Does New Town provide sufficient living options, services and social opportunities to satisfy young and old? Team Stratton thinks so. Four generations of Strattons have found their way to New Town since 2011 and are happy to call it home still today.
Their story starts with John and Tara, who we will call the third generation. John and Tara met in 2001 in DC. At the time, John had been a native of Colorado his whole life. Tara grew up in an Army family and had lived all over the world. Now John was starting his career as an Air Force officer. In 2002, while he was stationed at Langley AFB and Tara was working at GuideStar in Williamsburg, she discovered New Town in its infancy. Seven years would pass during various assignments, but each year Tara would travel back to Williamsburg to reconnect with GuideStar colleagues and check what was new in New Town. In 2011, the Air Force brought John back to Langley AFB. The decision about where to live was simple; John, Tara, and the fourth generation (Jack and Lila) moved to Charlotte Park. Tara says, “At the time, we felt like pioneers. We were surrounded by trees, and only 6 houses stood in all of Charlotte Park. We loved the open space in front of our home for our young children to play. We loved that we could walk to everything.”
Fast forward to 2017 when generation two (Brick and Barbara) were both a couple years into retirement at home in Colorado. They had children and grandchildren in Texas and Virginia. Barbara says, “We had not had the opportunity to cultivate the relationship with Jack and Lila that we had with our other three grandchildren in Texas, so we talked about making a move to New Town. Because both of us had never moved out of Colorado, it was both scary and exciting to consider such a big change.” They took the leap and chose a condominium in The Bennington.
And in an even bolder move, the first generation, represented by Brick’s mother Barbaralee, also decided to leave her life-long home in Colorado and join the team forming in New Town. She lives at Edgeworth Assisted Living where all the family members can drop by to visit with her every day. That kind of routine that proximity makes possible is valuable to all of the family. “We can see our grandchildren off to school in the morning at the bus stop right down the street, they can walk to visit their great-grandma, we can pick up "Mom" and meet the family at one of the local restaurants, hang out with the grandkids at Barnes and Noble, and ride the trolley into Colonial Williamsburg.”
Each generation has quickly become embedded into social circles in New Town. Tara says, “Another young family lived across the park from us and our children played together. Our neighbors on either side of us moved in the same week we did, and although we were separated by nearly a generation we found quickly that these would be life long friends.” Jack and Lila have met more friends as they grow in the community and like to hang out with them at the community pool. Tara returned to work at GuideStar (in the SunTrust building) so her home and work communities are together.
Soon after moving to New Town, Brick and Barbara joined Ironbound Gym and the Williamsburg National Golf Club, landing in two terrific networks of friends. Barbara says, “We developed friendships within the community: in our building, at the gym,
in Foundation Square, at Edgeworth, at Town Management and in the local businesses. Now we feel like we have a number of strong friendships in our New Town home.”
Barbaralee likes to talk with the other Edgeworth residents at meal times and enjoys the many activities that Edgeworth offers. Best of all is having family members so close that they can pop in for a visit.
People are universal in enjoying New Town as a walking neighborhood with easily accessible entertainment, restaurant, shopping, doctors, etc. But Team Stratton is amazingly specific and voluminous in discussing what they like doing in New Town and the surrounding area. Here is a sample: early morning walks to get coffee at Panera on weekends; special desserts at Sweet Frog; taking the trolley into CW to go to the Farmers Market; the pool; all the activities hosted by the activities committee; Sunday Brunch at any one of the great local restaurants; Christmas Pops at the Kimball Theater; the Grand Illumination; Bingo at Edgeworth; Busch Garden events; Music in the Park this Fall at Pecan Square; William and Mary baseball; kayaking at Waller Mill; riding the Jamestown Ferry. Wow! But mostly what comes through in interviewing them is how much they enjoy living close to one another and being a part of each others’ daily routines and special occasions.
Tara sums it up this way: “Even though we move where the Air Force sends us, we always come back to New Town - every year. And when John’s Air Force career comes to a close, New Town is where we intend to stay. We, and our children, love each trip back. We have unique perspective. When you step away from New Town and come back you see all the good; how things have grown and well things have been maintained. We are always excited to come ‘home’.” In fact, at this particular time, John, Tara, and their children (third/fourth generations) are stationed at RAF Lakenheath, England and look forward to returning home to New Town.
All four generations of Strattons gathered for a meal at a restaurant in New Town