They moved from Manhattan to the Connecticut suburbs 15 months ago, and never looked back
As we head into the holidays we’re checking in with some of our former Suburban Jungle clients to hear what life is like in the ‘burbs, now that they’re settled in. We recently caught up with Zeke and Bitsy Ridout who, with their two young daughters, made the leap to Rowayton, Connecticut just over a year ago — and couldn’t be happier or more thankful.
When Zeke and Bitsy Ridout decided to move to the New York City suburbs in 2019, they didn’t waste a second. Over three weekends, the couple toured Connecticut, Westchester and New Jersey, before heading back to Darien and Rowayton for a second look. During that third weekend they toured seven houses and wound up making an offer. Twenty-five days later, they and their two young daughters were in their new home in Rowayton.
“When you’re ready, you’re ready — and we were definitely ready,” Zeke says, now 15 months post-move. “It’s been an amazing transition — the community is everything we wanted. We love it. The kids love it. The animals love it.” (Check out the Ridouts first post, “A Whirlwind Journey to Rowayton”)
We caught up with Zeke and Bitsy to get the scoop on life in Rowayton, as the family heads into their second holiday season in suburbia.
Soaking up summers in Rowayton
“When I look back, I think this was all meant to be,” Zeke says. “Our journey to Suburban Jungle and then to our Strategist, Allison Levine and then to Rowayton, which is a perfect fit. Then we closed in less than a month — and the process was so, so smooth. It was incredible — more than I could have hoped for.”
The community, he says, is also more than they could have hoped for — especially during the warmer months. In the summer, Zeke says, Rowayton and neighboring Norwalk host countless events and activities including concerts on the beach, parades, arts festivals and more. Post-move the Ridouts were able to squeeze in a few weeks of summer and, this year, they were looking forward to diving into all Rowayton had to offer. Then COVID-19 hit.
Despite many of their favorite activities going virtual, Zeke, Bitsy and the girls hunkered down and made the best of it. “We’ve been taking walks around the neighborhood,” he says. “We got a ‘pandemic puppy.’ Now, we’re out, watching the leaves change — it’s really beautiful here and it’s been warm, so we’re still getting out a lot.”
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Checking in on the Donovans: How This Now Family-of-Four is Settling into Maplewood, New Jersey
They’ve also tackled a number of projects around the house, which has kept them both busy. “We renovated the bathrooms,” Zeke says, “and tackled a few creative projects which have been good. We’ve both home and it’s given us the flexibility to do things like that.”
Discovering the right suburb
Despite loving life in Rowayton, Zeke admits he has occasional nostalgia for life in the city. After spending nearly a decade in Manhattan, making a move to Connecticut was a significant change.
“At one point this spring I was definitely missing the city,” he says. “Then, in June, I was commuting to work every day, for the first time in months. And suddenly I went from really missing it to thinking, ‘OK, I’m glad to have been here for a few hours. I’m ready to get back home now.’” Now, he says, while they still love the city, they’re happy to visit — then come right back to the ‘burbs.
The couple’s two girls — now three and one — are also loving life in Connecticut. The family welcomed an au pair the week they moved in and quickly enrolled their oldest in a local preschool.
“Our older daughter is in preschool and loves it,” Zeke says. “We walk her every day — the school is right here in our little community. She still has playdates. And we’re part of the Rowayton Parents Exchange, which is great. They have events every weekend for the entire family — someone organizes sunset drinks on the beach or other casual get-togethers.”
Getting ready for the holidays in Rowayton
Now, with the holidays fast approaching, the Ridouts have also been enjoying everything Rowayton has to offer — and looking ahead to 2021.
“We love Christmas,” Zeke says. “There are all of these farms in the area — you can go and cut down your own tree. We have a whole ritual we established last year during our first holidays in Rowayton. That’s our next exciting thing. And, of course, we’re excited for a non-COVID summer hopefully, next year, so we can enjoy all of the perks in the community — the concerts, the parades. It all happened virtually this year, but we’re excited to get out and really experience it.”
As the family reflects on the last 15 months, it’s clear Rowayton was the right choice — and they encourage other city families to dig in and find the community that’s right for them.
“Before you start exploring though, make sure you have a good team in place,” Zeke says. “Buying a house can be scary and most people don’t realize what’s involved. If you have a good team — which starts with Suburban Jungle — you know you’re set up for success. And beyond that, be positive. Uprooting your whole life is hard. But try and enjoy the experience. Everything about this move has been an experience and we’re really thankful for it.”
Want to find the town that’s right for you and your family? Get in touch and schedule your Suburbs Strategy session. All of our services are 100% free.
Images: Zeke & Bitsy Ridout