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Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Posted by pequafrog z7a/Long Island (nancydrew85@optonline.net) on
Tue, Jul 18, 06 at 12:32

I'm an avid reader of the Garden Forums, especially the New England one. Also, I post to the Pond Forums.
Anyway...we're a family of 7 living on Long Island, NY and we can't really take the insane taxes/mortgage/traffic etc. We need a nice small-townish place to live with good schools and jobs. We love the "New England feel". (Kind of like Stars Hollow for you gilmore girls fans)We'd still like to keep a pond...so that may factor in.
So, if you folks don't mind, could you please check in with your opinions about the best in NE?

Thanks so much!

-Andy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I'm a big fan of the Hartford 'burbs for raising kids. West Hartford is wonderful for it's neighborhoods, but plots tend to be 1/4-1/2 acre and no more. You can get more land in Farmington, Simsbury, Avon, Wethersfield or Glastonbury and still have great schools and a more small-town feel. Depending on the kind of work you do, there are jobs in Hartford. And it's much cheaper in this area than in Fairfield County.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

What happened to your plans to move to Maine? There was quite a long thread about that on the Maine forum last year--still there. You may find that a good chunk of southern New England, especially in CT, is more like NY suburbs than what you described you were looking for on that other thread. Anyway, I hope you find your perfect spot.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Maine...I have family there but I think that the Mrs. just feels that it would be too far from here. She likes the idea of 4 hours a lot better than 8 (to Bangor). Also, the economics of the state don't seem so promising. New Hampshire and Ct. seem a lot stronger. We're still considering it, but just would like to put it out there for all of New England. We've also considered North Carolina but even this mini heat wave has given us pause. Also..we love snow. What a quandry!

thanks guys,

-Andy


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

The fastest growing area of Connecticut now is Tolland county- it is most popular with young families. It lies east of Hartford. The towns of Tolland, Willington, Ellington, Somers, Stafford Springs, Coventry, Bolton and Vernon offer some of the lowest prices in the state for housing. Bolton and Willington are very pleasant small towns.

Windham county still further east in towns like Woodstock, Pomfret and Ashford are very rural- in the so called 'Quiet Corner' Of the state. Yet there is quick access to Hartford, Providence, the New London County coast and even Boston.

Do consider Tolland and Windham counties- you will be very pleased with the high quality of life, low stress, low volume traffic, and quaint small towns.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Define "insane" as it applies to your taxes & mortgage...

Here is a table of the current property tax rates in NH. Remember that we don't have sales or income tax here; only rooms & meals (Hotels & Restaurants mainly) tax that would be of significant interest to you if moving here.

The rates are per thousand of your assessed home value, and are generally billed semi-annually, so you'd get a bill in June, and again just before Christmas (how convenient!). Use the "Total Tax" column.

Average home price is running around 225k these days, I think, but going up fast. Prime RE goes fast.

NH Property Tax Rates 2005


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Move to New England?

Andy some stuff for you

as for housing costs here
a new 2200 square foot colonial in a town like willington of Coventry around 300-325K

Willington CT http://www.willingtonct.org/
Coventry CT http://www.coventryct.org/
Bolton CT http://bolton.govoffice.com/

Tolland county CT http://www.tollandcountychamber.org/

Connecticuts quiet corner
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiet_Corner_(Connecticut)
www.ctquietcorner.com
http://www.mysticcountry.com/index.php?


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Just a quick plug for other parts of Connecticut (though I agree with the Quiet Corner recommendation, too) -- we moved from North Haven (north of New Haven, smallish town, great schools, but very much a suburb) to Woodbury (in Litchfield County, very rural feel compared to North Haven) two years ago. Lower housing costs and taxes in Litchfield than neighboring Fairfield County, mostly because it's considered JUST too far to commute to NYC (though people, including my husband, do so). Unemployment is low but without knowing what kind of job you would be looking for, it's hard to say if this area would be a good fit. But there are PONDS galore! Ponds, beautiful swamps, brooks, rivers, you name it! Lots of great shoreline towns in Connecticut as well (Branford, Guilford, Madison) though they tend to be much costlier. And North Haven (or Woodbridge, another beautiful town -- pricey but some good values if you look hard) gives you access to New Haven's fabulous resources (museums, restaurants -- 200 within walking distance of the New Haven Green! -- theater, great medical facilities, lots of activities for kids, etc., so if that matters, that's a plus for the greater New Haven area) Maybe just pile everyone in the car some weekend and take a spin through Connecticut. Take the back roads and wander through the towns. Maybe hit some of the small-town summer fairs - that's a good way to get the "feel" of a small town.

(I love Coventry, too, and Pomfret is lovely -- both in the Quiet Corner.) Good luck -- lots of options!

PS: And no, I don't work for the state! ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: Housing, etc. data for Litchfield County, CT


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I would imagine a lot depends what type of work you and your spouse do and if you have children and of what age. As a life-long New Englander (except for a brief sojourn in Ohio for grad school) I can say that the New England on Gilmore Girls is Hollywood's version of New England. But you will find many great school systems and nice small towns and medium sized cities.

I personally love Northhampton, Mass. It's home to no less than 5 colleges and has a great liberal, artsy feel and a great, fun downtown. Further up Route 91 Brattleboro Vermont is just fantastic small-town New England where it is not at all uncommon to see canoes on the top of folks' cars as they traverse the downtown.

I grew up in North Central Mass (Ashby) and there are many wonderful very small towns there as well. Lunenburg is very nice in particular. Right now we live in the Hartford suburbs and they are fine but growing very very quickly and the towns are losing their small-town flavor.

The quiet corner (Northeast) of Connecticut is definitely up and coming, but you will find many economically depressed pockets out there as well. Meanwhile, the Northwest corner is gorgeous but expensive and more upstate New York, in my mind than New England.

One thing to keep in mind with small town New England is that you will find a mixture of ivy-league educated folks rubbing elbows everyday with farmers and laborers and every one takes that in stride. You might have a gorgeous home right next to someone who uses their front yard for storage of their many old vehicles. And again, everyone takes that in stride. You might have great little cafes or none at all. You will definitely have small town politics and you should just jump in feet first so you know what is going on with the schools, the library, and the volunteer police department.

Good luck and welcome to New England. Be sure to leave your Yankees hat at the New York border and pick up your Red Sox hat before heading into a Dunkin Donuts.

