Dobbs Ferry isn’t what it used to be. Once considered a haven of Westchester’s working class, these days the village is attracting a new variety of professionals working in fields like architecture and public relations, IT, medicine and graphic design. “Hastings always had a bohemian artsy flair, and Irvington was professional and low key. Dobbs Ferry is right in the middle,” says Stacey Kornfeld, a broker in the Irvington office of Houlihan Lawrence, who specializes in the Rivertowns.
One of the biggest draws in town is its access to the Hudson River, since the town is perched on a hill above it. Houses, many antique, surround Main Street, making it easy to walk to dinner or even a little further afield to the river. In Riverview Manor, larger, elegant homes dot curvy roads, many with stone walls and towering trees surrounding them – and boast seasonal river views. You’ll find homes as high as $4 million dollars, and smaller homes in the $750k range.
Families with young children have plenty of local options. The Little Red, a brand new class space for little ones and their mamas on Cedar Street, offers music and play. Scribble Art Workshop has art classes for kids ages 18 months to 10 years (think: sensory play for babies, woodworking for 7-year-olds). A brand new park along the Hudson River has walking paths, soccer fields and a nautical-themed playground. Parents connect their kids to nature by taking them for a hike on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, which runs through the town. “There are some really beautiful spots here,” says Katie Barr-Cornish, who lives in Dobbs Ferry with her family. Her perfect weekend includes a visit to the waterfront park, a walk on the trail, then a stop at GoGreenly Frozen Yogurt for a treat.
The village is a reflection of the diversity of the town. Along Main Street are some of the Rivertowns’s best restaurants – The Cookery and The Parlor (both owned by local star chef Dave Dibari), Harper’s, Sushi Mike’s, Tomatillo, and Piccolo – but they’re intermixed between a family-style pizzeria, a magic shop, and an old-school Italian coffee shop. Anyone looking for a more polished-looking village or a chic row of galleries should look elsewhere. Dobbs Ferry is laid back, and the residents like it that way.
“It’s an eclectic place – various houses, people, even landscapes,” says Kornfeld, who adds that new residents also come seeking the small and well-rated schools; the graduating class at Dobbs Ferry High School typically has a little over 100 students.
New development in Dobbs Ferry along the Saw Mill Parkway is controversial in town. At Rivertowns Square, there’s a Chop’t Salad, a Chipotle, a New York Sports Club, an Ulta cosmetics shop, a Starbucks and a Learning Express. A luxury movie theater, iPic, recently opened its doors here, as did an adjoining high-end farm to table chain restaurant called City Perch.
Still, you don’t have to visit a chain store if you don’t want to. Instead, get off the train and stop into Hudson Social, an eatery and bar in the old train station with outdoor picnic tables in warmer weather. It’s not uncommon for residents to meet for a drink before walking home.
Says Barr-Cornish: “The town has a nice sense of community with everyone looking out for each other.”