Moving to Connecticut
Berkeley Parents Network >
Housing, Neighborhoods, & Moving >
Moving to Connecticut
I never thought I would be writing this, but we're leaving the
Bay Area. Our work will be in Manhattan and we'll be relocating
to the Connecticut area and we've heard great things about
Westport. Has anyone lived there? What are the good
neighborhoods to look for? Are the schools good? How is the
commute? Is it as liberal as they say? Any info is
My husband, daughter and I had planned to move to CT 2-3 years
ago, when a job opportunity came our way, and we had friends
there so we were able to visit and drive around. We didn't end up
going, but I can tell you what we saw and learned.
Westport is lovely, but we did not look there because we didn't
feel we could afford it. To my knowledge, there are no bad
areas/neighborhoods in Westport. Westport is an upper class
community--residents include David Letterman and Martha Stewart
to give you an idea--as are a lot of areas in CT, and as most of
Fairfield County is, but there are a few towns within an hour's
drive of NYC that are affordable (especially if you are selling
your house here!) I believe that most of CT is very liberal, by
the way, but it's a *different* kind of liberal than it is here.
If that makes sense. The town that most resembled feel to
Berkeley, which is where I live, is Bethel. It's ecclectic, has a
strong arts community, good schools, and the most racially
diverse of all the areas (which is not saying much). The houses
were gorgeous and old (picture postcard perfect) and on par with
what houses cost here but you get a lot more for your money.
Also, in parts of Fairfield County, if not all of it, the parcels
are *required* to be 2 acres at least! My friend lived in Redding
which was a quaint town but VERY expensive. Other towns that we
looked at for the neighborhoods as well as the schools and
convenience to the city were: Trumball, Easton, Monroe.
Ridgefield and Wilton are a little closer to the city, gorgeous
cities but also on the high end. We REALLY liked Newtown, as
well, but it is a bit farther away. Remember though that
commuting an hour to work is commonplace out there, and the
public transport is so great that it's really not as hard as it
would seem to be (I also lived on the East Coast for five years).
Anyway, I could go on about it. If you have any specific
questions feel free to email me. I don't know if this is what you
were looking for but I hope it helped.
Hi: I am originally from Connecticut, and I am not sure where
you heard that Westport is liberal, but I certainly don't think
of it that way. It is Martha Stewart country, so very waspy and,
in my mind, a bit uptight. Certainly, it is not as conservative
as some states, but it is a wealthy town and I'm sure has a
healthy number of republicans. There are other parts of
Connecticut that seem preferable to me...more laid back...have
you been to visit? You should really try to schedule a visit of
towns that have commuter train service to NYC...not just the
towns along the coast, but some of the towns heading north from
NYC. I imagine that the schools are great in Westport, though,
but so they are in many towns in Connecticut. Good luck!
You are SO lucky!!!!!!!!! I grew up in Westport (my family
moved there when I was in Kindergarten, and sadly moved away
after I graduated from high school). What an idyllic place. I
was back recently for a day and although it has changed
somewhat I think it is still amazing. The town has its own
country club which all residents automatically belong to. (Plus
a beautiful large public beach.) Yet, it's not some gated
community - far from it. It has working class and artistic
roots that go back to the turn of the (20th) century, I
believe. The schools are indeed excellent. There's only one
high school (Staples) which you can look up on the internet.
When I attended (I graduated in 1979), there was AP everything
you can think of, several bands, orchestras, singing groups,
and an amazing drama program; all kinds of clubs and sports,
the school had its own radio station, student newspapers,
literary magazine, you could take French, Spanish, Latin,
German and Russian... in any event, it was as good as any Bay
Area private school I can think of. I couldn't tell you which
elementary school is considered best - as far as I know, they
are all good. It's not racially diverse, but it's much more
economically diverse than towns like Greenwich or Darien. When
I lived there, it was predominantly Catholic (lots of Italians)
and Jewish, few WASPs. Since my family left, new housing
developments have been built which I personally think are
hideous (awful McMansion type things) but there are plenty of
older homes on much larger lots than you'll find around here.
My family's 4 BR house on a wooded half acre was considered
very modest (which my parents bought in 1967 for, I believe,
$45K...sigh). As for the commute, my dad took the train to
Grand Central every day for 12 years and wasn't sorry to say
goodbye to that drill. I think it took him over an hour, which
he considered horrendous. He did get a lot of reading done,
however. I love New York, too, so to me it sounds great!
Please, take me with you!!!
We will move to the Danbury/Ridgefield area in Connecticut in May and
I'd like to know what are the best places to live, how are the schools and
preschool there, what kind of activities with kids can be found, diversity,
Everything would be appreciated.
We have two friends (both with kids) that live in Connecticut
and love it. One friend (with 2 toddlers) lives in Westport and
the schools are outstanding, though housing can be quite
expensive. The other friend (with a 10 month old) lives in
Wilton and it is beautiful and it, too, has wonderful schools.
