Using customer satisfaction as his foundation, Westfield developer Louis Scarfo has spent his career building more than houses – instead, he builds communities. “He’s literally had customers that have bought three or four homes from him,” Kristen Allard, Scarfo’s granddaughter, said. “They’re always coming back because he has a phenomenal reputation.” For more than half a century, Scarfo has teamed with his cousin, foreman Charlie Pignatare, in building premiere neighborhoods such as Ridgecrest, Devon Manor, Eastview Heights, and Ridge Trail. Near the start of the new millennium, however, Scarfo’s vision shifted. At the same time 9/11 jolted the nation, Scarfo’s senior years (though never retirement!) lay before him. Ever a visionary, Scarfo purchased 150 acres off of beautiful Russellville Road and built Liberty Manor.
“The idea of Liberty Manor was to create an affordable retirement community. You sell the big house, buy a smaller house, and live happily ever after with no financial stress,” Scarfo said. Today, as the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Liberty Manor has become a series of cozy, 55-and-over neighborhoods set amidst Wyben’s woods and hills. The streets, with names such as “Patriot’s Drive” and “Peace Way,” remain a monument to America’s resiliency. The houses offer single-floor living with easy-to-manage lots. They’re a prism of colors packed with individual details. Some boast screened porches, two-car garages, accent windows. Others display open decks, one-car garages, and dentil molding. “We’re always trying to add a little something to make each house unique,” said Allard, who’s been managing Liberty Manor since its 2006 groundbreaking.
The amenities – Energy Star construction, vinyl siding, carpeting or easy-clean floors, gas heat, two full baths, tile or glass backsplashes, concrete driveways, 30-year shingles, and in-ground sprinklers – draw residents who want to keep the comfort, but lose the hassle, of owning a home.
Dave and Barb Arrighi came to Liberty Manor in August of 2019. They admit leaving the Southampton home they had moved into after their honeymoon was hard, but after 54 years, they knew it was time. They love knowing that a young family lives there now. “I have no regrets,” Barb, vivacious and friendly, said. “We wanted to be independent but still have the security, the benefits of friends. Location. It’s a simpler life. It’s one-floor living. You don’t have a huge yard. You have low maintenance and easy access to the washer and dryer. It’s a convenient, open plan.”
“The gas and electric are very reasonable, and there are no utility poles. Everything’s underground,” Dave added. Liberty Manor residents own their homes but lease the land. Their lease fee, less than $500 a month, covers real estate taxes, water, sewer, road and sidewalk plowing and maintenance, trash removal, and access to two walking trails, a community garden, and a gorgeous community center complete with cooking facilities, indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, a workout room, and a library tucked around a stone fireplace and inlaid bookshelves. “Everybody feels safe and secure,” Barb said. “You catch on to that ‘at-home’ feeling right away without being in your old house.”
Liberty Manor brings independent, older-adult living where few, affordable options exist. The Arrighis like that. But they fell in love with what Barb calls a, “Come on in! Have a cup of
coffee!” feel. “Just driving through you can see the pride,” Allard said. “People take beautiful care of their lawn and flowers – and they take care of each other. They watch if their neighbors need help
with anything. There are a lot of respectful people here.” “I don’t ever feel alone here,” Barb said. “We all feel a part of each other, and we all feel a part of this community.” Except for changes due to COVID, Liberty Manor hosts a resident-run “Socially Ours” committee that organizes spaghetti dinners, card nights, Pitch games, yoga and art classes, exercise meet-ups, and more. (In fact, this Lifestyle interview got sidetracked by an enthusiastic conversation about possibly holding a classic car show there this spring.) Neighbors walk dogs together. Widows meet for dinner. Residents actually wave as they pass. “Everybody stops to ask how you’re doing,” Barb said. “It’s welcoming. You’re in an environment where nobody’s judging you because you’re older, and you do as much or as little as you want.”
“I’ve made so many friends here that I feel like I’ve known forever,” she said. “It feels like a big, big family.”
Pull Quote #1
“I don’t ever feel alone here. We all feel a part of each other, and we all feel a part of this community.” - Barb Arrighi, homeowner
Pull Quote #2
“People take beautiful care of their lawn and flowers – and they take care of each other. There are a lot of respectful people here.” - Kristen Allard, project manager
“House Detail” Bullets (5)
Spacious, open floorplan
Cozy gas fireplaces
Graceful tray ceilings