Linda Raymond Real Estate Blog, Fairfield, Westport & More

Fairfield & Westport Living- homes, fun stuff & more!


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Financial Stress: 6 Strategies Seniors Can Use to Find Relief

Thank you to our guest writer, Jim Vogel from eldersinaction.org for this article!

Photo by Unsplash

Financial stress is a never-ending problem that can lead to physical and mental health challenges for older adults. While research shows seniors aren’t the group most stressed by finances, they often have unique challenges when it comes to money. Mainly, they have fewer options for finding relief.

If you or a senior loved one is experiencing financial stress, there are some big and small ways to manage the situation. 

1. Get better healthcare and insurance rates.

Now is the time to shop around for your insurance options. You may be paying more than you should or for services you don’t need. Healthcare is a complicated system and can be challenging to navigate alone. You may find ways to save money by talking to an agent. 

We also recommend looking at the costs of other kinds of insurance, like life and homeowners insurance, to see if there are more affordable options out there.

2. Downsize.

The costs of maintaining a larger home can add up. If you’ve got sky-high utility bills and more space than you need, it may be time to consider downsizing. By selling your current home, you may be able to purchase a new home outright and use the remaining money to help fund your retirement. Before putting your home on the market, research how much you can expect to earn from a sale, and make sure you consult an experienced realtor in your area. 

3. Explore alternative transportation.

If you are a senior who is driving less and less, you might be able to save money by changing your transportation methods. If driving isn’t necessary, consider selling your car. This will not only give you quick cash on hand but also save you monthly car insurance payments, as well as routine car maintenance and upkeep. 

Senior support website Daily Caring notes that seniors have many transportation options — some can get everywhere they need to by bus or through a family member, while others take advantage of rideshares or senior-specific public transportation options.

4. Shop at secondhand stores.

Seniors can save a great deal of money by purchasing gently-used items at secondhand stores. There are many upper-end consignment stores that allow seniors to purchase high-quality clothes, furniture, appliances, kitchenware, and other household goods at even greater discounts. Be sure to look and see if there is a certain day or time of day where seniors can take advantage of additional discounts. There are even online secondhand options like Thred-Up and Poshmark. 

5. Take advantage of senior deals and discounts.

Many businesses offer seniors special deals and discounts to help make their goods and services more accessible and affordable. People over 65 can get anything from meals to groceries, entertainment to investments, at special rates and discounts. The Senior List provides one of the most comprehensive lists of senior deals and discounts. These deals can help you enjoy a quality of life that is fun and exciting without worrying excessively about costs.

6. Share meals with neighbors and friends.

Senior isolation can be a serious health condition for people over 65, especially those concerned with finances. They may go out less for fear of spending too much money. However, sharing meals with neighbors and friends can relieve both burdens. You’ll share the financial cost of cooking, while also spending quality, social time with loved ones. Even cooking together can be a social occasion. Seniors who share meals two or three times a week often report a social and financial benefit.

Any health issue can be exacerbated by financial stress and strain, which makes seniors particularly at risk. That’s why exploring these free or low-cost activities can help both the mind and body cope with financial hardships. 

If I can be of assistance to you, please feel free to reach out.


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Yummy Take-Out from Fairfield’s Gruel Britannia!

I wanted to share a quick update with you about a yummy dinner we had last Sunday. We enjoyed excellent food and customer service with our take-out dinner from Gruel Britannia! The Shepard’s Pie and Meatloaf were both fabulous. The dishes came with generous portions and either grilled vegetables or a large salad, and delicious flavor! The people working there are very friendly and super organized. We can’t wait to try more of the intriguing options on their menu. Maybe I’ll see you there!


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How’s the Housing Market Right Now – January 2021?

What’s the pulse of the local single-family housing market in Fairfield and Westport, Connecticut in the first three weeks of January 2021? How many accepted offers? Where are they? What are the price categories? Days on market? Inventory levels and new listings? Here’s an update from the SmartMLS.

FAIRFIELD ACCEPTED OFFERS AND INVENTORY

Fairfield CT locations of accepted offers

69 New Year accepted offers!

Offers are located all over town

PRICE BREAKDOWN?
64% Priced < $1 million
36% Priced > = $1 million

69 Median days on market

At the end of December 2020, Fairfield inventory levels were at historic lows, as illustrated by the graph below from William Raveis Real Estate.

