Can’t stand the creepy quiet of your study any longer? We know the feeling. In knowledge of what it takes to nurse fragile attention and creativity, we’ve rounded up a list of Westport town venues and properties that, we believe, provide the foundation for optimal settings to study. To begin, we introduce Write Yourself Free, Westport’s newest writing/creative-fostering center, provider of workspace and tutoring opportunities. With a mission to offer intellectuals a comfortable environment to work and collaborate in (not to mention, complimentary coffee), Write Yourself Free is the epitome of an ulterior venue to turn to when getting the juices of creativity flowing. But, around Westport, here are some other venues.
Many of Westport’s coffee shops have closed down in recent years, including much-loved Docs Café, but many still exist or have been replaced. Two Starbucks, one a downtown hub and one a large sit-down venue, are in Westport, as well as three Dunkin Donuts. There are also these places:
Coffee An’ Donut Shop. Over on the edge of Main Street, Coffee Ann Donut Shop is a classic hole-in-the-wall perfect for a quick read or rest. The small breakfast/brunch joint sports intimate tables, friendly service, exquisite donuts and is just plain low-key and low-maintenance. On weekends, it can occasionally get crowded, but the norm is mostly hushed.
Soon to come, Coffee and Pi will, like Write Yourself Free, offer Westport residents a much-need, concentrated venue for studying and chilling. According to 06880, the Saugatuck coffee shop- the forgery of 2005 Staples graduate Chloe Sloat- will offer segregated work space (one floor, a lounge area, another, another dedicated tutoring room) and eats and drinks throughout the day.
For something a little fresh and different, you might also consider venturing into downtown Michelle’s Pies. Though similar to a coffee shop in many ways, unlike these popular havens, this mom and pop lacks the label and, thus, the loud commotion that comes with them. On the side of the adorable, hand-written menu resides an impressively clean, impressively organized area of wooden, roughly desk-sized table sets- how much more workable can a place get? Plus there’s pie. For a similar experience, Crumb’s next to Matsu, is also great, as well as Great Cakes.
RESTAURANTS & MARKETS
Panera, the homey, beloved chain, would be a first recommendation for restaurant study spot. Spacious and sequestered (no, not the economic term), Panera provides the focus space and breathing room anyone trying to focus needs. Not to mention, Panera provides free Wi-Fi, tons of snack options ($1 bakery choices with a meal!) and a calm ambiance. Already there exists a Panera close by in Norwalk, but one just opened at the end of Post Road East.
In the summer, Elvira’s is a great place to do some reading or writing for someone wishing to get out of the house and derive inspiration from the shore. The seating’s limited, but as long as you grab a seat you’ll feel totally in your own bubble. The sea breeze is a soothing study companion.
Westport’s only got one, Barnes & Noble, but it’s pretty good one to bat. The Starbucks inside is set up as an interesting upper-level café with seats overlooking the book store. Every day, you can find people sitting with a paper and enjoying a cup of coffee. Plus, for students, it’s a great place to meet up with study buddies and collaborate without the fear of disturbing someone.
Obviously, there’s the Westport Public Library, but if you’re really having a hard time focusing, there’s also chairs to work at in the Town Hall or the Westport/Weston Family Y.
Beaches are a prime place for writers and serenity-seekers to escape the chaos and take from nature. Westport, a coastal town, happens to sport three:
Westport’s central beach, Compo, is the biggest and provides many places to sit and work, given the wind and other conditions abide. Next to Joey’s lies an entire awning of seating, and next to the shore is a long row of BBQ picnic tables. But the biggest beauty of having a beach? Endless, public seating. Hitch a towel, grab a chair or plant yourself straight into the grainy turf, regardless, sitting is guaranteed.
Two other public beaches grace Westport: Burning Hills Beach and Old Mills Beach. Both are small and relaxing, but each provides something a little different. While Burning Hill Beach sports an entire private inlet complete with a grassy hill and two beaches, Old Mills Beach is more of a small patch of beach functioning as a quick getaway and view catcher. Extensive seating, including a picnic table area on top of the hill, surrounds Burning Hills, while Old Mills has a few benches on the top perimeter. Either way, both promise quiet and beautiful scenery.
Again, much of what applies for beaches goes for Parks, except Parks are almost always conveniently guaranteed to have picnic tables, a neater flooring, and tree-providing shade. A list can be found here but here are some highlights:
Grace K Salmon Park
On Imperial Ave, Grace K Salmon is one of Westport’s most quaint and well-decorated parks. With benches spread across the fine green, as well as canopying trees fit to sit under, this park is great for nestling oneself in with a book or note pad. Painters may enjoy depicting the Saugatuck River view it bodes.
For those whose creative spirit is awakened by rolling hills and open spaces, Winslow provides the expansive environment you may be looking for. Unlike small parks that are quiet and commonly uninhabited, this park has more of a Central Park, bustling feel to it, allowing workers to benefit from beauty but not isolation. A primary dog park, Winslow also brings the advantage of canine companionship, if so pleases you.
Library RiverWalk and Garden
The Library Riverwalk and Garden, located adjacent to the Westport Public Library, is the ultimate riverside experience. Donning granite benches, charming gardening, and tranquil walking paths, the park creates an extremely tender and soothing atmosphere. Looking for a place to reflect, write, contemplate the meaning of life? Take a sit here.