suziegilbert

  • Local Expert 4,019 points
  • Reviews 6
  • Questions 0
  • Answers 115
  • Discussions 0

Reviews

2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"The Capital City of New York State"

The capital city of New York is Albany, another Northeastern city which has flourished, declined, and is now on the rebound. Its eastern border is the Hudson River, and it is at the crossroads of two major interstates, I-90 and I-87, which makes it easy to head into and out of. It’s almost exactly halfway between New York City and Montreal, as well as Buffalo and Boston. It has classic Upstate New York weather, with hot summers, snowy winters, lovely springs and eye-popping fall foliage.

Albany has been the state capital since 1797, so politics have always played a major role here. The city was originally a center of transportation, as it was on the Hudson River, part of the Erie Canal, crossed by railroad lines and home to one of the first commercial airports in the country. Government eventually became its biggest employer, although construction was certainly going strong during former Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s creation of the Empire State Plaza, a 98-acre collection of marble and steel buildings built between 1959 and 1976. Today most of its jobs are in government, healthcare, higher education, and a growing technology industry.

During the 1970s and 1980s many of the city’s wealthier residents moved to the suburbs, leaving the poorer population behind. Today there is redevelopment going on in the downtown areas, and the controversial Albany Convention Center – a proposed 300,000 square-foot space – is still in the works. Albany received the “All-American City Award” in 1991 and 2009, which “recognizes communities whose citizens work together to identify and tackle community-wide challenges and achieve uncommon results.”

Anyone wanting to look around Albany should start at the Visitor’s Center on Broadway. There’s a Planetarium with shows about the city’s history and its entertainment, and you can take a walking tour, ride the trolley, or survey the city from a boat on the Hudson River. Albany has a trove of historic buildings, with 57 listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Head for Lark Street, the village-within-the-city often likened to New York City’s Greenwich Village, for cool little shops, restaurants, and clubs. Downtown’s Center Square has galleries, more restaurants, shops and nightlife; Pearl Street and Broadway have restaurants, theaters and pubs. Every first Friday of the month many museums and galleries open free to the public from 5-8, where you can view all kinds of works of art.

Albany is an eat, drink, and be merry kind of place, with wineries and breweries, tours and tastings, 15 wine and/or beer festivals during the year, and a 4 AM closing time for bars and clubs (this is true for the entire Capital District, which includes the counties of Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga. It is usually explained as a holdover from the days when bars stayed open to accommodate the late-shift factory workers.) Speaking of liquids, Albany tap water is rated the best in New York State.

Albany is a culturally busy city. It has its own symphony orchestra, and musicians and actors flock to the Palace Theatre, the architecturally-unique Egg, and the Capital Repertory Theatre. The Times Union Center hosts sports and concerts, and the Albany Riverfront Park at the Corning Preserve hosts summer events in its 800-seat amphitheatre. There are over 60 parks and recreation areas.

There are all kinds of festivals from which to choose, including Albany Chefs’ Food and Wine Festival, LarkFest (Upstate New York’s largest one-day street festival), Fabulous Fourth Fireworks Festival, African American Family Day Arts Festival, Albany Jazz Festival, Winter WonderLark (featuring the annual Santa Speedo Sprint), and the early May Tulip Festival, where you can see thousands of every kind of tulip in bloom, all in honor of the city’s Dutch heritage.

The city itself is 21 square miles and has a population of about 98,000, with the metro area home to about 877,000. In the city public school system there are 12 elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school. Albany high school is not highly ranked either in New York State or the country.

The University of Albany (founded in 1905 as the “New York State Normal School”) is here, as are the Albany Medical College, Albany Law School, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Science, SUNY Albany, as well as seven other colleges within the Albany-Troy area.

Median city income is $37,505, median house/condo value is $181,800, median rent is $813. Albany is 57.0% white, 30.8% black, 10.6% Latino, the remainder comprised of various other races.

Author William Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Ironweed” was set in Albany, where he grew up.
Pros
  • culturally vibrant
  • good job market
  • college communities
Cons
  • you need a car
  • schools not good
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"A Winner of a City"

Hazy summer dawns spent leaning over a railing, holding a cup of coffee, watching as the horses breezed by during their morning workouts … this is how I remember Saratoga, also known as Saratoga Springs. Forty-five minutes north of Albany, Saratoga is the home of the famous racehorse track and auctions, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It is a truly beautiful and welcoming place, no matter what the season and whether or not you care about horses.

The “Springs” part of the name comes from the famous mineral waters that flow beneath the area, and which has made it a spa destination since the 19th century. Combine this with the racetrack, polo matches, an array of winter festivals and sports activities, and world-class cultural offerings, and you have a tourist destination that still manages to keep an air of old-time gentility.

Tourism is the backbone of Saratoga, but definitely not its whole. Industries include the Saratoga Spring Water Company, the offset printer Quad Graphics, Ball Corporation (manufacturer of aluminum cans and Mason Jars) and Stewart Shops (convenience store/gas stations.) Many people commute to Albany, either by car, Amtrack (which continues to New York City), or several different bus companies.

Saratoga covers about 29 square miles, has a population of 26,586, and Saratoga Lake, which is about four and half miles long and a mile and a half wide, is at the southeast end of the city.

The summer racing season lasts from mid-July to September, which is when the population booms and hotel rooms are hard to find. Horse lovers will be in heaven, as there are horse shows (one for dressage only), polo matches every Friday and Sunday afternoons, and a harness racing track. The latter also offers the Racino, a casino with over 1700 state-of-the-art video gaming machines, and Vapor, a nightclub featuring live performances (you must be 18 for the casino, 21 for the nightclub.)

Not into horses? Not a problem. Outdoorsy types can go ballooning, rent a canoe or kayak, charter a boat, take a canal tour, go fishing or camping, hike through nature trails and geological sites, choose from 20 different golf courses, go mountain biking, river rafting, skydiving, or spend the afternoon at the Extra Innings Indoor Baseball Training Center or the Saratoga Springs Municipal Skatepark. In the winter, there’s ice skating, ice hockey, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

The architecturally inclined can head for downtown Saratoga, where there are seven different designated Historic Preservation areas. Here’s where you’ll find all kinds of shopping, as well as over 90 restaurants. There are museums galore, including the two-story, interactive Children’s Museum. As you would imagine, Saratoga has 5-star night life, with fine restaurants, wine bars, pubs, jazz and dance clubs.

The 2,200-acre Saratoga Spa State Park is where you’ll find both culture and recreation, as well as carefully preserved wild areas. Here is the renowned Saratoga Performing Arts Center, with its 5,000-seat amphitheatre (20,000 on the lawn) that is a regular stop for nationally touring artists, the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City ballet, and the site of extravaganzas like Battle of the Bands and fundraisers like the Saratoga Wine, Food & Fall Ferrari Festival. There is a smaller venue, the Spa Little Theater, as well as the Saratoga National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Gideon Putnam resort, and Roosevelt Baths and Spa.

The Spa State Park has a two pools, one with a 19’ double slide, as well as food, showers and locker rooms. There are also two golf courses - one 18-hole and one 9-hole course.

Yaddo, the 400-acre artists’ community which has hosted 60 Pulitzer Prize winners and one Nobel laureate is here; make sure to visit and stroll through its beautiful rose and rock gardens.

In 2011, CNN Money rated Saratoga Springs as 75th out of the 100 best places to live, citing “a lively, walkable downtown … low crime and a solid school system. And culture? Tons.”

It’s not very diverse, though, with 93.8% of the population Caucasian. Median household income is $63,945, and median house/condo value is $303,322. Median gross rent is $851.

For those so dazzled by their visit that they want to settle down here, there are six elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school in the Saratoga Springs City School District. The District and Saratoga Partnership for Prevention sponsors Parent University, which provides workshops and classes for parents addressing their childrens’ issues. In 2011, the Washington Post ranked Saratoga Springs High School in the top 7% of 27,000 public high schools based on how well the students were prepared for college. There are a number of private schools, including Catholic Schools and a Waldorf School.

Skidmore College and Empire State College are both in Saratoga Springs.
Pros
  • beautiful
  • cultural mecca
  • good schools
Cons
  • tourist town
  • summer traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"LawnGuyland"

Great Neck is actually a region, not a town, although the village of Great Neck (population almost 10,000) lies within it. It is on the North Shore of Long Island, bordering Queens, and is the epicenter of the famous “LawwnGuyland” accent. It is an area of endless upscale subdivisions, strip malls, and gas stations, but with a diverse and polyglot population.

The area of Great Neck is in the town of North Hempstead, home to about 40,000 people, spread over 9 villages and hamlets. An express train during peak hours can get you into Manhattan’s Penn Station in 24 minutes, making it a desirable commuter place. It’s on a peninsula, so beach and boating lovers don’t have to travel far.

Besides the Village of Great Neck, there are twelve hamlets or villages within the region of Great Neck, including King’s Point, home of the US Merchant Marine Academy. There is a large Jewish population – Ashkenazi, Iranian, and Orthodox – as well as many Asians and a growing Hispanic/Latino community. One need only to check the website of the Great Neck Union Free School District to see the diversity here, as it gives you the option of reading in Chinese, Korean, or Spanish, and tells you that the students come from over 40 different countries.

The public school system is highly rated (in 2010 US News rated Great Neck South High School as 21st in NY and 101st in the nation). There are three high schools, two middle schools, and four elementary schools. There are a number of private schools, including private Hebrew schools.

There are 21 parks in the Great Neck Park District. The big ones are the Parkwood Sports Complex, which contains an indoor tennis center, a pool, and an ice skating rink, and offers a summer camp for children. Steppingstone Park has a marina on the edge of the Long Island Sound, where you can moor a boat, attend sailing school, fish, go on a dinner cruise, use the extensive children’s playground and aqua park, or watch a performance at the Steppingstone Waterside Theatre. Memorial Field has baseball diamonds, handball/basketball/ tennis courts, and a playground; Allenwood Park has the same, plus an aqua park and a children’s play area. The 175-acre King’s Point Park has sports facilities and picnic areas, as well as more than five miles of hiking/cross-country skiing trails, plus a sledding hill. There are 16 smaller parks; three have no facilities, just trails for walking.

Head to the Great Neck Arts Center to view exhibitions of contemporary artists and collections, to watch performances by singers, dancers, comedians, actors, poets and magicians, to take classes in art, ceramics, dance, theatre, chess, fencing, and music, or to watch the Furman Film Series, which shows independent, art and foreign films.

The US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point has a museum filled with nautical treasures. If you’d rather be outdoors, you can take a historic walking tour of Great Neck Village, or play a round of golf at the Fresh Meadows Country Club in Lake Success.

Literary historians will know that F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in Great Neck Estates, and that Kings Point was the inspiration for “West Egg” in “The Great Gatsby.” Sands Point became “East Egg,” the home of old money and grand estates; if you’d like to see what Fitzgerald was writing about, go to the 216-acre Sands Point Preserve and tour Hempstead House, the former Gold Coast home of Daniel Guggenheim, and Falaise, the house built by his son Harry, founder of Newsday. The drive from Great Neck to Sands Point will take you about 25 minutes.

Great Neck restaurants well-rated by Zagat’s include the famous Peter Luger Steak House, Restaurant Lola, Morton’s, Burton & Doyle, and Simply Fondue.

North Shore Hospital is right in Great Neck.
Pros
  • Excellent schools
  • Short train commute to city
Cons
  • serious suburbs
  • Expensive
  • Not convenient to highways
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"A Town As Big As A City"

Hempstead is a 191-square mile suburb on Long Island so densely packed that it has more residents than the city of Buffalo. It contains 22 villages, 37 hamlets, and the population is nearly 760,000. It is on Long Island’s South Shore, borders Queens, and has nearly 3 miles of shoreline, including the famous Jones Beach.

A suburb this large defies generalization, especially since there is such a broad spectrum of income levels. However, if you’re looking for a low-key, slow-paced place with privacy, you won’t find it here. Hempstead runs the gamut from burned-out areas rife with gunfire and drug dealing to places where they build 10,000-square foot, $4 million look-at-me’s on less than ¾ of an acre. Wherever you go you’ll be looking at your neighbor’s window, so the anti-social should just keep going.

But the beaches are great, if crowded, and the Town runs four marinas. Bay Constables enforce the boating and conservation laws, and provide help for those who need it. There are quite a few golf courses. There are 1,400 acres of parkland in more than 90 parks, 23 pools, and the Department of Parks and Recreation provides all kinds of sports, classes, entertainment and cultural activities, and sponsors events like the Seaside Spectacular Car Show, the Festival By The Seat, and the Town of Hempstead Triathlon.

The Town is so large that it provides the kinds of services for its residents normally only found in cities. It provides interest-free loans to senior citizens, and grants for people with handicaps. The Housing Authority helps the elderly and those with limited income find residences, and the Department of Occupational Resources provides assistance to both businesses and jobseekers.

There is a successful clamming industry here, monitored both by marine biologists and law enforcement officials. People can dig for clams but only with a special permit and within certain boundaries.

The Hempstead Animal Shelter receives 6,000 calls per year, and has one of highest adoption rates in the nation.

History buffs may (or may not) appreciate that Roosevelt Field, a shopping mall in Garden City, was once an airstrip used by Amelia Earhart and Wiley Post. It was from here that Charles Lindbergh took off in the Spirit of St. Louis, bound for France, on his historic 1927 trans-Atlantic flight.

Again, the schools run the gamut. The Hempstead High School, located within the Village of Hempstead, is unranked by US News and World Report. Its college readiness index is 13%, but 56% of its students are economically disadvantaged. Garden City High School, on the other hand, was rated 26th within NY and 138th in the nation by US News; its college readiness index is 67.2%, but the number of economically disadvantaged students is 1%. The median household income for Garden City is $165,000, while the Village of Hempstead’s is $45,234.

Hofstra, Long Island’s largest private college, is located on 240 acres in Hempstead.

The Village of Hempstead, especially around Terrace Avenue, has long been known as a dangerous area of gangs, drugs, etc. Two years ago its violent crime index was twice the national average. However, they are working on it … last year 25 members of a notorious street gang were indicted, and this summer a high-tech gunfire detection system was installed in the Village, allowing police to locate shots within seconds. The Village of Hempstead is currently negotiating with a developer for $2-billion downtown revitalization plan, which, naturally, would transform the area as so many have been done before.

It takes about 50 minutes to get to Penn Station on the Long Island Rail Road from the Hempstead Station.

Although this overview may be helpful, those considering moving to the Hempstead area really need to investigate its individual villages and hamlets.
Pros
  • beaches
  • amenities
Cons
  • congested
  • high crime areas
  • high taxes
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Beach Lovers
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Where Suburbia Began"

The famous Levittown was born after World War II, when returning soldiers were faced with a serious housing shortage. William Levitt, who had mass-produced military housing while in the Navy, bought large areas of blight-ravaged potato fields and created endless tracts of identical Cape Cod-style houses. Initially offered as rentals, such was the demand that half of the first 2,000 houses built were rented within two days.

Additional houses were quickly built and offered for sale. The first ones available, in 1947, had four rooms and a bathroom and went for $6,900; later versions, the larger 800-square foot ranch houses, were $7,900. Within four years Levitt and Sons had built 17,447 houses. The name of the town changed from Island Trees to Levittown, in part because there wasn’t a tree left standing after they were finished.

Now, however, trees have been planted and the houses have been renovated to the point where they are unrecognizable as the cookie-cutter “dream homes” of the post-war era. This is still hard-core suburbia, where rows and rows of houses are situated on a small square of lawn just a bit bigger than the house; but the numbing uniformity of design is gone.

Levittown is located between the Village of Hempstead and Farmingdale, ten miles east of Queens. Although it’s technically a hamlet, it’s a very populated one: there are 51,881 residents. It is within the Town of Hempstead, population 759,757; Hempstead contains 22 villages and 37 hamlets, and has more people than the city of Buffalo. If you’re looking for a very tightly packed community, you’ve come to the right place.

William Levitt refused to sell his houses to anyone but Caucasians, and today the town is still mostly white. The Town of Hempstead is far more diverse, with about 60% white, 17% Hispanic, and 16% African American. Levitt also talked about building communities but preferred to build his houses, take his money and move on, leaving municipalities scrambling to provide services for the growing population. Today, however, the Town of Hempstead does a good job of providing services for all its villages and hamlets. Levitt and Sons went bankrupt in 2007.

There are three school districts in Levittown. The Levittown Union Free School District has six elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools; US News & World Report ranked MacArthur High School 79th in NY and 622nd in the nation, and Division Avenue High School was ranked 146th in NY and 1160 in the nation.

The Island Trees Union Free School District has two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school; the Island Trees High School was ranked 304th in NY and 885th in the nation. A small area of Levittown is served by the East Meadow Union Free School District, with five elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. There are quite a few private as well as vocational schools as well.

The beach is big here; Jones Beach, the most popular beach on the East Coast, is in Hempstead. Popular destinations in Levittown are South Levittown Lanes, Governor’s Comedy Club, and Cue Nine Billiards & Restaurant. Faddy Malone’s Bar & Grill, a sports bar with a dance floor and karaoke on Wednesday nights, is open until 4 AM. Head to Newbridge Farms for gourmet grocery shopping, and Broadway Warehouse Liquors for a great selection of wines.

The best-rated local restaurants include Napolitano Brothers, Villa Carmela, Fortune Wheel Seafood Restaurant, Portofino Restaurant, Pat’s Pizza, Tropical Smoothie Café, Sang Sang Kitchen, Miller’s Ale House, Newbridge Farms, and Calda Pizza.

New Island Hospital is two miles away, in Bethpage. The North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, which is less than 25 minutes away, was rated the nation’s top hospital by AARP’s Modern Maturity magazine.