Patty


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

ctlady, I had to smile at your comment about Litchfield county being less expensive than Fairfield county. As life-long Fairfield-county-ites, my DH and I have always expressed a wish to live in Litchfield county, which has so many beautiful areas, but always considered it to be too expensive, lol! After all, just as many celebs/musicians/high-powered execs live there as in Fairfield county - still considered a short commute to NYC.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that CT has lots of nice places to live, but it's getting so that many parts of the state are now quite expensive. I happen to read the real estate pages every week in the local (Fairfield county)Sunday paper, and I'm amazed at some of the housing prices, especially in the inner cities (i.e Bridgeport, New Haven, Norwalk). I can't imagine paying those prices to live in those areas (not that those entire cities are bad - quite the contrary, they all have some very nice sections - but I have seen houses in known bad areas selling for quite a bit of moola). However, if I were to buy a house today, that's pretty much what I could afford - I couldn't afford to buy my own house at today's prices.

Andy, I would take into consideration you and your wife's jobs. First see what the job markets in various parts of New England are as far as those jobs go. Then take a look at housing prices, and make sure you research the areas carefully - real estate ads tend to highlight the good and gloss over the bad.

Best of luck to you. After just a few trips on the LIE, I can sympathize with you wanting to leave Long Island. Every time on that thing, my only thought is, boy, some of these towns are gorgeous, but I could never live with this traffic! (Not that I95 through Fairfield county is much better, but I guess I just have a thing against the LIE, lol!)

Good luck - and remember what Patty said - don't get fooled by Hollywood's version of New England!

:)
Dee


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Dee

by in large Connecticut real estate is very reasonable- compared to LI-minus Fairfield Country, western New Haven County and parts of Litchfield county.

Median home prices for homes in greater Hartford is around 250K- Tolland county 235K, New London County 235K. Middlesex figures I am not sure of- but away from the shore they are again reasonable. I know the median price of a home on Long Island is nearing 500K- and for that amount of money you are not getting all that much.

To Andy many parts of the state will be significantly cheaper,especially in Tolland, New London, and Windham county. There is a peace and solitude he and family would enjoy.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Here's a link to mill rates in CT towns. Fairfield County is expensive, as are parts of Litchfield County and the shoreline. I live in Old Saybrook, where $200,000 will maybe get you 1000 square feet on a postage stamp lot. It's scenic, on the river and the sound, and the area has an active arts community.

From looking at the tax rates, the towns with the highest tax bases either due to a lot of businesses (like Waterford, for instance) or due to high residential market values will get you a lower mill rate. It won't tell you anything about the quality of life, necessarily.

There are too many nice small towns in New England to list them. You need to find out where the work is, and then look for a home close enough to be convenient.

Take a long weekend to explore various areas, subscribe to Yankee magazine or see if you can get Connecticut Magazine. Areas that attract tourism tend to be quaint and have either scenic beauty or other amenities to recommend them.

I have to disagree about the Yankees. In the western part of CT the Yankees are a lot more popular than the Red Sox. You have to get past the CT River before people start identifying themselves more with Boston than NY to a large degree. Myself, I couldn't care less about baseball.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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more info on New England

This website has links down the right side of the page for various states. Pick a state, and you get a list of selected cities. Each city link gives you population, housing, crime, etc. statistics, though they look like they're from 2002 or so. A lot has changed in the prices of real estate in CT, I don't know about the other NE states, but here inflation has increased home prices about 12-15% per year or more since then.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

In Willington Connecticut you can buy a new raised ranch, nearly 1800 square feet on .77 acre for 289,000

here is the link http://www.realtor.com/Prop/1056346689

although housing has gone up in Connecticut- it is still reasonable (again away from toney areas in Fairfield, Litchfield, New Haven and Middlesex (which include the very toney Saybrook area)


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Well, friend of mine from LI after 1 year of non-stop search of Fairfield county RE (he works in Brooklyn, she is in Jersey City, so they were looking for comparable commute) settled for ...another house on LI. 5 exits further by LIE, but 400K less. I think you have to give something to get something, right?
Yes, taxes there are higher, but prices for similar houses about 25-30% lower than here.
IMO, there is a huge RE baloon in Ffld County and landing will not be as soft as many hope for. Any new construction commands $400+/sf, any fixer-upper $250+/sf. Is that reasonable? Hell, no.
In comparison, the same in a Danbury/Bethel area goes for $250-280/$140. I know several people who moved from Redding/Ridgefield there and now very happy about their decisions.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I was born in Long Island and have lots of contact with relatives there. My dad also commutes from Ridgefield to Port Washington every day. Crazy, I know, but the cost of living in the Port Washington area is insane, even by Ridgefield standards. I grew up in Fairfield County. I was looking for a suburban (not rural) area where people were more down to earth and there was not so much materialism as LI/Fairfield County, but the school system is still good. I settled on West Hartford and I absolutely love it. I know every person who lives within a 2 block radius of me, and most people within 3-4 blocks. It's a very neighborhood-oriented place (at least in the south half of town).

I have friends who joined the boom and bought in Coventry, and they really miss West Hartford. Coventry is beautiful but it is definitely more of a country feel. It could be quite a shock moving there from LI. If you want more than a small, West Hartford-sized lot, Wethersfield has a quaint, New England feel to it and you generally get more property with a house there. Yet it is still suburban enough to not create culture shock. Unless culture shock is what you're going for, in which case ignore my advice!

If you want an area with a more upscale country feel, Simsbury, Canton and Avon might be places to look. I avoided those areas because they reminded me too much of Ridgefield, lol.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Well, I guess everything's relative to something else. But, I know that here in the Mystic/Stonington area of Southern New London Cty, CT prices are anything but reasonable. I am so glad we purchased several years ago and are not now trying to make our retirement move.

Our neighbor is being forced to sell due to lay-off. She has a cute little, 800-900 s.f., cape with a lot of time/effort invested in the slightly under one acre gardens. We're on a small penninsula less than 100' from Fisher Island Sound. She's listing at $450,000! I can't imagine it will sell for that much...but who knows?

If you get away from the shore a few miles...prices drop off but anything south of I-95 is really pricey in southeast CT. Even so, I think it's better here than further west towards NYC.

Mystic is not particularily convenient either to NYC or Boston if someone was looking to commute for employment. Local employment is hard pressed to pay enough to support those kind of real estate prices. Seems like we're pricing locals right out of their homes. It can't and won't last forever. Even though prices seem to be holding for the moment..DOM have stretched out considerably. The next step will be price reductions. But, it's almost impossible to perfectly time any free market commodity to either the upside or downside.

