In 2014, after renting in the hamlet for two years, the Wynns bought a four-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath farmhouse, built in 1945 on three acres. Ms. Wynn called it a “major fixer-upper.” They paid $610,000.
“We originally rented, in case this wasn’t the community for us,” Ms. Wynn said. “Now we can’t imagine ever leaving.”
Just across the northern border of Westchester County, Garrison is a hamlet in the town of Philipstown. It abuts the Hudson River to the west, with dramatic views of the United States Military Academy at West Point on the opposite shore. Richard Shea, Philipstown’s supervisor, approximated Garrison’s size at 16 square miles.
The population of about 4,400 live among rolling fields and forested hills laced with winding roads, many deliberately unpaved. This rural character is among Garrison’s defining features, prized by residents and supported by zoning regulations passed by Philipstown in 2010 that Mr. Shea described as “conservation minded.”
Approximately 35 percent of Garrison’s land is permanently protected, partly as town- and state-owned parks and preserves, partly through easements held by conservation organizations including Hudson Highlands Land Trust, Scenic Hudson and Open Space Institute. The common objective, said Michelle Smith, executive director of Hudson Highlands Land Trust, “is to ensure that our most precious open spaces do not end up as strip malls.”
What You’ll Find
Peppering Garrison’s open spaces are close to 900 single-family residences, said Brian J. Kenney, Philipstown’s assessor. They range from modest colonials and ranches to farmhouses and secluded estates with sweeping river vistas.
“There is nothing cookie-cutter here,” said Christine Colasurdo, principal broker at Garrison Realty Group. “You can have an itty-bitty house next to a mansion, and it fits.”
The former estate known as Dick’s Castle was converted into seven luxury condominiums in 2004. Garrison has no other condominium, cooperative or rental complexes.
Melissa Carlton, an associate broker with Houlihan Lawrence, estimated 20 percent of Garrison’s properties are purchased as second homes, with many of those owners eventually becoming full-time residents.
What You’ll Pay
“The market here is steady because it’s a sought-after area and not many homes come on at any given time,” Ms. Colasurdo said.
Homes listed between $400,000 and $700,000 are the most competitive, Ms. Carlton said, adding that in that price range “inventory is at an all-time low.”
As of Jan. 11, there were 36 single-family homes on the market. The least expensive was a 1,488-square-foot, three-bedroom colonial built in 1900 on 1.12 acres, listed at $250,000. The most expensive, listed at $4.95 million, was a 3,382-square-foot, three-bedroom house built in 2007 on 2.38 acres.
Data from the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service indicated that the median sales price for a single-family home in the 12-month period ending on Jan. 11 was $382,500, up from $379,000 during the previous 12 months.
Predominantly residential, with no downtown, Garrison is filled with cultural and recreational opportunities, not to mention history.
The tiny riverfront hub called Garrison’s Landing was once a loading dock for 18th-century farmers. In 1968, it provided the backdrop for scenes from the film “Hello, Dolly!” Today, it is home to the train station, the Garrison Art Center and the Philipstown Depot Theater. A new restaurant in the old Guinan’s pub is set to open this spring.
Farther north, Boscobel House and Gardens has tours of this neoclassical home; in summertime, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is held there against panoramic views. South of Garrison, design aficionados can explore Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center, the 20th-century industrial designer’s modernist home and studio.
Garrison is crisscrossed by miles of hiking trails, including a stretch of the Appalachian Trail. It has a small ice-skating rink maintained by the Philipstown Recreation Department and two golf courses.
Residents seeking one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants can drive 10 minutes to Main Street in Cold Spring or 20 minutes to Peekskill or Beacon. Big-box options abound in Fishkill, also 20 minutes away.
Another 20-minute drive leads to the Victor Constant Ski Area in West Point, a favorite wintertime destination. “How many communities can boast that after school, their kids can head out and ski for a couple of hours,” Ms. Wynn said, “and then come home and do homework?”
Most of Garrison is served by the Garrison Union Free School District, which consists of the Garrison School, a single schoolhouse for kindergarten through eighth grade. The campus includes a 181-acre forest used as an outdoor classroom.
High schoolers have a choice. They can attend Haldane, part of the Haldane Central School District, in Cold Spring, or James I. O’Neill, part of the Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery Central School District, across the river in Highland Falls. Laura Mitchell, Garrison’s superintendent of schools, said that of her district’s 301 students, 46 attend Haldane and 40 attend O’Neill.
Roughly 280 students who live in Garrison’s southeastern corner attend the Lakeland Central School District, which serves nearly 5,640 students from six towns in Westchester and Putnam Counties. The district has five elementary schools, a middle school and two high schools.
Property taxes for Garrison residents zoned for the Garrison school district are among the lowest in Putnam County (around $20 per assessed $1,000, Mr. Kenney, the assessor, said). This is significantly lower than for residents zoned for Lakeland schools (roughly $55 per assessed $1,000).
On 2017 eighth-grade state assessments, 80 percent of Garrison school district students met English standards and 50 percent met math standards, compared with 45 and 22 percent statewide. In Lakeland, 56 percent met English standards and 43 percent met math standards.
For the 2017 graduating class, mean SAT scores for Haldane were 614 in evidence-based reading and writing and 593 in math; for O’Neill, 589 and 585; for Lakeland, 580 and 550. Statewide means were 528 and 523.
Commuters to Manhattan, 52 miles south, can catch Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson line at the Garrison station at Garrison’s Landing. Rush-hour trains to and from Grand Central take 68 to 76 minutes. Travelers can flag designated trains (one each way on weekdays, several on weekends) at the Manitou station, in the hamlet’s southwestern corner. Monthly fare from both stations is $422.
Heading north on Route 9D, a roadside marker identifies the site of the Beverley Robinson house, which was Benedict Arnold’s headquarters when his treason was exposed on Sept. 25, 1780. That morning, shortly before he was to meet with General George Washington, he received word that his British contact, the intelligence officer John André, had been captured with documents incriminating Arnold. By the time Washington arrived at the house, Arnold had fled through the woods to the Hudson, where he escaped by barge to the British warship H.M.S. Vulture. The house burned down in the 1890s.