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Home Care in Deep River, CT

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, sometimes they cannot live independently without someone by their side to provide care. Unfortunately, some older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live in the comforts or their home rather than in an assisted living community. Home care in Deep River, CT is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

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Home Care Deep River, CT

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of seniors to maintain a higher level of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home care services in Deep River, CT. Always Best Care is here to help.

How does In-home Senior Care in Deep River, 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.

 In-Home Care Deep River, CT

Types of In-home Care in Deep River, CT

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

 Elderly Care Deep River, CT

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes or Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
 Senior Care Deep River, CT

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading

Respite Care Deep River, CT

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite activities and hobbies while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community Events and Social Outings
 Caregivers Deep River, CT

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy other activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress helps reduce the risks of caregiver burnout.

When it comes to non-medical home care, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible. If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

Benefits of Home Care in Deep River, CT

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Home Care Deep River, CT
  • Age in Place
    According to AARP, 9 out of 10 seniors prefer to age in place within the comfort of their own home. With in-home care, seniors have a way to stay at home, receive the care they need, and maintain a sense of independence, improving overall wellness.
  • Peace of Mind
    If you or a member of your family have assumed the role of caregiver for your senior loved one, you know how stressful the job can be. Between caregiver burnout and constant worry, being a family caregiver is hard. In-home care relieves your burden and gives you peace of mind knowing that your senior family member is in expert hands.
  • Socialization
    Unlike many senior care facilities where the staff and residents rotate frequently, seniors can foster new friendships and build bonds with their caregiver. Seniors who socialize on a regular basis are often happier, which fosters positivity and leads to increased wellbeing.
  • Personalized Care Plan
    No two seniors need the same kind of in-home care assistance. That is why each of our care plans are tailored to meet our client's individual needs. We offer plans that cover everything from light housekeeping to more involved duties like transportation to doctor's appointments. Our Care Coordinators will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan to ensure your senior's needs are exceeded.

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for clients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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.

 In-Home Care Deep River, CT

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

Comfort

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 Deep River, 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

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.

Independence

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

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.

 Elderly Care Deep River, CT

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 Deep River, 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.

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.

 Senior Care Deep River, CT

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

  • 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: 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: 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: 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.

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 Deep River,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.

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:

01

An assessment of your senior loved one

02

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

03

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.

Latest News in Deep River, CT

Kindness in Real Life: Volunteers bring Gillette Castle’s conservatory back to blooming life

Visitors to the century-old fieldstone mansion of William Gillette this year will see new life blooming inside the structure at the heart of Gillette Castle State Park.That’s because local gardeners have given Gillette Castle’s conservatory a generous dose of loving care, festooning the alcove with plants ranging from ferns and palms to an African milk tree, cacti and varieties of flowering plants.“The garden community truly has risen to the occasion with this effort to beautify the conservatory, for which we&...

Visitors to the century-old fieldstone mansion of William Gillette this year will see new life blooming inside the structure at the heart of Gillette Castle State Park.

That’s because local gardeners have given Gillette Castle’s conservatory a generous dose of loving care, festooning the alcove with plants ranging from ferns and palms to an African milk tree, cacti and varieties of flowering plants.

“The garden community truly has risen to the occasion with this effort to beautify the conservatory, for which we’re extremely grateful,” said Lynn Wilkinson, president of the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park, in a release.

Samantha Van Jeune of Chester and Jamie Burgess of Haddam last year launched the rejuvenation effort. Burgess is president of the East Haddam Garden Club.

“Gillette Castle has always been a favorite place of mine to visit because of the beautiful grounds and interesting history,” said Van Jeune, an avid gardener since childhood. “My husband’s grandfather even worked on the property for William Gillette as a teenager.”

Van Jeune, a Connecticut native, said she took her son to visit the park in 2021 and was dismayed that the conservatory no longer harbored the array of plant life that she had hoped to see. She contacted the Friends, and Wilkinson arranged a meeting among herself, Burgess and John “Jack” Hine, the park’s supervisor. Additional meetings and discussions followed.

To fill out the alcove, they also began to solicit donations.

“The response was amazing,” Van Jeune said. “So many people contacted me to tell me how excited they were about the project and how much they love Gillette Castle.”

No financial support was requested for the project, she said, adding that the effort instead has relied entirely on volunteers and material donations.

