Why Not Weekend in Westchester?
Second-home sales are surging in the Bedford/Pound Ridge area as buyers turn away from typical weekend haunts.
A scenic view in Westchester's Larchmont
When you think of a stereotypical second home in New York State, you probably picture a manse in the Hamptons or a secluded spot deep in the Hudson Valley. But Westchester has become a new weekend-home destination of choice. People fed up with the congested commutes, overcrowded restaurants, long-distance travel upstate, and of course the steep prices associated with Long Island resort homes, have found the best of both worlds in Northern Westchester.
Before he discovered Pound Ridge last fall, restaurateur Emmett Burke’s second-home search took him to Long Island’s North Shore, Shelter Island, the Catskill region, and beyond. “All those places have amazing qualities to them,” he says, “but I never found all the boxes I needed to check. I wanted it to be an escape, to have a country setting, but also be close enough to the city. I came upon Pound Ridge, and I knew this was going to be it.”
According to Angela Kessel, a Bedford-based real estate agent for Houlihan Lawrence, Burke is far from alone. In 2017, Kessel made double the number of transactions for weekenders than in 2016. Kessel observes that these buyers are mostly in their 30s and early 40s and that they’re drawn to Northern Westchester for “the [property] values, the natural beauty, and the ease of life here.” She also points out that fans of the farm-to-table movement are attracted to the area’s abundant restaurants and farms.
Plus, there’s the breezy commute to consider. Burke, who owns a deep-dish pizza joint called Emmett’s in New York City, says the restaurant’s demanding schedule sometimes requires his presence at the drop of a hat. “Being three hours away [on a weekend] just didn’t make sense,” he explains. “A commute of two-plus hours really changes the whole makeup and vibe of getting away for the weekend.”