Sure, you live in Westport.
But you also live in Greens Farms. Maybe Coleytown. Or Saugatuck.
Those are a few of the neighborhoods that make up our town. Some are long established, predating our founding in 1835. Some are newer, the result of growth or realtors’ whims.
All are part of ‘06880.”
Karen Scott knows Westport neighborhoods as well as anyone. A co-founder of KMS Partners @ Compass, the other day she took me on a (phone) tour of town.
The Mid-Fairfield County Board of Realtors defines 13 distinct Westport neighborhoods. Besides the 3 mentioned above, there are a few everyone recognizes: Old Hill and Compo Beach, for example. Some are less well known, like Red Coat in the far northwest, Long Lots, Roseville/North Avenue and Compo South (see map below).
A couple are new. Hunt Club (from the Fairfield border and Cross Highway west to Bayberry and south to the Post Road) and Compo Commons (the smallest of all, more commonly known as Gault).
But 2 caught my eye. One is In-Town. The area between the Merritt Parkway, Saugatuck River, Post Road and Roseville Road — with, among others, North Compo and all its side streets — has, with the influx of families from Manhattan and Brooklyn, suddenly become very desirable.
They like the proximity to downtown — they can walk there in theory, if not practice. Until recently though, no one lived “In-Town.” They just lived “close to town.”
The other relatively new name is “Saugatuck Island.” When I was a kid, there was just “Saugatuck Shores.” (And houses there were among the cheapest in Westport. Some were not winterized. Who wanted to live way out there, anyway?!)
But a while ago — no one is sure when — some residents living beyond the wooden bridge decided to become even more exclusive than what had then become the already prestigious Saugatuck Shores.
Hence “Saugatuck Island.” One long-time and embarrassed resident cringes every time she hears it. But there it is, complete with a large sign at the entrance. (Fun fact: No other Westport neighborhood has an actual “entrance.”)
Karen Scott says that neighborhoods are a good way to describe Westport. “Everyone has preferences,” she notes. “Some people want land, not neighbors. Others don’t want a lot of land. Some prefer near the beach, or close to town. Some want to be close to amenities. Some want to be close to the train station, I-95 or the Merritt” — though with COVID, commuting convenience is less of a concern these days.
The hot real estate market has cooled the “neighborhood” concept a bit, she says. “When there aren’t a lot of homes for sale, some people say, ‘I don’t care. I just want to be in Westport.'”
The neighborhood concept itself has evolved (and become more formalized). At one time, Karen says, areas of town were designated by school districts. (That was probably easier when there were 3 junior highs — Bedford [now Saugatuck Elementary School], Coleytown and Long Lots — rather than just 2 middle schools, located a mile from each other.)
As a realtor, Karen Scott is used to describing Westport’s 13 “official” neighborhoods, then squiring clients around to those that sound interesting.
Some buy in neighborhoods they took a quick liking to. Others end up in ones they did not originally consider.
But for all its different neighborhoods, Westport is really one big small town. And most people, Karen says, find “joy and happiness” all over, once they’re here.
Wherever that is.