There have been 25 new listings since January 1, ranging in price from $285,000 to $4,295,000.

 

WESTPORT ACCEPTED OFFERS AND INVENTORY

18 New Year accepted offers!

Westport CT locations of accepted offers

Offers appear to be concentrated near the downtown area and the Post Road

28% Priced < $1 million
72% Priced >= $1 million

18 Median days on market

At the end of December 2020, Westport inventory levels were at historic lows, as illustrated by the graph below from William Raveis Real Estate.

There have been 26 new listings in Westport in all price points, ranging from $699,000 to $12,000,000!

So it’s fair to say that the Fairfield and Westport housing markets have been ramping up following the lull of the December holidays and there is a good amount of activity. Despite the new listings that have been trickling onto the market though, there is not enough choice to satisfy the current buyer demand and the added purchasing incentive of low interest rates.

If you would like to discuss how to buy and sell your home in the current market, you can create your own home search to check out the market, visit my website, or send me a note below. I’m here to help!


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New Eatery in Fairfield CT Beach Area – Reef Shack FFLD is Open!

Fairfield residents always love a new eatery when one comes to town, and the new “Reef Shack FFLD” has just opened on Reef Road!

The set-up resembles a hybrid of The Pantry, Starbucks, and the beach concession stand with a a separate barista counter and a beach-glam flair. The menu is large and fabulous with eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The space can completely open via glass garage doors to a cute patio with a beach shack vibe.

Charming patio for all kinds of weather!

For some more background, here’s the story from the CTPost. Check out their website at https://www.reefshackffld.com to browse the menu. It’s a good idea to call in your order until they have set up their online ordering service. Be sure to stop by!

Thinking of buying or selling around here?  Set up your own MLS search, and check out the market!

If you have any questions about this post or the housing market in the neighborhood or surrounding areas, reach out using the form below, visit my website or call me direct at 203.912.4440.


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“Water Craft” on the Market at 1690 Fairfield Beach Road!

Commanding a premium location on the road with a coveted dock at the ready, this home will make your dreams come true. Enjoy the blissful existence of waterfront living whether you’re in the water, on a vessel or just taking in the sea breezes! No matter which direction you gaze, awe-inspiring beauty will make your spirits soar, as you have found a true work of art on the water.
Re-imagined in 1993, this home was featured on the cover of book, “Designing with Glass – The Creative Touch” for its soaring ceilings and walls of glass capturing breathtaking water vistas that extend into the clouds.

The cunning design strategy arranges this home ‘right side up’ ensuring the main living spaces are guaranteed the most phenomenal views. Changing tides, a winding waterway, and spectacular sunsets are always on display from the architectural windows and the upper deck. The open-concept space puts the kitchen at the bow featuring a built-in bench, limestone counters, stainless appliances, and of course, an island.

The open dining and living areas in a great room with a fireplace and two fans hanging from the vaulted ceiling complete this space.

The chic master bedroom likewise captures dynamic views of vessels cruising Pine Creek from the lower deck. At high tide, you feel like you’re looking out to sea from your penthouse cabin on the ultimate cruise ship. A guest bedroom, third bedroom or office, elegant hall bath, and laundry complete the garden level. Seaside gardens with a romantic pergola, climbing hydrangeas, flowering crab apple, and roses present themselves at the entrance to this exceptional property and maintain your gaze as you enter the glass-walled foyer.


The home blends natural materials like seabed fossil stone and ultra wide-plank wood floors with high tech surfaces like the UV wind-resistant windows. It marries an antique front door with contemporary architecture.  And it resides on prime waterfront in a vibrant town rich in culture, arts, and history.  Chic eateries, universities, train stations, beaches, and even a SportPlex, are all a few minutes from here and just an hour from Manhattan.  Welcome to Water Craft, your dream come true!

Aerial water view

Click to take a twilight tour!

Please use the form below to request more information or schedule a showing. You can also call or text, 203.912.4440.


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Enchanting 33 Pansy Circle!

