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Old 09-15-2019, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
2,241 posts, read 2,963,231 times
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Since we can't seem to find housing we are looking for we are considering both towns for a possible relocation to CT. Am finding WAY more of they type of homes/neighborhood we are looking for in West Hartford. Small homes on smallish lots on tree-lined streets with sidewalks. West Hartford and Milford seem similar in many ways, close in population. What are the differences?

Milford has the advantage of being close to New Haven and being near the water. I don't know much about either town. Have been to Hartford when did broker training with Smith Barney and was not impressed. A colleague got mugged going out for a morning run. We went to a mall that I think might have been in West Hartford. Other than that, don't know anything about it.

Interested in:

Ambience/Attractiveness - How "nice" is the town aesthetically? Is there a "core" downtown area? How are the neighborhoods - are they a mish mash of different types of homes, or well kept nice homes?

Convenience - Are there the normal day to day stores one would want as well as big box stores for occasional visits - i.e., Barnes and Noble, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Home Depot.

Safety - How is the violent crime (murders, robberies) and property crime (burglaries, home invasions) rate? How responsive are the police? How are the other services - Fire, EMT? Are they FT departments? How responsive are they? I see that crime is higher in West Hartford, likely due to it's proximity to Hartford?

Shopping/Restaurants - Is there a core walkable downtown? Is the shopping mostly chains or are there also independent shops? How is the restaurant scene?

Health/Wellness - Are there farm-to-table restaurants, natural pet food stores, Whole Foods, farmers markets, yoga/pilates studios, gyms? How is the healthcare. Are there enough doctors? Is there a good hospital in town?

People - Is the area friendly? Open to transplants? Or does the town dislike "outsiders" moving in because they are worried they'll try and change everything? We are native New Englanders, so are used to the "aloofness" that is somewhat natural. Is there a sense of community in either town or are they too large?

Transportation - Is there any public transportation, specifically to Boston and New York? How far is it to the nearest large airport? Is it easy to get around town, and in and out of town? How is the traffic?

Vibrancy/Arts/Recreation - Is the town vibrant or active? Are there things going on - festivals, house tours, open studio tours? Are there enough things to do - movie theaters, live theatre, etc.?

Last edited by macalan; 09-15-2019 at 07:34 AM..
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
29,054 posts, read 45,611,062 times
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Both are beautiful towns. West Hartford is one of greater Hartford’s most desirable suburbs and has one of the nicest town centers in the state. There are tons of great restaurants and stores. It has one of the state’s most dynamic dining scenes and is a very walkable town so I understand the attraction. Also a portion of one of the state’s best malls, Westfarms, is in West Hartford and the town is very close to major hospitals, St. Francis, Hartford, John Dempsey and the Hospital of Central Connecticut.

The only thing is that property taxes in West Hartford are high. Residents there demand the best in education and services and are willing to pay for it. Also home prices are higher because it is a very desirable town. It’s up to you if the cost is worth it.

There already has been a lot of discussion of Milford so I won’t get into it again here. Jay
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
17,706 posts, read 21,255,874 times
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Actually cost per square foot is a bit higher in Milford, but yes, taxes are significantly lower.

West Hartford is another great town. It just has a very different character from the rest of the towns you’re looking at. Milford is a busier town than the shoreline towns east of it but still has some of that old New England charm, and a beachy feel. West Hartford always felt a bit more modern to me. Like a small city center that feels more 20th century. It could almost be a great center anywhere in the country whereas the shoreline towns are more New England. They do have a lot of similarities. Both have a walkable center, a Whole Foods in town, lots of great park. Both have safety (West Hartford 165, Milford 94 - both well below national average). Not sure if WH has permanent farm markets, like Robert Treat Farm in Woodmont. But both cities have seasonal farmers markets events.

Both towns have good independent food scenes, but West Hartford has more. West Hartford center is much busier. Milford has more of a “cute”, laid back center. The closest similar centers on the coast to WH are probably Westport, maybe Fairfield. I find people a bit warmer and friendlier in Milford, but take that with a grain of salt as I don’t frequent WH as much as I used to when I had friends up there.

New Haven has even more robust of a food/shopping scene than West Hartford, so it’s not like you’re sacrificing access to that on the shoreline. And New Haven has a lot more cultural outlets. Just a matter of whether you want it right in town. Also you need to decide if a quicker train to NYC is desired, or maybe the shorter drive to Boston appeals to you.

I think you really need to visit both towns. They are both 2 of the hotter towns in CT right now but their characters and vibes are very different.

