To understand what makes Scarsdale special is to chat with one of the people who grew up here. Many of them are back in town raising their own families. As one Scarsdale mom told me: “I never planned on coming back when I graduated from high school, but then my husband and I were looking for a house and Scarsdale checked all of the boxes. It was right for so many reasons.”
We heard the same refrain from others, too. For many, the draw is the easy commute. Morning express trains pull into Grand Central in exactly thirty minutes, and commuters are guaranteed parking in Scarsdale Village. Then there’s the top-rated schools, which has always been a draw in the bucolic community. Many kindergarten classes have less than twenty kids in a classroom and have a teacher and a teacher’s aide; Scarsdale High School was ranked 63rd in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and according to this month’s Westchester Magazine 2017 High School Report Card, has the highest average SAT scores in the county. All of the district’s schools are surrounded by large athletic fields, giving children plenty of room to roam and each school boasts a vegetable garden maintained by the students.
“The amenities are fantastic compared to most towns in Westchester,” says Laura Miller, real estate broker with Houlihan Lawrence in Scarsdale. The Scarsdale Pool Complex, which backs a public golf course and is heavily subsidized by the town, has a diving pool, a toddler pool, an intermediate pool as well as an Olympic size swimming pool with lap lanes; it charges $428 for a family for the summer season. Scarsdale is one of the only towns that offer public tennis courts (don’t forget to pick up a permit at Village Hall). Another perk: the public library, which already offers a full roster of thoughtful children’s programming and a writing center for aspiring fiction writers, is about to undergo a $17 million renovation.
The town, which tends to attract those in finance, law and medicine, features beautifully maintained homes (some big, some small) where wide streets encourage plenty of walking, whether to the village, the train station or school. “Kids can bike to friends’ houses and walk from high school to town for lunch; by the time they are heading off to college, they know their way around the entire town and have made a deep connection to Scarsdale,” says Miller. The village has a “proper downtown,” as Miller says, with plenty of places to grab coffee or a bite to eat with a friend. Renaissance Bakery’s croissants sell out early on weekends. Skinny Buddha offers fresh-pressed juice and smoothies. Martine’s has great homemade soups and pastries, Patisserie Salzburg is packed at lunch for gourmet prepared salads and Wuji, an upscale Asian fusion restaurant, spins cotton candy for dessert. The terrace at Chat, an American bistro, is a lovely spot to sip a cocktail on a warm summer night.
Need to get a workout in? Scarsdale has as many gyms as it does nail salons, maybe more. There’s Flywheel and Soul Cycle, a barre studio and two yoga studios. Or try something different, like the trendy SLT workout or Barry’s Bootcamp, both in Heathcote. Equinox, NY Sports Club and Lifetime Fitness are all within a 5-10 minute drive.
Even though the town is only six square miles, there are five neighborhoods in Scarsdale, each with its own elementary school: Fox Meadow is the closest to the village, so expect to pay a premium to live closer to the train, says Miller. Edgewood, where lots are smaller, is particularly tight-knit since everyone lives close enough to walk to school. Greenacres, which is closer to the Hartsdale train station, is likely to get a brand new state of the art elementary school. Quaker Ridge is furthest from the train, but lots are larger, there’s more new construction and buyers get more for their dollar. Heathcote has its own shopping area with a Balduccis and soon-to-open CVS, Starbucks and Chopt Salad.
“All of the neighborhoods are convenient to shopping,” says Miller. “You can either drive to the Westchester Mall or Whole Foods five minutes down the road toward White Plains or head toward Eastchester where there’s Lord and Taylor, Trader Joe’s and stores like Gap, Banana Republic, a new Barnes and Noble and Athleta as well as high-end restaurants like Fig & Olive.”
The market here is particularly hot, so getting in can be challenging. “Anything under $1.5 million that is in move-in condition sells really quickly,” says Miller. One of her homes in Edgewood recently received 18 bids a few days after hitting the market. You can find homes in the 800s, but you may have to do some work.
Still, once you’re here, you probably won’t want to leave. And maybe someday your kids will come back to raise their own families.