Your home is your castle, and enchanting 33 Pansy Circle in Fairfield, is ready to make some dreams come true.  Take a look at the trending story…! 

33 Pansy Circle Photo

Perhaps you or a friend are the perfect addition to this coveted enclave? Everyone here is friendly and supportive of one another. It’s a warm and festive neighborhood atmosphere, and when the weather’s nice, everyone likes to be outside.  The basketballs and soccer balls have been known to bounce around the circle! Other times there’s a peaceful retreat to respective back yards for a relaxing barbecue. The residents can’t wait to greet their new neighbors!

This grand colonial finished on 4 levels is a gem on the university cul-de-sac! Amazing Teen-Suite/NannyQuarters/Office/Yoga Studio or 6th Bedroom with a full bath sits Possible Yoga Studioabove the charming peaked garage. Better than new, and much bigger than it looks from outside, this home features 9-foot ceilings and open flow.

It also offers incredible custom high-end details, including extensive millwork, Klaff lighting, Italian Bertazzoni stove, and even a garage with a gleaming epoxy floor and a Wifi door opener that magically responds to your smartphone commands! The elegant gourmet Eat-In-Kitchen and Breakfast Area open to the generous Family Room with stone fireplace.

Open Kitchen

The second floor includes a Master Suite with luxury bath and jacuzzi tub, three additional bedrooms, a large hall bath with a granite double-sink vanity and separate water closet and bathing area, and a Laundry Room.

Vaulted ceilings top the 3rd level with a large bright Bonus space, 6th Bedroom, & full bath.

The partially finished Lower Level with high ceilings adds 717 sq ft of living space featuring a huge Rec Room/Home Gym with a wall of built-ins, another large room (now the Ping-Pong room!) that can easily be finished, plus tons of storage.

The stylish Mudroom with stone floor leads to the patio and private fenced yard. Sunny Patio

Twilight Patio

This special abode also features in-ground utilities and sprinkler system, energy efficiency, and room for a pool. Walk to Osborn Hill, around the corner from Black Rock Turnpike amenities, minutes to town, train, beaches, and highways from this excellent location.

Take a virtual tour, watch the video walk-through, and check out the listing. Elegant & enchanting! Make 33 Pansy Circle your new home, and let your dreams come true!

As featured in the Connecticut Post!

33 Pansy Cir Hot Property          33 Pansy Cir Hot Proeprty 2

If you have any questions or comments about this post or would like to arrange to see this property, enter your note below, and you will receive a quick response.

 


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Hiking Trails, Water Park, Lake Mohegan- Take Tours!

One of the many super amenities in the town of Fairfield is Lake Mohegan and all the great stuff right around it.  Take tours around the park with our friendly Portuguese Water Dog, Splash.  He will preview some of the fun for you, and then you should come and see for yourself!

The park is open for year-round enjoyment.

Splash in for a swim!There are short and long hiking trails offering gorgeous natural scenery and great exercise for both you and your dogs. The long trail goes all around the lake and takes about an hour to complete.  There are many dramatic views along the way including a deep stream where dogs can jump in from the rocks above.
Splash jumps from a rockThe terrain varies from level to steep and smooth to rocky with exposed tree roots, so don’t go in your flip-flops!

People watching Splash Jump

The short trail doesn’t go as far into the woods and more or less follows the edge of the lake.  It leads to a wonderfully entertaining swimming beach for dogs.
Whether you come with a dog or not, just standing there and watching the action will ensure you witness an upbeat social dynamic among our four-legged friends!

During the summer, the official public swimming beach is open, complete with lifeguard, sandy beach, and marked off swimming areas with ropes at different depths.  Lake Mohegan SummerThere are picnic tables, swings, a snack bar, and restrooms. For the little ones, there is also a water park area to supplement the beach.  It’s an exciting fountain playground with multiple intermittent water-sprays that are sure to delight and surprise its guests.

Splash on trail in winter

The lake and surrounding area comprise 170.4 acres managed by Fairfield’s Conservation Commission and the Parks and Recreation department. Lake access and the parking entrance are at 960 Morehouse Highway.  The park is easily accessed from exit 44 off the Merritt Parkway. Parking is free, and there is a small entry fee for the swimming beach in the summer.

