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In 1889, when Mark Twain exemplified the quintessentially American virtues of hard work, pluck and ingenuity, he picked a native of the Constitution State to be the hero of his classic adventure novel, “A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court.” Today, over a hundred and twenty years later, Connecticut remains a state that’s tiny in size but huge in entrepreneurial significance. Connecticut Land for Sale is an invitation to follow America’s footsteps down history’s path.
Connecticut is one of the anchors of that part of the northeastern United States known as New England. The state is rich in history and scenic beauty. From a rocky, jagged coastline fronting Long Island Sound, the landscape rises sharply into the thickly forested Appalachian, Berkshire and Taconic Mountain Ranges. The Connecticut River, the longest waterway in all New England, wends its way down the center of the state before emptying into the Sound. Early territorial disputes with adjacent states have resulted in some eccentric boundary mapping: the Granby Notch in the north is a two mile detour by Massachusetts across Connecticut boundaries, while the Fairfield panhandle – the most populous county in Connecticut and one of the wealthiest in the entire United States – is the result of a trade in which New York state ended up with the city of Rye.
Many of Connecticut’s villages, towns and cities, built during colonial times, were planned around a central park or “green” which gives them a distinctive and historic appearance. The smaller towns in Connecticut’s mountainous north contrast sharply with the sophisticated population centers closer to the coastline. Connecticut’s largest city, Bridgeport, is a sleeper community servicing New York City, 48 miles away. New Haven, Connecticut’s second largest metropolis is famous as the site of Yale University, one of the world’s great institutions of higher learning, which together with biotechnology, professional services and financial services, and retail trade form New Haven’s vibrant economic base. Hartford, the state capital, has been nicknamed the “Insurance Capital of the World;” many domestic and international insurance companies are headquartered here including Travelers, Aetna, and health insurance giant CIGNA. New London along the northeast coast is home to the United States Coast Guard Academy, while Waterbury along the Naugatuck River was famous for the manufacture of brass, clocks and watches well into the twentieth century.
Connecticut’s winters are snowy and cold, frequently ripped by powerful blizzards called Nor’easters when cold Arctic air collides with the warmer Gulf Stream currents off Long Island Sound. A brief spring provides a profusion of wild flowers, while summers are hot and humid, and seemingly endless until a spectacular explosion of autumn foliage signals it’s time to get ready for winter again.
Connecticut was one of the earliest adaptors in the nation of a service-based rather than a manufacturing-based economy, which sheltered the state from the initial effects of the recent recession. Still the secondary effects of recession shaved thousands of jobs throughout the state from the insurance, financial and higher education sectors. Connecticut is not expected to make a full jobs recovery until 2012.
There are signs though that Connecticut’s real estate market is making a comeback. The housing bubble left its mark on Connecticut, both physically and economically: the manicured lawns of Fairfield County are littered with empty McMansions, the result of real estate speculators who bought property, demolished existing buildings and constructed upscale housing in their place, hoping to flip the parcel for three or four times its original asking price. Such teardowns are beginning again and many economists see that as a sign that Connecticut is recovering from the recent recession ahead of most of the nation. Fairfield County homes are down 30% from their 2007 peak. Connecticut Land for Sale is a bargain right now, but it won’t be for long.