Regional businesses that donated plants and materials were Zen Hollow Greenery LLC of Baltic; Acer Gardens and High Street Antiques, both of Deep River; Ballek’s of East Haddam; Riggio’s of Essex; Passion Flower Farm of Lyme; It’s only Natural Market of Middletown; and Sunny Farms of Rocky Hill.

In addition to Van Jeune and Burgess, other individual donors of plants and materials were Meredith Devanney, David Muckle, Victoria Smolkin and Peter Van Jeune III, all of Chester; Lachlan Brennan of Deep River; Lynn Wilkinson of East Haddam; Jamie Burgess of Haddam; and Andrea Van Jeune of Killingworth.

The structure including the conservatory is scheduled to open to the public on Memorial Day weekend. The park at 67 River Road in East Haddam remains open, and visitors may stroll about the grounds 8 a.m. until sunset daily year-round.

There, visitors may explore the many pathways and take in the vistas from the hills overlooking the river. In several park areas, they also will see recently planted cherry trees donated in 2020 by the Japan Society of Greater Hartford.

Trail maps and videos of the estate may be found at gillettecastlefriends.org.

Those interested in becoming a Friends member may sign up online or download a mail-in application form at www.gillettecastlefriends.org/joinsupport, or direct their questions to [email protected] or (860) 222-7850.

Kindness in Real Life is a regular feature. To contribute, email [email protected]

Kelli Mosca ’22 MS, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"I am using the fieldwork skills that I learned during my master’s degree, but also, some of the data analysis and management skills that I used during my thesis."Why did you choose UConn?I was working at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and looking into graduate schools during my downtime. My bosses met Hannes Baumann, associate professor of marine sciences, at a meeting. They all agreed that they would like to collaborate on a project using the data that the DEEP had col...

"I am using the fieldwork skills that I learned during my master’s degree, but also, some of the data analysis and management skills that I used during my thesis."

Why did you choose UConn?I was working at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and looking into graduate schools during my downtime. My bosses met Hannes Baumann, associate professor of marine sciences, at a meeting. They all agreed that they would like to collaborate on a project using the data that the DEEP had collected about Atlantic sturgeon, where a student would get a degree with Hannes as their advisor. Since I had been a seasonal employee with the DEEP, was familiar with the data, and looking to get my master’s degree, I was lucky enough to be the perfect fit for the project.

What’s your area of study and why did you choose it?My degree is in biological oceanography, [which explores the dynamics and variability of life in marine ecosystems]. My undergraduate degree is in marine biology and biology, so I was excited to study a slightly different aspect of marine sciences. My project focused on the growth and movement of Atlantic sturgeon in the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. While all facets of oceanography play a part in the behavior of a highly migratory species such as Atlantic sturgeon, biological oceanography was the best fitting area of study.

What does life after UConn look like for you?I graduated early, in late March, to start my new job at the CT DEEP. I am a fisheries biologist on the Long Island Sound trawl survey. This is a long-standing survey of fish and macro-invertebrates across Long Island Sound that helps inform both state and federal management of fish species.

How have you started using your master’s degree training in your new position?I am using the fieldwork skills that I learned during my master’s degree, but also, some of the data analysis and management skills that I used during my thesis.

What was your biggest highlight during your time at UConn?The biggest highlight during my time at UConn was probably when I got to present my thesis project. I started my master’s degree in Spring 2020, and from there, most of my classwork and research was done from home. Therefore, it meant a lot to be able to share my final work with everyone at Avery Point in-person (and virtually) since I did not get as much of an opportunity to do so during peak pandemic.

Who was your favorite professor/mentor and why?Hannes Baumann, who was my advisor. I enjoy working independently, but while working at home, it was not always easy to keep up to date with how things were going. Hannes always let me take up so much of his time unloading all my updates, questions, and results when I had a chance to catch up with him. He allowed me so much independence while working but was always there to tune up and polish what I was working on.

What will you miss most about UConn?My labmates. Unfortunately, since I went to graduate school during a pandemic, and worked part-time, I did not get to meet and get to know as many of my fellow graduate students and professors as I would have liked to. However, by helping my labmates with their research and working on other lab duties, I got to know my fellow lab members and will miss working with them!

Pandemonium Rainforest Project: Thrift store and animal sanctuary revitalize historic Deep River property

DEEP RIVER, Conn. (WTNH) – “We owed it to this building to do it right,” says Allison Sloane as she leads News 8 on a tour around a massive building, an original Pratt Read ivory mill in Deep River, home to a complicated story.“The ivory trade came to Deep River and Essex in the 1800s and it was the largest ivory trade in the United States,” explains Sloane. “We’re very excited about imparting that on people and telling them about the ivory trade, the good and the bad.”Now, a busi...

