By William G. Scheller
August 27, 2002
Carol Lundeen

Setting: Old Saybrook lies on Long Island Sound just west ofthe mouth of the Connecticut River. It is 105 miles northeast ofNew York City, 32 miles east of New Haven, and 43 miles southeastof Hartford. Average high temperatures reach 25 to 30 degrees inwinter, mid-80s in summer.

Attractions: Despite Old Saybrook's status as a bedroom andresort community (the year-round population of about 9,700 morethan doubles in summer), there's plenty of civic spirit. Thebusiness district along broad Main Street makes this a cozy,self-contained New England village. Natural surroundings aresuperb, with Long Island Sound and (once you cross U.S. Highway 1)the bucolic Connecticut River Valley.

Drawbacks: Former city dwellers might find the town "alittle quiet," says one resident. Others fear overdevelopment mightbecome a problem.

Housing Options: North of U.S. 1, the inland section of towntends to be more heavily wooded, with 1-acre zoning. Main Streetand the surrounding blocks are within walking distance of shopping,with many 18th- and 19th-century homes. Houses near the sound andalong the east shore of Saybrook Point trade lot size for marsh andwater views. The exclusive Fenwick area features grand homes thatseldom come on the market.

Your Next-door Neighbors: Nonagenarian Katharine Hepburn,the town's most famous resident, has a secluded Fenwick home. A fewYale professors, executives from eastern Connecticut's big casinos,and workers at Pfizer and General Dynamics' Electric Boat Divisioncommute from here.

What It Costs: Some modest properties, particularly to thenorth, go for less than $200,000. Figure on $300,000-$600,000 inneighborhoods convenient to Main Street. Waterfront properties and200-year-old homes along North Cove Road easily exceed $1million.

Where You'd Spend Free Time: Water-oriented activities arethe big draw, with the protected sound ideal for sailing,powerboating, sea kayaking, and the pursuit of bluefish and stripedbass. There are two town beaches. Hammonasset Beach State Park, oneof New England's finest saltwater beaches, is only 12 miles away.Golfers can play a 9-hole course in town and several 18-holecourses in the area. There are bike paths, and Great CedarsConservation Area has hiking trails. The historic Goodspeed OperaHouse and Ivoryton Playhouse theaters are a short drive away.

(published 2002)