A Yachtsman’s Haven on Seaview Avenue
By Lead Travel Writer, Renee Fontaine
Early twentieth century elegance meets twenty-first century luxury in this historic waterfront New Rochelle Home. Built by one of Wall Street’s tycoons in the early 1900s, this home has served as a haven from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan for more than a century. Just a thirty minute drive from New York City, New Rochelle, has become the preferred place to live for beach lovers and yachtsman alike.
Elegance with a View
Perfectly positioned to face directly toward a small bay to the east, this graceful home is set against the backdrop of an epoch neighborhood. Tall mature trees and flowering bushes line the slate stone pathway that led me to the front entry. The rock and stucco exterior framed by sage green shutters and door unite with traditional elegance. Entering the home, I was captivated by the three sets of artfully designed lead glass doors. The French doors to the left led to a gracious modern living room with white leather sofas. An intricately carved white marble fireplace with a red marble base on the side wall is reminiscent of the Greek statues found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Just beyond, tall columns lead to the sun room with large picture windows exuding soft natural light and breathtaking views of the bay. White rose and hydrangeceae flower arrangements make for the perfect complement to this contemporary décor.
Through the second and third set of lead glass doors, I spotted the spacious dining room on the right and the kitchen straight ahead. The white marble countertops, cream colored wooden cabinetry and antique style fixtures combine to create a feeling of old world charm meets that twenty-first century sophistication. The six-burner Viking stove, Sub-zero refrigerator, and ample cupboard and counter space make for a chef ’s dream come true. The nook to the left creates the ambience of an Italian cafe with the built-in Miele espresso maker and cozy table with white leather bench: a perfect spot to linger over an espresso and the Wall Street Journal! A stunning antique green pearl chandelier hangs gracefully above the dining table, located to the right of the kitchen. While dining, beautiful views of mature trees and flowering bushes can be seen through the windows.
Just past the living room, I found the suitably located spacious first floor master suite. An ornate leaded stained glass window, in the design of a family crest, adorns the wall above the plush king size bed. An outsized intricately carved antique armoire in the corner complements the room with artistic symmetry. Sliding glass doors open up to back gardens inviting an impromptu stroll through the aromatic landscape upon rising in the morning.
An elegant winding staircase leads from the main entry foyer to the second floor. Ascending the stairs, I noticed the beautiful hardwood floors that expand throughout the home and admired the nice contrast with the elegant cream colored spindles of the railing. Arriving at the second floor foyer, I felt the warmth of the sun radiating through the large picture window facing the front gardens. Three inviting rooms awaited my exploration: one with two queen size beds, one with two twin beds, and another master bedroom with en-suite bathroom.
A breathtaking view of the bay is the show piece of the roomy second floor master suite. Through the full wall of windows, the epitome of beauty and tranquility exude from the soft light. Each morning from the plush king bed, I was gently awakened by the sunrise over the water. The light pink hues contrasted by the bluish gray clouds make for a striking combination. The sky comes alive as birds dart through the early morning air. Each night, I marveled at the beauty of the silhouettes of the tall mature trees lit by the starry sky. Far off planes pass behind the silhouettes like fireflies flickering in the night air. Sliding doors lead to a second floor deck: the perfect location to stargaze at night or enjoy a morning coffee!
Like a secret passageway, a staircase from the second story foyer led me to the third floor. Arriving at the top of the stairs, I spotted a quaint private haven with gabled ceiling and four trundle beds: the perfect hideaway for a group of children during a family reunion. To the right, a spacious bathroom with wood wainscoting and antique claw foot tub invites a long and relaxing hot bath.
Back on the first floor, the kitchen door led me outside to the back gardens and waterway. The terrace-style landscaping with two separate patios create an enchanting oasis to relax among the flowering gardens while breathing in the fresh ocean air. Following the winding large rock boulder stairway lined with majestic trees, I discovered the serene waterfront and dock: the ideal convenience for the boating enthusiast to port a yacht after a day out on the Long Island Sound!
First established in 1688 by Huguenots (French Protestants) fleeing persecution in France, New Rochelle remained a modest village until a large influx of immigrants into the New York area during the nineteenth century. Thereafter, this seaside city became a haven for the many Manhattanites seeking a quiet escape.