Commuters can catch a Long Island Rail Road train from nearby Bethpage or Hicksville (both approximately ten minutes away – unless there’s traffic) to Penn Station.
Pros
  • near Jones Beach
  • near good hospitals
Cons
  • High property taxes
  • Turnpike traffic
  • congested
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Busy, Beachy Huntington"

Huntington is a busy, highly developed town in Suffolk County, Long Island. Once it was known for agriculture and shipping, then for tourism and as the summer destination of New Yorkers. From the 1950s to the 1980s, wild tracts of land and farmland disappeared as the population soared, and today Huntington has over 203,000 residents. For some reason, a very large number of famous people either were born here or lived here at one point in their lives.

Huntington is right next to the Nassau-Suffolk County border. If you look on a map, its boundary lines form a sort of flower-splatter pattern, thanks in part to its five harbors and various bays. This is a place for beach lovers, as the town has nine beaches and three marinas. Within the 93-square mile town are the incorporated villages of Asharoken, Huntington Bay, Lloyd Harbor, and Northport, and there are 15 unincorporated hamlets as well.

This has to be the most organized town I’ve ever encountered, with 42 departments listed on their website – Adult Day Care Division, Huntington Small Business Resource and Recovery Center, Maritime Services, Transportation and Traffic Services, the list goes on. Need help? They’re prepared to give it to you. There are five different Human Services divisions – for Handicapped, Minorities, Senior Citizens, Veterans, and Women. There’s a Board of Ethics and Financial Disclosure, and a Public Art Advisory Committee. There’s a Conservation Board instead of the usual Conservation Council, which means the group can actually accomplish something.

The Town keeps up its parks, offers entertainment like Movies on the Lawn (a modern-day drive-in movie night), sponsors parades, Animal Adoption Days, and town festivals featuring events like Sand Castle Building and Meatball Eating. There is the annual Tulip Festival, with all kinds of vendors and performances, not to mention 20,000 tulips.

The Huntington Union Free School District contains 4,100 students housed in Flower Hill, Jefferson, Southdown, and Washington Primary Schools (K-3), Jack Abrams and Woodhull Intermediate Schools (4-6), J. Taylor Finley Middle School (7-8), and Huntington High School (9-12).

Since Huntington contains so many villages and hamlets, there are seven other school districts as well: Cold Spring Harbor, Commack, Elwood, Half Hollow Hills, Harborfields, Northport, and South Huntington. This year Whitman High School in South Huntington was rated the best out of schools in this area by US News, coming in 102nd out of 1,165 other New York schools (789th nationally.)

Here you’ll find the Heckscher Museum of Art, with a collection of over 2500 pieces of American and European artists, as well as a growing accumulation of photographs. You’ll definitely want to tour Eagle’s Nest, the Vanderbilt’s 24-room summer estate. Their planetarium is currently under renovation, but when it re-opens will be one of the best-equipped in the country. Living tours, with actors playing the roles of staff and guests, show you what summer life was like among the rich and famous in the 1930’s.

There are two private clubs here, the Huntington Crescent Club and the Huntington Country Club (actually in Cold Spring Harbor, a hamlet of Huntington).

Huntington is full of night life, and one of the destination points for the smaller and ultra-quiet villages of Nassau County. Here 25A becomes Main Street and it’s filled with bars and restaurants, as is New York Avenue. You can find trendy wine bars, sports bars, pubs, cigar bars, karaoke bars, and bars with dancing. You definitely won’t be bored here.

The largest employer in Huntington is Estee Lauder, followed by Newsday, Huntington Hospital, Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Henry Schein, and Western Suffolk BOCES. Huntington Hospital, by the way, was ranked 7th in New York State by US News & World Report.

It’s an easy commute to New York City on the Long Island Rail Road, which has four stops in Huntington.

If you’re looking for a large, bustling suburban town with great beaches, services, and all the amenities, Huntington may be for you.
Pros
  • lots of amenities
  • lots to do
  • great beaches
Cons
  • very suburban
  • congested
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Long Island Sound Serenity"

Suffolk County’s Cold Spring Harbor is a lot like Putnam County’s Cold Spring. Both are charming and sleepy, without too many reminders of the crass modern age in which we live. Cold Spring is on the Hudson River and Cold Spring Harbor is on the Long Island Sound, but both have the same feeling of scenic beauty and old-time tranquility. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that I grew up ten minutes from one, and now live ten minutes from the other.

Cold Spring Harbor is a four-square-mile hamlet within the Town of Huntington, home to about 5,070 people. Once a whaling town, it became known as a resort area after the death of the industry. It is now known for the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (though the lab is actually in adjoining Laurel Hollow), a research and education non-profit which specializes in cancer, neuroscience, quantitative biology, plant biology, bioinformatics, and genomics. Renowned for both research and education, it operates the DNA Learning Center, a science center that sponsors class field trips, summer day camps, and teacher training workshops, all devoted to genetics education.

There is a lovely little protected marina and beach club, and right down the road is the Cold Spring Harbor Library & Environmental Center, a big, bright, wonderful place that offers - besides educational seminars, workshops, and everything else you’d find in a modern library - yoga, pilates, Tai Chi, and music performances.

The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium, originally a trout hatchery and now over a hundred years old, has become a non-profit education center. They have two aquarium buildings, eight outdoor ponds, and the largest living collection of New York State freshwater reptiles, fishes and amphibians. Visitors can either feed the trout, or “Catch and Keep” them. The Hatchery offers a summer kids’ camp that I can tell you (from personal experience) is an awesome place, and one that can instill a life-long appreciation of nature.

The Whaling Museum slides gracefully from the area’s bloody history to its modern appreciation of the sea and the incredible creatures who live there, offering all kinds of programs, outreach, overnights, and field trips. Move inland and you’ll find the Uplands Farm Sanctuary, an old dairy farm-turned Nature Conservancy headquarters, with its meadows, forests, and old pastures.

History and decorative arts lovers should head to the Main Street gallery of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, which has changing exhibitions and programs. The Society owns three historic houses, including Joseph Lloyd Manor in nearby Lloyd Neck.

Main Street is filled with shops, boutiques, and restaurants. If you’re hungry, check out Cold Spring Harbor Plaza Delicatessen, The Gourmet Whaler, Grasso’s Restaurant, Sweetie Pie’s on Main, or Harbor Mist.

If you’re itching for more action, you’ll have to drive to Huntington, which is only five minutes away but far more connected to the modern world.

Cold Spring Harbor Central School District contains the Goosehill Primary School (k-1), West Side and Lloyd Harbor Schools (2-6), and Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School (7-12). The schools are excellent, with the high school consistently ranked in the top 100 of the nation’s schools.

The median household income is $133,209; the median house value, $783,916.

Not exciting, not diverse, not everyone's cup of tea - but not without its charm.
Pros
  • beautiful
  • quiet
  • filled with very smart people
Cons
  • very expensive
  • not diverse
  • not much to do
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Lock-jawed, But Not Land-locked"

Locust Valley is often characterized as the place where WASPs are overbred to the point of caricature, and everyone looks and talks like Mr. and Mrs. Howell on Gilligan’s Island. Actually, this is somewhat true, although the last 20 or 30 years has seen an influx of (not always welcomed) new blood.

Jim Backus, who played Thurston Howell III, did a dead-on imitation of Locust Valley Lockjaw, the languid, teeth-clenched, “r”-less speech pattern common throughout this part of the North Shore of Long Island. If you grew up here, it takes determination not to jettison the accent once you leave; drop a few “tomahto”s and “vahse”s and “rahthah”s in a mixed crowd, and you will become the subject of such hilarity that soon you will find your jaw flapping about like the rest of the world’s.

Locust Valley is a hamlet within the Town of Oyster Bay, named for the beautiful trees that line the back roads. It’s only one square mile, and its population is 3,406. Like the surrounding villages of Mill Neck, Matinecock and Lattingtown, it’s an area of grand old estates; some of which still survive, many of which have been sold off by non-productive heirs and turned into the North Shore version of subdivisions, which contain new houses but with enough land to hide them from view.

So much is made of the clubs here that I should probably mention them. Piping Rock and The Creek are both golf/country clubs, and Piping has a beach club at a separate location. You may refer to The Creek as “Creek Club” but if you refer to Piping Rock as “The Piping,” you’ll immediately be spotted as an arriviste and ostracized. Supposedly there is some sort of rivalry between the two; I’d never seen it, so I asked a long-time resident. However, he’s a member of Seawanhaka, the yacht club on Centre Island, so his response was, “We don’t pay much attention to either one of them – we’re sailors, and they’re only golfers.”

So if you weren’t born here but have the determination and the cajones to try to break in, bring money and give it a try. If you need a practice club go for Beaver Dam, a winter sports club where everyone plays ice hockey and goes sledding, and where the scrutinization is far less fierce.

The Locust Valley Central School District is excellent. In May of 2012, three national publications (including US News) ranked the high school as one of the best in both the state and the nation. The district includes Bayville, Brookville, Lattingtown, Matinecock, and portions of Mill Neck, Muttontown, and Old Brookville. The schools are Bayville Primary, Ann MacArthur Primary, Locust Valley Intermediate, Bayville Intermediate, and Locust Valley Middle-High School.

There are two private schools here, Friends Academy, a Quaker school (although less than 1% of the students are actually Quaker) and Portledge School.

Locust Valley’s main drag consists of a small area containing restaurants, shops, a library, a firehouse, and a Long Island Rail Road train stop. The central gathering place is the traditional Tavern on the Plaza; there’s also Basil Leaf and Buckram Stables Café, where you can wear your riding clothes to lunch (as long as you look well in them). Barney’s Corner, on Buckram Road, has changed hands several times over the years, but remains a beloved institution.

There are a number of clubs and organizations within Locust Valley, although there is no Recreation Department or umbrella organization. The Locust Valley Civic Association hosts town events, parades, keeps up the town’s website, and “maintains our quality of life,” which basically means opposing all subdivisions. There’s the Locust Valley Tennis Association, Neighborhood Association, Neighborhood Watch, Grenville Boys and Girls Club, Historical Society, Garden Club, Friends of the Arts, Friends of the LV Library, Senior Club, Chamber of Commerce, the Clan Gordon Highlanders Pipe Band, and the LV Republican Club (there’s a Democratic Club here somewhere, but that sort of thing would obviously not be included on the town website.)

What’s there to do? There’s the beautiful 4-acre Humes Japanese Stroll Garden and the 60-acre Shu Swamp, both in Mill Neck; the 42-acre Bailey Arboretum in Lattingtown, and the 20-acre C.W. Post Community Arboretum in Brookville. The Arboretum is part of LIU Post, the college campus, which is also home to the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, a great concert hall which hosts all kinds of performers. A ten-minute drive will take you to Oyster Bay, where you can explore the town and visit the Waterfront Center, where you can learn to sail, swim, take certification classes, rent boats and kayaks, go fishing, or sail on Christeen, a National Landmark and the oldest Oyster Sloop in North America.

The median income in Locust Valley is $87,988, although I have no idea where they came up with that number; median house value, $638,138; and rent, $2,001.
Pros
  • beautiful
  • quiet
  • horsey
Cons
  • reeeeaally expensive
  • oppressively social
  • no diversity
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Lots o' Yachts"

Embarrassingly enough, even though I grew up in Oyster Bay Cove, I didn’t know until just now that the Town of Oyster Bay encompasses almost 170 square miles, includes 18 villages and 18 unincorporated hamlets, extends from the Long Island Sound on its northern border to the Atlantic Ocean on its southern, and is home to 293,214 people. And here I thought every small village was its own island, and that my hometown consisted of a couple hundred families.

Since 36 villages and hamlets are too much for one review, I’ll stick to the hamlet of Oyster Bay (population 6,707), which has a post office, a train station, stores, restaurants, and museums; Oyster Bay Cove, which, except for an Audubon Center, is purely residential; and Cove Neck, residential except for Sagamore Hill, former home of Theodore Roosevelt, now a museum and historic site.

This is serious sailing/riding country, and its backbone population remains old-money WASP. Traditionally Republican territory, Obama beat McCain here in Nassau County in 2008, I’m sure because residents are only fiscally Republican; no one would dream of trying to legislate any sort of personal behavior laws, as that would be rude.

Social lives revolve around clubs – yacht clubs, beach clubs, golf clubs, some of which are so private you can’t even get onto their website without a password. Here dress codes and behavioral issues are strictly enforced; cellphones are forbidden, and, according to one club’s by-laws, “women are allowed to wear a shirt without a collar or without sleeves, but may not wear a shirt without sleeves and a collar” (translation: no tank tops.) One club only began allowing women into their bar area in the early 1980’s. Notice I am not mentioning any proper names, as that would entail name-dropping, which would also be rude.

That said, this is a truly beautiful area. Located right on the Long Island Sound, it is a sailor’s dream, with sweeping vistas of blue skies and distant yachts flying multi-colored spinnakers. As long as there is wind and open water, people will sail; frostbiters continue into November, and a family friend used to don a drysuit and go windsurfing in December until he was nearly 80. People are protective of their paradise and the zoning laws are fierce; whenever another grand old estate bites the dust, land trusts and nature groups rush to preserve at least parts of it, and set-back laws prevent the cheesier types of brand-new McMansions from being built right alongside the main road.

The public schools here are part of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District, which includes Oyster Bay (hamlet), East Norwich, Oyster Bay Cove, Cove Neck, Centre Island, as well as parts of Upper Brookville, Muttontown, Laurel Hollow, and Mill Neck. Kids go to the Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School (K-2), the James H. Vernon Middle School (3-6) and the Oyster Bay High School (7-12.) The schools here are fairly good; US News ranks Oyster Bay High School as 64th within New York. Many people prefer to send their kids either to a private day school (East Woods, Friends Academy, Portledge, Green Vale, St. Dominic’s) or to boarding school.

What is there to do? This place is rich in history, and there are several restored circa-1700’s houses which have been turned into museums right in town: the Townsend Museum, Raynham Hall, and the Earle-Wightman House, and are all worth a look. There’s the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, which is open now even as they expand to include more exhibits and displays. Right along Oyster Bay Harbor is the Waterfront Center, a fantastic marine environment education center, where you can learn to sail, swim, take certification classes, rent boats and kayaks, go fishing, or sail on Christeen, a National Landmark and the oldest Oyster Sloop in North America.

The Department of Community and Youth Services offers all kinds of workshops, concerts, art programs, pre-schools, and programs for children, adults, senior citizens, veterans, the handicapped and disabled. They oversee many centers, including the Community Center on Church Street.

Every Tuesday night from May through September the town shuts down Audrey Avenue, provides live music, and hosts Cruise Night, where anyone with an awesome car or motorcycle can show it off. It’s advertised as “from radical to rat-rods, Duesenbergs to Ducatis!” Who could resist?

Oyster Bay hamlet is home to a fine array of restaurants (with several oyster bars, naturally), as well as supply stores, shops, bakeries, and even two spas. Appallingly enough, Oyster Bay now has a McDonald’s, though at least it’s been relegated to an out-of-sight spot on the road leading away from town.

If you’re into hiking and natural beauty, there are no shortage of preserves and refuges around Oyster Bay and the Cove, including the 3,000-acre Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge, home of New York State’s only remaining commercial oyster farm. Several beautiful old estates have been preserved as museums, parks, botanical gardens, and event venues; definitely check out Coe Hall/Planting Fields Arboretum, C.W. Post Community Arboretum (in Brookville), and Bailey Arboretum (in Lattingtown).

Oyster Bay Cove is home to the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center, the first Audubon songbird sanctuary in the country, which provides all kinds of education programs for children and adults. Continue into Cove Neck and eventually you’ll find Sagamore Hill, the former President’s “Summer White House” and home until his death in 1919. I can still remember walking through the front door during an elementary school class trip and being traumatized by the sight of all the gorgeous exotic animals he had slaughtered and stuffed, and who filled the building like props from a medieval house of horrors.

Oyster Bay is the last stop on the Oyster Bay Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, although some residents prefer to drive to neighboring Syosset and take a quicker and more direct train from there into Manhattan. You can drive here on the infamous Long Island Expressway, where they still seem to be working on the same sections of road they were working on 40 years ago. LaGuardia Airport, in Queens, is 19 miles away.

There are seven colleges within 14 miles, including Hofstra and Adelphi; and three hospitals within 10 miles. Oyster Bay has had its share of celebrities, including Typhoid Mary, who was discovered working as a cook in a summer house here in 1906.

The median income for a household is $79,802; median house value, $605,552; and median rent, $1,586.
Pros
  • beautiful
  • quiet
  • great place to grow up
Cons
  • very expensive
  • not even slightly diverse
  • can make you want to flee
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach 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 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Can-Do City of Festivals"

Right in the middle of New York State is Syracuse, its fifth most populous city, and the perennial winner – until this year, when Rochester won in an upset – of the Golden Snowball Award, presented to the upstate New York city that receives the greatest amount of snow in a season. With an average of 121 inches per winter, and with blizzard conditions causing drifts of up to 20 feet, Syracuse is a city of hardy, can-do souls, and, maybe not coincidentally, has a thriving industry of microbreweries.

Until 1900, most of the salt in the United States came from the briny springs around the southern end of Syracuse’s Onondaga Lake, its sale aided by the opening of the Erie Canal. Eventually the salt industry declined, replaced by a wide array of manufacturing businesses. Like Buffalo and Rochester, Syracuse’s population and fortunes swelled thanks to industry, only to taper off and plummet during the 1970s, when companies began moving their factories south or overseas. Today the top five employers are Upstate University Health System, Syracuse University, Oneida Indian Nation, Wegmans Food Markets, and St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center.

Onondaga Creek runs through downtown Syracuse, flows northward into Onondaga Lake, and eventually ends up in Lake Ontario. Unregulated manufacturing left its mark here, as it did to most industrial cities, and Onondaga Lake is still heavily polluted. Efforts to clean it up and make amends continue, though, and recently National Geographic’s Green Guide named Syracuse “One of America’s Top 20 Green Cities.”

