What is it like to live in Dobbs Ferry? Bedford? Greenwich? In our new column, we look at the personalities of local towns, investigate housing prices, and find out who chooses to live there and why.
If you want to know what living in Chappaqua is like, just head to the main drag, South Greeley Avenue, around 2:30pm. Teenagers straight out of top-ranked Horace Greeley High School (rated the 79th best high school in the nation) spill out onto quaint village sidewalks to pick up a coffee at Starbucks, homemade ice cream at LOCAL, or a salad at Gail Patrick’s Cafe. You might see a mom pushing a stroller, two retirees talking to one another in front of Sherry B Dessert Studio, and ladies late-lunching on the terrace at Le Jardin de Roi.
Chappaqua is sleepy; most shops are shuttered by 6 or 7pm. Still, the town is a meeting place in an area where houses tend to sit further apart with big sprawling yards in between. Families choose to put down roots in Chappaqua because it’s a quiet, safe family-friendly town where the children of CEOs go to school with kids who live in nearby condominiums and townhomes. Living in Chappaqua certainly carries a level of cache, and it was part of the town’s identity before the Clintons decided to put down roots there. “For some, the ‘prestige’ of living in Chappaqua is part of the allure,” says Jessica T., a mom who moved there from the Upper East Side in 2002. Money Magazine reports that the annual family income of families in Chappaqua is $219,000; in Mamaroneck, the average income per family in 2011 was $94,700.
Still, there’s more economic diversity than some may think. While most of Chappaqua’s mansions are situated in the neighborhoods of Random Farms and Lawrence Farms, lots of families also live in beautiful (and not exactly cheap, but less expensive) condominium communities like Riverwoods. “We have lots of amenities at Riverwoods — indoor and outdoor pool, landscaping, snow removal, tennis courts — and we get the benefit of Chappaqua schools. It was a great place to move for people used to a doorman building in the city,” says Jessica T., who has lived with her family at Riverwoods for 11 years. There are lots of appealing and lower priced homes in Kisco Park, a neighborhood near the border of Mount Kisco, and Millwood; both areas are zoned for Chappaqua schools. Homes in walking distance of the village tend to be closer together and lower priced (and adorable!). The median home price in the Chappaqua area is $825k; the most expensive home in Chappaqua is currently on the market for $24 million. Um, really.
Moms who live in Chappaqua say there’s a mix of stay-at-home and working moms, with many individuals showing an entrepreneurial spirit. “I’ve met a lot of professionals who used to work in corporate america and have branched out and started their own business, like myself,” says Mary L., who moved to Chappaqua in November 2007.
Many moms bring their kids to play at Gedney Park on Millwood Road. The village has a weekly Farmer’s Market at St. Mary’s Church, and there is an Over the Moon Music program in Chappaqua. The local children’s room at the Chappaqua Library has one of the most impressive free event line-ups in the county; there are multiple story hours a day. Chappaqua’s only grocery store recently closed down, so getting groceries has become a challenge for local residents. They either drive to nearby Pleasantville or Mrs. Green’s or A & P in Mount Kisco — “I always see people I know at that A & P,” jokes one Chappaqua mom. Some residents head down the Saw Mill Parkway and shop at Stew Leonards in Yonkers.
Says one Chappaqua mom: “People here take pride in their homes, the schools, their children — and they genuinely care about the town that they live in.”
Get to Know Chappaqua
Favorite Place to Grab a Beer: Quaker Hill Tavern, 61 N. Bedford Avenue, Chappaqua
Shopping: We love quirky home and jewelry shop Marmalade. Sweet nursery decor (for a price) is fun to look at Always the Children. Don’t miss the funky mid-century home decor at Kent Home. All of them are within walking distance of Chappaqua’s downtown Starbucks.
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