Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Personal Care Consultation


“I’ve been a nurse for over 40 years, and I am currently a nursing professor. When my mom was recently in the hospital, I knew it would not be possible for her to be completely on her own right away. She loves where she resides and enjoys all of the activities that are offered. My goal was to get her back into her apartment as soon as possible with the support she needed to increase her strength and return to her prior level of wellness she had before she went into the hospital. She was used to walking a couple miles a day. When I reached out to ABC I made it clear that my mom would need somebody who would be willing to walk with her in the morning, and in the evening enabling her to get back to her baseline. I would like to complement all of the staff at ABC who provided my mom such wonderful support after two weeks she returned to her baseline and remained in her apartment. She really enjoyed all of the staff that were with her , they were professional they encouraged her to walk, drink fluids, eat and were instrumental in assisting her to reach her prior level of independence. I would strongly recommend ABC to anybody who is in need of support for their loved one.”

Robin Y.

“Mom’s care needs have been progressing over the past month - increased difficulty standing. walking, decreased appetite, increased incontinence. (Part of the expected declining process per her Dr.) Tara has been wonderful in adapting to Mom’s changing needs as they develop and a very helpful partner in troubleshooting. brainstorming how to adapt to best support Mom. It’s also been helpful in my regular communication with Mom’s Dr, to let her know in detail what has come up and how we have approached. Thank you (again) for your talented staff!”

Jeremy H.

“Outstanding personal service from this company. All of the caregivers were personable and provided outstanding care to our aunt. I would highly recommend them to anyone who has an elder family member in need. Also, the staff that helped to set up their services was outstanding as well. They made the decisions easy to understand with no hidden agenda. Thank you again to "ABC!"”


“You can't go wrong with this crew. Extremely patient and caring.”

Daniel S.

“Caring for family can be difficult and challenging at times. It's so nice to know that Always Best Care Senior Services is there to help!”

Cathy K.

“Taylor, John, and Kristine and their crew are the best. They are patient, understanding, and a joy to work with.”

Daniel S.

“Sabina always has a pleasant, caring, and respectful attitude. I feel she treats me as she would as her own mother. She treats me the way she would like to be treated. We are a good “team” together.”

Tracy H.

“Diana has a total commitment of compassion, empathy, and respect for myself and my family. My daughters feel she is truly a tremendous caregiver. They know I am in good hands. She acknowledges with commitment of my physical, emotional, and practical needs, my quality of life has excelled due to Diana’s help. I look forward to her presence everyday her attitude is exceptional, Diana comes to work daily with a smile on her face. She enters the front door, singing softly ready to work. She has never taken a day off, I have had many caregivers, but Diana is truly the best!”

Anne H.

“Tina has been with us since the start, caring for my mom. Tina has nothing but my mom’s best interest at heart. She continues to go above and beyond to care for my mom, and ensure anyone else who may be there also understands my mom’s needs. Tina has even gone so far to rearrange her schedule or give up her free time to stay with my mom to avoid her having someone that doesn’t know her. I can see that she genuinely cares for my mom, and treats her as if she was her own family member. That also goes both ways, my mom lights up when she sees Tina. We consider Tina part of our family.”

David L.

“Always Best Care helped our family get through a very difficult time with my mother's care. Kristine and Taylor are a pleasure to work with. They are very knowledgable and had the answers to all our questions. They were able to help with all aspects of the care we needed. I highly recommend them.”

John S.

“Kristine and John are extremely caring and compassionate about helping their client's and family and making sure they receive the best care available. Highly recommended!”

Greg G.

“We needed some home care services for Dad who has dementia, and we made the right decision to trust ABC Senior Services for this support. Dad was lined up with a caregiver who was attentive and helpful, and she and Dad really hit it off. The management and administrative staff from ABC were also very effective and professional. You'll make a good decision to go with ABC Senior Services...”

Liam M.

“I approached Kristine regarding care for my elderly father. Even though he was outside her service area, she helped to find resources for us. Her commitment to providing outstanding care is only surpassed by her desire to help others. Thank you Kristine!”

Matt B.

