Rental guidelines

This is Circle Beach in Madison CT, not Hammonasset Beach on the other end of town, not Fire Island NY, the Hamptoms, nor the Jersey Shore.

We have a different culture here — quiet, secluded, unpretentious and nature-centered. The beach has only 22 cottages on a thin, sandy peninsula surrounded by Long Island Sound on one side and 100+ acres of protected wetlands and rivers on the other that buffer us from civilization.

An unwritten code of neighborliness that has evolved at Circle Beach since the first cottage was built in the early 1900s. Many of the cottages have been handed down from generation to generation and are treasured as quiet retreats. Our family has owned this cottage since 1948 and it is one of the few on the beach that is rented for part of the summer.

This is a private beach so some things are inappropriate here, such as noisy parties, boomboxes, jet skis, and crowds of people.

Rather, Circle Beach is a place for...

  • Enjoying leisurely breakfasts on the porch as egrets, sandpipers, seagulls, cormorants, blue herons and whistling swans breakfast below at the water's edge.
  • Surfcasting for stripers and porgies from in front of the cottage.
  • Playing water Frisbee at low tide.
  • Beach WalksTaking a beach walk at Grass Island and collecting shells and what-have-you. View the map of beach walks here:
  • Kayaking up the river to spot where ospreys are building nests after several decades' absence.
  • Watching the sunset from the beach deck below.

Our neighbors are retirees and families who live here throughout the summer. And they live here for one main reason — the quiet, peaceful solitude of the Circle Beach community.

Photo, Neck River sunset.

Neck River sunset view from the west bedroom.

The goal of these guidelines is to help both you and our neighbors have a great summer. Our intent is to gently inform you of some details, of which you might not be aware, so that you do not inadvertently "step on any toes" or endanger the cove's fragile environment.

These guidelines are included in the rental contract. We thank you for your care and cooperation.

A maximum of 6 people can stay at the cottage.

We are renting only to you and your immediate family. The cottage has a septic tank system that cannot handle the water usage of more than 6 people.

There are 5 parking spaces for our cottage.

Three spaces are in the driveway, two are underneath the cottage. No parking is allowed on the open land directly opposite the cottage (the "river lot") nor on our neighbors' property or along the road opposite their cottages.

A few visitors are ok, parties are not.

Please limit the number of guests you invite. A maximum of 10 additional daytime guests are allowed during the day (total of 16 that includes the 6 occupants).

A quiet barbecue with 5 or 6 friends is acceptable, but a party with 15 additional people is not. This is not the place for your annual bash. If you do invite guests, have them make day visits only, not overnight stays. And keep in mind that all of these guidelines apply to them, too.

Q-U-I-E-T is the word.

Keep the volume down on radios, speakers, TVs and voices. Take your cue from our neighbors. And remember that sounds carry farther near the water.

No smoking.

Not indoors. Not on the porch or beach deck. Family members and other guests are affected by residue left on furniture, walls, and household items.

And don't leave your butts in the sand!

Every grain of sand is owned by someone.

There is no public land anywhere at Circle Beach. Even land that appears to be open or vacant is privately owned, including the "river lots" on the other side of the road.

Walks along the entire beach are fine if you stay below the high tide mark, but a game of frizbee in front of a neighbor's cottage is not. Confine your activities to the beach directly in front of our cottage. The open lot next door is not our property, so please stay off it.

Do not climb on our neighbors' rocks, go up their staircases, walk underneath their cottages, nor peer inside their homes. Gosh, you wouldn't do that to your neighbors back home so don't do it here, either!

The marsh, docks and boats are private property so please keep
away from them. In addition, the docks are not safe and the river has a very strong 4 knots/hour current, in spite of its benign appearance.

Keep the beach safe for bare feet.

Be safe and keep glass containers, bottle caps, pull tabs from beverage cans, fishing tackle and other potential "foot- injuring" items off the beach.

JetSkis, ATVs and motorcycles are nixed.

Motorized vehicles of any kind are not permitted on the beach — they destroy the delicate dune grasses that control erosion. JetSkis are noisy and disruptive to our neighbors, and prevent others from using the beach. Inflatable rafts, rowboats, dinghies, small sailboats, canoes and kayaks are ok.

Bonfires are not permitted.

Town of Madison police strictly enforce laws that prohibit fires on the beach.
Barbeque grills are permitted, but please take extra special care with ours, especially on windy days. (The nearest fire station is 15 minutes away.) Keep the grill at its "station" at the foot of the stairs behind the shower wall so that it protected from the wind. And do not leave it unattended. Note the fire extinguisher above the grill.

Pets are allowed only by written permission.

With respect to our neighbors, one pet may be allowed by separate, written permission of the landlord. Please keep your pet leashed when outdoors and clean up after it. Your visitors' pets are not allowed at all.

Supervise children and guests.

Make sure that they are aware of the guidelines, especially the parts about trespassing on our neighbors' properties, including porches, the river lots in back, and boat docks.

Photo, the beach at Grass Island.

Grass Island at the end of Circle Beach road, part of the wildlife management and protected wetlands. See our Beach Walks for walking directions.