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Old 08-12-2013, 09:18 AM
 
1 posts, read 4,179 times
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Hello,
My husband and I, along with our infant and toddler sons, are looking to move from Brooklyn (Ditmas Park area) to Westchester. We are exploring a few different towns, and I would LOVE feedback on how each of these towns fits our general criteria. Right now we are focussing on: Dobbs Ferry, Ossining, Chappaqua and possibly Cold Spring/Garrison, but I'd love to hear about other towns, too. I'm curious about the Long Island Sound towns, as I know little about them (Mamaroneck, etc.) Here is what we're looking for:

1. A manageable commute. My husband will, unfortunately, be commuting to downtown Brooklyn. Cold Spring would be our first choice if not for this. Although he may be able to work from home 1-2 days/week, we would prefer he not be out commuting 4 hours/day most of the week!

2. Some kind of community/vibrant town center. What we love about Brooklyn is the ability to walk everywhere and easily connect with other interesting people and families. We don't want to move to a suburban bedroom community. We know Westchester can't compete with Brooklyn in this regard, but are looking for some kind of walkable downtown and some artistic sensibility with independent businesses, coffee shops, etc.. Again, we like Cold Spring for this and wish it weren't so far. We want a place with some personality.

3. Proximity to natural beauty - hiking, water activity, etc.

4. Some kind of diversity (ethnic, racial, socio-economic).

5. Good elementary schools. Also, I'm a HS teacher and will be looking for a job, and would prefer not to teach in a total pressure-cooker environment. Academically rigorous is great, but there's a line.

6. We would like to buy a 3-4 bedroom house with a nice yard for under $800,000, or rent for under $3,000/month (are there home rentals anywhere in these areas? Hard to find!)

Thank you in advance for any advice!
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:32 AM
 
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With regards to #2, there are areas in both south and north that themselves don't have a "vibrant" town center but are within 5 minutes drive of a place that does have one.

As you are looking for proximity to nature, you might be better off in the north from where you can drive to Dutchess and Columbia counties.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,558,834 times
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RE towns, I agree with FHD above: Very few places in Westchester are more than a short drive from a vibrant town. If you want a house that is within walking distance of the main street then that is one thing; but if you are looking for a little more land and will be a drive from said main street, then the official town's downtown doesn't matter, what matters are the downtowns within a short drive. You will regularly go to a variety of towns--just as you probably go to a variety of neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

RE a town with a "Brooklyn" feel, the only one in Westchester with anything approaching a vibrant, urban feel is Peekskill. It has the coffee house, live music, bookstore, art galleries, artisanal flatbreads, microbreweries, etc that you desire. But the schools might not meet your expectations. Personally, I wouldn't want to live in Peekskill (I moved out of Brooklyn for a reason) but I love being a quick drive from it and we visit often.

This may be tacky, but I'm pasting my response from a few days ago in another thread since it seems relevant:

Quote:
Originally Posted by dma1250 View Post
It's all personal of course and a question of what is important to you and what feels right. My wife and I were in the same situation. We both grew up in brownstone Brooklyn (5 blocks away from each other, but didn't meet until our 20's). When we decided to move to the burbs in our mid 30's (with a kid) we initially had the same assumption as you and started our search in southern Westchester, Maplewood, and Montclair. But after spending lots of time in those places we realized that even though they were walkable they did not give us what we really cared about and what made the city vital and vibrant for us. So we expanded our search to far flung places and, much to our surprise, they felt like a much better fit! We realized that if we were going to give up what we loved about the city we wanted to get things that the city cannot offer--natural beauty, land, space, and privacy, hiking, etc, as well as lovely little towns to hang out in when we wanted to. We ended up with a 1700's farmhouse on 4 acres on a lovely quiet road that we love to take long walks on, with loads of wonderful nature preserves and hiking, and close to more than enough towns. And with plenty of creative professionals around!

My point simply being that you should take the time to explore a variety of places and see what actually feels right. You might end up right where you started, but you might surprise yourselves.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Ossining, NY
552 posts, read 794,834 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JNGBrooklyn View Post
Hello,
My husband and I, along with our infant and toddler sons, are looking to move from Brooklyn (Ditmas Park area) to Westchester. We are exploring a few different towns, and I would LOVE feedback on how each of these towns fits our general criteria. Right now we are focussing on: Dobbs Ferry, Ossining, Chappaqua and possibly Cold Spring/Garrison, but I'd love to hear about other towns, too. I'm curious about the Long Island Sound towns, as I know little about them (Mamaroneck, etc.) Here is what we're looking for:

1. A manageable commute. My husband will, unfortunately, be commuting to downtown Brooklyn. Cold Spring would be our first choice if not for this. Although he may be able to work from home 1-2 days/week, we would prefer he not be out commuting 4 hours/day most of the week!

2. Some kind of community/vibrant town center. What we love about Brooklyn is the ability to walk everywhere and easily connect with other interesting people and families. We don't want to move to a suburban bedroom community. We know Westchester can't compete with Brooklyn in this regard, but are looking for some kind of walkable downtown and some artistic sensibility with independent businesses, coffee shops, etc.. Again, we like Cold Spring for this and wish it weren't so far. We want a place with some personality.

3. Proximity to natural beauty - hiking, water activity, etc.

4. Some kind of diversity (ethnic, racial, socio-economic).

5. Good elementary schools. Also, I'm a HS teacher and will be looking for a job, and would prefer not to teach in a total pressure-cooker environment. Academically rigorous is great, but there's a line.

6. We would like to buy a 3-4 bedroom house with a nice yard for under $800,000, or rent for under $3,000/month (are there home rentals anywhere in these areas? Hard to find!)

Thank you in advance for any advice!
I just moved to Ossining.

1) The commute is decent - there are a lot of express trains to Grand Central that'll get you there in 50 minutes. Croton is one town over with even more trains and Amtrak access.

2) A walkable downtown - there are coffee shops, restaurants (though not a lot), independent stores. I live just east of the CBD in Ossining Village and can walk easily to Main Street, the train, the supermarket, the drugstore, the library, the high school, the farmer's market... was very important to me and my husband. It's not Cold Spring, but doable—and the train and bus system gives you easy access to places like Peekskill (which someone mentioned was a bit more vibrant on Main Street feel).

3) There are plenty of parks, access to the Hudson, historical sites, and it's within close driving distance to the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail.

4) There's plenty of diversity. My block alone is a huge melting pot of cultures. What I like is that amount of people who've been living in Ossining for years - even decades. Most people I talked to before moving here highly recommended the move.

5) Not too versed on the schools as I don't have children yet.

6) There's a huge range of houses to choose from based on your budget. We picked up a four-bedroom Victorian with a yard for less than $300k right, near the high school. If you're looking for walkability to stores/amenities, you'd probably want to look in the Village, although taxes are somewhat higher.

Feel free to DM me if you wanted to pick my brain further.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:39 PM
 
32 posts, read 43,565 times
Reputation: 11
Hi there,
My husband and I are in a similar position as you and seem to have a similar wish list. Just curious as to where you ended up and if you had any research to share/pass on.
Best,
Hazel
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