“I have known Kristine Lajeunesse for many years now through business networking and she and her Team at Always Best Care are very caring and professional and exactly who you would want on your side if you have a loved one who needs help!”

Ann B.

“The client care at Always Best Care Senior Service is outstanding”

Kimberly O.

“Rosemary has many great qualities. She is a hardworker, sensitive, has a giving nature and has an immense desire to help my father. Reliability is vital trait in Rosemary. When my father was in the hospital and came home she immediately wanted to be by his side. My father has come to rely and depend on Rosemary. She is always on time whether it is giving medication or administering food and often encourages my father and helps my father maintain his dignity”

Denise D.

“Always Best Care provides caregivers to our building on a regular basis when we are short staffed. Due to our licensing, we can only have CNAs on the floor and Always Best Care has provided excellent CNAs every time we need some extra help. All of their CNAs have been helpful, willing to go above and beyond for our residents and we always have great responses from our own CNAs and supervisory staff. I am so thankful to Michelle and Wilda who will always staff a shift that I need, even if I call 30 minutes before the shift starts. You’ve been such a huge help!”

Kaytee S.

“I have known John and Kristine Lajeunesse for almost 20 years and when my dad needed care following a diagnosis of dementia, I knew there wouldn’t be anyone better to call than them. The caregivers that have worked with my dad have been wonderful. They are true saints to my family, allowing us the knowledge that Dad is okay to stay at home. They have navigated all of the changes in his cognitive state with grace and kept my father’s dignity in place. He was always a very active man and the caregivers have managed to keep him active, even as his health declines.”

Belinda F.

“Always Best Care helped me to get care lined up for my uncle, after I received their information from a close friend of mine that also used their agency. My uncle was a very proud man and did not want help from anyone, including family. Taylor met with me and spent time getting to know the ins and outs of my uncle’s care as well as his personality. She asked about his background so that they could look for a caregiver with similar interests. Although he took a turn for the worse rather quickly, the short time care was provided was wonderful. Thank you for your help and compassion.”

Karel O.

“My dad’s caregiver is great. He is a man of few words, but she is able to get him talking about all aspects and experiences of his life. They go out regularly and she encourages my dad to participate in the activities put on by the community he lives in. They run errands, go out for meals, or go for a drive just to get a change of scenery. I was nervous at first about how my dad would take having a caregiver come in to help him, but he seems so happy and has great things to talk about after his time spent with his caregiver.”

Martin F.

“Thank you, Kristine - I am very appreciative of the professional manner with which you and your organization operates. From the initial phone and in-person conversations with Taylor, to the ongoing support of my mother's care - it's been thorough, timely and well managed. I am also struck by how the home-health employees conduct themselves. They are reliable/responsive *and* responsible, and making every effort to work through the challenges day to day with my mother. Thanks for the great job you and your organization are doing. It means a lot to me, especially during this trying time! Best Regards”

Anna T.

“I wanted to take a moment to thank you and your staff for all of your hard work and dedication to their clients. When my parents finally realized they needed help in their home, I chose ABC as the company I felt would be the best fit. Yes, we have had some ups and down, but when you paired Leah with my parents, it was truly a blessing. My parents love her. She genuinely cares for them and they speak highly of her work ethic. As my mom says, “she is too good to be true”. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your working with me to find the right fit. Well on our end, Leah fits like a glove and I hope she feels the same. She is a special person so I wanted to acknowledge her hard work and dedication to my parents. It makes me feel more at ease knowing there is someone coming to the home to properly care for them. Again I want to thank you all and encourage you to keep up the good work.”

Craig F.

“My family provides the care to my mother 24/7, we called Always Best Care to provide respite care to my mom while we took some time to ourselves for a weekend. Mom’s caregiver, Gloria, was great and she had the perfect disposition to work with my mom. She was attentive and kept mom well fed and engaged during the time we were away. We would definitely call Always Best Care again when we need some time away.”


“The caregiver that helped my husband and I were so kind to us both, especially to my husband while I spent some time in the hospital and rehab. Our caregiver brought my husband to see me every day while I was at the hospital and at rehab, I knew he was in excellent hands and I could focus on getting stronger again.”

