SparkleLakeJust recently I had the pleasure of introducing the Hudson River Valley area to a couple who will be relocating here and what a pleasure it was to again remind myself of all the joys my family has enjoyed living here for many years.

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.

This is a somewhat arbitrary, even personally biased, list of attractions and activities which I feel make our region exceptional. It can serve as a starter kit for bragging points about the benefits of living here when we consider marketing our homes, or just as a gratitude list for the simple pleasures we have available to us on a day-to-day basis.

Whenever I’m introducing clients to the region from the city or another part of the country, I like to have them in my car, rather than following me in their cars, so that I can extol the wonders of Westchester and Putnam counties, the areas in which I specialize. In upper Westchester, one of my favorite areas to point out is the Croton Reservoir Bridge on the Taconic. While crossing the bridge, with the great views of water and imposing, wooded mountains, I always say, “Couldn’t you mistake this for Vermont? And here you are, less than an hour from New York City!”

Sure, we have our share of problems projecting the human condition, and a healthy dose of property taxes, but the aesthetic, recreational and cultural opportunities here ameliorate the bitter with the sweet a hundred fold.

We nearly have it all, and anything lacking can be secured readily through our close proximity to the 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 Westchester and Putnam through its parks like Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, land on which the legendary 19th century Leatherman traveled, the Rockefeller State Preserve in Tarrytown, of particular interest to birders and anglers, and the rugged 15,000 acres of Fahnestock 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 up 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, both cheap and very expensive (courtesy of Mr. Trump) are among the best. Speaking of Mr. Trump, while I dislike having to read announcements on larger-than-needed signs on the Taconic, I do appreciate his donation of 436 acres straddling the two counties, formerly planned for development, and hopefully someday will be available as parkland.

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 agrarian ancestors toiled for a living.

There are truly unique recreational activities such as that afforded by the Art Deco gem, Playland, in Rye, and, on the other side of Westchester, 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 like the Jacob Burns Center in Pleasantville, the Paramount in Peekskill, the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase, and the summer Shakespeare program at Boscobel in Garrison.

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 in together, each vying for its own 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.

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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