Despite differences, Westport shares much in common with sister city in New York
Published 1:02 am, Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Out of 17 different Westports throughout the country, the one in New York could be considered one of the most scenic. Nestled in the Adirondacks and on the shore of Lake Champlain, this hamlet of 1,300 is a world apart from the hustle of the New York metropolitan area.
And although the differences are striking, a culture of arts is the norm in both Westport, N.Y., and Westport, Conn.
The downtown area in New York consists of several shops and a large green in front of the library. Traffic is scarce, and drivers are more than accommodating -- willing to let all pedestrians cross the road. Down a sloping hill is Lake Champlain, and across the water is Vermont. The vibe is quiet and low-key, but it suits the village well. After all, the Adirondack chair was reportedly invented here.
During the summer, out-of-towners move to a bevy of vacation rentals. The average property value is approximately $150,000, and Westport, N.Y., is one of the more prosperous towns in the Adirondacks. By comparison, its Connecticut cousin has average home values in the $900,000 range.
While the difference in affluence is obvious, the value that each town places on its unique playhouses is strong. In Connecticut, Westport Country Playhouse, a former tannery, has been a staple of the downtown area for 80 years. In New York, the Depot Theatre also takes advantage of a building constructed in the 1800s. A converted Amtrak train station on the edge of town serves as the town's theatrical hub. The train still runs regularly, but the plays -- much like the vacationers -- only stick around for the summer.