Heather R.

“i really like my caregiver, Victor very much. Victor is a very patient and observant aide who knows when I need his help. I knew from the first day meeting him that we would get along very well.”

Johnson L.

““I want to give a huge thank you for the care that Always Best Care provided over the last year and a half. They started out assisting just my dad since he was wheelchair bound and then began providing care to my mom as well who had advanced dementia. The two ladies that helped them both did an amazing job and gave me the confidence that they were being well cared for since I live on the other side of the country. Up to my dad’s passing, his caregivers were there for him to provide comfort and companionship while managing my mom’s emotions as well during the difficult time my dad had. Being a nurse myself and in the healthcare field for a while, I had high expectations which were exceeded by the caregivers and office staff of Always Best Care.”

harry B.

“Both of Mom’s caregivers are exceptional. They are always professional, calm and extremely patient with my mom. They know how to keep her calm and to manage her anxiety. My whole family is very grateful, knowing that Mom is getting really competent care, great meals and friendly companionship. Thank you.”

Kathleen F.

“My husband had care from Always Best Care until he passed away. Thankfully he is on his "next journey" and finally pain free, while he was here with us, his caregiver, Craig, did an amazing job caring for him and was here to help us from our first day of services. Craig always managed to get my husband to share stories from his time in the war that even I had not heard before. It was a great way to get to know more of my husband so his memory can continue with others around him.”

Beth F.

“I am very pleased with the care that Craig gave to my husband. My husband enjoyed having another man to talk to instead of conversation only between him and I. Craig managed to keep him occupied and safe so that I could go and get some time to myself, allowing me peace of mind that my husband was in great hands”

Sonia T.

“I hired Always Best Care to help my mom who was living with me at home. She was diagnosed with dementia and within 3 months she could hardly do much for herself anymore. I was able to continue working full time while my mom received care from Always Best Care. We had the same caregiver from day 1 and she was absolutely amazing. She kept everyone in the loop with any changes my mom experienced and the regular in person and phone check ins were a great added support to myself and my family. Thank you ABC for all the help and compassion that you showed my mom until her passing.”


“They are very caring and easy to deal with. They work with the family and the patient to see that the patient has what is needed for their care. In all we had a good experience with Best Care.”

Elaine G.

“Our caregiver is the absolute best, you all got lucky finding her.”

Bob G.

“Anything from Always Best Care is good to have. The care from them has given me my life back. I wasn’t expecting a perfect match on the first caregiver, but Always Best Care did a very good job.”

Claudia B.

“We have been using the services of ABC for almost three years, and I have worked personally with John, Kristine, Taylor, Michelle and Wilda, as well as the many wonderful caregivers who have attended to my mother’s needs with great care and attention. Throughout this time, my mother’s care needs have changed many times, and they have always been very responsive to any requests, including the directives of the hospice nurses that work in concert with all of them. Taylor and Michelle are incredibly diligent about keeping on top of issues that arise day-to-day, and running their questions and concerns by me. I remain a loyal customer to ABC because I feel that my mother is getting really great care, and will continue to see the warm, friendly faces she has come to know and trust today and every day. At 94 yrs old, my mother is quite dependent on the care providers for almost all her needs, and they always show up and make her feel safe and secure.”

Rachel C.

“It has been a true pleasure working with you and your organization. You all demonstrate empathy and compassion in caring for frail elderly family members and insure distant families are comforted knowing you are there.”

Steve S.

“Mom’s caregiver is a part of the family, we absolutely love her!”

Joe L.

“Always Best Care has done a fantastic job in providing us with at-home care for my step-mother while we prepared for her transition to move permanently to a skilled nursing facility. With their help, she was able to spend a full six months at home before moving. We would not have been able to do it without them. All the caregivers we have met and used have been kind and attentive, frequently going the extra mile, whatever that may be on any given day. The office staff is friendly, empathetic and very diligent in keeping all parties informed of all aspects of day-to-day care. They are knowledgeable, respectful and efficient. I would not hesitate in recommending them to anyone who is looking for help in keeping their loved one at home for as long as possible.”

Sarah C.

