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Celebrating the Natural and Cultural Resources of W’chester, Putnam

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Bill Primavera
Bill Primavera

By Bill Primavera

In real estate, when we talk about location, normally we are referring to the town, neighborhood and street address of a property.

We should also consider how the natural and cultural resources of our region influence and enhance our lifestyles, not to mention the value of our homes.

It is my opinion that Westchester and Putnam counties offer the most beautiful landscapes and some of the most wonderful services and cultural opportunities to be found anywhere in the country.

We nearly have it all, and anything lacking can be secured readily through our close proximity to New York City on one end of the living spectrum and more remote countryside on the other. For business commuting we are situated favorably to the major airports and reliable train lines, as well as beautiful parkways.

Consider our abundance of open space, protected zealously by both counties through parks such as Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, land on which the legendary 19th century Leatherman traveled, the Rockefeller State Park Preserve, of particular interest to birders and anglers, and the rugged 15,000 acres of Fahnestock State Park in Putnam.

We are also beneficiaries of the engineering feats of building reservoirs, the Croton Dam and the aqueduct, all responsible for great water views and additional, undisturbed space.

We have facilities for swimming in the summer and cross-country skiing and skating in the winter. There are many trails for hikers and bikers, crowned by the North County Trailway, constructed on the former route of the old Putnam railroad line and stretching from Eastview to the Putnam border. Another long stretch of walking and biking is offered by the Old Croton Aqueduct Trailway, with some sections suitable for horseback riding.

Golf enthusiasts tell me that our courses, both public and private, cheap and very expensive, are among the best.

Our preserved farmlands, such as Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster and Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights, provide still more open space and offer education about the way our ancestors toiled for a living.

There is history at every turn, with new discoveries being made all the time. Most recently, an ancient Indian site for dumping oyster shells, thousands of years old, was discovered off Charles Point in Peekskill. And when I was hiking the Appalachian Trail in upper Putnam Valley, I found the remains of old churches and homes from a lost community built for our former iron ore industry, which supported the North’s effort in the Civil War.

The stone walls rambling throughout both counties, built for the practical measures of clearing the land for farming and containing livestock, fascinate me.

There are truly unique recreational activities such as that afforded by the Art Deco gem, Playland, in Rye. On Westchester’s western side, the Hudson River towns offer many activities from river cruises to historic attractions maintained by Historic Hudson Valley.

For entertainment, we have the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford, with productions as good as anything on the Great White Way, the Emelin in Mamaroneck and truly unique resources such as the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, the Paramount in Peekskill, the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase and the summer Shakespeare program at Boscobel in Garrison.

There seem to be more museums and art galleries, both private and those offered by the counties, than any other suburban region. Venues to enjoy music range from jazz in restaurants and cafes to the magnificent Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.

What I like best about our region is the diversity of people and housing opportunities in our cities, towns and villages. Distinctive small cottages and sprawling mansions can be found in the same communities as capes, raised ranches and split-levels, nicely tucked together, each vying for its unique value proposition. And, if things get a little too tight, we are surrounded by a great wealth of facilities to stretch out, both physically, aesthetically and intellectually.

If you know anyone in the city looking for a lifestyle change without giving up the excitement of the Big Apple, tell them about our nearby regional paradise on earth. Either I or any of my capable Realtor® associates will be happy to provide an annotated tour.

Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. ( His real estate site is, and his blog is To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.


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