In 2010, Forbes rated Syracuse fourth out of the top ten places to raise a family; in the spring of 2012, CNN Money ranked it 8th in the nation for housing affordability. The median house/apartment/condo price is $106,000, the median income $66,900, so 90% of households can afford a median-priced place to live. There is a wide housing market, with many available. This city is home to about 145,170 people, with 662,577 living in the metropolitan area. There is some crime here, but there are active Neighborhood Watches throughout the city, connected by a group website.

Once an active stop on the Underground Railroad, Syracuse is now home to an array of ethnic groups, and is 56% white, 29.9% African-American, 8.3% Hispanic/Latino, followed by Asian, Native American, and Pacific Islander. During the 1980s quite a few immigrants from Africa and Central America moved here - “God Grew Tired Of Us,” a really good 2006 documentary, chronicles the lives of three young men who fled the genocide in Sudan in the 1980s, and ended up in Syracuse.

As with most cities, the rankings of Syracuse’s public elementary, middle, and high schools depend on the area; but its State University (SUNY) schools, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and SUNY Upstate Medical University, are both well-regarded. US News ranks Syracuse University #62 in the nation. There are two nursing schools located within the city, and in the suburbs is Le Moyne College, as well as several satellite campuses of other universities.

Syracuse has nine Community and three Senior Centers, and over 170 parks and recreation areas with playing fields, pools, ice rinks, and public golf courses. Hikers can head to the glacial lake and forests of Green Lakes State Park, beach lovers to Jamesville Beach and Oneida Shores. There’s all kinds of entertainment for kids: the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Beaver Lake Nature Center, International Mask & Puppet Museum, Saint Marie Among the Irouqois Living History Center, Erie Canal Museum, Museum of Science & Technology (complete with planetarium), as well as all kinds of sports complexes and arcades.

The arts are alive and well here, with forty museums and galleries from which to choose, the Syracuse Shakespeare Festival, the Society for New Music, the Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music, Syracuse Stage (experimental theater) and the Red House Arts Center, which hosts theater, concerts, art exhibitions, films, and special events. The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra was a cultural mainstay until it went bankrupt in 2011, but from its ashes rose the Syracuse Opera Company and the Clinton String Quartet. There is even Metal ‘Cuse – which describes itself as “one of Upstate New York’s most anticipated yearly Heavy Metal Events.”

Sports lovers can revel in Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome. Seating almost 50,000 people, it is the largest domed stadium in the Northeast and the largest of any college campus in the country. Baseball fans can watch the Syracuse Chiefs play at Alliance Bank Stadium; shoppers can head to Armory Square for stores, restaurants, and a view of the historic Jefferson Clinton Hotel; and beer aficionados can tour seven breweries along the Syracuse Beer Trail.

Syracuse loves its festivals, and hosts – to name just a few - the Syracuse Jazz Festival, the largest free outdoor jazzfest in the country; the Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival, also free; the Polish Festival, hosted by the Polish Scholarship Fund; the Home and Garden Show, the Taste of Syracuse, the Jamesville BalloonFest, OktoberFest, Great American AntiqueFest, Empire Brewing and Music Festival, Syracuse WinterFest, and, of course, the 12-day Great New York State Fair, which draws nearly a million people and is held at the Empire Expo Center just west of the city.

There’s something for everyone in Syracuse, especially if you love the challenge of a snowy winter.
Pros
  • lots to do
  • college town
  • snow galore
Cons
  • leftover pollution
  • some crime
  • snow galore
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Rochester, the City of Snow and Lilacs"

On the southern shore of Lake Ontario is the City of Rochester, which is west of Syracuse, east of Buffalo, and bisected by the Genesee River. Originally an industrial town with flour mills and clothing factories, it was also where Mobil, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb, and Eastman Kodak began. Frederick Douglass, the former slave and anti-slavery speaker, lived here, as did women’s rights leader Susan B. Anthony, and labor rights activist Emma Goldman.

By the early 1900s Rochester was a thriving city filled with music and art, thanks in your part to George Eastman, who started Eastman Kodak, and who founded (among many institutions) the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music. But as industry declined, jobs were lost and the population fell, and Rochester seemed headed toward becoming yet another ragged Northern city clustered around a heavily polluted river. However, the city has worked hard to restore its river, and has re-emerged as a center for research, technological development, and higher education.

The biggest employers now are the University of Rochester (known for both academic and medical research) and Wegmans, a large grocery store with specialty items from all over the world. Since 1950 the population has become smaller but more ethnically diverse, from a high of 332,500, 97% white to its current 210,500, 43% white. It is the third largest city in New York, after New York City and Buffalo; there is a large LGBT community, and is home to the largest deaf population in the country.

In 2012, Rochester was rated by Kiplinger’s as the 5th best city for families, because of its good schools, low cost of living, and low joblessness. However, as far as cities go, the crime rate is fairly high. Rochester is the second snowiest city in the east, just behind Syracuse: cold winds move across Lake Ontario and pick up water vapor, which turns into copious amounts of snow. This means it’s a snow lover’s paradise, but it also means everyone has a car and there is a lot of traffic.

The city has a large Recreation Department and over 800 acres of parks, several of which were designed by the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. It has 14 Recreation/Community Centers, with skating rinks, baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds, pools, etc. (It even has two mobile recreation centers.) Its Youth Services provide opportunities for employment, education, sports, horticulture, environmental education, and anti-gang intervention. The city operates the Rochester Public Market, a huge farmers market which is open all year round.

If you’re looking for culture, you’ll have a lot from which to choose. There’s the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, the Strasenburgh Planetarium, the Eastman International Museum of Photography and Film, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Memorial Art Gallery, the Strong National Museum of Play, and the East End Theater, to name but a few.

Rochester has lots of nightlife, whether you’re looking for the new and trendy (the South Wedge district, popular with students), the older and established (the East End district, home to the more expensive restaurants and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra), or the arty, clubby, theater-y eateries (scattered all over the city.)

Rochester is a determinedly active city, with fun festivals year-round. Even in the heart of the winter, you’ll find iceboating, snow sculpture contests, dog sled demos, polar plunges, snowshoe races, and the Annual Lake Ontario Ice Wine Festival. In May, the city bursts into bloom with its annual ten-day lilac festival, which showcases nearly 400 varieties of lilacs and draws nearly half a million people. Summer begins with the Rochester International Jazz Festival, which is now one of the biggest jazz festivals in America, and continues through the fall with film, art, crafts, and food fairs, as well as ethnic celebrations of many different groups.

Diverse, active, and innovative, Rochester is a city on the upswing.
Pros
  • diverse
  • lots to do
  • good schools & universities
Cons
  • traffic
  • lots and lots of snow
  • high crime areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Between Buffalo and the Falls"

North of Buffalo and south of Niagara Falls is the Town of Tonawanda, home to about 74,000 people. Tonawanda means “swift waters,” and was the name given to the area by its original Native American inhabitants. The Town of Tonawanda includes the City of Tonawanda (population about 15,000), as well as the Village of Kenmore (population also about 15,000.) The latter two are sometimes referred to as “Ken-Ton,” and all three are part of the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area.

Here the Erie Canal joins the Niagara River, and there are miles of bike trails and walking paths along the riverfronts of Niawanda and Gateway Parks. Although this area has a reputation as a snowy Arctic, both Syracuse and Rochester actually receive more snow, and the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area has some of the best summer weather in the East. Everyone takes advantage of the sunshine, with many outdoor summer concerts, a Canal Fest in July, and lots of boating.

Like Buffalo, Tonawanda was once a thriving industrial hub. Its chief industry was Spaulding Fibre, manufacturer of leatherboard, bakelite, and fiberglass tubing. During the turn of the century, most residents moved here because of manufacturing jobs. By the 1960s, however, the company was sold and began declining, and it closed its doors in 1992.

Because of its industrial background, this area continues to have quite a few environmental problems. Tonawanda’s industrial area is home to 53 different air polluting industries, and in 2009 the Environmental Control Manager for Tonawanda Coke Corporation was arrested for covering up violations of clean air, clean water, and toxic waste laws (coke being the product derived from coal and used for fuel and in steelmaking, not the shortened version of Coca-Cola.)

This event galvanized some of the population, and now there are citizen watchdog groups that continue to monitor these industries, and to try to work with (or, if that fails, bring lawsuits against) various state agencies to enforce stricter environmental regulations. Green energy and initiatives are big here, with a town-sponsored website (www.RenewTonawanda.org) dedicated to offering residents grants, subsidies, rebates, etc. to lower their energy costs and use renewable energy.

You can find all kinds of housing in Tonawanda, from apartments and condos to multi-family dwellings, from small single-family homes to large McMansions. The median house/condo value is about $92,000.

The crime rate here is about 40% lower than the national average for violent crime, and about 10% lower than average for property crime.

The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District is one of the largest in the state, serving over 8,400 students; North Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda each have separate districts. Buffalo Business First publishes an annual list rating public and private schools in the eight counties of Western New York in terms of academic excellence, and last year, out of 280 elementary schools, Tonawanda, Ken-Ton and North Tonawanda came in 22, 61, 77, 86, 89, 90, 97, 99, 107, 108, 109, 123, 142, 159, 167, 173, 187, 194, 202, 207; out of 210 middle schools, 19, 37 46, 51, 59, 67, 70, 113, 117, 121, 143; and out of 133 high schools, 8, 11, 60, 68, 69, 75, 87, and 92.

There’s lots to do here, whether it’s right in Tonawanda, twenty minutes south in Buffalo, or twenty minutes north, where you’ll find the legendary Niagara Falls. Right in Tonawanda is the Veterans Memorial, with its famous blue Korean War-era Grumman F9F–6P Krueger Naval airframe; there is also a local recreation area, with a skate park, ice hockey rink, tennis court, and soccer field. You can continue on to the Buffalo Zoo, the Buffalo Museum of Science, the Botanical Gardens, or the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park. There’s the Explorer and More Children’s Museum, and the Herschel Carousel Factory Museum, both great for kids. You can go on a 45-minute Whirlpool Jet Boat tour into the Niagara River Gorge, or, if you’d rather supply your own power, rent a kayak from Buffalo Harbor Kayaks.

You’re so close to Canada that Canadian shoppers routinely cross the border to shop for bargains in New York, so as long as you’re in this area theatre lovers should head for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, which the Chicago Tribune says is “North America’s largest and arguably its most prestigious classically-based theater.”

Hospitals near Tonawanda include the Kenmore Mercy Hospital in Kenmore, and the Sisters of Charity Hospital and the Erie County Medical Center, both in Buffalo.

There are 3 Amtrak stations within 11 miles of Tonawanda, and the largest airport is the Buffalo–Niagara Airport.

One last info bit: in Mark Twain’s “The Diary of Adam and Eve,” published in 1904, Tonawanda is where the pair ended up after they were thrown out of the Garden of Eden. Check out Tonawanda and decide for yourself!
Pros
  • lots to do
  • nice summer weather, snow-lover's dream
  • affordable housing
Cons
  • industrial pollution sites
  • long winters
  • some crime areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"The City By The Falls"

Buffalo is located at the eastern end of Lake Erie, where the lake meets the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers, a half-hour south of the famous Niagara Falls. It is the second most populated city in New York, after New York City. By 1900, it was the eighth largest city in the country, a thriving commercial area of railroads, manufacturing, shipping, and storage; less than 100 years later it was in decline, its shipping rerouted, most of its manufacturing relocated. Buffalo is now in the process of reinventing itself, and so is a city of contradictions.

In 2010, Buffalo was rated the second poorest city with a population of over 250,000, just behind Detroit; the same year, Forbes magazine rated it the tenth best place to raise a family in America. The only city in America with more vacant and abandoned houses than Buffalo is St. Louis; yet the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area now has one of the most affordable housing markets in the country. In 2008, the metropolitan area was rated by the United Nations as one of the worst in the world in terms of racially-based economic inequality; yet progress is being made, thanks in part to Buffalo’s first black mayor, elected at the end of 2005. Two of Buffalo’s nicknames sum it up: “The Queen City of the Lakes,” and “The City of No Illusions.”

Today Buffalo’s main economies are healthcare, education, high technology, light manufacturing, industrial and private sector companies. It is also a destination for Canadian shoppers, who, believe it or not, cross the border to take advantage of our lower prices and taxes. It’s the headquarters of M & T Bank, Rich Products (one of the world’s largest family owned food manufacturers), and the Canadian beer brewer Labatt. The city’s original Erie Canal Harbor has recently been transformed into a tourist destination, with restaurants, stores, and condominiums.

There is a great deal of greenery in Buffalo, as it has more than 20 parks. A network of them were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and his partner Calvert Vaux, designers of Manhattan’s Central Park, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also listed on the NRHP are more than 80 buildings, including City Hall, a gorgeous Art Deco building that looks like something out of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.”

There are art galleries galore, a thriving theater community, an outdoor Shakespeare Festival, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Botanical Gardens, the Buffalo Zoo, and Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Buffalo loves a party, and there are an array of food festivals, a festival to promote African-American heritage, and a garden festival that offers 14 garden walks and tours within a five-week span.

Prefer to hike and bike? Try the Olmsted Parks, Chestnut Ridge Park, Zoar Valley or Niagara Gorge. Like to watch sports? Football fans have the Bills, hockey fans have the Sabres, and minor-league baseball fans have the Bisons, an AAA affiliate of the New York Mets.

Buffalo stays up late, with the bars staying open until 4 AM, although there is a debate right now as to whether the law should be changed and patrons sent home earlier. Most of the nightlife centers around West Chippewa Street, with Allentown and the Elmwood Strip a bit more low-key. No trip to Buffalo is complete without a visit to the famous Anchor Bar on Main Street, where the original Buffalo Wings were created in 1964.

There are three SUNY (State University of New York) schools here: the University of Buffalo, Buffalo State, and Erie Community College, as well as Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. There are 78 public schools in the city, as well as charter and magnet schools, and 47 private schools. There is also a continuing education program for adults. As part of its revitalization effort, the city is currently undergoing a $1 billion school rebuilding plan.

Many programs serve the city’s kids – theater groups, Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, Boy and Girl Scouts, counseling services, and recreation and sports programs. The Office of Senior Services operates two Senior Centers, and provides information, trips, a medical van service, meals, discount cards, and health help.

Buffalo has a reputation as being the snowiest city in the East, but it’s undeserved. Each year the Golden Snowball award is presented to the upstate New York city that receives the most snow, and Buffalo nearly always loses to Syracuse, and occasionally to Rochester. Summer weather usually includes plentiful sunshine, with lake breezes that keep the temperature moderate.

Once one of America’s most successful cities, Buffalo is in the process of recapturing its former glory. Take a trip to Niagara Falls and check out the city – you just might stay.
Pros
  • beautiful old architecture
  • affordable
  • on the upswing
Cons
  • large poverty line population
  • some crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"A Big Small Town near the Beaches"

Malverne is a one square mile Village in the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County. It is 45 minutes from Penn Station, yet 10 minutes from white sandy beaches. Although it is a heavily populated area, Malverne has many civic groups, clubs, and volunteers who try to keep its atmosphere like that of a small town. People keep Westwood Park clean and user-friendly, follow initiatives promoted by the Malvern Environmental Council, have formed a Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and consult their resident groundhogs in a weather-predicting ceremony each February. Christmas is taken seriously here, with the Lighting of Malverne held the first Saturday each December. After a festive parade, thousands of people watch as the Mayor flips a switch, and the entire business district is illuminated by gaily colored lights.

Malverne is on the South Shore of Long Island, once the territory of the Rockaway Indians, and older residents report having found Native American artifacts years ago. Now, however, it is single-family houses, townhouses, apartments and condos on small plots of land. The median house/condo value is about $450,000, and the average rent is about $1,200. Residence grouse about the taxes, which, at $60.59 per hundred dollars of assessed value, is quite high. The cost of living index in Malverne in March of 2012 was 155.4, against a national average of 100.

Even though the taxes are high, the public schools are not highly rated. Currently 40% of Malverne’s children are in private schools. However, it is one of the few public school systems in New York where enrollment is increasing rather than decreasing, which some say is evidence of the rising quality of the system. The Malverne School District includes portions of Malverne, Lakeview, Lynbrook, Rockville Center, West Hempstead, and the unincorporated areas of Malverne and North Lynbrook. The Maurice W. Downing Primary School is for grades K–2; the Davison Avenue Intermediate School for grades 3, 4, and 5; the Howard T. Herber Middle School for grades 5–8: and the Malverne High School for 9–12.

There is a wonderful library in Malverne, with all kinds of databases (including several for genealogy research), a huge selection of books and audiobooks, and quality programs for kids, teens, and adults.

It is easy to get to and from this town. There are two stops on the Long Island Railroad, Malverne and Westwood, both located on the West Hempstead Branch, which will take you right to Penn Station. There are bus services to Kennedy Airport, 7 miles away, and to La Guardia, 13 miles away.

Looking for education? There are seven colleges within eight miles of Malverne: St. John’s, two CUNY schools, Nassau Community College, Hofstra, Adelphi, and Molloy College.

Three hospitals serve the area: Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Center, and South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside.

As for demographics, 64% of residents are married, 23% single; 92% have completed high school or higher, 37% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 14% have a graduate or professional degree; and it is predominately white and Catholic.

Close to transportation, the city, all amenities, and beaches, Malverne may be just the place you’re looking for.
Pros
  • Close to NYC
  • Family frendly
  • Small town feel
Cons
  • School districT
  • Taxes
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"At Home In John Cheever-Land"

Ossining’s pretty, well-kept residential area is Briarcliff Manor, the probable subject of many a John Cheever story. Not much has changed since the 1960s, although many of the houses have grown in size. It is an affluent suburb without being insanely lavish, like many of its neighboring towns, and there are actually some affordable areas.

The Briarcliff Manor School District has one elementary school, and a combined middle and high school; it’s a small district, and has excellent facilities and high test scores, and almost all its graduates go on to college.

