25 Greenwich Life Hacks

Whether you’re new to the area or you know this place like the back of your hand, there are always fresh ways to take advantage of all that our town has to offer. We talked to some plugged-in people to track down trusted resources and fun outings for you and your family. Cool outdoor adventures, under-the-radar eats, service providers who are a cut above the rest—we’ve rounded up all of these, plus some hot tips and time savers that will help you make every day count.


GET OUT!

AFTER THE WINTER WE HAD, IT’S TIME TO HEAD OUTDOORS AND SOAK UP THAT VITAMIN D!

1
MAGIC GARDENS

With lots of gardens at their peak this month, it’s time to get outside and smell the roses. During the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program, you can visit places such as Sleepy Cat Farm, which is known for its boxwood topiaries, sculptures and water features. Tour the grounds of some of Greenwich’s most idyllic estates during the GARDEN EDUCATION CENTER’S annual Grandiflora Garden Tour (June 8 and 9), starting with a summer soiree cocktail party in a private Greenwich garden. gecgreenwich.org

2
GONE FISHIN’

Greenwich native CAPT. BILL INGRAHAM will take you and your crew out on Long Island Sound on his thirty-foot sportfish O’Henry to catch stripers, blues, blackfish and more. His charters are popular for guys’ days out, birthday parties and team-building events, and this dad of two who’s won several local tournaments is skilled at teaching the ropes to kids, too. He starts the season on a quest for striped bass from mid-May through early July, and black sea bass fishing also begins in May; you can keep your catch and they’ll fillet it for you, too. You can leave from his dock on the Mianus River or request a pick up at a local yacht club. Sportsman’s Den Charters, 33 River Road, Cos Cob, 203-869-3234

3
FLOATING FETE

Planning a party? Think beyond the average locale and bring guests out on the Sound onboard PRUDENCE, a historic sixty-four-foot steamboat from Boothbay Harbor that’s been converted to diesel power. Coast Guard-licensed captain Jonathan Wilkes and his crew take out parties up to 100 people, departing from the Delamar and heading out past Captain’s Island and the lighthouse to view the New York skyline and then circling back by Greenwich Point on the return trip to Greenwich Harbor. His company provides catering and can arrange for a DJ or live entertainment. greenwichharborcruises.com

4
NATURE & ART ALIGNED

Glass buildings blur the lines between indoors and out, and that was the goal at the eighty-acre preserve GRACE FARMS, with its iconic award-winning River Building, designed to be part of the landscape. You can wander the grounds at this peaceful spot in New Canaan, which has become a birding haven with more than sixty species on site; a master birder leads guided walks. Every Saturday there’s an Open Arts Studio for kids ages three to ten to experiment with different materials. Afterward, have a light bite in the Commons, which has expansive views of the property. 365 Lukes Wood Road, New Canaan


GETTING PERSONAL

YES, SOMETIMES IT’S OKAY TO MAKE IT ALL ABOUT YOU

5
MAKING IT YOURS

It’s been said that the only true luxury (besides time)is something bespoke. And Greenwich has a treasure trove of fashion and design pros who specialize in customization. ASHA by Ashley McCormick designs beautiful necklaces, rings and bracelets with personal touches, such as engraved birthdates or anniversaries, family crests and charms. LYNNENS not only monograms pillowcases and towels, they also do color-matching: You bring in a sample of the wallcovering or fabric from the room you’re decorating, and the staff helps you find the perfect match. CORROON BAGS by Kelly Corroon can be created in custom colors and monogrammed so they’re easy to spot on the baggage carousel. Asha, 409 Greenwich Ave., ashabyadm.com; Lynnens, 278 Greenwich Ave., lynnens.com; Corroon Bags, corroon.com

6
CURE CLOSET CHAOS

Whip your wardrobe into shape with Riverside-based FAIRE EVOLUER. They’re the closet-organizing dream team: Lily, a personal stylist whose fashion background includes Bergdorf, Saks and Proenza Schouler; and Sarah, an organizing whiz who’s detail-oriented yet super-speedy. While Lily helps edit your wardrobe—guiding you to what works and figuring out what’s missing—Sarah will tackle the closet chaos. Even better, they’ll sell any brand-name pieces you decide to toss and you’ll get most of the proceeds (all of them if you book a personal shopping time with Lily). Lily’s shopping trips make picking clothes effortless because she IDs your wardrobe gaps and has options lined up in the fitting room waiting for you. You, and your closet, never looked this good. faireevoluer.com; 917-213-1511

7
GREEN YOUR SKIN CARE

Brazilian facialist ANGELA ZAMBON opened shop in town a year ago and word has spread. She has the Midas touch. Her custom facials include a lengthy, expert massage and skin-reviving techniques incorporating a product line free of harmful chemicals. Her go-to skin care line is Eminence Organics, used at top spas around the country. To look your best before an event, try the Celebrity Facial with micro-current treatment for toning and lifting. In her discreet office with dedicated parking tucked behind The Avenue, she also does waxing, tinting and dermaplaning. 9 Benedict Place, 203-622-0100

