NEW HAVEN || EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
…Westville is less New Haven city neighborhood and more Smallville, U.S.A.
In the latter part of the 20th century, Westville was a neighborhood where grandparents walked their visiting grandchildren to the corner toy store or the playground at Edgewood Park. Now, the grandkids are all grown up and they are moving into old Westville memories and homes. Instead of walking to the corner store on the weekend, they’re strolling the village and meeting friends for dinner or drinks after work.
Among the older and wealthier neighborhoods in New Haven, Westville maintains an independent small-town feel. With its quaint walkable commercial district along Whalley Avenue, lush parks, and an organized grid of stately residential streets, Westville is less New Haven city neighborhood and more Smallville, U.S.A.
With its suburban feel and proximity to Yale’s main campus, Westville residents enjoy the university’s influence and association. Bordering the southeast portion of the neighborhood, Yale’s athletic facilities draw students and spectators into the Westville area. For over 100 years, Yale Bowl has hosted football, concerts, and sporting events of all kinds, including the 1995 Special Olympic World Games.
Along Central Avenue, Westville neighbors are likely to say hello across the backyard fences and hedges or bump into each other on the sidewalk during an evening walk. There is a certain pride in the neighborhood’s appearance that is accomplished the old-fashioned way — without cookie-cutter associations and rules.
Westville is a bedroom community that has just had its cup of coffee and is on the go. This established neighborhood is a place of older homes and newer residents where attrition has left behind balanced age groups, trendy changes, and a hint of the traditional feel of an independent small town.
A charming suburb to begin a family or a career, many of Westville’s incoming residents have children and demanding jobs. Westville is home to New Haven’s up-and-coming professionals who appreciate a neighborhood with yards, quiet side streets, and a central arts and business district where they can gather and entertain on weekends. The influx of new residents whose typical household earnings are above $100,000 annually has not altered Westville’s traditional character. It remains a pragmatic neighborhood that’s wealthier than most others in New Haven are.
Future parents and white-collar professionals love Westville for its green spaces and family feel, but they rent and buy homes because of the easy commute to downtown. Competition for rentals and houses means finding a home in Westville will cost more than in many Connecticut cities. However, for its proximity to Yale, downtown New Haven, and Metro North, Westville is still a value compared to Stamford, Greenwich, and other New York City suburbs.
Start your search for a rental early and take the time to find an apartment with 20th century character. For about $1,600 per month, it is possible to lease a dream with wood-floors, architectural style, a small yard, and maybe updated utilities for necessities like Wi-Fi. The arrival of students and young professionals in Westville has driven market prices higher, but for the patient and pragmatic bargains abound in some of the older converted homes.
From Tudor to Colonial, and bungalow to ranch, Westville real estate comes in a variety of styles, ages, and values. Single-family homes built before 1940 have charm, but their age helps keep average prices lower than expected. Whether you are searching for the family fixer-upper or a luxury spread for entertaining, be sure to add the cost of renovations and upgrades to your budget.
Edgewood Park Featuring recreation for all ages and activity levels, Edgewood Park is a Westville New Haven gem. Walk it in the summer and ski it in the winter. Relax by the West River or launch a canoe to enjoy the wildlife. Edgewood Avenue (203) 946-8028 newhavenct.gov
West River Narrows A little known collection of peaceful riverside trails through the Westville Valley is probably the quietest getaway in New Haven. Dense and lush with plants and trees, the Narrows (West River Open Space) has been preserved as one of the most beautiful stretches along the river. Whalley Avenue between Ramsdell & Emerson Streets
West Rock Ridge State Park Drive to the top of the 600-foot trap rock West Rock Ridge to admire the vistas of Westville, downtown New Haven, and beyond to Long Island Sound. Hike over ten miles of trails or brave the dark of Judges Cave. Wintergreen Avenue, Hamden (203) 287-5658 www.ct.gov
Downtown New Haven Less than a five-minute drive from downtown, Westville is the ideal jumping off point for a day exploring New Haven’s many attractions. Follow Whalley Avenue into downtown, and stop along the way at the Broadway Triangle to browse or walk the Yale campus.
House of Chao As a fortune cookie might say, big things come in small packages. The closet-sized House of Chao serves the freshest tasting Asian food in Connecticut. Order the Lemon Chicken and share some Steamed Dumplings that are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. 898 Whalley Avenue (203) 389-6624 houseofchao.com
Lena’s Café and Confections Create your own omelet at Saturday or Sunday Brunch or stop in for lunch and try one of their specialty salads or paninis. 873 Whalley Avenue (203) 397-5885 lenascafeandconfections.com
Chip in a Bottle From handmade truffles to macaroons, and cheesecakes to hand-painted chocolates, Chip in a Bottle satisfies Westville’s sweet tooth with unique treats. 837 Whalley Avenue (203) 460-0665 chipinabottle.com
Strange Ways Featuring art-inspired fashion accessories, Strange Ways offers a trendy collection of pins, patches, clothing, and jewelry for Westville’s growing hipster crowd. 910 Whalley Avenue strange-ways.com
Odeon Boutique Bringing chic fashion to Westville since 1984, the award-winning boutique offers a remarkable variety of the staple to any woman’s closet: jeans. With styles, fabrics, and colors updated weekly, Odeon Boutique has that “can’t live without it” look for every woman’s tastes. 918 Whalley Avenue (203) 389-8704 odeonboutique.com
Neville Wisdom Fashion Design Studio Be sure to make an appointment for a personal fashion consultation at this haute couture New Haven retailer of fine clothing and accessories for the distinguished woman. 903 Whalley Avenue (203) 745-5009 nevillewisdom.com
Edgewood Park Farmer’s Market Promoting locally grown and sustainable agriculture for the past decade, the Edgewood Park Farmer’s Market enables Westville residents to enjoy fresh foods on the path to a healthier life and community. Whalley & West Rock Avenues (203) 773-3736 cityseed.org
Yale Bowl See the home of the Bulldogs up close if you can score tickets. The centerpiece of the Yale athletics complex on the edge of Westville, Yale Bowl’s unique design means that every seat has an unobstructed view of the field for the ultimate college football experience. 81 Central Avenue (203) 432-1400 yalebulldogs.com
Lotta Studio This visual arts studio is a feast for the eyes and a creative co-working space for freelance artists from across New Haven. Memberships and inspiration available. Stop in to appreciate or contribute. 911 Whalley Avenue lottastudio.com
Lyric Hall Theater Some might call this historic landmark the Frankenstein of all theaters. During its restoration, the hall’s owners salvaged pieces from other landmark buildings around New Haven. The result was a stunningly beautiful masterpiece with hand-painted stained glass doors, Doric columns, and a Beaux-arts crystal and bronze chandelier. 827 Whalley Avenue (203) 389-8885 lyrichallnewhaven.com
Gar Waterman West Rock Studio The studio features a unique collection of sculptures exploring organic form. Creating his work in stone, metal, wood, and other materials, Gar Waterman captures natural form and function through his close observation of nature. 425 West Rock Avenue (203) 397-3966 garwaterman.com