In search of Taylor Swift

Rick Koster reports on Taylor Swift's whereabouts from the shores of Watch Hill, where the star recently bought a house.
Rick Koster reports on Taylor Swift's whereabouts from the shores of Watch Hill, where the star recently bought a house.

Yes. Multi-platinum pop/country star Taylor Swift bought a home in Watch Hill. We went and studied its gleaming exterior from as close as we could get.

The home is right next to a public beach, so who knows: maybe you'll bring your guitar next time you head over to catch some waves. Taylor could be relaxing on her patio and will hear your crisply picked arpeggios and invite you up to jam. (Hint: The verse chords to "Mean," one of her biggest hits, are B-minor, A and G. The chorus structure is D, A suspended 4 and G.)

More than likely, though, is that citizens in Watch Hill will have to adapt to a new social chemistry.

While it's not a resort community like the towns along the French Riviera, Watch Hill is certainly an affluent, seaside village with at least one Gatsby-style hotel - the Ocean House. And if it wasn't inevitable that a celebrity would at some point buy property in Watch Hill, it was certainly possible.

It's true that folks who live and work in Watch Hill - or even tourists who casually revisit - are already tired of fans and media members who show up wanting to learn about Taylor.

During our visit on a sleepy day this week, most of the people we approached didn't want to talk about their newest and most famous neighbor. Even the ones who did speak to us nonetheless shared the same, roll-your-eyes-and-sigh-dramatically response at the first mention of the star.

Swift's security guards, though friendly and even jocular, obviously couldn't and wouldn't say anything, and they certainly didn't invite us in to see the living room furniture Swift recently bought at Micelli's in Westerly. But there was no sign of them treating any curious passersby or beach-goers with anything but courtesy.

The New Reality is that Swift is at least going to be an occasional Watch Hill presence.

Hey, she writes most of her own pleasantly likable and massively successful songs, and she's earned the right to buy a home wherever she wants.

And so far, by all accounts, whether buying a cone at Mel's Downtown Creamery in Pawcatuck or eating with her family in the Olympia Tea Room or stopping by with celebrity pals at PizzaPlace in Westerly - where one of her security guards, handling the check, left a 55 percent tip for her party - she's been friendly and polite.

Once the immediate hysteria is over with - and now that there's enough Swiftian security in place to prohibit incidents like the fan who apparently swam in from the ocean and landed on her beach like an unwelcome sea creature - the hope all around is that a tenuous peace evolves into a natural comfort zone.

Watch Hill folks are kind and pretty well-off, themselves. It would be tremendous if Swift could actually be part of the community, make her way amongst the shops and eateries and feel somewhat normal. In this age when celebrity worship is at an all time and possibly dangerous level, that may not be possible. But if it is, Watch Hill - and someone like Taylor Swift - seem like the components that could fit together and make it happen.


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