Pleasant Valley, Dutchess County, NY
One of the Hudson Valley’s top towns in 2013: Pleasant Valley, NY
Pleasant Valley prepares for a parade. Although full of shops and businesses, the village retains its small-town character
Photograph by Andy Milford, www.andymilford.com
The heart of Pleasant Valley lies along the very walkable Main Street, where a surprising number of conveniences — like a big grocery store and a pharmacy — are tightly packed into less than a mile, separated from the hushed countryside by just a few blocks. And while the rest of the country slogs through a lingering recession, new stores continue to open — yet the small-town feel remains. “This is a very tight community,” says Patti Sawyer, a bartender at the aptly named Publick House Bar & Camaraderie, a charming pub which teems with locals every day. “Everybody’s friendly, the type of town where if one of us was in need, the rest would all come together and take care of whatever needed to be done.”
Comprised of three hamlets — Pleasant Valley, Salt Point, and Washington Hollow — the town was established in the 1700s. Lott’s Mill, on Wappinger Creek, was in use by 1757 and continued to operate into the early 20th century. A remnant of the town’s early history, the site has been restored and now serves as a public park and office for the town historian; it is open to visitors on Sundays.
While the town may be peaceful, it is certainly not isolated. The Taconic Parkway bisects it, offering direct passage to Albany or New York City. Route 44 takes you into Poughkeepsie in less than 15 minutes, where you can hook up with an Amtrak or Metro-North train, or Route 9 and its malls. “It’s very central and it’s easy to get to everything,” says Joyce Brower, the town secretary who has lived there all her life. “And I feel it’s safe and comfortable.”
It seems that, once people move to Pleasant Valley, they tend to stick around. The Pleasant Valley Bicycle Shop, for instance, has been in business for more than 35 years. A block away, clothing, footwear, sporting goods, and other items have been available for sale at the Pleasant Valley Department Store since 1946. The 40-year-old Village Restaurant — a diner and sandwich shop — is a local favorite. Newcomer Elaine’s Tap & Table — located in a 200-year-old farmhouse that, in a previous incarnation, was a hangout for James Cagney — offers fancier fare.
The local real-estate market has expanded rapidly in recent years. Prices have fallen off around $50,000 since the housing bubble burst, but Pleasant Valley remains hot. “It’s rural living and it’s got that hometown feel,” says Ronald Gasparro, broker and owner of the Realty Stop Agency. “It offers a cozy environment.” Homebuyers are also drawn to the very large, and academically strong, Arlington Central School District, whose high school has been cited in Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report’s top-performing lists in recent years.
The average listing price of houses on the market at press time was $268,500. Although options may be limited and property taxes creeping up towards five figures on medium houses, the investment appears to be sound. “Pleasant Valley has a bright future as it pertains to housing because the inventory is being used up and there’s not a lot coming onto the market,” says Gasparro. “It’s a desirable place to live.”