Finally someone is giving Mystic the love. Troy McMullen reports in the NYPost that the Connecticut shoreline, particularly the stretch between New Haven and Rhode Island, may be the new Hamptons. An easy drive from Manhattan and Brooklyn and accessible via Amtrak and Shoreline East, towns such as Guilford, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Mystic and Stonington offer a cheaper and less crowded alternative to the east end of Long Island.
[Image at top: Mystic, CT. Chris DeLaura, via http://www.MysticRestaurants.com]
McMullen notes that the area is especially attractive to intellectuals and artists. He mentions Morley Safer and Dominick Dunne as notable residents, and I’d add James Merrill, Deborah Brown, Peter Halley, and Ann Craven.
Connecticut’s shoreline has lured Manhattan intellectuals and wealthy
urbanites for decades, many drawn to its quiet charm and New England
reserve. The list of New York notables includes CBS newsman Morley
Safer, who lives in a town along the Connecticut River, and the late
author Dominick Dunne.
Intrepid New Yorkers on the hunt for weekend properties are increasingly venturing farther north, past New Haven, along the Connecticut coast. They’re landing in towns from Old Lyme to Mystic, Old Saybrook to Essex, and discovering picturesque New England communities adorned with bustling marinas and wide-open fields. It’s colonial chic — without having to travel to northern New England.
But beyond the proximity is also price: As home prices continue to soar in many popular second home locations around Manhattan, buyers are also finding coastal Connecticut to be far kinder on their wallets.
“You’ll end up paying half what you would in the Hamptons and Jersey Shore and get much more for the money,” says Joel Lucas, a top-selling broker at Coldwell Banker in the town of Essex, a quintessential New England community on the banks of the Connecticut River. He says beyond finding moderately priced homes near or on the water — typically priced between $300,000 and $700,000 — buyers also enjoy lower property tax rates than New Jersey and New York. “When you add in lower property taxes and the easy commute up I-95, that makes a second home purchase up here even more appealing,” Lucas says….
“Despite its beauty and proximity to New York it’s been a well-kept secret for years,” says Colette Harron, a veteran broker with William Pitt Sotheby’s Realty, who sold Dunne’s former summer home in Hadlyme after his death in 2009. She says the peaceful areas along the Long Island Sound draw buyers who are averse to the glitzy towns strewn along the Hamptons and Jersey Shore. “It’s a discreet, Old Money area and that’s attractive to New Yorkers who wish to relax away from the summer frenzy in many other places.”
A drive north from New Haven along Interstate 95 — or on Amtrak’s Boston-bound trains — slices through the handsome beachfront towns of Madison, Westbrook and Old Saybrook, where Katharine Hepburn owned a home for decades. Farther east it continues through towns such as Old Lyme, Mystic and eventually Stonington, a waterfront village just shy of the Rhode Island border on a quiet peninsula that juts into Long Island Sound.
The area is even better off season, when the tourists and summer people have left. Remember Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in Springs?
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