Essex CT Real Estate & Information

Essex CT Real Estate & Information

Looking much the way it did in the 1800’s, the town of Essex, in Middlesex County, Connecticut includes a generous portion of the region’s western shoreline on the Connecticut River. Made up of Centerbrook, Ivoryton and Essex villages, the town of Essex had a 2012 population of nearly 6,700 and distinguishes itself with its vibrant waterfront. It also has more original 18th and 19th century construction than any of its neighboring towns.

Essex’s intriguing history includes an attack on the city by the British Marines during the War of 1812 that would cause considerable economic losses at the time; it was later dubbed “the Pearl Harbor” of the war. Today, Essex draws boaters, history buffs and new residents from all walks of life with its coveted shoreline, historic architecture and numerous attractions and events.

Shopping and Dining
Explore the gorgeous historic Main Street in Essex to begin your shopping day. Here, you’ll find A Pocketful of Posies stocking irresistible handmade decor and gifts, Red Balloon, a baby clothing and accessory boutique and Stonewear Clothing, all adorned with gorgeous historic storefronts. Also on Main Street, Cumberland Farms offers grocery shoppers a regional option for specialty and fresh foods, while Colonial Market on Westbrook Road provides a full selection of grocery items.

When it comes to dining in Essex, the Griswold Inn, named “one of the top 100 bars in America” by Esquire magazine, offers a fine dining experience not to be missed. Operating since colonial times, the bar still has a staff that sings chanteys every Tuesday. Another Essex institution, the Black Seal, serves mouth-watering pub favorites like beer battered shrimp, chicken tenders and a great selection of burgers and sandwiches. These landmark locations add that much more character to Essex’s extensive and delicious dining choices.

Parks and Recreation
It’s hard to say whether the unspoiled landscape or the colonial architecture draw more visitors to Essex. Three impressive inlets, North Cove, Middle Cove and South Cove make the Essex shoreline extremely compelling for boaters and fishermen. Numerous marinas and two yacht clubs call Essex home, and both private boaters and commercial boating operations flock to the area for these and other reasons. Needless to say, boating and fishing trips open to the public are easy to book in Essex.

Intriguing historic buildings stand in each of the three villages:

  • Centerbrook features many pre-Revolutionary War estates as well as the First Congregational Church, the oldest standing Middlesex County church building.
  • In Essex Village, the Pratt and Hayden families designed several of the historic homes which remain today including the Pratt House, the Ebenezer Hayden House and the Richard Hayden Dwelling (now an Episcopal Church rectory). The First Baptist Church on Prospect Street not only dates back to 1846, but is also one of only three Egyptian Revival style churches in the U.S.
  • Ivoryton, so named for its importance to the ivory trade in the U.S. during and after the Civil War, features a strong stock of Gothic and Victorian style homes. Stockholders of Comstock, Cheney & Company (a major producer of ivory products traded in the U.S. at the time) built their homes here on what is today known as Victorian Row. The Row includes Parker House on North Main Street and the 1855 “Gingerbread House.”

Whether you’re more impressed by the outdoors or the architecture, you’re bound to find something appealing here.

With everything from lower priced homes for first-time home buyers to expensive historic estates on its waterfront, Essex boasts one of the lowest property tax rates in the state. Visitors come for all sorts of reasons and many find they want to become residents. The Connecticut River Museum on Main Street and the Ivortytown Playhouse draw visitors year round. The town of Essex experiences all four seasons and can take pride in its beautiful fall foliage. In fact, the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat operation, a major Essex attraction running spring through fall each year, calls October its “Foliage Season.”

The fall is hardly the only good time to visit though. Every Groundhog Day, the town sponsors a parade featuring “Essex Ed,” a large papier mache groundhog. The “Loser’s Day Parade” commemorates the attack by the British in 1814, and spring in Essex just wouldn’t be complete without the Essex Rotary Club sponsored Shad Bake. Really, a visitor would need to stick around all year to experience it all.

Schools, Health, Transportation
Served by Regional School District 4, public school children in Essex will attend Essex Elementary, John Winthrop Middle and Valley Regional High schools. Shoreline Medical Center on Westbrook Road is the regional hospital for the area supported by a number of private practices in the town. While travel by boat is far from uncommon here, Essex is one of the nine towns covered by the Estuary Transit District’s “9 Town Transit” buses and served, via the Old Saybrook Train Station, by both Shore Line East and Amtrak railways. In fact, visitors will find no shortage of reasons or ways to visit Essex and will likely discover they want to stay longer and come back even sooner than they’d planned.

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, give us a call at 860.334.1379 or send us an email to explore your options and to find out when is the best time for you to make a move.