It wasn’t so much fate that brought us back to New Canaan, but a previous encounter 10 years earlier. My husband and I had rented a small cottage here before we fled the New England we had grown up with for the “while we are young” adventure elsewhere. Returning to this specific area and New Canaan in particular was an easy choice. On the surface, it was the proximity to New York City, the charm and unique ambiance of this walking village (void of the incessant traffic of Route 1) and the excellence of the school system…two had become four during in our years away.
Raising and education two daughters produced a life immersed in community activities; weekend soccer and lacrosse games on town fields, afternoons at the various town playgrounds, ice hockey and skating, Brownie Troops, dance performances with Walter Schalk School of Dance, art classes at the Silvermine Art Guild, theatrical performances at the Powerhouse Theater, horseback riding at New Canaan Mounted Troop, school trips, various school sporting competitions, go cart racing and summers swimming and playing tennis at the New Canaan Field Club.
Then there were, and continue to be, the town wide events; the May Festival at St. Mark’s Church, marching in the Memorial Day Parade, the July Fourth fireworks on the lawn of the 360 acre Waveny Park, the Ice Cream Social at the Historical Society and the town wide candle light carol singing on Christmas Eve outside the Congregation Church.
New Canaan continues to unfold its charm. Restaurants with excellent cuisines draw people from surrounding areas (we have become quite a culinary destination), shopping, town amenities such as the Town Pool, The Teen Center, Historical Society, YMCA, the New Canaan Library,Lapham Center, Carriage Barn, the baseball fields, tennis courts and playground at Mead Park, Kiwanis Park’s swimming pond and playground, Irwin Park with its running trails and open space and the sports fields, paddle tennis courts, trails and meadows of Waveny Park… the list goes on and the exploration continues.
I know Realtors can shamelessly promote the area or towns where they live, but here is one case where the town speaks for itself. The most compelling reason for living in New Canaan is “community”.

Summer Camps for Kids in New Canaan

Take heart…the arrival in the mail of summer camp brochures and registrations heralds longer days and better weather. The choices range from art, music and performing arts to playing with bugs and learning about the natural world around us, from a bevy of soccer, field hockey, specialized sports camps,   to all encompassing activity camps….the list is long, the options amazing.

The New Canaan Recreational Department holds the Waveny Day Camp for kids 7-11, Camp Pee Wee for kids 5 & 6 and a Tiny Tot camp which consists of arts and crafts, stories and outdoor play. The camps are subject to a lottery system so be in touch as soon as possible.  Waveny pool has swimming, diving and water polo teams competing in the Fairfield County League along with individual swimming lessons.

The New Canaan YMCA has extensive summer programs from Camp Mini for children 3-5, and Y-Ki for kids k-6 to their Sports Camp for grades 1-7 encompassing swimming, golf, basketball, tennis, gymnastics, leadership training and a special cares camp.

Camp Playland is celebrating it’s 55th year and it’s highly regarded summer program of swimming, music, dance and drama, athletics and a host of additional activities serves children 3 through entering 6th grade.

The New Canaan Nature Center has a host of programs including a Mommy and Me session with live animals, a Summer Camp where kids get to explore the marvels of nature and  learn wilderness skills, the Adventure Camp for children 10-14 with off site visits, hiking, paddling and an overnight experience and a Teacher-Naturalist in Training program for 14-17 year olds who gain leadership and environmental experience .

The Silvermine Art Guild holds their art camp from July through August where children can discover the wonders of oil paint, charcoal, clay, wood, watercolor and come home wonderfully colorful and thrilled to share their masterpieces.

Toddlertime Nursery School offers innovative drop off programs for children ages 21 months until kindergarten in a secure and nurturing environment led by early childhood professionals.  This summer program is rich in imagination, creativity and hands-on (wonderfully messy) fun.

The list goes on….Talk with other parents… and please check with these and other organizations for up to date information.

