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June 5, 2005 12:09 AM   Subscribe

Seeking Northeastern US towns with particular characteristics:

This is for a project, so the towns need not be good places to live/visit or have lodging, dining, etc.

The characteristics I seek are: (and the towns must meet ALL criteria, but it's okay if only part of the town qualifies)
• sidewalks
• on-street parking
• people walking around on Friday nights in the summer
• houses close together
• houses close to the road
• houses intermixed with businesses.

Towns that meet this criteria: Essex, CT. Provincetown, MA. City Island, NY. Newport, RI. So far it seems that being a historical town and/or being in a desireable location often lead to the close-togetherness of buildings in a suitable way.

I am most interested in towns in CT and NY (near NYC), but I'm collecting a wider list as well!
posted by xo to Travel & Transportation (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, MD, might work, although it may be too far south for you. It's got all the characteristics you want, I think.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:32 AM on June 5, 2005

You already had Newport, RI (first town that came to mind), but I'd also include East Greenwich, RI. The Main street has on street parking, sidewalks, night activity, houses and businesses on the road. Possibly Mystic, CT too.
posted by knave at 1:04 AM on June 5, 2005

Parts of Providence itself works as well. Main Street and Wickenden come to mind.
posted by fionab at 1:14 AM on June 5, 2005

In NJ, check out Ridgewood and Allendale. Ridgewood is probably closer to what you seek, more of an old-time small town feel, but very upscale. Both are within the NY metro area in Bergen County.
posted by Expat at 2:56 AM on June 5, 2005

Newburyport, MA
posted by caddis at 4:35 AM on June 5, 2005

Great Barrington, MA (in the Berkshires) seems to fit your criteria. Also Bedford Hills, NY and the Main, Wickenden, or Thayer Street drags in Providence, RI may work.
posted by dagnyduquette at 4:43 AM on June 5, 2005

Portsmouth, NH would fit.
posted by veronitron at 5:05 AM on June 5, 2005

In NJ, check out Ridgewood

Ridgewood is mostly suburban (with just a couple of apartment exceptions). /RHS '94

I'd second Portsmouth, NH. It may very well be the perfect NE town.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:33 AM on June 5, 2005

Several towns on Long Island's North Shore fit that criteria. Oyster Bay and Cold Springs Harbor come to mind.
posted by saladin at 6:38 AM on June 5, 2005

Northampton, MA & Amherst, MA (also Newburyport - though that's considerably farther from the CT/NYC area)

Brattleboro, VT (about as far from CT as Newburyport)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:45 AM on June 5, 2005

You can also be almost any town in Vermont as long as you're big enough to have sidewalks and small enough to have residential buildings downtown. College towns in New England tend to qualify, so I'd say Hanover New Hampshire [home of Dartmouth] is a biggie along the lines of the towns others have indicated. My town, Bethel Vermont, fits this criteria [though people might be described as "milling about" on a Friday and not walking around] and so does Randolph Vermont down the road as well as a lot of the towns near here.
posted by jessamyn at 8:39 AM on June 5, 2005

Might be too far south, but Collingswood NJ and maybe Haddonfield NJ.
posted by elisabeth r at 8:39 AM on June 5, 2005

Other New Jersey ideas:

- Metuchen
- Westfield

You might want to also consider some other neighborhoods in the boroughs, which have a single family homes, satisfy your other criteria, and potentially have a more interesting demographic mix:

Maspeth, Queens
Bayside, Queens (around Bell Boulevard)
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
posted by MattD at 8:45 AM on June 5, 2005

Tappan, NY. It would meet all of your structural requirements, it is a historic neighborhood, and people would be likely to be out on Friday night both because of the bus route to the city that runs through there hourly and the restaurant that is there. It's only about a half hour from the city, so it's pretty conveniently located.
posted by invitapriore at 8:49 AM on June 5, 2005

I lived in Stamford for 8 years, and can tell you that it's probably a little more metropolitan than you need. However, the outlying towns on the edge of Stamford sound ideal for your criteria. Westport, New Canaan (if you don't mind rabid conservatives), Ridgefield, Pound Ridge (NY), and the like.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:53 AM on June 5, 2005

Long Beach, NY - great little town on the south shore of Long Island. It's got a nice downtown area (two of em, actually) with plenty of restaurants and a movie theatre, bars and some shops. a 2-mile long boardwalk runs along the ocean, with nice white-sand beaches. There is a Long Island Rail Road stop in the town - it's about a 50 minute ride into Manhattan.
posted by skwm at 9:31 AM on June 5, 2005

I have another good suggestion that might be preferable to Tappan, actually, because it is more likely that people will be out at night - Piermont, NY, very nearby, is a town on the Hudson in Rockland county that sounds like it would meet your needs perfectly.
posted by invitapriore at 9:48 AM on June 5, 2005

At least three towns in Morris County NJ would fit your criteria: Morristown, Madison and Chatham. Lots of resturants, little shops and historic houses.
posted by octothorpe at 10:14 AM on June 5, 2005

Waltham, MA
posted by copperbleu at 11:24 AM on June 5, 2005

When you say town, I resume you mean to set a size limit*.

Beacon, NY
Chatham, NY
New Haven, CT
Great Barrington, MA or Stockbridge, MA (maybe both -- it's been a while)
North Adams, MA
Camden, ME
Rockland, ME
Wiscasset, ME
(Really, almost every town of any size I've been to in Maine.)

It's been a long time since I visited along the shore of Connecticut but lots of towns do meet the description -- maybe Essex, Mystic, Old Saybrook, Guiford?

*If not, obvious first answer is NYC.
posted by Dick Paris at 11:45 AM on June 5, 2005

posted by Dick Paris at 5:55 PM on June 5, 2005


Also, I can second Waltham.
posted by Eideteker at 6:35 PM on June 5, 2005

Needs a definition of 'town.' I believe Waltham calls itself a city.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:50 AM on June 6, 2005

I would second Newburyport except for the fact that everything closes at 7:00pm except the numerous restaurants. I have to go with Portsmouth that has the better night life.
posted by themadjuggler at 7:23 AM on June 6, 2005

I am most interested in towns in CT and NY (near NYC), but I'm collecting a wider list as well!

Looking to relocate, are you? I have similar requirements, and I've surmised that pretty much any college town would fit the bill.

These are not college towns, but are within about an hour from NYC by train: Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Tarrytown, Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry. Collectively known as "the River Towns," they are known for their unpretentiousness, good schools, quaint Main Streets, and a vaguely artsy feeling. Also: They are very expensive (perhaps not by comparison to Scarsdale or Greenwich, CT, but still a pretty penny). A little further north is Mount Kisco, which is very similar and probably even more expensive.
posted by scratch at 7:24 AM on June 6, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks all for the suggestions so far! To clarify what I stated above, no, this is not about relocation. Price, character, political bent, what times stores close -- none of it matters. It is for a project, and the exact criteria I listed above are what I'm interested in.

Town vs. city doesn't matter either, sorry for not specifying... I said town because my best guess was that the features I need would be more in towns than in cities, but from the responses it seems like Providence might do, so maybe other cities as well. NYC does have some areas that work, parts of Queens and Brooklyn that have houses and businesses.

Saturday night I went to Old Saybrook (doesn't qualify: businesses are not mixed with houses) and Essex (does qualify: perfect according to criteria). Last night I went to Westport (doesn't qualify: businesses are not mixed with houses), New Canaan (small pockets of town qualify, enough for the project) and Pound Ridge (seems to be stores only with houses in the blocks behind, but one corner worked for the project).
posted by xo at 8:58 AM on June 6, 2005

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