Best Places to Live
Your passions, your needs, your requirements—Westchester has the right town for you.
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Irvington’s waterfront park gives its restaurant goers plenty of scenic space to walk off their meals.
Best for Foodies (West)
Median Home Price - $790,000
Many of us enjoy a little walk after dinner to aid digestion and prolong the camaraderie. Residents of Irvington, the center of the five Rivertowns that stretch from Tarrytown to Hastings, have ample opportunities for both fine dining and fine strolling among some of the most magnificent scenery in Westchester. On the dining side, there is Red Hat on the River in Irvington, where the French-inspired menu competes for your attention with stunning views of the Palisades and the Hudson. Nearby Chutney Masala presents rather extraordinary Indian fusion. A favorite of Francophiles is Buffet de la Gare in nearby Hastings or, for the hearty cuisine of Portugal, head for Fernando Cabral’s Caravela in Tarrytown. Sophisticated residents are also attracted to daring new restaurants, like Dobbs Ferry’s urbane Italian gastropub, The Cookery, and local/organic Sweet Grass Grill and Comfort Lounge in Tarrytown and Hastings, respectively.
You can take your post-prandial promenade in Irvington through scenic Hudson Park, Matthiessen Park, or one of the many other stops on the River Walk. Feel the need to burn off a few more calories? Realtor Therese Militana Valvano of Coldwell Banker points out the Old Croton Aqueduct trail runs through all five Rivertowns. “Much of it is shaded and unpaved,” she says, “so it’s a perfect place for running, walking, or riding your bike in the summer.”
Irvington has several unique areas where homes may be a little pricey, but the surroundings are priceless. One is near Matthiessen Park, where Tiffany & Co. founder Charles Lewis Tiffany once owned an estate. “There aren’t many homes there,” Valvano says, “but it’s very desirable. Most homes are on acre lots or larger, up to five or six acres, and both downtown and the train station are within easy walking distance.” A five-bedroom Colonial on an acre in Matthiessen Park recently listed for just under $2 million.
Best for Foodies (East)
Median Home Price - $470,000
If you’d rather put your money into a fine meal than into a mortgage banker’s pocket, Port Chester should resonate on your list of must-visit communities, since it scored more mentions in the Best of Westchester 2009 edition than any other place. The hottest restaurant ticket in the county is Port Chester’s Tarry Lodge, where star restaurateurs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich and their partners have set up shop, drawn by the wealthy diners in nearby Rye and Greenwich, Connecticut. Just a couple of blocks away is stalwart steak purveyor Willett House and down by the water is combo bait-shop-fishmarket-restaurant Ebb Tide, where the lobsters seem to jump off the boat and into the pot. And if you like a South-of-the-Border flavor, the choices in Port Chester seem endless, with everything from Tortilleria Los Gemelos to Copacabana Steakhouse, a Brazilian churrascaria, and dozens of small ethnic—Columbian, Peruvian, Mexican, etc.—places in between. The Kneaded Bread bakery is a must-stop, as is Q, the place for great barbecue.
Affordable homes in Port Chester are a pretty hot ticket, too, according to Houlihan Lawrence Vice President Kathleen Murray. “It’s a very good community, especially for first-time home buyers,” she says, noting that her agency is selling many homes in the $300,000 to $500,000 price range. One of the more appealing areas is the Tower Hill neighborhood, which is roughly between King Street Elementary School and 20-acre Lyon Park, a popular picnic spot and location for open-air concerts on Friday nights during the summer months.
Best for North County Empty Nesters
Heritage Hills, Somers
Median Home Price (Somers) - $600,000
Estimated Median Price (Heritage Hills) - $450,000
Active lifestyles aren’t exclusive to soccer moms and Little League dads. For ample evidence, check out Heritage Hills, the 2,600-unit condominium complex in Somers, where the median age is 52.4—13 years older than the rest of New York—but where most residents could use high-capacity Blackberries to keep track of the dozens if not hundreds of club meetings, social and cultural events, tennis, golf, and basketball games, swim meets, gym classes, and casino trips on their busy schedules. This is not an old folks’ home.
When it was started in the 1970s, Heritage Hills was age-restricted, aimed at a growing population of seniors who didn’t want to live in neighborhoods with kids. That changed, however, and now the community attracts young families and others eager to take advantage of the lawnmower- and snow-shovel-less condo lifestyle and price values, not to mention the five swimming pools, two golf courses, private library, art studios, and theater. There’s a new physical fitness center, too. Still, according to the last census, fewer than 20 percent of the households have kids.
Houlihan Lawrence licensed associate broker Gary Parker said recent listings showed 71 units for sale. Nine were one-bedrooms as low as $236,000, 48 had two bedrooms, and 14 were three-bedroom units, which run as high as $849,000 for a stand-alone condo.
While the town of Somers has a strong rural feel, services like healthcare are readily available. Four Winds Hospital is about six miles away in Katonah, Putnam Hospital is eight miles, and Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco is just ten miles away.