Westchester Community College has a campus in Ossining, Pace University has one in Briarcliff, and SUNY Purchase is a short commute.

Briarcliff Manor has an active Recreation Department, and there are a multitude of great clubs and gatherings based here: The Briarcliff Garden Club, the Choral Arts Society, Friends of Music, The Handweavers Guild of Westchester, the Ossining Arts Council, and the Westchester Ballet Company. The Calvary Baptist Church even hosts “Dynamic Sunday Sermons,” as well as jazz events.

There are two town parks in Ossining, with one located on the waterfront, and a new aquatic facility at the Community Center, which sports a competition-sized pool. In the Village of Ossining there is a yearly Village Fair, and a weekly summer Farmer’s Market on the corner of Main and Spring Streets Saturdays from 8:30 until 1.

For those in need, the Phelps Memorial Hospital Center is located in nearby Sleepy Hollow.

Briarcliff Manor is a nice choice for those who want a pretty suburb which is close to New York City – safe, clean, with good schools, but without the edgy competitiveness of some of the other areas of Westchester.
Pros
  • Excellent School System
  • Interesting history
  • Great Pool
  • Incredible views
  • Some really nice restaurants
Cons
  • No Nightlife
  • High taxes
  • Can feel insular
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"An Architecture Lover's Dream"

There are about 25,000 people in the Village of Ossining. It’s located the Town of Ossining, at the widest part of the Hudson River. Like Peekskill, in Putnam County, it has much more of a diverse population than its surrounding areas, with a mix of races, religions, and cultures.

The Village’s downtown shopping area has a variety of stores, shops, banks, and restaurants. Westchester Magazine just named Ossining as the “Best Place to Live for Architecture,” and many of its Village buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are buildings from every era – Victorian, Gothic Revival, Federal-style, Italianate, Art Deco, American Craftsman - even a Sears Roebuck kit house from the 1920s. The Ossining Public Library, a nearly-$16 million renovation completed in 2007, is a dazzling 48,000-square foot building which uses a geothermal system for heat and cooling. It has over 50 public Internet terminals, a 250-seat theater, an art gallery, and a café. The main reading room is named for long-time Ossining resident John Cheever.

Ossining has two school districts. The Briarcliff Manor School District has one elementary school, and a combined middle and high school; it’s a smaller district, and thanks to the pricey real estate in Briarcliff Manor, has better facilities and higher test scores. However, the Ossining Union Free School, which has 3 elementary schools, one middle, and one high school, does very well itself; the high school offers AP classes, as well as SAT and ACT prep courses, and has a far more diverse student body. The Maryknoll headquarters is located in Ossining, so there is a strong Catholic presence here: private schools include St. August, St. Anne, and St. Theresa.

Westchester Community College has a satellite campus in the Village, Pace University has one in Briarcliff, and SUNY Purchase is a short commute.

Metro-North stops at Ossining as well as nearby Croton-Harmon. There is a Bee-line Bus System, and a ferry between Ossining and Haverstraw (in Rockland County.)

There are two town parks, with one located on the waterfront, and a new aquatic facility at the Community Center which sports a competition-sized pool. There is a yearly Village Fair, and a weekly summer Farmer’s Market on the corner of Main and Spring Streets Saturdays from 8:30 until 1. Ossining has a Food Pantry for those in need, and even delivers to those who cannot travel.

The Phelps Memorial Hospital Center is located in nearby Sleepy Hollow.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Old in History, Young in Spirit"

Like Buchanan, the quaint little Putnam County village whose main drawback is that it is the home of Entergy, the nuclear power plant, Ossining is a nice, more-affordable-than-most Westchester town whose main drawback is that it is the home of Sing Sing, a maximum security prison housing over 2,000 inmates. As with Entergy, the threat of what could go wrong with Sing Sing is far worse than the odds of it actually happening.

Ossining has not yet been completely gentrified, which is why it’s still possible to live there on a budget. There is a range of real estate, from the million-dollar neighborhoods of Briarcliff Manor to the more run-down apartment and townhouse areas of Ossining. An artist friend recently told me how excited he was to have located a fixer-upper for a great price, only to find that in that specific area, street crime was still an issue. However, he liked the town so much that he’s still looking.

Ossining is 15 square miles, includes the Village of Ossining and Briarcliff Manor, and its western boundary is the Hudson River. There is a Metro-North stop right in Ossining, making it an easy commute to New York City. It is more racially diverse than many of its neighboring towns, making it a far more culturally interesting place to live.

Westchester Magazine just named Ossining as the “Best Place to Live for Architecture,” and large areas of it have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The village of Ossining is home to buildings from every era – Victorian, Gothic Revival, Federal-style, Italianate, Art Deco, American Craftsman - even a Sears Roebuck kit house from the 1920s. The Ossining Public Library, a nearly-$16 million renovation completed in 2007, is a dazzling 48,000-square foot building which uses a geothermal system for heat and cooling. It has over 50 public Internet terminals, a 250-seat theater, an art gallery, and a café.

Ossining has two school districts. The Briarcliff Manor School District has one elementary school, and a combined middle and high school; it’s a smaller district, and thanks to the pricey real estate in Briarcliff Manor, has better facilities and higher test scores. However, the Ossining Union Free School, which has 3 elementary schools, one middle, and one high school, does very well itself; the high school offers AP classes, as well as SAT and ACT prep courses, and has a far more diverse student body. The Maryknoll headquarters is located in Ossining, so there is a strong Catholic presence here: private schools include St. August, St. Anne, and St. Theresa.

Westchester Community College has a campus in Ossining, Pace University has one in Briarcliff, and SUNY Purchase is a short commute.

There are two town parks, with one located on the waterfront, and a new aquatic facility at the Community Center which sports a competition-sized pool. There is a yearly Village Fair, and a weekly summer Farmer’s Market on the corner of Main and Spring Streets Saturdays from 8:30 until 1. Ossining has a Food Pantry for those in need, and even delivers to those who cannot travel.

The Phelps Memorial Hospital Center is located in nearby Sleepy Hollow.
Pros
  • Hudson River Views
  • Affordable
  • Housing options for many budgets
  • Pretty good restaurants
Cons
  • Large prison population
  • Not a ton of nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Harrison's Little Community"

West Harrison is not even a hamlet – it’s either a community or a neighborhood, depending on who you talk to, but either way it’s a nice little area of Harrison bounded by geography and I-287. There is just one main road winding through a residential area, with Silver Lake Park on one side and a small business district on the other. There is a second park, the Passidomo Veterans Memorial Park and Pool. The Leo Mintzer Center, a very nice community recreational center, is here as well.

Harrison has four elementary schools, and the Preston School serves West Harrison. Several years ago, Fordham University opened its Westchester campus on 32 acres here. West Harrison is low-key and working-class, a place where many families have been here for generations, and where neighbors look out for each other.

The Town of Harrison is 30 miles northeast of Manhattan, close to Long Island sound, and 5 miles from the border of Connecticut. Here you will find both grand estates and working-class homes, private country clubs and public parks, elegant restaurants and affordable family bistros, all thanks to the expansion of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in 1870. Immigrants, mostly Italian, built the railroad, which subsequently brought the wealthy here from New York City. The immigrants stayed to build and work on the estates, and today their descendents make up the largest ethnic group in Harrison.

This is a genteel yet busy area, as would befit a place so close to New York City. Purchase is home to Manhattanville College, located on the 700-acre former estate of Whitelaw Reid, publisher of the New York Tribune, and now on the National Register of Historic Places; SUNY Purchase; and Keio Academy, a high school affiliated with Keio Academy in Tokyo.

Thanks to the tax base, quite a bit of which is paid for by the dozen corporations located in Harrison, the schools and their facilities are excellent. All together there are 8 parks totaling 80 acres, with playgrounds, basketball courts, pools, and a bocce court.

St. Vincent’s Hospital Westchester, part of St. Joseph’s medical center, is located in right in Harrison, as is the Scarsdale Medical Group.

Harrison’s recreation department is both active and creative. Besides the regular array of sports teams, they offer ballroom dancing, drawing and cartoon making, pottery painting, a Lego class, and the chance to learn Italian, in whatever age group you may be. There are spring egg hunts, Halloween programs, summer concerts, sports tournaments, and, with a nod to the large and close-knit Italian community, an “It’s great to live in Harrison/Columbus Day Celebration” which is held in October. There are two community centers, the Sollazzo Center and the Leo Mintzer Center, both splendidly equipped to keep everyone from teenagers to senior citizens busy and occupied.

The Harrison Youth Council provides educational programs, parent support groups, counseling, consultation, and referral to families dealing with drug and alcohol problems, collaborating with the schools and professionals to achieve their mission.

There is not much to do in West Harrison itself, but you’re not far from Harrison, which is one of the few Westchester towns that actually has a nightlife. You are also close to White Plains, and of course, New York City. West Harrison is far more affordable than its surrounding areas, and its community spirit makes it a nice place to raise kids.
Pros
  • Community pool
  • Beautiful setting
  • Decent shopping in the actual town of Harrison
  • Some good restaurants in town
Cons
  • Can feel too quiet, at times
  • Only one road leads there
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"The Elegant Life in Purchase"

Purchase is a land of estates, multimillion dollar houses, two college campuses, several corporate parks, and a wonderful museum. It is quiet and low-key, and residents like it that way. They are willing to go to bat for their town, as they did in the early 1970s, and again in the past several years. 40 years ago, parent town Harrison’s pro-development Supervisor began inviting major corporations to build industrial parks, and with the most land to lose, Purchase residents were not amused. They decided to secede and incorporate as a village, and thus have more control over their own destiny. Unfortunately, the presiding Supervisor managed to avoid being served the papers which would have started the legal proceedings, and instead incorporated part of the town of Harrison as a village. This ended Purchase’s hope of becoming a village, as legally a village cannot be formed from another village.

The result is the “Platinum Mile,” a string of corporate office parks along I-287. PepsiCo, at least, has a sculpture garden, with 40 works by artists such as Rodin, Calder, and Nevelson, which is open to the public. Altruism only goes so far, though, as the town must pay for the upkeep of the park, which is not cheap.

Purchase residence recently went through another real estate battle, with a developer who wanted to take beautiful open land and turn it into yet another golf course (Purchase’s sixth) combined with a Monopoly board of McMansions. Unfortunately residents lost, which, as usual, will mean that their taxes will go up, while the developer destroys their land and makes out like a bandit.

Aside from all this behind-the-scenes turmoil, though, Purchase is normally a tranquil place. It is the home of Manhattanville College, located on the 700-acre former estate of Whitelaw Reid, publisher of the New York Tribune, and now on the National Register of Historic Places; SUNY Purchase; and Keio Academy, a high school affiliated with Keio Academy in Tokyo.

The Neuberger Museum, which features mostly contemporary works of art, is in Purchase. There are a few restaurants, but most people go to Rye, Greenwich, or White Plains for shopping and entertainment.

This is a genteel yet busy area, as would befit a place so close to New York City. The Hutchinson River Parkway and I-95 are easily accessed, and a Metro North stop and the Westchester County airport are both in Harrison.

Thanks to the tax base, the schools and their facilities are excellent. There are four public elementary schools in Harrison, one middle school and one high school (one of the elementary schools is in Purchase.) There are 8 parks totaling 80 acres, with playgrounds, basketball courts, pools, and a bocce court.

St. Vincent’s Hospital Westchester, part of St. Joseph’s medical center, is located in right in Harrison, as is the Scarsdale Medical Group.

For residents who don't have their own entertainment center, Harrison’s Recreation Department is both active and creative. Besides the regular array of sports teams, they offer ballroom dancing, drawing and cartoon making, pottery painting, a Lego class, and the chance to learn Italian, in whatever age group you may be. There are spring egg hunts, Halloween programs, summer concerts, sports tournaments, and, with a nod to the large and close-knit Italian community, an “It’s great to live in Harrison/Columbus Day Celebration” which is held in October. There are two community centers, the Sollazzo Center and the Leo Mintzer Center, both splendidly equipped to keep everyone from toddlers to teenagers to senior citizens busy and occupied.

The Harrison Youth Council provides educational programs, parent support groups, counseling, consultation, and referral to families dealing with drug and alcohol problems, collaborating with the schools and professionals to achieve their mission.

If you can afford the price tag, life is good in Purchase.
Pros
  • Exceptional colleges with cultural activities
  • Great school system
  • Great day camp
  • on bus route
Cons
  • Wealthy and isolated
  • no shopping
  • no night life
  • Not affordable for most homebuyers
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"From Apartments to Grand Estates"

The Town/Village of Harrison is 30 miles northeast of Manhattan, close to Long Island sound, and 5 miles from the border of Connecticut. Here you will find grand estates and working-class homes, private country clubs and public parks, elegant restaurants and affordable family bistros, all thanks to the expansion of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in 1870. Mostly-Italian immigrants built the railroad, which subsequently brought the wealthy is all is you and him and himhere from New York City. The immigrants stayed to build and work on the estates, and today their descendents make up the largest ethnic group in Harrison.

Purchase is a hamlet in the northern part of Harrison, which is where most of the largest estates are located. West Harrison is south of Purchase, and south of that is Harrison, often known simply as “downtown,” even though that name conjures up images of a business district. Harrison’s “downtown” contains residential areas of various income levels, both its Middle and High Schools, one country club, two private golf clubs, and several historic cemeteries.

This is a genteel yet busy area, as would befit a place so close to New York City. The Westchester County airport is here, the Hutchinson River Parkway and I-95 are easily accessed, and there is a Metro North stop. Purchase is home to Manhattanville College, located on the 700-acre former estate of Whitelaw Reid, publisher of the New York Tribune, and now on the National Register of Historic Places; SUNY Purchase; and Keio Academy, a high school affiliated with Keio Academy in Tokyo.

There are four elementary schools: two in Harrison, one in West Harrison, and one in Purchase. Thanks to the tax base, quite a bit of which is paid for by the dozen corporations located here, the schools and their facilities are excellent. There are 8 parks totaling 80 acres, with playgrounds, basketball courts, pools, and a bocce court.

St. Vincent’s Hospital Westchester, part of St. Joseph’s medical center, is located in right in Harrison, as is the Scarsdale Medical Group.

Harrison’s recreation department is both active and creative. Besides the regular array of sports teams, they offer ballroom dancing, drawing and cartoon making, pottery painting, a Lego class, and the chance to learn Italian, in whatever age group you may be. There are spring egg hunts, Halloween programs, summer concerts, sports tournaments, and, with a nod to the large and close-knit Italian community, an “It’s great to live in Harrison/Columbus Day Celebration” which is held in October. There are two community centers, the Sollazzo Center and the Leo Mintzer Center, both splendidly equipped to keep everyone from toddlers to teenagers to senior citizens busy and occupied.

The Harrison Youth Council provides educational programs, parent support groups, counseling, consultation, and referral to families dealing with drug and alcohol problems, collaborating with the schools and professionals to achieve their mission.

Harrison is one of the few Westchester towns that has a nightlife–Uncle Harry’s actually stays open past midnight on the weekends, a rare find in Westchester. Multimillionaires who want to live on an estate close to New York City, or regular mortals who simply want to be a part of this type of rarefied atmosphere and take advantage of its perks, may find what they’re looking for in Harrison.
Pros
  • Great recreational activities
  • Neighborly
  • Safe and sound
  • excellent colleges (SUNY Purchase and Manhattenville)
Cons
  • Can get somewhat boring at night
  • Minimal diversity
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"A Village Connected to the Town"

The Town of Harrison contains the Village of Harrison, as well as the hamlet of Purchase and the area of West Harrison. Why does Harrison have both a town and village? The answer harkens back to the early 1970s. Of all the areas of Harrison, Purchase had the most open space; and thus the most to lose when the pro-development Supervisor began inviting major corporations to build industrial parks, and sleazy real estate developers began circling the area. Alarmed by the amount of building going on in Harrison, residents of Purchase decided to secede and incorporate as a village, and thus have more control over their own destiny. Unfortunately, the presiding Supervisor managed to avoid being served the papers which would have started the legal proceedings, and instead incorporated part of the town of Harrison as a village. This ended Purchase’s hope of becoming a village, as legally a village cannot be formed from another village.

The Village of Harrison is 30 miles northeast of Manhattan, close to Long Island sound, and 5 miles from the border of Connecticut. You can walk through the village of Harrison and check out its shops and restaurants, and continue past its border into the town of Harrison.

This is a genteel yet busy area, as would befit a place so close to New York City. The Westchester County airport is here, the Hutchinson River Parkway and I-95 are easily accessed, and there is a Metro North stop. Purchase is home to Manhattanville College, located on the 700-acre former estate of Whitelaw Reid, publisher of the New York Tribune, and now on the National Register of Historic Places; SUNY Purchase; and Keio Academy, a high school affiliated with Keio Academy in Tokyo.

Thanks to the tax base, quite a bit of which is paid for by the dozen corporations located here, the schools are outstanding and their facilities excellent. There are 8 parks totaling 80 acres, with playgrounds, basketball courts, pools, and a bocce court.

St. Vincent’s Hospital Westchester, part of St. Joseph’s medical center, is located in right in Harrison, as is the Scarsdale Medical Group.

Harrison’s recreation department is both active and creative. Besides the regular array of sports teams, they offer ballroom dancing, drawing and cartoon making, pottery painting, a Lego class, and the chance to learn Italian, in whatever age group you may be. There are spring egg hunts, Halloween programs, summer concerts, sports tournaments, and, with a nod to the large and close-knit Italian community, an “It’s great to live in Harrison/Columbus Day Celebration” which is held in October. There are two community centers, the Sollazzo Center and the Leo Mintzer Center, both splendidly equipped to keep everyone from teenagers to senior citizens busy and occupied.

The Harrison Youth Council provides educational programs, parent support groups, counseling, consultation, and referral to families dealing with drug and alcohol problems, collaborating with the schools and professionals to achieve their mission.

