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Old 04-17-2010, 04:27 AM
Location: Farmington Valley, CT
502 posts, read 1,175,111 times
Reputation: 331


I never went to Farmington much while I lived in the Valley, except for the UConn medical complex, and an occasional visit to Truffles bakery. We lived in Avon for a time, and are targeting Avon and Simsbury for our relocation back to CT, hopefully this summer. We've always thought of these two towns as one in the same, with their differences being; Avon has larger, newer housing (and more expensive), more shopping, and you have Rt. 44 that runs East/West out from West Hartford, which makes it more of a straight shot in to the mall and everything else you'd want to drive into West Hartford for. Avon seems a bit more upscale. Simsbury is just north of Avon, seems to have housing which is a bit older and less expensive, and has more of a "farm country" feel than Avon (just my opinion... Granby is definitely more "farm country", and that's just north of Simsbury). There is shopping in Simsbury, concentrated mostly on Rt. 10 which runs North/South, and Simsbury is slightly closer to the airport if you take this route. If you have a budget for housing, you might need to update something in Simsbury, as the inventory is a bit older. Sorry I'm not much help on the schools as I don't have kids, but I hear they're among the best, for all three towns. My husband and I have lived all over the country, and must say that the Farmington Valley is where we've decided we want to be. Good luck with your house hunt, and hope you enjoy your visit!
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Old 04-17-2010, 09:55 AM
Location: W Simsbury
164 posts, read 281,913 times
Reputation: 71
Well, you can live in Simsbury and be less than 10 minutes to Rt 44 in Avon and all of the shopping there. The commute into Bloomfield (e.g., CIGNA) and Hartford from Simsbury can be done in 15 minutes (for Bloomfield) and 25 minutes (for Hartford) even around rush hour since those commutes are all back roads.

I live in Simsbury and am quite pleased with it, but yes, the property taxes are quite high. I don't believe that Avon's are that much better, whereas I seem to recall that Farmington had noticeably lower property taxes (way back when I was once comparing those towns).

I don't know that I'd consider anywhere around this area (even Hartford) to have much of a nightlife, if you're interested in that (not compared to Boston). What you will get in Simsbury is a quiet small-town feel, but with enough restaurants, grocery stores, other shopping (small shops in town and then larger big-box stores on Rt 44) within 10 minutes drive. If you like sidewalks/walking/biking, there are plenty of rails-to-trails paths in Simsbury. Some neighborhoods will have sidewalks as well.

If you're a foodie, there are some very good restaurants in all of these towns, and several more in West Hartford (about 20-25 minutes drive from Simsbury) and Hartford. Big Y (on Rt 44) has a good meat department, and many of the supermarkets in the area have a decent organic selection. Whole Foods offers the best organic selection and there are two locations in West Hartford, but that is a bit of a haul to do you frequent grocery shopping there (I really wish there was a Whole Foods or Wegmann's in the Simsbury/Avon area). Oh, Farmington has Highland Park Market. I haven't been there in a long time, but seemed to remember it having some high quality baked goods (someone else can comment on them with details). If you're in Farmington, you may not be far from West Farms mall and I think there's a Trader Joes there as well (been meaning to check that out sometime but I haven't been to that mall area in forever).

Let's see...what else? Rt. 44 has an OK movie theater (new releases but no 3D). Simsbury also poured a ton of our tax money into an supersized Library if that's of any importance to you.

