratory, an infusion therapy suite, expanded radiology services and a designated women’s imaging area.

Chester Company Donates $1 Million to New Center

Whelen Engineering, Inc., which is headquartered in Chester, is donating $1 million towards the building of the new Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook.  The new Emergency Department in Westbrook will be aptly named the “Whelen Emergency Center.”

Whelen Engineering previously donated $1 million towards to the construction of a new Emergency Department in Middletown, which the hospital named the “Whelen Emergency Pavilion.”

Middlesex Hospital’s History of Medical Care on the Shoreline

Middlesex Hospital has a history, beginning in 1970, of providing medical care to the shoreline residents of Middlesex County.  The hospital first rented a space in Centerbrook, where it set up a full-service, satellite Emergency Department.

From its first day of operation, this Shoreline Medical Center in Centerbrook experienced phenomenal growth.  In fact, it soon became impossible for the medical center to remain at its Centerbrook location and properly serve an overrun of patients for the size of the facility.

Two Essex residents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred P. Knapp, came to the rescue by donating to Middlesex Hospital 10.4 acres of land on which to build a new, permanent Shoreline Medical Center in Essex. Today, the facility serves on average 2,000 to 2,500 patients a month in its Emergency Department alone.  In addition, the Medical Center’s Emergency Department has received a number of prestigious awards for its excellence in patient satisfaction.

The Shoreline Medical Clinic in Essex will close this coming April when the Westbrook Medical Center opens.

The Shoreline Medical Clinic in Essex will close this coming April when the Westbrook Medical Center opens.

Middlesex Hospital to date has not announced its plans for the building in Essex, once it has been closed and replaced by the new Westbrook facility.


The Chocolate Shell Café Re-opens

case _of_goodies

Barbara Crowley, owner of The Chocolate Shell on Lyme Street, has announced the re-opening of her Café on the premises.  The cases of cakes and pastries, which have been empty for a couple of weeks, are full once more, as shown in the photo at left.

The Café  was closed under a Cease and Desist order issued by Old Lyme’s Zoning Enforcement Officer, Ann Brown, who contends that the Café  is operating as a full-service take out restaurant and a full-service restaurant.  The Cease and Desist Order required Crowley to remove all tables and chairs from the front lawn and back patio, to stop selling coffee and to remove the “Café Open” flag.

Crowley has now filed an appeal with the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Pending the hearing of that appeal, Crowley has been advised that she can operate her Café under the regulations prior to the issue of the Cease and Desist.


No “Butts” About It, CVS Pharmacies Have Stopped Selling Cigarettes, While Rival, Rite Aid, Continues

The nation’s largest pharmacy chain, CVS, recently announced that it would stop selling cigarettes. However, one of its major competitors in the pharmacy business, Rite Aid, has declined not to adopt a similar policy.

Rite Aid’s Bob Neveu, who is in charge of the pharmacy at the Colonial shopping center in Essex, maintains that even though Rite Aid still sell cigarettes, it is still cutting back in selling tobacco products generally.  “We used to have a special cigar section in the stores,” he says, and now they have been eliminated.

Rite Aid’s Nevey admits he has always felt that, “It was somewhat incongruous for a health goods store, like Rite Aid, to be selling cigarettes.”  However, regardless of the store manager’s personal feelings, cigarettes enjoy a prime spot behind the checkout counter at the front of the store, where Marlboro cigarette packages and other brands are on full display.

As for the CVS pharmacy chain, in its pharmacy in downtown Old Saybrook on Boston Post Road, it indeed appears that CVS is not selling cigarettes, true to its word.  Not a single cigarette package was evident on recent visit.  However, it does appear that CVS has not given up selling other tobacco products.  On a recent visit right behind the checkout counters, although there were no cigarettes in view, there were clearly other kinds of tobacco products for sale.

When asked what they were, “We sell pipe tobacco and cigars,” said one of the women behind the CVS checkout counter.


Essex Savings Bank Reflects on Successful Year at Annual Meeting

Essex Savings Bank held its semi-annual Trustees’ Meeting Monday, Jan. 27,  at the Bank’s Plains Road corporate office in Essex.  Bank Chairman Douglas Paul welcomed the attendees and stated that he was proud to preside at the completion of the Bank’s 162nd year.

Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO, reported on the Bank’s performance for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013 by stating, “I am pleased to report that the Bank posted a net profit of $1.7 million. Bank assets grew by $6.7 million to $331.5 million. While core deposits rose by $12 million, credit quality remained strong with zero foreclosed properties and capital increased by $1.8 million to $40.4 million – far exceeding regulatory requirements.”

