When I was looking to buy a home in Westchester, we looked at so many towns and then we came to Armonk, which just felt right. I saw the neighborhood of Windmill Farm, and I was obsessed. 32 years later, we have the most amazing memories, and some of my best friends are from here.
Windmill Farm has so much to offer, including winding roads, a breath-taking landscape, and unspoiled natural beauty. For over a century, the Windmill Club has brought residents together for all kinds of social and sporting activities, and residents here believe it’s truly a place like no other. Today’s guest, Heather, has recently purchased a home adjacent to the club’s grounds and joins me to share her memories of growing up here and why she chose to return with her young family.
Listen in this week and discover what makes this wonderful community unparalleled and why contrary to what you might expect from a community club, there’s no pretentiousness here. Houses in Windmill cost a little more than the average Armonk street, but you’ll hear why those who live here feel it’s worth every penny and why residents simply don’t want to leave.
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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- The pros and cons of living in Windmill Farm.
- Who Windmill Farm might appeal to.
- What Windmill Club offers the residents.
- How the lake is the heart of the community at Windmill Farm.
- Why people who live in Windmill Farm don’t want to leave.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
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- The Windmill Club
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to Your Real Estate Connection in Westchester, a show for people looking to buy or sell homes in the Northern Westchester County area. Join local real estate expert Harriet Libov as she shares her professional advice on the local real estate market, connects you with knowledgeable community residents, and gives you helpful insights behind the home buying and selling process. Now, let’s dive into today’s episode.
Hi everyone. When I became a realtor, it made me reflect about what I was like as a buyer. I lived in New York City with my husband and two kids. My oldest was in kindergarten, and I was not happy with the public school system. I was itching to be out of the city.
We looked at quite a few Westchester towns and then came to Armonk, which felt right. Then I saw the neighborhood of Windmill Farm and I was obsessed. I love the lake club community and wanted that for our family. It felt like camp, and my husband and I were diehard campers.
But the homes in my price range were split levels and raised ranches, neither of which appealed to me. I grew up in a split level and wanted something different. Something architecturally interesting. We waited and waited for a home in Windmill. I couldn’t see the potential that I now see in split levels and raised ranches that have been renovated. Nothing felt right to me. Finally after one and a half years, one of the 13 original homes built in Windmill farm, which were modelled after antique homes, came on the market. The Libovs moved to Hardscrabble Circle.
When I would tell people in the city that I was waiting for the right house in one neighborhood in one town to come on the market, they thought that was quite limiting. They were right. I was a crazy buyer. But yet we bought exactly what we wanted and found it after a long search. We loved living there. It was everything we could have imagined and more.
32 years later, some of my best friends are my friends from Windmill. My kids have the most amazing memories. My son now lives in Brooklyn but is considering joining the Windmill Club for the summer as a Windmill alum. That’s pretty cool.
Today we will learn about living in Windmill Farm, and we’ll speak with Heather Kaiser Savino who grew up in Windmill and who recently bought a home adjacent to the club’s grounds on Maple Way. She will share her memories and the memories she hopes to make with her own young family. Thanks for being here today. I appreciate you tuning in. Let’s settle in, learn about Windmill Farm, and begin the conversation.
The Windmill Farm section of Armonk has much to offer, including unspoiled natural beauty and winding roads. Windmill Farm, originally known as Windmill Manor, was the sprawling estate of Dr. Charles Paterno. His son Carlo developed the land into a residential community in the 1940s. The neighborhood features the Windmill Club, historic windmills, and a breathtaking landscape.
The Windmill Club offers amenities such as lake swimming, tennis, basketball, and a new renovated clubhouse. For over half a century, the Windmill Club has brought residents together for all kinds of social and sporting activities. From lake swimming, tennis, and softball to elegant parties, barbeques, and late nights at the Windmill bar. The club snack bar is open daily and hosts intimate Friday night dinners throughout the summer overlooking the moonlight lake.
The Windmill Club’s renovated clubhouse is a converted boathouse that sits on the edge of a pristine lake that draws all kinds of swimmers from splashing toddlers to competitive swim team to lap swimmers. Sandcastles, sunbathers, and volleyball games coexist on its sandy beach providing instant decompression every day of the week.
