Chester, CT, is a town with about 4,300 permanent residents that sits just north of Deep River and along the Connecticut River in Middlesex County.
The town, which got its name from Chester, England, enjoys a convenient position because it's only half an hour from Hartford and 45 minutes from New Haven, making those cities an easy commute. You can also drive from Chester to New York in under two-and-a-half hours, depending on traffic, while Boston is just 130 miles away.
All of this comes together to create a historic town that enjoys a tranquil and quintessential small-town way of life, yet is close enough to a few major cities that you can easily spend a weekend in civilization.
Here's what you should know about living in Chester, Connecticut, a small town that is preserving its quiet way of life for future generations.
Where to Work in Chester, CT
Although it's small in size, there are some interesting employment opportunities in Chester. For starters, the town is home to the headquarters of the Whelen Engineering Corporation, which designs warning lights, sirens, and other warning equipment for public services.
In addition, Astroseal Products Manufacturing Corporation, an aviation adhesive manufacturer, operates from offices near the Chester Airport, and other local manufacturers include Greenwald Industries, East Coast Precision, Chapco, and Cable Prep. Many of these companies have corporate offices in Chester, too.
Outside of manufacturing, there are jobs in the retail and services industries, as well as employment opportunities in neighboring towns like Haddam, Deep River, and Essex. New London, Hartford, and New Haven are also nearby, so living in Chester puts you in a good position for working in a variety of locations.
Places to Eat and Shop in Chester
When you're hungry, you'll be happy to know that Chester has a handful of restaurants offering a variety of cuisine types.
For example, Rustica and Grano Arso are Italian restaurants, while The Brushmill serves American cuisine, and Thai Riverside has Asian offerings. For Pizza, you'll find Moravela's and OTTO, and The Pattaconk 1850 and River Tavern are great places to go for drinks.
No matter what type of food you're looking for, there's a good chance you'll find in on Chester's Main Street.
The Main Street area in Chester is also home to some shops, including a few art galleries, some antique stores, and a couple of gift boutiques.
It's always interesting to wander through downtown Chester because you're sure to find some one-of-a-kind items that were made in-town by local artists and designers.
Chester's Fun Activity Guide
There's a lot of history in Chester, as the area has been inhabited since 1692, and you can visit some early buildings at Dr. Ambrose Pratt House, Johnathan Warner House, and Charles Daniel House. You can also check out Old Town Hall, which was completed in 1793, if you're interested in local history.
Want to do something outdoors? Well, the good news is that you'll never run short of activities when living in Chester. For starters, you can spend the day at Cedar Lake, a 70-acre body of water with two beaches and places to launch your boats.
Or, if you'd rather do some hiking, the Cockaponset State Forest Pattaconk Recreation Area is an option. This area is home to the Pattaconk Reservoir, where you can do some boating and fishing, as well.
Are you interested in the arts? You might be surprised to learn that Chester has a world-renowned performing arts venue: the Norma Terris Theatre. The Chester Meeting House also hosts plays and the Collomore Concert Series, so you'll find plenty of performances to keep you busy in the town.
The east side of the city has three marinas and a yacht club, all of which put you on the Connecticut River, which leads you to Long Island Sound in a matter of minutes.
Whether you're into the arts or exploring the outdoors, Chester has everything you need to stay entertained.
Going to School in Chester
The only school within Chester's town limits is Chester Elementary School. Chester is part of the tri-town area with Deep River and Essex, however, and the towns share Regional School District #4.
This shared school district means that students attend institutions in their hometown until grade seven when they move to John Winthrop Junior High School in Deep River. Then, in grade nine, all students in the tri-town area move to Valley Regional High School, which is also in Deep River.
Chester Connecticut Public Transportation
Public Transportation in Chester comes through the 9 Town Transit Service, which is part of the Estuary Transit District. This system provides service from Chester to its neighboring communities, including transportation to the Old Saybrook Train Station.
Once you're at the Old Saybrook Train Station, you can take commuter trains through Shore Line East and Amtrak to New Haven, New London, and other nearby cities.
There are bus stops throughout Chester Center, so you can use the service to get from one end of the town to the other, as well.
Buy a House in Chester, CT
Living in Chester, Connecticut, means having direct access to a ton of open space, as well as lakes, ponds, and the Connecticut River. You can also reach the ocean in a matter of minutes, so it’s easy to hit the beach or take your boat out for a day in Long Island Sound.
Chester, CT, is proud of its status as a small American town, and its residents hope to keep it that way indefinitely. You won’t find chain restaurants or stores here, as the town strives to maintain the old-school vibe that makes it a special place.
Once you buy a home in Chester, you’ll quickly see why its residents care so profoundly about maintaining its historical nature.