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Old 05-26-2010, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Central MA
3 posts, read 8,770 times
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My husband and I currently live in central MA and I commute down to Hartford every day. We have decided to move down to Hartford County.

I am looking for information on living in the following towns: Bloomfield, West Hartford, Farmington, Newington, Wethersfield and Glastonbury. We are in our early 30s, no kids (but hopefully soon!), and we both have lived in major cities. We have looked at the data on population, schools, etc. on DECD's website, but are looking for residents to tell us what it is really like living there.

Ideally our house will have a little bit of land (i.e. more than .25 acre- I know that it is especially hard to find that in WH) for a garden and some sort of town life. I don't mean bars, but restaurants, things to do, parks, resident groups, etc.

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2010, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Central MA
3 posts, read 8,770 times
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To add a bit more information, we are also looking for suggestions on good neighborhoods in the towns listed above. Ones located on quiet streets, where homes are not on top of another, etc.

We are looking at less than $350K (depends on mill rate of the town- would rather stay around $300K), 3+ bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 car garage, etc.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:11 PM
 
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The only one I would rule out right away because of poor schools and high taxes is Bloomfield.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:55 PM
 
Location: West End-Hartford
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Based on the price range you're looking in and the amenities you list, plus your desire for some land where you're not on top of your neighbors- I would suggest Farmington or Glastonbury would be your best bet. Most of what you'll find in your price range in Bloomfield, West Hartford, Newington, and Wethersfield are going to be on .25 acre lots or less. That's just how they plotted out the towns when they did neighborhood configurations. Farmington and Glastonbury are a bit more spread out, so you'll have more luck finding larger lots there.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
24,570 posts, read 40,120,453 times
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You do not indicate where you or your husband work so I will assume that would not be an issue. I agree with KH02 on Bloomfield schools. They are among the lowest performing in the state which is very odd since it is a very nice town. That said, any of the towns mentioned would be good. west Hartford is a mature suburb with one of the best town centers in the state (maybe even the country). The schools are excellent and there is a lot of great family activities. It has a wide range of housing options and is generally considered one of the most desirable towns in greater Hartford.

Farmington is also very nice but a bit more suburban in character. It too is considered a desirable suburb, has excellent schools and offers a lot of great family activities. But Farmington lacks a downtown area and traffic through town is among the worst in the region.

Glastonbury too is an upscale suburb with a wide range of housing options and excellent schools. It offers a lot for families and has a small downtown area that is somewhat walkable. You could easily find a nice home on a 1/3 acre lot for your price.

Newington and Wethersfield are also very nice but a little more middle class than the other towns. The Old Wethersfield section of Wethersfield has a lot of charming older and historic homes for surprisingly affordable prices. There is no real downtown area in Wethersfield though but the schools are very good and finding a nice home in your price range should be easy. Newington also has a lot of homes in your price range, has a small downtown and is very family oriented.

Overall I think you really need to visit each town and see which one fits your needs best and has the feel you like best. I would also look at the commute for you and your husband since you will be doing this daily and it could effect how much you like where you end up. Good luck, Jay
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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You can get a house like that for 350 in WH right now, but I think you might get more house and land for your money in the other towns. Don't go to Bloomfield unless you're planning on paying for private school eventually. Also, I don't think that your house there will appreciate as much as in the other towns. You can get a gorgeous house on a decent plot of land in Bloomfield for that money, but the schools are not highly ranked. There are good parochial schools nearby - they're the cheapest option for private school there. If you're looking for the best community, with great facilities (pools, golf, skating rink, classes for kids and adults, libraries, great town center with restaurants and shops, great feeling of community with neighbors, I'd recommend West Hartford, but of all the other towns you mentioned, you'd get the least house for your money. All the towns you've mentioned, except for Bloomfield, have good schools. In WH, you need to look at the elementary school for your neighborhood - the socioeconomic demographics of the schools vary by neighborhood. By the way, know that the closer together the houses, and the less expensive the neighborhood, the better your children's social lives will be. Kids don't come out to play in rich neighborhoods - they are raised indoors by the hired help, and the houses are too far away for spontaneous outdoor play. Kids still play outdoors in less expensive neighborhoods where the homes are close together and the yards contiguous. You can have a garden plot on the land that comes with most houses in WH - you don't need a 1/4 acre for that. Best bet for you is to work with a realtor and come down and see a lot of houses. This is a great time to buy - people whose homes did not sell before 4/30/10, when the tax break ended, are very worried they're not going to sell for a long time - so you can negotiate a good deal.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Central MA
3 posts, read 8,770 times
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Thanks for all of the replies so far.

