How Do I Sell My Wife on Moving to Connecticut?
April 11, 2009 2:25 PM   Subscribe

I got a sweet job in a town near New Haven, Connecticut. I'd been looking for work for about six months prior in California and I got nothing promising at all. So, when I got an offer in New England, I took it. The problem is this - my wife does not want to move to the east coast. I'm the bread-winner, so she'll go but I'm trying really hard to sell her on Connecticut as a cool place to live. Can anyone think of things to try to help me talk up Connecticut?

Stuff I've already thought of: proximity to New York City and to Boston (where my wife has a few friends), good seafood, and presence of distinct seasonal weather (maybe also kind of a negative).

Wife's Interests: a good Asian grocery store would be something she'd love to hear about, anime/manga stores, a Sanrio outlet, and that sort of thing. She loves art museums. She's a big fan of Food Network. I know all of these things exist in New York City not far away, but that's an hour and a half away on a train, not where we'll be living.

Connecticut MeFi people, what do you think is awesome about this state?
posted by Oso Mocoso to Travel & Transportation around New Haven, CT (32 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
best pizza in america. pepe's.
posted by sfz at 2:29 PM on April 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yale is near by and has some great museums (Peabody, etc..) and excellent draw for culture.
Connecticut is not California when it comes to food (having lived in both places) - though Ct is getting better and New Haven has some okay choices due to the international community.

If are from Northern California the ability to actually go swimming in the ocean (more than once a year on a lark) is really really great. Hammonasset State Park for example.

Decent skiiing is relatively close by in the winter (an hour away or so or even closer)

Warm summer nights are a delight.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 2:33 PM on April 11, 2009

First of all, I will second sfz's vote for best pizza in the country. I know there's a few Asian grocery stores in New Haven that I have heard good things about, but I haven't been in myself.

You mention New York City already, but I will just chime in: My experience has been that it's a relatively short trip into the city, which gets you all the benefit of fun-in-the-city without all the pain of living-in-the-city.

I grew up just outside New Haven, so I'm sure more ideas will come to me. I'll keep thinking and come back to the thread as things occur to me.
posted by pemberkins at 2:47 PM on April 11, 2009

I am originally from CT and love it. I like the people, and the directness of people that goes with Connecticut, and NYC metro area overall.

It really depends where you live in the state and what you are looking for. I lived in East Haddam for a while, 45 minutes outside of New Haven and it was a beautiful place to live. Depending upon what city you live in, there are excellent schools.

The shore especially the closer you get to Rhode Island is beautiful. And living in CT you can have a very high quality of life, and be close to New York City, one of the best cities in the world.
posted by hazyspring at 2:50 PM on April 11, 2009

If she hates winter, there isn't much you can say, but the cultural ameneties of living in the NE corridor are unrivaled. Endless weekend fun is always a short train ride away. (But I would't move back. I hate the winter.)
posted by Crotalus at 3:03 PM on April 11, 2009

Currently living in the SF Bay Area, lived in CT for years.

Benefits of CT over SF:

- New Haven's top pizzerias are the best in the nation (take that, New York and Chicago)
- NYC is an easy day trip
- New Haven, being the state's cultural mecca, has a lot of shows and art - a good scene.
- Fall foliage
- easy access to real NYC and NY-style delis
- lots of beautiful day trips in the state, esp the NW corner of the state and the coast east of NH.

Depending on your politics, another plus is:

- gay marriage - legal in CT

Don't know about Sanrio and manga, but you'll probably find it in New Haven. Check to see if Yale has an Anime club - they might do screenings during the semester.
posted by zippy at 3:06 PM on April 11, 2009

Connecticut native here. And like hazyspring, I love it am proud to be from there.

As mentioned above, there's easy access to Boston and NYC -- either by car or train.

New Haven itself has a lot to offer -- Yale, museums, pizza, America's first hamburger, as does the rest of Connecticut.

You're also close to beautiful sites/scenery: Litchfield County (where I'm from), Western Massachusetts/The Berkshires (many art galleries/museums like the wonderful Mass MoCA, etc.).

Also -- check out Connecticut Art Scene || Galleries || Museums.
posted by ericb at 3:07 PM on April 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Forgot one:

- awesome summertime thunderstorms.
posted by zippy at 3:08 PM on April 11, 2009

Check to see if Yale has an Anime club...

Yale Anime Society. Not sure if screenings are open to non-Yalies.
posted by ericb at 3:12 PM on April 11, 2009

New Haven Anime Club which meets at Library: New Haven Branch.
posted by ericb at 3:15 PM on April 11, 2009

Given your wife's interests, it might be a great place for you guys. The Wadsworth Athaneum is a phenomenal art museum in Hartford -- in fact, it was the first public art museum in the US. Yale has a couple of great museums (the Peabody is Natural History, the Center for British Art is pretty great). Also, Yale has a fantastic drama program (school, even?), and so there's really fantastic theater in New Haven pretty much constantly. There are a lot of other really nice little museums scattered throughout Connecticut, too -- a lot of my childhood weekends featured daytrips with Dad to see whatever was newly hung at a bunch of these.

