As soon as you step into Armonk’s charming town square, you’ll know you’re somewhere special. A tidy row of independently-owned shops as well as several destination restaurants are housed in a boutique-style village that feels more like Bridgehampton than Northern Westchester. It’s chic country, and best of all, it’s only a 45-minute drive (or 39-minute express train) to Manhattan.
“Most people come here because they’re attracted to the natural beauty,” says Harriet Libov, a broker with Houlihan Lawrence in town. “They want land, they want privacy, they want community, but they also want a certain level of sophistication.”
They get it in their neighbors who tend to move here from upscale areas of Manhattan. Yet, residents come here seeking a simpler life, a place they can raise their children with natural beauty all around. There is hiking at the Mianus River Gorge paths and nearby is the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. But for some residents of Armonk, the beauty starts in their own backyard. One neighborhood, Windmill Farm, is built around a lake with its very own “lake club,” where there is a swimming beach, boating, fishing derbies, camp outs, bicycling paths, a snack bar and even a clubhouse where neighbors meet for dinners at sunset. (Of the homes currently for sale in Windmill Farm, the prices range from $750,000 for a 3 bedroom split-level to $4,000,000 for a sprawling five bedroom contemporary with private access to its own private lake.)
As far as housing stock, there is a wide variety of options: Townhouses in walking distance to the village square are one option, gated estates are another, and there’s everything in between; Conyers Farm which borders Greenwich has been home to celebrities who seek gated security and privacy with a minimum of 10 acres. In 2016, some starter homes sold for about $500,000, while the highest selling house was around $4,000,000. Taxes are also lower than southern Westchester, so you’re able to get more bang for your buck.
While the country-vibe is what draws new residents to Armonk, it’s the sense of community that makes them stay. “It’s not uncommon to run into your neighbors while mailing a letter in town or picking up groceries at the new DeCicco’s market,” says Libov. Every fall, the Armonk Outdoor Art Show, over fifty years running, draws artists from around the country to showcase their works. Frosty Day, which is beloved by residents around Westchester, invites families to celebrate Frosty the Snowman with hot cocoa, a parade and face painting since the cartoon was born in the town.
The vibrant village boasts several destination dining options like James Beard-nominated Restaurant North, as well as several specialty boutiques for fashion and gourmet foods.
New residents benefit from the Byram Hills Preschool Association, which connects families with children under five living in the Byram Hills School District by organizing outings, events and weekly playgroups for them. “If you move in with little kids, it’s hard to meet people until your kids are school age, but this group is fantastic at getting people together,” says Libov. She used it twenty-five years ago when she moved with her children to Armonk. Residents seem to love the Byram Hills School District; Byram Hills High School was named the 30th best in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. It may be because the Byram Hills Education Foundation, a resident-managed nonprofit organization, raises money to offer financial support for unique educational programs in the schools, much of it for cutting edge STEAM programming.
Most residents drive ten minutes to the North White Plains Metro North Station as Armonk does not have it’s own train station. Still, the drive is along Cranberry Lake Preserve most of the way, so it’s traffic-free and relaxing. Says Libov: “Residents feel it’s worth it because you can get so much more for your money up here.” The land and privacy you’ll find in Armonk is what make this sophisticated northern suburb a true gem.