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That's Academic: Homes with a Pedigree
With school back in session, we felt it was time to pay attention to homes with attributes more high-minded than the easy pleasures afforded by pools and beach access. Here's a look at listings that were once owned by two men of letters.
Eugene O'Neill's Childhood Home
There's a charming black-and-white photograph of Eugene O'Neill as a toddler, wearing an old-fashioned cap and lace-up boots, sitting on a rock overlooking the water, a sketchbook in his lap. In fact, the playwright's early years were spent along coastal Pequot Avenue in New London, which is still lined with grand, seaside manses. By comparison, the O'Neill homes—they owned a couple of them—were much more modest. The one that's currently on the market is a charming gambrel-roofed cottage, built in 1770 with expansive water views. The property includes mature trees, a garage and .69 acres of pretty lawns that slope down to the Sound. The 1,656-square-foot home has cove shingles and other antique details, and offers three bedrooms, two bathrooms and three fireplaces. Current owner Mike Ronnick has not sought historic status for the home but has excellent documentation regarding its provenance. It's listed for $475,000 with Randall Real Estate agent Walter Geswell (860-572-9099).
Darien Farmhouse & Atelier
Jazz-era illustrator W. Emerton Heitland was famous for the stylized pen-and-ink drawings he published in the magazines of his day: Esquire, Saturday Evening Post and the like. In 1919, he decided on a remote point of land in Darien to build what he called his "castle of dreams." A good decision, as it happens: His once-secluded, 2.8-acre parcel is now in one of Darien's most desirable neighborhoods, built along the Five Mile River as it empties into the Sound.