“I appreciate that they always accommodate me and have someone here to drive me, even if I only call them the day before. I’m so glad I was able to find them, because I didn’t know what I was going to do. I just lost my sister and she helped me out a lot.”

Donna .

“I appreciate that they always accommodate me and have someone here to drive me, even if I only call them the day before. I’m so glad I was able to find them, because I didn’t know what I was going to do. I just lost my sister and she helped me out a lot.”

Janey B.
 In-Home Care Portland, CT

How does In-home Senior Care in Portland, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Portland, CT

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Portland, CT, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Portland, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Portland, CT

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Portland,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Portland, CT

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Portland, CT

Drum circle community finds a home at historic Portland Brownstone Quarries

PORTLAND, Conn. (WTNH) — The brownstone used for apartments in the East Coast’s major cities was mined at the Portland Quarries — but now new life is coming to the historic landmark with a new purpose.Most families know the area for the Brownstone Adventure Sports Park. Darlene Rice and her husband, Dean Soucy, bought six acres of land in 2019 just across the water. The spot was meant to house Soucy’s construction company equipment.“We called it a Jurassic jungle,” Rice said. “It was a ...

PORTLAND, Conn. (WTNH) — The brownstone used for apartments in the East Coast’s major cities was mined at the Portland Quarries — but now new life is coming to the historic landmark with a new purpose.

Most families know the area for the Brownstone Adventure Sports Park. Darlene Rice and her husband, Dean Soucy, bought six acres of land in 2019 just across the water. The spot was meant to house Soucy’s construction company equipment.

“We called it a Jurassic jungle,” Rice said. “It was a mess, and there was a lot of garbage. A lot of stuff had been thrown over the sides from previous businesses up on the hill.”

The couple knew the brownstone was used for the classic apartments, but as Soucy cleared the area, they found pieces from the past.

“This is the history right here, the stone,” Rice said. “We didn’t move any of the original pieces, we uncovered them. We didn’t know they were here at all.”

Soucy found stones that once held derricks that would be used to pull stones from the quarry. He also found dinosaur footprints, carvings where a steam engine once was and initials on the walls dating back to 1891.

The couple transformed the land into the Quarry View Historic Park and Campground. In the middle of construction, their friend Mark Zarrillo said it could be something more.

Zarillo visited the park and discovered that the space tucked behind the walls of the quarry had great acoustics. They started hosting drum circles with a few people. Then, it kept growing.

“It doesn’t matter what your lifestyle is out there, drumming pulls all types of people together,” Zarrillo said. “Drumming can be whatever you want it to be. It can be somewhere where you sweat, have fun, dance and let loose, or you can go as deep as you want to.”

Soucy and Rice hosted an event Tuesday night called “The Awakening.” It is the first event of the year, welcoming people from all over New England to create music. Attendees described it as a spiritual experience.

“Dean and I will tell you we don’t even feel like we’re owners, we feel like we’re caretakers, cause there’s a lot of history, there’s a lot of feelings here,” Rice said.

People can visit and attend public events at the Quarry View for free. Rice and Soucy take donations for the upkeep of the park. The site books private events like weddings and celebrations of life as well.

To find out more information visit the park’s website or Facebook page.

July 4th Fireworks 2023 Around East Hampton-Portland

Patch has your complete guide to Independence Day fireworks shows, parades and other celebrations in and around East Hampton-Portland.|Updated Mon, Jun 26, 2023 at 12:16 pm ETEAST HAMPTON-PORTLAND, CT — Independence Day is quickly approaching, which means it's time to fire up that barbecue and find out what Fourth of July fireworks and festivities are going on in and around East Hampton-Portland for 2023.We gathered up all the fireworks shows, parades and festivals happening in and around East Hampton-Portland so...

Patch has your complete guide to Independence Day fireworks shows, parades and other celebrations in and around East Hampton-Portland.

|Updated Mon, Jun 26, 2023 at 12:16 pm ET

EAST HAMPTON-PORTLAND, CT — Independence Day is quickly approaching, which means it's time to fire up that barbecue and find out what Fourth of July fireworks and festivities are going on in and around East Hampton-Portland for 2023.

