A Love Letter To Westport

Photography by Kaitlin Parry

I have profound admiration for the state of Connecticut, where my family has resided since 1816, along with its historical significance. The following fictional love letter depicts Westport’s vibrant history and enduring relevance through a historical lens. The writer lives in 1960s Greenwich and addresses two prominent Westport residents, Briggs Swift Cunninghan Jr., race-car driver and captain of the winning yacht in the 1958 America’s Cup, and his first wife, Lucie Bedford. Hopefully, readers will gain an appreciation of the town’s history through this context.

6 October 1960 

To the Cunninghams,

I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful weekend we spent beachside chez Cunningham. We’ll not forget the magnificent coastline view from your house from sunrise to sunset, being picked up from the station by your captain in the car you drove on your honeymoon in France, or the magical sail on the Columbia along the coast. How lucky we were to have had a 15-knot offshore breeze on an America’s Cup winner.

By the way, when we dropped the hook for coffee in the serene estuary of the Saugatuck, wasn’t that the Frederick Lewis estate on the eastern shore that’s now a park and golf course? What a brilliant purchase by the town. I think my parents met there at a party in the summer of 1920. They always talk about Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald jumping into the Sound off the end of the dock at midnight, while everyone was looking at Daisy’s green light on the opposite shore where the fireworks were launched.

We so enjoyed meeting that to-die-for young couple Paul Newman (Georgette nearly fainted) and Joanne Woodward. I hear they are to become the toast of Hollywood, though I hope fame doesn’t go to their head and they move to Beverly Hills. They were so enthusiastic about their life in Westport and being surrounded by such talented and interesting people.

Briggs, thank you for sharing your antique car collection. It certainly is world-class, and quite fun that you share that passion with James Melton just up the road.

Lastly, Lucie, how proud you must be of what your grandfather and the Bedford family have done for the town. E.T. has set the standard for philanthropy as well as community involvement and improvement, and it would appear he has inspired others!

All in all, a truly fabulous weekend, and we so enjoyed your friends and seeing the town. The charm and intimacy, and the feeling of being in Connecticut was palpable. As much as we love Greenwich (and we do), maybe it’s time for a change.

Do you know a good broker?

In the meantime, we can hope to find a beautiful hotel to stay in while we look.

Lots of love,

Charles and Georgette Mallory

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