8
CLAY DATES

Why should kids have all the fun? For adults who like to get their hands dirty and want to learn to use a potter’s wheel, check out the Cladies Night at CLAY ART CENTER. Bring some girlfriends (and a bottle of wine, if you choose) and get some sculpting lessons from an award-winning clay artist. You’ll complete two finished clay pieces that will be glazed and fired. 40 Beech Street, Port Chester, 914-937-2047

9
HANDS ON

Your back’s aching but you don’t have time to hit the spa or gym for a massage? A masseuse will come to you via the ZEEL APP, which lets you line up a licensed, vetted Fairfield County-based massage therapist at your convenience, as early as 8:30 a.m. or as late as 10 p.m. Some parents in town schedule visits after the kids are in bed, when they finally have a chance to relax. You pick the style of massage: Swedish, deep tissue, sports, couples’ massage, etc. zeel.com


FOODIE FUN

FROM DECADENT TO DETOX, GREAT FINDS TO CHECK OUT RIGHT NOW

10
BREW & BARK

Enjoy a true dog-day afternoon at LOCK CITY BREWERY in Stamford, where the Shake Your Booty IPA is flowing and dogs are welcome. This local brewery, which opened last summer in an out-of-the-way industrial neighborhood, is both dog- and kid-friendly (there are giant Jenga and Connect Four games). The pet-loving brewers even make dog treats from peanut butter and spent grains. Though Lock City is not a restaurant, the owners tap Jefe’s taco truck to make regular rounds, so you can munch on some Mexican with your microbrew. 54 Research Drive, Stamford; lockcitybrewing.com

11
PASTA-MAKING PARTIES

For Italian food lovers, pasta-making sessions at TUTTO PASTA in Fairfield make the ideal outing and experiential gift. You can book a time for friends or family (groups of two to eight people) to get hands-on training from Chef Andrew Tavolacci. You’ll roll out the dough for homemade raviolis and fettucini and learn to prepare a classic pan sauce such as puttanesca or primavera. After the tutorial, savor a dinner and wine and take home some fresh pasta and sauce. Mangia! 203-220-9535; tuttopastact.com

12
BE CHEESY

Which cheeses pair best with rosé? Find out at upcoming classes at the GREENWICH CHEESE COMPANY, which will feature the best choices to serve with the lighter, brighter wines of summer. The Cheese School courses are fun for a night out with a friend—you taste and sip as you go along. In addition to selling dozens of hand-crafted cheeses from around the world, the shop also carries lots of gourmet goodies such as amazing artisanal chocolates and McConnell’s ice cream. 154 East Putnam Avenue, Cos Cob, 203-349-9227; fairfieldcheese.com

13
SPICE UP SUPPER

Tired of the what’s-for-dinner quandaries? Have pizza-takeout fatigue? Call on EMPANADAS TO GO. Argentinian transplant and local mom Jackie Mendive started her business by word-of-mouth and by selling at farmers’ markets and has since expanded to open a full commercial kitchen. You can stock your freezer with her empanadas so you’re always ready with a wholesome weeknight dinner or a snack when friends stop over. Most popular flavors are beef, chicken, and ham and cheese as well as the kids’ beef, which omits the olives and red pepper to please younger palates. For parties there are bite-sized versions, plus mini dulce de leche cakes. empanadasonthego.com

14
FAR EAST, NEARBY

Eat like you’re at an izakaya in Tokyo without leaving Riverside. FUJIMART has the most authentic Japanese cuisine, everything from homemade rice balls (with salmon, shrimp tempura, cod roe, pickled Japanese plums) and colorful bento boxes to the best sushi. It sells organic Japanese vegetables as well as hard-to-find Asian pears and persimmons in season. You can also pick up the makings for ramen noodles and meats prepped for grilling. 1212 East Putnam Avenue, Riverside, 203-698-2107

15
DETOX IN GOOD COMPANY

Want to have more energy, get glowing skin and shed a few pounds? Don’t we all? A detox can help, and nutritionist, health coach and yoga instructor TRACY BECHTEL runs a co-op–style program in Old Greenwich, teaching her clients good habits that last. For two weeks you’ll be eating mostly veggie-based meals (no caffeine, wine, eggs or sugar, either). It sounds tough, but her recipes are tasty and she guides the group with healthy-living tips and hands-on demos for healthy snacks and more. You have to cook for your group one day out of seven, but the rest of the week you’ll get three healthy meals delivered to your door. tracybechtel.com


LITTLE PEOPLE TIME

SOME OUT-OF-THE-BOX IDEAS TO KEEP THE KIDS HAPPY, ENTERTAINED—AND OFF OF THOSE DEVICES

16
BEACH-DAY BONUS

Calling all future marine biologists! This summer, kids can explore the shore and scope out marine animals in the touch tank at the BRUCE MUSEUM SEASIDE CENTER. Whether they need a break from the sun or it’s a rainy afternoon, Bruce Museum Seaside Center at Tod’s Point has little ones covered with activities from Tuesday to Sunday, such as a coastal scavenger hunt, animal feeding, arts and crafts and the Sound Science program with trained naturalists. 10 Tods Driftway, Old Greenwich

