‘It Finally Feels Like Summer’: Locals Head to Downtown, Parks As Temps Soar into 70s

Olive Gallagher, a West School third-grader, on Monday afternoon joined her friends Phoebe Mellick, a West School second-grader, and Morgan Tusa, an East School third-grader, on the bench outside of Baskin-Robbins on Main Street.

Olive Gallagher, Phoebe Mellick and Morgan Tusa on April 11, 2017. Credit: Michael Dinan

The trio had spent part of the morning at a beach in Westport, where they participated in a photo shoot on the fabulous Beachmate system (a local family’s invention), and then came back to sun-dappled New Canaan for their cool treat.

“This is one of my favorite spots,” Phoebe told NewCanaanite.com before going back to her Icing On the Cake-flavored ice cream cone. “We’re just enjoying the weather.” (Olive also got Icing On the Cake—asked what flavor she had, Morgan answered, “I have no idea.”)

The daffodils are blooming at Irwin Park, on April 11, 2017. Credit: Michael Dinan

As temperatures climbed into the 70s in New Canaan—and less than one month after a winter storm dumped about a foot of snow here—locals enjoying April break at home headed into town and out to the public parks to relax and reconnect with nature and each other.

“Everyone comes out of the woodwork and enjoys the beautiful day—it finally feels like summer is here,” New Canaan’s Andrea Reid said from a favorite family spot, Irwin Park, where she joined a friend and watched over her kids, 5-year-old Asher, a New Canaan Community Preschooler, and Morgan, 2, who attends the preschool at United Methodist Church (the writer’s alma mater).

Andrea and Morgan Reid at Irwin Park on April 11, 2017. Credit: Michael Dinan

“We love to come here and walk because it’s safe, it’s easy, the kids don’t have to worry about cars,” Reid said as her kids made their ways along the Flexi-pave path near Gores Pavilion on scooters.

Soon, New Canaanites Bob and Beverly Thomas arrived with their grandchildren, Westporters Wes and Phoebe Deoreo, and granddog Stella Deoreo, an approximately three-year-old mixed-breed rescued through North Shore Animal League.

L-R: Wes Deoreo, Bob and Beverly Thomas (grandparents), Stella Deoreo and Phoebe Deoreo at Irwin Park on April 11, 2017. Credit: Michael Dinan

The Thomases visit Irwin daily—Beverly called it “My favorite place in the world”—and on such a picture-perfect day the park is “absolutely spectacular—the best,” she said.

Tom and Judy Gilroy—a special education driver for New Canaan Public Schools kids and former South School staffer who now teaches at the New Canaan Nature Center’s preschool—walked into town from their Locust Avenue home to enjoy the refreshingly sunny, warm weather.

Judy and Tom Gilroy of New Canaan sitting on Against The Grain rocking chairs outside New Canaan Olive Oil on Elm Street, on April 11, 2017. Credit: Michael Dinan

“It was such a beautiful day we had to take a walk,” Judy Gilroy said. “It’s the first day of summer to me.”

They sat in Against The Grain rocking chairs outside of New Canaan Olive Oil, near the “50-yard-line” of Elm Street.

“We love these,” she said of the rockers. “They have a rocker in front of the store [on Main Street] that I love.”

Kathy, Gypsy and Cole Synnott of Darien enjoying Waveny Park on April 11, 2017. Cole, a black Labrador retriever, is 16 years and nine months old. Credit: Michael Dinan

Locals also could be seen stretching out on blankets and towels at Waveny, from the newly painted youth soccer fields north of the main road through the park, and throughout the Waveny Park Conservancy’s focus areas south of the same road.

Darien’s Kathy Synnott called Waveny “a treasure” as she relaxed with her dogs, an approximately 12- to 14-year-old rescued Pomeranian, Gypsy, and Cole, a black Labrador who has achieved the age of 16 years and nine months.

L-R: Katherine Shelden, Maura Kelley and Anna Shelden relaxing at Waveny on April 11, 2017. Credit: Michael Dinan

“It’s always beautiful, regardless of what time you come here, regardless of what season, what day,” said Synnott, who had laid out a bowl of ice cubes for her senior. “Today is a beautifully spectacular day.”

Nearby, New Canaan High School seniors Maura Kelley and twins Katherine and Anna Shelden were soaking up the sun.

The soon-to-be NCHS alumni said they’re spending the April break at home and typically choose either Waveny or Weed Beach in Darien.

“This is better,” Katherine said. “It’s beautiful out.”

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