Westport shoppers have been invited to take a step back in time in the spirit of the season.

Thanks to the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, free carriage rides were offered on Main Street last weekend and will be again this coming weekend.

"It's just like going back in time," said Nancy Galpin, who assisted friend Beth Podhajecki on Saturday in providing the carriage rides.

"People don't take the time to breathe today and slow down," she said. A carriage ride is one small way to scale back the frenetic pace of daily life to a leisurely clip-clop.

"It was a lot of fun and the kids loved it," said Lars Angstrom of Westport, who took a ride with his wife, Anna-Kajsa, and their kids Elvis, 6, and Dante, 4. "They didn't even mind the smell."

"I think it's really nice for free, and I think it's a great idea," he said.

Elvis and Dante said they enjoyed the ride. "We even liked the feet sound," Dante said.

"And Dante, you loved waving to everyone," his mother noted.

"I believe she's been doing these rides for probably 25 years or more," Galpin said of her friend, who was too shy to talk to the press, but had the skills to navigate her large, white Clydesdale horses -- Babe and Sarah -- down busy Main Street.

People can take the carriage rides, which leave from across the LuluLemon store, 91 Main St., this Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m.

Galpin said Podhajecki and her husband, Steve, who operate Loon Meadow Farm in Norfolk, do rides for all occasions, including weddings, Sweet 16 parties and sleigh rides.

"I'm a friend who helps out when their busy season comes," she said. "And it's just a nice way to spend the afternoon."