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Please select an itemTOWN


Well-known for its beautiful beaches, great schools, and readily apparent affluence, Madison is, according to some real estate brokers “the new New Canaan.” But this suburb is at heart a true small town — its pulse picturesque Main Street.

Usually referred to as “downtown” by those who live here, the portion of Boston Post Road that lies between Britton Lane on the west and Scotland Road to the east is a cheerful hub of commerce, culture, and entertainment. The center of Madison’s community life, this mile-long corridor includes the lovely Colonial town green; R.J. Julia, one of the nation’s best independent bookstores; the Madison Art Cinemas, a restored double-screen movie house; the public library, firehouse, and post office; an ice cream parlor and bakery; the Madison Wine Shop; several coffee shops, including the quintessentially old-time Madison Coffee Shop; some great new restaurants, Café Allegre, RJ Café, Elizabeth’s Café — all on Route 1; and an intriguing string of retail shops. The Susan Powell Fine Art Gallery near the fire station is a good place to linger, rain or shine. Even the Madison Mile — a changing exhibition of outdoor sculpture scattered throughout the town center — has brought new life to this village of 18,500 inhabitants.

Eastward from Main Street, the Boston Post Road heads toward Hammonasset State Park, the longest public beach on Connecticut coastline. Near the entrance, seafood stalwarts like Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale and the Clam Castle ensure that no one goes hungry. The park itself comprises a wonderful beach, the boardwalk, the Meigs Point Nature Center, and a campground, drawing more annual visitors than any other park in the state. In fact, the population of Madison swells by thousands in the summer months.

Madison also offers four town beaches for public use, along with several coastal access areas, and the neighborhoods on Seaview Avenue, Middle Beach Road, and Neck Road, which are filled with year-round and seasonal cottages, offer summer must-haves like sailboards and sea kayak rentals. Nearby woodlands, wetlands, and marshlands are among the most tranquil and undisturbed habitats in the state, and the residents work hard to keep it that way.

The town extends northward nearly 15 miles to the border of Durham, and much of that land is primarily rural and residential north of Interstate 95, with development limited by such protected space as the Cockaponset State Forest, the town-owned Rockland Preserve, and the 1,600 acres under the stewardship of the Madison Land Conservation Trust.

Jack McConnell Photo