A year ago April, I posted a story about a woman I’d never met. She was a native Californian who spent the last 7 years in Greenwich Village; a freelance graphic designer with a great portfolio, and the mother of a 2-year-old girl.
The family — well, the little kid had no say — were thinking of moving to the ‘burbs. They were looking at 2 towns: Westport and Darien.
She asked me what she’d find here. I deferred to the collective wisdom of “06880” readers.
Some people advised her to stay put. Others bashed Darien. But the majority of responders offered thoughtful, wide-ranging, realistic reasons for her to come to 06880.
Things happened quickly. Within 2 months Alli DiVincenzo, her husband Glenn and young Capri found a house and closed. On June 22 they moved to Green’s Farms.
The other day, Alli emailed again.
Did she bear good news? Was she aching for the city — or California?
I can’t believe it’s been just over a year since you came to my curious rescue about the town of Westport. You graciously posted my cry for help and opened the blogwaves to your readers for their opinions.
The responses not only hit every geographical touch point, but many emotional ones as well. Your readers are passionate. I thank you and all of them again for enlightening us on the good, the bad and the ugly –although I have yet to witness anything truly “ugly” in this town. Even the seagulls are pristine.
My sister visited last week. She described Westport as “Perfectville!” (She acknowledged that she has yet to experience a winter here.)
Alli’s neighborhood, near Burying Hill Beach. (Photo by Alli DiVincenzo)
Lots has happened to Alli in a year.
For one thing, Capri now has a baby brother. Will was born 9 months to the day after Alli and Glenn moved here. (Ahem. I refuse to go there.)
He’s got a longer-than-he-realized commute to New York. But she set up a home studio. Thanks to tons of people she’d just met, but who were eager to refer her, her AlliQDesign firm has plenty of projects. She worked with Westport Invitations; designed a poster for Amy Oestreicher‘s Gutless and Grateful show, and did graphics for the Westport Library‘s Great Gatsby Party. A mother at Capri’s pre-school sent 3 clients Alli’s way.
The neighbors on her cul-de-sac were very welcoming. She was invited to a Christmas party, and they threw her a baby shower plus a baby welcome brunch.
Her neighborhood features a long-running book club, filled with women who are “smart, beautiful, strong and successful, each in her own way.” A neighbor introduced her to the staff at the Westport Country Playhouse; she’s been to every play since.
Alli and Capri, with holiday plants at Terrain.
Alli and Capri went on the Wakeman Town Farm chicken coop tour. The family has explored Earthplace, the beaches, and canoed on Sherwood Mill Pond. Alli calls Westport’s resources and recreational activities “beyond any scope we’ve ever known.”
Alli loves the open spaces — and the fact that people don’t hide in it. Last week she chatted with a man pushing a stroller. He works on environmental issues. “People here do very interesting things,” she says.
For a while, she and Glenn thought Bobby Q’s was the only place to eat. They’ve since discovered the Whelk, the Dressing Room and many others. The variety of restaurants was “a pleasant surprise,” Alli says.
This summer — for the 1st time ever — the family is not going anywhere. They just want to enjoy their new home town. After all, Alli says, “It’s like a vacation spot.”
She admits downtown is “a bit sleepy.” But she is excited by the changes coming soon. And, as her father observed, “You can always tell a great downtown: It doesn’t have parking meters.”
Of course, every mother wants her child to be happy. So how does Capri like Westport?
“She’s taken the town by storm,” Alli says.