Kerry Barger

PRO

Real Estate Professional with Houlihan Lawrence Global Business Development

  • Local Expert 4,789 points
  • Reviews 6
  • Questions 22
  • Answers 28
  • Discussions 0

About Me

As Houlihan Lawrence's social media coordinator, my job is to help our agents engage with communities across Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties on a digital level. Through the use of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more, we aim to establish connections with small businesses, nonprofit organizations and those who know these areas the best - the locals! Prior to working with Houlihan Lawrence I served as The Putnam Examiner's Editor-in-Chief, where I wrote stories and interacted with local residents from the county's six towns and three villages. I'm a lifelong resident of Lake Carmel, New York and a 2011 Ithaca College graduate.

My Expertise

Marketing, Social Media, Public Relations, Writing, Editing, Blogging, Photography, Digital Media

My Service Locations

Dutchess County, Putnam County, Westchester County, White Plains

Office

4 Valley Road, Bronxville, New York 10708 (Google map)

Websites

Reviews

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

"Residential suburbia with local/commercial business at an arm's length."

Baldwin Place is one of five communities that form the makeup of the Town of Somers in Westchester County. Defined largely by residential neighborhoods and clusters of homes, Baldwin Place offers a more laid-back setting with little hustle and bustle, business and clamor. Local and commercial business is left to the border of Westchester and Putnam along Route 6, which spans north into Mahopac and south into Jefferson Valley-Yorktown.

The beauty about Baldwin Place is that residents get that quiet solitude that comes wit the brink of suburban/country-living without compromising their amenities, shopping and dining options. With Route 6, Mahopac and northern Westchester right at its finger tips, Baldwin Place would be an ideal place for younger couples looking to start a family. Big box stores like Stop 'N Shop, gas stations, restaurants like the Greek American Grill, the Somers Commons and the Jefferson Valley Mall are very close by. It may not be the best place for a 20- or 30-year-old, per say, because even with all the business in close proximity, there isn't much nightlife.

Residents from Baldwin Place send their children to Somers Central School District, which is composed of Primrose Elementary (all-day kindergarten-second grade), Somers Intermediate (grades 3-5), the Somers Middle School, (grades 6-8) and Somers High School, which serves grades 9-12. It's an excellent school system with an emphasis on academics, athletics and extracurricular activities, all which culminate in up-to-date facilities.

Enjoy a laid-back lifestyle that isn't "too country" or "too secluded?" Baldwin Place is a beautiful community surrounded by rolling hills and farmland, with amentities and shopping right at arm's length.
Pros
  • Scenic views of beautiful farmland
  • Excellent school district
  • Great schools
Cons
  • No nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Scenic suburbia at its finest."

Myers Corner is a residential hamlet located within the Town of Wappinger with a population of about 7,000 people. It's heavily defined by the feeling of suburbia, with its makeup consisting solely of homes, a handful of schools and a small ballpark. Myers Corners Road and County Road 94 split it into four quadrants, each offering up an opportunity to escape to a more commercial/business-oriented sector like the Route 9 corridor to the west and Dutchess County Airport to the north.

The hamlet may be quiet in nature, but like I said, residents do have opportunities to access amenities, shopping malls, movie theaters, and a slew of different restaurants. Route 9 has a great mix of local and commercial shopping and if you don't like the traffic, Myers Corners is a great alternative if you still want the opion of shopping at your fingertips. Would it be too quite for a college student, college graduate or young professionals? I would say so, but because of its residential atmosphere may be more suitable for younger families, especially those with children.

It's also home to a handful of schools, two of which belongs to Wappingers Central School District. Van Wyck Middle School is situated on the outskirts of Myers Corner, with Roy C. Ketcham High School located directly off of Myers Corner Road. A Dutchess Community College (DCC) satellite campus is also directly off of Myers Corner Road- DCC is one of the best community colleges in the state and the satellite office provides a great alternative to those who don't want to travel north to the main campus through all of the traffic.

Overall, Myers Corner is reflective of a sleepy suburban community built for residential homes. It's low-key atmosphere and lack of hustle and bustle makes it a perfect place for those who like to sit back and enjoy a slower tempo.
Pros
  • Things to do
  • Shopping nearby
Cons
  • Can get congested
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"The Key to the Kew."

To me, Kew Gardens seems to be "the city away from the city," due to its quiet atmosphere and lack of hustle and bustle. Comprised mostly of residential homes and clusters of apartments, Kew Gardens resembles a neighborhood more like that of Westchester County or Hoboken, NJ than New York City. Despite the fact that it is located in New York City, you shouldn't expect too much of the city- much of the nightlife and shopping outlets live outside of its borders, especially in neighboring Brooklyn or Manhattan. If you're looking for more of a laid-back neighborhood that still offers the city at your finger tips, then Kew Gardens may be just the place for you.

A New York City-operated park, Forest Park is 538-acre park with small hills, groves of trees, a carousel that's open during the summer months, walking paths, tennis courts and playgrounds. A spattering of elementary schools makes Kew Garden more kid-friendly than other neighborhoods, and Forest Park only adds to numerous outlets the community has to get away from city life.

One thing I've also appreciated about Kew Gardens is its diversity, which is reflective in its culture and food. A bunch of local eateries and shops resemble African American, Hispanic, Asian and eastern European influences. Though you have to go far for fancy nightclubs, bars and box stores, you really don't have to go all that far for the feel of a local community.
Pros
  • Access to Forest Park
  • Beautiful foliage
Cons
  • Weekend construction on the E
  • Late night transportation is hard to come by
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"The Hudson River's 'Beacon.'"

A beautiful riverside city in Dutchess County, Beacon sits at the western-most part of Dutchess County running alongside the Hudson River from north to south. Infamous to New York commuters as one of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge counterparts, Beacon has a rich historical atmosphere as Mount Beacon served as a pivotal outpost during the American Revolution. A great downtown area, a growing arts community and a slew of reenactments and historical activities only add to the vibrant and diverse river-town community.

With a population of 15,000+ residents, the city is home to clusters of residential neighborhoods and old-school Victorian-era houses. The media home price runs around $219,000 as of April 2012, which can be ideal for young couples looking to purchase their first home. Scenic views of the Hudson paired with riverfront parks and rolling hills makes Beacon a haven for recreational enthusiasts. It's harbor serves as a launching point for boating on the river and a park that makes for a great day trip on a beautiful spring, summer or fall day. There are a ton of youth and teen recreational programs like baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, etc. The Beacon Community Center Program for Teens offers Friday evening dances, movies and use of the gym.

