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Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

In cooperation with: Connecticut Office of Tourism
Chicago, Illinois
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Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

We are considering a move as part of husband's career advancement. He'd likely end up in Stamford. We know cost of living is 48% higher. *Gulp!* What else should we know? What does that cost of living difference mean in your daily life? What's cool? Where should we look at apartments/houses/condos? Thanks in advance for any constructive input.

suz
Derby, Connecticut
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1. Re: Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

It depends on exactly what you are looking for - yes, the cost of living is higher, but so are the salaries. If you give more detail about what you want in terms of living, I can point you to some areas (I live in Stamford). Personally, I love the Cove or Shippan areas - you would be close to the water, in a quiet area, but only a 5 minute drive towards town. If you want more of a country atmosphere, look in the areas of High Ridge and Long Ridge Road. You will find that rental costs can decrease if you move towards the suburbs of Stamford instead of directly in town.

Connecticut
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2. Re: Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

Hi!

You'll have to get used to the winter weather and driving conditions on snow. I don't know what part of the South you are coming from and if you have heavy snowfall in the winter (N.C. or Virginia, perhaps?).

The trick is to take it slow if you are not familiar with this kind of driving. Municipalities clear the snow from the roads and streets as soon as they can, but...ice can be treacherous, especially "black ice" which you can't see at night. Unless you both drive four-wheel-drive vehicles, this is the best advise we can give you. Winter is about to end (we all hope) and you'll have time to get prepared for next season starting around November, sometimes even sooner. Be ready to shovel a lot of snow unless you live in a condo and everything is taken care of for you. I know snow can be beautiful but is also a pain in the neck after a while, and winters here are TOO long sometimes.

Enjoy your stay.

nkp
new haven ct
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3. Re: Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

I've had 19 homes and CT is definitely the best. Been here for 24 years and never want to leave. It's the smartest state with consistently highest test scores. Your housing costs will be tied to the schools' reputation. Lots to choose from but pricey. Try renting and get to know the state before plunking down millions for a home. caveat: A supt from RI took a job in Ct and when he saw the house prices he went right back to RI.

People in Stamford and the rest of Fairfield identify strongly with NY and watch NY news and read the NYTimes. Ct will seem cold in climate and temperament coming from the South. We're not all cranky Yankees just reserved and respectful of privacy. Compared to the South no one in Ct ever discusses relison. Politics way more liberal than what you're used to. Hope you learn to love us.nkp

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

Thanks for the replies, they were very interesting to read. We are a DINKS couple (both work, no kids) and so while we are interested in schools b/c, as one poster noted, they are tied to property values, that isn't the top concern. My husband travels some on biz, so I am interested in somewhere safe to walk my dog at night. Here in Richmond, I used to live in an area of the city like D.C.'s Georgetown. But crime became a concern. Now we live in a golf course community (suburbs). We're not sure if I will be able to get a job immediately, so we are very concerned about COST.

That having been said: what neighborhoods should I be looking at?

And what do you locals like to do? We are pretty active -- running, working out at the local gym, hiking, mountain bikes and such. What are the options up there (once the snow melts)?

CT
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5. Re: Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

Without kids, I would look toward Stamford as there is more nightlife, theater etc. I will leave it toward those in those areas to recommend neighborhoods, although I also like Shippan and the being near the water. Stamford also has more options regarding type of housing i.e. townhouses, condos, apartments, larger homes, and smaller homes as well.

Regarding activities, you can find whatever you like here as well. Plenty of hiking, running,biking, some skiing here in CT, and Vermont is close enough for weekend jaunts, Also sailing, boating, kayaking are all available. There is also antiquing, museums, and being in

close proximity to NYC allows easy access for theater there as well as all that NYC has to offer. There are several universities in Fairfield county or environs also.

You didn't mentions what field you may looking for a job in, but Stamford is home to several hospitals and financial services have been taking advantage of proximity to NYC with lower overhead. So good luck!! We moved from FL so I understand sticker shock, but we love it here.

suz
Derby, Connecticut
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6. Re: Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

Again, I would highly recommend the area near the Cove - Cove Island Park has the beach, a wonderful hiking / biking path, ball fields, a skating rink, etc... I live one block from the beach on a quiet, dead end road, but I am 5 minutes from downtown and the nightlife / shopping. You will often see people out walking their dogs at night, and I have never been concerned about safety. The area is filled with multifamilies and condos. For an active lifestyle, I think it is one of the better areas of Stamford to be in.

