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Beautiful Homes, Brilliant Colors on the "Gold Coast"
Situated in the southwest corner of the state, Fairfield County is the wealthiest county in America's wealthiest state. Many of its towns are perched on tranquil Long Island Sound and that—plus its well-heeled residents—accounts for its nickname, the "Gold Coast." Fairfield County gets its wealth because of its proximity to Manhattan; many business titans as well as famous actors who work on both the East and West Coasts call Fairfield County home. The region also produces wealth of its own—many of the biggest names in business and industry, such as GE, GTE, and Xerox, are a major presence in Fairfield County.

In recent years, home prices throughout Connecticut accelerated at California rates. But Fairfield County is by far the most active real estate market in Connecticut in terms of number of sales, according to the Connecticut Association of Realtors (CAR). Fairfield County also has far and away the highest median home price. The median price was $549,600 in the second quarter of 2005. But there are many, many super-luxury manors and mansions selling in the $1,000,000 to $3,000,000 range and even into the eight-figure range. Some of the most prominent coastal towns include:

Greenwich
Just 35 miles from New York City, verdant Greenwich is the first you'll reach traveling north, and it is called the "Gateway of New England." The town is famous for its luxurious seaside living and its yacht-filled harbor. Downtown Greenwich has been dubbed the "Rodeo Drive of the East" thanks to its upscale shopping, dining, and nightlife. The Bush-Holley Historic Site, founded around 1730, is home to many if America's first Impressionistic painters, the Bruce Museum of Arts & Sciences offers topnotch exhibits and events. Among famous residents: the Rockefellers and the late Carolyn Bessette Kenedy. Former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, father of the current president, was raised in Greenwich.
Stamford
Next is Stamford, where in the 1970s so many corporations moved their headquarters that the town is known internationally and is the third-largest home of Fortune 500 corporations in America. Stamford is also a distinguished residential address, where homes have been built among pastoral meadows, wooded areas, and along the Long Island Sound waterfront, where the land splits into four points, creating many coves and inlets.. The downtown bustles with museums, performing arts, fine dining, and the vertical Stamford Town Center mall. The Stamford Museum and Nature Center presents visitors with 118 acres of working farm, nature exhibits, hiking trails, and fine art exhibits. Current and former celebrated residents include Gene Wilder, Benny Goodman, Hulk Hogan, Harry Connick, Jr., Jackie Robinson, and William F. Buckley.
Darien
East of Stamford and rich with lovely beaches and harbors, Darien is another prestigious address. Blessed with a fascinating early American history and natural beauty, Victorian homes are interspersed with homes of more contemporary style in the countryside and along the waterfront. Darien is renowned for its promotion of education, cultural/social development, and conservation of natural resources. It has a charming shopping district with antique and consignment shops, gourmet food shops, and fine restaurants within walking distance of its quaint red railroad station. One event not to miss is the Ox Ridge Hunt Club's prestigious horse show each June featuring Olympic medalists and contenders. And history buffs should plan a visit to the Bates-Scofield House, a 1736 saltbox museum filled with antiques. Among other celebrities rumored to live here is actor Kevin Costner.
Westport
This community has long attracted artists as it developed during the 20th Century from farmlands to the site of waterfront estates for summer residents. Downtown Westport is home to the famed Westport Country Playhouse, antique shops, galleries, and fine dining. Among its celebrated residents are Martha Stewart, Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas, Michael Bolton, and Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Fairfield
Fairfield is ideally situated for both elegant living and leisure time opportunities. Its marina, plus churches and many home are nationally recognized as historic landmarks. Besides stunning contemporary architecture, you'll find Colonials dating back from the late 1700s plus homes in the Greek Revival, Federal, and Victorian styles. Fairfield University's Quick Center houses rotating art exhibits and features internationally acclaimed performs on its stage. One resident of note was the late actor Jason Robards.

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Feature story by Jacqueline Shannon
Photography by Bob Thompson

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Print Date: 8/3/2020
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