Westport train station
Want to impress your Westport friends? When visiting by train, tell them you would like to be picked up at the “Saugatuck station.” Although all the signs on the station platform read “Westport,” the locals all know it as the Saugatuck station, named after the neighborhood the station is located in.
By far, the locals and out-of-towners all agree: visit the South Beach section at Westport’s Compo Beach for the best sunset in Westport, and possibly in all of Connecticut.
Most authentic Italian restaurant
If you are looking for authentic Italian food, you will absolutely love Via Sforza, located on Post Road West. The restaurant is located in a beautiful, free-standing, brick-and-fieldstone building where you will feel as if you’ve wandered off the streets of Italy. As you enter, you will hear Italian music piped into the restaurant, and will soon be served a sumptuous meal that has received excellent ratings from the New York Times, Zagat, Westport Magazine and Connecticut Magazine.
Best Fish and Chips
If you are looking for the best New England fish and chips, look no further. Westport’s Westfair Fish and Chips, located on Post Road East, has won numerous awards for having the best fish and chips in Fairfield County, and it is my favorite go-to place. My advice is to call in your order in advance, then pick it up when it’s ready. Although the restaurant is known for its take-out, there are a few tables if you decide to stay.
If you just have to have the best donut and cup of coffee while reading your Sunday New York Times, then visit Coffee An’ Donut Shop on Main Street, just north of downtown Westport. Known for their donuts, this restaurant also serves delicious muffins, as well as breakfast dishes and lunch fare.
"It is rumored that former President Bill Clinton loved the donuts so much that he regularly had their fresh-made donuts shipped to the White House."
“I Love Lucy” and Westport
“I Love Lucy” enthusiasts may remember that when Lucy and Ricky Ricardo moved from East 68th Street, NYC, to the “country,” they actually moved to Westport. One of the writers of “I Love Lucy” had lived on Canal Street, Westport, and thought the town would make a great location for the Ricardo’s to set up their new home. In the last episode of the final season, Lucy knocks over and breaks the town’s famous Minuteman statue in preparation for the “Yankee Doodle Day” celebration. In typical Lucy fashion, ridiculous hilarity ensues. In the end, Lucy has to pretend she is the statue to avoid getting into trouble. The episode originally aired in 1957 and is regarded as one of the all-time funniest and most-watched “I Love Lucy” episodes!
Celebrities and Westport
It is known that many of the desirable towns in the New York City-area appeal not only to ordinary people, but to celebrities as well. The town of Westport is no exception. Celebrities currently residing in Westport include actress Joanne Woodward, film producer Harvey Weinstein, singer Michael Bolton, author Jane Green, FBI Director James Comey and technology guru David Pogue. Former residents include: actors Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Michael Douglas, Bette Davis and Marlo Thomas; TV host Phil Donahue; writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Rod Serling; TV personality Martha Stewart; radio personality Don Imus; comedians Rodney Dangerfield and Imogene Coca; author Robert Ludlum; news anchor Harry Reasoner; singer Meat Loaf; photographer Annie Leibovitz; and Nobel Prize winner and scientist Ralph Steinman.
The American Revolutionary War and Westport
Many visitors to Westport have seen the cannons at Compo Beach and the Minuteman statue on Compo Road South. But do they really know the historical significance? On April 25, 1777, about 2,000 British soldiers landed on Compo Beach for the infamous raid on Danbury. Homes were burnt down along the way up to Danbury. In fact,
"there was only one home on Compo Road South that was spared the British torch"
on account of the homeowner allowing the British to set up an infirmary in the front yard to help the wounded troops. The British arrived the next day in Danbury, where they destroyed food, medicine and ammunition (although they kept some rum for themselves). Warned of the imminent arrival of local minutemen, the British evacuated Danbury and headed back south to Compo Beach, where they sailed away on April 28. But not before losing more than 200 soldiers. The Americans fared better, losing 20 men with another 40 wounded.
“The Twilight Zone” and Westport
Rod Serling and his family lived in Westport in the late-1950’s, where they resided in a home on the town’s longest cul-de-sac: High Point Road. Serling, creator and writer of the critically-acclaimed “Twilight Zone” TV series, even wrote an episode featuring Westport. A Stop at Willoughby, one of my all-time favorite episodes, features an advertising executive who lives in Westport and is tired of the daily grind in the ad business. On the train ride from NYC to Westport, he falls asleep and dreams of a place called Willoughby, where there are no worries and he is transcended back into simpler times in the 1800’s. His dream ends abruptly when the Metro-North train conductor wakes him up by shouting: “Next stop: Westport/Saugatuck!”