The closest swath of New England to New York , the coastal stretch between Greenwich  and Fairfield  is considered but a suburb of Manhattan to many of those who live here. Over the years, these urban refugees have plowed their Wall Street or Madison Avenue wealth into terrific seaside mansions and expansive country retreats, earning the area the not-ironic nickname “the Gold Coast.”
In the midst of them, the mid-sized city of Norwalk has struggled back from depression with the revitalization of its beautiful waterfront area. While on the far side to the east, the big and brash Bridgeport  is off-putting in its sprawl but holds its own charms with several small museums such as the wonderfully quirky Barnum Museum .
The towns and cities of Fairfield County are strung like pearls along the strand of I-95. Bridgeport  is located about 25 miles from New Haven  (20 min.), and 60 miles from Hartford  (1 hour). The distance from Bridgeport to Greenwich  is another 25 miles (25 min.).
Amtrak (800/872-7245, www.amtrak.com ) runs trains from New York City  and Boston  to stations in Bridgeport (525 Water St.) and Stamford  (Washington Blvd and S. State St.). In addition, trains from New York run by Metro North (800/638-7646, www.mta.nyc.ny.us ) stop in virtually every town up the Connecticut  coastline.
Another spur heads north to Danbury  (1 Patriot Dr.). Also, Greyhound (203/772-2470, www.greyhound.com ) and Peter Pan Bus Lines (800/343-9999, www.peterpanbus.com ) operate bus routes to Bridgeport (35 John St.), Stamford (30 Station Pl.), and Danbury (48 Elm St.).
In addition to access via Metro North trains, Fairfield County’s coastal towns are linked by bus via the Stamford branch of CT Transit (203/327-7433, www.cttransit.com ).