By looking at the Sanrio website, I discovered two Sanrio retailers within 7 miles of New Haven. Again, with the magical power of Google I found two Asian grocery stores in the area.

One thing I'd really recommend, though, if you go, is to find some structured ways to try to meet people in your area. Art classes, sports, whatever. Connecticut is a place that is notorious for being very closed off to outsiders and newcomers, particularly in smaller towns. This was very much my experience there, and why I would never consider returning there to live. (I was still the 'new kid' at my school after 8 years. Seriously.) The more of a university area you're in the less of a problem this will be, so you might want to consider living in New Haven instead of the nearby town.
posted by amelioration at 3:22 PM on April 11, 2009

I live in Connecticut and grew up in the suburbs of New Haven. I also lived in Southern California for a few years and I like both places very much. I have to say, I live in a small town now that's not the one I grew up in, and people are really friendly (and even a bit nosy), so I think some towns are more welcoming than others. I'm guessing amelioration might have lived in Fairfield county because I've been told that some of the folks there are a bit snobbish (no idea if that's actually true).

Anyway, I see that no one's mentioned our two fabulous casinos -- Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. I don't know if you and the Mrs. like gambling, but if you do, you're in luck. They also have a bunch of restaurants, shows, spas and the like. Fun.

As for pizza, I have to put in a plug for Bar on Crowne Street. MMMMMM, Bar.

Well, welcome to the nutmeg state, Oso Mocoso!
posted by Maisie at 3:40 PM on April 11, 2009

There's less of the 'you're an outsider' in New Haven itself, and to some extent along the 'gold coast' towns. The further east and north you go, well, even my third-generation blood wasn't American enough. The city itself also has the 'New Haven Collective' which is good for meeting younger people in the late 20s-30ish range.

I live in the city. The Chinese food market downtown just expanded to over twice its size and you're in good shape for fresh produce all throughout the state...especially during the summer and fall. Food-networky, we have a decent variety of upscale groceries and ethnic markets, although I have been known to go into NYC to get Middle Eastern food. New, East and North Haven have Italian groceries, and Meriden/Orange has the Indian groceries.

Yes, we have winter. We also have a landlord who deals with the ploughing for us.

I don't know about Sanrio/anime; all I know is there's a lot of manga in the B&N in the area, and some of the local libraries have them in their YA collections.

To echo the others, there are many art museums/galleries not only in the city but scattered throughout the smaller towns. There's even a museum of cartooning out in Cheshire, although I've never been inside.
posted by cobaltnine at 3:51 PM on April 11, 2009

Yale has a fantastic drama program (school, even?)

Yep. Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre.
posted by ericb at 3:59 PM on April 11, 2009

There are two Asian groceries on the northern edge of downtown--one a bigger place chock-full of produce and packaged foods from a bunch of countries, which has also just added a Chinese bakery/restaurant(?) next door (on preview, cobaltnine has been there more lately, it seems!), and a smaller, more gourmet-type place a little further north. Blanking on the names of both...

No one's mentioned the parks?! New Haven has great open spaces. The Green at the center of downtown, Edgerton Park, and East Rock Park are my favorites. East Rock is unusually expansive for a city this size, and has a river you can ramble along and real (easy, but real) hiking trails up the rock itself.

Springs and falls are magnificent. Several orchards within easy driving distance. Farmers' markets all summer and fall, and even occasionally through winter.

Cultural life is amazing--more going on than you can ever get to. Concerts at Yale are often free. In summer, there are weekly free concerts on the Green. The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is two weeks of music, theater, dance, films, and lectures.

After seven years in the state, I'm still not a fan of Connecticut. But I love New Haven.
posted by hippugeek at 4:02 PM on April 11, 2009

Why not just go into New York for Sanrio and anime and manga. And there's always J-List, which means this stuff is on demand for her, anywhere and at any time.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:15 PM on April 11, 2009

I grew up in Connecticut and couldn't wait to leave. That said, if you work at it and you're willing to drive a little, you'll find everything you're looking for.

New Haven really is pretty cool. I only lived there for one summer, but what everybody is saying about the pizza is true. It's a college town, so you'll also find good restaurants and bars, and during the summer they have a nice concert series on the town green.

Northwest Connecticut is really more my area of expertise. It'll be an hour (or so) drive for you, but potentially worth it.

There's a huge Asian market called A Dong in West Hartford. West Hartford Center, which is essentially a strip mall masquerading as a down town area, is worth a look as well. Lots of good places to eat and shop there.