Last edited by Stylo; 09-15-2019 at 09:41 AM..
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:36 AM
 
56 posts, read 31,461 times
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I prefer Milford. I like to go to NYC. When I lived by the harbor I could walk to the train and get to the city easily. I would only really look south of post road and between gulf and Robert Treat (I think that is the street that is a bit west of the hospital)

West Hartford is a cute town but I like the beach and NYC so it’s not really a close call for me. If you need to be in Boston a lot and you don’t like the coast West Hartford would be better.

I don’t know about West Hartford schools, Milford is mediocre from what I have seen.
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:43 AM
 
56 posts, read 31,461 times
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As an aside, and because it is my duty, a lot of the things you are interested in are available in beautiful Black Rock, a neighborhood in Bridgeport. When you consider that Fairfield town center is less than 5 minutee away and combine that with the bar and restaurant scene in BR, you might want to check it out.
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
17,706 posts, read 21,255,874 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackRocker View Post
I don’t know about West Hartford schools, Milford is mediocre from what I have seen.
OP is retired, so it doesn’t matter. But this is not true. West Hartford schools rank higher but Milford is still above average for CT. They’ve been improving a lot in the last 10 years as the demographics are shifting somewhat more affluent, and they’re pretty well funded.

https://www.collegesimply.com/k12/sc...ford-ct-06460/
https://www.schooldigger.com/go/CT/c...rd/search.aspx
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
2,241 posts, read 2,963,231 times
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It looks like I jumped the gun a bit. It seems the houses I was looking at in West Hartford that were "affordable" are also on some of the worst streets (on the east side, which makes sense, as it's closer to Hartford) according to a crime heat map I just looked at. Can anyone familiar with either town give me street boundaries so that we stay on the "good" side of each town?

At this point in my life I don't want to be looking over my shoulder while walking my dog at night, putting my car in the garage every night because someone might break into it or worrying someone might burglarize my house.

Last edited by macalan; 09-15-2019 at 10:59 AM..
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
17,706 posts, read 21,255,874 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macalan View Post
It looks like I jumped the gun a bit. It seems the houses I was looking at in West Hartford that were "affordable" are also on some of the worst streets (on the east side, which makes sense, as it's closer to Hartford) according to a crime heat map I just looked at. Can anyone familiar with either town give me street boundaries so that we stay on the "good" side of each town?

At this point in my life I don't want to be looking over my shoulder while walking my dog at night, putting my car in the garage every night because someone might break into it or worrying someone might burglarize my house.
Of course things can happen anywhere. But Milford’s crime rate of 94.5 is extremely low, and a lot of that comes from petty crime at the mall. Milford’s “worst” area is Devon, but that’s not to say it’s bad by any means and I’d be comfortable walking anywhere there late at night. It’s just a more working class area. But Laurel Beach is a very high end area there, and River Cliff is very nice.

The most desirable areas outside Laurel Beach are north and south of downtown (below Route 1), Trumbull Ave area, Gulf St area from New Haven Ave down to the coast all the way to Woodmont on the West Haven line (including Gulf Beach area which is perhaps the most affluent, Point Lookout, Bayview, Point Beach,

North of Route 1, the West River/Wheelers Farm/Great River area is nice, but not what you’re looking for as it’s more wooded.

I’m not as intimately familiar with WH so I couldn’t tell you those specifics, but someone will I’m sure!

By the way, speaking of a friendly vibe, Milford has had a public piano on the green all summer (Google it, there’s several news stories about it). Today is the last day for the year, and there was a crowd around it playing music, chatting. Maybe a dozen people. Strangers. Was a nice thing to see.
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Fairfield County CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stylo View Post
By the way, speaking of a friendly vibe, Milford has had a public piano on the green all summer (Google it, there’s several news stories about it). Today is the last day for the year, and there was a crowd around it playing music, chatting. Maybe a dozen people. Strangers. Was a nice thing to see.
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Fairfield County CT
2,837 posts, read 1,496,652 times
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I have never been to West Hartford but people on here rave about it all the time. A gal I went to High School with is the editor of a WEHA website. It seems like a fun place that I myself want to go and check out. Here is the website. https://we-ha.com

Before you discount West Hartford here are some crime stats from this site. You might not be looking in the appropriate areas or perhaps may need to find a townhouse near the center of instead of a house.

Crime 2017 (average US crime is 280)
West Hartford 165 (not high at all*)
Milford 94
Branford 103

New Haven 431
Hartford 520
Boston 294 ( good for Boston)

I put up the cities so you can see the difference between New Haven and Hartford where you would be going into to enjoy music, restaurants, art galleries etc. Also you would probably be going to doctors, specialists and the hospitals too. The cities in CT have a higher crime rate because they are small compared to other cities in the US and most people live in the suburbs.

*Maybe you can plan a 1/2 day with a realtor in West Hartford so they can show you the safe areas that you are looking for.
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