It’s a given that the most glamorous and renowned celebs and other high-profile people who live in New York City want to get away from it all, to stay out of the spotlight in order to live like normal people. They want serenity, peace and quiet, and a rural or secluded atmosphere, the kind with winding roads and homes lined with stone walls, and a stadium’s worth of white fences in which to keep horses and other animals on the property. They are free from the paparazzi, and there is no Star Map on sale to get a glimpse of the celebrity’s house. They want to shop in locally-owned mom and pop stores, and to be far away from their neighbors.
This may surprise you, but actors, musicians, writers, TV personalities and politicians live in two very small rural areas in Westchester County: Bedford and its neighbor Pound Ridge. They’re 2,800 miles away from Hollywood, away from the lux life and live in Bedford or Pound Ridge because these hamlets are near enough—around an hour away—from New York City. They are, in short, in close proximity to the city and the charm of a suburb, one leg in the cacophonous chaos of Manhattan and the other in pure bucolic bliss. So let’s look at these hamlets first, and then turn to who lives where.
Despite being the home of many rich and famous people, Bedford, just north of New York City, is still an old-fashioned small town populated by many white people (sorry, we had to say it) who live in colonials with black shutters. Burger King will never be located here, and the ubiquitous Apple is just a fruit you eat, not a retail store That’s due to the fact that Bedford’s zoning officials carefully guard their pastoral and pristine quality of life. One of Westchester County’s most expensive town, local luminaries reside or have resided here, like Chevy Chase and Glenn Close and a veritable crush of notable bold-faced names from Hollywood to the world of politics. But Bedford is not just for the wealthy who want a second home for those who want a country getaway. For one thing, it has condos while Pound Ridge and its exclusivity do not. For another thing, a wide range of diverse buyers come here because the town has starter, single-family residences that sell for as little as $375,00.00. That’s still high, but in comparison, the $10 million estates that often come with barns and farmland, makes the low figure feel like chump change.
Bedford is comprised of three little towns, which are Katonah, Bedford Village, and Bedford Hills. Richard Gere, who lives in the Bedford area, partly owns the Bedford Post Inn (pictured above), an eclectic mix of two distinct restaurants, an eight-room bespoke inn and a yoga studio. Originally dating back to the 1860s, Gere and his two partners lovingly restored Bedford Post, and now this historic property is busy and convivial and guests watch for at least a glimpse of Gere himself. The rustic decor at the informal restaurant, with its pies and cakes and coffee and brunches on the weekend, includes reclaimed wood beams and a large working fireplace. The other restaurant is more refined and serves dishes that are seasonal with an emphasis of local organic ingredients.
In recent months, Lauren has had to close many of his stores because revenue fell more than expected. Same-store sales fell a whopping 12 percent, well above the 6 percent decline expected by analysts. Even Lauren’s flagship store in Manhattan is closing. This isn’t going to wipe out Lauren, and he’ll probably remain in his family’s estate in Bedford. Lauren bought the 750-plus acre estate (pictured above from Architectural Digest) in the early 1990s and calls Martha Stewart his neighbor because his home actually abuts Martha Stewart’s farm. Built in 1919, the 17,000 square-foot stone manor features a mahogany-paneled library and a 5-room master suite.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas
Zeta-Jones and Douglas have long lived in Bedford—they bought their first property in 2010 seeking the perfect quiet life. The A-list duo used to live in a six-bedroom, six-bathroom home on the exclusive Guard Hill Road. But the power couple put that home up for sale that they originally listed at $8.1 million and was subsequently purchased for $7.5 million. They remain true to Bedford, though, because they recently purchased a new home here. The couple purchased this house for $11.25 million, which is twice the size of their former home.
Their new estate is an eight-bedroom 13.5 bath colonial built (pictured above from Zillow) in 1895 that spans over 13 acres. Among the amenities are an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, a guest cottage with two apartments, a greenhouse, a collector’s garage, and a four-stall barn with an adjacent riding ring.
Bruce Willis recently purchased a two-parcel mansion on Croton Lake Road in Bedford (pictured above from Zillow) around the time Zeta-Jones and Douglas bought their 1895 colonial. The $9 million, 8,000-square-foot shingle-sided mansion on 14 acres has been meticulously crafted with elegantly scaled rooms, large windows, and high ceilings. There are mature gardens with areas for outdoor entertaining, a tennis court and even a 1,500 bottle climate controlled wine cellar. Rounding out the uber-home is a 50 x 20 swimming pool with a heated cabana. It’s been said that Bruce Willis is now friends with his neighbor Martha Stewart.
Speaking of Martha Stewart, she also lives in the so-called Cantitoe Corners in bucolic Bedford. She purchased her estate for about $15.2 million, down from the asking price of $15.7 million. This unique home—part working farm, part mansion—has five houses, which include a 1784 farmhouse, a 1897 cottage, a 1929 Colonial-style ”winter house” and two homes built in 1969. There are also 117.65 acres of undeveloped meadows and woodlands, and the total square feet of property is 150+ acres. In 2004, Stewart suffered a conviction of charges related to insider stock trading and, in a highly visible case, went to Federal prison. After prison, it was here, in her home, where Stewart was consigned to house arrest. Many media moguls claimed that Stewart and her empire would be irrevocably tarnished. But as we know, in 2005, Stewart made a comeback and her conviction is now something in the distant path.