There are a ton of gyms here, and you can search them online - the major ones are Golds, Planet Fitness, and NY Sports Club - we also have a YMCA (although parking is awful) or you can join the Jewish Community Center, which has a pool and fitness facility.

Summer time brings alot more activity to the area - Farmer's markets, Live at 5 on Thursday nights, etc...

Stamford will be undergoing some major changes over the next few years - they are tearing down the old Pitney Bowes Plant (a huge landmark) and putting a shopping / restaurant / condo center in the south end, which will do a ton to revitalize a dying area. Trump just announced that he will be building a tower here. The job market, especially in finance, is great here - plus you are close to NYC, so it is an easy train ride into the city.

I would also recommend buying the Fairfield County Entertainment book - you can get them online at entertainment.com - That will give you a TON of discounts, such as buy one get one free at restaurants, movie tickets, shopping, etc.... for the $30 you spend for the book, if you use it twice at a restaurant, you have gotten your money back.

Stamford, CT.
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7. Re: Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

Hi, we relocated here from the southwest awhile ago so I know what you are talking about. The biggest difference in cost is the housing cost. After that, it's pretty much the same. You definately want to live in Stamford, either North Stamford ot down by the ocean. Buy a house if you can afford it, stretch if you have to. It's a beautiful city and it really grows on you. Very livable and growing.Tons to do all up and down the coast here.

Stamford, CT
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8. Re: Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

I am from Stamford, and yes I love NYC. I do not as someone mentioned read any of the NY newspapers. Here in Stamford we have our OWN paper, and a news station covering Southern Fairfield County. They may not be the best, but they're the same as everywhere else.

USA
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9. Re: Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

Having been born and raised in Stamford, I can tell you that it is a great place to live and a wonderful place to raise a family. Having said that, keep a few things in mind:

If you choose to live in North Stamford - the area north of the Merritt pkwy (rt. 15) - you will pay dearly for it. This is an affluent section of the city. Expect to pay easily over 600K for small capes and ranches (if you can find any.) Colonials will be much more than that. New house constructions in N Stamford rarely start less than 700-800K and many are over 1 mil. Many other areas between downtown and N. Stamford are very nice (NewfieldAve./Pepper Ridge Rd area, Turn of River, Rippowam, Westover, et al. but you're still looking at 500K+ for small houses. You'll find better prices on the East side, West side, and Cove area, but the school systems are weaker - more crime, etc.

Traffic in Stamford has gotten ridiculous. AM and PM rush hours are awful if you're trying to get across town. Stamford is a very busy and bustling town and has many corporate headquarters and large corporations within its boundaries. That makes for a ton of traffic coming in in the morning and leaving in the afternoon/evening.

Crime is a problem in Stamford, particularly on the west and east sides, as well as the south end and downtown in the area of the mall. Not that you need to be afraid of these areas, but certainly caution and common sense should prevail. Some of Stamford's best restaurants and cultural activities are in these areas. Gang activity is also on the rise on the west side and downtown.

As someone else mentioned in their post, Stamford is heavily influenced by NY. Stamford (and much of lower Fairfiled County) retains very little of that "New England Charm." South western CT has much more of a big city look, feel, and attitude than other areas of the state. You won't find many charming bed & breakfasts or Yankee sensibilites in Stamford and the surrounding towns.. Most people follow the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, and Giants as opposed to the Red Sox, Pats or Celtics.

Warts and all, Stamford is a good town full of good, hardworking people. Much of my family still resides there and I wouldn't trade growing up there for anything.

Stamford, CT
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10. Re: Advice for a Southerner considering relocation to Conn.??

Having also been born and bred in Stamford, I highly agree that we are for the most part a hardworking group. As far as crime downtown, I have owned a codo here for over a year, and have not experienced any threat of violence. Love it here and also where my parents live in the Roxbury/Westhill section.