I imagine my neighbor's home will sell as a second home to people from the city...probably not as a tear-down 'cause it's almost impossible to get anything through the Stonington Planning Commission.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

LOL, I'm with Jo on the Yankees/Sox thing. Definitely NY territory for the most part in western CT - although since Boston won the World Series last year, there does seem to be more Sox fans. Whether they're new fans jumping on the bandwagon or if they were long-time fans who are now braver, lol, I don't know. I'm not a baseball fan, but it's pretty much NY teams in most sports in this neck of the woods.

Andy, George has a good point. I agree with him that the real estate bubble in Fairfield County may be on the verge of bursting. You may be able to pick up a real deal here soon!

:)
Dee


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Dee -- I'm sure it depends on the town in any of these areas (for instance, I'm sure the town of Litchfield proper is pricier than other areas in Litchfield County, in part because more "VIPs" live there -- all I know is that we looked extensively in Fairfield County two years ago, and couldn't find anything that had any land at all that we could afford. In Litchfield County, on the other hand, we had lots of options we could afford. We could get more land and more house for less money here than in Fairfield County, and we looked ALL over Fairfield County!) May not be true today -- this was two years ago. But at that time, I could have bought 22 acres and a 200-year old house in Litchfield proper for about what I sold my house in North Haven for... though I imagine the 200-year-old house probably needed a fair bit of work to be priced as it was!!

I do agree with George -- there are good buys to be had in the Danbury/Bethel/Newtown/Brookfield area.

I think it very much depends on the individual town. And I agree with Saypoint -- I'd nail down the job first. There are plenty of wonderful small towns (169 of them) in Connecticut, especially if you don't mind a bit of a drive on country roads to get to work. Connecticut is not exactly on the top of the charts in terms of job creation, so depending on your field, you might have to look around a bit.

Good luck!


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

It's funny about the baseball team affliations because I had forgotten that. It's true that there is definitely a line across Connecticut (Jo may be right that it is the Connecticut River, although it seems to be more across the state length-wise than up and down.) where the New York Sphere and the New England Sphere meet. Not only do you have Yankees and Red Sox on either side of that line, but you also seem to have more of the New England values and lifestyle across the line. Of course, it is more of a blurred line, but I think you will find Northeast Connecticut, for example WAY more New England in feel than, say, North Haven. My husband grew up in North Haven (a suburb of New Haven) and said he always felt like it was a suburb of New York.

I live in Connecticut and like it well enough but my heart is still in the real New England (in my opinion) of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. (Sorry Rhode Island...you seem to be something of your own place in the world.)

Actually, given my druthers I'd live in Maine in a second...no work for DH up there though.

Patty


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

My parents used to live in Granby, CT, not far from Simsbury. If you think North Carolina is hot, check out the CT river valley in July. It's stifling!

I've been on Cape Cod for over 30 years, but grew up on LI. Reading about the property values in CT makes me think I should move there - run-down shacks in my town are going for $450K. So, I won't recommend that you look into moving here - besides, we're full.

If I could live anywhere in NE, I think it would be along the coast in Rhode Island or nearby MA - Westport, Little Compton, Tiverton. There are wonderful old towns, miles of stone walls, and the climate is similar to what we have on the Cape; not much snow, but an easy drive inland for skiing, enough warmer than the rest of NE to be able to grow lots of plants that won't make it up north.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Nell, ' Reading about the property values in CT makes me think I should move there '
Right, and most of LI is a solid z7!
They sell camellias and crape myrtles in nurseries there as PJMs here.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

A few points to consider:

1) If you want to escape from the "NYC" influence, in every respect, then you should probably avoid western CT. I have friends who live in West Hartford, CT. It is a very nice suburban community but it does not have a New England "feel" in my opinion.

2) You could move to far SE CT, along the coast. That does have a more relaxed New England "feel". And yes, that is not convenient to either Boston or NYC for employment or cultural purposes. But guess what, there is a city called Providence that is very convenient to that area and it has a very vital economy, great restauraunts, and the other usual urban ameneties.

3) I would also put a plug in for extreme SE Rhode Island and adjacent south coastal Massachusetts. This includes Little Compton RI, Westport, MA and South Dartmouth, MA. This area is almost unknown in New England. It has some of the most beautiful rolling coastal land I have seen in New England. Most roads are lined with stonewalls. There are still an extraordinary number of active farms, two of the best vinyards in New England, and a mild coastal climate very similar to Long Island. Plus, Sylvan's Nursery in Westport and Haskell's in New Bedford are located there!


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I'm lived in New England my whole life. Currently I live in a Hartford suburb, but I was born and raised in the Boston area and went to college in Orono, ME at UMO. Until recently we also owned a home in Killington, VT. Granted, there are many quiet places that still possess the "New England feel" but I think you may be hard pressed to find value, especially in real estate, in any city or town with access to a decent employment market. Of course, coming from LI that may be relative.

IMO, regional feel anywhere is becoming increasingly difficult to find. As we build more and more strip shopping malls filled with national chain stores and restaurants, every place starts looking and feeling the same.

Central and northeastern CT still appear to be somewhat of a bargain compared to other parts of the state but I've lived here 18 years and have never considered the job market to be that hot. It depends on what type of work you do I guess. Some of the cities and towns have never recovered from the downsizing of various manufacturing industries so you do get depressed pockets as Patty pointed out. Both my husband and I feel our town, Wethersfield, has a better reputation than it deserves.

I don't see anyone suggesting coastal NH. We have some friends who escaped central CT (and another round of Stanley Tool layoffs) a few years ago and moved to Portsmouth, NH and they absolutely love it. Another friend of mine just bought a house in Newburyport, MA and he loves it too. Given the proximity to the ocean of both places though, I can't imagine home prices are any bargain.

Sue


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

ctlady, I'm going to have to start getting the Litchfield county newspapers, lol! A 200-year-old farmhouse and 22 acres is right up my alley! My DH may be a hard-sell on the old house, as when we were looking 10 years ago he groused about "upkeep and maintenance" on several 300-year-old houses we looked at, but considering the money we've dumped into our 1950's cape, he may have reconsidered by now, lol!

:)
Dee


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Lots of discussion centered around CT that I can't fully relate to.

If you want a bit colder (Z5) and less expensive than CT (I think) some Nashua NH suburbs may qualify. Nashua often gets voted as one of the best places to live by some national groups...not sure based on what criteria. I don't think Nashua has a small town feel at all, but some burbs are very "New England feel"... e.g. Amherst, Merrimack, Londonderry, Bedford ($) and have decent schools afaik. NH is known for having no income tax and no sales tax, but probably the property taxes make up for it. Lots of debate on that subject amongst locals.

