7.0 out of 10

Putnam County

Ranked 20th best county in New York
41.4330622493169 -73.7264572940415
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Safe & Sound
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Schools
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Public Transport
  • Shopping Options
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Pest Free
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Country Lovers
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Tourists

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
May 21, 2012

"Difficult to Generalize"

Putnam County is so full of variety from town to town, and even street to street, that it's surprisingly difficult to generalize the entire county in any real concise way.

The county covers some 246 square miles to the north of Westchester County and was counted the 11th wealthiest county in America in the 2000 census. This affluence translates to high property taxes and expensive bills in most of the county, with few exceptions. Many people who live in Putnam County, like Westchester, commute to New York City for work. Most other people also commute to Westchester or Connecticut, leaving very few who actually work where they live.

For most of the county, the commute is easy whether you prefer to drive using on I-84 or the Taconic State Parkway or the Metro-North Harlem and Hudson Lines which have stations in many towns in Putnam.

For the most part, the county is residential, with a few areas carrying more commercial development. Specifically, Southeast has several larger stores and shopping centers to offer. Most people living in Putnam looking to do some serious shopping travel to either Westchester or Danbury, CT. Despite being considerably quieter than Westchester County, Putnam is very beautiful and residents have access to the Hudson River Valley, many lakes, many parks and the Appalachian Trail.

The Thunder Ridge ski area is the only ski resort in Putnam County and is located in Patterson. Further out, in Kent, is the Chuang Yen Buddhist Monastery that boasts the largest Buddha statue in the Western Hemisphere. Along with this monastery, there are many other cultural organizations operating out of Putnam County encouraging the arts and allowing for unique learning opportunities. Green Chimneys, a specialty school that also rehabilitates wounded animals, is one such organization.

Putnam County is a great place to raise a family, especially if you are active and enjoy the outdoors. If you are younger, single or if your family just prefers more urban landscapes, Putnam is probably not the best choice for you.
Pros
  • Natural Beauty
  • Location to Westchester and New York City
  • Recreational activities
Cons
  • No nightlife
  • Need a car for most activity
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
May 20, 2012

"Westchester’s Low-Key Neighbor"

Sandwiched between Westchester County’s diverse collection of communities and Dutchess County’s rural, quiet towns sits Putnam County, a 246 square mile stretch of hilly terrain and reservoirs.

Putnam is home to families who’ve lived here for generations, but it’s also welcoming of newcomers. In recent years, high real estate prices and property taxes have driven young couples and families to the county for its more affordable real estate. There are six school districts in the county, and all get consistently good results. And while Putnam’s towns do not share most of Westchester’s easy train commutes, many residents still travel along the Hudson and Harlem lines to make the roughly ninety-minute trip to New York City.

Putnam is essentially homogenous. There are no cities or highly developed areas. There are small pockets of affluence but minimal obvious poverty. Shopping areas are spread out, and there are no shopping malls. Cold Spring’s small historic village is probably the area’s most attractive.

Home buyers may be initially drawn to Putnam for its family-oriented atmosphere and affordable real estate, but the area’s natural beauty does not go unnoticed for long. The county is very hilly, with many lakes and reservoirs to further enhance the area’s loveliness.

People seem to like Putnam’s rural character so much, they don’t mind the lack of big-box shopping. Residents in the eastern part of the county tend to head to the Danbury area, where there is a large mall and numerous chain stores, including Target and Walmart. On the western side of the county, Mohegan Lake and Jefferson Valley both have a large selection of national retailers, with the Poughkeepsie Galleria a slightly longer trip north.

Culture may not be the first thing to come to mind when describing Putnam, but many residents place great value on the visual and performing arts. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is well-known beyond Putnam, drawing crowds to the Boscobel Restoration. Brewster, a village struggling with economic challenges and changing demographics, has taken the first steps toward reinventing itself by establishing The Studio Around the Corner, which provides exhibit space for local artists. The Studio has become popular with locals for its welcoming atmosphere; art-related events are also held frequently. The Putnam Arts Council, housed at the Belle Levine Art Center in Mahopac, has been a great asset to the whole county by providing local artists with opportunities to take classes, have their portfolios reviewed, and have their work shown. Occasional musical performances are held as well. The Kent-based Arts on the Lake has a similar mission, and offers courses in playwriting, music and performing arts.

Putnam County offers choice as well as affordability. There are single-family homes and many condominium complexes. Though limited in number, there are rental apartments and houses scattered across the county as well. Homebuyers will find a good selection of inventory at nearly all price ranges.
Pros
  • History and Culture
  • Family Oriented
  • Strong school systems
  • Accessibility to NYC
Cons
  • Need a car for most activity
  • not too much diversity
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
May 18, 2012

"Spanning everything from Suburban to Semi-rural"

Putnam County lies north of Westchester County and is over an hour's drive from New York City. While some of the places in Putnam are past the point of convenient daily commute for Manhattan, many of the towns here are popular bedroom communities earning Putnam the distinction of being called an exurb or extra -urban county. Putnam County also has the distinction of being the 11th most affluent county in the country according to the median income of the people living here. This well-off county offers an attractive mixture of easy access to urban living in a rural setting.

Putnam County was a part of Dutchess County as recently as the 19th century. Putnam County was detached from Dutchess County in 1812 and like much of this general area it has a long history interwoven with the history of the nation. There are many landmarks from the National Historical Registry in this county that will be a treat from any history lover.

The other big attraction of Putnam County is the unspoiled stretches of bucolic beauty. Putnam was not farmland for many years because its terrain and the location made it hard to be an agrarian community. While this did change to an extent, there is still some of the charm of the rugged terrain to be seen in part of Putnam County.