 

Looking to move into this area? Check out another nearby Neighborhood Secret, the Lake Hills Association! Click the next link to view a lovely home on the market just around the corner from the Lake Mohegan neighborhood at 345 Steiner Street.  Or send an inquiry in the form below for more information about the lake, more Fairfield amenities or other homes for sale nearby!

345 Steiner Street, Fairfield

Cul-de-Sac Charmer! Click image for video

 

Splash Photos Courtesy of Karen Kallins

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Top 10 Reasons You Want This House: 6 Hillandale Lane, Greens Farms Westport CT

If you’re in the market for a new home in Westport Connecticut but aren’t sure which one’s right for you, here are the top 10 reasons this may just be the best new construction in town!

6 Hillandale Lane, Westport CT

6 Hillandale Lane, Westport CT

  1. Location, location, location!  (Okay, that’s three, but we’ll only count it as one!).  Situated just around the corner from the Post Road and right off prestigious Turkey Hill South near Martha Stewart’s previous residence, 6 Hillandale Lane is a prime location.  A protected wooded space buffers the property from any sites or sounds from the Post Road, yet the convenience to all the local amenities is there.  The home is also just four minutes from Greens Farms Station and 10 minutes from Saugatuck Station.  It is minutes from renowned Greens Farms Academy, Burying Hill Beach and the vibrant downtowns of both Westport and Fairfield.

    Greens Farms Station

    Greens Farms Station

  2. Neighborhood – The homes on Hillandale Lane each have a unique character and style.  Each is sited differently on its lot with attractive complimentary landscaping.  The neighborhood is lovely with residents of all ages and includes numerous multi-million dollar homes.
  3. Schools – People relocate to Westport from many places for the sought-after top-notch schools.
  4. Setting – Hillandale House is truly the centerpiece of the cul-de-sac on Hillandale Lane.  It has a commanding yet gracious presence from both Hillandale Road and Hillandale Lane.  At the same time, the home is tucked into the scenic private property and graced by a blend of skillfully designed and nature’s best landscaping that delivers the feel of country living. 6 Hillandale Lane Romantic Setting
  5. Views –  This special romantic setting extends its bonus to the indoors, offering stunning views of natural beauty from every room!
  6. Design – The home exhibits transitional style maintaining a timeless traditional silhouette while adding an upscale modern edge.  Windows are positioned to invite maximum natural light and scenic views.  Materials are top of the line and state of the art, such as Caesarstone countertops that are virtually indestructible, and epoxy flooring in the garage that resists dust, protects the slab, and looks super cool!
  7. Construction Team –  Coastal Construction has been building homes in Westport since 2003 and has built more than 80 luxury homes in Fairfield County. They have fine-tuned the art of quality home construction by providing careful attention to site design, layout, architecture, craftsmanship and the right location.
  8. Use of space –  The design team knows how people like to live.  So they incorporated the perfect blend of open-flow, separate private areas, and spaces for convenience. That’s why the Kitchen with large island with seating is open to the Great Room and the Breakfast Area. 6 Hillandale Ln Kitchen The Breakfast area is spacious enough to fit a dining room sized table and looks out to the backyard and patio.  This open-flow area offers many options for casual dining and entertaining.  The Formal Living and Dining Rooms offer a more intimate ambiance. The Mudroom features a walk-in pantry, walk-in closet and Powder Room for additional utility.  Four bedrooms reside on the second floor, and an additional bedroom with full bath is situated on both the third floor and walk-out lower level.  This provides privacy for various sleeping quarter arrangements.  6 Hillandale Ln Terrace from PatioThe walk-out lower level also includes a private zen-like Garden Terrace offering another separate sanctuary.  If a pool is added, this terrace also serves as access to the full bathroom downstairs. The well-thought-out design offers something for everyone and every occasion.
  9. Garage – Perfect for organizing your extra toys, furniture, bonus fridge, etc. this garage offers an extra half-bay for all your stuff.  With a door into the Mudroom off the Kitchen and a door straight to the backyard, this is the ideal hub to keep the fun times coming.  Did I mention the super cool epoxy floor?6 Hillandale Ln Garage
  10. Great backyard – If you crave a property that has both utility and undisturbed beauty, this is your place.  The backyard is wide, level, dry and fabulously scenic with a lovely wooded barrier, unlike the contrived, rigidly rectangular yards that snugly abutt their neighbors.  The pool can go just outside the walkout lower level with full bath.  The patio is the platform for enjoying a meal or watching the backyard happenings.  Whether you invite your friends or keep it to yourself, this is the perfect backyard for playtime and relaxation time alike. 6 Hillandale Ln Back Yard