It also depends on how close you want/need to be to NYC.
Greenwich is also wonderful, but I don't know about their
schools. I am sure you can find some info about the schools on
a Connecticut website. My husband and I grew-up on the east
coast and have always loved Connecticut. Good luck.
I missed the original post but I was born and raised in
Connecticut, and it is an excellent place to live. I grew up in
Marlborough a rural town about 20 miles southeast of Hartford.
There are so many green spaces in central CT- lots of state
forests and parks. I attended my town's public elementary
school which was and still is excellent, and a regional public
high school which was great when I went there and is even better
now. There are also many wonderful private schools if you are
interested. Another great thing about CT is that you can live
in a quiet town yet be very close to major shopping areas and
culture (festivals, theater restaurants). If you like the
beach, Rhode Island is only an hour away from where I grew up,
not to mention Long Island Sound if you are looking around the
Greenwich/Westport area. Boston and New York are short drives
away. You can live in CT and commute to NYC by train- I know
people who did that for years. Good luck- I'd highly recommend
Hi my family and I. 2 kids and spouse. Will be moving to New
Haven or a surrounding area. Looking for advice line similar to
this or any info on area. School for children, housing, moving
info needed. Please! Never lived in East Coast
In terms of where to live, there are quite a few options
depending on what you are looking for. For excellent public
schools (a la Piedmont, CA), you would want to be living in
Woodbridge, CT which is situated just minutes away from New
Haven. Unlike Piedmont, Woodbridge is actually becoming more
and more diverse which is a nice change from when I grew up.
It's still a very high income area, and homes are spaced very
far apart. Probably hard to rent in Woodbridge. Not a lot of
So if you are looking for a more urban/city setting where you
are in closer contact to people, then you would want to consider
living in New Haven. When I left the public school system was
horrible. If you are open to private schools, then contact me
directly, and I can make recommendations. New Haven has some
beautiful neighborhoods, but frankly, without Yale University as
an anchor, this town would have been off the radar years ago.
Over the years, New Haven has attempted to revitalize itself,
but I suspect poor city administration and lots of cronyism has
destroyed any good faith attempts. You may want to check on
this but I believe crime rates are bad, as New Haven is a short
train ride away from New York City and Bridgeport, CT, thus any
problems those cities experience, find their way very easily
into New Haven.
The option in the middle of both extremes (Woodbridge vs. New
Haven) is Hamden. It's in the middle in terms of socio-economic
factors and public school education. Not as isolated of a place
as Woodbridge, but definitely suburbia with diversity.
Some other options: The shoreline (East Haven, Branford,
Milford, Madison, Clinton). Beautiful!!
Fairfield County - Fairfield, Westport, etc.
Fairfield county option means a short reverse commute into New
Haven, but this is a very affluent area (a New York City bedroom
Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me directly if you have
more questions, because I've tried to be brief.
I lived in New Haven for about six years. I was a student and
not a mom while I was there, so don't have much to offer in
terms of a similar parents list. However, I would recommend the
Orange Street/St. Ronan area in terms of housing. Yale has a
housing office that you may be able to access. Housing was not
hard to find or too competetive. The Orange St./Whitney Ave is
a safe, residential neighborhood, with some shops, restaurants,
and parks. There seemed to be lots of families there as well.
When I lived there, housing costs were reasonable (especially
compared to the Bay Area's). If you are interested in living
outside of New Haven, Hamden and Branford are close by, though
more expensive. While New Haven has a bad rap, I really enjoyed
it. I would recommend it over the suburbs. There are some really
great neighborhoods, restaurants, and things to do there. I'm
not sure how old your children are, but there are some decent
public schools in New Haven, such as Edgewood and Hooper (these
are elementary). A good private school that I actually taught
at is Cold Spring School. It has a progressive, inquiry-based
approach, is small, and has a very good teaching staff and
administration. It is K-8. In terms of activities, the Creative
Arts Workshop and Neighborhood Music School both offer a wide
range of classes and activities for children and adults, though
they can be a bit expensive. Good luck. If you have more
questions, feel free to email me.
My sister lives in Fairfield Ct, quite near New Haven. She is
very happy with the excellent public schools, strong community and
big houses. I have to say as an observer that Fairfield is one of the
least diverse places I have ever been... Not just white, but almost
entirely Catholic. It's very convenient to a midtown Manhattan commute
and quite pleasant.
I grew up in Guilford CT, on the shoreline, 10miles from NewHaven
it is a quaint town with good public schools. I was just
visiting a month ago and I was impressed with the children's
dept of the local library - lots of great stuff for kids,
storytimes, classes to take, very child friendly - much better
than N. Berkeley branch. It was quite progressive - i was
surprised. Looks like housing prices are decent as well. I think
it has come a long way since I was a child and it is much more
this page was last updated: Jan 20, 2006
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network