Greetings dear readers and kind friends, and welcome to the Front Porch for our Valentine's Day week visit. Ah yes, the week for hearts, flowers, chocolate, love and flowery "Roses are red, violets are blue," verses and rhymes. Here's hoping your Valentine's Day is cheery and sweet and you receive homemade cards to warm your hearts.

Speaking of cheery and sweet, what fun we had at Weekapaug Inn Tuesday night at a friendly neighborhood party full of fabulous treats prepared by Chef Devin Bozkaya as a way to introduce The Brasserie, the inn's "newest culinary endeavor." Make sure to stop by and check out the menu which includes items like the Weekapaug Burger, lobster mac and cheese, all manner of raw bar items and sides (a "Gnocchi, basil fondue, parmesan" for $6) daily specials (Sunday is family pasta night) and fun-sounding mocktails (the Winter Lemonade features housemade lemonade, with clementine and fresh mint) and cocktails (the Winter’s Joy includes Grand Marnier, cranberry juice, housemade rosemary syrup and sparkling wine.) Chef Devin is eager to welcome new guests and neighbors, so pop in one day soon. It was such fun to visit with Ana and Lou Alosco, members of the Adams family; Mary, Kevin, Nettie and Jack; Carolyn Maynard; Alli and Dan Lathrop; Robin Springborn and Gregory Ahern; Dee Dee and Jim Buffum; Inn Naturalist Mark Bullinger, former Innkeeper Antonia Korosec (now Ocean House GM) Laurie Hobbs, our host, Lang Wheeler and so many others who turned out for the lovely soiree.

We had a great discussion with naturalist Mark who told us about his recent bird sightings. Local bird lovers have reported spotting the Eurasian Wigeon, some Northern Pintails, Kildeer, eagles and the Barred Owl. I spotted a Barred Owl myself one afternoon, sitting on a telephone wire on Shore Road.

Make a point of stopping by the Hoxie Gallery at the Westerly Library to see "Our Story:350 Years," the extraordinary exhibit organized by volunteers from the Babcock-Smith House Museum and the Westerly Historical Society which runs through March 28. Last Wednesday was the grand opening and was so packed with people I know I'll be returning for a closer look. It was good to see Terry and Dave Smith, Sarah and Harvey Perry and Mary B. Cool, to name a few of the folks attending. There will also be a series of talks in conjunction with the exhibit, and Ellen Madison, chair of the committee, said anyone with an idea for a talk can reach out to her for details.

I noticed from all the lovely photos on Facebook, that students from Westerly Middle School dressed in their winter finery for the annual Snowball. Remember to send in your pics to share with Front Porch New readers!

Congratulations to all you ambitious soup makers who participated in the Rotary Club of Westerly's 15th annual Chowder cook-off Saturday at the Venice Restaurant. Thanks to Cal Lord, the club's membership chair, we have the names of the winners from the prestigious culinary event: Sunny Side Up Restaurant took top spot in the commercial/restaurant division and Highland Grill/Westerly High School students re-claimed their championship title in the high school division. Second place in the restaurant division was awarded to Mia Byrnes' Wilcox Tavern and third place to Mark Lacz's Casa della Luce. Well done everyone. Stay tuned for photos!

And how good is it to know that the Red Sox equipment left Fenway Park last Monday, that pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday,and the annual open house at JetBlue Park is Saturday? So good! Ciao bella!

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