In MA you probably have to be 50ish miles out of Boston to get away from the city feel and more affordable. possibly Worcester suburbs or towns along the Rte 495 belt might qualify. But they are rising too!

As someone else mentioned it really depends on where the work is and what is an acceptable commute from that point.

As far as gardening goes, you may have to ask yourself if you can handle a 1 zone decrease or 2 and look accordingly. I'm guessing that Z6 in MA is going to be more pricey than Z5 (more inland).


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I grew up on the north shore of MA and you will definitely find a NE feel there but house prices are a bit crazy. I currently live in Southern NH, (Newton) not far from Portsmouth or Boston and am very happy. We just built a 2700 sf home for a bit over 400K. We have 1.5 acres which is pretty common here. Lots of ponds and lakes in southern NH.

I agree, you need to consider jobs and schools.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

As far as teams go...My favorite team is the NY Mets and my second favorite is any team playing against the Yankees. I'm kinda old (43) so I don't think I'll be changing me team loyalty. Also, I have 5 kids who are rabid Met fans (and by definition, can't stand the Yankees!) So, rehardless of where we end up...team affiliation won't be a factor ;-)

Thanks so much for all your opinions...if y'all have any more thoughts...please opine.

-Andy


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Pequafrog, as a Mets fan I can tell you that in CT you would be met with two responses: indifference from the Red Sox fans (except for an occasional comment re: Buckner) and a patronizing sense of superiority from the Yankees fans. People are pretty dismissive of the Mets because they don't fit into the bigger rivalry - - Yankees v. Red Sox. 'Course, this year, the Mets are not to be dismissed. ;-)


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I don't live here (or anywhere in Fairfield County), but found this interesting -- and surprising! Here's Connecticut's own town of Fairfield, right up in the Top 10 Best Places to live, according to CNN Money.

Who knew??!

Here is a link that might be useful: 10 Best Places to Live in 2006 (CNN Money)


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I'm surprised to see Fairfield in the top ten. My husband worked there for over 20 years, and while there are nice restaurants, an attractive Main St., and up-market amenities, the congestion in the surrounding area and along I95 is horrible. We looked at real estate in Fairfield in 1998-99 when we thought we might be moving back to CT from NC, and I had a hard time finding anything we could afford that was decent. In 2002, when we did move back to CT after 2 years in SW VA, I didn't even bother with the Fairfield area, and we opted for the shoreline east of New Haven. Similar amenities, similar home prices, but much quieter and less congested.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I do agree that Ffld is a very good place to live and raise kids and we still patting ourseves in a back that we went to Westport, not in a Fairlfield 7 years ago when we moved to CT from NY.
However, nightmare on I-95 mentioned in article, is not only a nightmare, it's also a morningmare. If you have to commute to work toward NY you'll curse the day you decided to move there.
Every morning (S-bound) and every evening (N-bound) short distance of 15 miles between exits 16 (Norwalk) and 24(Black Rock/Ffld-Bridgeport border) my take more than an hour.
In a last two years, before halt, prices in Ffld went up considerably and now roughly 750k would buy you a decent 15-20 y/old traditional colonial on 3/4 to 1 acre. You'll still be able to find ranch on 1/2 acre in 500+k range.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I read a recent Money article about 'best places' and its focus was small cities... how to be urbanized in a comfortable way. I don't think that NE feel is going to be as strong in a small city as it will be in a small or medium sized town


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Wendy, agree.
Fairfield is not as NEnglandy as many small/medium sized towns mentioned above. Close proximity to Bridgeport doesn't help either.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?/2

BTW, Forbes just voted Essex County, MA as a #1 Most Overpriced Place in 2006.

Here is a link that might be useful: Forbes


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I think there are many small cities in New England that have a very hometown feel. In particular, Portland Maine, and Northhampton Massachusetts are two small cities that have a very real feeling of small-town USA, in my opinion. Even Boston, a large city by any accounts, felt very small-townish to me when I lived there. Of course it is much harder to have gardening space in a city, small or large.

Ego, how funny that three of the top 10 most overpriced places are in the Boston area. One could make an argument that Cambridge, Boston, and the Northern Suburbs constitute ONE overpriced area, probably just about the same size as metropolitan Los Angeles or Honolulu (other cities mentioned). I guess Forbes really wanted to emphasize how overpriced that area is right now.

Patty


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I live in north central CT (Z6) and work throughout Western MA, CT, and southern NH and VT (mostly Z5). CT West of the River, IMHO, is getting homogenous. East of the River is taking the overflow from West since land is still relatively available.

Windham and Tolland County development looks just like West of the River. The NE feel is getting diluted. Further northeast into the Quiet Corner it's becoming anything but. Lots of land, community-based schools, NE-feel, but also some of the most impoverished rural areas in the state. Since the casinos have come in several of the local economies have taken a nose-dive. Definitely something to consider if looking at the I-395 corridor.

If I had to move from where I am (which I'm not because we love it here) I'd go to Greenfield, MA. The downtown has a true Main Street, the schools while not stellar will get there in a few years with the help of Commonwealth grants just given and a strong community commitment. Agriculture is a primary industry in Franklin County, and the people talk to each other. Housing prices run the gamut, but there is a lot of variety available -- everything from a brand new 5 bedroom colonial to a 150 year old pre-Victorian downtown that is structurally sound but needs cosmetics.

Greenfield is carefully watching how it develops and not going for the big buck mentality. Funny how others mentioned Northampton (where I was born and my ethics formed) and Brattleboro but skip right over Greenfield. Sad because it is truly a gem and I'm there enough to know it's bad points, too.

I've been around the country a few times and have never found anywhere I like better.

As for the Yankees/Red Sox/ Mets allegiances, I can say with a bit of authority that in CT it is evenly split. (I sell advertising for games and while my clients are adament about what they 'don't' want to support, there is an ever blurring line between West and East.) Mets fans are welcome anywhere. LOL

Happy hunting! It soulds like if you came out for a ride around there'd be plenty of people to show you about.

Martie


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Well, I am reluctant to extol the virtues of central Massachusetts but I really think the area west of Worcester (the Brookfields, Spencer, Barre, Hardwick, etc) is a well kept secret! Housing prices are far more reasonable than Metrowest, the countryside is beautiful and mostly unspoiled, there are many lakes and recreational areas, and there is still access to the Mass Pike (1 hr to Boston from the Sturbridge exit). Worcester has always been picked on but it does have a world class art museum, great hospitals, restaurants and colleges, and even an airport with 4 flights/week to Florida :-)


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Yes, I agree Worcester is another fine small city in New England.

