Reasons To Retire in Connecticut


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Given the state’s high cost of living and high tax rates for retirees, you may wonder whether Connecticut is a good state to retire to. If the financials don’t scare you away, there are many reasons why the Nutmeg State is a good choice for a retirement destination.

Here are some reasons you should retire in Connecticut:

  • The state has the 5th best health system.
  • Retirees can be relatively safe.
  • Easy accessibility to New York City and Boston. 
  • There are many activities to choose from.
  • Connecticut has a rich history of settlers.
  • Many area universities allow you to further your education.
  • You can experience all four seasons.
  • You have a choice of several cities for retirement.

Let’s look at these reasons in more detail.

1. The State Has the 5th Best Health System

For most people, access to healthcare is a crucial consideration when deciding where to retire, and Connecticut has one of the best healthcare systems in the country.

According to The Commonwealth Fund, the state has the 5th best health system in the country. The Commonwealth Fund compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia to come up with a ranking out of 50. 

Here’s how it ranked in detail compared to the rest of the country:

Category Ranking
Overall 5
Access and Affordability 6
Prevention and Treatment 10
Avoidable Hospital Use and Cost 31
Healthy Lives 3
Disparity 7

The state has 352.1 active physicians per 100,000 residents, which puts it 6th in the country. Additionally, it has 105.7 active primary care physicians per 100,000 residents (7th in the country) and 8.6 general surgeons per 100,000 residents (18th in the country).

Connecticut is also home to Yale New Haven Hospital, which is nationally ranked by U.S. News in 8 adult specialties and 6 children’s specialties. Furthermore, Connecticut has a life expectancy of 80.9 years, over 2 years higher than the national average of 78.8 years.

2. Retirees Can Be Relatively Safe

If you’re looking for security and peace of mind, Connecticut is a good state in which to live, as it has a relatively low crime rate in comparison to national averages. Connecticut ranks 4th best in the nation for Crime Rate in Bankrate’s list of the top states to retire in.

The United States of America averaged about 19.58 property crimes and 3.99 violent crimes per 1000 people. On the other hand, Connecticut averaged 1.84 violent crimes and 14.27 property crimes per 1000 residents.

These numbers make it clear that Connecticut is a relatively safe state in which to retire. 

The low crime rate for both violent and property crimes means that you’ll have much more peace of mind if you decide to move there and won’t have to worry about the safety of living alone.

3. Easy Accessibility To New York City and Boston

Several people enjoy the number of activities offered in big cities following their retirement but aren’t keen on living in crowded areas.

Connecticut is centrally located, and in fact, it’s historically part of New England and forms part of the tri-state area with New York and New Jersey. It’s also bordered by Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

This location means that you’ll easily be able to travel to any of these states. No matter if you want to do a day of shopping in New York or explore Boston, both cities are relatively close by, and you don’t even need to fly. Instead, you can drive or opt for a train or bus.

At the same time, you’ll be able to return to Connecticut once you’re done and enjoy the quieter life.

This proximity to major cities is a significant advantage for retirees with families. Because you’re near major tourist centers, you’ll find that visitors are more likely to drop by to meet you. Additionally, weekend trips are a possibility with your children and grandchildren so that all generations can have tons of enjoyment.

4. There Are Many Activities To Choose

While Connecticut’s proximity is a great option, this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing for you to do within the state itself. No matter whether you’re going at it alone, with a partner, or with your children and grandchildren, there’s enough to do in the state that you’ll never be bored.

Some of the most popular attractions in the state include:

Lake Compounce

If you’re planning a trip with your grandchildren, Lake Compounce is a must. 

Located in Bristol and originally opened in 1846, this is the oldest amusement park that’s still operating in the country. It’s also home to the Wildcat, one of the oldest roller coasters in the world.

The current park spans 332 acres (134.36 hectares) and features 44 attractions, including 5 roller coasters and 13 water rides. The park also hosts special celebrations for occasions such as Halloween, Christmas, and more.

The original park opened in 1846 after a failed experiment with explosives drew huge crowds, inspiring original owner Gad Norton to create and open an amusement park. Initially, it featured several rides, band concerts in a lakeside gazebo, and the opportunity for visitors to swim and row on the lake.  

Essex Steam Train and Riverboat

Another kid-friendly activity, the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, is a great way to introduce your grandkids to the history of Connecticut in a fun, engaging manner that everyone will remember for years to come.

