WESTERLY — The presence of Taylor Swift’s security at her Watch Hill home, known to locals as the “Harkness House,” has certainly been an intrusion for East Beach visitors and Watch Hill residents, but maybe not quite as invasive as one would expect — some of the guards are even friendly.
On any given day, one to two guards can be seen at the end of the pop singer’s driveway, at 16 Bluff Ave. Saturday afternoon, there was a security guard stationed in the back of Swift’s estate, which overlooks the rocky west end of East Beach and where sits “the wall” — a popular hangout for beachgoers and surfers.
The guard present at Swift’s driveway on Saturday wouldn’t offer any information, including how many security personnel guard the estate. But, he said, there is “never” anyone stationed on the path that leads down to East Beach, which borders Swift’s property line.
“They’re cool,” Colin Petrie, 18, of Stonington, said of the security guards. Petrie works at the Ocean House and surfs at East Beach. “She doesn’t want anyone getting hurt or getting hurt on her property.”
Adam Lozyniak, 24, of Westerly, who also surfs at East Beach, said the security guard he encountered was friendly and told him he’d like to learn to surf.
“He was actually being a cool dude,” said Lozyniak.
Brian Carney, 22, and Mike Trubia, 23, both of Westerly, agreed with Lozyniak that Swift’s security’s presence doesn’t impede on their surfing at East Beach.
“They’re obviously here to protect her,” said Patricia Skidmore of Westerly, walking by Swift’s property on the sunny Saturday afternoon.
“Westerly is a nice, protective community,” she said. “I think people will be gracious to Taylor Swift.”
Skidmore said Swift’s timing is also perfect for Watch Hill shop owners. Post-Superstorm Sandy, “shop owners will reap the benefits” this summer with Swift’s presence, drawing crowds eager to possibly catch a glimpse of the music superstar perusing the stores.
However, John Repoza of Charlestown, an associate broker at Lila Delman Real Estate in Watch Hill, said he thinks the “dust will settle” regarding Swift’s presence. Watch Hill, after all, has been a resort for the rich and famous for the past couple of hundred years, he said.
He added that Watch Hill has “one of the most protected harbors on the East Coast,” so Swift’s security guards aren’t the only officials constantly on patrol in the Watch Hill area.
Also, certain areas of East Beach have been off-limits to members of the general public even before Swift’s local presence. The area of beach behind the Ocean House, for instance, is off-limits to those not staying at the Ocean House.
Swift’s estate is private property, and must be respected as such. But the presence of her security team hasn’t seemed to dampen the eagerness of beachgoers to enjoy the sand and sea, and a few local surfers to enjoy the swells.