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Old 03-11-2008, 10:03 AM
 
14 posts, read 76,924 times
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I've been searching various threads, but I haven't found one that specifically deals with Fairfield County.

Family of 5 considering moving from San Francisco Bay Area to East Coast for a job in NYC. Fairfield County is a possibility because of proximity. Looking for a family town, good public schools, diversity (is there any in FC?), down to earth people (?), decent shopping & restaurants nearby. Hoping not to spend more than 1.2M for a minimum of 4 bed/2 bath. Trying to keep commute time down as much as possible. Seems like everything is at least 1 hour. Considering the following towns because of commute and high school test scores:

Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Westport, Fairfield, Weston, Wilton, Ridgefield & Trumball(both possibly too far but will consider)

Does anyone know the average commute time (by train) to NYC?
Does anyone have a favorite of these towns for families?
Maybe this should be a new thread, but I have a highschooler who loves crew. Is it easy to find/join rowing clubs in the area? Seems like there's one in Norfolk.

Thanks! I appreciate any and all ideas!
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Old 03-11-2008, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Sandy Hook, CT
66 posts, read 227,858 times
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1.2M will get you a decent house in any of the places you mentioned, but your money goes farther for every minute farther from NYC you are.

Ridgefield (75-90 min to midtown) is probably the best match for the qualities you listed (family oriented, good schools, down to earth, etc.), but don't expect to find too much diversity anywhere compared to SF. This is the wasp capital of the world, after all. I'd also look at Westport, which has a shorter commute (65-80 min) and arguably the best public schools in CT.

NC/Darien/Greenwich may seem aloof to you, but, like anywhere where most people have money, you will encounter all kinds of folks.

Have you lived in CT before? It is VERY different from the Bay Area.
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Old 03-11-2008, 10:48 AM
 
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No, I've never lived in CT before. I've never even visited! I'm from SoCal and spent a few years in Newport Beach,CA. I hated it. Beautiful area, but majority of people too concerned with status. Love the Bay Area, but move is likely, so just trying to make a good choice in CT.
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Old 03-11-2008, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Sandy Hook, CT
66 posts, read 227,858 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sf2nyc08 View Post
No, I've never lived in CT before. I've never even visited! I'm from SoCal and spent a few years in Newport Beach,CA. I hated it. Beautiful area, but majority of people too concerned with status. Love the Bay Area, but move is likely, so just trying to make a good choice in CT.
CT is less superficial, but also less open. In general, people will be more reserved but on the whole more substantial. Bay Area (was in Palo Alto for a bit) is super liberal compared to southwestern CT.

But then again, so are all the other NYC suburbs (Bergen County NJ, Westchester NY, Long Island). Of those, Fairfield is the quietest and has the best (public) schools.
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:01 AM
 
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Thanks! Yours is the kind of insight you can't get researching towns on realtor.com and schooldigger.com. It really helps!
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Sandy Hook, CT
66 posts, read 227,858 times
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Originally Posted by sf2nyc08 View Post
Thanks! Yours is the kind of insight you can't get researching towns on realtor.com and schooldigger.com. It really helps!
No problem. But, as my Russian math prof always said, seeing something once is better than hearing it 100 times. Go and visit!
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:48 AM
 
246 posts, read 775,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sf2nyc08 View Post
I've been searching various threads, but I haven't found one that specifically deals with Fairfield County.

Family of 5 considering moving from San Francisco Bay Area to East Coast for a job in NYC. Fairfield County is a possibility because of proximity. Looking for a family town, good public schools, diversity (is there any in FC?), down to earth people (?), decent shopping & restaurants nearby. Hoping not to spend more than 1.2M for a minimum of 4 bed/2 bath. Trying to keep commute time down as much as possible. Seems like everything is at least 1 hour. Considering the following towns because of commute and high school test scores:

Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Westport, Fairfield, Weston, Wilton, Ridgefield & Trumball(both possibly too far but will consider)

Does anyone know the average commute time (by train) to NYC?
Does anyone have a favorite of these towns for families?
Maybe this should be a new thread, but I have a highschooler who loves crew. Is it easy to find/join rowing clubs in the area? Seems like there's one in Norfolk.

