Let me tell you about Irvington, New York. I went there recently to see four outstanding houses that are on the market through Houlihan Lawrence. I was as taken with the area as much as the homes. One of the great things about Irvington is that it sits alongside the stately Hudson River. The Hudson Valley is a prime area for commuting as the Hudson Line railway service runs speedily into Grand Central station in Manhattan in about 30 minutes.
The Dutch colonised the area from 1682, finding the soil highly fertile and thus ideal for farming. Later it became a notorious hideout for Patriots during the Revolutionary War against the British. It became Irvington in 1854 when it was re-christened after local resident Washington Irving, the American author who wrote the short story, Rip Van Winkle.
But back to the houses: the four I saw offered roughly similar accomodation and were all in great locations but they differed greatly in style. No 1 East Ardsley Avenue is a rather lovely English-looking Georgian style house in about one and a half acres of fabulous garden. A little further up the hill stands Laurel Hill, a Georgian style house that would not look at all out of place in Georgetown, Washington DC. This comes with three very expertly laid out acres and a delightful stone folly.
Then there is Ardsley Park. This is a very beautiful house in the Arts and Crafts style. I loved the double height entrance hall and the towering bay window. Also the oak panelling and detail is period perfect.
Finally, just three minutes’ walk from the train station and close to the wonderful 41 mile Old Croton Aqueduct Trailway, stands 3 Clifton. This has a Spanish look and has recently been subject to complete, no-expense-spared renovation.
So you pays your money and you takes your choice. Each house has a great layout and is wonderfully individual. Irvington is a great place to live with its easy connections to the city and re-generated, trendy waterside area. There is an aura of substance here – that, and maturity. But there is also a youthful vibrancy to the area. As Washington Irving said, “Age is a matter of feeling, not of years”.