Plus, near Worcester (pronounced Wis-ter), in Shrewsbury, you can take a tour of a working candy factory...the Candy Mansion of Hebert's Candies. And I understand, for the kids, there is a fabulous music academy in Worcester. My sister drives a half hour each way to take her kids there for piano, guitar, violin, and drum lessons. And, also, there is a fantastic little local theater that sometimes get very big names to perform.

Patty


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

A couple of people already mentioned the Amherst, Northhampton, Greenfield area. Those little towns along the conecticut river are beautiful, especially in October and there are several colleges in the area so there is some culture to be found. There are also lots of very small, quaint towns like deerfield. Gilmore Girls is a guilty pleasure of mine and I have often thought that several towns in that area appear to have that "stars hollow" quality.
As for gardening, my sister in law swears that region is the best place to garden in New England because the have rich, loamy famously known as "Hadley loam".
It is true, while I have to spend hours digging out rocks and adding ammendments here in Arlington MA, they can just dig a hole, stick the plant in and and water.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I have not lived anywhere except NH and travel to the other New England states a great deal, but I can't offer any direct comparisons.

I live in Strafford which is a small town east of Concord and west of Dover. There is plenty of undeveloped land out this way but it is starting to go fast and is starting to get expensive, however that is a relative term. I enjoy the privacy we have with nearly 40 acres and all of our neighbors have a bit of land too. We have a natural beaver pond (about 10 acres) and man made pond for koi. Much of the state is Zone 4 and 5. It does take us a little time to get to a mall (30-40 minutes) but that's normal for us and we don't mind it too much.

I think NH is a fairly inexpensive place to live aside form property taxes, but we don't pay much in the way of other taxes (no income and sales tax). Schools are good around here, but just like other places some are great, some not so great. The best thing about the schools is that they are safe, even the bigger districts are small as compared to other states.

Most everyone is a Red Sox fan around here with only a smattering of disillusioned Yankee band wagon riders. We welcome Met's fans with gusto - the enemy of the enemy is my friend!

And as far as politics, NH has a history of being fairly conservative although it flucuates between red and blue. Whether your Dem. or Rep. or Ind. I think everyone shares the same bottomline;you take care of yourself and then help others when you can. Although that is starting to change in the south central part of the state in the bedroom communities where more liberal MA residents are slowly migrating north to our border towns/cities.

I like NH a lot. It is peacful, close to lakes, ocean and mountains for recreation and not oo far from airports like Manchester, NH and Logan in Boston.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Thanks, everyone.
Greg, we're coming up to New Hampshire (after Cooperstown, NY)in a few weeks. I mentioned NH to my wife and she said that she'd consider it as long as there's Ocean nearby. I think that prices probably go up as you approach the ocean. I peeked on realtor.com the other day and prices around Portsmouth are almost as bad as Long Island. I keep telling her that a really big lake would take care of her "water fix".
Plus...I have to find a job too (I'm in I.T.)so maybe something commutable to Boston may be cool. Or, something near Concord because that's a fairly large city, right?
Not NYC large I realize. But after 911 I want nothing to do with NYC. I love it...but I witnessed the 911 attacks in person, and it's aftermath and I dunno...I just don't like going back there. It's weird. I got laid off right after that and have been working on LI ever since.
So...off on a tangent I guess. But yeah...New hampshire maybe?

-Andy


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

The NH seacoast is very short and mostly quite expensive. One strange thing about New England is that much of the beach property is private, unlike NY. Public beaches are relatively few, the water is a lot colder, the season is much shorter. The Lakes region is lovely--but I hope you like snow and long winters. A dyed-in-the-wool NYer would probably not be very happy there from Columbus Day til Memorial Day.

I am from LI originally myself and I can tell you that Concord, the capital of NH, is smaller than most LI towns--but a nice place to live. It is a major cultural change from the NYC area. Are you sure your wife is up for this? A compromise might be some place about three hours from NYC and LI where you can get home to see family and friends without too much hassle.

New England is full of wonderful and affordable places to live--but jobs are the question, especially as you are in IT. I think I'd be looking for potential employers first and then where you might live within the distance I described.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Definitely ignore what Rockman wrote! Don't come to SE Mass./coastal RI -- our best kept secret! Too lush and beautiful! Also don't ignore (seriously now, not sarcastic) the garden zone numbers on the names of the respondents -- NH and central MA names all have a "5" which is pretty cold. AND very hot in summer. And when you look at house prices in NH, keep in mind that without a state income tax or sales tax, the tax burden is on the property owner. A friend inherited a nice farmhouse with barn in NH and ended up renting out most bedrooms, just to pay her prop. tax bill.

If living must include gardening (and who can call it living, without gardening?), you'd do well to investigate RI which has zillions of miles of coast and where your moderate LI climate can be matched, or bettered.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Many who live near New York City still feel Sept. 11- and there seems to be a mini exodous away from large Urban centers in that aftermath- NYC is perhaps a big target- Boston less so.

New England has much to offer those X New Yorkers, Californians and Washingtonians- that are burned out. I feel very prejudiced for eastern Connecticut- driving from Vernon (western Tolland Country) east on US 44 to 101 through eastern Connecticut into Rhode Island is pure joy- still untouched, quiet, and really 'not diluted' as some have said- sure there are some residential single family homes being built in Tolland county- but by in large the county is still very rural, with rolling hills, and farms- yet close to Hartford and Providence and the sea coast. Windham county is still even more rural with Harrison Ford recently buying a home near Woodstock.

In the end there are many fine places to live in New England that offer much- yes job growth is A bit lackluster for sure- but the lifestyle is laid back- and surely despite a reduction in income- there are much cheaper housing costs, much less traffic ( with I 395 in eastern Connecticut the only 'Freeway' which carries low traffic) There is much less stress, small towns and villages, antique shops and wineries- and you are close to much but so far away from a hectic lifestyle.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Dragontek:

I would consider the 500 new homes built in the $400K+ price range in Tolland and Windham Counties in the last four years "dilution."

Also note that the Route 44 stretch you describe has very large "for sale" signs all over the place. We aren't talking one or two acre lots, here. We're talking "bring your development and as long as you're willing to pay the price of building new schools, libraries, community facilities, etc., we will tolerate you."