We gathered up all the fireworks shows, parades and festivals happening in and around East Hampton-Portland so you can start planning now.

Here's what's in store this July 4 in and around East Hampton-Portland:

Norwich Harbor Fireworks

What: The 2023 Norwich Harbor Fireworks will be cap off Rose Arts Weekend with a night of celebrating our country’s independence.

Find out what's happening in East Hampton-Portlandwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Where: Howard T. Brown Park, 100 Chelsea Harbor Drive, Norwich

When: Sunday, July 2, from 5 to 10 p.m.

More information: Go to Norwich Harbor Fireworks' Facebook page.

Groton Fourth of July Parade

What: This hometown event to celebrate America's independence brings together dozens of local businesses, civic, youth sports and other organizations for an old-fashioned parade with fire engines, marching bands and antique cars.

Where: Poquonnock Plains Park in Groton

When: Tuesday, July 4, at 10 a.m.

More information: Go to the Town of Groton's website.

Independence Day at Mystic Seaport Museum

What: Reenactors from several Connecticut and British Regiments will take over our quaint seaport town at Mystic Seaport Museum for a day. The museum invites you to witness what it was like to be a member of a Continental Regiment or British Regiment during these tumultuous times in American history.

Where: Village Green

When: Saturday, July 1, parade kicks off at noon

More information: Go to Mystic Seaport Museum's website.

Celebrate East Lyme 2023

What: Niantic’s Main Street will transform for this celebration by the sea, filled with food, fun, and activities. More than 200 vendors, live music, and a Dominion fireworks display over Niantic Bay.

Where: Main Street in Niantic

When: Saturday, July 15

More information: Go to Celebrate East Lyme's Facebook page.

Clinton Summerfest and Fireworks

What: Food, fun, beer garden, music, and fireworks.

Where: Andrews Memorial Town Hall and Clinton Town Beach

When: Saturday, Aug. 26, starting at 4 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m.

More information: Go to Clinton Summerfest and Fireworks' Facebook page.

Sailfest New London

What: Sailfest is Southeastern Connecticut’s premiere summertime event, complete with a major fireworks display, amusement rides, free entertainment, ships, and over 200 vendors lining the streets.

When: Saturday, July 8, and Sunday, July 9

Where: Downtown New London

More information: Go to Sailfest New London's website.

Town of Orange Annual Independence Day Concert and Fireworks Show

What: Orange will hold its annual Independence Day celebration with food trucks, fireworks, and more.

When: Sunday, July 2, festivities begin at 6:30 p.m., fireworks at 9:30 p.m.; rain date July 9

Where: Orange Fairgrounds, 525 Orange Center Rd

More information: Go here

Savin Rock Fireworks Spectacular

What: Join the Savin Rock Fireworks Committee as fireworks blast off Bradley Point and explode over Long Island Sound, dazzling crowds along the city’s 3 miles of public beaches with a display of brilliant lighting and booming sound effects.

When: Monday, July 3, 9:15 p.m.

Where: Bradley Point

More information: Go to the city of West Haven's website.

Portland's mixed-use Brainerd Place, to include Starbucks, to reuse 3 historic homes

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigatePORTLAND — After several years of delays, Portland’s Brainerd Place mixed-use development, which will house apartments, businesses, offices — and a Starbucks — has finally broken ground.With the tagline “A Modern New England Town Center,” ...

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PORTLAND — After several years of delays, Portland’s Brainerd Place mixed-use development, which will house apartments, businesses, offices — and a Starbucks — has finally broken ground.

With the tagline “A Modern New England Town Center,” Brainerd Place will sit at the site of the old Elmcrest psychiatric Hospital, which was mostly demolished last summer. Earlier this spring, construction began on building E, which will house 99 residential units.

Developer Dan Bertram of Bright Ravens Development says the project is coming along nicely. He anticipates construction to soon begin on Building D, which will be home to the Starbucks. Town can expect the coffeehouse to open in spring 2024, he added.

The 240 residential units on the site are about 15 to 18 months out from being habitable. Following Starbucks, the next building to be constructed will be Building F, home to another 130 residential units.