I think if you want more of a quiet country feel with fairly close (25 minute) access to a more bustling restaurant strip and Whole Foods market (e.g., West Hartford center), any of the towns you mentioned should do well. If you want to be right on top of those things, then you want to be in WH (and as close to the center itself). WH schools are well regarded and more diverse, but the houses tend to be on top of eachother (but if you're looking at Devonwood you should be able to find a home in WH with more land and some peace and quiet).
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Old 04-17-2010, 01:00 PM
3,325 posts, read 3,260,957 times
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The real traffic problem in Farmington is if you're getting off 84 onto rt4 during afternoon rush hour. If your commute wouldn't take you through there at that hour, I wouldn't be concerned, but if it does, be forewarned. Also, I would not want a commute that takes me over Avon mtn (rt 44) as the road is dangerous, lots of accidents, treacherous in winter storms. Houses in WH are on smaller lots, more of an "in-town" feel, but there are areas with larger homes on bigger lots, just as upscale as Devonwood. If you're commuting to Hartford, you probably should include W. Hartford in your search.
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:56 PM
Location: Bristol, CT
88 posts, read 166,083 times
Reputation: 55
My choice of the three towns would definitely be Farmington, more specifically the Mountain Spring area of town. If you can afford Devonwood, then check out what's available around Mtn Spring/Old Mtn/Talcott Notch/Ely etc. Great area. Very "old money". To me, Avon is too much about keeping up with the Jones's. If you're home isn't atleast a million, and you don't drive a GL, then look elsewhere for friends (not literally, that's just the vibe I get). And regarding Simsbury, it's ok, but if I were looking that far out, I'd look at Canton as well (and choose Canton over Farmington). Canton I feel is more "up and coming". It's way more rural, yet becoming suburban which means you'll likely get more of a return later on down the road if you choose to sell. Good luck on your search!
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Old 04-19-2010, 05:09 AM
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,255 posts, read 4,908,347 times
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You might want to consider Granby as well. We had investigated the Farmington, Avon, and Simsbury alternatives but were interested in building a new passive solar home. There is still a fair amount of land available and some new developments as well. If you're located near Granby Center you have surprisingly easy access to the highway.

The schools are ranked highly as well as many families seeking quality schools have made Granby a destination spot. The town has invested heavily in education over the past decade.

As far as shopping goes choices are more limited in town. We find ourselves traveling to Southwick MA which is 10 minutes away, downtown Simsbury or over to RT 44. Westfield, Enfield, and Hartford are 30mins.
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:30 AM
4 posts, read 18,307 times
Reputation: 10
I live in Simsbury. If all you have to deal with regularly is a Hartford commute, central/north Simsbury is great because you can cut through 185 and down through Bloomfield. This is about ten thousand times better than the Rt4 crawl you get with Farmington and the rt. 10 crawl you get if you live in a part of Avon that requires a southward drive before getting on Rt. 4. Rt. 44 is much better, IMO, but the drive over Avon Mtn. in the winter can be pretty frightening. Many deaths on that stretch of road. They are fixing it, but its still a little scary.

We chose Simsbury over Avon because it has a walkable town center with a bike path, great parks, great rec center, Talcott Music Festival in the summer... overall more of a community feel.
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Old 06-03-2010, 04:21 AM
3 posts, read 23,814 times
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Thanks for all of the replies. We decided to buy in Devonwood in Farmington. The proximity to the highway is important for my husband. I appreciated all the advice. Are there any local Italian grocery stores in the Hartford area? We have a store, called Russo's in Watertown that is simply amazing! You can find every kind of fresh produce you could ever want there. Thanks again for the information.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:53 AM
Location: Connecticut
24,576 posts, read 40,130,038 times
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Devonwood is very nice. I like the way the streets are laid out in kind of small neihgborhoods and that there are only a few through streets.

For Italian foods, check D&D Market on Franklin Avenue in Hartford's South End. there is also a newly opened Villarina's on LaSalle in West Hartford Center. For great produce, check Appletree on New Park Avenue in West Hartford. I know people that travel there from Glastonbury and rave about it. Also check out the highland Park Market in Farmington. They have a lot of good food items. Good luck with your move. Jay
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:35 AM
Location: Ct
113 posts, read 388,533 times
Reputation: 79
Simsbury is more rural and Farmington is more industrial. Avon is the better choice
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:46 AM
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,029 posts, read 13,366,845 times
Reputation: 6744
Damn...I missed this thread. I would have suggested Avon over Farmington. Some of the towns surrounding Farmington aren't that nice (i.e. New Britain, Bristol, Plainville). But it's cool...congratulationson your choice
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