It may seem like a fairytale—the picture perfect sandy town of shingled houses, backyard golf, bike rides, tennis, sun-kissed children playing until sunset, and an old world summer day spent to its absolute fullest. Resting peacefully since 1899 on the majestic shores of Connecticut’s coast, the Borough of Fenwick is a beloved Old Saybrook summer community that not many have the privilege to know.
The quaint New England town is located right where the Connecticut River meets the Sound. Its two lighthouses include the Inner, located at the tip of Fenwick’s peninsula known as Lynde Point, and the Outer, a quarter of a mile off shore. Approximately 195 acres of Fenwick Historic District land comprises the majority of the community, which, according to the National Register of Historic Places, consists of about 60 buildings in the heart of Fenwick, as well as the area’s 9-hole golf course, neighboring tennis courts and boating club. Of these buildings, historic styles are prevalent with homes varying from shingle-style and Queen Anne to Victorian and the occasional modern.
The borough’s land was designated part of the Historic District in 1975, making it subject to Connecticut’s preservation regulations. Any alterations to the exteriors of the town’s existing homes or the addition of any new structures require a permit. With such a tight-knit community, these borough regulations are embraced by its residents who enjoy keeping this summer hideaway true to its original roots and rich history.
The Lynde Point Land Trust was formed in 1991 to help protect the untainted natural beauty of this tiny, coastal neighborhood. In addition to the town itself owning a portion of the Connecticut River shore, conservation is required on most of the borough land. Dedicated members of the Hepburn family, whose Fenwick estate we know quite well, also added to this environmental mission by previously contributing the Hepburn Family Preserve as a part of this trust. Clearly, this is not just another summertime oasis. Fenwick is one of Connecticut’s best-kept secrets and a treasured way of life for past, present and future generations.