He continued, ” Our branches continue to attract new relationships and our newest branches in Madison and Chester are operating ahead of our projections.  During the year, the Bank generated over $76 million in loans which were comprised of both residential and business loans. We are also proud to report that our Trust Department, led by professionals, Granville Morris and Moira Martin, has brought assets under management to over $300 million. ”

Shook added, ”  As part of our Bank’s success, we will again be distributing 10% of our after-tax net income or $224,000 to non-profits in our market area.  By year end, we will have contributed back to the community in excess of $3.9 million over the past 18 years that the Community Investment Program has been in existence.”

Charles Cumello, President & CEO of Essex Financial Services Inc., reported that gross revenue for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013 was $18.7 million, which is up 12 percent.  “This year’s performance is one of the firm’s best, and marks the fourth year in a row with record revenue growth.”

Cumello informed the trustees of  the  many improvements and investments in technology and infrastructure currently underway that will increase the excellence of the firm’s client service as the firm continues to grow.  He stated that these investments in infrastructure are critical as the addition of new clients to the firm has been very robust and inquiries from potential clients continue to rise.

Editor’s Note: Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut RiverValley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.  Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA, SIPC.

Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.


Chester Celebrates Winter With Annual Winter Carnivale, Sunday

Photo by John Stack. An ice carving at the 2012 Carnivale.

Photo by John Stack.
An ice carving at the 2012 Carnivale.

Who can object to winter when it’s celebrated with magnificent ice carvings, a chili contest, and a decorated tractor parade? Throw in some Mardi Gras-style beads, face painting, and street performers, and you’ll never hate winter again!

The town of Chester celebrates its 24th Annual Winter Carnivale on Sunday, Feb. 16, beginning at 10 a.m. The event, which takes place in the center of town in snow, rain, or shine, is free, with the exception of the Chili Cook Off.

The Ice Carving Competition, with professional and student carvers, will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., with judging shortly after. Spectators may vote for their favorite sculpture to win the “People’s Choice Award.”

The “Chilly Chili Cook Off” will be held at the Chester Hose Company Fire House, 6 High Street, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Attendees can pay their $5 donation at the firehouse door, which allows them to taste all the different chilis made by restaurants and chefs and to vote for their favorite. All proceeds go to the Chester Hose Company.

2012 Chili Cook Off (Photo courtesy of John Stack)
2012 Chili Cook Off (Photo courtesy of John Stack)

And last but not least, festively decorated tractors will parade down Main Street beginning at 2 p.m. in the highly anticipated 13th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Judges choose the winners of their Iron Steed Awards for the best decorated tractors.

Restaurants, shops and galleries will have special events all day. The Chester Museum at The Mill will also be open at no charge, offering another place to warm up and take a break while seeing Chester history, including two early ice cutting machines.

Parking is available in the commuter lot at the foot of Rte. 9 (Exit 6) and at Greenwald on Rte. 154, both served by a courtesy shuttle bus to the town center.

For more information, visit facebook.com/chesterctwintercarnivale


Chocolate Shell’s Café on Old Lyme Zoning Commission’s Agenda Tonight

The Old Lyme Zoning Commission tonight has included an agenda item to consider an “E-mail dated February 7, 2014 from Barbara Crowley of the Chocolate Shell, 18 Lyme Street to discuss certain items concerning Lyme Street business.”

Crowley, the owner of the Chocolate Shell, was served with a Cease and Desist order on the café section of her business because, in an e-mail sent to her customers Jan. 28, she explains, “Ann Brown, Old Lyme’s zoning enforcer has decided that I am in violation of zoning regulations by operating both a “take out restaurant” AND a “full service restaurant”, mainly due to a coffee maker and the chairs and tables that were outside for your enjoyment.”

Crowley adds, “As of today I must stop selling coffee and I must remove all chairs and tables, oh… and my “CAFE” flag (which is considered a “permanent sign”).”

Crowley, who notes her in her e-mail that she has both “a very angry and sad heart,” is expected to challenge the Cease and Desist order this evening.  She also stresses that The Chocolate Shell continues to remain open for its normal business of selling fine chocolates and candies from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

The Zoning Commission meets at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the auditorium of the Old Lyme Town Hall.

 Click here to view the agenda for tonight’s meeting.


Voting Starts to Determine Allocation of Over $223,000 to Charity byEssex Savings Bank, Essex Financial Services, Inc.

Gregory R. Shook, President & Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank, announced Jan. 17, “We are extremely proud to report available contributions of $223,373 from our Community Investment Program in our 163rd year.” 

