Greenwich: Essential Things Parents Must Know
Sponsored by Barbara Zaccagnini, Coldwell Banker

Greenwich: Essential Things Parents Must Know

November 30, 2016   |   Sponsored Content: Our Towns  

    
Originally developed as a resort town for New York City residents, Greenwich's mixture of modern amenities and historic structures makes it a family-friendly community. Here's what you need to know if considering a move to Greenwich, CT.
     

The town of Greenwich—located approximately 30 miles from New York City—is made up of six census-designated places (Cos Cob, Byram, Riverside, Old Greenwich, Glenville, Pemberwick), and has a long and storied history. In 1640, settlers from Massachusetts purchased the land now know as Old Greenwich. By 1730, the nearly 50 square miles that comprise present-day Greenwich were settled. During the Revolutionary War, Greenwich experienced raids from the British army, and battles were fought on the roads and farms in the town destroying homes and crops. When the railroad came to town in 1848, it brought immigrants who made Greenwich their home. Greenwich was also developed as a resort town catering to New York City residents wanting to escape the city for the summer.

With its mixture of modern amenities and more than 280 historic structures recognized by the Greenwich Historical Society’s Landmarks Program, this southernmost town in Fairfield County is a family-friendly community located on Long Island Sound.

Here’s everything you need to know if you're considering moving your family to Greenwich.
    

Schools in Greenwich

Public Schools Serving Greenwich

Children who live in Greenwich will attend one of 15 public schools in the Greenwich Public School District. Students are assigned to elementary and middle schools based on residential attendance areas. Four elementary and one middle school are magnet schools that accept students based on an application process that begins in January. GPS also offers an tuition- and lottery-based integrated preschool program for residents and employees of the town of Greenwich.

Public Elementary Schools in Greenwich

  • Cos Cob School, Cos Cob: kindergarten through fifth grades
  • Glenville School, Greenwich: kindergarten through fifth grades
  • Hamilton Avenue School, Greenwich: STEM Magnet School for preschool through fifth grades
  • International School at Dundee, Riverside: International Baccalaureate Programme Magnet School for kindergarten through fifth grades
  • Julian Curtiss School, Greenwich: Magnet School of World Languages for kindergarten through fifth grades
  • New Lebanon School, Greenwich: International Baccalaureate Programme Magnet School for kindergarten through fifth grades
  • North Mianus School, Riverside: kindergarten through fifth grades
  • North Street School, Greenwich: preschool through fifth grades
  • Old Greenwich School, Old Greenwich: preschool through fifth grades
  • Parkway School, Greenwich: preschool through fifth grades
  • Riverside School, Riverside: kindergarten through fifth grades

    
Public Middle Schools in Greenwich

  • Central Middle School, Greenwich
  • Eastern Middle School, Riverside
  • Western Middle School, Greenwich: International Baccalaureate Programme Magnet School

   
Public High Schools in Greenwich

  • Greenwich Alternative High School, Riverside: A structured program that fosters academic, social, emotional, and personal growth for a small population of ninth through 12th graders
  • Greenwich High School, Greenwich

Private Schools Serving Greenwich

There are more than 20 private schools serving Greenwich, including preschools, mixed-age schools, religious schools, and schools for children with special needs.

Private preschools serving Greenwich include:

  • Banksville Nursery School
  • Children’s Day School
  • Christ Church Nursery School
  • Gateway Preschool
  • Joan Melber Warburg Early Childhood Center
  • Putnam Indian Field School
  • Selma Maisel Nursery School of Temple Sholom
  • YWCA of Greenwich

    
Private mixed-age schools serving Greenwich
include:

  • Brunswick School: all-boys, college prep for pre-K through 12th grades
  • Fusion Academy Greenwich in nearby Stamford: A 1-on-1 classroom educational experience for sixth through 12th grades
  • Greenwich Academy: all-girls, college prep for pre-K through 12th grades
  • Greenwich Country Day School: nursery through ninth grades
  • The Greenwich Japanese School: bilingual school for first through ninth grades
  • Scared Heart Greenwich: all-girls, college prep for kindergarten through 12th grades
  • The Stanwich School: pre-K through 12th grades
  • Whitby School: International Baccalaureate program for 18 months through eighth grade

    
Private religious schools serving Greenwich include:

  • Carmel Academy: kindergarten through eighth grade, Jewish
  • Greenwich Catholic School: pre-K to 12th grades, Roman Catholic