Harrison is one of the few Westchester towns that has a nightlife–Uncle Harry’s actually stays open past midnight on the weekends, a rare find in Westchester.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"The Manor Side of Pelham"

Pelham Manor is one of the two incorporated villages in Pelham, which is just north of the Bronx and known as “the first suburb north of New York City.” It covers a little over one square mile, and is home to about 5,500 people.

The Town of Pelham borders New Rochelle, Mt. Vernon, and Eastchester, and the Long Island sound is in the southeast corner. As Pelham is only 29 minutes away from Grand Central on the Metro-North New Haven line, it is a very desirable commuter town. Pelham Manor it is known as a very affluent area.

There are two elementary schools in each village, and there is one middle and one high school. There are several private schools here as well, and the public as well as private schools are all considered to be excellent.

The train stops in Pelham Village. You can get off the train and walk up through the village, and explore its shops and restaurants. In the middle of the village is the Pelham Art Center, considered to be the cohesive element of the town. It offers art and writing classes, workshops, exhibitions, theatre programs, and public events. It hosts two benefits each year: the spring event is a seated, formal dinner held elsewhere, while the fall event is casual and takes place in the Art Center itself.

Pelham is a busy place, and offers its residents lots to do. There are not-for-profit groups such as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, the Children’s Theater, and the Little League. The recreation department offers everything from sports programs, to ballroom dancing, chess, field hockey, karate, lacrosse, PML lessons, rugby, tennis, and theater arts. It hosts seasonal family activities, such as the popular Easter egg hunt. Pelham is part of the Westchester County Park system, so residents can enjoy its golf courses, swimming pools, 5 beaches, and many parks in which to picnic, camp, hike, and fish. There are three sports fields from which to choose, and several tennis courts.

Pelham takes care of its senior citizens. The recreation department offers all kinds of classes, as well as trips to theaters, parks, restaurants, and New York City. There is a senior advocate who will help any senior resident who has trouble with apartment rental, Medicare, tax forms, estate planning, etc., and there is a Medical Van for transport to and from doctors appointments.
Pros
  • Beautiful tree-lined streets
  • Everything is within walking distance
  • Quiet, small-town vibe
Cons
  • High taxes
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"First Suburb Out of New York City"

Pelham is just north of the Bronx, and is known as “the first suburb north of New York City.” It covers a little over two square miles, borders New Rochelle, Mt. Vernon, and Eastchester, and the Long Island sound is in the southeast corner. As it is only 29 minutes away from Grand Central on the Metro-North New Haven line, it is a very desirable commuter town. This is multimillion dollar real estate, some of the big Tudor and Gothic–revival houses here definitely fit that description, and it is known as a very affluent area. However, there is a mix of all types of housing as well as all income levels, so you don’t necessarily have to be an investment banker to live here.

There are two incorporated villages within Pelham, Pelham Village and Pelham Manor. There are two elementary schools in each village, and there is one middle and one high school. There are several private schools here as well, and the public as well as private schools are all considered to be excellent.

The train stops in Pelham Village. You can get off the train and walk up through the village, and explore its shops and restaurants. In the middle of the village is the Pelham Art Center, considered to be the cohesive element of the town. It offers art and writing classes, workshops, exhibitions, theatre programs, and public events. It hosts two benefits each year: the spring event is a seated, formal dinner held elsewhere, while the fall event is casual and takes place in the Art Center itself.

Pelham is a busy place, and offers its residents lots to do. There are not-for-profit groups such as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, the Children’s Theater, and the Little League. The recreation department offers everything from sports programs, to ballroom dancing, chess, field hockey, karate, lacrosse, PML lessons, rugby, tennis, and theater arts. It hosts seasonal family activities, such as the popular Easter egg hunt. Pelham is part of the Westchester County Park system, so residents can enjoy its golf courses, swimming pools, 5 beaches, and many parks in which to picnic, camp, hike, and fish. There are three sports fields from which to choose, and several tennis courts.

Pelham takes care of its senior citizens. The recreation department offers all kinds of classes, as well as trips to theaters, parks, restaurants, and New York City. There is a Senior Advocate who will help any senior resident who has trouble with apartment rental, Medicare, tax forms, estate planning, etc., and there is a Medical Van for transport to and from doctors appointments.

Pelham is a great place if you’re looking to get close to New York City, but not actually in it.
Pros
  • Amazing old-school movie theater
  • Fairway Market
  • Good shopping
  • train station--quick and easy commute to Grand Central
Cons
  • can be expensive
  • congested
  • traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The Low-Key Life in Stormville"

Another small wooded hamlet of East Fishkill, Stormville is about as low-key as you can get. It is hilly and wooded, and residents cherish their seclusion. Stormville itself has two pizza parlors, Collins Ale House, and that’s about it. Nearby Hopewell Junction has a small shopping center and several very nice restaurants, though, so it’s not like you’re completely stranded, and if you need a healthier dose of civilization, you can go to Wappingers or Poughkeepsie.

This is not a New York City commuter town, unless you’re into long commutes. The nearest train station is a Metro North in Beacon, about 20 minutes away, and Beacon to Grand Central takes about an hour and 20 minutes.

There are 3 very nice B and B’s in Hopewell, with Le Chambord at the top of the list, followed by Bykenhulle House and the Inn at Arbor Ridge. Le Chambord has an excellent restaurant, there is also fine dining at Tiramisu, Muscoot North, and the Blue Fountain.

Children go to either Arlington, Carmel, Pawling, or Wappingers Central School Districts. The schools are good, though a bit crowded, and East Fishkill’s active recreation department provides quite a few diversions for kids (as well as their parents). There are many sports teams from which to choose, including roller hockey, golf and tennis, and volleyball, as well as the more traditional baseball, softball, football, lacrosse, and soccer, and many parks in which to play them. There is a very busy Garden Club, with Arbor Day a major event, and year-round beautification projects always in progress.

The East Fishkill Community Library is an active gathering spot featuring weekly activities, such as local author and artist speakers. It has outdoor seating, meeting rooms, and available computers and Internet service.

There is an All-Sport gym in East Fishkill, with indoor and outdoor pools, fitness classes, machines, yoga, massage and physical therapy, parties/events, and lots of activities for kids. Those who live in Stormville, however, probably prefer the woods to a gym.
Pros
  • Good for outdoorsmen
  • Very quiet
  • Green and picturesque
  • Little traffic
  • Major highway access nearby
Cons
  • Hardly anything to do
  • No business or nightlife
  • No amenities nearby
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • 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 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Small Town Growing Up"

A small wooded hamlet of East Fishkill, Hopewell Junction is home to about 2700 people. On one hand, it is a classic small town: it is wooded, serene, with lovely old homes hidden away on back roads, and it has a grocery store, a few shops, delis, a couple of pizzerias, and several restaurants. On the other hand, it is a town being pulled into the modern age: there is a Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts, both chain stores which would be banned in many determinedly old-fashioned towns, and you can spot quite a few brand new, ostentatiously large houses which have sprung up in highly visible areas.

This is not a New York City commuter town, unless you’re into long commutes. The nearest train station is a Metro North in Beacon, about 20 minutes away, and Beacon to Grand Central takes about an hour and 20 minutes. If that is not a problem, and you like a woodsy, mostly out of the way town with a few amenities and not a long drive to more of them, this may be the place for you.

About 66% of the population are married couples, with 43% having children under the age of 18 living with them. Only 23% of the population are non-families, so this is probably not the best place to be young and single.

There are three very nice B and B’s in Hopewell, with Le Chambord at the top of the list, followed by Bykenhulle House and the Inn at Arbor Ridge. Le Chambord has an excellent restaurant, and there is also fine dining at Tiramisu, Muscoot North, and the Blue Fountain.

Children are in the Wappingers Central School District. The schools are good, though a bit crowded. Parent town East Fishkill’s active recreation department provides quite a few diversions for kids (as well as their parents). There are many sports teams from which to choose, including roller hockey, golf and tennis, and volleyball, as well as the more traditional baseball, softball, football, lacrosse, and soccer, and many parks in which to play them. There is a very busy Garden Club, with Arbor Day a major event, and year-round beautification projects always in progress.

There is a gym in East Fishkill, and a hometown baseball team in Wappingers. For nightlife, you’ll need to go to Wappingers, Poughkeepsie, or farther afield.
Pros
  • Beautiful homes and properties
  • Private yet it feels like a community
  • Hopewell Junction Rec Center is lots of fun!
Cons
  • growing in size
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • 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 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Gateway to Dutchess County"

If you’re worried that East Fishkill was once the site of a mass trout slaughter, you can rest easy. Original Dutch settlers liked to sprinkle native words into their place names, and the Dutch word for “creek” is “kill.”

Located just north of Philipstown as you cross the Dutchess County border, East Fishkill Is a fairly large town of about 29,000 people, parent town to Hopewell Junction, Stormville, Hillside Lake, as well as many smaller hamlets. There is a cross-section of housing here, with beautiful older houses, newer modern ones, small established developments, condos, apartments, and, unfortunately, quite a few former fields now covered with slapped-up identical McMansions. Building waxes and wanes here according to the fortunes of IBM, the largest employer, and the zoning codes are not nearly as ferocious as some of the more genteel Putnam and Westchester County towns.

Children go to either Arlington, Carmel, Pawling, or Wappingers Central School Districts. The schools are good, though a bit crowded, and East Fishkill’s active recreation department provides quite a few diversions for kids (as well as their parents). There are many sports teams from which to choose, including roller hockey, golf and tennis, and volleyball, as well as the more traditional baseball, softball, football, lacrosse, and soccer, and many parks in which to play them. There is a very busy Garden Club, with Arbor Day a major event, and year-round beautification projects always in progress.

There is enough shopping to keep residents happy, at least for the regular amenities; for larger stores and more diversity, you must travel north to Wappingers and Poughkeepsie (although animal lovers should note that there is a very good Blue Seal on Route 52 in Fishkill.)

South of here gyms are hard to come by, but East Fishkill has a large All-Sport, with indoor and outdoor pools, fitness classes, machines, yoga, massage and physical therapy, parties/events, and lots of activities for kids.

You can get into an argument over whether Duchess Stadium is located in East Fishkill or Wappingers (it’s really in Wappingers) but suffice to say it’s on Route 9D, and is the home to the Hudson Valley Renegades. This minor league baseball team is an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, and is a major source of entertainment for locals. There is always between-inning entertainment and lots of enthusiasm.

History buffs should visit the Brinkerhoff-Pudney-Palin House, now home of the East Fishkill Historical Society. This beautifully restored house, part of it with a gambrel roof, makes it one of only two houses remaining in East Fishkill that exhibit the building style popular between 1750 and 1800.

And finally, Fishkill Farms is a wonderful place to visit. It’s an apple orchard and fruit/vegetable farm where you can pick your own fruit and pumpkins, and they don’t use pesticides or fertilizers. You can buy all kinds of produce, as well as organically raised chicken and lamb. Farms like these are dying out (replaced by huge agribusinesses which drown everything they produce in chemicals) so not only is it a nice place to spend the afternoon, it’s a great place to support.
Pros
  • Safe and good schools
  • Safe environment for children
  • Strong recreational programs
Cons
  • Need a car to travel most places
  • Not as quiet as other towns
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A Village with all the Amenities"

Wappingers Falls is a village within the town of Wappinger. Actually, half the village is in Wappinger, and half of it is in the neighboring town of Poughkeepsie. There is only one post office for both, though, which means that Wappingers Falls, Wappinger, and parts of Poughkeepsie, Lagrange, Fishkill and East Fishkill are all –according to their zip code – located in Wappinger Falls. This makes the mail system interesting, and means you should probably invest in a GPS if you’re going to spend time here.

Wappingers Falls is a little over one square mile and has a population of about 5500 people. It is between the Newburgh- Beacon and Mid-Hudson Bridges, east of the Hudson River. There is an historic district, where you’ll find Mesier Park and Homestead, circa 1891. There is quite a bit of history here; the beautiful stone library, Grinnell, is the 6th oldest in New York State.

The schools here are good, and there are quite a few. There are 10 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, 2 high schools, and one alternative high school. The Randolph School, a very well-regarded alternative school for ages 3 to 10, is located here as well.

The recreation department is active, offering summer camps and youth art programs, and there are many parks from which to choose. There is an award-winning community theater; recent plays have included My FThe lion in Winter, Godspell, and somehow, the full Monty.

Wappingers Falls has restaurants, bars, gyms, and there is a $3 movie theater ($2 on Tuesdays!) at the Short Hills Mall just north in Poughkeepsie, which is another active town. Those looking to settle in the Hudson Valley, and who would find themselves going stir-crazy in a more rural setting, may find this village just what the doctor ordered.
Pros
  • Good restaurants
  • Shopping nearby
  • Things to do
Cons
  • Can get congested
  • A bit noisy
  • Parking limited
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Fun and Funky Beacon"

Beacon is a pretty irresistible place. More funky then Cold Spring but less gritty then Newburgh, it’s more like a small city neighborhood surrounded by Hudson Valley beauty and dotted with lovely old Victorian houses. Its neighborhoods vary – some houses are wonderfully kept up and restored, while others look like a good wind would blow them over – which is part of Beacon’s appeal.

Dia Beacon opened in 2003, which started the town’s resurgence and made it a destination point for artists. The enormous gallery houses a huge collection of artwork, all ranging from the 1960’s to the present. Although some of the pieces may cause you to scratch your head (like the set of metal bleachers entitled “Bleachers”) you dare not laugh, as there is a squadron of black-clad, headphoned young art guards who will reprimand you. I’m not kidding.

Thanks to Dia, all kinds of artists have flocked here and set up shop. One you must check out is the Russell Cusick Gallery at the Spire Studios, which are on the same side of 9D as Dia. This artist creates breathtaking photo-acrylic land- and cityscapes, and can even turn your photo into a piece of artwork that looks like an incredibly detailed painting. His gorgeous Hudson Valley panoramics always remind residents of why we love to live here, and he also - as a sideline - creates some of the funniest refrigerator magnets I've ever seen.

Beacon’s Main Street is lined with shops and restaurants. As someone who hates to shop, I can attest that some of these cool little stores can even entice me inside. A few of its restaurants are excellent, and the prices vary. My favorite is Isamu, a Japanese place with great food at a reasonable price. There are bars in town, including Joe’s Irish pub, which is just like it sounds, and Chill Bar, which will make you swear you’re in Manhattan. You also can find live music on a regular basis.

Beacon has a wonderful event called Second Saturday, where the shops and art galleries stay open late. Often they serve wine and snacks, and the entire town turns into an open party. You can stroll from place to place, chat with the artists, meet up with friends, and grab some dinner afterward.

Mount Beacon used to have its own cable car, which was built in 1902, stopped working in 1978, and was destroyed by fire in 1983. It’s on the Register of Historic Places, and Scenic Hudson, which owns Mount Beacon Park, is trying to restore it; but for now, Mount Beacon is a beautiful hike, with wonderful views at the top.

Residents (as well as those from neighboring towns) are rabid Hudson Valley Renegades fans. Affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays, this small ball club has sent a dozen players to the majors, and there is always between-inning entertainment and lots of enthusiasm. The Dutchess Stadium is in Fishkill, only two miles from the center of Beacon.

Another fun trip is to Bannerman’s Island, less than a ten minute drive. It is home to a ruined Scottish castle, built by an arms dealer in 1901 in order to store his arsenal. In 1920, 200 tons of shells and powder exploded, doing a number on the castle and providing inspiration for the ghost stories that continue to this day. Now you can take a tour of the place, and enjoy boxed lunches and live music.

Fun and funky, Beacon is well worth a visit.
Pros
  • Great historic shopping district
  • Terrific Restaurants
  • Gorgeous Parks
  • Galleries and museums
  • Riverfront parks
Cons
  • Some neighborhoods are still run down
  • Long commute to Grand Central
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"An Affordable Corner of North Salem"

Croton Falls is a lower-key, more affordable hamlet located within the larger, estate-filled town of North Salem. Residents enjoy the same beautiful scenery, open land, bucolic atmosphere, only on a smaller scale.

If you can’t live without shopping venues at your fingertips, this is not the place for you. Food, clothing, and what ever else you’d like are not far away, but you do have to drive to get there. Somers is 10 minutes away, Danbury and the Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown Heights are both about 20. There is a nice deli-type store, located conveniently across from the Croton Falls train station, but for real grocery shopping you’ll have to travel.

The flip side is that residents of nearby towns end up traveling to Croton Falls for the restaurants, which are very good, especially the Italian eatery Primavera.

Residents are proud of the excellent school system, which encompasses the entire town of North Salem as well as the Putnam County towns of Southeast and Carmel. There is an active North Salem Recreation Department, which runs a professional Theater Arts Studio for both children and adults. A Children and Young Adult Sports Program offers basketball, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, softball, as well as a skiing and snowboarding program. They also offer men’s indoor and outdoor soccer, and tennis for both men and women. There are clubs for senior citizens, and a van that provides transportation to a senior nutrition program.

This is riding country, and nearby Old Salem Farm has hosted several US Olympic Team Selection Trials, as well as World Cup qualifier classes. For the non-horsey, the 16-acre Joe Bohdrum Field has tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields, and a playground. The Sal J. Prezioso Mountain Lakes Park offers swimming, fishing, cross-country skiing, hiking, and camping.

As long as you’re looking for a safe, quiet and beautiful area with access to shopping and activity, you can’t go wrong with Croton Falls.
Pros
  • A handful of quality eateries
  • Charming countryside
  • great for commuters
  • has a train station
  • Recreational activities
Cons
  • Can feel quiet and isolated at times
  • Must travel to get necessities
  • must have a car
  • Quiet social life
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Rural Estate LIfe in Westchester"

To the north of North Salem is the border of Putnam County, to the east, the border of Connecticut. North Salem is a bucolic, determinedly rural Westchester town, one that has successfully managed to fend off the rapacious developers who always seem to skulk around areas like this. Luckily, the North Salem Open Land Foundation works hard to convince landowners to donate their land and keep it undeveloped, and residents are willing to fight to keep their town from becoming yet another congested suburb. Those wishing to move here will need to bring along a good-sized bank account, as the 2011 average net worth was $1.2 million.