The Bank annually commits 10 percent of its after tax net income to qualifying organizations within the immediate market area consisting of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. This program provides financial support to over 200 non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to the ever-increasing needs of our communities.

By year end, a total of $3,896,917 will have been distributed since inception in 1996.  Essex Savings Bank customers determine 30 percent of the fund allocations each year by voting directly for three of their favorite causes, charities or organizations who have submitted applications to participate.

Ballots will be available at all Essex Savings Bank Offices between Feb. 1 and March 15 to determine an allocation of $67,012.

The Bank’s Directors, Senior Officers, Branch Managers and Essex Financial Services, Inc., the Bank’s subsidiary, will distribute the remaining 70%, or $156,361.

Organizations (85) qualifying to appear on the 2014 ballot includes:

Act II Thrift Shop, Inc. * Bikes for Kids, Inc. * Brazilian and American Youth Cultural Exchange (BRAYCE) * Bushy Hill Nature Center * Camp Claire, Inc. * Camp Hazen YMCA * CDE (Chester, Deep River, Essex) Cooperative Nursery School * Chester Historical Society * Chester Land Trust, Inc. * Common Good Gardens, Inc. * Community Music School * The Connecticut River Museum at Steamboat Dock * The Country School, Inc. * The Deacon John Grave Foundation * Deep River Ambulance Association, Inc. * Deep River Elementary PTO, Inc. * The Deep River Fire Department * Deep River Historical Society, Inc. * Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps, Inc. * Deep River Land Trust, Inc. * Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc. * Essex Ambulance Association, Inc. * The Essex Art Association, Incorporated * Essex Community Fund, Inc. * Essex Elementary School Foundation, Inc. * Essex Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, Inc. * Essex Fire Engine Company #1 * Essex Historical Society, Inc. * Essex Library Association * Essex Winter Series, Inc. * Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. – Meals on Wheels * Florence Griswold Museum * Forgotten Felines, Inc. * Friends In Service Here (F.I.S.H.) * Friends of Hammonasset, Inc. * Friends of the Acton Public Library * Friends of the Chester Public Library, Inc. * Graduation Night, Inc. – Old Saybrook * High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. * Hope Partnership, Inc. * Ivoryton Playhouse Foundation, Inc. * The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Inc. * Literacy Volunteers – Valley Shore, CT, Inc. * Lyme Ambulance Association, Inc. * Lyme Art Association, Inc. * The Lyme Fire Company, Inc. * Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Inc. * Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation * Lyme-Old Lyme Safe Graduation Party, Inc. * Lyme Public Hall Association, Inc. * Lyme Public Library, Inc. * Lymes’ Elderly Housing, Inc. (Lymewood) * The Madison ABC Program, Incorporated (aka Madison A Better Chance, Inc.) * Madison Ambulance Association, Inc. * Madison Community Services, Inc. * The Madison Foundation, Inc. * Madison Historical Society, Inc. * Madison Land Conservation Trust, Inc. * Maritime Education Network, Inc. * Musical Masterworks, Inc. * Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center, Inc. * Old Lyme Historical Society, Inc. * Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association * Old Saybrook Education Foundation * Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Inc. * Old Saybrook Historical Society * Old Saybrook Land Trust, Inc. * Pet Connections, Inc. * Potapaug Audubon Society * The Region 4 Education Foundation, Inc. (R4EF) * Scranton Library, Madison (aka E.C. Scranton Memorial Library) * The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries * Sister Cities Essex Haiti, Inc. * Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM) * The Touchdown Club, Inc. (Valley Regional High School/Old Lyme High School Football) * Tracy Art Center, Inc. * Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau, Inc. * Valley Baseball-Softball Booster Club, Inc. * Valley Shore Animal Welfare League * Valley-Shore YMCA * Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, Inc. (VNLV) * Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, Inc. * Westbrook Project Graduation, Inc. * Westbrook Youth and Family Services, Inc. * The Woman’s Exchange of Old Lyme.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Lower Connecticut River Valley with six offices in Chester, Essex (2), Madison, Old Lyme, and Old Saybrook. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value, are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.


Last Day for The-e-List’s ‘Insane Insidewalk Sale’ Today

Jewelry by Ann Lightfoot is always a popular item at Insane Inside Sidewalk Sales.

Jewelry by Ann Lightfoot is always a popular item at Insane Inside Sidewalk Sales.

Erica Tannen

Erica Tannen

The-e-list.com, “an excruciatingly opinionated weekly e-newsletter about the best food, fashion and fun on the Shoreline,” written and published by Erica Tannen, presents the Insane Insidewalk Sale on Friday, Jan. 24, and Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Old Saybrook Shopping Center (next to Stop & Shop) at 105 Elm Street.

