Lake Waramaug, a private, tree-lined lake surrounded by tony homes in Litchfield, Conn., has earned an apt new nickname amid a recent real estate renaissance — one that’s scandalizing its more affluent, proud and humorless denizens.
“No one calls it that,” sniffed longtime local Ken Stiles when asked his opinion on the nickname “Lake Goldman” — a name the lake has earned following a recent influx of real estate investors from the finance industry.
Stiles has lived in the lakeside community for almost a decade, and runs By Request, a local concierge service.
“It’s a total misnomer,” he told The Post.
But less sensitive locals swear that Waramaug’s increasingly popular nom de guerre is now on the tips of the tongues of the cognoscenti.
“I’ve heard plenty of people use that nickname,” laughed another homeowner who weekends on the lake. “It’s meant affectionately.”
Although just two partners of the great vampire squid are known to own properties on the lake, a swarm of financial types — fleeing the city and the woes of the COVID-19 pandemic — and soaring home prices have given old-timers the distinct impression that Lake Waramaug is somewhere down by Wall Street.
“It’s a very New England way of life, understated, very much a low-key, quiet existence,” said Louis Lemieux — a former private equity staffer who now runs Blueprint, an interiors store in the area — of the area’s appeal to Wall Street tycoons.
Peter Klemm, a former hedge funder who now runs the pre-eminent real estate firm in the area, alongside his mother, Carolyn, agreed. Many of Klemm’s clients are colleagues from his former career, who struck gold on Wall Street starting in the 1990s.
But more recently, the financial influence on the lake has reached a boiling point.
Between March and July, there were 14 million-dollar home sales around Lake Waramaug, double the previous year, according to Realtor.com data. Prices in September 2020 were 14.6 percent higher over the same period and the median listing price is nearly double that of Connecticut at large.
Cost, of course, for these leviathans of lending is no barrier. What drives bankers to live on Goldman pond is, above all, exclusivity.
There are roughly a dozen waterfront homes on the lake but they rarely come up for sale, and when they do, they are often quietly traded among longtime locals, Klemm said. New development is discouraged by local zoning. Lack of parking discourages casual visitors and each of the four former inns on the water have now been repurposed as private homes. Except for rowing crews from nearby private schools, only lucky waterfront homeowners can access the lake by boat.
More than anything, though, the new wave of buyers sees the lake as an anti-Hamptons — an exclusive enclave where the wolves of Wall Street can become country mice.
“Our county, at least in my experience, tends to draw people who are interested in being interested versus interesting,” said Lemieux.
And a name like “Lake Goldman” is far too interesting for anyone to be intersted.