If you would like more information about this property, please submit an inquiry below.  

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What Makes Your House a Home?

From the time you awake, until the time you call it a day, you carry out a pattern of activities that make up your lifestyle.

Elegant Breakfast Nook

Your house is your place of coming and going, of greetings and goodbyes, of good mornings and good nights.

Your routine may be rushed and hectic at times. At other times you may have periods of intense focus or moments of calm, harmony, and serenity.

You settle into your surroundings and set your house up to be comfortable for yourself, your family, and your friends. You decorate your house to reflect your style, tastes, interests, and passions.

Dining Room with Center Piece

You work hard and play hard. Your house is your base for productivity, security, privacy, and recharging.

Zen-like Home Office

Serene Master Bedroom

Comfy Family Room

Your house is the place you cherish, where you feel safe and sound, sometimes happy, other times sad; where you celebrate, gather together, share, work, create, cook, decorate; where you can love and be loved; where you live, grow, rest, dream, and at times sort through the chaos that life often throws at you!

 

Mudroom with Elegant Bench Cushions

Your house becomes an extension of all that you are.  And you become an extension of your house, making it complete. Without you, your house is merely a shell awaiting your energy, chemistry, creativity, excitement, and passion.

Stunning Designer Kitchen

What makes your house a home? You do!

This stunning house at 6 Hillandale Lane is awaiting completeness from you. Come home to 6 Hillandale Lane. There’s no place like home!

6 Hillandale Lane, Greens Farms, Westport CT

Please use the form below for questions, comments and showing requests!

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Martel


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Fairfield’s Super Seven for Supper!

Hands down, one of the most fabulous features of Fairfield is all the chic eateries downtown. So, I thought I would share seven of my favorite picks for dining and ambiance.
Cafe Madeline
A Friday night ritual for me and my husband, Mark is to pop over to Cafe Madeline on the Post Road, a tiny, personal place, where Madeline is not just the proprietor but also the regular hostess. (You can see her in a white blouse in the photo talking with guests.) The atmosphere is nothing short of charming and, shall we say, adorable.  Madeline’s taste is somewhat eclectic as evidenced by the pink floral sconces, mini white party lights surrounding the glass case with handmade beaded jewelry for sale, and the flat screen that displays musical performances or nature scenes to fit the mood. There are probably no more than 10 tables inside, when it’s warm and pleasant outside, maybe another six or so out on the front patio. The food is always absolutely delicious.  We cannot resist ordering the butternut squash soup, which is rich and flavorful and always comes as a very generous serving. I typically follow that with the “small plate”, Portobello Mushroom with arugula and goat cheese, served hot is unbelievably delish!  Mark always gets the Chicken Piccata, also a small plate. He’s not a fan of the spinach that normally comes on top, so he substitutes it for chopped broccoli, which the staff always remembers and does automatically. Intimate, romantic and wonderful!
TotoAnother favorite where regulars are made to feel like family is Toto.  The Mediterranean-style eatery offers gregarious people and food with a flare. The owner, manager, and team always greet you with a warm welcome and seem genuinely thrilled that you have arrived. The decor’ has a stylish and sophisticated, yet casual European elegance, and the covered patio is in service for most of the year.  An absolute MUST starter (if you like cheese), is the Spicy Feta, served in a mini deep dish as part of a larger appetizer dish. You simply spoon it out and enjoy with some rustic bread. It’s truly a burst of flavor!  The Crispy Calamari Salad is the best I’ve had anywhere. Mark cannot resist the Four Cheese Fettucini, the ultimate decadence!
 
