Sharon, Conn.: A Calm, Quiet Town, 15 Minutes From the Train
In 2016, Tracey and Brian Abut purchased their first house in Sharon, a bucolic city in northwest Litchfield County, Conn. A yr later, they opened The Edward, a wine bar close to the city inexperienced. This previous February, they purchased one other home on the town, which they’re renovating. Yet regardless of proudly owning property and a enterprise in Sharon, the Abuts spend the majority of the week in Manhattan, the place they’ve full-time jobs and hire a one-bedroom on the Upper West Side.
Like greater than a 3rd of Sharon’s roughly 2,700 residents, the Abuts are weekenders. On weekdays, Mr. Abut, 51, works in software program gross sales and Ms. Abut, 47, is a human sources govt. Fed up with sweltering metropolis summers, they determined to search for a weekend place. “We needed a fast getaway that we might get pleasure from for your complete yr,” Mr. Abut mentioned.
After they searched unsuccessfully in upstate New York, a buddy recommended Connecticut and beneficial a dealer in Sharon. There, the Abuts had been drawn to the pastoral environment and the deep sense of historical past.
Mudge Pond Town Beach
N. MAIN ST.
The Hotchkiss Library
By The New York Times
“Sharon is a picture-perfect New England city,” Mr. Abut mentioned. “But it’s proper on the New York border and solely 15 minutes from Metro-North.”
For their first home — a 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom Craftsman, inbuilt 1962 on an acre and a half — they paid $425,000. For their second — a 2,100-square-foot, four-bedroom midcentury trendy home, inbuilt 1966 on a extra distant 1.6 acres — they paid $160,000. “It’s a fixer-upper,” Mr. Abut mentioned, “a midcentury fanatic’s dream.”
With its postcard vistas and nation roads, the 59.6-square-mile Sharon is the third-largest city in Connecticut, however one of many least densely populated. It adjoins the cities of Kent, Cornwall and Salisbury, and is bordered by the Housatonic River to the east and Dutchess County, N.Y., to the west.
Brent M. Colley, Sharon’s first selectman, touted the city’s demographic combine: “We have a little bit of all the pieces: part-timers; full-timers; individuals who have been right here for generations; retirees; farmers; artists, writers and designers who work at home; giant property homeowners; folks employed by the big property homeowners.” Some residents, he mentioned, work at Sharon Hospital, the city’s largest employer.
The youngsters’s room (and the youngsters’s librarian, Robin Yuran) on the Hotchkiss Library of Sharon, a chic stone construction constructed on the inexperienced in 1893.CreditJane Beiles for The New York Times
Mr. Colley famous an interdependence between part-timers and full-timers, with weekenders sustaining the city’s economic system and locals offering providers. “It’s a partnership,” he mentioned. “The weekenders are likely to have higher-end properties and bigger properties, which permits folks within the center class to get pleasure from decrease taxes. Without the weekenders, we wouldn’t have what we now have.”
What Sharon has is a personality that blends a Yankee work ethic with a cosmopolitan sensibility, and a dedication to preserving the city’s historical past, fostering its inventive neighborhood and defending its pure magnificence.
“There’s a small-town simplicity right here that caters to a variety of pursuits,” Mr. Colley mentioned. “All sorts of individuals dwell right here for all types of causes, however everybody appreciates the calm and quiet.”
What You’ll Find
Sharon is wealthy with rolling hills and rocky woodlands. Stacy Deming, the Housatonic Valley Association’s geographic data system supervisor, mentioned roughly 35 p.c of the city — greater than 13,400 acres — is completely protected by organizations just like the Sharon Land Trust, Housatonic State Forest and Housatonic Meadows State Park.
1 MAIN STREET | A six-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom 1850 home on zero.62 acres, listed for $795,000. 860-488-6635CreditJane Beiles for The New York Times
Sharon’s coronary heart is its city inexperienced, one of many largest in New England at over a mile lengthy. The inexperienced is house to the city corridor, the Sharon Historical Society, the elegant Hotchkiss Library of Sharon and a stone clock tower erected within the 1880s.
Aside from a small procuring middle and a handful of working farms, the remainder of Sharon is residential. House hunters will discover assorted kinds, amongst them colonials, farmhouses and, lining the inexperienced, well-maintained 18th- and 19th-century vintage properties. Patricia Braislin, Sharon’s assessor, mentioned there are 1,457 single-family properties, 14 multifamily properties, 30 condominiums in three complexes, 13 rental flats in a single constructing and 32 affordable-housing items.
110 WESTWOODS ROAD, No. 2 | A 3-bedroom, two-bathroom log cabin, inbuilt 1982 on 2.64 acres, listed for $335,000. 860-488-5859CreditJane Beiles for The New York Times
What You’ll Pay
Chris Garrity, a dealer and vp of Bain Real Estate, mentioned that relying on dimension, acreage and situation, properties in Sharon can vary in value from below $200,000 to the tens of millions. “And these homes could be on the identical highway,” he mentioned.
He added that if you cross the border from New York into Connecticut, “your taxes lower significantly.”