DEEP RIVER, Conn. (WTNH) – “We owed it to this building to do it right,” says Allison Sloane as she leads News 8 on a tour around a massive building, an original Pratt Read ivory mill in Deep River, home to a complicated story.

“The ivory trade came to Deep River and Essex in the 1800s and it was the largest ivory trade in the United States,” explains Sloane. “We’re very excited about imparting that on people and telling them about the ivory trade, the good and the bad.”

Now, a business that exploited elephants for piano keys will house an animal sanctuary. It’s all part of the Pandemonium Rainforest, a destination with a big mission.

“It’s kind of a two-fold rescue, we rescue animals but we rescued this building,” says Sloane.

The thrift shop, called R3 for Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose, is filled with eclectic items, a place to hunt for treasures, and also assist families during this tough time.

“We want people to be able to afford clothes for their kids, there’s poverty in our towns,” says Sloane.

Walls have been painted, floors and windows restored…in this space also once used by the Esico iron soldering company. It’s items are still on display.

And, there are plans for even more.

“This is going to be our West Factory Museum,” says Sloane, opening the doors to an old ivory vault.

A nearby space is under construction, too.

“This is The Antiquarian and this is going to be where all the old books are,” says Sloane, also pointing to a future cafe which will overlook the historic grounds. “We’ll have locally-made pastries and a good cup of coffee.”

A brand-new animal sanctuary is being constructed for the birds and reptiles that now live at flower shop, Ashleigh’s Garden.

“They’re rescued from either abuse or abandonment, neglect,” says Sloane, speaking of many parrots and reptiles.

Sloane is looking for grants and donations to help her vision come together, as she helps to create a place where preservation and care are paramount.

“There’s something for everyone, so, people should come, volunteer, just come in and have fun,” she says.

There are future plans for animal programs and guided tours along a historic trail

Click here for more information.

Daughter takes over Deep River’s Whistle Stop Cafe

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigateDEEP RIVER — Hedy Watrous hung up her well-worn, red chef’s coat, emblazoned with “Whistle Stop Café,” for the last time on Sunday, Jan. 23 after 30 years of feeding hungry, but grateful patrons.Yet this iconic restaurant, in the center of Deep River, will continue Watrous’ legacy as the restaurateur's daughter, Maddie Kayser takes over.“She’s going to be so good at this,” said Watrous. “She’s g...

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DEEP RIVER — Hedy Watrous hung up her well-worn, red chef’s coat, emblazoned with “Whistle Stop Café,” for the last time on Sunday, Jan. 23 after 30 years of feeding hungry, but grateful patrons.

Yet this iconic restaurant, in the center of Deep River, will continue Watrous’ legacy as the restaurateur's daughter, Maddie Kayser takes over.

“She’s going to be so good at this,” said Watrous. “She’s going to be so nice and pleasant and I just need to move on.”

Kayser has closed the restaurant until March 18 to put her personal touches on the Whistle Stop Café.

The windows will be covered over and much work will be going on behind closed doors, “mainly deep cleaning,” said Kayser.

When people return to enjoy this 20-year-old restaurateur's cuisine they will be welcomed to the same cozy restaurant that has welcomed guests for years.

Music will still fill the air with songs from Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Elton John, Chicago and Rolling Stones and more. “Oldies, but groovy oldies,” said Kayser.

Every patron who enters the 900-square-foot eatery is welcomed with a warm salutation and as they leave you can hear, “Thanks guys.”

The Whistle Stop Café has been a mainstay in Deep River and is part of Watrous’ heritage. Her maternal grandparents opened the restaurant, on the very same spot, shortly after Prohibition in the 1930s.

The walls are reminders of the deep family ties. There are black and white photographs of the café from years gone by, portraits of Watrous’ maternal grandparents who ran the restaurant together, individual photos of her maternal grandfather and mother and photos of the restaurant in its previous incarnations.

Watrous was proud to share that her grandfather “had the number six liquor [license] in the entire state,” which meant he was the sixth proprietor to be awarded the license when Prohibition ended.

For a time, the establishment was run by people outside the Watrous family, until 30 years ago when Watrous returned home from Key West, Fla.

Watrous’ immediate family has been connected to the eatery since then.

