While visiting the Toy Tree to get a gift for a birthday party, Dan Armitage picked up a book about the history of Newtown at the counter and thumbed the pages. He quickly turned to his wife, Susanne, to show an old photo of their home on Hundred Acres Road. Their home, where Dan, Susanne, their daughters, Hadley and Reese, and their dog, Hobbs, live, is an antique colonial in the Hattertown part of town.
Dan and Susanne Armitage have lived in Fairfield County for most of their lives. They moved from the southern part of the county to Newtown in 2013, when Reese and Hadley were in preschool. A house with character and charm and good community was on their list, and Dan wanted some space to work in the yard and gardens. The colonial built in 1761 on Hundred Acres Road has all those things. Hand-hewn beams, bush-hammered fireplace masonry on the inside and old apple trees and the Newtown community on the outside.
Hadley and Reese went through Middle Gate and on to Reed Intermediate School. Both sisters enjoy dance and tumbling at The Station Dance Academy (TSDA). You can usually find Hadley out on the trampoline, riding her bike or babysitting in the neighborhood. Reese is on the Junior Dance Team at TSDA and will start competing for the first time this winter! She loves hunting for toads and pet sitting for our neighbors' many animals.
Susanne works at Sandy Hook School, currently as a paraeducator. She loves seeing former students in the halls and outside of school that recognize her and recount the highlights of their school year together. Or when Hadley or Reese explains one of their classmates says, “I know your mom from elementary school!” She also works at TSDA at the front desk and helps students prepare for their dance classes.
“Having an antique house means expecting the unexpected.” A career in construction helps Dan be prepared for the challenges of maintenance and improvements. He is a project manager for Conte Company, a Norwalk construction company. “I’ve worked on building projects across Connecticut that range from restaurants to university dorms, but recently have been more involved in geotechnical construction and associated structural work throughout New England.” During his work on the house and property, he has found 200-year-old brick in the walls and an old wagon wheel rim that he repurposed as a trellis in the garden.
“I have met people through work, including coworkers, that live in town. It’s always great to hear what they have to say about events they bring their kids to, restaurants they love or weekend plans right in Newtown.” Hadley and Reese love seeing their former preschool teacher at the annual Arts Festival and telling her what they have been working on now. It is a real testament to the community they have found in town.
The side hill on the property is a great sledding hill. Susanne says, “I love a snow day when the girls have some friends and neighbors come over.” Hadley enjoys warming her feet by the fireplace after winter play. Dan has not yet successfully baked in the wood-burning beehive oven in their house, but every winter gives another opportunity!
The winter chill makes Susanne think back to warmer summer days. A boat ride on Candlewood or relaxing on the beach, followed by an evening grilling on the patio or just down the road with friends, would be ideal for the Armitage family. And, of course, Hobbs, their English cream golden retriever, prefers the warmer days as well!
Hobbs has his “own” hill at the house. He loves to watch the woods and horses across the street and wait for people walking by to greet with a friendly hello. He gets especially excited when equestrian riders are on the path behind the house or walking down Hundred Acres Road. A good walk and a visit with his neighborhood friend Pixie also make his day.
“Finding the right Christmas tree isn’t always easy. High ceilings just weren’t a thing in the 18th century." But Susanne and Dan fell in love with the antique characteristics of the house and found the comfort of a neighborhood and community around them. Hobbs also loves running alongside Hadley and Reese, sledding on a snow day or strolling through the Hattertown neighborhood on a walk in the summer sun.
Thumbing through a book of historical home photographs reminds you of all the memories that have been made there, but the ones they make each season only add to the story.