for the northeast it's seems to be a great place
I'm from southern Calif., Los Angeles area all my life except for 10 years in Phoenix metro for college, and the start of my profession, then back to L.A. We moved to this community, our first experience w/ the northeast, just in 2006. At first it just seemed like a really fun adventure and a nicer version of life: less traffic, less crowds, but w/ pretty much all the same stores and services and all right here in or close to South Windsor (many are in adjacent Manchester, but that town borders ours and thier big malls blend right into some of our main shopping districts, so it's all together.
Connecticut is really beautiful in general, didn't seem to have severe winters, and has four distinct seasons, quite a contrast to life in the Southwest.
Taxes area bit steep in these areas but that's probably common throughout the region compared to what I used to, it's probably because of the cost winter services and winter's wear and tear on infrastructure I assume. This contrasts my experience in the southwest where, because the climate is less harsh, I think it just costs less to run society.
But the bottom line is that Connecticut is very pretty, has a lot of very accessible nature, is quite affordable home price-wise in comparrison to major Calif. metros, but you need reserves for utilities and costs associated w/ winter expenses. Perhaps it balances out to some extent, housing has been well overpriced in desirable climatic areas of the Southwest, but you suffer congestion and crowding for all you wind up paying there, so...
As for South Windsor, I think it's the gem of the "East of the River" parts of Hartford's metropolitain area. Things are relatively new, - in 1986 where our neighborhood is now was a farm. There's a good mix of urban and rural all w/in out very town and its surrounds. There's lots of natural beauty, plenty of history on main St. - and of course throughout the state and adjacent former colonies - but the town and it's commercial districts have a nice blend of newness too. Sure there's lots of nice areas but South Windsor seems to have it all and w/out being too remote. I personally don't like living out in the sticks or there'd be plenty of more rural communities to choose from. Here we have a great park & rec dept, and programs, a community pool open in the summer and the will be a brand new huge YMCA opening in very soon in Ellington; that Y w/b just a few miles north of the center of town, easy to get to from our town. And the crime rarte is off the charts low. We live close to the center and, although there's few sidewalks, I can still walk to the stores, the main library (there's also a small library across town on old Main St.) and shops. There's even an up-and-coming community program, still in start-up, called "South Windsor Walk and Wheel Ways" where eventually we'll have maps showing how to walk, run and cycle around town w/out getting stuck in a neighborhood-(there's lots of nice new cult-i-sac developments surrounded by forest) or having to route along busy throughways. The locals who are working on this project know these little short-cut and trick and have been documenting them and soon there'll be a common easily identifiable marker for these accesses. There will be bike/pedestrian trails connecting the neighborhoods Many exist as impromptu creations, these will be marked so you know where they are and that they are official public accesses and you won't feel you're cutting through the edge of someone's property. They'll be clear and maintained, steps added where there's grade change as necessary and they'll even integrated w/ adjacent communities so you can literally commute to downtown, some folk know these routes already.
As it is we have one such access at the top of our small development and it allows connection to all the other adjacent neighborhoods w/out having to go out and walk or bike along a major traffic route. This has made living here even more walkable.
I think ours is a particularly attractive area and has other nice parts of town around it; check out Kupchunos Dr., Windy Hill, and Darlene Ln. in the 06074, that's our neighborhood. And the Greenwood Dr. and Judge Ln neighborhood which just east past through the neighborhood at the end of Kupchunos Dr. accessible by tht little forrest cut-thru I tried to describe, it's on the way to the middle school; you'll find some really beautiful homes there. But by no means is this the only nice area, it's just these are walking dist. to everything services-wise. Other very nice areas exist but seem a bit too rural for me even though by local standards they're probably not. Freeway access is good and there's plenty to see around New England and the state, New York city is drivable and back in the same day, Boston too, as is Providence. I really feel from South Windsor you're central to it all, I can be downtown to an event in the main museum in minutes, it's so close it's worth joining (Wadsworth Anthem, Hartford CT), or up to beautiful MA in 30 min.
I hope I didn't writ too much w/out saying enough, there's a lot to S.W. CT and I feel it provides a really good acess to the features of this state and region.
Howard | South Windsor, CT