Call it Serenity by the Sea. With its picturesque village, stately homes and seaside location on the Long Island Sound, Larchmont offers big rewards for city slickers looking to put down roots in a charming small town. But here’s the biggest draw: If you move to Larchmont, you’re moving to the beach. Residents of Larchmont can join the Larchmont Manor Park Society, which has 300 sandy feet of private beach for members to use during summer (passes cost $580 for the season).
“One of my qualifications for our future town was that the place we moved had to be on the water because I grew up at the beach,” says Tori B., who moved to Larchmont from Manhattan with her husband and two children in 2011. “There is a very strong sense of community here and I think most people are very proud of that.”
(Photo: Patch Larchmont)
Larchmont’s tree-lined streets give way to several lovely parks. Manor Park, which offers a number of beautiful walking trails along the water, is open to the public for exploration, and it’s common to see moms and dads pushing strollers here on a warm day. Flint Park, one of the best playgrounds in the county, has tons of green space as well as a large pirate ship playground, oversized tire swings and a large sandbox. Locals have a soft spot for Turtle Park (or Vanderburgh Park), a lovely playground with a firetruck (Larchmont Engine 34) for climbing and a set of communal toys in the turtle-themed sandbox. (Willow Park, another favorite, was condemned after Hurricane Sandy; residents are trying to raise money to repair it.)
Like all of Westchester, home prices are steep. The three bedroom front porch Village charmer pictured below is currently on the market for $1.3 million. Still, while waterfront Larchmont Manor is flush with multi-million dollar homes and bidding wars, there are more modest houses in neighborhoods closer to the village and New Rochelle border. There are also several apartment buildings in the area that families call home. While all of the moms interviewed for this story reported that families here are down to earth and friendly, one admitted that the socio-economic divide can be frustrating: “I live in an apartment in Mamaroneck and have had to get over feeling like one of the poor people around here,” said one area mom who sends her children to the French American School of New York’s lower school in Larchmont.
Still, another mom loves living with her husband and twins in an 800 square foot apartment here because she feels so lucky to live in such a beautiful place. “I love being able to walk to town, the train, shops, restaurants, parks, etc. it is always a pleasure to take a walk or a drive and just enjoy the scenary of the neighborhood.”
While Larchmont draws its fair share of people who work in finance, it seems to attract creative types as well. “One thing I love about this town is its diversity,” says Tori B. “On my block there is a writer, a fireman, an artist and 3 women who own their own businesses so there is no shortage of interesting conversation when we hang out and watch the kids play.” There’s diversity in the schools as well since Larchmont kids attend Mamaroneck High School where minorities make up 26 percent of the student body — a big plus for buyers averse to some of the more homogenous communities in Westchester.
Larchmont village has everything you need: A restored antique movie house is perfect for date night as is a sip of something special at Crush Wine Bar. “We have some solid restaurants here,” says Tori B. “I like Larchmont Tavern or ‘LT’ as the locals call it for a beer, or Sherwoods, which also has good bar food and is a good place to take the kids for an early dinner. I love Stanz for lunch when I’m craving a salad and I like BLD Diner on Sunday mornings.”
There are also a number of lovely shops, like children’s bookshop The Voracious Reader, home store Wendy Gee!, clothing boutique Clutch and candy store Sweet Teez. Many mothers consider Groove music classes, located in the village, a must; the classes are cited by many Larchmont parents as a great place to meet other moms. The Larchmont Library has an active roster of children’s programming, and the Larchmont Newcomers Club hosts events and helps new residents connect.
What are the cons of living in Larchmont? Definitely housing prices — a recent look at local listings reveals very few single family homes under $800,000. Residents also complain about the postage-stamp yards that come with ultra-expensive houses.
But it’s clear people don’t move to Larchmont for land. They’re buying into a special slice of Americana. Says Tori B.: “In my opinion pretty much everything about living in Larchmont is a pro. I love living here and in the year and half I’ve been in Larchmont have met lots of wonderful people. They are the kinds of people who I can see myself staying close with until my kids go off to college and beyond. It sounds cheesy but this is really is an idyllic town where you want to raise your kids.”