Without Paul Newman's kids' camp, Camp Connri, the Boy Scout camp and a few large landholders who aren't giving in to $$, that stretch of Route 44 would be very, very different. A bit further down 101 in Canterbury, two large farms are for sale that are considered subdividable. Canterbury can pass all the zoning laws they want, but at some point the owners of the farms will have the right to sell them to whomever they want and five acre lots on 200 acres means "view gone."

Further along Route 44 from Pomfret to Putnam is lined with new development. These are not homes that natives are, or in most cases could, buy. As the demographic changes, so do the towns. Dilution defined.

Ditto the 395 corridor that is designated a Federal Enterprise Zone and has had 3 new mega-factories built in the last ten years. More are being considered and the tax breaks the industries are getting means the towns (residents) will have to make up the difference.

I don't want to start a war here as it is much more fun to extol the virtues, but for someone unfamiliar with the area, how things are "now" without mentioning how things "will inevitably become based on current actions" seems unfair to me.

Best - Martie


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

martie

hate to disagree, but '400 homes' (and I doubt that number and cost is true) will do nothing to dilute the character of Tolland county. In Vernon here, I can drive a mere 10 miles up I 84 and see nothing but forest. Some development is necessary- but the small amount that has taken place is being greatly magnified by you- into a mega sprawl of residential. commercial and industrial development-which is just false. The type of development you speak of can easily be seen in Caribou Maine, or southern New Hampshire. For someone living on Long Island, eastern Connecticut would seem very rural-

Eastern Connecticut, despite some localized and small growth and development is still the least developed area between Washington and Portland Me (the northeastern Megalopolis)

The amount of development is very small- and again drive on US 44 east to 101 into Rhode Island- there is no sprawl, and development at best is very insigificant. I live in Tolland county- and travel in the county and Windham county. Drive north to south along route 169 in eastern Connecticut- still rural and quiet. As A geographer (rural and urban land use) I feel the growth here is limited- and there has to be a balance between maintaining the character of the region, and providing some economic opportunity. If you want total isolation, move to central Maine.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Dragontek, I had to chuckle at your last sentance, because I have a brother in Bangor, Maine and I know that we could never live there. But if you live in Eastern Ct. and are in Technology...is there jobs?
It sounds like the LAST thing you guys need is some guy from Long Island with a wife and 5 kids contributing to urban sprawl! ;-)
Anyway...limited growth is good. Here on Long Island, they seem to develop every open field possible...especially in Nassau County. The housing market has flattened out a bit, but the average price is still around $500k. How can a young couple starting out come up with a down payment large enough to have a reasonable mortgage?
we're moving, alright...it's just a matter of where.....

-Andy


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

  • Posted by sami46 centralmass (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 27, 06 at 22:07

HI
Here's my two cents, DH & I moved to central Mass. from Southwestern PA about five years ago, the real estate prices were outrageous compared to other places we've lived, PA, W.Va, Ohio, and Va (southern), so I think Mass housing and cost of living to be high. One of the hardest things was moving from a zone 6 to a zone 5 garden, I would reccomend southern New England maybe north/central CT just for the prices and zone alone
Good luck & rest assured you'll be welcomed, everyone has been very friendly to us, even though we proudly display our Steeler flag every football Sunday LOL
Sami


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Thanks for the response, Dragontek, but I don't quote stats without knowing for sure. If you add up the new housing permits in Tolland and Windham counties, and the areas immediately surrounding Putnam, you'll see that the "500" number is conservative. There are few farms along 169 that aren't for sale .....

Martie, who in the last 30 years has watched her small, quaint, New England hometown turn into surburban sprawl and is hopeful that foresight will steer this off for eastern CT.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Again Martie

As I said before, eastern Connecticut is the least developed part of the northeastern megalopolis between Washington and Portland Maine- if one is 30,000 feet above in an airplane, that 'darkness' is easily seen at night. There is NO interstate highway, or freeway between Hartford and Providence- and none is planned, that is less of an incentive for runaway growth to take place.
Between UCONN and the Rhode Island border, there is one shopping center with two medium sized supermarkets and a few other shops in Killingly (a distance of 20 miles) There is a Super Stop and Shop in Putnam and some new retail stores, but no Malls. Suburban sprawl in eastern Connecticut does not really exist- in the conventional sense, such as near Hartford, and certainly compared to Long Island . I think any objective oberver will agree with me that area remains mainly rural. And job growth in the region is lackluster at best.

Nothing stays the same- but the growth in eastern Connecticu t has not turned the region into a exurb of Hartford or Providence. For someone who has lived in an area for 30 more years any change seems like alot- and threatening to the way of life- as it has been in the past.

I can fully understand the concern of many, seeing this 'development' and the fear of changing a wonderful pastoral region into overpriced homes and toney antique and shopping venues. But western Connecticut has remained largely rural, despite the wealthy enclaves. I doubt that eastern Connecticut, despite a flurry of growth will become Long Island, or Fairfield county along the I 95 corridor.

By the way I do garden- many perennials, 'temperate' stuff as well- yucca and cold hardy fan palms (sabal, Trachycarpus) in the ground here in Connecticut- it can be done! Not many people know that parts of eastern Connecticut fall into a zone 7 (within 15 miles of the shore)with the newest zone changes.

Cheers!


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Sami

both parents are from Pittsburgh- I am from the Washington DC area- but have lived in central/eastern Connecticut most of my life. But could not live there now (DC area)- talk about traffic, sprawl over priced housing- yuk! It is very peaceful in eastern Connecticut.

When relatives visit from the Pittsburgh area- they cannot believe the fact that housing prices here are 80% higher- but its all 'relative' it still 100% less then Long Island!

Also 'zone creep' is happening in New England now- you may be edging closer to a Z 6- here in Vernon (Tolland county) the zone 7 is now a mere 20 miles to the south. All of the Connecticut shoreline, inland to about 15 miles is now a zone 7.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Not meaning in any way to hyjack this thread, but Mansfield is completely redoing their downtown right across from UConn to make it a mall, albeit under the guise of "pedestrian." And the WalMart on Route 44 in Putnam with a a strip mall a mile east on the left is considered by many in that area to be "sprawl."

Killingly, home of Logee's and made up of seven small villages, is currently trying to keep yet another large industry away. Add to this the nearly vacant strip mall at the intersection of 101 and 12, and things are looking bleak.

Plainfield, just 20 miles to the south, also has a WalMart, Home Depot and supermarket complex that turns the little venue of Jewett City into a terror traffic-wise. Right there on Route 395 is a Huge sign asking industry to move in. Folks are scared.