Across the lake, four tennis courts supervised by Windmill’s own tennis pro are the scene of friendly matches, USTA Women’s league play, and lessons for all ages and levels. Softball, basketball, bicycling, and rollerblading within the club’s 80 acres add to the park-like atmosphere.
The Windmill Club offers a mini camp for preschool aged children of members and non-members during the month of June. From instructional tennis and swim, sports and games, arts and crafts, and so much more, it offers our youngest members the chance to enjoy everything the club has to offer with fun, safe activities designed just for them. This program is open to guests and non-members.
It’s an incredible community within the community of Armonk. Driving through you will see your neighbors running, walking their dogs, or out for an exercise walk. There are other bodies of water throughout the neighborhood with houses that have their own docks for canoeing, kayaking, or a rowboat. Some on Long Pond and some on North Lake.
From a real estate standpoint, the homes in Windmill start in the high sevens for an original home that needs everything updated to homes on North Lake that have sold for nearly $4 million. Builders like to buy up the original homes on nice parcels of land and have built new construction for $2 million and up. Homeowners like to do additions and renovations because they don’t want to leave the neighborhood. As their family grows, they need more space.
That actually is most impressive to me. How residents just don’t want to leave. You always have to pay a little bit more for a home in Windmill than a regular Armonk street. It’s because you have an MEC, or membership eligibility certificate, that has value and shows you are a resident in good standing to join the club. Those who live here think it’s worth every penny to keep that membership eligibility certificate active.
Nancy Woodyard, the Windmill Club’s manager, had this to say when asked about living in Windmill Farm. “I’ve had the pleasure of living in Windmill Farm for over 60 years. I feel like the community historian. I grew up here, raised my family here, and my extended family and friends love coming to visit. Windmill is an awesome community, and summers at the club are the best. The lake is the heart of the community where old and new families gather to swim, play tennis, build sandcastles, and party. At this point, I might be a Windmill lifer because I doubt I’ll ever find another place like it.”
Love that quote, Nancy. Thank you. Nancy is not alone with this experience. Heather Kaiser Savino is about to embark on her second chapter in Windmill with her own young family after having grown up in the community. I’d love for you to hear her experiences and why she came back.
Harriet: Hi Heather. So great catching up. I’m so excited for you that you moved in after your renovation. We closed, when did we close?
Heather: We closed right before Thanksgiving. It was November of 2020.
Harriet: Wow amazing.
Harriet: Okay. So you are the perfect guest for this topic of Windmill Farm because you grew up here. Your family remembers the Windmill Club when I raised my own kids. We reconnected when you came to see one of my listings in early 2020. We had multiple offers on that home and somebody else bid higher. Ultimately at that time, you decided the house was too small for you, and you were okay with that.
So we began looking everywhere in Armonk, Chappaqua, knowing you could join the club as an alumni. Nothing felt right. We lost a house in Armonk that you now have no regrets about but was pretty upsetting at the time. Then we found your new home in Windmill, which became the perfect opportunity. I know it’s difficult to convey what makes this neighborhood so special. I’ve tried in the podcast. What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Heather: Well, as you know, I have two little boys. So I’m really looking forward to experiencing the club through their eyes, the Windmill Club I mean, the way that I experienced it growing up. I have countless memories of being at the club with my family, with our family friends. It ranges from color war to the swim team to the bonfires they used to have on the beach. So a lot of my memories from growing up all revolve around this Windmill Club, this community. So that’s really what I’m most looking forward to.
Harriet: Right. After coming full circle and deciding you would renovate a home you could live near the club, what do you think is important for our listeners to know when considering the pros and the cons of living here? Because one of the things I talked about was you pay more for a house in Windmill, a little bit more. And you maybe give up on the layout or style you thought you dreamed about. In the end, I think what are the pros and the cons for you?