There are many charming towns and neighborhoods which offer great housing and shopping options. The school districts have good report cards from state testing and the crime rate is not a source of worry or concern. It is possible to get a nice sized property with land and Putnam County has over the years become the place of choice for urbanites looking for some serious country living.
Pros
  • Accessibility to NYC
  • Good Schools
  • Charming towns
Cons
  • Fairly quiet
  • not too much diversity
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
May 06, 2012

"Begin Your Future in Historic Putnam County"

People come to Putnam County for its scenic venues and quiet residential areas, which are never too far from civilization, but just far enough for the peace and quiet that a country setting provides. There’s lots of history here that dates back to Revolutionary times, and the landscape and historical sites are both still well-preserved, especially by well-known preserves like Fahnestock, or Putnam County and Valley Parks.

Pricing here is fair for areas like this, and generally can be found between $300,000 to $600,000, depending on where you live: making it perfect for middle class families that want to live in largely populated areas away from the big city. Education in Putnam County is some of the best of the nation, where your child will get lots of nurturing and growth through programs implemented by the school systems. The libraries (such as Brewster or Carmel, for instance) offer programs for all ages including little ones, and this can be anywhere from writing classes to book clubs to computer classes and homework help. Brewster, for instance, has a Community Outreach Center, with a youth program that helps teenagers learn how to communicate and be themselves.

Living in Putnam makes commuting easy, as there’s many train stations that can take you to NYC in a little more than an hour. Afterwards, step off the train in quaint towns like Cold Spring to go antique shopping or get ice-cream and chill out by the lemonade stand in town. You can learn about the history of early Brewster at Tilly Foster Farm and the Southeast Museum, or see a Shakespeare play at Garrison’s world-renowned estate, Boscobel.

No matter what your taste, you’ll find it somewhere in Putnam County: whether it’s suburban or country you love, you’ll feel right at home here.
Pros
  • Location to Westchester and New York City
  • Recreational activities
  • Strong school systems
Cons
  • Need a car for most activity
  • Nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Apr 08, 2012

"Where the country begins."

For the second year in a row (2012), Putnam County has been named the healthiest county in New York state because of its bountiful open space and undeniable country allure. Just an hour and a half above New York City, people fall in love with Putnam because it combines the best of both worlds- suburban appeal mixed by scenic views of nature. It was annexed from Dutchess County in 1812 and ever since then its residents have boasted its strong, rich history and a tight knit community of veterans that help to form the county's dynamic. Putnam played a pivotal part in the French and Indian War, and with its hometown hero Sybil Ludington proving to be the female Paul Revere, it's also given itself a spot in history books as far as the Revolutionary War is concerned.

Six towns and three villages encompass Putnam County, with small hamlets and neighborhoods filling the cracks in between. It seems to be split into two distinct units with Carmel, Kent, Patterson and Southeast comprising the eastern side of the county and Philipstown, Putnam Valley and Garrison making up the west. The eastern side contains most of Putnam's commercial business in terms of shopping centers, box stores and other outlets and the west is more localized and low-key with more mom-and-pop shops and expanse of undeveloped land. Each offers its own unique identity, but at the end of the day all contribute to the picturesque makeup of Putnam's rolling hills, vast woods and beautiful farmland.

Since Carmel covers a variety of towns and hamlets, there are only four school districts within Putnam, which causes larger graduating classes (with the exception of Haldane in Cold Spring), but residents typically don't have too many gripes about the education system. Putnam also ranks at the top of the state in terms of safety with limited crime and vandalism.

As much as Putnam proves to be safe, it may not be the greatest place for those who've just graduated colleges and are looking to continue the thrill of being "young." Sure, there are many opportunities to go out and explore, but nightlife seems to be pretty spaced out and with the exception of the villages of Cold Spring and Brewster, you'll have to drive to wherever you need to go. Each town, village and hamlet, however, has a unique local culture and it's the small businesses that really help to define Putnam. 70 percent of Putnam's workforce commutes outside of its borders, but when you look at its location you'll realize it's not hard to get to Dutchess, Westchester, Connecticut (10-20 minutes for most) and New York City. Interstates 84 and 684 helps travel in and out of the county, and a sprinkling of Metro-North stations you'll arrive in Westchester and Putnam in no time.
Pros
  • Recreational activities
  • Location to Westchester and New York City
  • Strong school systems
Cons
  • Nightlife
  • Need a car for most activity
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Students
  • Country Lovers

Best Cities in Putnam County

1

Garrison

4/5
"Historic Continental Village in Garrison"
41.3720461722647 -73.9188218012273
2

Putnam Valley

3.5/5
"Great Schools and Peaceful Lake Views"
41.4080153370529 -73.8348780348614
3

Carmel

3/5
"A Lakeside Community that's Full of Cultural Pride"
41.4057110229157 -73.6955444157996

Unranked Cities in Putnam County

Brewster

3/5
"The Perfect Day: The Brewster Way"
41.3976141621474 -73.614099002979

Cold Spring

4.5/5
"One of the Most Beautiful Spots in Putnam"
41.42 -73.9549

Mahopac

4/5
"From Summer Resort to Thriving Lakeside Community"
41.3761241161386 -73.7409124713995

Peach Lake

3.5/5
"Forget Your Troubles and Retreat to Peach Lake"
41.3743420870477 -73.580528376697

Putnam Lake

3.5/5
"Hike the Railway Trail in Historic and Beautiful Putnam Lake"
41.4705683242362 -73.5458847930286

Patterson

3.5/5
"Ride Thunder Mountain or Hike the Appalachian Trail in Beautiful Putnam County"
41.5136 -73.6057

Southeast

4/5
"Putnam County's pretty southeast corner..."
41.4272794076814 -73.5984380147236