Each day, the serene shoreline of the Long Island Sound captivated my attention. Five small islands separate the bay from the Long Island Sound making an ideal natural habitat for a variety of birds and water fowl. Five Islands Park, located on the largest of the five islands, Oakwood Island has a large grassy area, sunbather’s beach, picnic areas, pavilion, large children’s play area with equipment, and outdoor amphitheater. A pedestrian bridge links Big and Little Harrison Island to the main Oakwood Island.
Due to irregularities and off-shore islands, the coastline of New Rochelle measures 9.3 miles. Over the years, these unusual coastal features have given New Rochelle the nickname “The Queen City of the Sound.” This Royal Queen has endowed 300 slips and 150 mooring spaces at the cityowned marina ensuing yacht, sailing, rowing, and beach clubs to thrive. Well-known shore clubs such as the Davenport Neck, Beckwithe Point, and Greentree Country Club, offer waterfront recreation to members during the summer months. Echo Bay Yacht Club and Huguenot Yacht Club are two prestigious private yacht clubs frequented by Wall Street tycoons for decades. The New York Sailing School and New Rochelle Rowing Club have a rich history having been in operation for more than 100 years.
Other styles of sport’s enthusiasm also thrive in the area. The nation’s first amateur athletic clubs, the New York Athlete Club (NYAC), is majestically set on Travers Island on thirty acres of flawlessly landscaped grounds. Serving as the summer facility for the NYAC located on Central Park South in Manhattan, the Olympic-sized salt water pool is just one of the impressive features of this historic club. Other activities include sports such as tennis, rowing, yachting, outdoor swimming, and diving.
Continuing as a Rising Star
Strolling along the downtown streets, the grandeur of this community is felt around every corner. Located in prestigious Westchester County, some of the country’s most expensive real estate is found in New Rochelle. Over the past fifteen years, New Rochelle has undergone some extensive modernization. The Trump Plaza, a 40-story luxury residence, is part of a massive downtown redevelopment project that began in 1999. Built on a two acre parcel, the Trump Plaza offers retail space and luxury condominiums. There are plans to redevelop Le Count Square, located opposite of the Trump Plaza for hotel, office, retail and residential space. These types of improvements continue to support New Rochelle’s reputation as the “The Queen City of the Sound.”
While some evenings I enjoyed cooking at home in the state-of-the-art kitchen, often I ventured out to enjoy some of the diverse restaurant choices in the area. One evening I stumbled across Cienega, an upscale latin restaurant that offers cuisine from throughout Latin America including favorites such as Arepitas de Queso, Pulpo Encendido and Empanadas. However, the most outstanding choices are the Ceviche and Mexican Sorpresa. Exceptional!
Another evening I discovered, Alvin & Friends, a Caribbean style restaurant with great island cuisine. Live piano music, colorful paintings, and Caribbean entrees with a southern flare created an overall uplifting island ambience — a perfect complement to this yachting community.
Property owner and host, Lauren Berger, warmly welcomed me to this elegant home with the attention and kindness of a dear friend. Lauren is well-known in the area for providing impeccable service to her guests that far exceeds the service provided by even the finest hotels. She personally caters to her guests to assure they feel at home the moment they arrive at one of her properties. Orchestrating the small details from the flower arrangements, to the fine bedding, to helping her guests become familiar with the area, she makes the guest feel as if they have arrived home. Her stunning yacht is offered for rent in conjunction with this luxurious home providing the full seaside experience of this historic yachting community.
The day before I left, I took the short stroll to Five Islands Park. This small group of islands has mature trees and rocky outcrops along portions of the islands edges creating serene,picturesque setting. As I approached the side of the large island close to the Long Island Sound, a cool breeze picked up reminding me how these small islands provide the perfect refuge from the open water. Looking to the west, I saw the New Rochelle House peeking through the trees, the opposite view that I had seen each day during my stay. In my mind’s-eye, I saw the original home owner, the Wall Street Tycoon, securing his yacht to the dock dressed in early twentieth century clothing wearing a sailor’s cap. Turning to leave, I appreciated what a beautiful contrast this peaceful area must have been to his busy days in the City and how this elegant home continues to provide a sanctuary to its guests.
This property was selected for the Family Focused Vacation Rentals category due to the size and comfort of this luxurious home. This property is also suitable for the categories of Ultra Luxurious, Vacation Rentals for the Sports Enthusiast, Super Romantic, and Beach Area Vacation Rentals.
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