Other progress in the development includes the decision to split Building B, a commercial building originally slated to be a CVS, into two buildings on the corner of Main and Marlborough streets. These spaces are now intended to house retail on the first floor and offices on the second.

“I'm always focused, not on the thing that's getting built right now, but on the next thing to be built at that site, and making sure we're listening to market feedback and adjusting accordingly,” Bertram said of the decision to alter plans for Building B.

The overall timeline of the project has been adjusted to account for delays in breaking ground, and changes that have been made since. Due to inflation, the developers previously struggled to obtain the necessary supplies and engage construction workers on the project.

However, Bertram expects to soon bring a new estimated completion date to the Board of Selectmen.

First Selectman Ryan Curley expressed hope that the development will be a catalyst for further economic growth in town, especially with the addition of so many housing units.

“[We’re] hoping to attract young business professionals, maybe some elderly looking to downsize, which will increase the population of the town somewhat,” Curley said. “We've been stagnant for several years now… and with 240 units, we could be talking about 500 new people in town, which [means] 500 new people that are going to Portland businesses, restaurants, eating [and] shopping in town, which is great.”

Another element of the project is the tax abatement, which Curley has been working on with the Town Council to amend the October 2021 version. The abatement will account for all three phases of the project rather than two, and will allow construction to continue progressing.

“It shouldn't be too much longer until we get this amended agreement in place,” Curley said. “I think both sides are probably in a pretty good place. And we need to get this agreement so that the developer can secure the financing for phase two of the project, which is important.”

The site also includes three historic homes: the circa 1852 Erastus Brainerd Jr. House, circa 1804 John H. Sage House, and Hart-Jarvis House, built in 1829. The latter was originally scheduled to be moved from its original location and installed in the southwest corner of the development.

The restoration of this structure was slated to be undertaken by a local nonprofit, according to Bertram. However, its financing fell through, so the developer decided to take on the additional task of incorporating the Hart-Jarvis House into the plans in its current location.

“It will bring a special character to the development and preserve the best of the best elements of the past,” Bertram said.

Sage House will be a restaurant, and Brainerd House will become a clubhouse for people who work or live at Brainerd Place. Bertram anticipates the restored Hart-Jarvis House will be used as office space.

Bertram also mentioned that the development has been designed around the presence of specimen trees, such as beech trees.

“You have these legacy components that you then try to bring a modern living and service-level business experience to,” he said.

Sitting on a hill overlooking the Arrigoni Bridge and the Connecticut River, the site will be landscaped to create a park-like feel, with more trees planted once buildings are constructed. Certain views will be preserved, such as from the terrace of Sage House and specific locations within the new structures.

The combination of history and modernity, in addition to residential and commercial use, will contribute to the overall role that Brainerd Place will play in the community.

“It's so important because it's going to have a lot of character, and I do believe that these historic homes that they save are going to really set this property apart from other mixed-use developments that you may see throughout the state,” Curley said.

In demolishing Elmcrest Hospital, the developers salvaged some brownstone from the site and plan to use it on the new buildings to be constructed. Given Portland’s historic brownstone quarries, the incorporation of such a cultural element serves as an homage to Portland's history.

“It's going to be basically one of the very first things that you see when you come over the Arrigoni Bridge into Portland, so we want to make sure that we present it in the best way possible, and that's why they're incorporating things like the brownstone features into the project,” Curley said.

Curley elaborated on the importance of the development, not only to Portland’s commerce but that of the entire Route 66 corridor.

“It's definitely an important part of Portland's future,” Curley said. “I've told the developers this many times: their success is our success in the town.”

CT's Top Dog stand, a national icon, to close after 43 years at end of season

PORTLAND — East Hampton couple Andrea and Alan Spaulding have been slinging Thumann’s hot dogs with all the fixings from their iconic Airstream trailer on Route 66 for so many decades that their customers now span several generations.“I now have kids of kids of kids,” said A...

PORTLAND — East Hampton couple Andrea and Alan Spaulding have been slinging Thumann’s hot dogs with all the fixings from their iconic Airstream trailer on Route 66 for so many decades that their customers now span several generations.

