Prescription for Family: The Robinson Six Have a Different Formula

By Amanda Duff

“People make it seem like Ridgefield is at the end of the Earth,” Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson said, of the remarks friends would make when she or her husband Dave mentioned a potential move to Ridgefield. “It’s so far away,” they heard repeatedly. Ridgefield’s quaint vibe turned out to be exactly what they were looking for, and their decision was made after visiting town during the weekend of the “Ridgefield Gone Country” Annual BBQ Festival at the Lounsbury House. “We didn’t plan that, but the BBQ festival gave us a great feel for the community. We walked along Main Street and our kids played in Ballard Park. We knew it was home.”

That speaks volumes for Ridgefield since Deanne has called many charming places “home” throughout her career in dermatology. After completing her dermatology residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she served as Chief Resident and Director for the Yale Resident Cosmetic Clinic, Deanne completed a fellowship in cosmetic and laser surgery at SkinCare Physicians in Chestnut Hill, MA. Two years ago, Deanne, along with her partner Dr. Rhonda Quain Klein, opened Westport-based Modern Dermatology of Connecticut.

The accomplished mom of four is unabashedly candid when describing her family’s dynamics. “We have a different paradigm than many families, but it works for us,” Deanne said. Dave is the primary childcare provider to their kids: Dermott (14), Teagan (11), Callan (6), and Garrett (4). He is also a lacrosse coach at Post University in Waterbury, CT. Dave thoroughly enjoys being back on the field and the opportunity to be a teacher and mentor to the players. “I’m always upfront when I meet other moms. I say, ‘I work a lot, so my husband is the one to contact for a playdate.’ Dave knows all the other moms in town.”

Although Deanne typically travels two to three weekends a month, both nationally and internationally for lectures and other speaking engagements, she and her family find time to enjoy Ridgefield’s diverse dining scene. “Terrasole is Dave’s and my fave fave fave restaurant in town. We know Pietro well and everyone there is always so lovely. We love Luc’s, too.” Her children can’t get enough of Steve’s Bagels, and SoBol, Organika, and Tazza are other favorites. “On Thursday mornings I usually go into the office later, so Dave and I enjoy going to Baja Cocina for a breakfast date once we drop the kids off at school. It’s a really nice way to spend time together, and we love their avocado toast.”

As for outdoor adventures, the Robinsons count Weir Farm and The Hickories among their favorite locales. “We’re fortunate to have a multitude of beautiful places here” said Deanne. The family shops locally as much as possible, frequenting Lucy’s, Ridgefield Running Co. And Sammy + Nat. “Sammy + Nat is great for gifts, we just bought an adorable purple bunny with a monogram embroidered on the ear.”

All her kids have done karate at Ridgefield Kempo, and her daughter takes dance classes at Enchanted Garden. The Robinsons speak highly of their experiences with Ridgefield Montessori, Branchville Elementary, and East Ridge Middle School. Their oldest child, Dermott, will be entering Ridgefield High School in the fall. “We have one entering kindergarten, one entering middle school, and one entering high school, so it will be a big year for us!” Deanne said.

Like so many working parents, the pandemic has given Deanne a fresh perspective on the elusive work-life balance. While Modern Dermatology has continued to see patients in person as well as through telehealth, Deanne’s time at the office and traveling to and from speaking engagements has been drastically reduced. “When my partner and I started Modern Dermatology two years ago, we were so lucky in that we were successful very quickly,” she said. “I always found more time for work, but to take a step back and consciously decide to take more time for myself and my family is harder for me.” Since stay-at-home orders began, Deanne has enjoyed countless hours with her kids, and has even started running again. As for the future, Deanne says with gratitude “if this is the new normal, I’m happy with that.”