Graham T. Klemm, president of Klemm Real Estate (and the Abuts’ dealer), mentioned the market in Sharon is robust. “We have loads of consumers coming in. What we’re missing is stock, in any respect the value factors.”
42 HOOPERFIELDS DRIVE | A 3-bedroom, three-bathroom home, inbuilt 1975 on four.94 acres, listed for $950,000. 860-488-6635CreditJane Beiles for The New York Times
According to SmartMLS, as of April eight there have been 56 single-family properties in the marketplace. The least costly was a one-bedroom, 795-square-foot log cabin, inbuilt 1935 on a half acre, listed for $145,000; the priciest was a five-bedroom, eight,900-square-foot restored colonial, inbuilt 1800 and a part of a 51.Three-acre property, listed for $20 million. There had been additionally three two-bedroom condominiums in the marketplace, priced at $185,000, $191,000 and $197,500, and a four-bedroom multifamily home listed for $339,900.
The median sale value for a single-family house through the 12-month interval ending April eight was $320,750, down from $420,000 through the earlier 12 months.
39 CALKINSTOWN ROAD | A five-bedroom, four-bathroom 1815 colonial on 1.78 acres, listed for $1.175 million. 860-488-6635CreditJane Beiles for The New York Times
While Sharon is a sleepy place the place residents — particularly weekenders — relish the peacefulness of their properties, these on the lookout for recreation have choices. Water lovers can swim on the Mudge Pond Town Beach, launch a small craft from the Silver Lake State Park boat launch, and fish and raft within the Housatonic River. Hikers can discover greater than 50 miles of trails, together with a stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
The city inexperienced continues its custom as a gathering spot, holding occasions reminiscent of a summer time live performance collection, an arts-and-crafts truthful and a vacation tree- and menorah-lighting ceremony. An annual Art Walk options stops at open studios, galleries like Standard Space, and exhibitions contained in the library, city corridor and historic society.
Sharon Playhouse, now in its 60th season, levels year-round occasions, together with its in style summer time productions in a 353-seat theater. This season, “Crazy for You” opens in June.
A spirit of giving galvanizes each the Sharon Classic Road Race, which helps Sharon Day Care, and Trade Secrets, a garden-themed weekend benefiting Women’s Support Services on the town.
Diners get pleasure from Southern meals at When Pigs Fly South, not removed from Sharon’s expansive inexperienced.CreditJane Beiles for The New York Times
In addition to tapas at The Edward, diners can order barbecue at When Pigs Fly South, breakfast and lunch at J.P. Gifford’s Café, and Italian meals at Dining Alfresco. There are extra eating places in neighboring cities and a cinema in Millerton, N.Y., six miles northwest.
Sharon is served by Regional School District No. 1, which additionally serves the cities of Salisbury, Cornwall, Kent, Falls Village/Canaan and North Canaan. Each city has its personal college for kindergarten (and, in some instances, prekindergarten) via eighth grade; this yr in Sharon, 113 college students in kindergarten via eighth grade attend Sharon Center School.
Karen Manning, the principal, mentioned the varsity is going through declining enrollment. “Many younger households can’t afford to dwell right here, and weekenders don’t use the varsity system,” she mentioned. “It is our largest difficulty.”
On the 2018 Smarter Balanced assessments, Ms. Manning mentioned, 61 p.c of fourth-graders met or exceeded English language arts proficiency requirements and 50 p.c met or exceeded math proficiency requirements, in comparison with 55 and 51.Three p.c statewide.
District college students converge at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, in Falls Village. According to knowledge from the Connecticut Department of Education’s EdSight, imply SAT scores for the 2019 graduating class had been 522 in evidence-based studying and writing, and 492 in math; statewide equivalents had been 516 and 503.
Notable personal colleges within the space embody Hotchkiss, Kent and Marvelwood.
About 100 miles northeast of Manhattan, Sharon shouldn’t be normally thought of a commuter city. Those heading to the town can take the Taconic State Parkway or Route 22 to Interstate 684. Alternatively, they will catch Metro-North Railroad at Wassaic, the ultimate cease on the Harlem line, in Amenia, N.Y. Through trains take just a little over two hours; round-trip fares are $52.50 peak, $39 off-peak and $536 month-to-month.
Sharon’s stone clock tower was erected on the inexperienced within the mid-1880s, and was designed by the New York City architects Lamb & Rich.CreditJane Beiles for The New York Times
Between the mid-18th century and the shut of the 19th century, Sharon was a hotbed of trade. The now-quiet Sharon Valley, on the city’s western edge, was a hub for the manufacturing of iron, due to an abundance of needed sources: water to supply energy; timber to make charcoal; limestone, quarried close by; and top quality iron ore, mined and smelted with chunks of limestone. Sharon was additionally a producing middle for wrought- and cast-iron merchandise, from family and farming instruments to railroad wheels and munitions used through the Civil War.
Today, throughout from Webatuck Creek, a cube-like stone construction stands round 20 toes tall. Once the muse of the Sharon Valley Lime Kiln, constructed circa 1880 to transform limestone into calcined lime, it’s the city’s most intact vestige of an earlier period.
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