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Five Big Reasons I Appreciate The Suburbs

Eva Amurri Martino wears denim cutoffs and a printed top and stands in the garden of a local connecticut farm

 

As a born-and-raised New Yorker (with a chunk of time spent in Italy for good measure), I can’t say that moving to the suburbs two years ago was an easy transition.  In fact, getting used to the transition in to a suburban lifestyle has probably been more challenging than the transition in to Motherhood for me.  I think I totally underestimated how used to city life I had gotten, as well as how much I had taken for granted my own childhood in one of the greatest cities on the planet.  When Kyle and I moved from Los Angeles back East, we briefly considered moving back to New York City.  Ultimately, though, I decided I wanted a different upbringing for my kids.  We currently live in Connecticut– and while I truly, really miss the incredible energy and diversity of the city– there have been some serious upsides to living in the suburbs that have solidified our choice to move here! Today I thought I would share the five big reasons I appreciate living here, just in case any of you are considering a suburban move any time soon! I would love to hear from any other former City Kids who are now raising your own kids in the ‘burbs.  How did you make the transition easier on yourself, and what are your major reasons for the move?

Eva Amurri Martino wears a silk blouse and denim cutoffs and walks through the vegetable garden of a local farm

The Outdoor Experience

I really feel that the ability to explore the outdoors all around where we live has done so much for our entire family.  I love that our home has a yard, that my kids can swim in our pool daily in the warmer months, and that there are parks, hiking trails, and outdoor adventures galore to be explored.  I can’t call myself “Outdoorsy” by any means, but living here has really brought out a newfound appreciation in nature in me, and inspired me to get outdoors much more than I used to.  Now I love hiking and exercising as a family– and my kids hike the trails around our home almost every day when the weather permits! I’ve also found that taking long walks in the woods, or on our local beach helps me clear my head when I’m feeling down or stressed. I will admit that outdoor time during the winter months isn’t my personal fave (LOL) but my kids absolutely love playing in the snow, and I’m happy that they can experience the seasons to the fullest.  I’m even thinking about getting chickens or bees once my kids are a bit older!

Marlowe Martino wears a pink top and gingham shorts, and picks vegetables in the garden of a local connecticut farm

Eva Amurri Martino stands with Marlowe Martino near the chicken coop at a local Connecticut farm

Historic & Family Run Businesses

One of the coolest part about moving to the suburbs of Connecticut has been exploring all of the incredibly cool historic and family run businesses that the area has to offer.  There is so much farmland around us, and amazingly the families have continued to run them to this day.  There are so many spots to buy fresh produce, and little hidden gems around every corner! There are some bigger ones that have hayrides, fruit-picking, and petting zoos, and then the smaller ones that teach seminars and and courses about canning, harvesting, and farm to table cuisine.  I’ve realized recently how much I miss learning, and it’s been fun to throw myself in to exploring the rich history and culture that my area has to offer.  Marlowe went to camp for a week at a local farm this summer, and it was such a positive experience for her.  It makes me SO happy to see her so comfortable in her surroundings and learning a lot of those back-to-basics values.  I wrote a post about some of my faves!

Eva Amurri Martino kneels with Marlowe Martino near the chicken coop at a local Connecticut farm

Marlowe Martino stands in front of an alpaca pen at a local connecticut farm

Great Public Schools

This one is HUGE for me.  Growing up in New York City, there really weren’t excellent public schools, and the ones that were fairly good were so hard to get in to.  When Kyle and I were considering moving back to New York City, one of my biggest arguments against it was how overwhelming it would be to try and financially support two kids through the private school system.  It is NOT CHEAP.  I didn’t want to put that financial pressure on our marriage and on our family at this point in time, and I love that the public schools in our area can give kids a great education in a more accessible way.  We decided to find a spot with an excellent school system, and then commit to putting those “school funds” in to travel and in to our businesses and passion projects.

Eva Amurri Martino stands by a fence with four year old daughter Marlowe and peers in to an alpaca pen at a local connecticut farm

Eva Amurri Martino stands by a fence with four year old daughter Marlowe and peers in to an alpaca pen at a local connecticut farm

Parking & Traffic

Not to be petty, but had I spent even ten more minutes in Los Angeles traffic, my head probably would have spun around on my body.  When I moved back east, I was shocked to see that traffic is just as bad– if not worse– in New York City! It’s insane how much time you can lose in super trafficky cities, and I’m SO relieved that traffic is almost non existent in the suburbs.  Also, you can find parking anywhere! I’m sure I sound like Tom Hanks in “Big”, in the scene with the tiny corn– but who knew these huge suburban parking lots were SO GREAT!!! And you go visit somebody and you can park pretty much anywhere on the side of their road.  FOR FREE.  You guys, for a city girl that is groundbreaking. LOL.