Another great place is the Hillstead Museum in Farmington. Some original Monets in a very intimate setting.

I don't know if any of that was helpful or not, but the overall message is that there is some cool stuff in the state. You just might have to look for it and plan your day around going there.
posted by thebergfather at 4:20 PM on April 11, 2009

Mamoun's falafel. While the original is, of course, in NYC, the New Haven restaurant has more room to sit down and an equally delicious menu.

Also seconding Louis' Lunch and Pepe's.

I suggest MeMailing some of the people here who know New Haven to get an idea of what neighborhoods might meet your requirements for housing.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 5:36 PM on April 11, 2009

Response by poster: McGullicuddy, I had lunch today at Mamoun's falafel!

Thanks everyone for all those links. I am about to go back to my house, which does not have Internet access turned on yet. Nor heat, which is what I'll miss more for the rest of the night. I don't have time to go through all of those links, but I will tomorrow. Thanks for the help, I didn't expect this much feedback.

I didn't know that Yale was so open to the public. I thought we'd be more or less denied the ability to use their services because we're not students or alumni. Apparently that's not the case? Interesting.

I'll look for the names of the Asian grocery stores on the north end of downtown New Haven. If anyone knows a name or a specific neighborhood, that would be helpful.

Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions. I really appreciate it.
posted by Oso Mocoso at 5:50 PM on April 11, 2009

Here you go:
Oriental Pantry
Hong Kong Market
and that link mentions State Fish Farm Market, which I'd forgotten.
Sorry I didn't just google for you earlier!

The usability of Yale amenities varies--certainly access is restricted on some things, but the arts are pretty open, and there's a whole neighborhood around Yale that is a restaurant/shopping district.
posted by hippugeek at 6:15 PM on April 11, 2009

hippugeek, this is the new hotness for Asian groceries:
posted by availablelight at 7:10 PM on April 11, 2009

Sorry-- hit "post" too soon.... J Mart is indeed open (not clear from their website) and has aisles and aisles of awesome imported staples and goodies, as well as fresh produce and live fish. More info:
posted by availablelight at 7:15 PM on April 11, 2009

Yes, to reiterate what others have said, CT has what you are looking for. In fact, it sounds like you and your wife might like to live in New Haven itself. For a small city, it has a fairly "large city" feel with a walkable shopping area.

For Asian food - East Asian (Chinese, Korean and Japanese) is well supported with specialty grocery stores, South Asian is not. There is J-Mart in 9th square (right downtown next to the highway, good restaurants but not nice to live). The other Asian stores are in the Orange-State street area, also where the fish store is - that neighbourhood is really nice. So is the City Point neighbourhood - right on the water, but away from the Asian food stores. I find that for food shopping, New Haven is best for Italian, Asian and Mexican food, because there is also a large Mexican and Central American community. There are a lot of things to please a foodie - the delis on Orange street, the fancy cheese shop, Edge of the Woods (great produce) and Trader Joes a short drive away from downtown. I have many foodie friends who have lived here for years.

And for the arts and museums - there is far more than any city this size should rightfully have. The Yale Art Gallery and British Art Centre run frequently changing shows as well as having good sized standing collections, and the Art School has many shows. There is both professional and good student theatre. There are free concerts by the Yale Philharmonic - the graduate student orchestra, who are better than some actually employed orchestras I have heard (grad music students are professional). Yale University events are often open to the public, especially the arts related ones. Major lectures will also be open, though they may move to a ticket system if it's too popular.

There are city organised summer music festivals (but I don't go because I am a hermit and they don't have internet outside).

I only know the one comic book store, and it's a bit of a superhero place than indie or anime, and I haven't found a decent games store, but the Barnes and Noble/Yale Bookstore has a great graphic novel section.

Weather-wise: somewhat humid in summer, but mild in winter. Much warmer than the mid-west. But generally quite pleasant.


On preview: J-Mart is very good (for Japanese, Korean or Taiwanese stuff) - at one point it had some lovely, cheap tofu they sold in bulk. My friend did mention they recently changed owners, so some of the products they sell might change.
posted by jb at 7:25 PM on April 11, 2009

McGuillicuddy - have you been to Mamouns in New Haven lately?* It's been a bit dire in the last few years. Aladdin's around the corner on Crown is better. Also Kasbah, a new garden cafe, though that's just ever so slightly pricier. For fancy middle Eastern, there is Istanbul (great Turkish food) also on Crown, and there is also a wonderful Ethiopian restaurant called Lalibela (on College near Crown?).
posted by jb at 7:32 PM on April 11, 2009

On the geeky side Lunacon in Rye Brook and Arisia in Boston are both excellent (though very different) SF conventions.

