When I moved “upstate” from the city to Westchester in 1997 (please forgive my then Manhattan-centric POV), I didn’t know my Yorktown from my Yonkers. Given that choice of residence is one of the single biggest life decisions one makes, my Westchester experience could have easily turned quite miserable, had I made a bad choice on where to call home. Regrettably, there was no Westchester Magazine at the time to help guide my search for where to live, but I was fortunate to have some savvy co-workers who helped point me in the right directions, and things turned out great. (So great, in fact, I’m happily living in the same place 20 years later.)
In this month’s Best Places to Live (page 72), we survey some of the most desirable communities around the county. This time, we start by looking through the lens of several popular architectural styles, and from there we narrow it down to the locations possessing winning mixtures of amenities and quality of life attributes. Whether you’re looking to relocate to Westchester or within Westchester, you will find appealing options to suit nearly every taste. Additionally, we provide a data chart of vital stats on all of our cities and towns, arming you with some hard facts to help inform your decisions.
What can help to make a house (or condo) feel like a home is the presence of children—be they of the two-legged or four-legged variety. As a proud pet parent of an affectionate 15-year-old Ragdoll, I can personally attest to the enrichment that pets provide to their owners’ families and lives. But don’t take my word for it. Countless studies tout the tangible health benefits of having a pet—from lowering your blood pressure and stress hormones to increasing your level of physical activity and social engagement (with other people) and improving your mood. Our Pet Lovers’ Guide (page 86) is aimed at both existing pet owners seeking expert advice and local resources to care for their pets, and prospective first-time owners who have been on the fence about taking the pet plunge.
If you’re considering getting a pet, let me put in a plug for shelter animals. My cat was one of the 15,000 (and counting) animals saved by Pet Rescue, the animal shelter founded by Sue Kamell, profiled as this month’s Neighbor (page 46). The stereotype that shelter animals must be “damaged goods” is false. While some may have special needs or challenges, many (like mine) are perfectly healthy and well-adjusted—they just lack a loving home. About a month after I adopted my cat, I received a thank-you card from the shelter. In it, one of the shelter volunteers wrote something that is at once seemingly obvious yet profound: “When you adopt a shelter animal, you’re actually saving two lives—the life of the animal you’ve adopted, plus the life of the animal that your adoption has made room for.”
Whether you’re contemplating a new home for yourself or one for a deserving animal, we hope to have helped you with your search.