Eva Amurri Martino wears denim cutoffs and a silk shirt, and carries Marlowe Martino in her arms through the fields of a local connecticut farm

 

Privacy

This one is important to me.  Because of my job, and growing up in the Entertainment Industry, I really appreciate the ability to disappear in to our own little world when we need to.  I love having private property, and being away from prying eyes, unless we decide to share.  There is something so liberating about that, and different from City life, where you are literally a thin wall away from the next set of ears.  When we first moved out to Connecticut, the stillness at night and the solitude would scare me.  Our house is like Fort Knox to this day because I was so nuts when we moved in and put in crazy security.  Kyle was shaking his head and telling the security team that I’m a City Girl.  Ha! Over time, I’ve come to love the beauty of the silence, and the peace of being able to hear ourselves think.  I truly believe that it’s made me more comfortable in my own skin.  I love that my kids can go skinny dipping in our pool and run around the yard naked if they want to and feel totally comfortable and at home.

Eva Amurri Martino and Marlowe Martino walk hand in hand through the field of a local connecticut farm

 

There are obviously so many positives to city living, but I’m happy with the choice we made for this season of life.  Who knows what the future will hold!

 

 

Photographs by Carter Fish

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25 Comments

  1. melanie chiasson says:

    Hello eva,

    It’s always a pleasure to read you!
    me for a year we are moving practically in the countryside and I’m just 2 minutes from my small town of warwick (Quebec) and its beautiful! The tranquility, can go for fresh produce in the ferme.j’adore 🙂

    bye xx

    09.05.18Reply
  2. Cecilia Canning says:

    I live in Fairfield County as well and appreciate all the same things you mention in your post. I’ve been keeping chickens for about 4 years now. I LOVE it!!! They are so easy to care for and it is so much fun for the kids. Do it soon. You won’t regret it!

    09.05.18Reply
    • Cool! I’m curious if you used a company to help you set up and learn how to own chickens or if you did it all yourself?

      Thanks!
      EAM

      09.05.18Reply
      • Cecilia Canning says:

        The first year I bought a small coop and 4 pullets (8-week old hens) from mypetchicken.com to see if I could handle the responsibility since I work out of the house full time. They were so easy and so much fun that I upgraded my coop (purchased from Carolina Coops — expensive, but for us it was worth it) and added 8 more chicks to the family!

        09.05.18Reply
      • Cecilia Canning says:

        I also did a ton of research before even starting out…very important!

        09.05.18Reply
  3. Glenda says:

    Yes! Born and raised in NYC living in the suburbs since getting married and having kids. For the same reasons you mention. At one point we lived in San Diego, and the traffic in CA was beyond crazy. You literally had to plan your outings based on traffic. As much as I love the hustle and bustle of “visiting” NYC I knew I wouldn’t go back with a family to live. We definitely enjoy our visits. Crazy alarm… yes, yes, yes!

    09.05.18Reply
    • Ha! I feel you! (side note: how annoying is it not to have all the food options of NYC though…argh)

      09.05.18Reply
      • Charlote says:

        We moved out the city two years ago and the lack of food options was the biggest hit ..and two years later .. it still is!

        09.22.18Reply
  4. Stephanie says:

    Hi Eva!

    I grew up in Toronto, Canada–largest city in Canada and I recently moved to the suburbs–Courtice, Ontario. Since moving, I have reconnected with girlfriends from University/ College that also relocated here which made the transition easier. I also joined a book club local to the area 🙂

    My major reason for moving was the house my husband and I found and now live in. It’s gorgeous and felt like home the moment we stepped in.

    -Stephanie

    09.05.18Reply
    • That sounds so awsome!

      09.05.18Reply
    • Rebecca says:

      I was just going to post that my husband and I moved from Toronto to Courtice ON when we had our third boy (a few weeks ago I birthed our 4th!). I loved city life when it was just my husband and I- restaurants, museums festivals etc. Once we had our second child, we started to crave more space and quiet parks for our boys to play. I still miss the city but like you Eva, I have become more outdoorsy and now spend most evenings and weekends outside exploring with my boys. Overall, the pace out in the burbs is more relaxed and as a mom of 4 I need that! Glad you have settled into your suburban life Eva ! And Stephanie !

      09.05.18Reply
      • Stephanie says:

        @Rebecca the pace in Courtice vs. Toronto is certainly different for sure 🙂 I really love that you can drive 10 minutes north and be in cottage country. My husband and I are starting a family now too, so I can’t wait to experience Courtice through that lens!

        09.06.18Reply
  5. Hannah says:

    I can’t tell you how much I needed this article!! We just signed on a house last week in the burbs. I’m a lifelong city girl but now with two kids we needed more space. I was dragging my feet but we finally made the leap. I was still feeling some anxiety (we won’t move for 3 months while our house is being completed so I’ve got some idle time to waver)but seeing this just solidified my decision. Thank you for your wisdom and insight. I have a daughter (3) and a son (10 months) and really apprecitate your point of view. And since they are both about a year younger than your two it helps me see what’s coming down the pike. All the best!

    09.05.18Reply
    • I hope you love the move!!

      09.05.18Reply
    • I hope you love the move!! It does take a bit of an adjustment period but my best advice is to focus on finding little adventures every weekend!

