Before I get to Life in Larchmont, I want to say I’m thrilled to be writing for a new Westchester series, and close-up look into many of the towns in my home county of Westchester, NY.
The series is in collaboration with The Westchester Living Team at Compass, and will zero in on several Westchester towns, including places to eat, places to shop, parks to visit, and things to do. I’m very excited about the project, as any of you who regularly read my blog know that fifi + hop’s mission is to highlight places to explore both locally and further afar. As I always say, there’s a lot to be said for discovering what’s in your own backyard. So when The Westchester Living Team – long-time readers of my blog – asked me if I’d be interested, I said absolutely!
First up in the series is a post on my own hometown of Larchmont, NY:
Life in Larchmont
Located just a half-hour from New York City and situated on the Long Island Sound, Larchmont provides families that rare combination of tranquility by the sea with an enviable 35-minute commute to Grand Central Station.
People move out of NYC because they want the peace and calm – and space – that comes with suburban living. But for many people, they don’t want to stray too far from the city, or lose some of the conveniences that come along with city living either. That‘s where Larchmont comes into play. Not only is it a short commute, but it’s also very small, lending a walkability factor to the town that many other places don’t have.
Before I started fifi + hop I wrote another blog, Brooklyn to the Burbs, which was all about transitioning from city to suburban life. I wrote the blog when I first moved to Larchmont. The number 1 question I received from readers was people asking about the walkability in the town…that was an important deciding factor for them, and something they didn’t want to lose when they moved to the burbs. On any given day in Larchmont you can see moms and dads strolling their strollers, people walking to and from the train station, families enjoying neighborhood walks. Being able to walk to so many places is a major bonus for the people living here.
Lay of the Land
Larchmont’s location on the Long Island Sound is another major draw. The area is beautiful. Larchmont Manor Park, which overlooks the Sound, is the town’s pride and joy and rightfully so. This public park has walking paths that take you along the water with stunning views. One can hang out on one of the rock formations that jets into the Sound with book in tow and get lost in the sights and sound of the sea, almost forgetting that this is their home.
Within the park there is even a public beach, Manor Beach, which 10538 residents can join, in one of the most picturesque coves in town. (Just make sure to sign up right when registration begins, as in recent years it’s filled up almost immediately). And if you’re into sailing, there is the public Horseshoe Harbor Yacht Club, where you can keep your boat, and an equally pretty spot on the water. Being able to have “beach life” right outside of a city like New York is what makes Larchmont so unique. How many places can you name where you can go to the beach and go sailing, but still commute a half hour into the city?
The neighborhood where Larchmont connects to the Sound is called Larchmont Manor, “the Manor” for short. Big, beautiful Victorian homes with their classic front porches can be seen here, and it’s fun to drive through or walk around; both the architecture and scenery are a treat to see. But this is not the only neighborhood that makes up the town. In fact, Larchmont, being as small as it is, is actually made up of several distinct parts of town. There are houses in town, as well as in the Stuyvesant and Turtle Park neighborhoods, which are quite popular due to their proximity to the main part of town. Further out, people enjoy living in the Woods and Brook neighborhoods, named for their location next to the woods and Larchmont’s own brook.
This other side of Larchmont (the other side of the tracks, literally!) is just as popular as the Sound side, but in a different way. This is where you can find Larchmont’s own nature center, the Sheldrake Nature Center, and the beloved walking trail, the Leatherstocking trail. The trail is miles long and passes through several different Westchester towns in the back woods, making an appearance for a while in Larchmont. People take their kids and dogs for walks on the trail, even walk to other peoples’ houses on the trail. It’s a unique feature to the town, and if you’re craving a nature walk it’s the place to go.
Serving the different parts of town are three elementary schools – Murray Avenue, a neighborhood school near the Woods and the Brook; Central, which serves both Larchmont residents as well as some residents in Mamaroneck; and Chatsworth Avenue, located in town, and serving residents who live in and around the main part of town as well as Larchmont Manor. All three schools are part of the Mamaroneck Union Free School District, and feed into Hommocks Middle School and Mamaroneck High School, where residents of both towns, Larchmont and Mamaroneck, come together.