“All my kids were raised in here. She was in a baby swing in a doorway,” Watrous said of Maddie, as she pointed to the doorway into the kitchen area.

“She likes it and she wants to do it,” she added. “She’s really good at it.”

Even Watrous’ other two children, Alex, 28, and Norma, 26, have tried their hand at owning the restaurant.

Phil Miller, who formerly served as a state representative and Essex first selectman, has been a regular customer since Watrous took over ownership.

As the Ivoryton resident sat at the counter eating a Cinnamon Bun French Toast, Eight Mile Meadow’s cinnamon bun split and dipped in tomato, mushrooms and spinach, he talked about his love of the small restaurant.

“It’s all just whole foods, good combinations,” he said. “It’s kind of old school dining.”

“I like the people who work here, they’re always very nice and personable,” he added, as he chatted with Watrous as she worked at the grill.

Watrous, 57, has been contemplating retirement since 2020.

On her last day ,customers stopped in to wish her well and enjoy a morsel of her cooking.

“She’s so wonderful to me and a wonderful friend and I love her with all my heart,” said Maureen Ward.

“She makes the best food on the planet,” the Deep River resident added, placing a bouquet of fresh flowers and a helium balloon emblazoned with “Happy Retirement” on the counter.

“I told her if she gets bored, she can come cook for me every day,” she said, laughing.

Watrous is planning to devote more time to her other Deep River business, Eastern Arts Center for Health and Wellness.

“I’m think of just doing private people, instead of having it open to everyone,” said Watrous.

Before that, she will be traveling.

“Just driving, just going South or West,” she said. “I’m going to visit people along the way.”

“It’s awesome to be done,” she added. “I’m so ready.”

Kayser reflected on her decision to take over the family business.

“I’ve been working here forever, so I kind of figured the torch would be handed to me,” she said, taking a brief pause serving the morning crowd.

“My mom offered it to me and I said, ’Of course, I would take it over, I love the place,” she added. “I looked at her and said, ‘How can you expect me to live in this town if you’re going to sell it? I can’t live in this town if you’re going to sell it.’”

“I wouldn’t be able to drive by this place every day and not think about it,” she added.

After being the manager for the couple of years, Kayser feels well prepared to take over ownership.

She plans to make some changes to the menu. Taking into consideration that they are open until 1:30 p.m. “I am going to cut the lunch section back.”

She promises, however, to keep the most popular items. That includes the Cannes Eggs Benedict, English muffin with bacon, red onion, fresh baby spinach and garlic herb cheese.

The other favorites include Farmers omelet, bacon, fresh baby spinach, mushroom, tomato and Swiss cheese; Hague omelet, smoked salmon, red onion, smoked Gouda, topped with capers; Madeline Eggs, Whistle Stop Café’s vanilla nutmeg French toast mix and Berry Stuffed French Toast, two pieces of French toast stuffed with Whistle Stop Café’s sweet cream cheese filling and topped with caramelized berries.

There are also vegetarian choices which include Vegetarian Eggs Benedict, grilled eggplant replaces the English muffin, topped with broccoli, sundried tomatoes; English muffin with honey ham, crispy fried Brie and sliced tomato; Vegetarian Lovers Omelet, seasonal vegetables with choice of cheese.

Kayser will continue Watrous’ commitment to serving healthy food. This includes produce grown at Watrous’ home garden.

“I have a healing garden and I compost everything,” Watrous said. “I go to ocean and get seaweed for my garden and oyster shells. Everything is naturally fertilized.”

A various assortment of healing teas, promoted as “seasonal assortment of medicinal teas,” are also on the menu.

Some of the choices include Prunella, for high blood pressure, viral infections, thyroid, clearing internal heat, improved eyesight, stagnation and inflammation, tumor and chest, throat and lungs, and Watermelon Frost, for severe sore throat, fever, rashes, burns, cut and scrapes, circulation and anxiety and stress.

Kayser talked about her evolution as a chef.

“I grew up with my mom, so I’ve always been in the kitchen with her,” she said.

“I’m more of a baker at home, but when I work here it’s not really a recipe type of place,” she added.

Watrous said she has never written down a recipe.

“I don’t have the time,” she said. “I don’t like measuring anything or writing it down, everything is different every time I make it.”

Kayser has hired a chef to assist on the weekends and admits, “I’ve had to write down recipes for certain things that we make, like corned beef hash.”