It’s a pop-up specialty mall featuring 20 of the best shops and designers on the Shoreline, selling their wares for up to 75% off.  Admission is $5.  Hours are Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Insane Insidewalk Sale was conceived to help local retailers who were stuck with excess inventory after the financial crash of 2008.  The-e-list rented a vacant storefront and invited 20 boutiques to sell their wares at deep discounts.  It was a great success for both vendors and attendees and now shoreline shoppers eagerly anticipate this event, now in its fifth year.
Come support your local retailers and enjoy the unique deals.  Shop the best stores and designers on the Shoreline in one location at up to 75% off!
Participating stores and designers include:
Ann Lightfoot Jewelry
Amy Leiner Designs
Ciao Bella
Ella Where She Shops
Eve’s Apparel
Griswold Store, Goods & Curiosities
Just Hatched
J. Horton (formerly Lily Juliet)
Mix Design Store
Southern Exposure
Three Islands (kurtas and tunics)
See Designs
Amelie Michel
and more …
For more information, email: erica@the-e-list.com

9 Town Transit Transports Its 100,000th Passenger

9 Town Transit's 100,000th passenger receives an award of a  free month's bus pass.

9 Town Transit’s 100,000th passenger Anthony Lancaster receives an award of a free month’s bus pass.

After four years of strong growth, 9 Town Transit topped 100,000 trips in a one year period for the first time in its 32-year history.  Old Lyme is one of the nine towns covered by the bus service.

The 100,000th passenger boarded a Shoreline Shuttle bus on Dec. 30at the Post Office Square bus stop in Clinton.  Anthony Lancaster of New London waited for the with a co-worker.  Both were headed home from their jobs at Murphy Moving & Storage.

“I take the bus every day from New London to Branford”, says Lancaster.  “Without 9 Town Transit, I wouldn’t be able to get to work.”

Lancaster was met by 9 Town Transit executive director Joseph Comerford and operations manager Allison Meshnick as he boarded the bus toward Old Saybrook.  The two presented Lancaster with a free one month bus pass, good on all 9 Town Transit routes.

Comerford says Lancaster represents the fastest growing segment of 9 Town Transit users.  Commuters are now more than half of all transit trips in the region and growing.

Since 2009, 9 Town Transit has grown ridership ship 88% by expanding the reach and hours of its services.  Public bus service is now available from the shoreline to New Haven, New London, Middletown, Haddam and Hartford, all for a fare of $1.50.   Most services now begin around 6 a.m. and end at 7 p.m. or later.  Connections are offered to four neighboring transit systems.

In mid-January, East Haddam will partner with 9 Town Transit to offer general public Dial-A Ride throughout the town, further expanding the service area.  Dial-A-Ride service will now be provided to eleven towns.  All services are open to the general public.

Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.


New $28 Million Medical Center in Westbrook on Track to Open in April 2014

The new Westbrook Medical Center under construction.

The new Westbrook Medical Center under construction.

Middlesex Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook is scheduled to open its doors to receive patients, as early as April 2014.

The Whiting-Turner Construction Company of New Haven is in charge of constructing the new Medical Center in Westbrook.  The company estimates that the new facility will be finished by March 2014. Then, it will take much of April 2014 for Middlesex Hospital to furnish the new Center and install medical equipment.

Construction continues daily.

Construction continues daily.

New Center Can Expand to 60,00 Square Feet

The new Medical Center in Westbrook will initially have 44,000 square feet of working space.  However, the Center can be expanded to 60,000 square feet, if it becomes necessary.  By contrast the Hospital’s present Medical Center in Essex is just over 20,000 square feet.  On an historical note, the Essex facility has provided emergency medical care for shoreline residents for over 40 years.

The new Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center will be located on Flat Rock Place, which is just off Exit 65 of Interstate I-95.  Flat Rock Place is a four-lane access highway, which has the auto dealerships of Honda and Toyota at the bottom end and the Tanger Outlets shopping mall at the top.  The new Medical Center will be located half way up Flat Rock Place on the left hand side.

When complete, the new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook will have, “a whole host of diagnostic and treatment services,” according to hospital sources.  In addition, “radiological services will expand to include a new MRI testing area, and a designated woman’s imaging area.”  Also, the new Center in Westbrook will continue to provide 24/7 medical care, and it will have a helipad for emergency helicopter trips, as well as paramedic services.

The current Shoreline Medical Center on Westbrook Rd. in Essex.

The current Shoreline Medical Center on Westbrook Rd. in Essex.