Again, it may be placid now, but all signs are indicating growth beyond the towns' ability to keep up.

To quote a woman who truly knows: "If you like the view, you better eat it or it will be gone." In other words, use the open space constructively now or the developers will gobble it up.

Yes, someone from Long Island may find all of this serene and a lot less intrusive on a quiet life, but unless people moving in are aware of what's going on behind the scene, they may be facing big change in a moment's notice. It's only fair .....

Martie


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Martie

I think you worry far too much-

the Walmart in eastern Connecticut has been there since 1997

I think that eastern CT will have far less growth then the

western hills in the future- yes I HATE Walmart like you!


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

After this, I'm not going to say anything more. The ONLY reason new airport terminals are built is because of major anticipated growth. Bradley already has two terminals, the newest being finished just four years ago. It includes parking for the same number of vehicles. The Murphy Terminal is "obsolete" only because it's too small to handle 777's. Apparently, the planners-that-be feel that doubling the parking availability is necessary. Hmmmmmmmmmm.......

Please, don't anyone be naive about what can happen to lovely spaces.

Martie

Bradley Airport Will Get a New Terminal
07-30-2006 3:41 AM

(Hartford, CT) -- Some more changes are coming to Bradley International Airport. The State of Connecticut has received federal approval for the latest airport development plan, which proposes replacing the obsolete Murphy Terminal. The total cost of all projects in the draft plan submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration could exceed 500-million-dollars. Richard Jaworksi, the state's head of aviation and ports, says the long-contemplated new terminal could be finished by 2014. Under the plan, Bradley would increase the number of arrival and departure gates, reserving at least two slots for international flights. The airport would also build a 35-hundred space parking garage next to one of similar size that opened in 2001. The development plan is described as preliminary and changes in the economy could force revisions.<

Copyright 2006 Metro Networks Communications Inc., A Westwood One Company


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Well, in a couple of weeks we're heading north from Long Island via Eastern Ct.! We'll check out the Quiet Corner and the head up and stay somewhere around Portsmouth, NH.
For those of you in Eastern CT., what's the nearest ocean beach and how long does it take to get there?
Thanks guys!


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Well, a big welcome from the Quiet Corner...we live in Mystic on the Stonington side of the Mystic River. We love it here. If you drive through the village....have lunch at Mystic Pizza (the chicken parm is great!) & then a cone at Drawbridge Ice Cream!

Groton Long Point is also worth checking out. And, of course, Stonington Borough (oldest burough in CT)is a great little place...drive down to the end of the road through the village, past the Lighthouse Museum to the little beach and overlook. There's a large parking lot right by the shore that overlooks Fisher Island and the Stonington breakwater. Skipper's Dock is a good place to eat with both indoor & outdoor patio dining & right on the harbor.

Old Mystic would be a good place to look at housing. Prices are still reasonable (except for the 3 newly built McMansions at the Old Mystic marina site). Three years ago we looked at a place within 6-8 minutes of Mystic Village in Old Mystic...it was 5 years old, about 2,400 s.f., 3 bd/2 1/2 ba, nice family room on 4 acres...it was $179,000. Prices have risen in the past 3 years but it at least gives you some idea of range. We decided we were willing to buy a "teeny-tiny" place in order to be on the water but I remember that home as being very nice so I know there is quality housing available. Mystic is about 60-75 min. from Providence and 10 miles east of New London, CT (nearest Home Depot & Sears).

Have Fun!


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Beaches in eastern Connecticut lie mostly on LI Sound- Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic- and further to the west is
Hammonassett State Park- both popular with families.

In New London is Ocean Beach State Park (more on Block Island Sound) and a pleasant area for walking is Bluff Point Park in Groton. Not much further to the east are the sunny golden beaches in Rhode Island- with the surf of the Atlantic Ocean at Misquamiquit- and the charming seaside village at Watch Hill.

Of course the places triciae named above are most charming- also visit the Stonington Vineyards Winery in Stonington- most pleasant- and some excellent wines and store.

Visit the Submarine Museum in Groton on the Thames- and also the USS Nautilus-right next to it- very interesting memorial. The Sub us fascinating as well.

I last visited the Mystic Sealife Aquaruim in 2003- and had a great time- fun for kids and adults as well.

Do not forgot to take route 169 from Norwich north to Pomfret- great drive, many B & B's Churches, farms and a nice Winery in Pomfret (Sharpe Hill) which is wonderful with a tasting room, excellent restuarant and pastoral views.

The 'Golden Lamb Buttery' in Brooklyn is famous and excellent dining (reservations only)

Have fun!


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Just came back from a great day at Misquamicut Beach in RI. What a great beach!!! With the 100 degree temps and high humidity in CT today, we left and spent a lovely day with a great breeze and refreshingly cool, not cold, water. Perfect. I wanted to just stay there the rest of the week! Watch Hill is also absolutely wonderful...way less crowded too, but that's because there is zero parking.

I laugh at dragontek's mention that The Golden Lamb Buttery only takes reservations; yes, reservations for a couple of months from now. I've never been able to get reservations closer than two weeks out, and that was unusual, IMO. Of course, I haven't been there in about 10 years, so maybe it's changed.

There are a lot of unusual and interesting gardening destinations in that area too. Someone else will probably know more.

Patty


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Eastern CT is filled with specialty nurseries. Many of them are off the beaten path-tucked away in the backyards of the people who own them. Just off the top of my head here is a list:

Quakin' Grass in Brooklyn
Variegated Foliage Nursery in Eastford
Woodland Trails Wildflower Nursery in Eastford
Carol's Collectibles in Ashford (although her website seems to have been taken down-does anybody know if she's still in business?)
Logee's in Danielson

I'm sure others will add their favorites too. For eats, check out the Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret. Last time I was out to Quakin' Grass in Brooklyn I stopped for lunch at this quirky antique shop run a by a British gentleman who cooked me a great lunch and sat and chatted with me while I ate. The name of the place escapes me-maybe someone here will know.

Now you all have me thinking it's time for a road trip.

Sue


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Eastern, CT. looks awesome! But where do people work out there? (I'm in the I.T. field)

Thanks!

