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Praising The Parkway

The Merritt Parkway is part of Westport’s DNA. It’s an important artery, a verdant and calm (well, calmer) alternative to I-95. It slices gently through town (though now, the slicing is being done to tons of trees along its borders).

It seems as if it’s always been there — sort of the Saugatuck River of roads. But in fact, the Merritt Parkway is only 75 years old.

Over the coming month, its anniversary will be celebrated in several ways.

Merritt Parkway

On Wednesday (May 1), the Westport Public Library opens 2 Riverwalk-level exhibits: “Section 1 of the Merritt Parkway Turns 75” and “Painting the Merritt: Cynthia Mullins Celebrates the Parkway.” A reception for the twin exhibits is set for this Friday (May 3, 6-7 p.m.) in the McManus Room.

Next Tuesday (May 7, 7:30 p.m.), Jill Smith, executive director of the Merritt Parkway Conservancy — now that’s something I-95 will never have! — will discuss the history of the road. And on Thursday, June 6 (2 p.m.), filmmaker Lisa Seidenberg will introduce her film “The Road Taken…The Merritt Parkway,” and answer questions.

All events sound intriguing. All are free, and open to the public.

But if you’re coming from out of town, and driving on the Merritt, allow extra time. All that tree-cutting causes extensive delays.