What is it like to live in

What is it like to live in

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  1. We moved to New Canaan in 1993 when our kids were 5 and 4 (twins). It’s been great experience. We moved for the school system which didn’t disappoint. Easy to meet people and make friends. It has a small town feel with easy proximity to New York.

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  2. We moved to New Canaan, CT in September of 2015. I was commuting from Dallas (where my family was living) to NYC every week. The commute was brutal, but when I saw it start taking a toll on my kids I knew we needed to change something.
    I had 3 friends who’d raised families in and around the NYC area. I called each and asked where we should move. 2 said New Canaan/Darien, and 1 said Princeton, NJ. We picked New Canaan.
    Schools
    We were moving 2 weeks into the school year (with my oldest have just started kindergarten) and I was intimidated away from finding a school for my son in NYC. Everything I’d read/heard was that you need to start applying a LONG ways in advance and that even then you’d have to be lucky to get into the good schools. New Canaan’s schools were excellent. Someone told me they were ranked as the 3rd best public school district in the country. (I believe it, though I’m not sure how you measure that.)
    In Texas, I was disappointed that my son wouldn’t get any foreign language instruction. (Not even Spanish? I was shocked.) But here – he does. Music, language, arts, all of it. And he’s soaking it up. He loves coming home and telling me the new sight words he is learning to read, and trying out his Spanish.
    Charm
    New Canaan has all the charm and community spirit of a small town. When we moved in our neighbors (who we just met on the spot) busted out LEGOs for our kids to play with so that they wouldn’t be underfoot as the movers brought boxes and furniture in and out. We had a couple folks bring by pies, several sent my wife flowers to welcome her to the area, etc. It was uncanny.
    Access to NYC
    It’s also got nice, easy access to the city. As it turns out, New Canaan is at the end of a train line, making my commute to NYC easy. I get seat every day. I live close enough to downtown and the train station that I walk to and from – and it’s nice to get just those few minutes outside in the sunshine every day.
    I don’t mind the commute. It is the only hour of the day that is truly mine. I don’t owe that time to my work, to my family, to anyone. It’s just my time to use as I see fit. Read a book. Take a nap. Call a friend. Whatever – it’s my time.
    Politics and town service
    As a Republican – I was pleased to find out that it’s the most Republican city in Connecticut – and that our congressional district was the last one held by a Republican in all of New England. So, I’m among friends. It’s a majority Republican town and I served 2 years on the Republican Town Committee where I met some wonderful folks and was introduced to several other opportunities to serve. About a year after moving to town I was appointed as a Public Utilities Commissioner for the town, wherein I got to support our elected officials in making decisions around how the town grows and ensures cable, cell service, water, etc for all townsfolk.
    Church
    As a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) the town is unique as well. Because the ward (congregation) boundary is the same as the town boundary all of the kids who go to church together go to the same high school. They all grow up with each other – and that’s a big deal when your beliefs make you stand out so sharply against much of the world. It’s nice to know that you’re not alone. So, it’s got all the best parts of raising your kids in Utah – along with all the best parts of raising your kids elsewhere. There are lots of people you can share your beliefs with. And – the beliefs are respected.
    In the little leagues in New Canaan, if there are mormon kids on the team – you get a Saturday-only schedule. It’s such a small thing, but as a kid – I missed all my league championship games, because I couldn’t play games on Sunday. In New Canaan, they’ve had enough good mormon athletes come through that they have come to understand that we won’t play on Sundays – and they don’t take it out on the kids. It’s just another sweet gesture from a community I’ve come to really cherish.
    And this doesn’t just apply for Mormons. Families in town tend to be a little larger than average. My anecdotal experience would suggest that church attendance rates are probably a little higher than average here, as well, no matter what faith is practiced. My kids get Jewish holidays off from school, so it’s safe to say there’s a fairly large Jewish community. There are Catholic and Lutheran (I think) churches and schools in town as well. There’s even a classic New England church bell that chimes on Sundays.
    Small Town Pride
    And everyone you see on the street – young or old, is wearing NC gear – in support of the local middle and high school. I even had a friend from church tell me that if I’m a KC sports fan (which I am) that I should rock KC Chiefs gear – because it’s “New Canaan Red” instead of KC Royals gear, “which is Darien blue.” They love their local high school – and you can see the pride in the whole community. It just feel’s like everyone has bought in to making this a special place. It feels a little like East Texas in the way the talk about past high school athletes, how the old folks in town can regale you with play-by-play from rivalry games played years ago, etc.
    I think the rivalry football game is televised, and I understand the tickets sold out in just a few minutes to see it live.
    The local newspaper publishes a list of the high school kids college acceptances, touting the student’s various successes. The town has lots of parades and fairs in the summer/fall put on by the Chamber of Commerce and others.
    Traditions
    On Christmas Eve many of the churches time their services or masses to get out at the same time, and townsfolk meet at a central point (called God’s Acre, set between 3 large church buildings), and sing Christmas Carols while holding candles.
    For the 4th of July the town puts on a spectacular fireworks show and the whole town watches from Waveny Park (which is sort of our town’s Central Park).
    On Palm Sunday several churches again meet at God’s Acre and someone brings a Donkey in and the town gets to worship/celebrate together.
    Location
    New Canaan is 20 minutes from the beach, and 20 minutes from the Litchfield Mountains. It has an historic old town with classic New England charm. It’s an hour to Manhattan and 45 minutes to Yale’s campus. Within two hours you have Newport, Rhode Island and Philadelphia. Boston is 3 hours. Washington, D.C. is 4.
    Summary
    In short, I find that New Canaan has the best of just about every world. The best of a small town, and best parts of a mega-city. Whether you want to hike the Appalachian Trail, go fishing for trout in a woodland stream, swim in the ocean, boat on a lake, kayak a river or rock climb the Gunks – you can do it all on a day trip from New Canaan. If you’re into architecture, the famous Harvard 5 architects built many of the homes and settled here (the Phillip Johnson Glass House is located here, among many other gems like the Grace Farms serpentine building ).
    It’s got great schools and access to the resources of a college town. For a Latter-day Saint it’s got the best parts of living in Utah with the best parts of not living there (and two temples within an hour.)
    I’m obviously a big fan, but take a visit – check it out on your own. You can read what the New York Times thinks of it here .