You’ll start your journey at the historic Essex Station in Essex. 

The station dates back to 1892, and the antique train features 1920s coaches and a steam locomotive and will take you to Deep River Landing in a journey that passes through the towns of Deep River and Chester. 

You can opt for a 1 hour, round-trip train journey or a 2.5-hour train and riverboat excursion.

If you choose to join the riverboat, you’ll enter the Becky Thatcher for a cruise on the Connecticut River, allowing you to take in the river’s beauty and historic sites that dot the shoreline.

The Valley Railroad Company operates the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, and they also offer a number of other excursion opportunities.

Yale University Art Gallery

The oldest university art museum in the Western Hemisphere, the Yale University Art Gallery is located in a series of buildings on the Yale University campus in New Haven. The gallery features a wide variety of art objects and is best known for its collections of African sculpture, early Italian paintings, and modern art.

Prominent artists featured in the gallery include: 

  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Marcel Duchamp
  • John Singer Sargent
  • Peter Paul Rubens
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Edgar Degas
  • Paul Gauguin

Additionally, the gallery is home to over 1000 objects of African art, over 13,000 pieces of ancient art (including works from Egypt, Greece, and Rome), and over 2,500 paintings and 500 sculptures by American artists, among other objects of art in the gallery’s collection. 

The Yale University Art Gallery is free to visit.

Mystic Aquarium

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, Mystic Aquarium is one of only two locations in the country that holds captive Steller sea lions. Additionally, it’s the only location in New England that’s home to beluga whales. 

In total, Mystic Aquarium is home to over 10,000 animals.

First opened in 1973, the aquarium is a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Aside from its two highlight exhibits, the aquarium is also home to the Ocean Research Center, which is an exhibition of Dr. Robert Ballard’s work in the Black Sea. 

It includes his discovery and exploration of the RMS Titanic and his work aboard the E/V Nautilus.

Aside from Mystic Aquarium, the village of Mystic is one of the top tourist destinations in Connecticut. It’s home to the Mystic Seaport Museum, the largest maritime museum in the country, and the Mystic Museum of Art.

5. Connecticut Has a Rich History Of Settlers

There’s evidence that the state of Connecticut has been inhabited for over 10,000 years. Prior to the colonial period, the area was home to several Native American tribes, including:

  • The Sequin
  • The Nipmuc
  • The Mattabesec
  • The Pequot-Mohegan

The state was initially settled by the Dutch, though the English held considerable influence as well. Connecticut was one of the original Thirteen Colonies that kickstarted the American Revolution.

Let’s take a look at the rich history of the state, which can be seen in numerous ways today.

Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Located in Hartford, the Harriet Beecher Stowe House was the home of author Harriet Beecher Stowe from 1873 until her death in 1896. Stowe was an abolitionist and the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which helped play a part in the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery in the country.

The home was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2013 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

It neighbors the Mark Twain House, where Mark Twain and his family lived from 1874-1891. Twain wrote several of his best-known works in the house, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. 

Both the Harriet Beecher Stowe House and the Mark Twain House are open to the public.

Gillette Castle State Park

Commissioned and designed as a private residence by actor William Gillette, this forest-like castle, which is actually a mansion, is situated on 184 acres (74.46 hectares) of property that makes up the estate. 

Gillette Castle State Park encompasses 122 acres (49.37 hectares) of the estate.

The unusual 24-room property features 3 stories and a tower and walls that were constructed to resemble those of a stage set, that is, without mortar and two-by-four studs in certain critical areas. Insulation materials were unusual and included paper and seaweed.

Other oddities in the house include light switches made of carved wood, a series of mirrors above the great hall that allowed Gillette to spy on visitors and guests from his bedroom, 47 unique doors, and locks, some of which are trick locks that makes unlocking the door a challenge.

Weir Farm National Historical Park

Weir Farm is one of only two National Park Service sites dedicated to the visual arts, alongside Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park in New Hampshire. It is dedicated to the life of impressionist painter J. Alden Weir, who settled at the site in 1882, and several other notable American artists who lived at the site, including John Singer Sargent and Childe Hassam.

Today, the site maintains an artist-in-residence program as an acknowledgment of its history with the visual arts. Since being established in 1990, it has hosted over 150 artists.

Topsmead State Forest

Located over 615 acres (248.89 hectares), Topsmead State Forest was initially the home of industrialist Henry Sabin Chase, who started creating the man-made forest in 1915. After his death, the property was passed to his daughter Edith, who left the property to the state following her death in 1972.