Also if it reaches New Haven, 91.7 WHUS is Uconn's radio station which is one of the best stations I've ever heard. Their website is currently down or I'd link to it.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 7:58 PM on April 11, 2009

jb--been awhile since I was passing as a townie in New Haven, and Mamoun's New Haven location always seemed like of an odd outpost of the cultural institution that is Mamoun's on MacDougal Street in the W. Village. Istanbul and Lalibela are both highly recommendable. There were a couple of fairly good Japanese restaurants, out on Whalley or Dixwell Ave. New Haven, for its size, really has great affordable restaurants.

I was trying to remember the name of the whole foods store, Edge of the Woods.

I'd also second all the parks. Edgemere has a beautiful garden in spring and summer. It's ride from downtown but West Rock Ridge State Park is nice for hiking. The Thimble Islands are a fun day trip in the summer.

Something to understand about New Haven/Yale is that Yale predates the incorporation of the city of New Haven and it was (still is?) exempt from city taxes on its vast real estate holdings. Yale was (is?) the biggest employer in town, but does not have a great history in its treatment of its non-faculty working-class New Haven employees. That has created tension between city residents and the university. One result is that many of the people doing security at Yale events are more interested in whether you treat them with respect than how fast you can whip out the Yale ID.

It's unrealistic to compare New Haven to major city but it really does have a lot to be said for it, including the short MetroNorth ride to NYC.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 8:47 PM on April 11, 2009

Also if it reaches New Haven, 91.7 WHUS is Uconn's radio station which is one of the best stations I've ever heard. Their website is currently down or I'd link to it

I think they'll be overpowered by WestConn's 91.7 WXCI which is a great station too.

I grew up listening to both WHUS and WXCI

and even made it on-air on WHUS as a guest DJ
on the Mike and Kevin show

posted by zippy at 10:07 PM on April 11, 2009

As for distinct seasonal weather, I was impressed every year I lived there with how truly 4-seasonal CT is; Spring and Fall actually last a good 3 months, unlike any other place I've lived. And they are gorgeous…
posted by dpcoffin at 1:31 AM on April 12, 2009

I don't have too much to add here except that, having grown up in New Haven, I can also confirm that you'll be able to find what you're looking for there. It's a pretty great little city.

You might also be interested in this thread about New Haven.
posted by bubukaba at 10:43 AM on April 12, 2009

In regards to the comment about car-jacking in New Haven in the other thread: seriously, WTF? I have never even heard of a car-jacking in New Haven, and I've lived here on and off over the last 7 years. Granted, I don't drive - instead I just walk around that neighbourhood. Occassionally someone is mugged (often in the posh bits, because muggers know their targets), but I wander through the "dangerous" neighbourhoods of Dixwell and Whalley all time time after dark, and I've never been so much as whistled at. I have gotten some friendly, hey, how are yous.

Don't believe what you hear about crime in New Haven - it's exagerrated. Sure, it's not Mayberry and there are serious problems with unemployment and poverty within the city, but I feel as safe here as I do back in Toronto, and our ghettos are pathetically safe.
posted by jb at 11:41 AM on April 12, 2009

I lived for 12 years in New Haven. Mamoun's is still there, which is so cool! Plus there are a number of other great restaurants, the museums at Yale (plus the Peabody), good music at Toad's, easy access to the shore, and good shopping. I'd avoid the Rte 1 strip (Devon, Orange, Milford) because if traffic. Not that New Haven doesn't have its share.

I lived on Orange Street not far from East Rock, on County Street over by the high school, on Dixwell Avenue, and one or two other streets whose names I've forgotten.

Radio: WPKN (89.5, University of Bridgeport), WYBC, I forget the number.

For sf, Lunacon certainly, and don't forget Boskone up in Boston; great, great con, great people.

Pepe's has recently opened a second store in Bridgeport, and the pizza is just as good. I mean this is serious pizza, probably the best you will ever have. But Sally's is good, too, and so is The Spot.

Edgewood Park used to have concerts and the like (and I've seen some great ones on the NH Green) but I don't know what is going on with that scene these days.

I'll never in my life forget the gathering on the Green the day after John Lennon was shot --- many many people standing silently in a circle, stunned, not knowing what to say or do...
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:08 AM on May 8, 2009

In addition to everything mentioned upthread, New Haven also has lots of small and interesting galleries, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, Long Wharf Theatre, the Connecticut Folk Festival, free concerts on the Green in the summertime... lots of events and options. Not far away is some nice hiking at Sleeping Giant and many other places. The Farmington Canal Trail (great for walking, running, biking, or rollerblading) will soon complete another leg so that it runs continuously from downtown up through Hamden to Cheshire. There are a few different farmers' markets in town.

Hartford has a lot going on, too, though I don't know the area as well. Downtown Milford is kind of cute, especially in summertime. Northwest Connecticut is lovely. There's a surprising amount of variety here.
posted by bassjump at 3:04 PM on May 8, 2009

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