The Day – Cul-de-sacs are a community thing, by design

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A cul-de-sac is, technically, a dead end street, and yet cul-de-sac communities are rarely sleepy or lifeless.

The origin of the term “cul-de-sac” dates back to France in the 1700s. Its English translation is “bottom of a sack”, and the French used the term to refer to certain anatomical features. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it was not adopted as a means of describing a dead-end street until 1819.

For NPR, John Nielsen hosted a Morning Edition show on the evolution of cul-de-sacs in the United States. In “Cul-de-Sacs: Suburban Dream or Dead End?” Developers learned that cul-de-sacs allowed them to fit more homes in oddly shaped lots and build right up to the edges of rivers and property lines.

Cul-de-sac critics say that these planned communities have contributed to suburban sprawl and that they value driving as transportation, rather than walking or public modes, but access to sidewalks leading to shopping areas and green spaces, and whether or not there is a nearby public bus or train stop depends entirely on the neighborhood.

Two of the benefits of living on a cul-de-sac are quietness and minimal traffic. Other than occasional guest visits, traffic on the cul-de-sac is generally restricted to those who live there. This dampens noise and creates a potentially safer environment for children to play and ride.

In cul-de-sac communities, residents often report that they are comfortable knowing the neighbors and knowing that when their children are playing together in the immediate vicinity, they are in familiar homes and yards, between friends.

Perhaps there is an increased sense of community because of the way the houses on a cul-de-sac turn inwards towards each other, face each other, as if they have a conversation. They can each enjoy a very private backyard environment, yet their front yards are connected, visually and contextually. Whether the neighbors are tight-knit and social or mostly keep to themselves, there’s an easy perception that “this is our street, this is our neighborhood.”

Not all buyers will appreciate a cul-de-sac. But for those looking for a single family home with an integrated community, a cul-de-sac may be the perfect spot. Welcome Home took stock of the market and found some notable homes on cul-de-sacs that are currently for sale.

First, there is a model home model in the North Pond community of Colchester. Situated on 2.41 acres in a cul-de-sac at 15 Weston Terrace, the 2022-built home has 2,926 square feet of living space, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage. It has a charming porch, hardwood floors, a sleek center-island kitchen, a cathedral-ceilinged great room, and a decadent master bath.

Broker Judy Latham and Stormi Alden of Results Real Estate LLC are the listing agents for the property. They are planning an open house this Saturday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to noon.

“This development is a unique property overall,” Latham wrote in an email to Welcome Home. “When completed, North Pond will consist of only 37 homes on [approximately] 152 acres surrounding a scenic 16-acre pond.”

15 Weston Terrace is one of three homes on the cul-de-sac just off North Pond Way. Latham noted that there are sidewalks throughout the community and it’s a quiet setting, but still provides a quick two-minute commute to local shops, schools, restaurants and community roads.

Residents of the North Pond community have the added benefit of a shared green space, with hiking trails and North Pond, where residents go fishing and kayaking.

Barbara Myslinki-Krucko, realtor at William Raveis Real Estate, knows firsthand the spirit of cul-de-sac living. She lives on one and said the circle represents harmony and good energy. Welcome Home contacted the estate agent to find out about another cul-de-sac house she knows well – 10 London Court currently listed in Old Saybrook. She is the listing agent for the seller, who is asking $649,000 for the contemporary four-bedroom duplex with an attached two-car garage. The house, which has an essential solarium, is located on a flat and landscaped 1 acre lot, with patio and above ground swimming pool. Ownership of this home also comes with deeded beach rights to Cornfield Point Beach.

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