A couple of the city's aspects that have come into play in recent years is Beacon's arts and ecological communities. The Dia, which has roots in Brooklyn and New York City, is an art museum/gallery that houses pieces from the 1960s to the present. It works closely with Beacon City School District to provide educational opportunities to students. The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries is a nonprofit organization that advocates for education, research and public policy regarding the interaction between humans and rivers- as of 2011, its expanding its research to have a realtime monitoring system for the Hudson River.

A city once known for its factories, mills and industrial development, Beacon's downtown area has bloomed into a "main street" with local shops, restaurants, coffee houses and collectable/thrift stores. A Metro-North station is an hour or so away from midtown Manhattan, and with unparalleled views of the Hudson River, there may not be a prettier trip in all of the Hudson Valley.
Pros
  • Riverfront parks
  • Great historic shopping district
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Peaches & Dreams"

Peach Lake is one of four distinct lakeside communities in Putnam County, others being Lake Carmel (Kent), Brewster Hill (Brewster), and Lake Peekskill (Patterson). Each community, much like Peach Lake, was once a vacationing hotspot for New York City residents looking to escape the heat and hustle and bustle of the summer months. Straddling Route 121 in the Town of Southeast and North Salem (Westchester County), the hamlet consists of cottages and small bungalows, with median home prices nearing $415,000 with a population of less than 2,000 people.

For the most part, there aren't many commercial or local businesses in Peach Lake; however, this can be forgiven since Southeast and Route 22's commercial sector is nearby. The hamlet is also very close to Interstates 84 and 684, which provide outlets to Dutchess and Westchester counties, as well as Connecticuts (about a 10 minute drive). It provides somewhat of a getaway with easy access to amenities, restaurants and shopping outlets. In theory, it's a great place to raise children, especially because of its low crime rate and recreational opportunities- Peach Lake itself is beautiful especially in the summer. It may not be the greatest place for young professionals or college grads who are looking for a fast-paced lifestyle, however.

Residents of Peach Lake will most likely send their children to Brewster Central School District or North Salem School District. Brewster schools are larger in size and offer great academic, extracurricular and athletic programs. North Salem is much smaller, and may be a better option for parents who want a more intimate atmosphere for their children. I'd recommend either, however- they're both excellent.

If you're partial to a quieter community, looking to raise a family or settle down, and value a strong academic experience for your children, Peach Lake offers "peaches and dreams" for all who decided to live in this once summer hotspot.
Pros
  • Close to Route 22, Interstates 84 and 684
  • Excellent options for schooling
  • Affordability
Cons
  • No real nightlife
  • Lack of commercial development
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"An unknown haven for young couples and families."

Lake Peekskill is a small, lakeside community within the Town of Putnam Valley located on the southwestern border of Putnam County. Though its name is similar to that of Peekskill in Westchester County, realize that Lake Peekskill is a completely separate entity in a completely different county and town. It resembles other lakeside communities in the county, including Putnam Lake in Patterson and Peach Lake and Brewster Hill in Southeast. All of these communities served as vacation retreats to New York City residents looking to escape the sweltering heat and busyness during the summer months. Like the rest, Lake Peekskill consists of smaller cottage- and bungalow-style homes with a spattering of newer developments on its outskirts.

Of the lake communities in Putnam County, I think Lake Peekskill is probably the most secluded. Putnam Valley is one of the quieter towns in Putnam County and Lake Peekskill finds solace in the hills that surround Peekskill Hollow Road, the main road the connects it with the rest of civilization. This quiet dynamic plays out in the community's social and business atmosphere, which consists of a small market and post office. If you're looking for something to do, you'll have to venture south on the Taconic State Parkway into Westchester County, or venture westward to Mahopac. It is a great place to start raising a family though, especially for young couples looking to purchase cheaper homes (the price of a home usually flirts with a little less than $300,000.)

The lake and its beaches, a stellar school system and low crime rates makes Lake Peekskilll an ideal place for families with small children- it also makes it a great community for those interested in retirement because of its laid-back atmosphere and quiet way of life. The media sale price of a home makes it especially ideal for couples looking to start a family, and the Putnam Valley School District only boosts the incentive to live in Lake Peekskill.
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Big city livin' north of the Big City."

In 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked White Plains amongst its fastest growing cities in the United States, paying tribute to city's urban renewal and expansive economic growth. It's one of the few places north of New York City that exemplifies a true city atmosphere, with high-rise apartments, streets laid out in a grid, and many things to do morning, noon, or night. One of three stops left on Metro-North's Harlem Line, White Plains is a short, 50 minute ride into New York City, and with it's locating sitting right in the heart of central Westchester, residents have easy access to Connecticut to the east and Putnam County to the north. The population is approaching 60,000 residents, with a weekday population surge of 250,000 due to an influx of people going to work.

As a 23-year-old who has to commute to work close to White Plains, I picture the city as an ideal living situation for me. With a shorter commute to my job, the city offers up a faster-paced lifestyle with abundant nightlife, shopping outlets and restaurants (especially along Mamaroneck Avenue), both commercially- and locally-owned. It's the city/town/village in Putnam, Westchester and Dutchess counties that most resembles living in New York City without the Manhattan-priced apartments. Not to say that White Plains wouldn't be an expensive alternative, but it would give a person who's looking for that city vibe more of a reason to check it out.

White Plains also offers opportunities to live in residential neighborhoods, as well. North White Plains is home to its own Metro-North train station, and may be a quieter environment for families or those who don't like living in a crowded, noisy city. It's a short trip down Route 22 to White Plains, so you won't have to go very far out of the way for amenities/things to do.

The biggest complaint I've heard about White Plains is its parking, which may make it a little more difficult for you if you live directly on a road. There's no "On-Street" parking from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., and metered parking only allows you one hour to park your car. Parking can get pretty expensive if you're taking the Metro-North train, but there are a slew of parking garages throughout the city that makes it easier to park when you're out and about.
Pros
  • Relatively affordable
  • Shopping
  • A ton of nightlife
Cons
  • Noise (in the downtown areas)
  • Traffic & parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Country living structured around a vibrant village."

