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Recommendations for Westchester County family friendly locations

Recommendations for Westchester County family friendly locations

Old Mar 15th 2015, 10:55 am
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Default Recommendations for Westchester County family friendly locations

I have had such brilliant support and replies to my other questions so I thought I would ask you for some more advise.

My husband will be based in White Plains NY and we are looking at the entire Westchester County in order to have the best possible options for schools and places that accept pets (we have 2 cats).

Can anyone recommend a location or a contact for any area you recommend?

Our children's ages are 7, 4 & 2 and we are looking at buying in the area after we rent for 2/3/4 years so need longevity with the schools in the area.

Thank you for your help in advance.
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Old Mar 15th 2015, 1:03 pm
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Default Re: Recommendations for Westchester County family friendly locations

Well, we really like where we live, Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow. These are two separate villages that form one larger (c 20,000 population) built-up area. Back in the day the Tarrytowns were pretty blue-collar with many people working at a big General Motors plant in North Tarrytown (now Sleepy Hollow). The plant closed twenty years ago and now Tarrytown is thoroughly gentrified with a lovely downtown with some fantastic restaurants, galleries and antique shops. Sleepy Hollow is still on the gentrification curve but the GM site has finally been sold for redevelopment so it's likely to improve significantly in the next few years.

The villages have quite a wide variety of residential areas: Tarrytown centre has a good mix of single-family homes, larger houses split into 2 or 3 apartments and upscale apartment blocks. Down towards the thruway (10 minutes to White Plains) and rte 119 (t15 minutes to WP) is more low density single-family homes. In Sleepy Hollow the "inner village" is higher density and is where many of the large Latino minority live. Webber Park (where we live) is a medium-density mix of singe and two- family homes and small apartment blocks, and "the Manors" (Philipse Manor and Sleepy Hollow Manor) are the more upscale low-density mansion-y houses.

We don't have kids, so don't have direct experience of the schools, but I understand they're generally well regarded but not the very best in Westchester. If you look at the City-Data.com forum for Westchester you'll sometimes see the Tarrytown/SH schools critically described as "diverse" which is code for "I don't want my kids mixing with Spanish-speaking Latino kids", which is pretty horrible. Whilst there's definitely an area of SH which is predominantly Latino, the villages are too small and closely knit to be described as "segregated", and when you look at the wider population of mostly Irish-, Italian- and Portuguese-Americans the Latinos are really just another addition to that process. Theres a smattering of Brits/Irish too, and there's even a small Irish/British food section in our Stop and Shop.

In general terms of child-friendliness, yes lots and lots of child-raising families in the villages - in recent years they've attracted young families from NYC who are looking for a nicer place to bring up their kids. Downtown Tarrytown in particular is very walkable (we lived there for two years without a car) and at Halloween the whole area goes nuts with lots of parades, haunted hollow, story telling etc. (We live a stone's throw from the Headless Horseman Bridge, Old Dutch Church and the 'original' Sleepy Hollow.) There's also lots of places to walk such as Rockwood Hall and the Rockefeller Estate, and this time of year you'll even see bald eagles down along the Hudson.

Last edited by rpjs; Mar 15th 2015 at 1:08 pm.
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Old Mar 16th 2015, 3:54 pm
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Default Re: Recommendations for Westchester County family friendly locations

Chappaqua and Scarsdale are renowned for their school districts. They have good rental options (particularly Scarsdale), but have fast access to NYC so are priced accordingly.

One thing I've realized is that Westchester is small enough to drive around and visit. We live in White Plains but its so easy (and even pleasant) to drive to Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, even over to Yonkers or Port Chester for Costco is under 15 mins, or over to the River Towns (Irvington, Dobbs Ferry) However, I don't think the schools in White Plains are even worth considering!
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Old Mar 16th 2015, 4:04 pm
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Default Re: Recommendations for Westchester County family friendly locations

Thank you rpjs and jaffy23 for your invaluable input. I have noticed that schooling in White Plains is not as good as other areas and so was thinking further afield. I will make sure I visit the areas you both suggested because they sound exactly what my family and I are looking for. Thank you for taking the time to response, it is much appreciated.
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Old Mar 16th 2015, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Recommendations for Westchester County family friendly locations

Bronxville, Scarsdale, Rye, Eastchester, Pelham all have great school districts from K-12, Larchmont is good for elementary but not so good for HS if you are looking long term. What you will notice is the best school districts also have the highest property taxes.

Property prices for both rentals and to buy are also high in comparison to other local areas where the schools are good, the market is also very competitive right now.

I live in one of the town's I mentioned above and know that inventory for family houses to buy and rent here is very low. There was a house for sale recently one block from us which saw multiple bids over listing price for the house. It was sold subject to contract in under 10 days.

Also the town's listed have great activities for kids year round, sports from rec- level to travel teams, activities run by the local libraries including minecraft tournaments and reading programmes, summer camps run by the town's and staffed by the HS seniors to name a few.
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