Is the east end of Connecticut the new Hamptons?

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.

 9 Pearl Street, Mystic, offers 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, a spacious and private backyard with a large air-conditioned studio space in the attic. At $425,000, this Victorian gem in the heart of the historic district costs less than a one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. Contact Greg Broadbent for details.

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….

The working drawbridge on Main Street in Mystic

�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.

 Main Street, Downtown Mystic.

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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  1. Do not forget the shoreline town of Clinton, Connecticut. A perfect New England beach town, nestled on the Long Island Sound, with the downtown directly on the rail line. It is 20 minutes north of New Haven and an hour closer to New York than Mystic. Clinton has all the New England charm, without the high prices. The best Lobster shack on the shoreline, where they cook your lobster rolls fresh to order from a hot dog cart and you eat them while sitting on the water in the open air. Rustic and authentic New England quizine. It offers a lovely town beach, three marinas, great shopping at antique shops and art galleries along Rt 1, as well as, Premium Outlets, boasting stores such as, Coach, Cole Haan, Tahari and Dooney & Bourke. Clinton is the perfect up an coming town for a second home.

  2. In Madison you can visit Creations/CREATE, a visual art-based enterprise initiated by Vista Life Innovations (formerly Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center). Vista, a non-profit provider of training and life skills assistance for adults with intellectual and developmental challenges, has developed a thriving Arts Center at their Madison campus. Creations is a retail space offering work by New England and Mid-Atlantic artists and artisans, some of whom have never had a place to exhibit and sell their work. Behind Creations is CREATE, a studio where Vista students and members produce individual and collaborative works, which are frequently exhibited in Shoreline venues. CREATE offers classes in a wide range of disciplines for people of all abilities. Check it when you come through town-it will do your art good! creationsmadison.com

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