It is important to this new restaurant owner to continue her long standing role as waitress on the weekends.

“That is something I’ve done since forever,” she said. “I can’t really stop doing because my regulars…when I told them (the change in ownership) they said, ‘that’s so awesome, congratulations.’ The second thing was, ‘You’re still waitressing on the weekends, right?’”

In addition, Kayser will continue her mother’s commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle.

“All of our boxes are compostable,” Watrous said. “Nothing goes to waste. Everything is reused, repurposed.”

Patrons flock to the Whistle Stop Café from all over the state and beyond, including Clinton, Old Lyme, Middletown, Cromwell, Colchester, Madison and Branford, as well as New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Taylor Shaffer and Jeff Boutwell have been patronizing the Whistle Stop Café for about a year. They make the 30-minute trek from Colchester almost every weekend to savor the homecooked food.

“It’s just a small, diner-like experience,” said Boutwell.

“Small crowds,” chimed in Shaffer.

Inside can accommodate 21 people. In the warmer weather, an outside patio, behind the restaurant, offers seating for 52 people.

Shaffer said a myriad of reasons keep them coming back, including “Good food, decent price, small business.”

Both she and Boutwell said their favorite is the Cannes Benny (Eggs Benedict), although Boutwell was enjoying a Breakfast Burrito, bacon, sausage or ham, scrambled eggs, green bell peppers, fire roasted red peppers, red onions and cheddar cheese served with home fries, salsa and sour cream.

As Kayser and Watrous wrapped up for the weekend, Kayser said she was looking forward to March, “for my regulars to come back.”

“A lot of my regulars, they saw me grow up,” she added. “So, I have a lot of regulars that, I know them, they know me and I know everything about them. They come in and I’m like, ‘Hey, how are the kids, how’s the family.’”

She wants everyone that comes into the restaurant to feel comfortable, like they are coming into a friend’s home.

“My hope for it is to feel like as if you’re coming into my kitchen in the morning and I’m making you food,” she said. “That’s always been the feeling - we’ve strived to have a homier feeling in here.”

“Thank you, guys, I’ll see you in March,” Kayser said as Shaffer and Boutwell left the restaurant.

Whistle Stop Café, 108 Main St., Deep River, 860-526-3122; Facebook Whistle Stop Cafe

Factory Restoration in Deep River Holds Promise as New Community Hub

Allison Sloane outlines the different sources of power used at the site of the former Pratt Read & Co. factory. The factory itself used a large water turbine, which is now defunct but still remains in the basement of the building. The factory later used coal for power, after Route 9 was put in and changed the course of the water. Here, Sloane points out the remains of an outdoor coal storage facility. (Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier)Allison Sloane and Kim Olson, new owners of the former Pratt Read & Co. factory, stand...

Allison Sloane outlines the different sources of power used at the site of the former Pratt Read & Co. factory. The factory itself used a large water turbine, which is now defunct but still remains in the basement of the building. The factory later used coal for power, after Route 9 was put in and changed the course of the water. Here, Sloane points out the remains of an outdoor coal storage facility. (Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier)

Allison Sloane and Kim Olson, new owners of the former Pratt Read & Co. factory, stand near a door that opens into a former ivory vault. They plan to work with the Deep River Historical Society and use the room as a place for historical objects, a museum that discusses the building’s history. (Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier)

Allison Sloane outlines the different sources of power used at the site of the former Pratt Read & Co. factory. The factory itself used a large water turbine, which is now defunct but still remains in the basement of the building. The factory later used coal for power, after Route 9 was put in and changed the course of the water. Here, Sloane points out the remains of an outdoor coal storage facility. (Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier)

Allison Sloane and Kim Olson, new owners of the former Pratt Read & Co. factory, stand near a door that opens into a former ivory vault. They plan to work with the Deep River Historical Society and use the room as a place for historical objects, a museum that discusses the building’s history. (Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier)

Allison Sloane outlines the different sources of power used at the site of the former Pratt Read & Co. factory. The factory itself used a large water turbine, which is now defunct but still remains in the basement of the building. The factory later used coal for power, after Route 9 was put in and changed the course of the water. Here, Sloane points out the remains of an outdoor coal storage facility. (Photo by Elizabeth Reinhart/The Courier)

Deep River —

The historic factory building and property at 112 West Elm Street in Deep River is undergoing a major restoration effort, spearheaded by co-owners Allison Sloane and Kim Olson.

