The town of Putnam Valley in Putnam County is sort an anomaly in the part of upstate New York that’s just north of the Westchester County line. Given its proximity to NYC (about an hour away), you’d think you’d arrive in Putnam County and expect to see one of those chi-chi towns like Cold Spring, where the Main Street is packed with adorable shops and locavore cafes. Alas, this is not the case with Putnam Valley. This is a town that has fought hard to keep a firm grasp on exactly the amount of commercial development they want in their town, which is to say, not that much. Instead, what you’ll find there are lakes. Plenty of lakes. Lake Peekskill, Oscawana Lake, Cortlandt Lake, Lake Mohegan, and Indian Lake are all close to town, so if you love to fish, boat, and swim, Putnam Valley might be very attractive to you. However, if you like to spent a lot of time antiquing around town while sipping a soy latte, Putnam Valley might be a bit of a disappointment in that regard.
Located squarely within the Hudson Highland mountains, Putnam Valley is worth exploring if you found yourself enamored by the Putnam County area but were scared away by the housing prices in Cold Spring and Garrison. Indeed, most of the properties available on the Putnam Valley market are situated in the $450 to $300,000 range, but you’ll still find lots in the $200s, although not much above $700,000. The taxes, on the other hand…well, this is Putnam County, after all.
Nature lovers are going to find a lot to do in Putnam Valley. The Clarence Fahnstock State Park is about twenty minutes away. The 14,000 + acre park has miles upon miles of hiking trails and even has a swimming beach at Canopus Lake. In the winter, visitors can cross-country ski or knock about on snowshoes in the Winter Park. There’s also the Hudson Highlands State Park, continuously popular amongst those who love to hike up steep inclines, and we all know what conquering a steep climb means: Magnificent views. There are tons of them in the Highlands. Golfers will also find a away to pass time and spoil some good walks. The Highlands Country Club is less than 10 miles out of town up in Garrison.
In spite of its country character and preponderance of wide open spaces, Putnam Valley is still mighty close to the city. That means if you’re dying to be crowded onto an overflowing subway or city street, Manhattan is just an hour away if there’s no traffic involved. Those looking to do some commuting by rail can use the Peekskill Metro North station about 13 minutes away, or the Cortlandt station about 20 minutes away.
The NYT published a story about Putnam Valley back in 2008. Some of the info, like housing prices, is a little outdated now, but it’s still a decent overview on the character of the community.