      09.05.18Reply
  6. Daniela says:

    I love this post! I was born and raised in the suburbs, in Connecticut! My childhood was so lovely and picturesque with a white picket fence. I loved having a backyard and playing with my dogs. Now I live in Paris and while I love this city and how busy it is, I would definitely move back home for when it’s time to have a family.

    09.05.18Reply
  7. city lover! says:

    Hi Eva! I love this post! I had a similar childhood experience in the suburbs of Boston in the early-mid 90’s! A town w/ a rich history, tons of open space and parking galore. Not exceptionally diverse or culturally significant but Boston/Cambridge was always a reasonable drive or we could take the commuter rail like in Westport. We were also lucky to have a magical public school education out in the burbs!

    My husband is from NYC, born and raised! He grew up in the 80’s and 90’s in NYC and I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing about his latchkey kid days in NYC. (Can you pls post more about your NYC childhood?) He used to walk to the museum of natural history at 8 years old by himself! Crazytown!
    I love going to Boston or NYC with him bc he is a city person to the core. In fact, I noticed that he is always dressed exceptionally well for the weather. He is hyper aware of rain and snow and wind and he is always in layers of clothing to accommodate getting around the City by foot/train/taxi/uber. He carries a scarf or umbrella when needed!
    He was also incredibly lucky and went to Stuyvesant from a PS middle school. This was an incredible experience for him and his family as they are not from the US. However, he ended up in Boston area (Somerville/Cambridge) and he loves it. Boston and its various metro-towns and cities are connected by decent public transport and traffic is really not that bad. Everything is within a 5-8 miles radius.
    He feels NYC is huge and expensive. We live in what I would consider to be a City now but he considers it more suburban. The pro’s are everything is far more accessible than NYC….especially financially! Ultimately, we are happy but I LOVE when we go to NYC together bc watching him is like watching something in its natural habitat. Maybe one day Lowie or Bubba will go to college or work in NYC and your experience will be an incredible resource for them on learning how to navigate NYC or any large city! I know that 5 years ago, before my husband, I never liked any city and was totally a suburban person. But through his natural ability to navigate a city and find all these hidden cultural gems I consider myself a city person now! <3 🙂 <3

    09.05.18Reply
  8. Courtney says:

    It has taken me about 4 years to feel ‘at home’ after living in downtown Seattle to relocating closer to Canada in a outdoorsy/college town for my husbands work. I always thought I’d wed raise our kids in the city however I am with you when it comes to a cleaner environment, more outdoor play, not having the fear of them playing in dirt where a bum had pissed. Last year being pregnant, I didn’t make it down for my monthly visit back to Seattle to get my city fix, as much as it was a bummer I believe it did help me make become more adjusted to where we live now. (And they’ve finally got some decent restaurants. FINALLY!) Next week we close on a house on 4 acres! I never would’ve thought that we’d be living on a farm, and I don’t think I would’ve settled for it had we made that decision when we first moved from Seattle. Crazy chapter this is indeed! Glad you’re adjusting to life in the ‘burbs!

    09.05.18Reply
  9. Suzie says:

    I love your blog for many reasons, but the fact that you live in the suburbs like so many other mothers makes your blog so much more accessible! Feels like many bloggers live in the city, but you make the suburbs look so chic, Eva! Glad you are liking it in CT.

    09.05.18Reply
    • Suzie says:

      Additionally, I would love a post about your time spent in Italy! That sounds amazing!

      09.05.18Reply
  10. Molly says:

    Yay! Love this post for so many reasons but totally agree that it is so relatable! We just moved to the suburbs from NYC and sometimes I need a little reminder like this for why it’s so great! Thank you!!

    09.05.18Reply
  11. Katherine Long says:

    Great post about the pros of this area. We got chickens (about year after Elsa was born) and they are super easy and fun! (And oh the eggs are delicious and make great gifts) we had a friend make the coop (but some of the local garden :farm supply centers give chicken keeping workshops). This summer we got bees— for that we have a guy in bedford set up the bees (and hive) he monitors them every month or so— super low maintenance – and then you get 20 lbs of honey in the fall/winter. Next year we may take it on ourselves. I think you and family would enjoy both!

    09.05.18Reply
  12. Joanna B. says:

    This. Absolutely, everything about this. My husband and I decided to move from the Washington, DC area and put down roots somewhere calmer with a better focus on quality of life. Every last thing you mentioned is exactly how we felt moving from DC up to the Seacoast of New Hampshire. The people are friendlier, we know our neighbors, and we truly enjoy everything the area has to offer. We’re right by the beach now too, which I’ve never had before, and had no idea how much I’d love it! Now with our little one, we couldn’t be happier about our decision to move, and how it has and will impact his childhood. The only thing I can really say I miss is good Korean food!

    09.07.18Reply
  13. Brigit says:

    Great article. Connecticut sounds awesome. I love quiet areas of NJ . I’ve never been to Connecticut but, want to make it out there soon. Great informed decision about schools and privacy is a great point. That with nature being at it’s best would be more than enough for me to live in a quiet area. Then you visit outside areas when you choose!

    09.07.18Reply