I’ve known Stephanie for years before she became a busy mother of two boys, lifestyle blogger, and social media influencer. I’ve always admired Stephanie’s classic beauty and timeless sense of style. So it’s no surprise to see her become a successful social media influencer. Here is the Girl Guide, Stephanie Trotta’s Life in Darien, CT.
Tell me about your move from Westchester’s Bronxville to Connecticut
After graduating college, my husband, Frank, and I moved to Bronxville, NY in Westchester County. We did not have kids at that time and thought Bronxville was perfect. The Bronxville station was only a 22-minute train ride to Grand Central. Bronxville is a beautiful community and we loved the accessibility to New York City. However, when we started working in Connecticut, we decided to move further north. We rented a townhouse in Cos Cob, CT, a section of Greenwich. We liked our Cos Cob rental, it was within walking distance to the main shopping plaza in Cos Cob. Very close to Fjord Fisheries and Green and Tonic.
You almost bought a house in Greenwich, CT. How did you end up moving to Darien, CT?
We loved living in Greenwich so when it came time for us to buy a house, we thought we would buy in Greenwich. We house hunted for 2 years and made 11 offers on Greenwich houses. In fact, we were so close to buying a house in Old Greenwich but backed out at the last moment because we discovered black mold in the crawl space!
We began to realize that we were not getting the type of house we wanted within our budget in Greenwich. We did not want a fixer-upper, we were OK with doing some work but did not want to have to do a big home renovation project. We wanted something turn-key. So we started looking at other Fairfield County towns beyond Greenwich.
We looked at Darien, we also considered Fairfield but it was too far for us since we wanted to be close to my family in Westchester. The more we got to know Darien, the more we liked it. It seemed perfect for us because it is a small enough town with a neighborhood feel. Yet, it is also big enough that you don’t bump into the same people every day. Plus all the schools are excellent, there is not one section of town that is better than the other. So when we walked into our 1930’s architect-owned home, we immediately fell in love and called it home.
When you moved to Darien, did you know anyone? Any advice for newcomers on the best way to meet people?
When we moved to Darien, we did not know anyone. At that time, I was pregnant with Harrison and Luke was not in school yet so I did not have the opportunity to meet other moms through school. The nice thing about Darien is that it is very welcoming for newcomers. The YWCA organizes newcomers groups for kids and couples. We joined the Winetasters group and my husband joined the Newcomers Paddle group and made some friends there. Also, the nice thing about Darien is that both Darien and Rowayton share a lot of town programs so you get the benefit of programs from both towns.
Can you describe your social life?
Very busy. Full. Over the last few years, I went through a lot of transition from working full time with having 1 kid to 2 kids and starting my lifestyle blog, The Girl Guide. I was working 60 hours a week so I did not have time to meet people at first. But there is a lot to do and if you want to get involved you can and the town is very open to newcomers.
How old are your kids? What do you like to do with your kids in Darien or in the area?
Luke is 3.5 years old and Harrison is 15 months old. I feel really lucky to live so close to many kid-friendly spots. My favorite places for lunch with the boys are Browne and Co. (Darien), Roost (Darien) and NEAT (Darien).
I also love taking the kids to Grace Farms in New Canaan. Admission is free and it is a great place for kids to run around. The grounds are beautiful, I love the Tea Room with the 365 degrees glass enclosure, the food is amazing too and there are activities for kids on Saturdays. My parents recently moved to Darien to be close to us and my mom goes there to play pickleball.
We also like to go to Stone Barns Center in Pocantico Hills in Westchester. We like to eat at their cafe and the kids love to run around and see the animals.
We also love Darien Nature Center. I like it because it is not an overly big place and there is a little room with all the animals. My kids love the owls and bunnies.
What are the best playgrounds and parks in the area?
We love going to the playground by Darien Nature Center- Cherry Lawn Park. We also love the beaches. I like Weed Beach– I think the facilities are better than the facilities at Tod’s Point (Old Greenwich). There are paddle courts, tennis courts, a playground, gazebos, a concession stand and there is even a Paddle Court Warming Hut which a lot of people rent for birthday parties. We also like Pear Tree Point Beach.
What are some things you don’t like about Darien?
I don’t like that Darien has a bad reputation. In the beginning, when I first started looking at Darien, I had a misconception and thought Darien was insular. It has a reputation of -if you don’t belong to a country club, you are not part of the community. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I moved to Darien to find that all that is untrue.
How would you describe Darien residents?
There are lots of new families and couples from all walks of life moving to Darien. There are a lot of couples with kids moving into Darien from the city. We have friends who moved to Darien from Saudi Arabia. Not everyone is from Darien, I’d say only 1 out of 20 people who live in Darien grew up here. And there are a lot of dual-income families- we live on a block where almost every woman works.
What are your favorite restaurants in Darien or in the area?
That’s the one thing I don’t like about Darien. There aren’t any good restaurants in Darien for dinner. They are mostly lunch places. Maybe we go to Bodega Taco Bar for dinner when we are with the kids. Fortunately, Westport is not too far so we go there a lot for dinner. My favorite is Oko (Westport), the cottage (Westport), and Graybarns (Norwalk).
What are your go-to places in Darien or in the area?
TO AND FROM in Darien. I love the nail salon and everything is all-natural and organic.
Organachs Farm to Skin in Westport. I love shopping there for my skincare products and the shop owner is very knowledgeable. There are also facials and events at the store.
Are you a member of a country club/beach club/yacht club?
We’ve always thought we’d move back to Greenwich, but the more we live in Darien, the more we love it here. Now that we are thinking of staying put in Darien, we will probably join a club. We live next to Middlesex club, it’s a pool and tennis club. We will probably join there but have not had a chance to talk to people about it yet.
What has your experience been so far with schools in Darien?
My kids are little so we have only experienced the preschools in Darien and we love it.
Do you commute to the city?
Fortunately, we don’t commute to the city. The trains are direct and under an hour. There are two stations, Noroton Heights Station and Darien Station. I don’t know much about the parking, I know there is a waitlist. There is also talk of a massive development in downtown Darien to make downtown more walkable. I think it is making progress in the approval process, so will be a great addition to Darien.
About Stephanie Trotta
Born and raised in upstate New York, it was Stephanie’s elegant Belgian mother, and summer vacations spent exploring flea markets in Europe while visiting extended family, that inspired her deep love of style, design, healthy eating, and all things beautiful. After attending George Washington University, where she majored in Political Science and International Affairs and met her future husband, Stephanie made a brief foray into the finance and tech worlds. But her true passion for the creative world kept calling her name, and soon Stephanie joined Ralph Lauren and then Theory. Stephanie is known among friends and clients for her classic, but fresh aesthetic, for discovering the latest up-and-coming designer, the newest hotspot, the most delicious recipe, the perfect florist, and the spot-on-wall treatment. She loves the challenge of creating something new with each and every client and the reward that making people feel their best brings. It was in this spirit that Stephanie founded the lifestyle blog, the Girl Guide in 2011. She lives in Darien, CT with her husband and two boys. Follow Stephanie on Instagram @stephanietrotta www.thegirlguide.com