    
Private schools for students with special needs serving Greenwich include:

  • Eagle Hill School: independent school for ages 5-15 with language-based learning disabilities
       
     

Public Transportation: Metro-North Stops Serving Greenwich

For those parents who work in New York City and will have to commute on a daily basis, or for the family that wants to visit the city for a day, the city of Greenwich has four Metro-North train stations:

  • Cos Cob, 1 Cos Cob Ave.: approximately a 50-minute commute
  • Greenwich, 20 Railroad Ave.: approximately a 50-minute commute
  • Old Greenwich, 1 Sound Beach Ave.: approximately a 1-hour commute
  • Riverside, 1 Riverside Ave.: approximately a 50-minute commute

     

Things to Do with Kids in Greenwich

Annual Festivals in Greenwich

There are several annual parades and festivals held in Greenwich that offer entertainment for the whole family, including:
     

Greenwich Holiday Stroll

Over a weekend in early December, families can take part in fun festivities, take pictures with Santa, and more. Plus, you can get a lot of holiday shopping done with merchants offering promotions and refreshments.
     

Greenwich Reindeer Festival

Reindeer are in town from late November through just before Christmas each year to celebrate the guy in the big, red suit. Kids can meet Santa and his reindeer, take photos with Santa, and feed the reindeer twice daily.
      

Greenwich Town Party

This annual celebration is an opportunity for the people of Greenwich to come together for a day of music, food, fun, family, and friendship to experience the strength of the community. The festival also honors Greenwich residents who enrich the community.
     

Shakespeare on the Sound

The summer theater festival produces affordable, professional, open-air productions of the plays of William Shakespeare and related authors in Fairfield County. Past productions have included Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Othello.
      

Beaches in Greenwich

Greenwich is home to one major beach, and one smaller beach with a pool:
     

Byram Beach and Pool

Located in Byram Park, the harbor provides 300 slips for small boats plus 90 outwater moorings for larger boats. The park is also home to the town’s only public pool, has bathhouses for those using the beach and pool, lighted tennis courts, and the only lighted ball field in Greenwich.
     

Greenwich Point Beach/Tod's Point, Old Greenwich

In 1884, J. Kennedy Tod, a wealth banker, purchased a few parcels of land to build the waterfront estate he called Innis Arden. Joining two small islands will fill, Tod created a lake from a tidal marsh. Next came a road, stone mansion, boathouse, guesthouse, and more. The estate was acquired by Greenwich in 1944, and in 1946, the mansion was turned into apartments for returning World War II vets. Currently, the estate is home to the Bruce Museum Seaside Center, the Floren Family Environmental Center, a beach, concession stands, picnic areas, a bath house, boat launch, hiking and nature trails, canoe and kayak racks, and a designated area for wind surfers. It is also home to various events year-round, including July 4 fireworks, summer concerts, sand castle competitions, Christmas tree recycling, and kite flying.
     

Tod's Point in Old Greenwich, CT
Courtesy Barbara Zaccagnini

Tod’s Point offers beach, picnic areas, and hiking and nature trails for families in Greenwich.

    

Community Centers in Greenwich

The city of Greenwich offers a handful of centers that foster a sense of community, including country clubs, a YMCA, a YWCA, a JCC, and yacht clubs.
     

Burning Tree Country Club

This private gold club offers an 18-hole golf course, which as hosted US Open qualifiers and Met PGA events, an 8-land 25-meter pool, Har-Tru tennis courts, a platform tennis complex, and dining options. It also offers junior programs in golf, tennis, and swimming, as well as a summer camp.
     

Greenwich Boat and Yacht Club

Organized in 1938, this is one of the oldest boat clubs in Greenwich, founded to encourage yachting, sailing, boating, fishing, and related activities. It has a clubhouse and marina, and offers events for members such as a New England Clambake, seafood bake-off dinners, movie nights, and holiday parties.
     

Greenwich Country Club

Founded in 1892 as the Fairfield Country Golf Club, the Greenwich Country Club offers an 18-hole golf course, driving range, racquet courts (tennis, squash, and paddle), a swimming pool, and dining and social facilities.
     

Griffith E. Harris Golf Course

The 18-hole, par-71 golf course is located on 158.6 acres in Greenwich. Its amenities include a pro shop, clubhouse and restaurant, driving range, putting and chipping greens, and a practice bunker. Locally known as The Griff, the course was named after the then First Selectman, who championed the cause for a public course in Greenwich.
    