Advantages of New Westbrook Location

In addition to a large roster of medical services at the new Westbrook facility, there are significant access advantages as well.  The new Westbrook center will be conveniently located, just off I-95 at Exit 65.

Also, the new Westport location will permit patients from towns, such as Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Clinton and Guilford, to have direct I-95 Interstate access to the new facility.  In addition, the residents of Deep River, Chester and Haddam, via Rte. 9, will have I-95 Interstate access to the new Center as well.

Although patients from Essex will no longer have their very own medical center right in town, it will be only be a few extra miles down Rte. 153 for Essex residents to reach the new Westbrook Center.


Coffee’s ‘Holiday Tasting’ Prepares Palates for the Season

A Holiday Tasting was held at Coffee’s Country Market on Boston Post Rd. in Old Lyme on Dec. 8.

A great — and delicious — night was had by all!

Many thanks to Troy Christopher of TroyChristopher Photography for all the photos.

©TroyChristopher Photography

©TroyChristopher Photography

©TroyChristopher Photography

©TroyChristopher Photography

©TroyChristopher Photography

©TroyChristopher Photography

©TroyChristopher Photography

©TroyChristopher Photography

©TroyChristopher Photography

©TroyChristopher Photography

©TroyChristopher Photography


Dock & Dine Closing, Reopening Next Year at New Elevation, Public Invited to Sign Dock Planks Thru 10/30

The famous view through the windows of the Dock & Dine restaurant.

The famous view through the windows of the Dock & Dine restaurant.

Dock & Dine Restaurant at Saybrook Point is celebrating their “last hurrah” at an elevation 4.5 ft. above sea-level.  Now through Oct. 30, this family-owned restaurant is open every day at 11:30 a.m. until closing for demolition and construction of a new restaurant at a new elevation of 15 ft. above sea-level.  During these final days, friends and fans are invited to help “dock-u-ment history,” by signing pieces of the old dock that will be proudly displayed in the new Dock & Dine, which has plans to reopen for the 2014 season.

sign“All of our restaurants are comprised of a family of employees, serving customers that feel like family,” explains Jon Kodama, CEO of JTK Management, owners of shoreline restaurants including Dock & Dine, Steak Loft, Ten Clams and Go Fish.  “When considering how to celebrate our history, as well as our future, of course we wanted to include the guests who have stood by us through two hurricanes…and more!”

The public is invited to stop by and sign the historic wood planks, every day from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., beginning Monday Oct. 21 through Oct. 30.  For more information visit http://www.dockdinect.com/ (more)

For those interested in taking home a piece of Dock & Dine history, an onsite auction will be taking place on Nov. 5. Hosted by Adams Auctioneers & Appraisers, this comprehensive auction will make way for new equipment and décor.  A preview of items available will take place in the morning, with the live auction taking place mid day. For more information visit: http://adams-auctions.com/currentauctions.asp

Located at Saybrook Point on 145 College Street in Old Saybrook, Conn., Dock & Dine offers fine cuisine using the freshest local ingredients, paired with spectacular views of Long Island Sound.  Taking its name from convenient, dock-side dining, Dock & Dine is one of four local restaurants operated by JTK Management including Go Fish:  www.GoFishCT.com; Steak Loft: www.SteakLoftCT.com and Ten Clams: www.TenClamsCT.com, all in Mystic, CT.

Dock & Dine, which dates back to the 1940’s, was purchased by Jon Kodama in 1987 and operated year-in/year-out until back-to-back hurricanes Irene and Sandy caused repeat damages, evoking ordinances requiring that the remaining restaurant be demolished and the new structure built to current codes.  Dock & Dine is managed by Mari Kodama, the daughter of Jon Kodama, CEO and Founder of JTK Management.


Essex Savings Bank Gains 5-Star Rating from BauerFinancial for 18th Consecutive Year

Essex Savings Bank has once again earned the highest 5-Star rating for strength and stability from BauerFinancial, Inc. of Coral Gables, Fla., the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm.  Bauer Financial has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks since 1983.

No institution can pay BauerFinancial to rate it, nor can an institution choose to be excluded.  Essex Savings Bank has proven its commitment to superiority by earning this top rating for 71 consecutive quarters.

Fewer than 10% of the nation’s banks can claim this distinction.  In order to do so, the Bank must have excelled in areas of capital adequacy, delinquent loan levels and profitability to name just a few.

Consistently earning BauerFinancial’s highest rating assures customers and the community that Essex Savings Bank is a strong financial institution that will be able to fulfill their banking needs for years to come.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.

Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA, SIPC.  Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.