Buy A Boat On The Riverside

Turner Franco and Josh Lewis, standing by (whilst seated), ready to talk boats. They both are hugely knowledgeable about the inventory and you can try before you buy, a relative rarity in the kayak business!
(Gideon Fountain received no compensation of any kind for this free plug)

For my entire life, “Ole’s Boat Yard”, 350 Riverside Avenue, Riverside, CT, was mostly a decrepit old dump of an establishment. Boats were theoretically sold and serviced there, but the amount of business done seemed pretty meager.

Now it’s been bought and restored by the same couple who spear-headed the restoration of many of the old Tod’s Point buildings, Chris and Rachel Franco. It’s safe to say that no other buyer in this town would have gone to the trouble of restoring this building. It was destined for the dumpster and would have been replaced by a nice, big & ugly spec house, and one more little Greenwich landmark would have disappeared , a loss for all of us.

Instead, the building now looks brand-new: there’s an art gallery, a luxury waterfront apartment upstairs, offices in back, a deck, and sandy “beach”, all quite amazing.

In addition, the Franco’s son has re-started the boat-selling business offering kayaks, paddle boards, etc. All this takes place dockside, so if the tide’s up, you can try before you buy. That alone makes this place unique, so go take advantage. High tide today, Saturday, Memorial Day weekend, is around 5:15 PM. That means, by 4:00, there should be sufficient water. Go buy a boat!

In case no one’s home, call or e-mail young Franco and he’ll scurry down and open up the store…

8 thoughts on “Buy A Boat On The Riverside

  1. Gideon, I’d like to access your blog issue from this past winter that mentioned the sale of 21 Calhoun Drive. Is that possible? I’ve fled Connecticut, but I remain interested in Greenwich real estate. Keep up the good work! Thanks.


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Didn’t that building, post-Civil War, house a manufacturer of prosthetic limbs from willow sourced nearby (Willow Road)?

  3. Didn’t that building, post-Civil War, house the manufacturer of prosthetic limbs constructed of willow sourced near by (Willow Road)?

    • Wait, what? Artificial limbs constructed on the site of what eventually became Ole’s Boat Yard? Don’t be ridiculous. In fact, it was, for 50 years, a, er, house of…ill-repute!
      (But yes, you are correct, Mr. Know-It-All. After the Civil War, so many returning vets had lost limbs that Congress passed a law that provided them with a replacement limb every 5 years. As with most government-sponsored opportunities, that law helped make some people rich, including Riverside’s Marks family. They went into the prosthetic limb business and used Riverside’s abundant Willow trees for wood, manufacturing in New York City and a satellite shop on the site of Ole’s. Unlike the wood of other trees, Willow retains most of its moisture and remains somewhat rubbery, even years after cutting, hence its suitability for use in artificial legs.

  4. Ole Amundsen. I grew up in Greenwich and my dad bought boats from him. I hope the pronunciation hasn’t changed, it was Oh-lee, emphasis on Oh. I can ALMOST but not quite conjure up a face. BTW I’m 68. I knew a Chris and a Jon or John Fountain at one of these places: Otis Ridge Jr. Ski Camp, Greenwich Country Day OR Rectory School in Pomfret CT. Could you be related? L.J. Gould

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