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Old 11-16-2011, 02:50 PM
 
6 posts, read 4,335 times
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I've posted before and greatly appreciate the help many of you have given on finding a new town to live in.

Husband working in New Haven, will commute to Hartford about 1x/week normally except when the legislature is in session he'll go more like 3X/week. Two small kids, K and 1st. Would like a neighborhood without too much space between houses.

Have narrowed it down to:
  • Branford/Guilford/Madison (I know there's traffic in summer into New Haven - we are coming from Northern VA so I'm thinking it can't be as bad as we're used to here)
  • Possibly Woodbridge (I know houses are much further apart and it's more rural and bus rides can be longer)
  • Wallingford
Many people have poo-pooed Wallingford but it seems to have a lovely town center, be a tiny bit more diverse economically and racially, obviously a larger community, and I know there are better and worse parts to live in. There seem to be a bunch of houses for sale in our price range (around $500K) on the East Side (?) - many new homes and/or built in last 10 years. Elementary school is Moses Beach.

How is that area of town? How are the schools really? I can find the numbers, but would love to hear first hand thoughts on the atmosphere of the school, philosophy of teachers/principal, involvement of parents, etc. Also how do things go as the kids go up in grades into middle and high school?

Thanks!
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
10,705 posts, read 8,126,138 times
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FWIW Woodbridge/Orange/Bethany district doesn't take up a big area, so bus rides shouldn't be too bad. Elementary schools dot the landscape. The high school is in Woodbridge, so living in Woodbridge it'll be pretty quick. Woodbridge comprises a relatively small area at 19 square miles. I wouldn't worry about it.

If you are considering Wallingford, which is a good town - I'd also consider North Haven and Milford. Good towns, perhaps an even more lovely town center in the case of Milford, and easy New Haven commute. Given the Hartford trip is only 1x a week and that route is largely without traffic, I think anything in the greater New Haven area will be fine. There's always backroads and alternate routes to take.

I don't think Wallingford deserves to be poo-poo'd at all. It has more going for it than a lot of towns.

Just my opinion, but you can't go wrong with any of the towns you listed. Find the house you like first, then go from there.
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Fairfield County, CT
12,060 posts, read 12,886,944 times
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Wallingford is a great town, and is the most diverse of the group you're considering (racially, economically, etc). It's rather large and the schools are about average for CT. You will certainly find much better performing schools in Woodbridge, Guilford and Madison - even Branford perhaps. I live in Branford and absolutely love it here. It, too, is economically diverse (everything from tiny apartments to exclusive waterfront estates).

Traffic sucks in CT. It's not too bad in the New Haven area unless you're commuting west toward Fairfield County through West Haven/Orange. Up 91 you're generally okay until you get to Hartford. It's *NOTHING* like 95 in Fairfield County, which is arguably worse than NoVA.

I'd say if you're okay with good (not great or excellent) schools, go with Wallingford. It's an easy commute to New Haven, and not too bad from Hartford (45 minutes?). If you don't want homes on larger lots, stay away from Woodbridge. Guilford and Madison are fantastic towns, and if you go with them, you can commute to Hartford on back roads until you hit Route 9.

I would also advise you look into Orange.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,294 posts, read 17,214,285 times
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Personally you couldn't pay me enough to live on the I-95 corridor, or in Amity (Woodbridge), if I had to work downtown New Haven AND had to drive to Hartford at least once every week.

The closest I'd get to Amity would be Hamden, but the High School's only middlin in quality compared to other towns.

I think your best bet for your price range would be North Haven or Wallingford. It's only 5-15 minutes to downtown New Haven (depending on what time of rush hour), and only 20-40 minutes to Hartford (depending on which end of the two you live closest to).

Wallingford's center has more shopping, but their actual commercial district is hell during rush hour. North Haven't center is more "New Englandish," but their commercial district is more maneuverable. The "bad section" of Wallingford is worse than the "bad section" of North Haven, but neither are intolerable (unless you live within 2 blocks of the Wallingford railroad tracks).

I-91 is significantly easier to drive during rush hour out of New Haven than I-95 (coming from either north or south). Driving -into- New Haven is only marginally easier on I-91 but there are several exits before you hit the downtown exit 1, which offer back roads and detours once you learn your way around.

As I said, I'd pick Hamden as a third choice. Branford and the Shoreline are gorgeous and lovely and splendid and all of that. But nothing is worth the commute over the Q Bridge.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
10,705 posts, read 8,126,138 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonChick View Post
Personally you couldn't pay me enough to live on the I-95 corridor, or in Amity (Woodbridge), if I had to work downtown New Haven AND had to drive to Hartford at least once every week.
Wait, what? You were just advocating a 90 minute train ride from New Haven to NYC in another thread, but you wouldn't be willing to commute from Woodbridge to downtown New Haven?

It's a 6 mile drive through backroads. 15 minutes.

The difference in time to Hartford is probably 10 minutes tops vs. North Haven/Wallingford.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Fairfield County, CT
12,060 posts, read 12,886,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stylo View Post
It's a 6 mile drive through backroads. 15 minutes.
I generally agree with your post, but it's a lot more than 15 minutes because of the traffic/lights. You're looking at closer to 30.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:11 PM
 
339 posts, read 170,393 times
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Wallingford is fine, it's certainly very convenient, has a lot of neighborhoods, it's more diverse than many other communities in the area, and there's plenty of nearby retail/conveniences. The commute north or south isn't terrible, and a lot of the traffic incidents on 91 tend to be right around Wallingford/North Haven so they can be easily avoided if you live right there and have the option of taking multiple exits to get on the highway.

When I worked in New Haven, many of my coworkers lived in Wallingford, North Haven, or Cheshire.

I lived in Fairfax County prior to moving to CT and IMO the traffic around the cities is comparable to worse in CT. The highway infrastructure here is abysmal. You'll have an easier time getting around town on local roads during rush hour than in NoVA, but 30-50 miles on the highway can be very frustrating.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Fairfield County, CT
12,060 posts, read 12,886,944 times
Reputation: 3368
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvexpatinct View Post
The highway infrastructure here is abysmal. You'll have an easier time getting around town on local roads during rush hour than in NoVA, but 30-50 miles on the highway can be very frustrating.
Quote of the year.
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,294 posts, read 17,214,285 times
Reputation: 16633
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stylo View Post
Wait, what? You were just advocating a 90 minute train ride from New Haven to NYC in another thread, but you wouldn't be willing to commute from Woodbridge to downtown New Haven?

It's a 6 mile drive through backroads. 15 minutes.

The difference in time to Hartford is probably 10 minutes tops vs. North Haven/Wallingford.
If someone insists on living in the New Haven Area, OR their budget doesn't afford them the luxury of living in Stamford/Greenwich, and must work in NYC, then yes I advocate taking the train over driving. It can't compare to someone who doesn't insist on living in the New Haven area, whose commute will only take them to New Haven, and a weekly (or thrice-weekly) trip to Hartford. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
14,607 posts, read 23,277,714 times
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Wallingford is a nice town. It has a very wide range of housing options from very modest to quite large and nice. It is not considered as desirable as some of th eother towns because of that diversity and because there is a lot of commercial and industrial areas. Schools in Wallingford perform above the state averages on the Connecticut Mastery and connecticut Academic Performance Tests so I would say that they are good. I have friends that love living there and found the schools to be good. Check the link below for more information on the schools there. The town also has a great recreation center and its own electricity department so you wil pay less for power there. Whether Wallingford is a town you would like is really a personal choice. Jay

State Department of Education - CEDaR
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