Tucked between Katonah and Mount Kisco along Metro North's Harlem Line, Bedford Hills is a classic suburb that despite hourly train departures still manages to skirt somewhat under the radar. Not to be overshadowed by its older, namesake neighbor, it retains a distinct, down-to-earth identity built on virtues, convenience and endless possibilities.
The foundations of the village were laid in iron rail, wooden tie and rock ballast, when in 1847 the New York & Harlem Railroad bypassed Bedford proper and established "Bedford Station" four miles due west on the Saw Mill River. Progress took the train, forgetting the Colonial-era village and instead breaking a wave of development over the vicinity of the new depot. While Bedford Hills saw the arrival of light industry and sidewalk neighborhoods of Victorian and Foursquare homes, Bedford was left virtually unchanged, left to steep in the 18th century charm that continues to enchant today.
A direct rail link to New York City began the transformation towards suburb. The streets closest to town were built up with higher density, affording an easy walk to town and train. Further back into the hills, magnates and moguls built grand Tudor and Shingle Style compounds in estate areas like Springhurst, which still comprises some of Westchester County's grandest "country homes." More recently, the more rural sections of town have also become a hotspot for boutique agriculture. Privately-owned Amba Farms sprouts fruits, herbs and vegetables that have turned up on plates at local restaurants, and is one of the premier farm-to-table properties in town. Westchester Land Trust operates Sugar Hill Farm, where volunteers can try their hand at modern farming.
"Downtown" Bedford Hills is a classic American Main Street, which despite its seemingly small size manages to squeeze in a diversity of retail, residential and professional space. MeMe's Treats Bakery slings grab-and-go "Commuter Specials" in the morning, while returning afternoon riders might swing by Fountainhead, a cult favorite for its kaleidoscopic selection of well-curated wines.
Further down Route 117 towards Mount Kisco come the convenient necessities: supermarkets and chain stores, car washes and auto dealerships and the like. But even the strip mall section of town has treasures to behold, like Pedigree Ski Shop, longstanding favorite Sammy's Kosher, and Brew & Co, world-class craft beer store offering growler refills off 20+ rotating taps.
For those undecided between the convenience of Lower Westchester and the sought-after surroundings of the North County, you might find it worth a few extra minutes on the train.