Heather: Well, I’ll start with the cons, I think. I would say that this area of Armonk is one of the older areas of Armonk. So you’re going to have sometimes smaller homes that are a little bit older at a higher price. That said, one of the positives to that, in my opinion at least after renovating our kitchen and stuff, is that we have something that’s ours that we made exactly how we wanted exactly to our style exactly to our taste. We might not have a huge master bathroom, but we have the property and the space that might allow us to modify that at some point.
Like I said before, there’s this community aspect to Windmill. There’s an automatic social club where you meet friends, and your kids meet friends. You have events that happen all summer long. Sometimes you hear club, and it sounds a little bit hoity toity snooty, but this is a very unpretentious club to belong to. It’s just all about family. It’s about having a fun summer.
So, you know, negatives, maybe you’ll get a small house that’s a little bit older. Positives, you can make it exactly what you want it to be, and you have access to this unparalleled community.
Harriet: Thank you. That’s a very good point that I didn’t bring up was how unpretentious it is. Sometimes the world club and unpretentious, most of the time, don’t go together.
Heather: They don’t go hand in hand.
Harriet: They don’t go hand in hand. So I seem to remember that you were on the swim team, and I think your sister was. Is that right?
Heather: I was. It was me, my sister, my brother. We all swam.
Harriet: Okay. My kids didn’t swim. So I would be curious to know what that was like for somebody who wants to experience that and have their kids on a swim team.
Heather: Yeah. Well, we actually learned how to swim at the Windmill Club. I remember taking lessons in the shallow end with one of the lifeguards named Erin. She’s the one who stands out to me. I think there was also one named Mark who also stands out to me now that I’m thinking about it. A big muscular guy.
Harriet: Yeah, you’re bringing it back to me.
Heather: So we started taking swim lessons there. With that and the level of confidence you get from being there with these great coaches or lifeguards, whatever you want to call them. You then end up moving on to the deep end, taking your deep water test. Then we started swimming for the Windmill Club. A lot of the families had children that were on the team. Not everybody, as you mentioned. It is always very fun. We would travel to the local clubs and pools. We would compete against the area clubs.
Harriet: Right. So now you can understand as a parent how amazing that is because how tired you were from doing all that. It’s a wonderful thing.
Heather: Oh yeah.
Harriet: I was just actually telling Johnathan, my son, how amazing it was to take them swimming, feed them dinner, take them home, put them in the bath. Then they conked out and we started all over again the next day. How amazing that was.
Heather: Oh yeah.
Harriet: So I know I talked about through your kid’s eyes. When they moved in, your house is like right on the club grounds. What were they saying? What are they anticipating? Are they talking about it?
Heather: Well, we literally just moved in on Saturday.
Heather: Wednesday morning we took our first stroll around the lake in the morning. So right after breakfast before school. We got the baby in the stroller. AJ was on his scooter. We got the dog, and we went for a walk around the lake. All he wanted to do this morning was take that walk around the lake. Even last night when we were walking the dog. “I want to walk around the lake.”
I would say he loves it. Our oldest is two and a half years old. I ask him what neighborhood we live in, and he says, “Windmill.” He goes and he points around and looks at all the windmills as we drive through the area and counts them. So he’s excited. He knows that we’re going to be there over the summer swimming, and that we’re going to have a great time. There’s going to be fireworks there at the end of the year. So he’s really excited for the summer.
Harriet: All right. Well thank you so much for joining me today.
Heather: I’m so happy to do it.
Harriet: I think your story tells all our listeners everything they need to know. So I really appreciate it.
Heather: All right. I’ll talk to you soon.
Harriet: Okay. I’ll see you soon. Bye.
What’s our key takeaway? Windmill Farm is a unique community in the New York suburbs and located in Armonk. So you get the best of Windmill Farm, Armonk, and Byram Hills Schools. The trifecta, in my opinion. It’s not for everyone. If you prefer a pool and don’t care for lakes or if you’re a huge golfer and want more of a country club, it may not hold the same appeal.
For some people, their house is more important than their neighborhood and they can’t find the house they love in Windmill. They don’t want to compromise their house in any way. For others, it’s irresistible. The only way to find out is to reach out and take a tour of the area. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for listening and have a great day.
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