Peach Lake is a small community of converted summer cottages which are comparatively lower-priced, and Westchester County has just agreed to build affordable housing in various spots, so there is and may soon be a bit more affordable housing. But mostly this area is made up of large estates, horse farms, open land, and the “smaller” places on minimum 4-acre lots.

Residents are proud of the excellent school system, which encompasses the entire town of North Salem as well as the Putnam County towns of Southeast and Carmel. There is also an active Recreation Department.

Since this is riding country, you might want to know about Old Salem Farm, arguably the best equestrian facility in Westchester. Located on 125 acres in North Salem, they have 3 indoor arenas, four outdoor riding rings, and a grand prix field. The lucky horses who live here can enjoy a fly mist system, four horse showers, and have 30 turnout paddocks from which to choose; people footing the bill for all this can watch their fellow horse-lovers ride from a heated viewing area, or have a workout in the gym while they wait. Serious riders will be impressed by the names Frank Madden and Steve Weiss, who are the resident trainers. Old Salem Farm has hosted several US Olympic Team Selection Trials, as well as World Cup qualifier classes. The American Gold Cup will be held here in September, 2012.

Shoppers head to Danbury or Westchester, as commercial properties are strictly zoned. If you can afford it and want the gentile Westchester country life, North Salem might be for you.
Pros
  • scenic country roads
  • very peaceful
  • Excellent schools
  • Horseback riding
  • Nice parks
Cons
  • very expensive
  • no public transportation
  • not much shopping
  • no night life except pubs and bars
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Yorktown's Bedroom Community"

Crompond is a two and a half square mile hamlet in Yorktown, and home to a bit over 2,000 people. Although it is slightly larger in area than fellow hamlet Shrub Oak, it is almost all residential, making it feel like a bona fide bedroom community. It is quiet and safe and a good place to raise kids, and shopping can be done in Yorktown Heights, at the Jefferson Valley Mall, or at the Cortlandt Town Center.

The houses here are mostly well-kept single family houses. The train to Manhattan takes between 50-70 minutes; there is no train stop anywhere in Yorktown, but Metro-North stops in at Croton-Harmon, about 20 minutes from Crompond. There is also the Bee-Line bus from Yorktown Heights, which will take you to various Westchester destinations including Playland Amusement Park in Rye during the summer. There is also an express bus to Manhattan.

Yorktown Central School District is considered a very good school system, and the John C. Hart Memorial Library in Shrub Oak serves all of Yorktown, and provides a constant supply of programs for kids, teens, and adults.

While Crompond is a sleepy little hamlet, Yorktown is a social place, with many groups and societies from which to choose. There is a Senior Citizens Nutrition Center, a Teen Center, and the town government encourages residents to volunteer for boards such as Open Space, Community Housing, Landmarks Preservation, and Conservation. The Yorktown Community and Cultural Center offers programs, entertainment, rooms for town clubs and organizations, and will rent space out for private groups.

There are many outdoor things to do around Crompond, from biking on the North County Trailway – five miles of the 22-mile paved pedestrian/bicycle path runs through Yorktown – to hiking Turkey Mountain, visiting the Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center, using the array of sports facilities at the Shrub Oak Memorial Park, or spending the day at the sprawling Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, where you can picnic, swim, play all kinds of ball, hike, launch your own boat (with a permit), fish (with a license) or simply rent a rowboat and paddle around.

Residents use either the Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco or the slightly closer Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt Manor. The Medical Center at Yorktown offers outpatient and testing services, and the Westchester Medical Practice and the Mount Kisco Medical Group both have offices in the area.

As long as you like the peace and quiet and don’t need next-door shopping, you might want to check out Crompond.
Pros
  • Well ranked school system
  • Has access to Yorktown's amenities
  • Lots to do throughout Yorktown
Cons
  • Lacks a town center
  • Can seem too quiet at times.
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
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • 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 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Beautiful and Arty"

Tivoli is a village within the Town of Red Hook, an almost-two square mile area just north of Bard College. Two roads run through Tivoli: Route 78, which ends at the Hudson River, and is directly across from the Ulster County town of Saugerties; and Route 9G, which runs along the village border.

Tivoli itself has about 1200 residents, with a recreation department that covers events, celebrations, and decorating for all the major holidays. There are several groups you can join, and a program for senior citizens. Watts dePeyster Hall, an historic building, houses the Tivoli Free Library, with programs for kids, teens, and adults. In the same building is the Tivoli Bays Visitor Center, where you can get maps, a list of programs, and all the info you need about Tivoli Bays.

Tivoli Bays is a gorgeous 1700-acre tidal wetland surrounded by open land. Managed as a field laboratory for research and education about the Hudson River Estuary, it is part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve. You can walk behind the Tivoli Bays Visitor Center and pick up a trail into the Bays, or you can bring your canoe or kayak and paddle.

The Village has a choice of good restaurants, including Santa Fe Restaurant, Osaka, Luna 61, and the Panzur Restaurant and Wine Bar.
For the sports-minded, the Tivoli Memorial Recreation Park has a playground, pavilion, basketball court and baseball fields.

Tivoli is in the Red Hook School District, which is excellent. Children attend Mill Road Primary (K-2), Mill Road Intermediate (3-5), Linden Ave Middle (6-8), and Red Hook High School, which was included in U.S. News & World Report's 2012 ranking of the best high schools in America. The high school's rankings are 38th out of 370 schools in New York State, and 221st out of 21,776 high schools in the U.S.

Tivoli is home to Kaatsbaan, a non-profit dance mecca, located on the 153-acre former estate of Eleanor Roosevelt’s grandparents. Designed to provide a year-round gathering place for dancers, choreographers, and dance companies, it offers events, performances, and classes. It has incredible facilities, including a 160-seat theatre with a performance floor the size of the Metropolitan Opera stage.

There is no train line, so as long as you don’t need to commute to Manhattan, beautiful, arty Tivoli may be just the place for you.
Pros
  • excellent schools
  • Beautiful Park
  • Good restaurants
Cons
  • no train line
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Peace, Quiet, and Excellent Schools"

Red Hook is in the northwest corner of Dutchess County. Its northern border is the beginning of Columbia County, its western border the Hudson River. There is still a grand, 19th century pastoral feel to this area, with lush, protected areas around the river and a great assortment of beautifully restored old Victorians. The town revels in its connections to old-style life: there is still an annual meeting of the Red Hook Society for the Apprehension and Detention of Horse Thieves, and its town government actually has an Ethics Board.

The Town of Red Hook included the Village of Red Hook, the Village of Tivoli, and 8 hamlets, one of which, Annandale-on-Hudson, is home to Bard College. The area has a mix of people who have been here for generations, artists, college students, and New Yorkers escaping the city to their second homes.

The Red Hook School District is excellent. Children attend Mill Road Primary (K-2), Mill Road Intermediate (3-5), Linden Ave Middle (6-8), and Red Hook High School, which was included in U.S. News & World Report's 2012 ranking of the best high schools in America. The high school's rankings are 38th out of 370 schools in New York State, and 221st out of 21,776 high schools in the U.S.

The Red Hook Recreation Center/Park has sports facilities, a playground, and an indoor fitness center. The Poet’s Walk trail is about two miles, and has lovely fields that slope down to the river and views of the Catskills.

Visitors can stay at any number of beautiful Bed & Breakfasts, and golfers will be delighted by the semi-private Red Hook Golf Club, an 18-hole course famous for its drainage system – which may not seem all that important until a downpour of several days turns your course into a lake. There is also a good restaurant on the grounds.

You must check out the 110-acre Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome (actually in Red Hook) which has an incredible collection of flying pioneer, WW-I, and Lindbergh era airplanes. There are air shows every Saturday and Sunday summer through fall, weather permitting, and special events – like a British Car Rally. Thrill-seekers can put on a vintage-looking helmet and goggles and take a ride in a bi-plane, 1,2000 feet in the air.

You can spend a different kind of afternoon exploring Montgomery Place, a restored Federal-style house designed by Alexander Jackson Davis. This gorgeous house is surrounded by 434 acres of forest, fields, and waterfalls, as well as gardens designed by Alexander Jackson Downing. The views are stunning, and you can buy seasonal fruit at the Montgomery Place Orchards Farm Stand.
Pros
  • excellent schools
  • Fair amount of restaurants
  • Great Golf
  • Indoor and outdoor recreation center/park
  • Nice place to raise a family
Cons
  • no night life
  • Scant shopping
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Yorktown's Valley"

Jefferson Valley is one of five hamlets in Yorktown, sharing it with Mohegan Lake, Yorktown Heights, Shrub Oak, and Crompond. As with many Northern Westchester areas, its borders can be a bit fluid. Like Southeast, which everyone calls Brewster, or St. George’s Island Park, which is usually listed in Cortlandt Manor but is actually in Montrose, Jefferson Valley’s chief claim to fame is the Jefferson Valley Mall, which is actually in Yorktown Heights.

No matter, because even though all of Yorktown covers about 40 square miles, much of it is parkland, and all its hamlets fairly quickly and easily accessible to each other. Jefferson Valley has its own restaurants and shops (besides those in the nearby mall) but Yorktown Heights – ten minutes away - is more of a daily-needs shopping destination.

The houses here run more to smaller, single family homes, condos and townhouses, and well as some low-income housing. There is no train station here or anywhere in Yorktown, but there are stops in Mt Kisco and Croton-Harmon (both about 20 minutes from Yorktown) and Chappaqua (a few minutes longer.) The train takes about an hour and fifteen minutes. There is also the Bee-Line bus, which you catch from Yorktown, which will take you to various Westchester destinations, including Playland Amusement Park in Rye during the summer. There is also an express bus to Manhattan.

Nature lovers should hike up Turkey Mountain, a 125-acre preserve with a carefully marked hike that seems too easy for the payoff view at the top. The round trip is a little over three miles, and the trail winds over glacial rock and through a lovely wooded area. When you get to the top on a clear day you can see across the Croton Reservoir and to Manhattan, and north to the Shawagunks. It’s a wonderful trip and not too strenuous.

If you like more amenities with your outdoor experience, head to the Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, though be warned that it can get very crowded on a nice summer day. There’s a huge pool which can hold – no kidding – 3,500 people at once. Here you can picnic, launch your own boat (with a permit), fish (with a license) or simply rent a rowboat and paddle around. There are ball fields, basketball courts, and trails for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.
Pros
  • Shopping options
  • Good School System
  • Relatively low housing costs
Cons
  • Not much of a nightlife
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 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Lively Place in Yorktown"

Yorktown Heights is the most populated and active hamlet in Yorktown, a forty-square-mile area in Northern Westchester only 35 miles from New York City. It has a busy downtown area where people shop and eat and gather for coffee, and there always seems to be a community celebration or fundraiser going on.

Here you can find everything from large houses with acreage to small, single family homes, condos and rentals. The train to Manhattan takes about an hour and fifteen minutes; there is no Yorktown Heights train stop, but there are stops in Mt Kisco and Croton-Harmon (both about 20 minutes from Yorktown Heights) and Chappaqua (a few minutes longer.) There is also the Bee-Line bus, which will take you to various Westchester destinations, including Playland Amusement Park in Rye during the summer. There is also an express bus to Manhattan.

This is a social place with many groups and societies to choose from, such as Alliance for Safe Kids, the American Legion, Boy Scouts, Elks Lodge, Irish-American Social Club, Knights of Columbus, VFW, Yorktown Garden Club, Land Trust, Lion’s Club, and Rotary Club. There is a Senior Citizens Nutrition Center, a Teen Center, and the town government encourages residents to volunteer for boards such as Open Space, Community Housing, Landmarks Preservation, and Conservation. The Yorktown Community and Cultural Center offers programs, entertainment, rooms for town clubs and organizations, and will rent space out for private groups.

Here you’ll find the Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center, a working farm that will inspire you to farm, garden, and grow things in your own backyard. They offer classes and lectures, you can buy a share of their produce or pick your own, and you can enjoy picnicking on their grounds and hiking their 3 ½ miles of woodland trails. It’s a terrific place to visit.

Five and half miles of the North County Trailway, a 22-mile paved pedestrian/bicycle path that runs from Mount Pleasant to Somers, runs through Yorktown; there are two parking areas in Yorktown Heights.

There isn’t much nightlife here, except for the restaurants, though you can find it if you travel to some of the outlying areas. Those who want a small but busy country community with easy access to shopping can find it in Yorktown Heights.
Pros
  • Beautiful Scenery
  • Shopping in town
  • Friendly Neighbors
  • Great recreational activities
  • Incredibly family-friendly
Cons
  • Not much of a nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 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 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Lakeside Community with Amenities"

Depending on who you talk to, the roughly three square mile community in Yorktown centered around a 105-acre lake is called either Lake Mohegan or Mohegan Lake. That is, unless you travel north to shopping-deprived Philipstown, where residents refuse to take sides and call it simply “Mohegan.” Philipstown residents often travel to the stores in the Cortlandt Town Center, which is supposedly in Cortlandt Manor; although, according to its zip code, it’s really in Mohegan Lake. Or Lake Mohegan.

The actual lake is only accessible to certain residents (now over 1500 of them), who pay a small yearly upkeep fee for their lake rights. It’s a great community gathering spot in the summer, for boating, swimming and fishing; and in the winter, for ice skating.

A former summer community, Mohegan has many smaller, affordable homes, as well as an assortment of larger and newer ones. There are also condominiums, townhouses and an assortment of rentals. Like nearby Peekskill, Mohegan is more culturally diverse than many of its neighboring Westchester and Putnam towns, and its proximity to Peekskill means there is some nightlife available – restaurants, bars, the Paramount Theatre, and live music venues.

There is no Metro-North stop here, but the Cortlandt and Peekskill train stations are about ten minutes away, and the ride into Manhattan takes between 50-55 minutes.

Mohegan residents can take advantage of Yorktown’s many community groups, recreational facilities, good schools, and fine medical facilities. There are several wonderful parks with hiking trails, from the low-key, hiking-only Turkey Mountain, to the sprawling Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, where you can picnic, swim, play all kinds of ball, hike, launch your own boat (with a permit), fish (with a license) or simply rent a rowboat and paddle around.

Mohegan Lake feels a bit more spread out than a traditional small towns, but it’s low-key, surrounded by country, has all your shopping needs close by, and has a beautiful mile-long lake to pull it all together.
Pros
  • Lakefront Beaches
  • Family friendly
  • Shopping in town
  • Good shopping
  • Strong sense of unity
Cons
  • Quiet
  • Traffic in certain places
  • Boring - no nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Little of Everything in Yorktown"

Yorktown was settled in 1683 and is rich in unusual Revolutionary War history, as a local crossing of the Croton River was guarded by troops including both African- and Native Americans. Incorporated in 1788, it was named in honor of Yorktown, VA, where the British were finally defeated (although the war would last for another year). Today Yorktown, NY is a forty-square-mile area in Northern Westchester, only 35 miles from New York City, with a many beautiful parks and a wide range of housing opportunities.

Here you can find everything from large houses with acreage to small, single family homes, condos and rentals. Yorktown has about 36,000 residents, spread out between five hamlets: Mohegan Lake, Shrub Oak, Jefferson Valley, Crompond, and Yorktown Heights. The train to Manhattan takes a bit under an hour; there is no Yorktown train stop, but there are Metro-North stops in Mt Kisco and Croton-Harmon (both about 20 minutes away) and Chappaqua (a few minutes longer.) There is also the Bee-Line bus, which will take you to various Westchester destinations, including Playland Amusement Park in Rye during the summer. There is also an express bus to Manhattan.

Yorktown is a busy community with many groups and societies to offer, such as Alliance for Safe Kids, the American Legion, Boy Scouts, Elks Lodge, Irish-American Social Club, Knights of Columbus, VFW, Yorktown Garden Club, Land Trust, Lion’s Club, and Rotary Club. There is a Senior Citizens Nutrition Center, a Teen Center, and the town government encourages residents to volunteer for boards such as Open Space, Community Housing, Landmarks Preservation, and Conservation. The Yorktown Community and Cultural Center offers programs, entertainment, rooms for town clubs and organizations, and will rent space out for private groups.

There are six children’s summer camps, lifeguarding programs, and the Jack Devito Gazebo hosts a summer music series, including a high school Battle of the Bands, as well as various tribute bands which are great fun to watch on a warm summer night.

Yorktown is more multicultural than many of its surrounding towns, as evidenced by its 23 churches – among them Quaker, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Islamic, Jehovah’s Witness, Episcopal, Jewish, Methodist, Unitarian, as well as others.

Residents use either the Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco or the slightly closer Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt Manor. The Medical Center at Yorktown offers outpatient and testing services, and the Westchester Medical Practice and the Mount Kisco Medical Group both have offices in the area.

Though not a quick commute to Manhattan, Yorktown offers a nice mix of busy suburbia with enough protected land to satisfy the outdoor enthusiast.
Pros
  • family friendly
  • IBM Watson Research Center
  • North County Trail access
  • Schools
Cons
  • long wait for low income housing
  • no real night life
  • not too much diversity
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Yorktown's Quiet Corner"

Shrub Oak is a one and a half square mile hamlet located within the Town of Yorktown, and is home to under 2,000 people. It is quiet and charming, with its own little shopping center and some nice small restaurants. Here you can feel the best of small-town atmosphere, yet quickly find amenities in nearby Yorktown, Mohegan Lake, or Jefferson Valley.

The lovely and ambitious John C. Hart Memorial Library serves all of Yorktown, and provides a constant supply of programs for kids, teens, and adults.

