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July 2007


REAL ESTATE

Deeds & Don'ts
By Lily Oliver

INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA REAL ESTATE DEALS

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Lights Out
The U.S. Coast Guard has been lightening its load lately, darkening various lighthouses that are "determined to be in excess of its needs." In June, the Penfield Reef Lighthouse off the Fairfield coastline was put up for grabs. The structure (but not the land underneath it) is offered for free, first only to such institutions as non-profits, educational groups and historic organizations. Should this announcement draw no takers, individuals are next in line—but as paying customers, since a price will be attached to the offer. The location couldn't be more desirable (though it's only accessible by boat). There's another similar offer for the Saybrook Breakwater lighthouse and, across the country, 11 additional lighthouses at no or little cost. For more information, go to nps.gov/maritime.

The Best of the Best
In search of superlatives, look no further than any real estate website, where every home is "exceptional," every garden "unsurpassed," every location "incredible." Incredible, indeed. But here's news of a listing due, at press time, to hit the market this month that earns its accolade and then some: a $39.5 million, truly exceptional, Elizabethan-inspired Tudor manse on approximately 77 acres. One of Fairfield County's last great estates, it was built for financier George Ohrstrom in 1926 of granite, fieldstone, brick, timber and slate.

The exteriors feature large, asymmetrical gables, ornamental chimneys and oversized windows. Inside, the grandest room is called the Great Hall, featuring 40-foot ceilings, a walk-in fireplace and leaded glass windows. At 15,862 square feet, it offers 15 bedrooms with handcrafted, custom details throughout, including the handsome 17th-century wood paneling and staircase imported from England.

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