The Chelsea is a funky and somewhat rustic place to have a drink and enjoy a meal.  Rough wood accent walls and ornate wrought iron design elements are contrasted with neon green metal chairs.  The cozy bar hosting stylish guests (all the women seem to wear great shoes- just saying) pulls it all together! Mark says that no one else in town can beat the Chelsea Burger.  I personally cannot live without their octopus appetizer, a dish they tend to vary from time to time.  It doesn’t look huge when it arrives, but there is so much protein in it, you are sure to be full when you finish.  The flavors in my favorite version are spectacular! Large tentacles come with potatoes, greens, onions, and a pickled vegetable that adds a perfect punch!  It’s a must-have in my book, with all the goodness and none of the guilt.  Their Cobb Salad is fantastic too.
Old Post Tavern
For your classic tavern feel, visit the Old Post Tavern right on the corner of the Post Road and Unquowa.  They have been known to have a fun band during happy hour, and the patio is lovely.  If you are a fan of French Onion Soup, go no further.  Something about their blend of cheeses as well as some magic ingredients in the broth makes theirs completely unbeatable!
BodegaIf it’s gourmet Mexican food in a festive atmosphere you’re after, Bodega is the place to go.  Since it’s another tiny place, you may have to sample their top notch margaritas or other specialty drinks while you wait for your table or seat at the bar.  One of Bodega’s delectables is the Ceviche, a deceivingly filling dish posing as an appetizer. The fish, in a specialty cocktail sauce, has a fantastic flavor and comes with some toasted plantains, that in my opinion, make a complete meal.  If you prefer something hot, their Chicken Soup is hearty and delicious.  You can have it mild or spicy depending on whether you opt to dump in the hot peppers served on the giant turquoise spoon.  Burrito Tinga is Mark’s tasty favorite, and my daughter loves the Gombos Tacos. Bodega's Festive Atmosphere
Martel is on the Post Road in Southport and is a cozy place with a bit of a steakhouse feel. The ceilings are high, yet ornate, and there is always an art gallery Marteladorning the walls. Always bustling, the place serves a warm, upbeat atmosphere.  Although there are many excellent dishes here, my husband and I have gravitated toward sharing the Fondue for Two followed by Martel’s House Salad. The salad features marinated tomatoes and an aged Danish Blue Cheese that are fabulous together. If the fondue is off-menu for the summer, an equally rich and yummy alternative is the side order of creamed spinach!  I have it as a meal, with wine, of course.
Last, but not least, we love the Grey Goose, also in Southport, where we once stood elbow to elbow with John Mayer before being seated. The atmosphere can be described as rustic and cozy with an eclectic crowd. Some folks go to hang out, others go for dinner. There’s always a flat screen at the bar featuring a sporting event as well as a crackling fireplace on the opposite wall. Penne ala Vodka, Grey Goose Style is Mark’s staple, while I go back and forth between the Grey GooseLobster Macaroni and the Steak Tips small plate.  The Lobster Macaroni is the absolute best here, with the secret ingredient of truffle oil to enhance the generous chunks of lobster and the crispy cheese topping. The Steak Tips are equally fantastic. Cooked to perfection, they come with a corn salsa and chipotle mayo dip that together, absolutely melt in your mouth!
All this talk is making me hungry!  Be sure to come and try out Fairfield’s fabulous eateries, and should you want to ensure you live right nearby, take a look at the featured home for sale below and send a note through the form with any questions!
Screen Shot 2018-07-25 at 4.55.37 PM
P.S. New kid on the block, The Sinclair Kitchen + Bar has recently opened downtown in the Brick Walk. I have been there twice with a positive experience both times.  The patio is great, surrounded by thick trees and protected by a multi-settings awning. The Mussels in a Pot Thai Style (5 additional styles to try!) were delicious, and Mark gave two thumbs up to the Steak Sandwich.  Anyone else, care to weigh in?
Want to live downtown?  Look no further!

254 Penfield Rd, Fairfield CT254 Penfield Road, Fairfield
Walk to Train, Town, & Beach!

OPEN HOUSE Sunday 8/19, 1-3 PM!

For questions and comments about anything real estate, please send a note below.

 

 

 

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