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May 28th and 29th: Long Island to Darien, CT to Rhode Island

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Over Memorial Day Weekend we’d been staying in Sea Cliff at the Guerci’s house. My relationship with the Guerci’s is another internet-sent miracle. The Guerci’s live in my Great Aunt Emma’s painting studio (which is no small studio) that was built on the former Eilers’ Estate. A few years ago they contacted me and told me they were living there and were looking for a Emma Eilers painting for their house. Mom and I gave one to them for free that needed a little restoration work. Since then, we’ve built a very warm relationship and they have opened their home to Ann and I any time our weary traveling feet climb their stairs. Last weekend they welcomed Karson as well, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to explain some of the family history to him and show him the remaining family homes in the area. I never expected to have that opportunity.

After we said our goodbyes to Sea Cliff, we drove a short distance to Darien, CT, for a dose of family history from a man named George who married one of my father’s cousins. I’d never met him and barely knew of him before we exchanged a few emails prior to our trip out here. I told him we were traveling east and he invited us to stay right away.


A former president of a reinsurance company, the eighty-five year old had plenty of interesting family stories from the ‘eastern Eilers’ clan, as well as pictures and information. One of the most fascinating tidbits of information was the reason behind my grandfather’s 1924 trip with his brother through Europe. His mother (my great grandmother) made him take his brother to Europe so that he wouldn’t marry the ‘wrong’ girl. That scheme didn’t work and the man returned from Europe to marry the ‘wrong’ girl anyway and have a happy long life with her.

George enjoyed painting for much of his life and said that he couldn’t wait to retire so he could paint all the time. Only, when he retired, he stopped painting. He never seemed to understand why that happened. George told us about a house on Martha’s Vineyard he and his wife purchased (and later sold – it was later torn down and replaced). He painted that house and allowed us to take a picture of it. The painting is full of specific references to family members and life at the vineyard. You might recognize the house as the location used as ‘Brody’s house’ for the first Jaws movie.


George’s wife Jean passed away a few years ago. In a sweet gesture, he still keeps her recipe holder on the counter that holds a recipe she’d placed there before she died. The funny thing is, he never liked that particular recipe. He liked his marriage to baseball. Some batters walk up to the bases and strike out a few times. If they are lucky, they might hit a home run. With his wife, he walked up to the plate and hit a home run on the first pitch. With a batting average of 1000, he explained he has no desire to step up to the plate again. Very romantic.

Wednesday morning we left George and traveled through Connecticut until we stumbled on the town of Mystic. Being the right age during the 1980s, we immediately recognized that it was the town used during the filming of Mystic Pizza, which greatly helped Julia Roberts Career.


I thought this was a great photo by Ann.


This is a clever piece of sculpture.


Downtown Mystic, CT, through the windshield. We forgot to take more!

While there we ate pizza (at where else, but a place called Mystic Pizza) and found a shop called Radio Wave that had some cool items, including this jeep picture:


I couldn’t help but get some reflections when I snapped this photo. It’s illustration is neat.

We’ve overnighted in Warwick, RI. From here we plan to visit a Topiary Garden (Ann’s wish), drop by Bob’s in the morning, then do a few things before dropped by Bob’s in Maine in the afternoon. We stay in Portland Thursday night, meet with Glenn on Friday and then make our way to Acadia for Friday and Saturday night. That will mark the end of our trip east.


2 Comments on “May 28th and 29th: Long Island to Darien, CT to Rhode Island

  1. Alan Johnson

    Hi there I live in Norway Maine. I highly recommend that you visit the Owls Head transportation Museum. Their website is I have been following your website ewillys for about a year. I am a WW2 living history rein-actor. I grew up with 3 Willys Overland Whippets my Dad had and loved them. After I started doing WW2 living history events I had an opportunity to ride in a Ford GPW. I was in love instantly with Willys jeeps. It must be part nostalgia, they sound so much like the Whippets I rode in growing up. We also went offroading through the woods and that beat all! I am constantly looking for a fixer upper I can make a project with my son. If you are headed up rt. 26 email me. I’d love to say hi.

  2. mmdeilers Post author

    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for the suggestion. If we break camp early enough Sunday morning we’d planned to go by there, but if we don’t we’ll have to pass on it (this time). I know they have a great collection.

    My earlier plans had us on/near route 26, but now we’ll be heading farther south before making the cut through New Hampshire. We’ll be spending Sunday night in Montpelier or Burlington. We plan to head north and travel along the Canadian border before dropping into NY.

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