The estate house on the property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 and was designed and built by architect Richard Henry Dana in 1924. 

It’s a two-story Tudor Revival house.

The forest is open to the public until sunset every day. There are numerous trails on the property for people looking to go hiking and horse riding. Additionally, you can also apply for hunting permits to hunt in the forest.

Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center

Operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center is dedicated to Native American culture. It was opened in 1998 and highlights the history of the tribal nation.

Highlights of the museum include a life-sized 22,000 sq ft (2,043.87 sq m) recreation of a coastal Pequot village as it would have looked in the 1500s and a simulated glacial crevasse. It also features numerous Native American artifacts, interactive exhibits, and 3D dioramas.

Overall, the museum is home to over 85,000 sq ft (7896.79 sq m) of indoor exhibits. It’s a great way to learn about the state’s history as experienced by its original inhabitants.

6. Many Area Universities Allow You To Further Your Education

As mentioned, Connecticut is home to numerous top universities, including;

  • Quinnipiac University
  • Wesleyan University
  • Yale University
  • University of Connecticut

The presence of these top universities is enough to make it an excellent state for people looking to further their education post-retirement or pursue a passion they didn’t have time to study formally previously. 

However, this isn’t the only reason this state is a good option.

According to state statutes, senior citizens can take college classes and earn a degree for free in Connecticut, so you won’t have to worry about college fees. Please note that this only applies to people who are 62 or older

However, if you meet these criteria, Connecticut is the place to be if you want to continue to learn after wrapping up your work life.

7. You Can Experience All Four Seasons

Unlike many other states, you can enjoy all four seasons at their best in Connecticut. The state sees distinct weather patterns of spring, summer, fall, and winter, so you’ll never feel like you’re dealing with the same weather all year round.

  • Winter: This cold season usually stretches from December to February, though it may sometimes come in as early as November. On average, temperatures range from 19.9°F to 36.9°F (-6.7°C to 2.7°C) (though it can get colder), and snowfall is common. Additionally, you may experience cold fronts coming in from Canada at night, resulting in temperatures occasionally dropping below 0°F (-17.78°C).
  • Spring: Stretching from March to May, spring sees warmer weather, with average temperatures ranging from 38.1°F to 59.8°F (3.39°C to 15.44°C). However, there may sometimes be snow or frost visible well into March.
  • Summer: Perhaps the most attractive time of the year for out of towners, summer in the state ranges from June to August. If you’re planning to have friends and grandchildren over, this is the season to do it. Average temperatures range from 60°F to 82.5°F (15.6°C to 28.1°C), thanks in part to the Bermuda High-pressure system.
  • Fall: If you’re a lover of aesthetics, fall is perhaps the most gorgeous season in Connecticut. Ranging from July to November, average temperatures vary from 41.8°F to 62.7°F (5.4°C to 17.1°C). Early fall, and late summer, are also the sunniest parts of the year in Connecticut, and the humidity is the lowest.

8. You Have a Choice Of Several Cities For Retirement

One of the biggest questions people have when choosing a state to retire to is where they can choose to live. After all, the big cities like New York and Chicago are always an option, but they’re often not what people are looking for in their golden years.

Luckily, Connecticut has numerous options you can choose from when it comes to a retirement destination, ensuring you can spend your time in joy without the stress that comes with the hustle and bustle of a big city. 

Let’s now take a look at some of the top options in the state.

New Haven

Rated 58th in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the 150 Best Places to Retire in the U.S., New Haven is a peaceful, quiet city that is also one of the most walkable cities in the country, making it a great option for older people. 

Additionally, it’s full of high-end restaurants. New Haven pizza is some of the best in the country, making it the perfect option for foodies.  

Hartford

Rated 88th in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the 150 Best Places to Retire in the U.S., Hartford is one of the state’s main cultural hubs. 

Major attractions include the Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe houses. There are several other things to do near Hartford, including state parks, vineyards, and ski slopes. It’s a great option for people looking to discover new things to do after retirement.

Torrington

A city with nearly 20% of the population over 65, Torrington is undoubtedly an excellent option for older individuals looking to retire to Connecticut. It boasts five state parks, making it a good choice for nature lovers and active seniors. 

There are many retail centers, restaurants, and even a children’s museum and a performance theatre to ensure that no resident is ever bored.

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