Rhinebeck (both town and village) covers 36 square miles of rolling hills, vast meadows, lush woods and small streams. Located in the northwest corridor of Dutchess County, Rhinebeck is definitely a place where any inkling of urban lifestyle melts off into an endless expanse of country. It's 2 hours north of New York City, and enjoys easy access to an AMTRAK station (which goes as far south as New York City and east to Chicago), the Taconic State Parkway and the New York State Thruway.

When visiting Rhinebeck (especially the village) it almost seems that you get this sense of getting a "blast from the past" with its more historic aura and infrastructure to match. With less than 10,000 people, most residents are spread throughout the countryside with small clumps of houses in the village and the surrounding area. Houses typically range from about $490,000 up to $3 million with the median sales prices down about 9 percent from the average as of early 2012.

Although you must have a knack for country living, Rhinebeck isn't too sleepy. The village serves as a main street and Market Street, Montgomery Street and Route 9 are all home to local retail outlets, bookstores, home furnishing shops and restaurants. It's a short ride to Kingston in Ulster County to the west, where residents have more access to commercial box stores and other big name shopping outlets. The village is also home to the post office, Northern Dutchess Hospital, an independent film theatre, and a mix of churches. A handful of parks provide opportunities for fishing, hiking and picnicking, while other give access to playing fields for soccer, softball, baseball, etc.

Imagine a place that mixes a country lifestyle with a vibrant main street and village known for its local character- Rhinebeck is very reminscent of this way of life.
Pros
  • Community programs
  • Recreational facilities
  • Local shopping
Cons
  • Not the greatest nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+
Editors Choice

"Upscale country living combined with fine dining."

Armonk is one of the few places in Westchester County that maintains that true rural allure that attracts young families from New York City. I think it's gotten a bad rap from people who boil it down to rich housewives who aren't willing to give someone the time of day- but after working in Armonk for almost five months, I can honestly say that it's definitely more than that. It's within the small businesses that comprise this hamlet in North Castle that provides it with its true character and those who feel like "outsiders" should take some time to explore what the area truly as to offer.

Besides the vast greenery and abundant open space that adds to its rural charm, the eateries and restaurants give Armonk its sense of local character. Main Street provides a haven to smaller food establishments like the Bagel Emporium, Schriefer's Deli Broadway North Pizzeria and Armonk Country Kitchen, all of which roll out some great-tasting food- it's usually hard for me to pick if I decide I want lunch out. If you venture a bit further from the center of town, you'll run into restaurants that have mastered the art of fine dining like the Beehive, Restaurant North, Opus 465, Gavi and Route 22 Restaurant. Though you can't completely define a place through its food establishments, it's hard to deny that Armonk has won me over via my stomach.

Those living in Armonk attend schools in the Byram Hills School District, which is known for its excellence in academics and extracurricular activities. Unlike some schools in central and southern Westchester, Byram Hills enjoys smaller classes sizes providing a more intimate setting for students.

Exactly 35 miles north of midtown Manhattan, Armonk's location provides a perfect outlet to a busier lifestyle. Armonk residents typically enjoy a more country-centric atmosphere making it a great place to raise a family or settle down to retirement. This lifestyle has its perks, but it typically means a lack of nightlife and the inability to travel by places without a car. It's location, however, is close to Interstate 684, which provides an opportunity to venture out deeper into Westchester or east to Connecticut (Armonk's southern border runs parallel with the state.) You can take an easy trip down Route 22 into White Plains, a mecca to bars, restaurants, shopping outlets and other things to do. A trip from the Metro-North North White Plains will have you in Manhattan in little less than an hour.

Enjoy country living and have a taste for fine dining? Armonk may be the ideal place for you and your family.
Pros
  • Proximity to Connecticut and New York City
  • Delicious food establishments
  • Good Schools
Cons
  • Expensive
3/5 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 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Rural living in northern Westchester County."

There a few areas in Westchester County where someone has the opportunity to feel completely immersed in rural life, and Croton Falls is definitely one of those places. Pinned in between Interstate 684 and Croton Falls Reservoir (a source of New York City's drinking water), it's a small hamlet that sits at Westchester's northern-most point. It's accessible from Putnam County via Mahopac and through Exit 8 from 684, a gateway to central and southern Westchester and New York City.

Croton Falls' rural appeal makes it a great place for families concerned with safety and that want to get away from busier daily life. Children attend North Salem schools, which are known for their excellence in academics and smaller class sizes. It's a perfect atmosphere for students who need a more intimate setting to succeed in school. North Salem also has excellent recreation programs, with vast hills, meadows and woods best for horseback riding, hiking trails and golfing.

The quiet and secluded rural setting carries over into daily life, with limited nightlife and shopping options. What eateries Croton Falls does have (Primavera, American Burger, Macaroni and Cheese Company and Bella Ellas Pizzeria), however, produce some delicious-tasting food. Despite the lack of social options, Croton Falls' location makes it more than easy to get to places that do. It has its own Metro-North station that's just 50 miles above New York City, with access to stations in Brewster, Goldens Bridge, Purdys and Katonah. Along with these MTA stations, Croton Falls is located right along major roadways (Route 22, 202 and 6) and highways (Interstate 84 and 684). It's an easy drive into northern Westchester towns like Somers and North Salem, and towns in Putnam County like Brewster and Carmel.

Croton Falls offers a sequestered reprieve from the busier towns in Westchester County. It's rural setting provides some of the best recreational activities and if you're in touch with nature, you'll enjoy its bountiful hills, meadows and fields.
Pros
  • Recreational activities
  • Location to major roadways, highways and train stations
  • A handful of quality eateries
Cons
  • Quiet social life
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A little bit of this and that for everybody."

The thing that I admire most about Mount Kisco is that it seems to offer a little bit of something for everybody. Located directly off of the Saw Mill Parkway in central Westchester County, Mount Kisco boasts a strong commercial strip that ultimately transforms into a small-town village. If you enjoy a localized community with plenty of options and a ton of variety, it's definitely the place to go.

Along Route 117 you can find most of what you need: grocery stores like Shop Rite and Stop 'N Shop, clothing outlets such as Target and Kohls, eateries and restaurants like AppleBee's and Panera Bread and automotive shops, gas stations and furniture stores. This commercial strip is always buzzing with traffic and it's proximity to the highway makes it even busier during rush hour time. As Route 117 splits off into East and West Main Street, however, a less commercial and small business-friendly atmosphere emerges. This provides Mount Kisco with it's true identity, as places like Pour Mount Kisco, Village Social Kitchen & Bar, and Wine Enthusiast all show off the true character of the town.

