Apartment hunting around Derby, CT
May 8, 2009 3:53 AM   Subscribe

My S.O. is moving to Derby, CT next month for a year-long job. Where should he live?

He will be taking a job at Griffin Hospital in Derby and is looking for a place in Derby or in one of the towns nearby. He has a car and would like a commute of less than 15 minutes (New Haven is a stretch but possible if there are compelling reasons to live there). Which town(s) do you recommend? We've heard about Shelton, Naugatuck and maybe Derby itself being better options, but beyond that, we're at a loss.

Priorities are: a short easy commute, convenience (big grocery stores open 24 hours), safety. A cheery, active vibe would be great, but cafes/nightlife/etc are secondary. He's aiming for a 1-bedroom or studio less than $800.

The area is completely unfamiliar to both of us, except for the couple times I've visited New Haven, and Craigslist has been a bit concern-inducing (some of the apartments and neighborhoods in certain towns look consistently rundown and depressing). So, please advise. Much thanks!
posted by nemutdero to Travel & Transportation around Derby, CT (8 answers total)
One possibility might be West Haven. It's closer than New Haven and cheaper and your S.O. might be able to find a place next to the beach. There's definitely big grocery stores there (along Campbell Ave.) and it's pretty safe, especially if you're south of 95. And I would say that it has a cheery, active vibe, especially in the summer.

There's a big stretch of grocery stores and Targets and stuff on Boston Post Road in Orange. It's not the most scenic stretch of road, but Orange itself is nice (if a little sleepy).

You might also consider the Westville area of New Haven, near West Rock Park and Edgewood Park. The keywords on Craigslist will likely be "Yale Bowl," "SCSU," and "Westville Village." Westville's really nice -- a lot of Yale professors live there. I think it would meet your S.O.'s criteria. I've never tried the commute on 34 or 243. It might be kind of trafficky, but it looks close on the map.

I don't know much about Derby itself, though. It very well could be a decent place to live -- maybe other commenters would know.

Good luck!
posted by miriam at 5:30 AM on May 8, 2009

P.S. Incidentally, I'm apartment-hunting myself and just noticed this craigslist ad.

It looks nice (walking distance to your S.O.'s hospital!), but I don't know anything about Ansonia.
posted by miriam at 6:24 AM on May 8, 2009

I think Westville is a pretty good call. The strip of shops there isn't huge but includes a nice breakfast/lunch place (Bella's Cafe) and good restaurant/pub (Delaney's Tap Room). There is a Shaw's supermarket down Whalley towards New Haven (though things do get sketchy in that direction) and a Stop and Shop near Rt 15 in the other direction. Neither is walkable though.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 7:00 AM on May 8, 2009

Westville isn't bad at all, and it's a fairly short schlep up to Derby from there, and pretty scenic, too, generally. I can't speak about the traffic threse days since it's been quite some time since I lived in New Haven. But that's the way I went, up Rte 34, because I was freelancing for a guy living in Derby at the time.

The Valley itself (Ansonia, Shelton, Derby) is kind of seedy -- or was -- but there are certainly some nice areas. My info about them is clearly outdated, though.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:00 AM on May 8, 2009

It's been a while since I have live in the area but westville is a nice place to live. I would look along the rt. 34 corridor which would include both West Haven and Westville (really just a section of New Haven) plus Orange, don't knock Derby and Ansonia, the towns out that way have a worn out mill town vibe in the center but they really are suburbs -- more or less. (I scrolled past miriam's response...those are the keywords to look for).

Commuting out of Westville to Rt. 34 can be a pain during rush hour as the major artery, Forrest Rd., can have a great deal of traffic during the rush hours.

Enjoy New Haven while you are there, it's a great little city with plenty of food, culture and night and day life. I'm jealous.
posted by sundri at 1:37 PM on May 8, 2009

Any of the towns in that area - Ansonia, Derby, Naugatuck - have some nice areas and some not-so-nice ones. Some areas are definitely run-down or even sketchy; other parts are really pretty. It might take some time to look at places and get a sense of the different neighborhoods.
posted by bassjump at 2:49 PM on May 8, 2009

Orange is lovely but isn't a town with much rental property. West Haven is loaded with rentals and while there are nice areas, there are also a lot of really sketchy neighborhoods, so you'd have to do some legwork to sort that out.

Along with Westville, you might want to consider Milford, a shoreline city smack between New Haven and Derby. Downtown Milford has been renovated recently and has sort of a quaint, New Englandy feeling, with little shops, a bed and breakfast, restaurants and a marina. There's a well-maintained mall, lots of places to eat, a big movie theater, and more than one grocery store open 24 hours. There's a hospital and a new walk-in clinic that's affiliated with that hospital, just in case.

There are a few beaches and several summertime festivals (including the Oyster Festival, which draws people from all over the state). Oh, and there's also Charles Island which you can walk to via sandbar at certain times of day. Not much to do out there, but local legend has it that Captain Kidd buried treasure there.

I think you'd be able to find rents in the range you mentioned.

No, I don't work for the Chamber of Commerce, but I've lived in the area most of my life. It's definitely worth a look. Feel free to MeMail me if you have any questions.
posted by contrariwise at 4:53 PM on May 8, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone! Along with Derby itself, we'll take a look at Westville, Orange, and perhaps Milford (it is a tad far, but it sounds great).
posted by nemutdero at 1:05 AM on May 10, 2009

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