Washington Heights family relocates to Ridgefield lake community

Moving in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges both logistical and otherwise, and for Amy Roy, getting to know her new neighbors was among those initial challenges. 

“It’s been the most odd move for us,” Roy said of her and her family’s recent relocation to Ridgefield, Conn. “We’ve moved a number of times in our life, but it’s the first time we’ve moved somewhere where you can’t really meet people, because people aren’t socializing, they aren’t gathering or going to church, they weren’t having parties. They’re just getting to do that now.”

The former resident of the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan said her family had been considering a move outside the city before 2020, but plans stalled as the pandemic consumed much of the year. Previously homeowners outside the city, Roy said they decided they wanted to own a home again instead of renting, especially in the city where it’s “just too expensive regular, middle class working people.”

Thus kicked off a home search spanning the entire New York metro area. Roy said they landed on Ridgefield after a colleague of hers suggested looking in the area. 

“He and his wife live here with their three kids, and they live here for the schools,” she said. “That was an important factor for us because we have a seventh grader who will be in eighth grade next year. So we really began to zero in on the Ridgefield/Wilton area, but the more we got to know Ridgefield, the more we liked it and wanted to see if we could try to buy a house here.”

After going to open houses — one with long lines and only five minutes with which to tour the house — Roy said immediately knew the home they ultimately purchased on Lake Mamanasco was the one.

“We had probably 40 minutes — a normal amount of time to see a small house — and I really knew after about 15 minutes of walking through that it was the one,” she said. 

Roy said they began moving into the home in September 2020 and weren’t fully moved in until December. An interior designer by training (now in sales), Roy said she saw the home’s potential for “doing some simple, easy renovations to make it really great,” not to mention it became a “fun project” for her to work on to escape the city in the interim. 

“The first thing I did was get Wi-Fi in the house,” she said. “I would come up here and work while the contractors were doing their work, and I could either help with it or oversee or go run to the store and buy something.”

Amy Roy and her family relocated from Washington Heights, N.Y. to Ridgefield, Conn. in 2020, moving into their Lake Mamanasco home in December. Since then, Roy said she has gotten involved in the Mamanasco Lake  Improvement Fund, as well as the revival of the Mamanasco Beach Club. 

Amy Roy and her family relocated from Washington Heights, N.Y. to Ridgefield, Conn. in 2020, moving into their Lake Mamanasco home in December. Since then, Roy said she has gotten involved in the Mamanasco Lake  Improvement Fund, as well as the revival of the Mamanasco Beach Club. 

Contributed by Amy Roy

Now settled into their lake home, Roy said life in the suburbs has its similarities and differences. While she and her husband both are used to commuting to New York City for work and find Ridgefield’s access to the city “easier” and “more civilized,” there are some things that have taken time to get used to. 

“You just can’t walk up the corner to get an onion when you’re making chili,” she joked. “I get really strict about, ‘No, we can't just run our gas in our car just to pick up one thing we forgot. Let's plan.’ It's about not having the convenience of a grocery store right on the corner.”

Adjusting to suburban life has also brought new community involvement into Roy’s purview. Not only has she gotten involved with the Mamanasco Lake Improvement Fund, she has already spearheaded the removal of three trees that have fallen into the lake. 

Roy said she is also working alongside a few others to reinvigorate the Mamanasco Beach Club, helping put in the “sweat equity” to ready the grounds, paint, resurface the basketball courts and spruce up the playgrounds ahead of its June 5 opening. For Roy, working with both the lake fund and the beach club has gotten her involved in her immediate community in a meaningful way. 

“There’s time to bring in new people with new energy,” she said. “I feel like there’s a bridge — or a virtual bridge — to be built between the two organizations.”