Rev your engines.. Caffeine and Carburetors is Back!!! April 22, 2018- New Canaan’s premier car event

Forget the robins and the sprouting daffodils…this event truly signals the beginning of spring!

Caffeine & Carburetors has become a celebrated gathering of automotive enthusiasts located in New Canaan, Connecticut. Doug Zumbach, owner of Zumbachs Coffee, began hosting these get-togethers in 1995 with only a handful of sports cars aficionados.  C&C has now grown to approximately 1500 spectacular automobiles and motorcycles and is a wonderful chance for motor fanatics, as well as the average layperson and family, to socialize and appreciate these beautiful machines.

There are four events this year held in alternating venues starting in the heart of downtown and then moving to New Canaan’s 300-acre Waveny Park.  The event starts early with cars arriving around 8:00 am and exiting by 11:00. So grab a cup of coffee and join us!

It is the best free car show on the Eastern seaboard!

2018 Schedule:

April 22 – Downtown
June 17 – Waveny Park
September 16 – Downtown
October 21- Waveny Park

Caffeine and Carburetors is a way to indulge the gear head in all of us, whether you are two legged or four! For more information please visit our website…you’ll get the gist.



Life’s Too Short…Enjoy the Music!

Waveny Concert
Whether it is Jazz, Swing, Rock and Roll, New Orleans Funk, Country Western….it all here at the Waveny Park Outdoor Concert Series in New Canaan. Bring a picnic, blanket or chair, Frisbee, feet for dancing and hands for clapping.  Much better than sitting at home on a Wednesday night and clicking the like button!!
waveny concert

How Elm Street got it’s groove


In the scheme of things Elm Street is a relatively new road. Park Street, “the Postroad to Stamford” and Main Street, “the Road to Darien” date back to the days when New Canaan was Canaan Parish (founded 1731), but it was not until the 19th century that they were connected by crossroads. Maple Street and Cherry Street were opened up in 1825 and 1826 to encourage residential building. When Elm Street was laid out in 1848 as the third crossroad from Park to Main it was known as Trade Street. Tradition holds that Elm Street was named by William Dann, who arrived from Stamford in 1851 to open up a grocery store and livery stable on the south side of the first block on the new road. When ordering an announcement card for his businesses Dann was informed by the New York printer that they must have a street address. Until then, few New Canaan roads had names. So Dann coined the name “Elm Street”. The naming of Cherry and Maple followed shortly after.

The first block of Elm (between Main and South Avenue) provided new business sites and opportunities. But Elm Street in the next block presented a considerable challenge for building and traffic. Just west of South Avenue the road rose in a short steep hill, steep enough to provide a good coast down to Park and to pose difficulties for heavy horse-drawn wagons, such as those The Hoyt Nursery sent loaded with trees to be shipped on the railroad cars. In April 1889, with no power machinery available, the highway crews began the back breaking job, with picks and shovels, of “downgrading” the Elm Street hill. Blasting often was necessary to break through the rock ledge. The roadbed was lowered by several feet while Main Street was raised by the loads of stone and gravel deposited by horse drawn dump carts.

Once the first trains ran into New Canaan on July 4, 1868, Elm Street was rechristened Railroad Avenue in honor of the town’s new pride and joy and would retain that name for the next 68 years. But as businesses grew and the population expanded the town’s community leaders felt the name “Railroad Avenue” conveyed no impression of the neat colonial atmosphere that the street has achieved. So in 1936 the name “Elm Street” was officially restored.

By 1926 New Canaan was a fast growing community. People were moving in, summer residents from New York came in droves and there became a demand for new services and businesses. The creation of the red brick and white trim Playhouse, designed and built in 1922-1923 by New Canaan architect Calvin Kiessling, established the “colonial” look of Elm Street which was maintained in future expansion. Kaiser & Deforest had applied for a permit to put in a filling station (where Mobil is now) north of their garage at the corner of South Avenue and Cherry Street. A new plant west of the Playhouse was being constructed to house the New Canaan Advertiser and John McGrath’s taxi service.  When Brotherhood & Higley Real Estate began business in 1926, Elm Street (called Railroad Avenue then) presented an almost rural scene in the block between South Avenue and Park Street. On the south side of the block there was just one house, which sat high on a bank. On the north side was only the Playhouse of New Canaan and the real estate office of John Brotherhood which sat all by itself diagonally across from the railway station at the corner of Elm and Park.

