These charming suburbs are close to the city — but from the small-town, laid-back vibe, you’d never know…
We’re hearing it more and more: New York City families aren’t just ready to leave the city, but they’re looking for a total lifestyle shift. While many are open to searching everywhere from Austin to South Florida to San Francisco, others want to stay within a train ride from NYC — and these communities fit the bill.
NEW YORK SUBURBS
Bedford, NY (Westchester)
Bedford is located in a “sweet spot” of Westchester — about 30 minutes from Greenwich and one hour from the city. Bedford is known for its top-rated schools, charming downtown (think historic white clapboard buildings filled with locally-owned shops and cafes), tons of places to horseback ride, and, of course, beautiful country estates.
Bonus: don’t be surprised to run into a celebrity or two around town — Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones call Bedford “home,” as do Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds.
Pound Ridge, NY (Westchester)
If your family loves to get out, Pound Ridge could be the perfect fit. With a beautiful natural backdrop, tons of walking, hiking, and biking trails, and a strong sense of community, Pound Ridge has grown in popularity among NYC commuters looking to feel far from the action — but still have tons to do in and around town. Expect parades, festivals, and fairs for virtually every holiday and event, plus great restaurants, youth sports, and easy access to express trains in New Canaan and Mount Kisco, which take you right into Grand Central.
Somers, NY (Westchester)
Can’t decide between city and “country” living? Somers residents get the best of both. The town has highly-regarded schools, premier shopping, and restaurants families crave, all in a very bucolic corner of northern Westchester, right near the Putnam County border. Think summertime block parties, Memorial Day parades, little league, and tons of green space suited for fishing, hiking, and boating — and being just over an hour to Manhattan.
North Salem, NY (Westchester)
With more than 100 miles of riding trails and a farm (seemingly… ) around every corner, North Salem isn’t your typical Westchester town. But it’s more than just horses — North Salem is filled with hills and farmland, with the Titicus Reservoir squarely in the center of town.
Despite its low-key country feel, North Salem is just minutes from White Plains, Stamford, and Greenwich — and you can be in the city in just over an hour.
South Salem, NY (Westchester)
South Salem is a family-friendly Westchester community that stands out from the go-to commuter towns. Dirt roads, horse farms, wooded areas are common sightings in South Salem, making the town feel more like the Adirondacks than NYC ‘burbs.
While residents love the natural surroundings and quiet, peaceful environment, they also love being close to spots like Katonah and New Canaan for a night out — and being just 70 minutes from Grand Central via MetroNorth.
NEW JERSEY SUBURBS
Mendham, NJ (Morris County)
Chic meets small-town charm in Mendham. Just over an hour’s drive to the city, this all-American town strikes a balance between historic vibe, strong schools, and tons of outdoor activities and amenities. No surprise, then, that Mendham consistently earns a spot on New Jersey Monthly’s annual Top Towns list.
Basking Ridge, NJ (Somerset County)
Basking Ridge is in a prime location — it’s right in the Somerset Hills region, so you’re never far from pristine trails and lakes, ideal for nature walks, canoeing, kayaking, and cross-country skiing, while still being about an hour from Manhattan. That, though, is just the beginning — Basking Ridge is known for its rock-solid public schools, vibrant downtown, and historic charm. Consider it small-town living, minutes from all the action.
Bernardsville, NJ (Somerset County)
New Jersey’s Raritan Valley region is famous for its natural beauty — and Bernardsville is literally in the heart of it all. Part of the borough is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and, as you explore the town, you’ll see why — expect to see stone walls, preserved buildings, and beautiful old farmhouses.
Despite feeling like a world away, Bernardsville is about 50 minutes from the city via car or about 90 minutes from the town’s historic train station.
Warren, NJ (Somerset County)
Warren, with its 74 working farms and amazing natural surroundings — the Watchung Mountains — is consistently named one of the best places to live and one of the greenest places in New Jersey. With this combination, it’s no surprise Warren is home to tons of outdoor community events including a massive June carnival. What’s more, being just 35 miles from NYC, it’s always easy to pop in and out for work or for fun city days.
Easton, CT (Fairfield County)
When you think about New England you no doubt think about farms, scenic landscapes, antique homes, stone walls, and winding roads — and that’s exactly what residents love about Easton. This bucolic town is home to award-winning schools, pristine streams packed with trout, and working farms where cutting your own Christmas tree and picking apples are seasonal traditions. Country roads take residents into the thick of Connecticut’s “Gold Coast” and Fairfield, where commuters can catch the train for a 90-minute commute into the city.
Weston, CT (Fairfield County)
Winding country roads and abundant open space give Weston a pastoral vibe — but you’re never more than 70-80 minutes to Grand Central Station via the Westport Station.
Lending to the relaxed vibe are Weston’s winding country roads, green space, and lack of big box stores. Beyond that, expect A+ schools and easy access to Compo Beach in neighboring Westport — all reasons Weston frequently tops CNN Money and Connecticut Magazine’s list of best places to live.
Ridgefield, CT (Fairfield County)
Big-city amenities and a small-town vibe come together in Ridgefield, another “best place to live,” according to Connecticut Magazine and one of the safest spots in the U.S. Located in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, Ridgefield oozes New England charm — but residents are never far from amazing dining, farmers markets, entertainment, and more. A bit farther from the city — around two hours by train — Ridgefield is becoming increasingly popular among city commuters with flexible schedules or don’t have to be at the office as frequently.
Redding, CT (Fairfield County)
Dubbed the “Vermont of Connecticut,” this scenic Fairfield County suburb is filled with beautiful country roads and hundreds of miles of walking trails.
Here, residents spend the entire year out: Redding’s foliage is breathtaking in the fall, while summers are filled with outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets, and long days at Topstone Park’s lake and beach.
The town doesn’t have a train station, but commuters can hop on the New Haven line in Branchville and reach the city in as little as 90 minutes.
Looking to be close to the city, but feel far from it all? Let’s talk! Schedule your FREE Suburbs Strategy session now.