The recently renovated library is one of the nicest of its kind in all of Westchester County. It was one of the first libraries in the area to offer a comprehensive E-Book rental service, and its state-of-the-art building has become a staple in the community especially with its close proximity to parking and Mount Kisco Village Hall- it always has a bunch of programs for kids and teens throughout the year, and it's second floor conference room is spacious enough for small- to mid-sized events. Northern Westchester Hospital is located on the outskirts of the village so you won't have to go too far in case of an emergency.

For the most part it consists of a healthy mix of single families homes, condominium and apartment complexes, and co-ops, it does also boast multi-million dollar estates reminiscent of 19th and 20th century homes. As it is diverse socially, Mount Kisco also is diverse economically, as well.
Pros
  • Economically and socially diverse
  • Mix of commercial development and small business
  • Extraordinary library
  • Downtown Area
Cons
  • Parking costs
  • Traffic on Route 117
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+
Editors Choice

"Growing township with recreational opportunities."

East Fishkill is one of the southern most towns in Dutchess County and runs adjacent to the northern border of Putnam County. Three major roadways, Route 52, the Taconic State Parkway and Interstate 84, run through East Fishkill, giving residents many opportunities to escape and access Putnam and Westchester or New York City, Connecticut and Albany. Once a small farm town with little development, East Fishkill has evolved into a budding township with nearly 26,000 residents. This includes clusters of residential neighborhoods, busy intersections and small businesses. With plenty of open space available for development, East Fishkill has only way to go and that's up.

Because East Fishkill borders Putnam County, residents have different options when it comes to deciding upon a school system. Students from East Fishkill can go to Arlington, Wappingers, Pawling or Carmel Central School District. With the exception of Pawling, all offer a sense of attending a big-time school with large graduating classes and college-like atmosphere. Pawling's school district has much smaller class sizes and a more private setting for students. All four of these school, however, offer quality educations and great facilities.

One of East Fishkill's defining features is its wonderful recreational programs offered to youths, young adults and adults for residents and people living out of town. Even though I didn't live in East Fishkill, I participated in its recreational softball league when I was younger. A 60-acre park with various playing fields, walking paths, and pavilions highlight East Fishkill's recreational department with programs occuring through the winter, spring, summer and fall seasons. It makes for a great place to bring up children to go along with its safe environment and strong school systems.

If you enjoy a quieter atmosphere that still offers a wide range of things to do, then East Fishkill may be a place for you to check out. If you like the hustle and bustle of a small city, however, you should check out Poughkeepsie to the north or Westchester County to the south.
Pros
  • Strong recreational programs
  • Safe environment for children
Cons
  • Need a car to travel most places
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Budding township boasts growing population and local economy."

Hopewell Junction is a small Hamlet located in the Town of East Fishkill right near the border of Dutchess and Putnam Counties. It used to be a plot of countrified land with a small amount of homes; however, Hopewell Junction now boasts a growing population as well as an evolving community of entrepreneurs, restaurants and other smalls businesses. Though it's located within East Fishkill, over the course of the past 10 or so years it's developed its own sense of identity.

Surrounded by miles and miles of woods, Hopewell Junction is a great place to raise a family due to its safe environment and strong recreational department. On any given weekend you can see baseball, softball, soccer and other sports teams running around its 60-acre recreational facility. The park also contains a walking path, tennis courts, pavilions and sandy volleyball pits. The place comes alive during the summer months and if a sports enthusiast isn't signed up for one of departments many teams (youth through adult), you can head over to the East Fishkill Golf Center which features an indoor dome, batting cages, mini-golf and a driving range.

Local eateries are a memorable feature to living in Hopewell Junction. I attended a wedding reception once at Le Chambord Inn & Restaurant and I was floored by it's delicious-tasting food and old-school rooming style. My family and I travel north at least once a year to visit Muscoot North Restaurant- the bar is home to a bunch of regulars and the food is fantastic. Though it's just food, these eateries really represent the local dynamic of living in this community.

Families have a few options when it comes to sending their children to school when living in Hopewell Junction. Because it's located right at the Dutchess/Putnam Border, children can go to Arlington, Carmel or Pawling schools. Arlington and Carmel offer a college-like atmosphere with large campuses and bigger class sizes, while Pawling creates a more intimate, secluded setting.
Pros
  • Growing in size
  • Private yet it feels like a community
Cons
  • Car necessary
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+
Editors Choice

"Residential neighborhoods spaced out by natural environment."

Pinched between Interstate 84 and the Connecticut border, Pawling really epitomizes the nature of small-town America. Located at the crossroads of Routes 55 (south) and 22 (north), Pawling is located in the southeast-most corner of Dutchess County between Wingdale and Patterson. Less than 10,000 residents live in Pawling even though it covers a significant amount of land, thus leading to more privacy since the houses are more spaced out. Route 22 provides residents with a more commercial way of life with an A&P, Hannaford, Dunkin' Donuts, etc., while the Village of Pawling offers more localized small business. In a way, you're getting the best of both worlds and since everything is spread out you don't feel the shopping centers or restaurants are breathing down your neck.

Pawling's a great place to check out if you like your peace and quiet because like I said before, there's usually a significant amount of space between houses. People say that Putnam County is "where the country begins," but it's southern Dutchess that stands witness to the evolution of country living. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, as well: The Edward R. Murrow Park has swimming, a playground and picnic area; The Dutcher Golf Course is the United States' oldest golf course; Lakeside Park has a sandy beach with swimming areas, boating and tennis courts; and there is access to the Appalachian Trail, too.

The Pawling Central School District is smaller than most, with about 1,400 students total enrolled in the elementary school (K-4), middle school (5-8), and high school (9-12). Some parents choose to send their children to Carmel Central School District in Putnam County, especially those who live directly on the border in Holmes or Pecksville. If you'd like a more intimate school setting for your child then definitely send them to Pawling- Carmel boasts nearly 1,500 students in its high school alone (as it draws from multiple towns.) There's always the option of private schooling at Trinity Pawling (7, 8, and high school) and Mizzentop Day School (Pre-K through 8).

