Named for President James Madison, this small coastal town was first settled in 1641 and incorporated in 1826. As described in Coastal Living, “almost exactly halfway between New York City and Boston, Madison attracts a sophisticated mix of professionals—lawyers, accountants, architects—as well as a growing community of artists.”
Today Madison has a population over 18,000. In 2000, the average household income was $87,437 and the median family income was $101,297. Residents boast of a superior school system that has an expansive recreational program with numerous volunteer opportunities. In addition to their public schools, Madison also offers three private schools: Our Lady of Mercy School, The Country School, and Grove School.
Madison occupies a central location on Connecticut’s Long Island Sound shoreline, offering its residents and visitors many beaches such as Hammonasset Beach State Park, which possesses the state’s longest public beach; Surf Club Beach, which is home to several athletic fields, including Strong Field, the town’s multi-purpose athletic complex; East Wharf, also known as the “purple sand beach”; West Wharf; and The Madison Beach Club.
In addition to beaches, Madison also has several trails to explore. Paper Mill Trail winds past the ruins of a paper mill that once harnessed the power of the Hammonasset River. Bog Iron Works trail leads you through meadows, rocky hogback ridges, and valley bottom lands to the foundation of a bog iron works dating from the late 1700s or early 1800s. Rockland Preserve offers various woodland trails, many of which include sites once used in the production of charcoal where you can discover the remnants of charcoal pits, crude stone fireplaces, and iron kettle fragments that speak to the rustic life of the charcoal workers.
For the history buffs, be sure visit the local landmarks and historical homes such as E.C. Scranton Memorial Library, Allis-Bushnell House, Deacon John Grave House, Meigs-Bishop House, Johnathan Murray House, Shelley House, and Camp Hadley.
While some might overlook this small community on the map, former president Bill Clinton singled it out in his memoir, My Life, as an “especially old and beautiful” favorite during his time at Yale. (Source: Coastal Living.)