Rating the Towns 2010: Population 3,500-6,500
Chester and Deep River are neighbors, located along the western bank of the lower Connecticut River, just as it begins to widen for its union with Long Island Sound. Both towns offer many riverine charms, as well as good schools and low crime rates. In the three years since these rankings were last done, Deep River has improved in all categories and moved from No. 16 on the list all the way up to No. 3. Indeed, when you notice that Essex and Old Lyme finished No. 2 and No. 3 in the 6,500-plus population group and that Lyme heads the below-3,500 group, you begin to appreciate the high quality of life in that part of Connecticut.
As for No. 2 New Hartford, it finished first in this group in Mastery Test scores and second in APT results. In addition, the town generously supports its handsome library and a whopping 94.78 percent of eligible voters turned out for the 2008 presidential election.
Elsewhere, those looking for good schools and relatively inexpensive housing (a very nice combination for young families) need look no further than Harwinton and Willington. And those for whom schools are no longer an issue, or never were, will find a lot to like in Salisbury and Washington, each of which possesses a disproportionate number of restaurants, shops and other diversions (though a high cost of admission).
Joining Deep River in zooming toward the top this time are Columbia, which improved in all categories on the way from No. 19 to No. 10, and Westbrook, which saw a huge drop in the crime rate as it moved from No. 20 to No. 14.
Ties broken by voter turnout in 2008 election.
HOW TO READ THE CHART
The chart above represents the 25 Connecticut towns with populations between 3,500 and 6,500. The best possible rating in any category is 1 and the worst is 25. Remember: Low scores are best.