Living In: New Fairfield, Conn.: Good Schools and a Lakeside Setting

Living In: New Fairfield, Conn.: Good Schools and a Lakeside Setting

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New Fairfield’s downtown is clustered around the intersection of Routes 39 and 37. Historic buildings house the town hall and library; nearby, the New Fairfield Senior Center is a hub for classes and social activities. There are several shopping centers, with a Stop & Shop, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and locally owned businesses.

To encourage pedestrian traffic, construction began earlier this month on installing additional sidewalks connecting the shopping centers, with completion expected by the end of 2017. “People will be able to park their cars and walk to all the shops in town,” said Susan Chapman, New Fairfield’s First Selectman.

What You’ll Find

The lake communities hug the western edge of Candlewood Lake. One of the oldest, Candlewood Isle, was developed in the 1930s, its narrow streets lined with quaint cottages. Homes and lots are larger in Sail Harbour, built in the 1980s and 1990s farther north on the lake. The most densely populated area is in the town’s southwestern corner, near Ball Pond.





Great Hollow

Nature Preserve and

Ecological Research Center

New Fairfield

Senior Center

Hubbell House Museum/

Parsonage

Hidden Valley

Nature Center




Richard Seman, New Fairfield’s assessor, said the town’s 6,360 residential properties are primarily single-family houses — ranches, split levels, colonials and capes – along with two small 55-plus townhouse complexes. There are no cooperative or rental buildings.

What You’ll Pay

Mr. Neumann cited the price range as indicative of the town’s socioeconomic diversity. “It’s not like Greenwich, where you can’t find anything under $1 million: $300,000 to $500,000 — that’s our sweet spot,” he said. “Those homes get into bidding wars.”

Pricier properties are also selling. “For houses in the $600,000s,” Ms. Finley said, “the beginning of the year was stale, but now people are snapping them up. And the waterfront market has been incredibly strong.” Recent waterfront sales have been between $1 million and $3 million.

Ms. Finley said that on Oct. 13, there were 76 single-family homes on the market, from a two-bedroom, 597-square-foot ranch priced at $115,000 to a six-bedroom, 9,684-square-foot waterfront contemporary listed at $6.9 million. The median sales price for a single-family home during the 12-month period ending Oct. 13 was $330,000, up from $326,250 the previous 12 months.

7 SPRUCE RIDGE DRIVE A four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom French-style house built in 2010 on 2.1 acres, listed at $819,500. 203-948-0530

Credit
Dave Coppola

The Vibe

In addition to Candlewood Lake and Ball Pond, New Fairfield is home to Margerie Lake Reservoir and Squantz Pond State Park, making it a haven for water lovers. There are private beaches and marinas in some of the lake communities, a town beach and marina for residents and a state boat launch.

Those seeking land-based activities can explore Pootatuck State Forest, the 825-acre Great Hollow Nature Preserve and Ecological Research Center and Hidden Valley Nature Center, part of the 516 acres protected by the Candlewood Valley Regional Land Trust.

Residents gather at town-sponsored programs like New Fairfield Day and the Holiday Light Parade and Tree Lighting; they mingle at school functions and sporting events. Ms. Williams said she felt welcomed from the day her family moved in. “It’s a friendly place,” she said.

The Schools

New Fairfield’s nearly 2,400 school-age children are served by the New Fairfield Public Schools, which line Gillotti Road. Students attend Consolidated for prekindergarten through second grade, Meeting House Hill for third through fifth grade, New Fairfield Middle School for grades six through eight and then New Fairfield High School. The middle and high schools are attached and share an expansive campus. New Fairfield High School is one of five area schools that draw students from Sherman, where the school system ends at eighth grade.

On 2015-2016 fourth-grade state assessments, 70.7 percent met English Language Arts standards, compared with 55.5 percent statewide; 67.7 percent met mathematics standards, compared with 47.9 percent statewide. Mean SAT scores for the graduating class of 2016 were 531 in critical reading, 527 in mathematics and 526 in writing; statewide equivalents were 500, 500 and 497.

The Commute

New Fairfield residents who drive to work have easy access to Interstate 84. Commuters to Manhattan, 65 miles southwest, can drive about 12 miles into New York to catch Metro-North Railroad’s Harlem line at Southeast, where metered parking is available. Or they can park at one of two park-and-ride lots in New Fairfield and take a HARTransit shuttle to and from Southeast. Rush-hour trains between Southeast and Grand Central Terminal take 80 to 95 minutes; monthly fare is $422.

The History

Two white clapboard houses tucked behind the New Fairfield Senior Center embody bits of the town’s past. Facing demolition, they were moved there in 2007 in an undertaking led by the newly established, volunteer-based Preserve New Fairfield.

One, called the Parsonage, was built as a home in the mid-19th century. In 1903, it was sold to the Congregational Church of New Fairfield and served as the parson’s residence for more than half a century. It was restored and opened to the public earlier this month to commemorate the church’s 275th anniversary.

The Greek Revival Hubbell House, now a museum of early New Fairfield history, dates to the mid-1700s when the Hubbell family lived there, said Linda Decker, a founder of Preserve New Fairfield.

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