As far as rearing a family is concerned, Pawling's ideal because of its safe environment and residential atmosphere. It may not be the greatest place for people in their 20's per say with limited nightlife and the need to use a car to get most places. But if you enjoy the peace and quiet and beautiful natural setting, Pawling should definitely be on your list of places to seek out.
Pros
  • Recreational activities
  • Beautiful, natural setting
Cons
  • Limited nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Quiet village bisected by busy commercial road."

There are two very distinct sides to Fishkill, one having been designated by a buzzing commercial corridor and the other a small village of homes, shops, churches and schools. Route 9, which draws shoppers from parts of Putnam, Dutchess, and Orange counties, runs directly through the center of Fishkill, serving as an outlet to big box stores, shopping centers, restaurants and gas stations. On the flip side, Route 52 serves as the village's main street, with quieter mom-and-pop shops, housing developments, an elementary school and a handful of churches paving the way to a quieter suburban lifestyle.

To me, Fishkill is reflective of a small town struggling to maintain a name for itself amongst a growing trend of Wal-Marts, Mobil gas stations and Panera Breads. While I feel like I'm in a local village, it's easy to get distracted by the hustle and bustle of Route 9. Of course it's great for shopping- everything you could ever need is at your finger tips with just a short ride down the road; but if you enjoy a quieter lifestyle, you may want to check out other places in Dutchess County. Fishkill can be a good place for teenagers, however- unlike other parts of Dutchess, there's much more to do along Route 9, with shopping malls, movie theaters, food places, mini golf and even a seasonal water park lining the commercial strip.

Since employment opportunities are limited to commercial business, most commute outside of Fishkill for work. It's a great location for this, however; Route 52 will bring you back into Putnam County, and Route 9 runs north into Wappingers and Hyde Park. Interstate 84 is right down the road, giving residents access to Newburgh and Beacon or Putnam County and Connecticut in the east.
Pros
  • Access to major roadways
  • Strong school system
  • Village-like atmosphere
Cons
  • Loud because of Route 9
  • Not great for professionals
  • Very small
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"The gateway between Dutchess and Putnam counties."

Stormville is a hamlet located in East Fishkill in the southeast corner of Dutchess County. Although it's located in Dutchess, most residents choose to send their children to Carmel Central School District due to its close proximity; however, some do use the Wappingers Central School District, as well. It's mostly a mix of residential neighborhoods and roads of individual houses atop Stormville Mountain, which is covered with rocky terrain and heavily wooded areas. Stormville is the true breaking point between suburban life and country living, and if you appreciate a quieter lifestyle this is an ideal place for you. It also becomes a popular place for hunters with an abundant deer population and small brooks and streams for fishing.

While there isn't much to do in Stormville besides working with what nature has to offer, it's location gives residents easy access to more signs of life. With Route 52 bisecting the middle of it, Stormville serves as a passageway in between Kent in Putnam County and greater Dutchess County. One can easily access Westchester County and New York City via the Taconic State Parkway, or to Connecticut and Brewster via Interstate 84. Since there's no commercial or corporate business in Stormville, most residents commute into Dutchess or Westchester for work.

This sleepy hamlet enjoys the quieter things in life: the beautiful outdoors and the faint buzz of cars from a distant highway.
Cons
  • No business or nightlife
Recommended for
  • Retirees
  • Country 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
2yrs+

"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
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Potential to flourish into a beautiful lakeside community."

Putnam Lake, a recreational community pinched between the Town of Patterson and the Connecticut border, is composed of neighborhoods of bungalow-like homes and summer cottages set atop small hills surrounding a lake (also called Putnam Lake). Similar to Lake Carmel in Kent, Putnam Lake once served as a summer destination for New York City residents looking to escape the seasonal heat, which is reflective of the style of homes that families live in today. With easy access to the Route 22, it is a community set apart fro the hustle and bustle of everyday life but maintains a sense of connectedness to the outside world.

I covered Putnam Lake during my time as Editor-in-Chief of The Putnam Examiner and even attended a debate or two at the local VFW. It always reminded me of some exotic watering hole with its own identity and culture, only a touch less glamorous. The thing I most admired about Putnam Lake is its strong civic community. The Putnam Lake Community Council was always in attendance at Patterson Town Board meetings, and successfully establish the Putnam Lake Park District in February 2012 (which will take affect in January 2013). The volunteer organization once took care of the operation and upkeep of its lake, but with time couldn't keep up with costs associated with its protection. Now that a park district has been formed, Patterson's town government and residents hope to improve the safety and beauty of the lake- something that seems possible in the near future.

A handful of gas stations and general store provide the makeup of Putnam Lake's business community, so any major shopping needs to be done in neighboring Connecticut or along Route 22 in Southeast. This lakeside community has wonderful potential- give it a few years and it could become one of the prettiest areas in all of Putnam County
Pros
  • Strong civic community
  • Lakeside neighborhoods
  • Secluded from the hustle and bustle
Cons
  • Lake has fallen to the wayside
  • Commuter climate
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Wooded farmland meets strong cultural community."

Left untouched by the hands of commercial development, Garrison is composed mostly of rolling farmland intertwined with woods and scenic overlooks of the Hudson River. Located within the Town of Philipstown, it differs from its Cold Spring and Nelsonville counterparts in that its more spread out and covers a large amount of land. Garrison is of the most secluded parts of Putnam and it seems to almost identity with Westchester County despite its country allure (neighboring Peekskill, which is located in Westchester, is closer to Garrison geographically than most towns in Putnam.) Beautiful views of West Point can be accessed in much of Garrison, with target practice audible on select summer days. New York City is an easy train via the Garrison Metro-North railroad station.

Although it doesn't have much of a business climate, Garrison is truly defined by its cultural characteristics. It's home to the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival during the summer months which is put on at Boscobel, a mansion/museum built in 1808 that epitomizes Federal-era architecture and the period's way of life. It's also home to the Garrison Art Center, a riverfront park that hosts art exhibitions, galleries, fairs, workshops and classes. The 300-acre "The Garrison," an 18-hole golf course with a fine dining restaurant has incomparable panoramic views of the Hudson River unseen by any other place in the Hudson Valley. One of the best aspects of Garrison is that it combines the outdoor environment with any cultural activity or institution year round.

