Lay of the land: Founded in 1639, Milford is one of the oldest towns in America. Fort Trumbull was built here to protect George Washington during the Revolutionary War, and Milford was a stop on the Underground Railroad. “Almost every building downtown has a story to it,” says Kathy Alagno, president of the chamber of commerce. While all of Milford is agreeable—think modest Cape Cods along shady streets—the two most desirable places to settle down are either along the waterfront or near the golf course. Those seeking a beachfront property can’t do better than a renovated Nantucket-style cottage on a sandy spot of land at Laurel Beach, or one of the four- or five-bedroom Georgian mansions overlooking Gulf Beach. And an executive-housing development around the Great River Golf Estates in North Milford is under way, offering brand-new three- to five-bedroom new-American Colonials that start at $525,000.
Meet the neighbors: “This is the place to be right now,” says Gayle Slossberg, who moved to Milford from the Upper West Side seven years ago and now has three young children. “It’s getting so cosmopolitan with the influx of New Yorkers looking for a quieter, more affordable experience.” If the locals vary as much as the landscape, the common denominator seems to be a desire to live in a place that offers plenty to do, yet maintains a home-town feel. “It’s so safe here,” says longtime resident Richard Hosking. “You can walk anywhere, anytime in this town.”
Needful things: Many residents—like Kendra St. John, who moved here from Hawaii—choose Milford for its fifteen miles of sandy beaches. “At first, I thought Milford was too far from the city,” she says. “But I was shocked at how many people commute. It’s not so bad when you consider how beautiful the beaches are.” The other main attraction is the historic downtown area, which overlooks the harbor and is peppered with charming mom-and-pop shops like the Harrison & Gould hardware store, in business since 1907. Nearby, there’s a sprawling park with tennis courts, a playground, and a large bandstand for live performances. Outside of the downtown district, most of the city’s retail life is contained within its strip malls and chain stores. And aside from two movie theaters, there’s little in the way of culture.
School report: “The public schools are terrific,” says Slossberg. “They rate among the best in Connecticut.” The Connecticut State Department of Education backs up her claim. At Milford’s two public high schools, the average SAT score is 985; this year, 64 percent of graduating seniors went on to four-year colleges; the community spent $9,771 in tax dollars per student last year.
Commute: Milford is 66 miles from midtown Manhattan. The train to Grand Central takes 90 minutes; monthly passes from Metro-North cost $283. Currently, there’s a two-year wait for one of the 400 parking spaces at the Milford station.
See also: Milford Web Guide.