Nestled in the hills of northern Westchester County, the town of Somers is a quiet bedroom community that still reveals hints of its past as a weekend retreat and summer-cottage destination.
The names of many of the town’s hamlets and neighborhoods reflect this history, with monikers like Lake Lincolndale, Lake Purdys and Lake Shenorock, all of which started primarily as vacation retreats that slowly evolved into year-round commuites. (It’s still common to see former bungalows and cottages that have been winterized and expanded over the years to the point their former owners probably wouldn’t recognize them.) The town’s lakes continue to be popular recreational attractions and homes with waterfront access are in great demand, even if it means tearing down an existing building to get the home of your dreams.
The completion of Interstate 684 during the 1970s started a period of dramatic change for Somers, sparking a wave of commercial and residential development that saw the town evolve into a year-round community for people commuting to White Plains, New York City and other job centers. Limited amounts of commercial construction – primarily large campuses for IBM and PepsiCo at the fringes of the town – were included to provide jobs and supplement the local tax base.
During this period work also started at Heritage Hills, one of the largest senior-only developments in the region. With 2,600 homes located on more than 1,100 acres, the master-planned community offers a wide variety of activities and a central clubhouse with pools, a fitness center, tennis, theater, art studios and more.
Somers’ housing stock is primarily single-family and semi-attached homes, though a small number of townhouse communities and apartments are scattered about. The town’s main roads are lined with small shops and restaurants and a larger regional mall is a short drive away in Jefferson Valley.
Children attend the Somers Public School District, which operates Primrose Elementary School, Somers Intermediate School, Somers Middle School and Somers High School.
Somers’ most famous building is the Elephant Hotel, a National Historic Landmark that now serves as the Town Hall. (The hotel was built by early circus promoter Hachaliah Bailey, who named it in honor of the animal that made his touring show famous.)
The town’s Parks and Recreation Department operates a senior center and sponsors activities for children of all ages, including a supervised Teen Lounge open nightly from 6-10 p.m. The town owns a number of parks, including the Angle Fly Preserve, a 654-acre nature sanctuary that protects resources and provides recreational trails for the public. Westchester County also operates two large parks in Somers, Lasdon Park and Arboretum and Muscoot Farm, an interpretative restoration of a 19th century Westchester farmstead.