Not that a lot of commercial development is necessarily bad, but it limits the market in terms of where and how much you pay for area services/products. Because it's not a bustling urban center, things tend to get a bit pricey and you'd need to be middle- to upperclass to live in Garrison. Nightlife isn't so great, so if you're prone to bar hopping, you'll want to travel into Peekskill or Cold Spring. Children usually attend Garrison Union Free School, but will have to travel to Haldane (Cold Spring) or across the river to Highland Falls to attend high school.

Garrison is a great place if you want to raise your family in a more subdued climate, are interested in a dynamic arts community, or enjoy a beautiful countryside environment.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+
Editors Choice

"Urban center situated along the Hudson River."

Poughkeepsie is one few cities located along the Hudson River and of the largest urban centers north of New York City, with particular parts of Westchester County serving as the exception. Incomparable to a White Plains per say, Poughkeepsie's identity is found in the four or so colleges that call the city home. Students from Vassar, Marist, Dutchess Community College and the famous Culinary Institute of America are dispersed throughout most of Poughkeepsie but all of the action usually takes place in neighboring Fishkill and Wappinger where the commercial strip of Route 9 is located. Whereas other parts of Dutchess may be suitable for families, Poughkeepsie is a place for college-aged students and the occasional young professional (IBM is located in the Town of Poughkeepsie.)

Unlike many neighborhoods in Dutchess, Poughkeepsie is one of the few low income areas with 22 percent of the population living below the poverty line. I think this can be attributed to the lack of industrial and corporate business in the area with jobs in the commercial sector filling the void. This isn't the best place to relocate if you're looking to further your career or look for employment opportunities.

It does, however, have a much better transportation system than most in the Hudson Valley, with the City of Poughkeepsie Transit running throughout the area and the Dutchess County LOOP coming in and going out of the city. The Route 9 corridor, a commercial strip that runs both north and south, contains ample shopping opportunities with the large Poughkeepsie Galleria and South Hills Mall. For about 15 miles, you can find large department stores, restaurants, coffee shops and a variety of other stores on either side of Route 9. It begins with in the depths of Westchester County around Peekskill and runs north into Hyde Park. Poughkeepsie is also home to a Metro-North station along the Hudson line and an Amtrak station that runs into New York City's Penn Station.
Pros
  • Major transportation hub
  • Renowned colleges
  • Public transit
Cons
  • Employment opportunities
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Growing lake community with a good mix of local and commercial enterprise."

Sometimes I like to think of Mahopac as Carmel's better half. A combination of local and commercial business provides residents with a variety of things to do and of the towns in Putnam County, it's the one that consistently resembles a more urban lifestyle. Don't let the buzzing hamlet fool you though. Lake Mahopac offers beautiful views to the lakeside communities that surround its crisp blue waters. Mahopac Falls is more subdued compared with its hamlet counterpart so there are opportunities to avoid the busyness of the Route 6 corridor. Unlike Lake Carmel, Mahopac allows motorboats and jet skis because of its size. It's almost incomparable to anywhere else in Putnam County during the summer and it's a wonderful daytime destinations for families, groups of teenagers, young professionals and older couples. Any given summer day you can see people out on the water inner tubing, water skiing and swimming.

As a Carmel High School graduate, I was always somewhat envious of the Mahopac School District's facilities with its up-to-date high school and beautifully manicured sports fields. Anyone I ever talked to really appreciated their education through the school system and from the way everything looks just on the outside I can understand why. The Mahopac Public Library is unlike anything else in the area with three floors of books, computers and study areas overlooking Lake Mahopac. It provides a regular calendar with yoga, computer classes and other educational programs.
Mahopac has a great mix of local and commercial enterprise which makes it easy to find most of what you want and need right in town. If I want to switch things up, I often head to Mahopac Route 6 begins with a bunch of local businesses like cafes, flower shops and restaurants. As it draws closer to Westchester County, big box stores like Stop 'N Shop are more common.

One of the downsides to Mahopac is that it's not located near a major strip of highway and with the amount of construction that takes place on the Taconic State Parkway, it makes more sense to drive north first when trying to access Westchester County or New York City. Route 6 also presents its own set of obstacles as a one lane road. Traffic gets pretty dicey especially around the end of the school day and it takes a decent amount of time to maneuver to Carmel or Mohegan Lake.
Pros
  • Great local business
Cons
  • Route 6 has terrible traffic
  • No major highway outlet
  • Commute can be challenging
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Kid-friendly atmosphere with many recreational activities."

What busyness any other Putnam County town or village may experience escapes down the hill via Route 311 into the sleepy town of Patterson. Set with residential communities and a spattering of local "mom-and-pop" shops, Patterson finds a sort of seclusion not seen by other areas on the eastern side of the county. Route 22 opens up into a busier corridor with larger shopping centers and commercial businesses. To the north, one can access Pawling in Dutchess County. Further down Route 22, you're brought into Southeast and Brewster near Interstate 684. A Metro-North train station at the center of town will bring you into mid-town Manhattan in an hour and a half.

The aspect of Patterson that stands out the most is my mind is how kid-friendly it is. It provides strong recreational programs (baseball, softball, soccer) to its residents and anything that's not offered can be found in Kent or Southeast, both of which are less than 10 minutes away. A large recreational facility hosts a variety of different activities for youths, adults and seniors. Thunder Ridge Ski Area, which has become a community staple not just for the town but for the county as well, attracts people from all over the metropolitan area. The Great Swamp covers 6,000 acres and is one of the largest wetlands in New York State- Friends of the Great Swamp offer canoe trips during the late spring.

As it is kid-friendly, it may not be the best place if you're searching for a fast-paced environment. Patterson is the epitome of a laid-back town, so if you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of, say, a New York City, you've found the right place.
Pros
  • Great elementary school
  • Kid-friendly environment
  • Recreational Programs
Cons
  • Sleepy town
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Similar to Cold Spring, but less expensive."

Nelsonville reminds me of the less expensive version of the Village of Cold Spring. To me it's still prime real estate but it's set farther up in the Hudson Highlands away from the river. It's a small, residential community with less than 1,000 people and about 225 households. If you're looking for a quieter Cold Spring with less tourists on the weekend, Nelsonville is more likely to suit your style. It's location also makes it ideal, with outlets to Fishkill in Dutchess County via Route 9 westward and Garrison via Route 9 eastward. It's an easy walk into Cold Spring if you want to visit the many cafes, restaurants and thrift shops that line Main Street.