Jay- I work in Hartford, my husband now works at home. We are moving down to Hartford County so that I have a much shorter commute.

Does anyone know how bad traffic is from West Hartford into the Old State House area of Hartford? Or for that matter, from Glastonbury into the Old State House area? I did see that there are commuter buses from both towns and I would most likely take that form of transportation.

Parentologist- We would rather not pay for private school so it sounds like Bloomfield is out. We aren't looking for houses that are really far apart, but in some WH neighborhoods the houses were only 10 feet apart on the sides. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and we played a lot in our neighborhood and the houses were not on top of each other.
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:08 PM
 
Location: West End-Hartford
625 posts, read 1,744,431 times
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My husband used to take the commuter bus into Hartford every morning (from our West End neighborhood in Hartford) and it worked out really well. He rode in with many people from West Hartford. If you live near the main lines in West Hartford (Farmington Avenue, Fern Street, Asylum Avenue, Park Road, Albany Ave or New Britain Ave) your commute should be fairly easy.

From Glastonbury, there is an express bus near Route 3 with a parking lot and at Hebron Ave and Main Street. So, your options there would be more limited.

If you were to drive, your commute time from Glastonbury would most likely be longer because there is really only one feeder road into Hartford and the town is more spread out, so you could be coming from the southern part of town which would make your commute much longer. From West Hartford, figure 20 minutes from most parts of town for driving yourself because there are several feeder routes you could take.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
24,570 posts, read 40,120,453 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyBergquist View Post
My husband used to take the commuter bus into Hartford every morning (from our West End neighborhood in Hartford) and it worked out really well. He rode in with many people from West Hartford. If you live near the main lines in West Hartford (Farmington Avenue, Fern Street, Asylum Avenue, Park Road, Albany Ave or New Britain Ave) your commute should be fairly easy.

From Glastonbury, there is an express bus near Route 3 with a parking lot and at Hebron Ave and Main Street. So, your options there would be more limited.

If you were to drive, your commute time from Glastonbury would most likely be longer because there is really only one feeder road into Hartford and the town is more spread out, so you could be coming from the southern part of town which would make your commute much longer. From West Hartford, figure 20 minutes from most parts of town for driving yourself because there are several feeder routes you could take.
I do not know if I agree with your take on commuting from Glastonbury into downtown. You are correct that there are more buses from West Hartford into downtown but those buses run on local streets so there is a lot of stop and go traffic and a lot of bus stops along the way. The bus from Glastonbury is an express and is fairly direct. There are three park and ride lots in town but none are on Hebron Avenue. There is one lot in South Glastonbury at St. Augustine's Church on Hopewell Road, another at St. Pauls' Church on Main Street near Welles Street and a third on Main Street near the East Hartford town line. According to CT Transit's schedule St. Augustine's is 23 minutes from the Old State House, St. Paul's is 15 minutes and the Main Street lot is 10 minutes.

As for the drive, Route 2 is a direct shot from Glastonbury to downtown. Traffic is a bit slow around Route 3 but after that it is not bad until you get to Columbus right right near the Old State house. I know many that do this and they find it very easy. Quite frankly I would recommend Glastonbury over West Hartford for that job location. Jay
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:41 AM
 
Location: West End-Hartford
625 posts, read 1,744,431 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
I do not know if I agree with your take on commuting from Glastonbury into downtown. You are correct that there are more buses from West Hartford into downtown but those buses run on local streets so there is a lot of stop and go traffic and a lot of bus stops along the way. The bus from Glastonbury is an express and is fairly direct. There are three park and ride lots in town but none are on Hebron Avenue. There is one lot in South Glastonbury at St. Augustine's Church on Hopewell Road, another at St. Pauls' Church on Main Street near Welles Street and a third on Main Street near the East Hartford town line. According to CT Transit's schedule St. Augustine's is 23 minutes from the Old State House, St. Paul's is 15 minutes and the Main Street lot is 10 minutes.

As for the drive, Route 2 is a direct shot from Glastonbury to downtown. Traffic is a bit slow around Route 3 but after that it is not bad until you get to Columbus right right near the Old State house. I know many that do this and they find it very easy. Quite frankly I would recommend Glastonbury over West Hartford for that job location. Jay
I think that the express buses have a fairly limited schedule, so that really limits your options if you need to stay late for work, etc. That was my line of thinking. It just limits your flexibility, that's all.
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