Salisbury, Connecticut

An eighteenth-century village nestled in the rolling hills of Litchfield County.
Block Island, Rhode Island
Ocean Grove/Asbury Park, N.J.
Cape May, New Jersey
Great Barrington, Mass.
Salisbury, Connecticut
Milford, Pennsylvania
Mount Desert Island, Maine
Margaretville, New York
Log on: A hiker near Mount Risa.


Tucked up in the northwest corner of the state, Salisbury may not have beaches (unless you count the shores of Lakeville Lake) or a Bridgehampton-caliber social scene (though Meryl Streep and Joel Siegel are residents), but it is one of the most charming villages in the area, with a postcard-perfect Main Street peppered with little shops and bakeries, white clapboard neoclassical estates, and the country's oldest public library. The surrounding countryside seems about as removed from the metropolis as you can get, with its rolling hills, string of placid ponds, uncrowded roads, and abundant wildlife. "We were determined to find a place down the road in Washington; it seemed so chic," says a New Yorker who bought a weekend place here three years ago. "But once the Realtor took us to Salisbury, we couldn't go back. It has all the charm and -- thank God -- none of the pretensions."

Familiar Faces: The aforementioned Streep and Siegel, along with Jill Clayburgh and Ed Herman, all live within town lines, while Jasper Johns, a brace of Buckleys, and Kevin Bacon et famille live in neighboring Sharon.

Things To Do: "There's kayaking, walking, hiking, biking -- plus music, dance, and theater right over the border in the Berkshires. The only problem is that there are too many choices," says Noreen Driscoll Breslauer, who owns a local flower shop, Sweethaven Farm. The Harlem Valley Rail Trail, a 12-mile paved car-free track that runs from Amenia to Millerton, is popular with cyclists and joggers. The famous Lime Rock Park raceway is only ten minutes away; you can make it in even less time after you take the Skip Barber race-car-driving course.

Flower power: The Sweethaven Farm flower shop..

Social Scene: "Our family has been here for over 50 years, and you can understand why," says one New Yorker who gave up a place in East Hampton for Salisbury. "It's the pleasure of living in a small town; you know everyone by their first name; people have a real dedication to the area." The Fourth of July celebration at Town Grove is the kind of old-timey cookout that will take you back to your childhood -- or to the childhood you wish you'd had.

Property Values: Local stock ranges from the eighteenth-century clapboard houses that line Main Street to cabins on the side of Mount Riga and along Riga Lake -- which are only accessible via a steeply pitched dirt road and, in many cases, have no electricity or running water. "Rentals have been much slower this year," says broker Elyse Harney. "There are an extraordinary number of places still available -- usually everything's gone by February. For the month of August, we range from a charming three-bedroom for $4,000 to a stunning estate with a main house, guest cottage, and swimming pool for $20,000." House sales, however, have been brisk. Prices range from $128,000 for a cottage to $4.9 million for a full spread. Recently a four-bedroom, three-bath Colonial, priced in the low $500,000s, sold in a day. Another swift sale was in the $2.6 million range; "It was not on a lot of land -- only seven or eight acres," says Harney. "But it was done."

Recommended Realtors: Elyse Harney (860-435-2200), Robinson Leech (860-435-9891).

Weekend Trips: The White Hart Inn has been in business for over a century, and it has clean, well-appointed rooms (860-435-0030 or; doubles start at $149). The best local restaurant is West Main (860-435-1450), which has brightly flavored Asian-inflected fare. On Thursdays and Fridays, it hosts local bands, and the bar is packed every night of the week.

Next: An artists retreat in the Poconos? >>>
Photo by Stewart Ferebee.
From the June 3, 2002 issue of New York Magazine.