The Community and Culture
Founded in 1649, Norwalk is now the third largest city in Fairfield County, boasting a population nearing 90,000. Although nicknamed the "oyster town," Norwalk has diverse neighborhood communities ranging from the coast into the countryside, with much to offer. The seaside enclave of Rowayton, a mere 1.28 square miles with a charming village center, is home to Cape Cods, English Cottages and grand Victorians. Not to be missed in summertime are open-air productions by Shakespeare on the Sound in Pinkney Park. Nearby SONO, the South Norwalk historic district, is a shopping and dining mecca.
SONO is also home to the Maritime Aquarium and the Norwalk Seaport Association, which offers ferry service to the Sheffield Island Lighthouse and sponsors the annual Oyster Festival each fall. Central Norwalk's Wall Street Theater, provides diverse programming and promotes arts education to Norwalk and greater Fairfield County. The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, with both professional and youth orchestras, has been enriching lives for over 75 years with live performances and activities at The Norwalk Concert Hall.
Nearby in Lockwood-Matthews Park, families will enjoy Stepping Stones Museum for Children and the adjacent playground. The Victorian era Lockwood-Matthews Mansion is open for public tours, educational events and is available for private event rentals. Farther inland, at the northern edge of Norwalk, you will find the former artists' community of Silvermine and the Silvermine Arts Center. Converted mill properties, farmhouses and stately colonials grace the surrounding countryside.
A richly diverse and multi-cultural district, Norwalk Public Schools (NPS) serves over 11,000 students in 12 elementary schools, 4 middle schools and 2 traditional high schools plus alternative high school programs such as the Center for Global Studies, an inter-district high school magnet program and Norwalk Early College Academy, a collaboration between NPS, Norwalk Community College and IBM. The district continues to expand its offerings—opening the Norwalk Early Childhood Center, establishing a therapeutic program at Norwalk High for special needs children and is currently transitioning an elementary school to a full dual language school for English language learners. The private All Saints Catholic School is in Norwalk, as are many private nursery schools.
Calf Pasture Beach is one of Norwalk's most popular recreational areas. A fishing pier and small boat ramp provide visitors with water-based options while sand volleyball and bocce courts, a skate park and baseball/softball diamonds delight other athletes. Veterans Memorial Park, a 35-acre expanse with a marina and boat launch overlooks scenic Norwalk Harbor and offers biking and jogging/walking trails as well as athletic fields. Inland, Cranbury Park, a 227 acre park, is home to the Gallaher Estate, wooded trails, sculpture gardens, a dog park, playgrounds and picnic areas.
Norwalk Transit District provides public transportation throughout Norwalk and regionally in southwest Connecticut. Just an hour from Manhattan (a 40 mile distance), Norwalk is easily accessible via Interstate 95, the Merritt Parkway and Metro-North commuter trains with stops in Rowayton, South Norwalk and East Norwalk.