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”.

New Canaan CT Schools

New Canaan boasts a variety of excellent public and private schools with the highest state ratings. Over 95.4% of graduates continue their education in colleges and universities. The public school system was recently ranked number one in the State and number two in the country among comparable communities by Forbes magazine. The public school system is comprised of three elementary schools (West, South and East Schools), Saxe Middle School and New Canaan High School. The public school system offers special education programs and several adult education classes are available. New Canaan’s per pupil expenditure in 2009-10 was $17,032. 2010 SAT Scores: Math 610; Critical Reading 585; Writing 601. These scores earned the New Canaan High School the number 1 ranking in Connecticut.
Americas Best School Districts for Your Housing Buck

East Elementary School
54 Littlebrook Road
West Elementary School
769 Ponus Ridge
South Elementary School
8 Farm Road
Saxe Middle School, grades 5-8
468 South Avenue
New Canaan High School, grades 9-12,
11 Farm Road

Private Schools in New Canaan

St. Aloysius School (Catholic, K-8), 203.966.0786
Founded in 1956 and located in the heart of downtown New Canaan, St. Aloysius School is a Roman Catholic diocesan co-educational school for grades kindergarten through eight. This year St. Aloysius was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the Secretary of Education, one of only 50 private schools in the nation to achieve this distinction. St. Aloysius earned this award for “Outstanding Academic Achievement” in reading and mathematics. The School’s Eighth Grade graduating classes of the past two years scored in the top 10 percent nationally on standardized reading and math tests for five consecutive years.
St. Luke’s School (independent, 5-12), 203.966.5612
Founded in 1927 on a campus of over 40 acres, St. Lukes educates 504 students, 239 in the Middle School and 265 in the Upper School. The average class size is 10 to 12 students and the faculty to student ratio is 1:8. 70 students graduated in 2009 and are moving on to colleges including: Amherst College; Boston College; Brown University; Bowdoin; College of the Holy Cross; Colgate; Cornell; Dartmouth College; Georgetown; Middlebury; New York University; Skidmore College; Trinity College; Tufts University; University of Richmond; Wake Forest University, Wesleyan University.
New Canaan Country School (independent, preK-9) Located at the corner of Frogtown Road and Ponus Ridge Road, the New Canaan Country School is home to 621 students from pre-K through Ninth Grade. Founded in 1916 the New Canaan Country School features a 75 acre campus, a student to teacher ratio of 6:1, and a diverse student body drawing from over 18 area towns. The average teacher there has been teaching over 18 years and 68% have a graduate degree.

Nursery Schools in New Canaan

Beginner’s Nature Program
The New Canaan Nature Center
144 Oenoke Ridge
New Canaan, CT 06840
New Canaan Community Nursery School
77 Old Norwalk Road
New Canaan, CT 06840
First Presbyterian Nursery School
178 Oenoke Ridge
New Canaan, CT 06840
Playland Nursery School
800 Ponus Ridge Road
New Canaan, CT 06840
Little Owl Nursery School, YMCA
564 South Avenue
New Canaan, CT 06840
Toddlertime Nursery School
The Congegational Church
23 Park Street
New Canaan, CT 06840
Methodist Church Nursery School
165 South Avuenue
New Canaan, CT 06840
St. Marks Nursery School
111 Oenoke Ridge Road
New Canaan, CT 06840


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The Lee Memorial Garden in New Canaan

New Canaan is rich with hidden treasures created by individuals with passion and creativity. These 2.7 acres of pure woodland bliss and spectacular display in spring is a gift left to us by George S. Lee who spent 40 years establishing this extraordinary refuge. The Lee Memorial Garden is a grateful tonic for the soul after the snows have melted and the winds subsided. After a day of real estate, or yet one more load of laundry, a stroll through the gardens relaxes my shoulders that have somehow managed to creep up to my ears. Do yourself a favor and leave your blackberry and your cell phone in the car. We all need time off from the world and dinner can wait.

Stimulus in the Suburbs

The government stimulus package aside, here is a “real time”, cost effective stimulus guaranteed to shake off the malaise, lift the spirits and raise your confidence.

Thirty minutes from New Canaan is Grand Prix New York, a 120,000, sq. ft facility dedicated to the best indoor recreational racing I have yet experienced. And trust me; married to a long time racing aficionado I have experienced a few tracks. This is not your Grandfather’s soap box derby. Roaring engines, two European style racing tracks, posh facilities and an award winning restaurant…this is the real deal.

Eleven of us arrived on a late Sunday afternoon after a week of apprehension with emails flying back and forth trying to decide whether we were nuts and maybe this should be a spectator sport instead. We were asked to sign in and choose a racing name suitable for the thrill of the event; mine was Uvegottobekidding ,but those with more of an edge had names like Rover, Blue Thunder, Dizzy D, BlondeAmbition and yes, Whimpy. We sat for a 15 minute tutorial and safety video and then it was off to the dressing room to be outfitted with racing suits, neck guards and helmets.

Stepping out onto the track with its twists and turns, flashing lights, roaring engines, hearing your name called, easing  yourself into the Kart, pulling your visor down, watching the Track Marshal  signaling you like a traffic cop on too much caffeine and sugar…this is where the heart rate starts to rise and you realize you can’t back out now and “just what was I thinking?”. The lights go green, the flag comes down and somehow you find your foot flat down on the accelerator, faster, braking, turning, picking up speed again, straightaway, go, skidding,  and you can’t tell who just passed you except by the color of their sneakers… did I really just get passed by my daughter…oh no you don’t! Suddenly the checkered flag waves in front of you and the first race is over. Your insides are still humming, the helmets come off and everyone is talking all at once; “you squeezed me out of the corner”, “I have got to get me one of these”, “can we go again”, “that was awesome”, “you are so dead the next time”.

Several races later we collapsed into the restaurant on the premises. Eau Rouge is reasonably priced and a wonderful surprise with a variety of salads, appetizers, and entrees that one would enjoy while watching Formula One racing in France. Pictures and stories were shared by good friends after the adrenaline rush of afternoon racing. Other than my husband and a friend of his who both race competitively, the rest of the group had been a bit uneasy and nervous about racing go-karts. All the previous anxiety and trepidation were for naught. This is a safe, fun and thoroughly exciting experience. The New York Times’ recently had an article that read, “don’t dismiss the importance of confidence at a time when spirits hang low”. Suiting up, showing up, completing the race, and catching up to that daughter who passed you on turn 7 was well worth it.  It’s a definite confidence builder and worth the short trip. See for yourself at Yes, tomorrow you may be a bit sore, but think of that green flag waving and your day may start in a higher gear and with a smile.