Founder of Jolie Gotique and mother of two, Penny Goffman shares her move to suburbs story. Penny took some time from her busy schedule to talk to Suburbs 101. Here is Penny Goffman’s Move to Greenwich, CT
Tell me about your move to Greenwich, CT?
I’m originally from Montreal, Canada. When my husband, Danny and I first got married, we lived in an 800 square feet apartment in Manhattan. I’m a city girl. Moving to the suburbs was not on my radar when we first got married.
When did you start thinking of moving to the suburbs?
A month after we got married, Danny planned a day for us to have lunch with friends in Greenwich, CT. We spent the day in Greenwich. One thing led to another and I found myself touring houses in the area. Little did I know that meeting his friends and visiting Greenwich was my husband’s scheme to lure me into moving to Connecticut. You see Danny was doing the reverse commute from the city to Greenwich so he had an ulterior motive to move to Connecticut. I found it tempting to move because of the amount of space and land you get in the suburbs. We ended up buying a 3000 square feet new construction home in Stamford, CT. Our home was located in the border of Old Greenwich and Stamford. We fell in love with the new construction and the space. We lived happily in our Stamford home for 4 years. In fact, our daughter, Jolie, was born there.
Why did you choose to move to Greenwich?
When we moved to our Stamford home, we were newly weds with no kids. After our daughter arrived, we started thinking more about schools and where we wanted to build roots. We decided Stamford was not the right town for us. We were looking for 3 main things 1.) Low Property Taxes, 2.) Close Proximity to Manhattan and 3.) Excellent Public school system. We narrowed the search down to Greenwich.
And being from Montreal, I’m used to city life. It was important for me to live in a town with a lot going on- restaurants, shopping and events. Every Saturday night, we go on date nights, I wanted to live in a town that have a myriad of restaurants within 10 minutes drive. Greenwich has a lot of restaurants, in fact, I have friends from Scarsdale and Rye Brook who drives to Greenwich for dinner.
Where do you live in Greenwich?
We live in lower mid-country Greenwich. Coming from Montreal, I needed to feel close to all the action of downtown. We crossed back country homes off our list since they were too far from downtown. We also crossed off Riverside and Old Greenwich since we knew we wanted land and did not need a walkable neighborhood. We ended up with a house that has land in lower mid-country section of Greenwich, minutes from downtown.
What are the top 3 things you like about Greenwich?
My top 3 reasons why I love living in Greenwich are 1.) I like the diversity in Greenwich. Compared to New Canaan and Darien, Greenwich is more diverse. It’s nice for my kids to grow up in a diverse community. 2.) The public facilities in Greenwich are top notch- Greenwich library and Greenwich beaches! and 3.) Greenwich is a bustling town. Greenwich is a town where there is an event going on every single night. There are lots to do with kids or without kids in Greenwich.
What do you like to do with your kids in Greenwich?
We frequent the Main Greenwich library. We like to attend the events by the Friends of Greenwich Library- my children enjoy watching the musicals and plays. The Greenwich Library events are free and open to the community. We also go to the playground a lot. Our favorite playgrounds in Greenwich are Bruce Park Playground and Loughlin playground. We also like to go to the Pow Wow carnival, an annual Greenwich PTA fundraiser. It is nice to be able to go to a carnival right in your back yard.
What are some things you don’t like about Greenwich?
I enjoy living in Greenwich and I honestly can’t think of anything that I don’t like about Greenwich. I do want to say that for those of you thinking of moving to Greenwich, the size of our town, might be a challenge for some. Greenwich is a big town in Fairfield County with over 60,000 residents. On one hand, this can be a huge plus because you are not bumping into everyone you know at the grocery store, while on the other hand, you do have to find your tribe. Because it is a big town, it can take a while to find friends that you can call for last minute emergencies or for carpool- to find friends to surround yourself with. Greenwich is a much bigger town than Darien or New Canaan.
How would you describe Greenwich residents?
I don’t think I can generalize Greenwich residents. Maybe 2 decades ago, there is a Greenwich mold of what you would expect of Greenwich residents. However now, Greenwich has become so diversified. There are so many different types of people in Greenwich. Many come from New York City. You can even see this in the transformation of Greenwich Avenue stores and boutiques- everything has changed. It is a new class of people. There is no Greenwich mold because it is diversified.
One thing to note, is that the Jewish population in Greenwich is thriving. There are so many ways to get involved in the Jewish community in Greenwich. It used to be you have to go to Armonk, Rye Brook or Scarsdale. I’m involved with the JCC Greenwich and we have partnered with many public and private town facilities for events. We are doing events at the YWCA Greenwich, JHouse, the library and art galleries.
What are your favorite restaurants in Greenwich?
My favorite restaurant in Greenwich is Gabriele. I love it for date night. I love the ambiance and love Tony the host. Harvest is also a favorite restaurant in Greenwich. The private wine cellar is great for intimate gatherings with friends. Le Penguin in downtown Greenwich is also another favorite. Being from Montreal, it brings me back home.
What are your favorite places in Greenwich?
I have a lot of favorite places in Greenwich. I like Tod’s Point beach in Old Greenwich. I love to hang out at the beach with my kids. The Greenwich Water Club is a special place for me. As much as I like to dress up, I’m actually a very low key person. I love the Greenwich Water Club because it is a family oriented, casual club. I spend a lot of time at the Greenwich Water Club using the fitness center and hanging out by the pool. It is a place were your kids can run around. For families that don’t need a golf course, the Greenwich Water Club is great. For shopping, I like Intermix on Greenwich Avenue. I love the curated selection there. I also like Saks Greenwich, The Collective store. I love what they have created and the different curation of collection. For my hair, I go to Warren-Tricomi in downtown Greenwich and I get my weekly blowouts at GlamBlow.
What has your experience been so far with the Greenwich public schools?
My kids attend the Greenwich Public school. It has been a tremendous experience. There is good communication at the school. Issues are addressed right away. The teachers and staff are very professional. My children are in elementary school right now and we plan on continuing through high school.
Anything else you want to say about Greenwich?
One thing I’ll say about Greenwich is that there is an overwhelming number of successful women in this town, whether it is in the philantrophic field or running a business or starting something of their own. The level of collaboration between these women and the talent is extraordinary. For stay at home moms who think one day, they would like to venture out to start something of their own. Greenwich is the place for it.
About Penny Goffman
Penny Goffman is a mom of two spunky children (Jolie 9 & Jaden 6) that keep her on her toes! She is also the founder & creative director of Jolie Gotique, a fashion and lifestyle brand based in Greenwich. The juggle is real: balancing motherhood, career and her passion for fitness. These days she’s happiest at home with her family, a cup of coffee & newspaper! Instagram accounts: @pennygotique – follow the chaos and fun in balancing mom-preneur life with Penny and @joliegotique – follow the latest styles, trends & happenings at Jolie Gotique Website: www.joliegotique.com
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