The village of New Canaan continued to expand. By 1936 the Colonial Building had been erected, a lease had been signed by First National’s  grocery store (today the Whitney shop), and the south side of the street housed the Mar-Ken’s restaurant,  A&P’s liquor store, Totaro’s fruit and vegetable store (shared with Pia’s meat market), Seymour’s gift and stationary store, a dress shop and the Colonial Barber Shop. Upstairs offices included three dentists, three architects, two construction companies, a lawyer and the New Canaan Water Company. By itself, down the block, was Albert Franco’s grocery and liquor store and at the corner was a Texaco filling station (now Starbucks). It’s hard to image four grocery stores on the south side of Elm Street.

Businesses have come and gone and moved from one Elm Street site to another, but the blocks between South and Park retains much of its colonial appearance. Surrounding the stalwart establishments of Franco’s (now Franco’s Wine Merchant), Brotherhood & Higley Real Estate and the Playhouse, businesses continue to thrive and transform. Second stories have been added to many of the buildings to house a plethora of enterprises and companies. Restaurants, pharmacies, boutique shops and mainstream retailers have all taken advantage of one of the few “walking towns” left in Fairfield County.

Thanks to remarkable people like Mary Louise King and countless others who put down on paper their recollections and organized numerous records we have a treasure trove of accounts and descriptions of this “quintessential New England” village. Taking great license with their work the proceeding information was culled, copied and condensed from sources acquired from the New Canaan Historical Society.


Ferreting through the New Canaan Historical Society

Historical society

Having lived in New Canaan off and on for the past 22 years I finally spent some time in the New Canaan Historical Society’s incredible and extensive library. Through the years our family has explored their museums, attended some of their educational programs and enjoyed their annual and time-honored “Ice Cream Social” . This time my original mission was to research a house I was listing. Before long I was off on other tangents; exploring the amazing archives for photographs and stories of this wonderful town as well as the history of the firm I work for (Brotherhood & Higley). Thanks to remarkable people like Mary Louise King and countless others who put down on paper their recollections and organized numerous records we have a treasure trove of accounts and descriptions of this “quintessential New England” village. Taking great license with their work and plagiarizing some of their copy I respectfully will submit a few fascinating tidbits of our town. Please visit and become a member of the New Canaan Historical Society.  “History ought never to be confused with nostalgia. It’s written not to revere the dead, but to inspire the living.”  – Simon Schama

Mid Century Modern Homes in New Canaan

The Harvard Five was a group of architects that settled in New Canaan, Connecticut in the 1940s: John M. Johansen, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, Philip Johnson and Eliot Noyes. Marcel Breuer was an instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, while Gores, Johansen, Johnson and Noyes were students there.[1]

They were all influenced by Walter Gropius, a leader in the Bauhaus movement and the head of the architecture program at Harvard.

The small town of New Canaan is nationally recognized for its many examples of modern architecture. Approximately 100 modern homes were built in town, including Johnson’s Glass House and the Landis Gores House, and about 20 have been torn down. Four are now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: the Landis Gores House, the Richard and Geraldine Hodgson House, the Philip Johnson Glass House, and the Noyes House.

Other notable architects lived in New Canaan and designed residences for themselves and clients there, including John Black Lee, Hugh Smallen, Victor Christ-Janer, Alan Goldberg, and Carl Koch.

Mid Century Modern Real Estate Listings

Mid-Century Modern Homes Resources

Modern Homes Survey New Canaan, CT

The Philip Johnson Glass House – New Canaan, CT

The Harvard Five in New Canaan
Source: Wikipedia CC-BY-SA