Thanks! I appreciate any and all ideas!
If I were you, I'd strongly consider Greenwich. You won't get the most for your money, but the town is diverse, very close to Manhattan and has a very good quality of life. Greenwich is among the most desirable communities in the country and the schools are excellent.

As for crew, Greenwich Water Club in Cos Cob (a section of Greenwich) has an excellent crew team. They placed fifth nationally at the Scholastic Rowing Association Championships and did extremely well in the international erg competition a few weeks ago at Boston University. :: Welcome to The Greenwich Water Club / Greenwich Rowing Club ::

Southwest Connecticut is not as liberal as the SF Bay area - politically (and only politically!) it's very similar to Orange County. Socially liberal, fiscally conservative, and there is a very high respect for local law enforcement. Westport is a very liberal town however. People in CT, while not as pretentious as many parts of the nation, folks can seem aloof as was stated before. I lived in San Diego for awhile and moving to CT was a bit of a culture shock.

I also agree that of the NYC suburbs, Fairfield County has the best schools - with the exception of a few Westchester County suburbs, but those towns are extremely pretentious and probably wouldn't be to your liking...Scarsdale and Ryebrook.

All of the towns you're considering have excellent reputations.

Last edited by kidyankee784; 03-11-2008 at 12:05 PM..
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
24,587 posts, read 40,140,661 times
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sf2nyc08 - Welcome to Connecticut. I am sure you will like it here. It is a beautiful state with a lot to offer. Many people move here for the high quality of life that is offered. Since you are from a high-priced housing area, the prices of homes here should not shock you as it does to those who move from less-expensive areas. Fairfield County is similar to the San Francisco area where modest but well-located homes go for a LOT of money. As someone else noted, the closer to New York City you get, the more expensive homes will generally be.

Greenwich is the closest with an excellent schools system and a lot of prestige. There are many beautiful areas and depending on the train you catch, it is about 45 minutes to Grand Central Terminal. Greenwich has a lot of great shopping, restaurants and entertainment, plus there is a lot of family related activities as well. $1.2 million will get you a nice but certainly not large home on a modest lot in a good neighborhood.

Fairfield is about the furtherest from New York of the towns you mentioned. It is about an hour and 15 minutes to Grand Central depending on the train. Your money will go a lot further here than any of the lower Fairfield County towns. For $1.2 million you could get a large home (3,000 s.f. or more) on a spacious lot (up to 2 acres) in a very nice neighborhood. Southport and Greenfield Hill are two stunningly beautiful areas to live in Fairfield. The town has excellent schools, great shopping, restaurants and entertainment and a lot of great family activities. Fairfield is a diverse community so you can meet a lot more down-to-earth people there. I know families that moved to Fairfield to buy a more affordable home and stayed in town even when their fortunes improved considerably. I hope this helps, Jay
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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Yes! This helps! I'll definitely take a look at those areas in Fairfield. Do you have any thoughts on Westport, Weston, Wilton?
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:09 PM
 
246 posts, read 775,935 times
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Originally Posted by sf2nyc08 View Post
Yes! This helps! I'll definitely take a look at those areas in Fairfield. Do you have any thoughts on Westport, Weston, Wilton?
Westport is a flashy yet down to earth liberal town just southwest of Fairfield. The schools are excellent and you have easy access to Westport's 2 metro north stations.

Weston is an affluent rural town with not much going on. It's rustic and doesn't have much in the way of shopping. You'd have to travel to Westport, Norwalk or Wilton for nearly all of your shopping needs. Still, residents love this and don't plan to change a thing. For metro north, you'd have to drive to Westport or Norwalk to catch the train.

Wilton is your typical suburban/rural town with plenty of friendly soccer moms. The schools are great. The only drawback with the Wilton train station is that it is on the Danbury line, so you would have to switch trains in Norwalk, or drive to Norwalk and catch the train to Grand Central.

Of the towns you mentioned, Greenwich is most convenient followed by Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Wilton, Fairfield then Weston. I believe Weston residents have the longest average commute time of any town in the state, mostly because so many of its residents commute to Manhattan.
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