A terrific place to visit is the 90-acre Shrub Oak Memorial Park, which has a hockey rink, a baseball field, a basketball court and three tennis courts. It’s also home to the $5.3 million Brian J. Slavin Aquatic Facility, which has a regulation pool, a diving pool, a baby pool, and a pool with slides and sprinklers. Two other parks, Ivy Knolls Park and Blackberry Woods, offer walking and nature trails, as well as additional tennis courts. Golfers should head over to the county-owned Mohansic golf course.

Lakeland High School (part of the well-regarded Lakeland School District) is in Shrub Oak, and comic book fans will be glad to know that one of its graduates was Herb Trimpe, who, as a high school junior, created the school’s mascot, The Hornet – then went on to design the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Wolverine, and other characters. Novelist T. Coraghessan Boyle grew up in nearby Peekskill, and taught here in the early 1970’s.

Phoenix House, an adolescent drug and substance abuse facility, is on 150 acres in Shrub Oak. Besides counseling, teens attend an accredited high school or a vocational training program. Windwood Oaks, an independent living facility for the elderly, is located here as well.

Hikers will be delighted by the trails and views of Turkey Mountain, Teatown Lake Reservation and Kitchawan Preserve. Shrub Oak is an affordable Westchester community for those who want to raise a family in an outdoorsy yet suburban setting.
Pros
  • Friendly neighborhood
  • Family-friendly
  • Great small-town vibe
  • Relatively affordable
  • Several Parks
Cons
  • No apartment buildings
  • Some areas are noisy due to adjacent parkway
  • must have a car
  • near Indian Point
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Wolf Country"

Wind your way along one of the main roads in South Salem, a lovely wooded hamlet in Lewisboro, and you will eventually find a small, hidden road. Only after you’ve made reservations will you be given directions, and the only sign is a small one proclaiming the name of the road. Drive up the hill, park in front of the gate, and you’ll be at the Wolf Conservation Center.

Descriptions of South Salem have already been written on this site, so instead I’ll tell you about WCC, a must-see non-profit organization that is absolutely NOT just for kids. WCC is one of the most successful facilities in the East for captive breeding endangered wolf species, and they promote an understanding and appreciation of all wolves through tours, education, and outreach programs.

Walk up the steep hill, and you’ll come to their education building, decorated with all manner of wolf paintings, statues, photos, etc. Their education people give power point presentations and are funny, entertaining, yet provide you with important information – from the natural history of the wolf, through the damage done by Little Red Riding Hood, to the insanity of federally funded eradication programs – which will outrage you on behalf of this incredibly beautiful, misunderstood and persecuted predator.

The last time I was there our group leader finished his presentation, then led us outside. He threw back his head, and let out a howl. There was silence. He did it again. Silence. The group began looking sideways at each other, eyebrows raised. Then, in the distance, there was an answering howl. And another, and another. All in different pitches, all beautiful music that sent shivers down our spines. Every person in my group - from small children to senior citizens – gasped, then grinned in delight.

And they hadn’t even laid eyes on the wolves yet.

WCC is home to grey wolves, including their famous traveling embassador wolf Atka; and both Mexican gray and red wolves, both among the rarest mammals in North America. Wolves are shy and elusive, and, unless they are brought up in captivity, frightened of people. However, at one point Atka, waiting behind a tall chain link fence and impatient with the slow delivery of his chicken hunk, let out a frustrated growl – a deep, bass snarl, not aggressive (as he is fond of our group leader), but an awe-inspiring reminder that these are as far from pet dogs as it is possible for a canid to be.

What kind of people live in South Salem? The neighbors of WCC thrill to the sound of full-moon wolf howls, and become concerned if sirens go off without a wolf chorus. I can’t think of a better recommendation.

http://www.nywolf.org
Pros
  • beautiful
  • quiet
  • Charming
Cons
  • no night life
  • Can feel quiet and isolated
  • lacking diversity
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • 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 5/5
Just now

"Westchester's Country Life"

Lewisboro is about as countrified as it gets in Westchester, with the kind of fields, woods, and nature preserves you find in Putnam, but for more money. It’s all relative, though: compared to the rest of Westchester, Lewisboro is really a bargain. It’s quiet, beautiful, and parts of it are quite horsey. It actually feels like some of the well-off but low-key southern Connecticut towns it borders.

Lewisboro has an excellent public school system, and an active Recreation Department. There are organized seasonal celebrations and community events, summer camps, and activities for all age groups. There are sports clinics and community-sponsored teams for kids’ baseball, soccer, lacrosse, and football, men’s softball and basketball, and women’s softball. There’s even a horseman’s association.

There are four natural glacial lakes, surrounded by woodland and harboring all sorts of native wildlife. There are two county parks: Mountain Lakes Park, located at the north end of town, and the 4,700-acre Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, the largest park in Westchester, located at the south end, where you can camp and wander through a museum. There are three town parks with all kinds of sports facilities.

Nature lovers will be delighted by Lewisboro’s preserves: the Nature Conservancy’s Indian Brook Assemblage, Mt. Holly Sanctuary and Long Pond Preserve; the Westchester Land Trust’s Frederick P. Rose, Love, Old Church Lane, and Pine Croft Meadow Preserves; the North Salem Open Land Foundation’s Marx and Five Ponds Preserves; and Audubon’s Hunt-Parker Sanctuary.

And best of all, there's the Wolf Conservation Center (please see my review of South Salem.)

There is a wonderful library, with programs for children, teens, and adults, and free eBooks and Audiobooks available for download. Library cardholders can also download three free music tracks per week from the Sony Music catalogue.

An hour from New York City on Metro-North, Lewisboro is Westchester’s version of Philipstown – quiet, charming, woodsy, but just a little bit less bohemian.
Pros
  • Caters to country-lovers
  • great parks and reservations
  • Great schools
  • Lovely location
  • Great nearby restaurants
Cons
  • not enough night life in some areas
  • Can feel remote
  • can get pricey depending on what you can afford
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"At the Foot of the Berkshires"

Pawling is located between the borders of New York, to the south, and Connecticut, to the east, in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. The Town of Pawling is nestled in the Harlem Valley, between two large hills. Nearby Beekman is named for Henry Beekman, a long-ago landowner; Pawling is named for his daughter, Catherine Pauling, also a large landowner, but one whose name the local papers misspelled. The rest is history.

Although its New York border is Putnam County, Pawling actually lies in Dutchess. It is quiet and serene, and its residents take preserving open space seriously. Much of its land is recognized in New York’s Open Space Plan, with Little Whaley Lake and the Great Swamp (one of New York’s largest wetlands) on the list as top priorities for protection. Hikers will love it; the 1,000-acre Pawling Nature Reserve has a waterfall and gorge, forests and fields, beautiful views, and a varied population of wildlife. Horse lovers will be delighted by the number of equestrians who live here, and who have created the non-profit Oblong Trail Association to encourage trail riding (as well as horseless hiking and cross-country skiing) and land preservation.

There are bike paths as well. The Appalachian Trail runs through Pawling, and there is actually an Appalachian Trail train stop on Metro-North’s Harlem Line (the train stops only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.) Hikers can get off the train, head for Hammersly Ridge, and not have to worry about a car. Altogether there are 300 acres of parkland to enjoy, as well as two lakes, a golf course, and a dozen public tennis courts.

Pawling has no medical facilities itself, but you can get to Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel in about 25 minutes, and to both Vassar Brothers Medical Center and Saint Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie in about 35 minutes.

Pawling has a public Elementary, Middle, and High School. Trinity-Pawling boys’ prep school is here, as well as the private pre-K-8 Mizzentop Day School. There are two private pre-schools, the Sunshine School and Christ Church Nursery School.

There are six hamlets here: Baker Corner, Holmes, Hurd Corners, Quaker Hill, West Pawling, and Woodinville, as well as the Village of Pawling. Though Pawling is decidedly low-key and without much nightlife - except for the famous music venue, the Town Crier - the active Recreation Department and staffed Visitors Center make the most of this lovely place.
Pros
  • Beautiful, natural setting
  • Reasonably affordable
  • Recreational activities
  • Safe
  • One or two outstanding restaurants
Cons
  • Limited nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"A Relaxing Corner of Putnam County"

The 32-square mile Town of Southeast is located – yes! - in the southeast corner of Putnam County. Its population of almost 18,000 makes it the second largest town in the county, and it is easily accessible by 84, 684, as well as Routes 6, 202, and 22. Don’t bother looking for too many signs that say “Southeast,” however, as the name of the area has been taken over by Brewster, the one and a half square mile Village located within it. There are actually almost a dozen hamlets located in Southeast, but everyone still refers to the whole area as “Brewster.”

Residential, wooded, and dotted with lakes and reservoirs, Southeast is a pretty and far more affordable place to live than the Westchester towns to its south. Brewster and Southeast each have their own Metro-North Harlem Line train stop (although the 90 minutes to Grand Central is long), and HARTransit provides bus service to Danbury.

One can walk around Brewster Village and check out the stores, restaurants, and the Studio Art Around the Corner, a small exhibit area for local artists. There are historic sites, such as the Old Southeast Church, the Old Doansburg Schoolhouse, Old Town Hall, and the Walter Brewster House.

The Recreation Department offers childcare, senior programs, baseball, basketball, ski programs, football and cheerleading. It also runs four parks, including Markel Park, which is open year-round and has two ball fields, a basketball court, a shallow pool, and jungle gyms; and the Town Beach at Lake Tonetta, which is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

An interesting place to visit is the Southeast Museum, where you can find exhibits on the Harlem Line Railroad, the Tilly Foster Mine, the Borden Milk Condensery, the American Circus, and the Croton Reservoir System.

Southeast is crisscrossed with biking and hiking trails, and the gorgeous Pauling Nature Reserve, which connects to the Appalachian Trail, is only 40 minutes away. A wonderful spot to visit here is the Farm and Wildlife Center at Green Chimneys, on Doansburg Road in Brewster. This school employs animal-assisted therapy to help children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges. Check out their website for events such as Little Folk Farm Day, Spring Gala, Birds of Prey Day, and Mini-Golf Benefit.

The Brewster Central School District consists of two elementary schools, an intermediate school (grades 4 and 5) a middle school (6-8) and a high school. There is also the private, 100-student Melrose School (pre-K-8) in the Milltown area of Brewster. All are highly rated.

Although Southeast is over 90% white, Brewster is more multicultural, due to a population of Guatemalan immigrants who began arriving several years ago to work as day laborers. This is becoming less of an issue, with integration arriving slowly but surely. Brewster and Southeast are far more affordable than Westchester County (median home price: $480,000), and easy access to shopping, both in Brewster and Danbury, sweeten the deal. If you want country living and a fairly long train ride into the city doesn't faze you, Southeast may be just what you're looking for.
Pros
  • Great educational programs
  • Proximity to Connecticut, NYC and Westchester
  • Diverse business
  • Great for families
  • Great for outdoorsy types
Cons
  • Need a car to travel most places
  • Nightlife is lacking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Up and Coming"

Many roads lead to the one and a half square mile Village of Brewster, and to the 32-square mile Town of Southeast, in which it resides. There are Brewster exits off 84 and 684, and Rts 6 and 202 will lead you to Carmel and Mahopac. Route 22 winds its way through both. Brewster is an active little place with a population of about 2,000, and Southeast is residential, wooded, dotted with lakes and reservoirs, and has a population of about 18,000; however, everyone seems to call the entire area “Brewster,” no matter where you may be.

One can walk around Brewster Village and check out the stores, restaurants, and the Studio Art Around the Corner, a small exhibit area for local artists. There are historic sites, such as the Old Southeast Church, the Old Doansburg Schoolhouse, Old Town Hall, and the Walter Brewster House. The hard-working government and Recreation Department offers residents a quite a bit to do, with library programs and holiday parades.

Brewster and Southeast each have their own Metro-North train stop (a little under 90 minutes to Grand Central), and HARTransit provides bus service to and from Danbury and other destinations. While not essential if you live in the Village of Brewster, a car certainly makes life easier and the rest of Southeast more accessible.

Southeast is crisscrossed with biking and hiking trails, and the gorgeous Pauling Nature Reserve, which connects to the Appalachian Trail, is only 40 minutes away. A wonderful spot to visit here is the Farm and Wildlife Center at Green Chimneys, right on Doansburg Road. This school employs animal-assisted therapy to help children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning issues. Kids can be hands-on with the farm animals, including breeds from all over the world; but must be hands-off with the wildlife, as many of the birds and mammals are recovering from injury and will eventually be released back to the wild. Check out their website for events such as Little Folk Farm Day, Spring Gala, Birds of Prey Day, and Mini-Golf Benefit.

The Brewster Central School District consists of two elementary schools, an intermediate school (grades 4 and 5) a middle school (6-8) and a high school. There is also the private, 100-student Melrose School (pre-K-8) in the Milltown area of Brewster. All are well-rated.

Although Southeast is over 90% white, Brewster is more multicultural, due to a population of Guatemalan immigrants who began arriving several years ago to work as day laborers. This is becoming less of an issue, with integration arriving slowly but surely. Brewster and Southeast are far more affordable than Westchester County (median home price: $480,000), and easy access to shopping, both in Brewster and Danbury, sweeten the deal.
Pros
  • Metro-North access
  • Diversity in demographics
  • Cultural programs
  • Great school system
  • Walk to amenities
Cons
  • Busy traffic
  • Empty Storefronts
  • Metro-North parking
  • Some parts are still run down
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
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 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Woods, Lakes, and Amenities"

Carmel is the seat of the county government, and is a pretty, countryside-with-amenities town with good schools, busier than Philipstown but not as busy as its hamlet of Mahopac. It has its own stores and restaurants, and a ten-minute drive to either Brewster or Mahopac will give you even more choices for both. Its main street has three historic buildings and runs alongside a small park edging Gleneida Lake, giving it an old-fashioned New England feeling.

There are nine parks overseen by the Carmel Recreation Department, so there is something for everyone. Some have winding trails for lakeside rambles, others have jungle gyms for the smaller kids. The Jimmy McDonough Memorial Park has three football/soccer fields, 2 baseball fields, and an extreme skate park, and the Sycamore Bark Park is designed for our furry friends. In July, the 200 acre Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park is the stage for a renowned 4-H Fair, and offers exhibits, entertainment, vendors, Civil and Revolutionary War re-enactors, pet and talent shows, and is a fun country fair.

You must see the Chuang Yen Monastery, a serene and spiritual place which allows visitors not only to wander its grounds, but to watch festivals and services and learn about Buddhism. There is a 37-foot statue of the Buddha Vairocana housed in the awe-inspiring 24,000 square foot Great Buddha Hall, built in the architectural tradition of the T’ang Dynasty. A vegetarian lunch is served on weekends for a small fee, and there are tours and a gift shop.

There is no train stop in Carmel, making the commute to Manhattan a bit longer than in neighboring towns. Retirees will find an busy senior citizens group, and there are town-sponsored activities for all ages. Those looking for an active night life will probably find it slow, but for those who like peace and quiet with shopping close by, it’s a nice choice.
Pros
  • Small town appeal
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Good school system
  • Local watering holes
  • Beautiful in the summer
Cons
  • Not much going on during the weekends
  • Familiar faces
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"A Lakeside Suburbia with Lots to Do"

Mahopac is a six and a half square mile hamlet within the less-developed, slower-paced Town of Carmel in Putnam County. Though surrounded by woods, lakes, and parks, Mahopac has many stores and restaurants, and is located along the busy and often congested Route 6. Of course, I am writing from Garrison, where six cars traveling on a road at the same time is called a “traffic jam,” so those moving from lower Westchester or Manhattan may wonder what all the fuss is about. Locals, however, do consider the traffic a problem and the result of overbuilding, and try to avoid Route 6 during problem hours.

Lake Mahopac covers 587 acres, and motorboats and jetskis are allowed here, which is a rarity. It has two marinas and contains three islands: Canopus, which is undeveloped, Petre, with its single Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residence, and Fairy, which has a handful of homes and is linked to the mainland by a causeway. There are eight other lakes, all lovely and scenic.

There are single family homes (median price $414,000) as well as condos and townhouses, so there is a wider array of housing options than in some of the surrounding towns. Mahopac has an abundance of restaurants, and some larger stores (CVS, Kmart) as well as shops right in town. The Jefferson Valley Mall is only ten minutes away, with a movie theater as well as stores.

Between Carmel and Mahopac (and the smaller Mahopac Falls) there are nine parks, offering winding trails for lakeside rambles, sports facilities, jungle gyms, an extreme skate park, a Bark Park, and the 150-seat Long Pond Showcase Theater. Golfers can use the public Putnam Golf Club or join the private Mahopac Golf Club.

There are six schools in the Mahopac Central School District: the Falls School (kindergarten), Lakeview, Fulmar Road, and Austin Road Schools (first through fifth), Mahopac Middle School (sixth through eighth) and Mahopac High School. All are very well regarded, with nearly all graduates college-bound.

The town’s new 33,000-square foot library is an incredible resource, with conference rooms, a law library, and an active events calendar. The Putnam Arts Council offers programs and exhibits, for and by all ages. History buffs will enjoy the Carmel Society Museum in the Old Town Hall.

There is not much racial diversity, and there’s no Metro-North station, so city commuters must drive the eight minutes to the Croton Falls Station. There's definitely a traffic issue. But residents enjoy the outdoorsy suburbia and good schools of Mahopac, and for small town/small boating enthusiasts, it’s a find.
Pros
  • Access to good shopping
  • Great local business
  • Nice restaurants
  • Excellent library
  • Good schools
Cons
  • Commute can be challenging
  • No major highway outlet
  • Lacks the character of the smaller towns
  • Route 6 has terrible traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A Nice, Quiet River Hamlet"

Those looking for a small, pretty, quiet Northern Westchester river community surrounded by parkland would do well to consider Montrose, one of three hamlets in Cortlandt. Maps and directions to this area can be a little confusing; for instance, the lovely George’s Island Park is usually listed in Cortlandt Manor, a hamlet recently split off from Peekskill, even though it’s actually in Montrose. However, with the various hamlets of Cortlandt being as small and connected as they are, even being lost won’t take you far out of your way, and there are always friendly residents to put you on the right path.