“I now have kids of kids of kids,” said Andrea Spaulding, who has run the distinctive Top Dog stand, a roadside attraction, for 43 years with help from her husband. Customers come from all over Connecticut, upstate New York and even Europe one time.

The menu is simple: hot dogs, chips, and soda including Foxon Park of East Haven. Prices are affordable: hot dogs range in price from $3.60 to $4.70 depending on the toppings. Only cash is accepted.

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The 1963 bun-colored former camper is based at the defunct Connecticut Central Railroad depot at 211 Marlborough Road, not far from the Portland Bridge.

The trailer, topped by a large, red hot dog complete with mustard and relish, was custom made by Alan Spaulding. It took him hundreds of hours to trick it out.

“When I saw the trailer, I had a vision that it looked like a hot dog roll (even though it was a silver color)," he said. That’s when business doubled.

It’s a well-known local landmark, drawn by a 1972 yellow Marathon checker cab with an “Elvis” mannequin dressed in a Hawaiian shirt as passenger.

"Elvis" has been riding with them for more than 20 years. “I thought it would be cute,” Andrea Spaulding said, thinking of the spectacle. She came up with the idea. “I also had Marilyn Monroe, but over the years, we’ve gotten so much stuff that we put in the car, she had to get out.”

She and her husband have run the stand together for the past four years after her husband, who started the business in 1980, sold his own endeavor, although he previously had helped out on the weekends when he could, his wife said.

“It’s worked out — knock on wood — really well,” Andrea Spaulding said.

A year after they married, Andrea Spaulding kept telling her husband that she wanted a restaurant, “and this is what I got,” she said, gesturing to the tiny confines.

“He was smart enough to know that running a restaurant is very difficult: The success rate is very low,” she said.

Some patrons stop by on their way to visit F40 Motorsports just up the road. Owner host Wayne Carini is host of the “Chasing Classic Cars” documentary show, which has featured the food truck.

Top Dog’s best years were during the pandemic, Andrea Spaulding said, because they had plastic dividers, tailgaters could enjoy lunch in the open air and customers could socially distance.

“It was some place for people to take their kids and get out of the house," she added.

Now it’s time to retire, Andrea Spaulding said. “I wanted to go 45 years, but, in this day and age, you don’t know what’s around the corner.”

The couple looks forward to traveling in the summertime, including to Alaska. All these years, they could only take vacation in the winter, she said.

“I used to tell him jokingly we should just turn it back into a camper, leave the hot dog on top and go across country,” she said.

The hot dog stand, which opened for the season this year on March 29, has been featured in local media as well as on national TV shows such as "Road Food," and a documentary last year.

Dave Corsino of Plainville queued up in line Wednesday for a kraut dog. “We’re usually passing by here going somewhere else,” he said of he and his companion. “It’s the best hot dogs around."

“We might plan the timing of where we need to be to stop here," he said.

Joe Albert of Portland, who came by with his daughter, said he "grew up" at the hot dog stand. His choice is the spicy chili dog, while his daughter prefers a plain dog with ketchup.

“It’s a good place,” he said.

Michaela Miano, a Mercy High School senior, has been patronizing Top Dog since she was a child. “I have very fond memories of coming here with my mother when I was little; get a great conversation along the way, too," she said. "It’s a staple of living in Portland."

She remembers being made fun of while younger for ordering plain hot dogs, she said, but, “I quickly graduated to putting cheese and/or bacon on them.”

Thurmann’s hot dogs are “the very best,” Andrea Spaulding said.

“They’re natural casing,” her husband said. “People like that. ... In this business, you’ve got to have the best.”

Little toy checker cabs, a black British taxi and a dog figurine shaped like a hot dog on the window counter are gifts from customers. “I have so many at my house,” Andrea Spaulding said.

Two local “celebrities,” Gov. Ned Lamont and Eyewitness News Meteorologist Scott Haney, have been their most notable customers over the years.

Andrea Spaulding was particularly excited about the governor, who stopped by in 2019 with a large entourage, including state troopers, after attending the first Middletown Pride festival. He ordered a chili dog, their most popular style: “He was standing in line like everybody else. I kept looking. You can’t miss Gov. Lamont,” she said.

