Harried New York City residents looking for a change are often pleasantly surprised by the county immediately to their north: Westchester.
Westchester County, with a population now approaching 1 million, was originally developed as a bedroom community for New York City about 100 years ago. The New York Central railroad built three lines – the Hudson, the Harlem and the New Haven – which carried yesterday’s hardworking New Yorkers into a veritable wonderland of space and greenery. In the intervening century, Westchester County has developed into an amazing amalgam of urban and rural landscapes, home to many who want to keep one foot in the city and one in the country.
In Westchester, residents can pick their living environment by size: large, medium, small. Residents can choose to live in one of its six cities –Yonkers, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, White Plains, Peekskill and Rye City – or its many towns and villages. Within Westchester’s cities, neighborhoods develop their own personalities much the same as they do in New York City. Bordered on the west by the glorious Hudson River –long an inspiration to both artists and sportsmen- and to the east by Long Island Sound, Westchester is an outdoor lover’s dream: kayaking, sailing, boating, jet skiing, fishing and swimming are integral parts of the summer scene.
Southern Westchester has close proximity to New York City with its excellent transportation which carries a good percentage of its population to and fro each day. An exciting surge in transit-oriented development (TOD) in southern Westchester will soon provide new, luxury living space in pedestrian‑oriented communities to meet the rising demand for Westchester housing the NYC labor force is seeking.
Mid and northern Westchester towns and villages have less development and maintain a rural atmosphere, something made apparent in its farms –both the pick-your-own type and the horse farms.
Entertainment and sports opportunities abound: Concerts from rock to classical, local opera, various film houses, myriad opportunities for hiking, biking, culinary exploration, every type of outdoor sport including golf and horseback riding… the list can go on and on. A section of the Bronx River Parkway closes on Sunday mornings each Spring and Fall to accommodate Westchester’s bicycle riders. The Old Croton Aqueduct trail alone provides almost 23 miles of fascinating riding!
Westchester has an extensive park system which is well-maintained. Beaches dot the eastern shores. A number of colleges and non-profit organizations sponsor talks, celebrations and events throughout the year.
Here’s a link to Westchester County Parks that will get you going on your exploration of this active, energetic county. There’s a little something for everyone!