They’re amazing places to call “home”—especially if you don’t have to commute to the city every day…
Sixty-two percent of Americans have worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic—and 40% are still working from home, months in. For many employees and businesses, though, what initially started as a health and safety precaution has evolved into a more efficient way to do business. Employees are happier, companies save on resources and office space and, instantly, the talent and opportunity pool becomes global—if you can work from anywhere, why wouldn’t you?
For many former city commuters, that “anywhere” means suburbia—and because they aren’t commuting daily (or, for some, ever), suburban searches have shifted in a big way. Gone are the days of demanding a sub-40 minute train ride. Now, soon-to-be-suburbanites are focused on getting the lifestyle they want, being beach-front, rural or, simply, closer to extended family.
With these expanded searches, we’re seeing some amazing towns pop to the top of many families’ must-see lists. While we’ve always loved these communities, without the daily commute, they are even more appealing.
#1. Ridgefield, CT
About 61 miles to Manhattan—and just under two hours on the train—Ridgefield has always been home to some NYC commuters. Now, though, with many commutes curbed, more and more families are heading to this family-friendly suburb.
Known for its historic homes, tree-lined Main Street, open green spaces and oversized properties, Ridgefield is one part New England charm and one part bustling suburb.
Consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the state, there’s always plenty to do, from catching a show at one of the town’s four performing arts centers to checking out a local restaurant or coffee shop to outdoor activities—horseback riding, golf, hiking and swimming at the Ridgefield Aquatic Club, to name a few. In the summer, families head to Ballard Park for free outdoor concerts—and on Memorial Day those same families line the streets to cheer on marchers.
And, of course, there are the schools—Ridgefield public schools rank among the best in the state and the U.S.
#2. Northport, NY
Just under 50 miles from midtown—and about 90 minutes on the Long Island Railroad—Northport is a laid back waterfront community in Suffolk County, Long Island. Despite having so many amazing amenities—easy beach access, a downtown packed with shops and restaurants, and great walkability—Northport still maintains its small-town charm and artsy vibe.
The former home of writer Jack Kerouac, Northport attracts many artists and creative types, drawn to the cultural scene within the community. Despite having just over 7,300 residents, Northport is home to a symphony orchestra, galleries and the John W. Engeman Theater, which hosts Broadway-caliber performances year-round. Looking for more active pursuits? Check out the nine-hole Northport Golf Course or the private Northport Yacht Club.
Education is also top-notch—students attend the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District, Gold-ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
#3. Princeton, NJ
While Princeton has long been popular among NYC families looking for an urban-meets-suburban lifestyle, the commute—about 90 minutes on the train—has deterred some from the daily trip to this community.
Another frequent recipient of the “best places to live” distinction, Princeton is a thriving university town. Each year during Communiversity, one of the state’s longest-running festivals, Princeton University students and the community come together to celebrate their shared town—the event is known for its incredible local cuisine, original art, live music and more.
That, though, is just the beginning. Community spirit runs deep—Princeton High School is known for its basketball, football, lacrosse and baseball, as well as its strong academics. Expect families lining the sidelines on weekends, taking in high school and youth sporting events throughout every season.
Princeton is also a destination for shopping and eating. On the shopping front, expect everything from designer brands to local shops and boutiques—many popular go-tos sit along Nassau Street, which attracts locals and visitors alike. Food-wise, Princeton is equally impressive, with global options catering to every taste bud.
One final perk? You are less than an hour from Philadelphia. It’s one of the few NYC suburbs that gives families access to two top-notch cities.
#4. Weston, CT
Sixty miles from Manhattan—and about 90 minutes on the train via neighboring Westport train station—Weston is a quiet, family-friendly community with A+ schools and equally impressive amenities. Many families are initially drawn to Weston for space—because of minimum two-acre zoning regulations, houses are spread far apart. Commercial development is also limited—there’s a single plaza in the center of town with a pharmacy, restaurant and other essentials.
Given the ample space, it’s no surprise that Weston is known for its outdoor activities. Weston is home to the nearly 1,800 acre Devil’s Den Preserve, which includes 20 miles of trails for hiking and biking. Also popular: Lachat Town Farm, a 42-acre Nature Conservancy that’s home to a communal garden and monthly farmer’s market with live entertainment and local eats. Within the community, you’ll also find three private clubs: Aspetuck Valley Country Club, Weston Field Club and Weston Racquet Club.
#5. Nyack, NY
Known as the creative center of Rockland County, Nyack—about 90 minutes by bus or an hour by car—is part of the Hudson Valley’s “left bank.” The area attracts many writers, painters, filmmakers and musicians, as well as plenty of NYC commuters who make the 30-mile trip daily.
Nyack itself is made up of three distinct sections: Upper Nyack, Nyack and South Nyack. Throughout the communities, you’ll find lots to see and do, including Nyack Beach State Park and Hook Mountain (be sure to check out the 200 million-year-old rocks) and plenty of local restaurants—Latino, Filipino, Japanese, Israeli and American restaurants line Main Street, North Broadway and South Broadway. Or, head to Maureen’s Jazz Cellar, a relatively new addition that—like nearby Art Cellar—hosts live music throughout the week.
Ready to explore the suburbs? Let’s talk! Schedule your Suburbs Strategy session now. All of our services are 100% free.