Griffith E. Harris Golf Club in Greenwich, CT
Courtesy Barbara Zaccagnini

Only residents and full-time Town of Greenwich employees may become members of the Griffith E. Harris Golf Club.

    

Indian Harbor Yacht Club

This more-than-125-year-old club fosters the sport of yachting, the art of yacht design and construction, the science of navigation, and provides recreation to its members. It offers sailing, junior sailing, regattas, and more.
    

Innis Arden Golf Club

What was part of J. Kennedy Tod’s estate that started as an eight-hole course is now a private, 18-hole course. The club now has a teaching hut, seven Har-Tru tennis courts (four of which are covered for year-round play), four paddle tennis courts, a fitness center, two-lane bowling alley, lounge area, and dining options.
    

JCC Greenwich

The JCC enriches the educational, cultural, and social life of Greenwich while connecting the community through programs, cultural events, performances, classes, fitness and well-being, philanthropy, and social gatherings. It also offers adult programs, and youth and family programs.
     

Old Greenwich Yacht Club, Old Greenwich

This club provides residents a place for sailing, cruising, racing, fishing, kayakers, and paddle boarding. For a fee, residents have access to education, sporting, and social events.
     

Riverside Yacht Club, Riverside

With a membership composed of primarily Riverside and Old Greenwich residents, boasts itself as the second oldest yacht club in Connecticut. If offers sailing opportunities of all kids, a clubhouse, and marina. Is also hosts regattas throughout the summer.
    

Tamarack Country Club

This country club aims to be a place where friends and family gather to relax, socialize, and celebrate. It offers an array of amenities, including golf, tennis, swimming, and dining options. It also hosts weddings and events, and has a fitness center and kids’ club.
    

YMCA Greenwich

The YMCA aims to bring together and strengthen the community through programs and services that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for men, women, and children. It offers parent and child activities, youth sports and humanities, birthday parties, swimming teams, early learning and after-school programs, seasonal camps, fitness, and programs for those with special needs.
    

YWCA of Greenwich

The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and girls, and building strong communities. It offers a variety of programs for families in the community, including a preschool, after-school programs, summer camp, swimming, fitness, domestic abuse services, and events.
    

Museums in Greenwich

Audubon Greenwich

Comprised of 686 acres on seven sanctuaries and private parcels in Greenwich, Audubon Greenwich’s mission is to engage and educate people to conserve, restore, and enjoy nature, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats. With environments of hardwood forests, fields, a lake, streams, and vernal pools, the center offers school and youth group programs, summer day camps, Scout programs, and Citizen Science.
    

Bruce Museum

Originally built as a private home in 1853, Robert Moffat Bruce, a wealthy textile merchant, bought the house and property in 1858 and deeded them to the town in 1908. The Bruce Museum, which held its first exhibition in 1912, promotes the understanding and appreciation of art and science to enrich the lives of all people.
     

Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT
Courtesy Barbara Zaccagnini

The Bruce Museum presents more than a dozen new exhibits in art and science every year.

    

Bush-Holley House Museum, Cos Cob

Situated in Cos Cob Harbor in Greenwich, this historic site provides visitors with two time periods: the New Nation (1790-1825) and the Cos Cob Art Colony (1890-1920). Eight rooms tell a story of change over time, while the buildings, landscape, and gardens evoke the turn of the 20th century when Cos Cob became the first art colony in Connecticut.
     

Parks in Greenwich

Greenwich is home to nearly 20 parks, playground, ice-skating rinks, and golf courses including:

  • Babcock Preserve
  • Bible Street Playground, Cos Cob
  • Binney Park, Riverside: hosts the annual Fourth of July fireworks
  • Griffith E. Harris Golf Course
  • Bruce Park
  • Byram Shore Park
  • Cos Cob Park, Cos Cob
  • Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink, Sherman Avenue
  • Greenwich Point
  • Havemeyer Field & Greenwich Common
  • Loughlin Avenue Playground, Cos Cob
  • Mianus River Nature Park
  • Montgomery Pinetum Park, Cos Cob
  • Pemberwick Park
  • Sachem Nature Preserve’
  • Edward Schongalla Nature Preserve
  • Roger Sherman Baldwin Park
  • William Street Playground
     


Main image: The Bush-Holley House Museum, located in Cos Cob, teaches visitors about the New Nation (1790-1825) and the Cos Cob Art Colony (1890-1920).
Courtesy Bush-Holley House Museum