Bill and Hillary Clinton are selling their house in Chappaqua.
And it’s 80 to 90% certain they’re moving to Westport.
A realtor — who for obvious reasons will remain nameless — said the former president told her they moved to New York state primarily so his wife could run for the Senate.
But several factors are behind the upcoming move.
For one, Fairfield County’s tax burden is significantly lower than Westchester’s. (“I’m amazed he told me that,” the realtor said.)
In addition, last summer Bill fell in love with sailing. He and Hillary lived in Milford while both attended Yale Law School, and he has called their rental cottage at the beach “one of the best places we ever lived.”
But why Westport and not, say, Rowayton or Greenwich?
“The Clintons have several friends in Westport, and always loved coming here,” the realtor said.
The Clintons' former home.
“And when we drove through town and I told him all about the development in Saugatuck, his eyes lit up. He said, ‘This might sound silly, but it’s kind of like when I put my office in Harlem. It was the right feeling at the right time.'”
The realtor said the Clintons have looked at property in Green’s Farms and Saugatuck Shores. Bill liked a house very close to Compo, but Hillary thought the area was too “public.”
The realtor said Bill is doing most of the research into Westport. (“I understand that,” she said. “Hillary’s got a full-time job.”)
The Clintons' current home in Chappaqua, N.Y.
The realtor was struck by the former president’s interest in local issues. “He’s got a very clever sense of humor,” she noted. “He said, ‘Maybe if I get back into politics, I’ll run for the planning board (P&Z). It looks like that’s where the action is.”
I had to ask: Did she tell Bill about “06880”?
Yes! she said. He loves it — including the comments.
In fact, he told her, “If we move here, I have to meet the Dude!”
(To see photos of 3 of the homes the Clintons are considering, click here.)
When asked what the title of his autobiography might be, he replied: Times Square.
If that pun falls a bit flat, you’re 1 of the 3 Westporters who haven’t at least tried the New York Times crossword puzzle.
Will Shortz at the Westport Public Library tonight.
The rest of the town flocked to the Westport Public Library last night to honor Will Shortz at the 12th annual Booked for the Evening celebration.
They were not disappointed.
After music by the Doughboys; a Shortz-themed crossword puzzle by Times constructor Patrick Merrell; introductions by Phil Donohue and library director Maxine Bleiweis (battling pneumonia), and praise from Bill Clinton (via letter), the Times crossword editor/NPR puzzlemeister/Indiana University enigmatology major took the stage.
He led an audience participation word game whose rules are too complex to repeat here. The key point is that — after some solid brain-twisting — the answer emerged: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
If I was half as clever as Will Shortz, I’d be a very happy man.
America celebrated Presidents Day yesterday in the usual manner: with special sales, no mail delivery, and absolutely no thought given to Zachary Taylor, Benjamin Harrison or Gerald Ford, let alone actual presidents like Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and (the big one) William Howard Taft.
Westport — a national leader in areas like hedge funds, education and nannies — would seem to be a natural for presidents too.
Besides passing through on the railroad or highway, our town has few connections with our commanders-in-chief.
George Washington, of course, slept here — he slept everywhere. In 1780 he is said to have discussed war strategy with the Marquis de Lafayette and Comte de Rochambeau at the Disbrow Tavern (where Christ & Holy Trinity Church is today). He returned twice in 1789 as president, coming and going on an inspection tour of the Northeast. He spent 1 night at the Marvin Tavern — located on the Post Road, opposite King’s Highway South — but did not have a bang-up time. In his diary, he called it “not a good house.”
This may be the only time Millard Fillmore appears in my blog. Or any blog.
Millard Fillmorewas a guest at Richard Winslow’s “Compo House” mansion on the North Compo/Post Road corner (it later became a sanitarium, then was torn down before tear-downs became fashionable). But he was here 6 years after he left office.
Abraham Lincolnsupposedly stayed at Hockanum, Morris Ketchum’s Cross Highway estate near Roseville Road, during his presidency. Woody Klein‘s history of Westport says only that Salmon P. Chase — Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury — was a frequent guest. Hockanum still stands; there is a “Lincoln bedroom” upstairs, and the deed states that no changes can be made to that room.
Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke on the steps of the YMCA’s Bedford Building during his re-election campaign of 1936. He was the 1st sitting president to visit since George Washington. In addition, FDR’s grandson David lived here for several years in the 1990s. And FDR’s wife, Eleanor, often visited Lillian Wald’s South Compo “Pond House.” I know, I’m stretching here…
Hey hey, LBJ...
Lyndon Johnson was friendly with Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas — so friendly that that helped scuttle Fortas’ nomination to be Chief Justice in 1968. Fortas had a summer home on Minuteman Hill, and some beach residents say that Johnson was an occasional guest.
Bill Clinton trolled here for money, before and during his presidency. As president he attended fundraisers at the Inn at National Hall, and a private home on Saugatuck Avenue. Both were low-key affairs, if you don’t count the 25-car motorcades, sharpshooters on top of buildings and helicopters whirling overhead.
Westport has had better luck with presidential candidates. Like Bill (and Hillary) Clinton, in recent years many have made their way here — more for fund-raising than actual vote-seeking. Who knows? Soon, Sarah Palin may come to town.
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