Alert — and avid — “06880” reader Fred Cantor enjoyed a recent post by Mike Joseph.
Cantor’s 1971 Staples High School classmate compared and contrasted his life now in Kansas City, with his hometown.
Cantor did not move as far. But he has his own tale to tell.
I enjoyed the piece written by my Staples ‘71 classmate, Mike Joseph, about the affordability of Kansas City and the option it presents in flyover country to living in Westport, where the cost of housing in particular has gone through the roof.
But I wanted to note that you can stay in the area in what were, for my wife and me, drive-through towns (on the Merritt, I-95 or Route 8), and find much more affordable home options as well.
This was exemplified by our recent move to a senior community in Stratford, where you can find nice condos at much lower prices than in Westport. The real estate taxes are higher, but the price differential more than compensates for that.
There are some Westport-like amenities, such as a nice main town beach that even has a par-3 golf course. But what have been among the most pleasant discoveries are the types of area features we never would have seen simply traveling through on the highway.
For example, a traditional New England town green — Paradise Green — has a classic gazebo. It has been the site of summer concerts and a farmer’s market. Adjacent to the Green is a shopping district whose eclectic group of smaller shops includes an old-fashioned mom-and-pop bakery, Icing on the Cake.
We recently got curbside pickup of 2 brownies, 1 cannoli, a corn muffin, scone and Vermont hazelnut coffee — all for $10.40.
Holy cow! I felt as if I had been transported to Westport’s Main Street of decades ago.
Stratford also has a distinctive town park, Boothe Memorial, which sits on a bluff high above the Housatonic River.
In addition to offering nice grounds for a picnic and lovely views, it has an unusual array of historical attractions, like a section of the former Merritt toll plaza, plus a replica railway station/museum with indoor and outdoor model railway tracks that feature old New Haven Railroad trains.
Being in the very north end of Stratford, taking advantage of amenities and attractions in neighboring Shelton is a breeze — exemplified by the fact that, in contrast to Westport, we have never encountered traffic problems doing curbside pickup at the nearby supermarket and other shopping venues.
The absence of significant traffic backups has been about the most dramatic change we have experienced.
For those who might miss old Westport restaurant standbys, there is a Spotted Horse very close by.
While living in Westport, we loved doing scenic drives to the Saugatuck Reservoir in Weston or Aspetuck Orchard in Easton. Here, the scenic Trap Falls Reservoir in Shelton is a short drive from our new condo. Amazingly, so are massive working farms such as the Jones Family Farms with 400 acres. And yes, they have farm stands.
Roosevelt Forest in the northern part of Stratford, visible to us on our drive to nearby shopping, is also roughly 400 acres.
The amount of open and undeveloped land has been a real eye-opener. Quite frankly, it far surpasses anything that existed even in the Westport of my youth when my family moved to town in 1963.
Now, if only Stratford had Southern California-like winter weather…
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