For history buffs, the discovery of large deposits of clay and sand on Verplanck Point, in Montrose, started the brickmaking industry in Cortlandt. In 1855, there were 37 operating brickyards, employing over 1000 men, and Verplanck still has many old brick buildings harking back to that era.

Lovers of the outdoor life will feel right at home here, as Montrose has two parks of its own: Montrose State Park, with beautiful, well-marked trails leading to Hudson River vistas, and George’s Island, a mecca for local birdwatchers, who can view mergansers, buffleheads, the occasional least bittern, and, in the winter, bald eagles. The Annual Hudson River EagleFest, in February, is based in the nearby Croton Point Park, but sends shuttlebuses to George’s Island for guaranteed eagle viewing. There are thousands of acres of protected land along each side of the river both to the north and south of here, so these two parks are just the beginning for adventurous hikers.

There are several good restaurants here. Nightlife is not a selling point in Montrose itself, but Lucy’s Lounge in nearby Croton has a lively music scene, the Peekskill Brewery just to the north is a fun bar/restaurant with a great choice of on-tap and bottled beers, and there is a veritable restaurant row on Division Street in Peekskill, with live music at several locations.

This is a nice little community for those who like a slower pace but with quick access to New York City, for families with kids who want a small town atmosphere, or for those who’d like to retire to a closely-knit community surrounded by nature.
Pros
  • awesome parks
  • Cole's Market --open over a 100 years!
  • Good school system
  • Peace and quiet
Cons
  • No nightlife
  • No real shopping
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"More Affordable in Cortlandt"

Buchanan is an incorporated village located within the town of Cortlandt. It covers almost one and a half square miles and has a quaint, old-time feel to it, yet it has a few small chain stores that bring it up to date. Taxes and housing prices are lower than the surrounding areas because the Indian Point nuclear power plant, now known as Entergy, is located here. Opinions vary about the overall safety of these plants; however, after 911 security and safety measures were increased dramatically, and most of the demands to close it has subsided, if not disappeared altogether.

Only twenty miles from the city of White Plains, Buchanan retains its feeling of a country community with its boat ramp, picturesque gazebo, a ball field and an active Recreation Department. It has its own summer day camp, offers a part-time summer job list to locals, and hosts an array of village-sponsored activities, including a Halloween parade, a Community Day, and a 5K race.

Both Metro-North and Amtrak stop at the Croton-Harmon train station, with Manhattan about an hour away. The train station is large, and there isn’t the scramble for parking spaces that occurs in some of the smaller local towns to the north.

As with the surrounding villages and hamlets, there are many beautiful local parks with hiking trails and access to the river, such as Lents Cove Park, Tropiano Trail, and Monroe Park. Once you’ve tried the peaks of the Blue Mountain Reservation, you can go north to Breakneck Ridge in Cold Spring if you’re ready for a challenging climb to another spectacular view.

Buchanan is also near Croton Point Park, the site of all kinds of recreational areas and home to some of the best festivals in the Hudson Valley.

Those undeterred by Entergy and looking for a safe, affordable Hudson Valley village with beautiful river views would do well to consider Buchanan.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Low Taxes
  • Nice Community
  • Lots of recreational activities
Cons
  • Nuclear Power Plant
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Art, Diversity, and the River"

Peekskill is one of the northernmost Westchester river towns, just south of Putnam County. It has a fascinating history and is more diverse and active than the surrounding towns; although since they are in such proximity, residents flow easily from one to another. It is affordable, with a mix of single-family residences, apartments, and subsidized housing. It has a thriving arts community, so lofts are available for artists as well.

Peekskill is famous as the site of the Peekskill Riots (actually held in Cortlandt Manor) which occurred in 1949 after Paul Robeson, the famous black singer, gave a concert to benefit the Civil Rights Congress. Robeson had become a vocal opponent of the Ku Klux Klan (which, at that time, was still locally active) as well as the growing anti-Communist movement; meanwhile, tension already existed between the town’s blue-collar, war-veteran population and its more bohemian visitors. The resulting post-concert clash between concertgoers and a violent mob – during which the police did nothing - left 140 people injured, fanned the flames of a simmering national debate, and would soon be followed by the McCarthy era.

Now, however, Peekskill is a lively multi-cultural town, with just over 50% of the population non-white. There are five schools located within the Peekskill district, and summer camps for all ages. The Peekskill Recreation Department sponsors events, classes, and oversees its boat ramp and all its parks, including Peekskill Stadium and Peekskill Dog Park.

The Paramount Theater is a renowned entertainment resource for films and live acts, and the Peekskill Playhouse showcases plays and poetry readings. For a supermarket and large chain stores residents go to the nearby Cortlandt Town Center, but Peekskill itself has many interesting shops - especially the Bruised Apple, one of the few independent used book-and-music stores still in existence. If they’re not overstocked, they will buy or trade books, records and CDs in good condition. It’s hard not to leave with some treasure from a bygone era, no matter what the era!

There is nightlife in Peekskill … a restaurant row on Division Street, as well as restaurants and cafés spread throughout the town’s limits. Be sure to check out the Peekskill Brewery, which sports not only a variety of excellent beers, but two completely separate entrances around the corner from each other. Should you arrange to meet someone there, make sure you’re specific as to which door you’ll be coming in!
Pros
  • Art Scene
  • Parks
  • Recreational Programs
  • Bustling downtown area
  • Relatively affordable (for NY)
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"A Small Beach Community on the River"

If you leave Route 9A, drive through the wooded hamlet of Buchanan, and pass the Indian Point Power Plant (now known as Entergy), the area will open up and you may feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a miniature Cape Cod. The tiny hamlet of Verplanck is less than one square mile, almost 12% of which is water, giving it the feeling of a slightly frayed little seaside community. Some residents have lived here for generations.

It’s rich in Revolutionary War history, and the replica of Henry Hudson’s ship “Half Moon” spends the winter docked at the King Marine. The owner, Randy King, allows her to stay for free, and surrounds her with water heaters to keep the Hudson River ice at bay. Visitors are invited year-round. This is just one example of the generous spirit shown in this small community, where, thanks to its size, everyone knows everyone else.

The Paradise Bar and Grill serves great Italian food, and there are several delis from which to choose. Shoppers must travel to the Cortlandt Town Center, where there are chain stores as well as a large movie theater.

Outdoor activities prevail, with strolls along the river’s edge in Verplanck, walks through the beautiful 208-acre George’s Island Park in nearby Montrose, or hikes up Mt. Spitzenberg in the Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill (which also has a rifle range.) The Hudson National Golf Club is right in Croton.

The Hendrick Hudson Free Library in Montrose is fully equipped with six computers, free Wi-Fi, a children’s and a teen’s room, a large Community Room, and a grand assortment of books and e-books.

Verplanck is in the Hendrick Hudson School District, with good schools located in nearby Buchanan, Montrose, and Cortlandt Manor.

An internet video series called “Verplanck” tells the story of a group of young Jewish people from Flatbush who decide to re-locate to the more affordable and stress-free country. Sight unseen, they choose Verplanck, only realizing when they arrive that the population is 500, not 5,000 (a slight exaggeration.) Those expecting suburbia may have the same reaction, but those looking for a very small, affordable, old-time river community should be more than satisfied.
Pros
  • Lots of water views
  • Very green and open
  • Winter dock of the Half Moon ship
  • fascinating history
  • very affordable
Cons
  • No nightlife or entertainment
  • not very diverse
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • 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 5/5
Just now

"A Lovely and Active River Town"

Croton-on-Hudson, a five-square-mile village within the Town of Cortlandt, is a charming place that combines beautiful views, outdoor opportunities, and enough events and activities to keep everyone busy. Located where the Hudson and the Croton Rivers meet, there are marshy areas, heavy woods, a plateau, and the Croton River Gorge, which cascades downward into a park that offers fishing, picnicking, a baseball field, sledding, and cross-country skiing.

There is a wide range of housing choices, from condos, townhouses, and small clustered ranch homes to new, multi-million dollar houses. The village itself is a fun place to investigate, with its variety of shops, stores, markets, and restaurants. For the pets in your life, Croton Animal Hospital, along Route 9A, has the most skilled, caring, and dedicated veterinarians and staff in the area.

Tompkins Elementary School, Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School, and Croton Harmon High School are all well-reviewed schools. In the summer, Croton is camp heaven – Sport Squirts Camp (ages 3-7), Multi-Sport Camp (allowing kids ages 5-14 to try over 15 different sports from around the world during a single week of camp) and Single Sports Camp (soccer, tennis, lacrosse, etc.) There is also the renowned Croton Sailing School, which teaches kids ages 9-15 the art of small boat sailing and racing, right on the Hudson River.

Croton Point Park, a 508-acre riverside park, offers outdoor recreational areas, a nature center, and one of the oldest wine cellars in New York State. It’s also the site of some of the best festivals in the Hudson Valley. Bald Eagles spend their winters here, and in February, Croton Point hosts the Annual Hudson River EagleFest - with speakers, demonstrations, guided walks with naturalists, and a small army of enthusiastic birders eager to let you peer through their spotting scopes.

In June, the Park hosts the Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival, a classic two-day music-filled folk festival with all kinds of vendors and performances. Be sure to check out the summer greenery at Van Cortlandt Manor, a beautifully restored stone house where authentically costumed actors recreate life as it was in the 18th century. Come Halloween, it hosts a decorating extravaganza, including a dazzling display over 4,000 intricately carved pumpkins.
Pros
  • Friendly neighborhood
  • Lots of nature
  • Incredibly family-friendly
  • Strong sense of unity
Cons
  • Boring - no nightlife
  • Near Indian Point Energy Center
  • Lack of diversity
  • Close to a very congested highway
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Country Life With Amenities"

Like Philipstown, its neighbor to the north, Cortlandt includes two incorporated villages, Croton-on-Hudson and Buchanan, and the hamlets of Montrose, Crugers, and Verplanck. It also includes Cortlandt Manor, a small section of Cortlandt which shared a zip code with nearby Peekskill until 1991, which was when the Post Office caused an uproar by re-naming local roads and giving certain areas new zip codes. Luckily, all has settled down, although Cortlandt Manor still doesn’t show up on many directories.

Cortlandt is in northern Westchester County, just south of Putnam. It has a nice mixture of suburban and almost-rural areas, as well as a good shopping center that draws residents from the store-challenged north. 13% of the land area is public parkland, with another 550 acres owned by environmental groups, so there is room to roam for outdoor enthusiasts. There are train stops in both Croton and Cortlandt, allowing an easy commute into New York City.

There are several well-reviewed pre-, elementary, middle and high schools in the Lakeland Central and Hendrick Hudson School Districts, giving new residents a choice as to where to send their children. There are playgrounds, four different summer camps, a skate park open only to skateboarders, and youth sports leagues for basketball, baseball, football, in-line hockey, lacrosse, roller hockey, soccer, and softball (there are also men and women’s leagues for softball and tennis.)

The Hudson Valley Hospital Center, in Cortlandt Manor, is well-known and combines state of the art equipment (people travel from Albany to use the new MRI machine) with more holistic treatments (a birthing center with bathtubs, a new Organic Garden for Healing). Across the street is a medical enclave with almost any type of doctor you might need, and the FDR Veteran’s Administration Hospital is in the hamlet of Montrose.

The Cortlandt Town Center offers a wide variety of large chain stores, a multiplex movie theatre, and several restaurants. A quarter mile up Route 6 is The Rugged Boot, a throwback to the days when salespeople actually measured your feet and helped you select the best shoes. Part of the store is in an old train car, making it a fun and productive outing for those with kids.

Cortlandt is a great choice for those who want a lovely setting close to both shopping and the train.
Pros
  • Peace & quiet
  • Very safe
  • affordable
  • Bucollic landscape
  • rich in history
Cons
  • Can get a little too quiet at times
  • Fairly spread out
  • Lots of traffic
  • Mixed night life (depending on where you are)
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Rural Beauty"

Garrison is a determinedly rural little paradise – or cow town, depending on your perpective – less than 60 miles from New York City. Surrounded by the spectacular Hudson Highlands, it is rocky and thickly wooded, and residents value their privacy and access to nature. It is home to artists, environmentalists, New York City dwellers with second homes, and a cross-section of those who simply want to enjoy a non-suburban way of life not far from a metropolitan area.

Garrison is a hamlet, and really has no town per se; visitors getting off the train will see the Depot Theatre, the Garrison Art Center, Antipodean (a wonderful store selling fine, old, and rare books, maps, prints, and photographs) and, looming across the river, the granite fortress of West Point. There are two golf courses, The Highlands and The Garrison, both with fine restaurants; The Garrison has breathtaking views. For architecture and design buffs, there is Boscobel, a Federal-stye house painstakingly restored, filled with period furniture and turned into a museum, which also hosts the summer Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival; and Manitoga, the home, studio, and woodland garden of renowned designer Russell Wright.

The Garrison Institute, a center for contemplative studies housed in a beautifully restored former monastery, offers events and retreats hosted by leaders of all religions. Right next door, the Philipstown Recreation Department offers classes, sports, and a summer camp for kids. Although there’s no real night life except for a few very good restaurants, there is a busy social scene which revolves mostly around the many non-profit organizations based here and in nearby Cold Spring (which has an array of restaurants, as well as bars with live music.)

The Garrison Union Free School runs from kindergarten to 8th grade, then students continue to Haldane, in Cold Spring, or O’Neill, across the river in Highland Falls. Most Garrison residents do their daily shopping in Cold Spring, ten minutes north, but travel to Cortlandt, twenty minutes south, to do their large supermarket runs. Shopoholics may run into trouble, although it only takes 25 minutes to get to Woodbury Commons, the massive outlet village in Central Valley, and 45 to the Palisades Mall In Nyack.

Garrison will not satisfy those looking for suburbia, but will delight those who love life off the beaten path.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Quaint and Quiet"

Nelsonville is the one-square-mile residential hamlet adjoining Cold Spring, a short walk up the hill from Main Street. Although it may seem as if it is just a small extension of Cold Spring, Nelsonville has its own Mayor and Trustees, as well as its own Planning and Zoning boards. However, it has the same old-time feel, with many small, historic houses and elegant, carefully maintained Victorians. There is a well-defined sense of community, with houses lining the main street displaying Christmas lights during the holidays, American flags at Fourth of July, and lovely front-porch gardens through the spring and summer.

The heart of Nelsonville, on Route 301, sports a deli, a hairdresser, and several nice stores. It’s a quick, easy and enjoyable walk from there down into Cold Spring, past an old blacksmith building, the Village Hall, the Nelsonville Green, and Hudson Rogue, a great shop which sells an array of antique prints, posters, and images of all kinds (the owner also does beautiful custom framing.) There is easy access to hiking, from the Nelsonville Nature Preserve to the trails of Bull Hill (also known as Mt. Taurus.)

Within walking distance is Bounous Montessori pre-school, as well as Haldane, the local public school (k-12). Residents can shop for necessities in Cold Spring, although for larger supermarkets and chain stories they normally travel to Fishkill, less than twenty minutes north.

Although Cold Spring is a tourist destination, especially during the spring through fall season, fewer tourists venture up the hill into Nelsonville, so there is less bustle and more parking. Less than a fifteen-minute drive brings you to Canopus Lake, the heart of the 14,000-acre Fahnestock State Park. This gorgeous area has hiking trails, picnic and camping areas, a beach, and, in the winter, trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The nearby Taconic Outdoor Center provides great environmental programs for both children and adults.

Nelsonville may not be the best place for young people looking for action, but for those looking for a quiet place with Hudson Valley charm, it’s definitely worth a look.
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Classic Hudson Valley"

Walking through the village of Cold Spring is like going back in time, with interesting shops, antique stores, and restaurants lining Main Street, and not a chain store to be found. The street slopes down toward the Hudson River to a lovely gazebo and park, the setting for many summer gatherings and concerts. Storm King mountain, which inspired the environmental movement, looms across the river; and on certain early mornings, mist rises from the water, shrouding the distant neo-Gothic buildings of West Point in mystery.

Cold Spring is a classic small Hudson Valley town, where almost everyone knows everyone else, and family mishaps are quickly addressed with neighborhood fundraisers and deliveries of casseroles. Some may find the small-town atmosphere stifling, but those who stay revel in it. There are all kinds of town-sponsored events, and residents have a definite say in town government. Halloween is a cherished holiday, with one neighborhood engaging in a yearly decorating arms race; before Christmas, Santa sits atop a firetruck and cruises around town, waving at the crowds.

The North Highlands of Cold Spring is more rural, with long-established lakeside communities and mountain retreats. There are spectacular hikes to Scofield Ridge, Bull Hill, and Breakneck Ridge; canoes and kayaks may be rented at Hudson Valley Outfitters, right in town, and trips taken through local marshes and on the river. For the less outdoorsy, there is a lively music and art scene, and social events that revolve around the many non-profits in the area.

There are several very good pre-schools in the area, and Cold Spring’s Haldane School runs from kindergarten through 12th grade. While Main Street is more tourist-driven, a small shopping area on Rt 9D (a short walk away) supplies the locals with necessities. Those who want larger supermarkets, commercial stores, or malls must travel north to Fishkill, Wappingers Falls or Poughkeepsie.

Metro-North stops right at the end of Main Street, making Cold Spring a destination point for many New Yorkers looking for a car-less day trip (which is wise, because you cannot park in the village on a beautiful weekend!) Quite a few eventual residents arrived for a day trip, fell in love with the town, and left the city behind.
Pros
  • Scenic views of the Hudson
  • Historic value
  • Local charm
Cons
  • Tourist destination
  • Expensive
  • Parking can be challenging
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish

Answers

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More