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Old 01-14-2013, 03:35 PM
 
Location: W Hartford, CT
1,785 posts, read 3,442,317 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidyankee764 View Post
New Canaan and Darien are beautiful towns, and are also very expensive, but the commute is further from Manhattan. Darien is also pretty conservative.
Yeah, New Canaan is conservative, too. They've always voted Republican, including the last two elections. But this conservatism is typically more so on fiscal issues, not social ones.

Anyway, if not commuting on a daily basis then Westport would be ideal. A nice, arty town with a liberal vibe to it. I admit I've only been there a few times and don't know it well, but based on the OP's criteria it seems like a nice match. I was thinking maybe Stamford might be a fit, too. North Stamford in particular is really nice and up by the Merritt it's nowhere nearly as urban as it is along I-95. Maybe that may work, it would definitely be a shorter train ride if commuting on a daily basis. I agree doing that commute daily from Westport could be rough.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Coastal Northeast
15,742 posts, read 21,991,150 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markonthemove View Post
NYC will be a day or two a week, and in midtown. So I'm not totally freaked out about the commute. Westport?
If only 1-2 days a week, then honestly, I think you would like Westport best. It's also a little cheaper than towns down-county like Greenwich and Darien. A little.

It's about an hour ride on the train from Westport to Grand Central, but factor in 10-15 minutes driving to the station and waiting on the platform, and another 10-15 minutes walking to your office.

If an hour and a half 1-2 days per week is okay with you, then go for it.

Westport to Wilton the other 3-4 days per week will be pretty easy.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:58 PM
 
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To commute you ideally want to be near a Metro North railway line. That puts you in the shoreline towns.

As suggested Westport is a great choice. It's a little more densely developed than some of the other towns. The schools are superb, the town is beautiful with lots to do. .

In Stamford you can find the most densely developed neighborhoods and it's close to NYC. However, it's upper grade schools seriously under perform ( they only rate a 3 out of ten on the Great Schools website). So that might mean private school for the upper grades.

Fairfield is a beautiful town with some walkable neighborhoods. However, it's 70 minutes on the train to NYC, then you have to factor in getting to the train, waiting for it, then getting to your office. You're looking at 1.45 - 2 hours each way. Many people do it but it's a heck of a commute.

If you could somehow find something in Greenwich, that might be ideal as its closest to NYC.. However, your budget puts you at the bottom of home values in that town, so it might be an older, small home.
I'd look in Westport too.
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:08 PM
 
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Westport is probably your best bet. It's kind of a long commute to NYC, but if you're only doing it once/twice a week to midtown, it's not bad. Fairfield is nice, too - and you'll get more for your money there - but it's farther up the line.

Greenwich is the best CT commute to NYC, but you really can't get much in Greenwich for 700,000. The most desireable family neighborhoods (Riverside, Old Greenwich) that have walkability to shops, convenient to trains and the water are all going to be more like 850/900k. You may be able to find something in the Cos Cob section, though - it's worth a shot.

Darien and New Canaan are both beautiful, but very homogenous and not as socially liberal as towns like Westport, Greenwich & Fairfield. Lower Fairfield County is generally socially liberal/fiscally conservative.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:20 PM
 
2,704 posts, read 2,478,567 times
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I think the Westport recommendations are spot on. Since you are only going into the City once or twice a week, Fairfield, Wilton and Ridgefield may all be worth a look. You will get more for your money than Westport, but the commute will be longer to NYC.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
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It helps that your commute is split. I would actually look at some less expensive towns.

$700k will get you a decent house in Westport, but will barely get you anything in Darien, Greenwich and New Canaan. All those towns are very wealthy and people show it.

I find Fairfield to be a really well balanced town. It's got a wonderful, walkable town center, lots of shopping/conveniences, tight knit neighborhoods in many areas, and is relatively down to earth compared to other towns in the area. I find the general population to be much more easy going and friendly than towns south of it. It's only a few more minutes on the train than Westport, and your money will go MUCH further in a house. Commute to Wilton is relatively easy.

You could also consider Wilton or Ridgefield, but my vote is Fairfield. Specifically the neighborhoods near the center, as you'll be near the train station and it's a nice, close knit area. If your budget was a million and you weren't opposed to the status-seekers, I'd be more apt to recommend Westport - but it's certainly worth considering.

Here's just one example of the difference between Fairfield and Westport real estate wise:

$700k in Westport: http://www.realtor.com/realestateand...0_M46149-21122
$700k in Fairfield: http://www.realtor.com/realestateand...5_M48233-16184

Last edited by Stylo; 01-14-2013 at 06:32 PM..
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:56 AM
 
Location: Coastal Northeast
15,742 posts, read 21,991,150 times
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I agree that the Op should look into Fairfield as well, but these two listings are not a very fair comparison. The houe in Westport is on 1.2 acres, while the house in Fairfield is on a postage stamp sized lot (and is on the far eastern side of town).
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
24,577 posts, read 40,130,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA Born View Post
Fairfield is nice and fairly affordable for the county, but it's more "typical suburbia". It isn't super special or anything (pretty average homes, good but undistinguished schools, etc.).
Huh? Have you been to Southport or Greenfield Hill or the Old Post Road or what is left of Fairfield Beach? Fairfield offers a wide range of housing options and some of the most diverse suburban population in the county. I am not sure what is undistinguished about them. They perform very well given the town's socio-economic diversity of population. The OP should find a pretty nice home in Fairfield in their price range.

That said Ridgefield would be another good option (probably better). The commute to Wilton would be easier and they could use the Harlem line in New York to commute to Manhattan.

Also to answer the OP's concern about fitting in, this part of Connecticut has a lot of transfers from all over the country and world. You should not have a problem meeting people and making new friends. Jay
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:59 PM
 
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Don't be nervous! You will have to get used to 4 seasons, but really the only thing I miss are Mission burritos and ripe avocados (though I'm a CT native returned so take my free anonymous internet advise for what it's worth).
The towns you will see will have sidewalks downtown but not every residential neighborhood will have them. Westport and Fairfield are good suggestions seeing as you won't need to commute into NYC every day. I find Westport to be a bit more serious and Fairfield to be a bit more bohemian. Westport Playhouse versus Fairfield Theatre Company as an example. Ridgefield is also a great town, though it can feel remote and the train line in town doesn't run direct to NYC.
CT in general is center left leaning so it will probably feel conservative in comparison but you won't get ostracized for composting or anything. All three towns are kid friendly with good to excellent schools and lots of family activities. Make a short list of towns that sound interesting and visit them because it needs to feel like the right fit for you as well as look good on paper and that is a very subjective process.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
14,717 posts, read 17,938,672 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidyankee764 View Post
I agree that the Op should look into Fairfield as well, but these two listings are not a very fair comparison. The houe in Westport is on 1.2 acres, while the house in Fairfield is on a postage stamp sized lot (and is on the far eastern side of town).
True, but there is a pretty big difference in what you get either way.
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