17
OH, THE SWEETEST THINGS

Kids love baking and that obsession is only growing, thanks to shows like Cupcake Wars and Kids Baking Championship. Now your budding bakers can learn from the pros at SWEET LISA’S in Cos Cob, where Culinary Institute of America grads Lisa and Stephen Maronian are known for custom creations that are both lovely to look at and delicious to eat. Kids go behind the scenes with these cake pros during cupcake decorating parties or cookie baking playdates. Caveat: Sessions are not available during the busiest months for the bakery; January to March and July and August are the best bets, but call for availability. 3 Field Rd., Cos Cob, 203-869-9545; sweetlisas.com

18
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES

Children tend to appreciate public transportation much more than the rest of us. Indulge their fascination over breakfast or lunch at the WESTCHESTER COUNTY AIRPORT; take them for a bite at the Purchase Country Diner (located before security), and then let them watch some takeoffs and landings. If a train ride from Greenwich to Old Greenwich isn’t long enough, head to Stamford station and catch the trolley to Harbor Point, where you can go for hot dogs at WALTER’S or burgers and shakes at BAREBURGER. For little ones, it feels like a mini vacation. Purchase Country Diner, 240 Airport Road, White Plains, 914-437-7650; Walter’s, 200 Commons Park South, Stamford, 203-595-5108; Bareburger, 21 Harbor Point Rd., Stamford, 203-890-9686

19
HAPPY TRAILS

Any path at the Audubon is worth exploring, but NATURE’S PLAY TRAIL was established specifically for children with activity stations along the way, including a sensory garden, toddler circle/little kids climbing area, rain garden, creek and pond, and a “big kids” discovery area. The trail, which was built two years ago by Fairfield House & Garden, features interactive spaces that give children the chance to climb, slide, splash, build, play outdoor instruments, experience a rain garden, spot critters in a creek or just observe the beauty around them. 613 Riversville Rd., 203-869-5272

20
UNPLUG AND PLAY

Ditch the devices and head to a family event that recalls simpler times, the Old-Fashioned Fun Day at FRENCH FARM. The gathering on June 10 is held on the grounds of the last remaining gentleman’s farm in Greenwich, the first property in town to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Kids can enter sack races, make crafts and have snacks and also see the sheep, chickens and peacocks and visit the whimsical gardens. greenwichhistory.org


JUST BECAUSE

A VARIED MIX OF SUGGESTIONS THAT WE THINK ARE PRETTY COOL

21
TECH TALK

Why pay by the hour at the Apple store when you can get free local tech help at THE COS COB LIBRARY? Weekly sessions are available every Tuesday from 1:30 to 3:30, when an expert from the main library’s tech room is on hand to help troubleshoot issues with your smartphone, laptop or tablet. For e tech help, check out classes such as So You Think You Can Text? (on voice texting, group texts, leaving conversations, etc.) at the Tech Training Center at Greenwich Library. 5 Sinawoy Rd. and 101 West Putnam Ave.

22
PHOTO FINISH

About those 7,531 photos trapped on your iPhone: Isn’t it high time to put your faves into albums and delete the rest? It’s a task we never seem to get to and supposedly easy-to-use photo sites (shutterfly or shudder-fly?) can be a major time drain. PURPLE DOT PHOTO DESIGN will create custom photo books or children’s art books (scans of your little one’s masterpieces) for you, from twenty pages and up. purpledotphotodesign.com

23
SOUNDS GOOD TO US

Film and classical music buffs may already be plugged in to the movie screenings and concerts held at COLE AUDITORIUM AT GREENWICH LIBRARY. But there’s more to the music: The Peterson Concert series brings nationally and internationally recognized talent who play a variety of genres, including jazz (John Pizzarelli played recently). Prospective artists for next season include Kenny Barron, jazz pianist; Peter Serkin, classical pianist; Cuartetango, string quartet with dancer; the Patricia Barber Trio, jazz vocals/piano trio; and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. What’s more, you can also stream and download music from the library’s Naxos and Hoopla collections. The selection is outstanding and the price is right: free! greenwichlibrary.org

24
TURN BACK TIME

What did your block or house look like in 1920? Tap into photos and ephemera from the past via the GREENWICH HISTORICAL SOCIETY, which has been digitizing its entire collection of archives as it prepares to open its new campus this fall. The new climate-controlled building will allow the historians to showcase more of their collections, including items from some boxes never opened before. digital.greenwichhistory.org

25
BON VOYAGE

Vacation time is priceless, so don’t leave the details up to a travel bot or search engine. Liz Lindstedt of VALERIE WILSON TRAVEL has the connections and personal touch needed to secure the very best experience. Though she’s well-versed in luxury travel, she also guides her clients to the most authentic, smaller places that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Seeking an itinerary to accommodate a family with kids ages four to fourteen? She’s on it. Need to arrange for a wheelchair to meet you at the Frankfurt train station? Done. She knows all of her clients personally and plans trips and perks tailored to their needs. valeriewilsontravel.squarespace.com

 

 

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