-Andy


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

My DH works in Poughkeepsie. We have a small apartment in Fishkill. I spend about 85% of my time in Mystic. DH is here Friday afternoon-Monday morning. We've got a 32' Nordic Tug 100' from the house...it's like being on vacation every weekend. Five year ago, I would have said we were not the commuter types but we absolutely love living in Mystic. This lifestyle has altered our lives considerably & it's not for everyone. But, for us, being empty-nesters now...moving around at will is possible & allows us to invest our home dollars in a location we love. We use the boat as a second home write-off. The apartment in Fishkill is a 350 s.f. one-bedroom efficiency that works for the little time we spend there. Our retirement dream is to take the boat down the coast & winter off Florida & spend late spring through early fall in Mystic in the house.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?//

I forgot to say that prior to this commuting thing...we lived in Manchester, NH for 16 years & lived regular-style lives. DH changed jobs & we changed our entire lives based on that opportunity. It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Fishkill to Mystic during the summer when traffic's heavy. Our hearts (and our kids/grandchildren) are in New England & we didn't want to actually move & buy property in the Poughkeepsie area. This has been a wonderful alternative.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Andy....Actually the New London-Groton area does have a demand for IT workers- as does Niantic (just to the east)

New London was voted recently as one of the best locales for real estate costs and jobs-lots of bang for the buck!

Norwich is another interesting town on the upswing.

Many in eastern Connecticut want to keep the region a

'secret'- trouble is many are discovering it- from many

places; like the gulf coast, California, Washington DC and

the NYC area. Housing costs are reasonable

see this home in Lebanon outside of Norwich
http://www.realtor.com/Prop/1065625442

or Ledyard not far from the shoreline
http://www.realtor.com/Prop/1065476475


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

Some other things to consider.....at least in CT. Weather and driving to your job and how adept you are to dealing with snow, slush, ice, grid lock. Different communities have different ways of dealing with it all. In the more rural areas many of the roads are state roads and get plowed much better than in the cities. And think about home maintenance; winter plowing, loss of electricity (generator, wood stove,)yard maintenance, wells/septic tanks. Rural living has maintenance costs different than suburbs, both can be hefty over the course of a year.

Depending on the age and extra-curricular activities your kids are/will become involved in, think about the driving involved to get them to and fro and what variety are offered in the area. The more rural, the more driving you are going to be doing and $$for gas. You might also check into car insurance costs in the different areas - you might be surprised.

I'm not trying to put a damper on your explorations, just being realistic. I live in a Hartford suburb, good schools, fairly decent bus service (for those times your car is out of service), kids can walk to many things or have other friends/parents close by to help with transportation. Bradley airport is 25 minutes, the shore is 60 minutes, trains and buses to Boston/NYC, etc. I think part of the expansion of stores in the more rural areas is that new residents are used to more convenience and push for it. I also have lived in some small towns where the people have never gone the 15 miles to the nearest city - this has bred considerable small town mentality and bigotry, isolation from the country and world at large. Kids growing up today benefit from a variety of events, activities, people, etc. IMHO.

Make a list of what kind of life style you and your family really want for the next 10 years and what it would take to achieve it...rural living is not for everyone (your kids?) as wonderful as it appears.

Good luck and let us know how your journey turns out. I would love to live near the shore but the costs have sky rocketed and it would limit my career opportunities. Maybe when I retire I can fulfill my dream.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

I'm a NYC Metro area girl originally, spent half my life in NYC the other in NJ when NYC became too expensive. I moved to New England 2 years ago. It is a beautiful place to live: My first year I rented in the NH Seacoast area which is currently booming and real estate isn't as affordable as it was. So I bought a house right over the NH/MA border in Amesbury MA, which is a typical New England town, with lots of old brick mill buildings, and huge beautiful homes, an adorable downtown area that has recently been revitalized, and cute shops & restuarants. It has farms on the outskirts, and is an easy drive to the White Mountains for skiing, 15 minutes from the beach, and next to Newburyport which is even nicer but way more expensive with smaller yards. If you work in Boston, you can easily commute by train from Newburyport (I attend grad school in Boston, and alternate between train & driving).

I love it here, but it is quite a change from where I'm from! Taxes are a little high in this town, but if you go the next town over into NH you will get a little more for your $.

Definitely leave your yankee hat at home - the first question everyone asks when they find out you're from NY is if you're a yankee fan. They are vigilant out here!


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

As a person who grew up in Stonington, CT, if you choose one of the more popular tourist spots as your home, plan on it being overrun with tourists from May to September. It's kind of depressing. You wait all winter for the nice weather, and then when it comes, you can't get around easily.

Beach traffic is another thing. If you end up in RI, plan on knowing alternate routes to places in the summer. Sounds like you're looking for more of the inland rustic places, so that's probably not a factor for you.

As a gardener, I don't know if you'd want to factor zone into your choice. I currently live in Milford, CT. I'm near the sound and am usually putting in my vegetables and tending to my garden a good 3 weeks before some of the folks in the inland cooler areas.

As far as CT towns go, I've lived in the following ones.

Stonington - beautiful town, big time New England charm, salaries do not keep up with home prices, about a 15 minute drive to get to shopping, and it's crowed with tourists in the summer

Bethel - (up by Brookfield/Danbury area) Very nice rural town, plenty of shopping just around the corner, but you're pretty much in NY. The stores carry Yankees and Giants stuff.

Stamford - If you like traffic, lots of ordinances, and a hectic lifestyle, this is the town for you.

Plainfield - Deliverance country. Very quiet and a lot of house and land for your buck, but you're far from everything. They don't call it the quiet corner for nothing.

I like the Litchfield hills area for visiting, but again there's not enough shopping around there for me. It's beautiful in the fall and close to plenty of good skiing, but I consider it a visit place rather than a live there place.

I'm actually liking Milford despite it being a little south of the Williams/Dimagio line. The town is zoned in a way that most the residential areas are separate from the shopping areas. I'm on a nice quiet street, but only 5 minutes from 2 major highways and all the shopping I could ask for. The people are nice, but again it's affluent folks mixed in with blue collar folks who park their cars on their front lawns. It's also on the sound and has very nice beaches. It may eventually turn into a Fairfield county suitcase type of town, but so far it's retaining a New England feel.

I went to college in NH. It was just way too slow for me. There was nothing but deer and snow where I was. I haven't spent much time in VT or ME. I've always liked Massachusetts, but some of the towns have since lost their industry and many are shells of their former selves. The mill towns in particular are still fighting to stay afloat. I like the area near Foxborogh. There are a lot of very nice towns around their that have retained their New England charm, but still have a large city not too far away for jobs.

By the way, Mets fans are perfectly welcome We've got no problems with them.


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RE: Please Help. Best place to live/garden in New England?

"Williams/Dimagio Line" LOL..I love it!


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