“I kept hitting my husband, saying, ‘Is that who I think it is?’ He came up to the window and I’m tongue-tied,” she added.

Haney stopped by a few years prior to that on his way to Pumpkintown U.S.A. in East Hampton. “He saw it and came back and had lunch,” Andrea Spaulding said.

Also, Zippy the Pinhead cartoonist Bill Griffith, who lives in East Haddam, featured Top Dog in his comic strip last year. “(Zippy) the clown loves my hot dogs,” Andrea Spaulding said with a chuckle.

At the end of each day, the couple hops into the cab to head home. Inevitably they get waves, stares and beeping horns from motorists, said Andrea Spaulding, who calls it “a riot.”

Top Dog is now up for sale. The couple hopes to find a buyer who is as friendly and enthusiastic about the business as they are.

Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, visit Top Dog on Facebook. To inquire about buying the business, text 860-218-4852 (no phone calls) or email [email protected].

Portland mixed-use apartment, retail complex at old Elmcrest Hospital on schedule

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigatePORTLAND — Despite pandemic-related issues delaying the start of construction at Brainerd Place in Portland, the developer says the mixed-use apartment, business, medical and office project on the site of the former Elmcrest Hospital remains on schedule.Developer Dan Bertram of Bright Ravens said other elements o...

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PORTLAND — Despite pandemic-related issues delaying the start of construction at Brainerd Place in Portland, the developer says the mixed-use apartment, business, medical and office project on the site of the former Elmcrest Hospital remains on schedule.

Developer Dan Bertram of Bright Ravens said other elements of the seven-building project spread over 14.7 acres are being accelerated. Specifically, a period of time between the construction of the first and second buildings will shorter than earlier anticipated.

He still expects the overall project to be finished on time.

“The delay on Building E will be made up by compressing the start of other elements of the project,” he said.

That building, with 99 apartment units, be complete by 2024, he said. The foundation area has been excavated and concrete should be poured in late February.

A Starbucks is set to open in the second building as early as the end of this year. There will also be an additional 1,800 square feet of retail space.

Bertram said the project is entering a new, exciting stage because progress will become visible to motorists crossing the Arrigoni Bridge and traveling along Marlborough Street / Route 66.

“It will be fun to see the first building go up and for people to see it when they drive by,” said Bertram.

Rental units are in demand in the area, he added. The delay in construction on the first structure was also caused by inflation-related issues related to obtaining necessary commodities and building supplies, as well as finding workers.

But those issues are subsiding, Bertram explained: “The economy is slowing, so it is not as hard to get contractors. It should be full steam ahead.”

Following the completion of phase one, which also includes a lot of site work, phase two will involve the creation of 130 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail. That project should also be completed in 2024, Bertram said.

The developer is also saving three historic homes on the site, including the Sage House, which will host a future restaurant, and Brainerd House, with a clubhouse with amenities such as a gym for residents and employees of businesses at Brainerd Place.

First Selectman Ryan Curley said he is pleased that things are moving forward. “The progress is encouraging,” he pointed out. “There is a lot of work to do, but we’re eagerly awaiting more progress to come.”

One action item for the town council is to amend a tax abatement agreement crafted by previous town councils to align with the modified planning on the project, Curley added. For example, the earlier abatement was premised on a two-phase construction schedule, which has been changed to include a third phase reserved for creating a large commercial retail building.

That schedule has been put off, however, so the developer has an opportunity to assess the demand in the retail leasing market, and potential merchants can see that the residential component of the project is creating a sufficiently attractive commercial environment.

Curley hopes to have a draft tax abatement for the council to consider next month. That would be the fourth iteration of the abatement, he said, as the town has had to shift along with the changing plan over the years.

The abatement now runs for seven years, and offers a gradually increasing assessed valuation for the buildings until they are assessed at 100 percent in their eighth year, Curley said.

The clock begins to run on each building as it is finished, he noted, adding that council members may want to place additional requirements on the developer's plan.

“This is about incentivizing the developer to make progress, and making sure we stay on track,” Curley said.


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