Like most of western Putnam County, Nelsonville is enveloped in Clarence Fahnestock State Park. Rocky terrain has made it nearly impossible to develop the land so the village is excellent for those who appreciate a more natural setting- it's easy to access necessities in neighboring Fishkill, however. For those looking for a little more hustle and bustle Nelsonville may not be the place for you. Of course Cold Spring is nearby but the small-town atmosphere and quiet sensibility still lingers in the air. There is reprieve, however, in the fact that you'll experience much less tourism on the weekends and the sense of local community associated with these small residential communities is well worth for families, retirees, and country lovers.

Like most of its Putnam County counterparts, it's not a place for young professionals, singles or students due to its lack of nightlife and variety of fun things to do. As a 23-year-old, it could be somewhere I look to settle when I'm older. Nelsonville is great for little kids because it's generally flat and only one main road (Route 301) runs through the village.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Recreational, low-key lifestyle necessary."

I have a love-hate with my hometown of Kent. I have lived here for the past 23 years and there are so many things that I love about the place, but there are so many things that make me want to escape... quickly. The Town of Kent has made major strides in cleaning up Lake Carmel, and I spent countless summers there in the beautiful sunshine and waters of the manmade lake. The atmosphere, the environment, the opportunities for recreational fun are what have kept me attracted to Kent. There's an undeniable beauty about this residential community with windy backroads, shady evergreens that enhance privacy, and a sense that "neighborhood" America still exists.

After going away and coming back from college, however, I have recognized that it's just not a place for young professionals.
My family has lived here since my father was a child so it's hard to ignore that people truly enjoy this low-key lifestyle. I received a great education from Carmel High School, participated in sports programs throughout my childhood and teenage years, and enjoyed the green environment that was presented to me. Aside from a few local delis, gas stations and convenience stores, however, there isn't an abundance of things to do besides going to the movie theatre or bowling alley. Action usually takes place in Westchester County and Connecticut and even though these places aren't too far away, you still need a car to get to them.

Looking at my family, Kent is a great location for people with children or those who enjoy a more quiet setting. I will always have a place in my heart for Kent, but as a woman in her 20's it's definitely time to move to a place with a little more hustle and bustle.
Pros
  • Seasonal swimming lake
  • Peaceful neighborhoods
  • Recreational programs
Cons
  • No businesses
  • Car needed for activity
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Residential life trumps everything else."

I frequent Holmes when visiting a friend and I have to say it's an ideal residential community. Free from big box stores but close enough to get all of your necessities, Holmes is a great location for those who want some peace and quiet. Residents have easy access to Kent in Putnam County via Route 52 and Interstate 84 or to Pawling, which mixes a subdued local community with a strip of larger commercial real estate like Hannaford Supermarket on Route 22. It seems to be the breaking point between a more suburban lifestyle common in Westchester and Putnam Counties and the expanse of country experienced by most Dutchess County residents. Greenery and hilly terrain compose most of the landscape which ultimately forces residential communities within Holmes to clump into cul-de-sacs and smaller neighborhoods, allowing nature to do its thing. Holmes a perfect setting for families with small children and retirees looking to escape the busy life.

Like most towns, villages and hamlets north of New York City and Westchester County, you'll need a car to get most places. A lot of people don't mind this, but it can get dicey when planning out nightlife because you'll have to travel deeper into Dutchess or Putnam County to find anything to do. There isn't much of a business base in Holmes so for the most part people commute. As much as I enjoy taking a drive through Holmes, I wouldn't recommend it for people right out of college or young professionals. It doubles as a safe haven for your young children and a place to settle down for older couples and retirees.
Pros
  • Nature setting
  • Safe, residential communities
  • Secluded environment
Cons
  • Commuter lifestyle
  • Not much business
  • Car needed for most travel
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Familiar faces everywhere you turn."

Carmel combines the historical aura of its hamlet (also called Carmel) with the modern, more commercial appeal of Mahopac. Both offer their residents different lifestyles, but Route 52 and Route 6 connect which allows easy access to one another. If you're looking for a town with more nightlife, more hustle and bustle and a better selection of restaurants, shops and businesses, then Mahopac is the place to be. Otherwise, Carmel serves as a sleepy, small-town haven compared Westchester County where things are more compact and interconnected. It's recreational facilities and scenic atmosphere, however, are what ultimately draw people to the area and if you can get over the fact that you'll need a car to travel to most places you'll fit in fast. Country lovers unite, because Carmel is truly where "the country begins."

Having lived in Lake Carmel, I was in Carmel almost everyday until I went to college because there's nothing but a handful of delis, chinese food places and two Dunkin' Donuts in my hometown of Kent. I also attended schools within the Carmel Central School District and being just less than 3 minutes than the center of town, I spent a lot of my time there. Sometimes I oddly felt like I was attending/am attending a high school reunion whenever I went/go into Carmel. Many of the same people that I went to high school with still live here today and you can find most of them at bars on the weekend. Some people love this, others hate it. It's good to have the option of Mahopac and an interstate highway (84) so close though- nothing is too far away. I'd recommend Carmel for older couples and families with small children because push come to shove, the school system is still excellent and a lot of people enjoy the quiet.

I have to admit that Carmel contains some beautiful hideaways if you're looking for some secretive downtime. The Buddhist Monastery and Clarence Fahnestock State Park are secluded yet close enough to get away for the day to get a breather. There are a ton of cyclists who flock to Putnam County during the warmer months especially down Route 301.
I definitely wouldn't trade growing up here for anything but it's not a place for budding young professionals, college graduates and those searching for a bit of a thrill in their lives.
Pros
  • Good school system
  • Beautiful in the summer
  • Outdoor recreation
Cons
  • Familiar faces
  • Not much going on during the weekends
  • Not pedestrian-friendly
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Access to New York City, cultural programs a plus."

Many people have varying opinions about Brewster, but after working in the village I have many good things to say about it. First and foremost, residents have made an attempt to revitalize Main Street through art and education programs, exhibits and performances, and its annual Founders Day celebration that attracts businesses, organizations, and other vendors to its street, helping to create an aura of community celebration. A referendum in November 2011 helped save and fund the Brewster Public Library, and a recent push by a local arts organization helped establish a multi-use art gallery/performance space in the Old Town Hall. Putnam County lacks a cohesive community center, and Brewster has definitely stepped into to provide programs to its residents. The Southeast Museum serves as the village's cultural hub with an entire floor dedicated to Brewster's history and provides educational programs for kids on the weekend. This theme of education carries over to Brewster's public school system, which is known for its excellent academics, athletics and music programs.

