One interesting aspect of our town is that It’s so darn charming. The charming parts are the old aspects.
The Hunt Club, generally speaking, is like a beacon from the past. Horses have come to be outmoded as a transportation form, yet at the club you wouldn’t know it. Just seeing the horses, galloping English style or jumping with a Western bravado, in a Westport neighborhood can transform one’s mind back to a much more, some would say, beautiful and simple age. I admit I’ve never been a member there or even owned a horse. But one can dream. Mine goes something like this: I’m fabulously wealthy is how the dream begins. My girlfriend loves horses. I head on over to the club to see her on a summer day. An iced tea rendezvous is our usual ritual after she rides. The top is down on my convertible. It is a cool summer day and the breeze is exhilarating. As I pull up along the massive green the stunning beauty of the setting strikes my mind to think of beautiful things. Right away I see a girl on horseback, she is jumping the horse with exquisite skill. She see’s me, as my car is unmistakable, and waves her hand before galloping off to the stables. From there the dream can go off into many different scenarios but it always starts off like that. Never has the dream ended with condos being built on the property, never.
Long Shore and the whole beach area is rife with old world charm. The old colonial homes along Compo Road were witness to the British Dragoons marching this way and that in their bright red jackets and crisp pantaloons. It would be easy to write a short story about a wounded British soldier finding refuge in an old farm house. The daughter of a Westport farmer nursing him back to health as the war rages on. His love for her causing him to become a deserter. They live happily ever after and their descendants decide to build hotels on Compo Beach, after all it makes financial sense for the town to do so. The only question I have is whether or not she is a raving beauty or just a regular farm girl.
The Baron’s Land is steeped in mystery and old world charm as well. Baron Von Langerdorff himself a man stepping out of cultural history onto the streets of our downtown. The Baron’s story is a love story. He being a young scientist from Austria and she, Evelyn, a wealthy socialite from London. The house at 19 Grammercy, in Manhattan, where they entertained dignitaries from around the world is connected to Westport’s history as well. Westporters were there also, I have been discussing these social gatherings with a very nice lady who was there, as a guest of The Baron. It all brings visions of a more beautiful and simple time. I hope they can keep the development at Baron’s South to just a few acres and save Walter’s mansion for the imaginations of Westport kids of the future.
And downtown, settled before the industrial revolution. In fact, archaeological remains have been found there going back 8000 years(see Woody Klein’s book at Historical Society). You can see the history as you walk down Main Street. Drew’s building at 42 Main was built in 1889. Imagine those that had a shop there then. Downtown is so darn charming, I can’t get enough of it. It would be a shame to destroy any of that haphazard sprawling testament to our history. Some don’t see the old charm however, they see an opportunity to make money or pour concrete. We need them also, for what would history be without the march of progress.