Living in The Farms–A cozy neighborhood offers easy living
In a community known for expansive properties, seclusion, and the need to drive just about everywhere, there also exists the antithesis. The Bedford Village neighborhood known as The Farms remains a convenient, walkable, friendly living locale, a Halloween haven, and a happy place for raising a family.
The feel of a real neighborhood was the initial draw for Janine O’Dowd when she, her husband, and their one-year-old daughter moved to The Farms from Manhattan in 2014. “The kids could walk to the park, the village, the pool,” she says. “It felt like an idyllic childhood.”
The nostalgic quality of life in The Farms might have something to do with the time period when the domain came into existence. According to Bedford Town Historian John Stockbridge, the area—which spans from the corner of Greenwich and Old Post Roads down to Lincoln, Washington, and The Farms itself—was primarily developed following World War II. Several builders purchased land from the airport that once existed where the town park is currently sited, plus a few additional roads, and this development in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s evolved into The Farms.
Harkening back to a simpler time period, many move to the area for the same reasons that attracted Donna Marino and her family to The Farms in 1991: the ability to walk to the park, the pool, their church, the post office, the elementary school, and the library. “Both my kids swam on the Bedford Village summer swim team, and by 11 or 12, they could walk to the pool by themselves,” she says. “It built a sense of independence.”
O’Dowd describes the three stages of life in The Farms: people who have lived there more than 20 years, “middle people” who are thinking of moving to a different home in Bedford or expanding their home in The Farms, and people who have just moved in, with babies in tow, from the city.
Real estate agent Margo Lancia and her husband bought what they thought would be a starter home in The Farms 23 years ago. As their children grew up, they thought about moving to a larger home, but life in The Farms was too great of a pull.
“My children grew up playing with neighborhood kids of all ages, going to the park, riding bikes in the streets, walking to summer camp, and later working as summer camp counselors and walking to work,” she says. “As a full-time working mother, it was and continues to be very convenient. We loved getting to know and becoming friends with our neighbors, riding our bikes with the kids without it being a hassle, gathering with neighbors for last-minute barbecues, planning neighborhood block parties, walking with our kids to sporting events at the Bedford Village Park.”
For those reasons and more, the Lancias landed on the side of renovating their house rather than move, adding 1,000 square feet of living space to their home, with “no regrets.”
Among other draws, living in The Farms means loving Halloween, as the flat streets and closely sited homes make for a prime trick-or-treating destination for the surrounding community. Marino estimates she had more than 400 costumed revelers knock on her door last year, despite the rainy weather.
O’Dowd enjoys that the fire trucks line up at The Farms before the Annual Bedford Fire Department Parade each July. While some might bemoan the inconvenience of having trucks lining up in front of their homes, many of the folks in The Farms look forward to the special interactions they get to have with the firemen and the private viewing of all the trucks.
The community also has a Rock the Farms block party, where O’Dowd says she met two neighbors whom she now describes as her closest friends.
“I feel it is so important to love where you live,” Lancia says. “I’ve sold many homes in this neighborhood, and I’m not just selling the house, I’m also selling the lifestyle that The Farms offers.”
The lifestyle can last a lifetime. Marita Cacciato grew up on The Farms; her parents bought the home in which she still resides in 1958. “It hasn’t changed all that much,” she says of the neighborhood, remembering how she would ride her bike with her best friend down the block. One of her closest friends from her childhood still lives across the street.