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  3. I sure hope I don’t get stoned at the town square. I lived on the east coast for 15 years, having moved from California at 29. It was a very long 15 years. I lived in Greenwich, New Canaan and Westport. LOVED living in Greenwich and loved Westport even more. You have some diversity in those two towns. New Canaan is always neck in neck with Westport as far as how good the public schools are. However, you do not find any diversity in New Canaan and I didn’t know how strange that would be until I lived there. It literally looks like every child you see could have come from the same woman’s womb…
    On the good side, it is a very clean little town with a downtown that your kids go to walk around with friends and have dinner and ice cream, etc and it’s a great feeling knowing that they are safe. It is a lot like a collegiate town with all the NC logos on a ton of the clothing, hats etc so there is a lot of pride as well…
    On the bad side, there are people who buy homes they cannot afford and its a very who’s who kind of town. People looking for validation or affirmation soley from the outside. How big is your home, country club member, large diamond rings, women who hit the gym for 3 hours a day, the car you drive and how good your children are at sports and academia. SO the kids are always comparing themselves to everyone else, wanting to go to the Cape, getting so caught up trying to outdo the other with the photos they put on social media whenever there is a school break and they are vacationing at “XYZ”, playing a certain sport because thats the popular thing to play… I feel as though the children suffer and will continue to in college when they realize that most of the world doesn’t live that way – it’s a snow globe! It is very expensive!!! I was a single mother and had to scrape by (making a decent living) month to month. And because of good public schools? If you are a good parent who is involved, your children are going to do just fine and get into college and be likely more unique and confident because they live in the real world with a wealth of diverse cultures that they have been exposed to.
    So I am now in Texas and I could not possibly be more grateful and blissful since moving away…

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