Restaurants and Shopping
Larchmont is a quaint little town, with mom and pop shops right beside chains such as Starbucks and Red Mango. For breakfast, there is charming Bradley’s cafe on Chatsworth, where you can enjoy muffins, scones and specialty breads. They have delicious sandwiches and salads for lunch as well. If you’re more in the mood for good diner food, head to Nautilus and BLD diners, both on Boston Post Road.
Auray Gourmet is a popular place for both lunch and breakfast – they are known for their scrumptious crepes, salads and pastries – and this is our personal go-to. Stanz, a salad and sandwich lunch and breakfast spot, is always packed as it has good food and ambience. Next to Stanz is Encore, a cozy French bistro that you just want to nestle into on a cold day with their French onion soup and steak/frittes. I cannot write this article and not include Durian, the most delicious Thai food that everyone raves about, and conveniently located next to the train station.
For some higher-end dining, try Lusardi’s, a Larchmont Italian classic, Madison Kitchen, which serves eclectic small plates, and speaking of plates, the restaurant Plates, attractively located on the edge of Memorial Park. Each of these also has great bar seating if that’s the mood. If low-key is what you’re wanting, Larchmont is home to two always-booming taverns, Sherwood’s and Larchmont Tavern. Try the ribs at Sherwoods, and a burger and beer at LT’s, as the locals call it.
As for shopping, Larchmont has some nice boutiques and specialty stores. The guys at Winetasters are the best, always helping to guide their clients in the right direction. Fjord’s Fish Market can turn any dinner party into a fancy affair, or you can simply stop in and grab their sushi on the go. I can’t get enough of Village Mercantile, a well-curated collection of goods for the home. The sister stores of Clutch and Pink are where all the moms in town go to for much needed fashion and beauty retail therapy! Mancino Tailers has a nice selection clothes, in addition to its expert alteration services.
Larchmont is also home to two wonderful bookstores, Anderson’s and The Voracious Reader. The latter is a children’s bookstore, passionately taken care of by its owner. There is always something unique and interesting to find for your children.
Where to take the Kids
One of the great things about Larchmont is its main park, Flint Park. This is where you find many of the town’s recreational fields and tennis courts, at play during all hours of the day on weekends. I have spent many a weekend here at various kids’ sports games, and it’s a communal place where families are able to meet up with one another.
Flint is a pretty park, flanked by fields on all sides, as well as a large, well-kept playground, and nature trails on the outskirts of the park. This is where my girls learned how to ride a bike, as it is for so many families in town. In the summers there is a concert series that takes place on Thursdays where the whole family can relax and enjoy. I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re lucky to have a park like Flint Park, a true pillar of Larchmont community.
Larchmont Manor Park, Turtle Park and Memorial Park are other lovely town parks where families convene. The Larchmont Public Library is a fantastic spot to take the kids, with the children’s section offering a range of programs. It’s a terrific children’s library, and the staff are always so welcoming and helpful. For the young ones, Groove is the place to go for music classes, with many people saying they met their first mom friends there.
Every year Larchmont has a number of events that take place. The Tour de Larchmont bike race is loads of fun, while the Ragamuffin Halloween parade is not to be missed for the younger kids. Everyone lines up at the corner of Larchmont Avenue and Palmer and walk down Larchmont Ave where vendors give out candy and treats. Everyone gets into, and at the end you’re rewarded with free hot dogs at Constitution Park.
The Memorial Day Parade, however, I think most sums up this town perfectly. With fire engines, police cars, school bands and Girl Scout troops all participating, the whole town it seems is out and about at this special parade. This is what small town Americana feels and looks like. Every year that this parade takes place, I have to nudge myself – for here we are able to have that small town community living, all the while being picturesquely located on the Long Island Sound, and a half-hour outside of New York City. That’s the beauty and draw of Larchmont, and what separates it from everything else.
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This post is part of Faraway Files