Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Hunt

We embarked on another exploration today. We’re coming to the end of these new-town investigations—there’s one more day trip we might do, but now we’ve seen all the options at least in passing and can start focusing in on our top choices. Today we drove north to Scarsdale, Chappaqua, White Plains, and Pleasantville. Scarsdale was pristine and lovely—like a magical fairytale hamlet—but those fairytale houses were so close together it was like someone had fitted them together into a puzzle. There were no yards to speak of with many of the properties, and everything was way out of our price range anyway. For some reason I’ve always associated Scarsdale with the kind of suburbia that would inspire Richard Yates—engendering a particular sort of existential despair rooted in disillusionment, isolation, burst dreams. I have no way of knowing whether this is accurate and suspect it is not. But with house prices in the $1 million+ arena, we probably won’t find out.

There were some pretty properties in White Plains—but we were surprised at just how much of a city White Plains is, and not a very nice city at that. We felt stressed while we were there, trying to find a place to park to have some lunch, ending up in a parking garage underneath an Atlantic Terminal-like shopping center, hauling toddler and infant carseat down a city block to get to…an Applebee’s. It was not a restful place, not a place we felt we could take deep, wide-open suburban breaths. This was an easy one to cross off the list with no qualms.

Pleasantville was our pleasant surprise of the day. Gorgeous streets, tons of trees, large, beautiful homes. We found an open house and went in, and it was exactly the kind of house we’ve been looking for. Six bedrooms, ample living space, lots of character, a huge yard…and, we found out inside, a $1.4 million price tag. Alas. Pleasantville might prove to be out of our range; plus, the commute is questionable, and there wasn’t any of the walkability we liked so much in Maplewood and, especially, Montclair. But we’re keeping it on the list for now.

Incidentally, I think Lucia is getting into the spirit of the house hunt. When we left that beautiful house, I was gushing about how much I loved it, and Lucia, holding my hand as we walked to the car, announced, “I love it too!” (There were stuffed animals in the attic playroom—of course she loved it.)

Before heading home we decided to stop at a glorious suburban Target. The girls had been great travelers all day, but this proved to be One Stop Too Many for Greta; she screamed bloody murder the entire time we were there. Other than that, it was a good trip.

We’re really narrowing down now. We’re considering an exploration of Greenwich and Stamford, Connecticut, but our eyes are focusing slowly but surely on Maplewood, South Orange, and Montclair, New Jersey; and possibly Rowayton, Connecticut. The true search is going to be starting alarmingly soon, in just a couple of months…

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