The site, built in 1856 by the Pratt Brothers, is steeped in the town’s history as a top manufacturer of ivory products. It was once a bustling place where ivory was cut and bleached for combs, piano keys, and collar buttons, spurring economic development of the town of Deep River and lower Connecticut River Valley.

Sloane said that she expects the restoration work to take some time, although she hopes that her thrift shop, R3, can open at the end of July, with other outdoor features and a small café potentially opening in the fall.

“We want to do it right,” said Sloane. “It takes a while to restore an 1856 factory that hasn’t had any love in 70 years, and maybe more.”

The site was most recently owned by the soldering equipment manufacturer, ESICO (Electric Soldering Iron Co.)-Triton International Inc.

When it was listed for sale by the company earlier this year, Sloane and Olson were quick to realize its historical value, and how it could fit in with their own business and philanthropic plans.

“We were very, very close to losing it. We actually had to bid against someone because they were going to demolish it and put up condos,” said Sloane.

The restoration of the mill is an important undertaking, not only for the town, but the state, said Sloane.

“We’ve had everyone from the state level down, as far as historical people, coming through the building and touring,” she said.

The property’s bleach fields, used in the processing of ivory, are unique.

“They’re not found in any other factory that we have looked into,” said Sloane, who adds that they are working with Jerry Roberts, who is serving as a historical consultant for the site.

The bleach fields are adjacent to the foundations of Pratt Read & Co.’s bleach houses. These small structures, typically constructed of wood and glass, would harness the sun to whiten ivory pieces.

Other distinct elements uncovered by the restoration work include Roman numerals that appeared after power washing granite blocks on a lower level of the building and a door with paneling that allowed for various levels of ventilation, as is required during the cutting of ivory.

A freight elevator in the building, one of the oldest of its kind, said Sloane, will also be put to use, as well as the bronze bell in the building’s cupola, which they plan to ring each day at noon.

The main power supply for the factory, a large water turbine, also remains in the building, as well as benches that were used for conveyor work, among other features.

“This building has been like an onion, just peeling back layers, peeling back the layers of the past,” said Sloane.

Once restoration work is complete, Sloane and Olson plan to offer tours of the building, led by docents, who will share the historical legacy of the site, including the Pratt Read Co.’s contribution and reliance on West Indies trade.

“We’re very, very committed, Kim Olson and I, to speak very truthfully about its heritage, not only the good, not only what Pratt Read and what Comstock Cheney did for our area…but also the bad and how hundreds of thousands of elephants perished” as well leading to massive numbers of deaths of enslaved people, said Sloane.

“We have some wonderful people who are going to be able to tell this moving story and we want people to come and see the beauty of this building and see how the water powered the building. It’s amazing that people will be able to come in and see the power of it and see where all of this happened,” she continued.

The building, which spans approximately 12,000 square feet on two levels, will primarily house the thrift shop, the proceeds of which benefit the Pandemonium Rainforest Project. This project, which helps fund the rescue and rehabilitation of exotic animals, will also be located on the property.

“We are building a 35-foot by 55-foot metal building, in the lower part of the land…that will be a place where people will be able to come and learn about the rescue and rehabilitation that we do, and see the animals,” said Sloane. “I think that’s going to be really exciting.”

A 30-foot yurt on the property will also allow the project’s rescued parrots to fly freely. It will also act as an educational center, where classes will be taught on the care of exotic animals, such as parrots and reptiles. Classes on recycling, reusing, and repurposing will also be held here.

Sloane, who is a master gardener and owns the floral and garden shop Ashleigh’s Garden at 500 Main Street in Deep River, has also incorporated her passion for native plants and flowers into the property at West Elm Street.

“We just put in a huge wildflower field because we’re part of the pollinator pathway,” said Sloane. “We have a wonderful area that we call Bee’s Knees and that’s where we can teach kids about bees, butterflies, and birds. That whole area is very important to us.”

With a myriad of educational offerings, and such rich history to share, she hopes the site will become a destination for people of all ages throughout the state to come and visit.

The 4.5-acre property also offers a tranquil natural setting that is rich in biodiversity, especially with a portion of the Deep River flowing through it, she says. A footpath is planned for a portion of it.

“It’s just really, to us, it’s all about community,” said Sloane. “It’s all about bringing everybody together, giving people a place where they can feel like they are a part of something and having people come and want to be part of something.”

She urges those interested to “be part of this. Come talk to us and be part of this.”

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