People can access Brewster via Interstates 84 and 684, and a Metro-North station makes it easy to access the city for a weekend trip. It's squished in between Route 22, which carries most of Brewster's commercial business, and Routes 6 and 52, which leads to Southeast, Carmel and Mahopac. If you're looking to go shopping, you should head over to Independence Way, which holds a Michaels, Kohls, DeCicco's, Home Depot, etc. The North County Trailway begins in Brewster which is a favorite amongst walkers, joggers, runners and cyclists. It's especially beautiful in the summer as the Croton Reservoir is scenic and calming.

For a long time, migrant workers were a bone of contention with local politicians who tried to use their presence as a backdrop to their political platforms. Since most these public officials are no longer in office, tensions have dramatically decreased within the village. Residents have since transformed Brewster into a cultural center, with many different programs and events occurring on the weekends. The village serves as the face of a great residential community, which are set upon hilly farmland.
Pros
  • Great school system
  • Metro-North access
  • Cultural programs
Cons
  • Busy traffic
  • Metro-North parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"The hub of Putnam County."

With majestic views of the Hudson River and a vibrant main street that serves as the hub of the community, Cold Spring by far epitomizes the local spirit necessary to any municipality. Mom-and-pop shops, local food places and thrift stores compose most of the village's downtown area; however, one can easily access "commercial stores" like Wal-Mart, Shop Rite and Kohls in neighboring Dutchess County via Route 9. Once regarded as a place with empty storefronts and no way to sustain itself economically, a review in the Hartford Courant that went international turned this sleepy village into a bustling tourist destination for those living in New York City. Today, Cold Spring attributes most of its local economy to those traveling north, especially on the weekend during the warmer months. This is made possible by Metro-North's Hudson Line, which can also help you easily escape for a day trip down south. In fact, it's one of the largest producers of sales tax revenue in Putnam County, with many city residents spending their money in Cold Spring's stores and restaurants.

There's a specific beauty about Cold Spring unlike many of the other towns and villages in Putnam County. Scenic views of the Hudson River open up to rolling hills and miles and miles of state land, most of which resides in the Hudson Highlands, an extension of Clarence Fahnestock State Park. A beautiful waterfront gazebo set with benches and a marina make any day almost picturesque, rain or shine. I worked at Fahnestock for years, and I can say there's no better place to go hiking, biking and swimming in the region.

The one downside to living in a tourist destination are what one expects it to be: tourists. Main Street gets pretty busy on the weekends with a swath of New York City socialites looking to get a taste of "country life." This also makes shopping a bit expensive, and you'll need to travel into Dutchess County to get a little more variety. County services are located nearly 35 minutes away in Carmel, accessible by Route 301. The lack of commercial influence, however, makes the community more local-centric, so if you don't mind taking a 15 minute trip north for the necessities, Cold Spring is definitely the place to go.
Pros
  • Local charm
  • Scenic views of the Hudson
  • Great school system
Cons
  • Tourist destination
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Wide, open spaces."

People flock to Putnam Valley for its lack of urban sprawl and environmental appeal. The town is surrounded by rolling hills, miles and miles of trees and rocky terrain with an expanse of trails and recreational areas to compliment the landscape. If there's one place that's ideal for nature lovers, outdoorsmen, sportsmen and those who just appreciate quiet, Putnam Valley is definitely the area you're looking for. Accessible by the Taconic State Parkway and Route 301 from Carmel, Putnam Valley makes its name for possessing parts of Clarence Fahnestock State Park, which contains lakes, ponds, trails, etc. The town's huge recreational park doubles as a sports arena and venue for various performances throughout the summer months. There are various summer camps and educational programs to get the community engaged with the community at large. The residents are kind and community-oriented.

While Putnam Valley offers an intimate relationship with nature, there is not much business to compliment the surrounding landscape. Some enjoy the fact that the town encourages developers to lump houses together, others are frustrated with the town's lack of commercial development. There is one intersection in town (Oregon Corners) that holds a glorified deli, bagel shop, doctor's office, etc., but a lack of sidewalks and parking lots makes it difficult to shop in this small sector. Those looking to shop are forced to travel to Mahopac, and those needing county services must travel 35 minutes to the county seat in Carmel.

What Putnam Valley contains in beauty and seclusion it makes up for with a lack of development, both in housing and business.
Pros
  • Peaceful and quiet
  • Great school system
  • Solid recreational programs
Cons
  • Lacks commercial development
  • No shopping
  • Lacks access in and out
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Location completes the puzzle."

The first thing that comes to mind when writing about Southeast is the educational opportunities the town makes available to its residents. The Brewster school system is known for its excellence, especially in regards to its music programs and athletic teams. From a young age, kids are given ample opportunity to find their own niche. Southeast also contains a blooming arts community with the Studio Around the Corner (a multipurpose art gallery and performance space) and ArtBeat sidewalk show. Whereas Putnam County has no specific community center, Southeast is giving its youth different outlets outside of the classroom setting.

Also when thinking about Southeast, it's important to remember "location, location, location." To the east via Interstate 84, a major highway, lives Danbury, Connecticut where the sales tax is significantly lower and a large shopping mall awaits. To the south via Interstate 684 is Westchester County and a 50-minute drive will lead you straight into New York City. The Route 22 corridor contains a significant amount of commercial business, as well. Southeast has two Metro-North stations, one right near Exit 19 and the other located within the Village of Brewster. If you don't want to hang around Southeast, there's always a way to get out and explore. Like most towns in Putnam County, however, you'll need a car to access most of its services unless you're in the Village of Brewster.

If there is one negative thing to say about Southeast, it would be the town's current financial situation. As of the end of 2011, Southeast has amassed considerable debt and now lacks a sufficient funds balance. It has begun to coordinate services with the village does have a new administration in power (which was once a laughing stock) which has given residents considerable hope for 2012.
Pros
  • Diverse business
  • Great educational programs
  • Proximity to Connecticut, NYC and Westchester
Cons
  • Need a car to travel most places
  • Financial situation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

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