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- With a rich history, numerous landmarks, and many natural regions, the Town of Somers provides a quiet, rural atmosphere for residents and visitors alike.
Situated in northeastern Westchester County, Somers is about a 40- to 60-minute train ride north of New York City, and although the town does not have a train station of its own, several Metro-North Railroad stations can be found in neighboring communities. However, U.S. Routes 202 and 6 pass through the town, providing additional transportation options. Somers covers an area of 32.3 square miles, with a population of slightly over 20,000.
Originally owned by the Kitchawank tribe of Native Americans, the area that would become Somers was part of a tract of land granted to Stephanus van Cortlandt in 1697 by King William III of England. The area saw little to no combat during the American Revolution, and was primarily an agricultural region through the early 19th century.
In 1788, early residents of the area established the town of Stephentown. The name was changed to Somers in 1808 to commemorate Richard Somers, a New Jersey naval captain who died in the First Barbary War.
Somers is notable for being the so-called “cradle of the American circus.” Hachaliah Bailey, a Somers resident, purchased an African elephant, named Old Bet, for farm work, but the elephant drew large crowds and Bailey decided to tour her throughout the Northeast. This prompted others to tour with exotic animals, and these tours merged with old-style circuses in the 1830s to become the modern circus.
COFFEE & COMMERCE
Despite its status as a predominantly residential town, Somers does have several options for shopping and dining. The major shopping center is Somers Commons, located in Somers’ hamlet of Baldwin Place. Located just off of Route 6, Somers Commons contains stores such as Stop and Shop, Goodwill, and Home Goods, as well as several smaller stores to fill most shopping needs. The center also contains several eateries, including a Chili’s and a Cold Stone Creamery. The Somers Town Shopping Center, situated closer to the center of town, houses several other shopping and dining options, such as a CVS, salons, a bagel shop, and the Somersfield Restaurant.
Other shopping and eating options are available throughout Somers. Some of the other major eateries include Il Forno Trattoria, which provides a more upscale Italian dining experience, and Firehouse Deli, offering nearly 40 different sandwiches. King Kone is a popular ice cream shop open during the summer months, which offers several different ice cream options as well as lunch foods, and Tazza Cafe provides simple yet delicious options for snacks, in addition to many different options for coffee.
Many of Somers’ recreational options are nature-oriented. Reis Park has several playing fields and courts for various sports, as well as running trails, while Lasdon Park is a former estate with walking trails, a formal garden, and a horticultural library. One of the more popular destinations in Somers is Muscoot Farm, a 19th century farm with a multitude of sheep, goats, cows, and other animals. Muscoot offers special programs year-round, and also provides picnic areas, hayrides, and miles of hiking trails.
Somers also offers a variety of locations with rich history. The aforementioned Lasdon Park houses several memorials and a museum that honors Westchester County war veterans, and the Old Stone House is a Greek Revival house that remains largely as it was originally built in the mid-19th century. Perhaps the most famous historic building in Somers is the Elephant Hotel, built by Hachaliah Bailey in honor of his elephant, Old Bet. Now listed as a National Historic Landmark, it also serves as the Somers Town Hall and houses the Museum of the Early American Circus.
Somers is serviced primarily by the Somers Central School District. The district consists of four schools: Primrose Elementary School, Somers Intermediate School, Somers Middle School, and Somers High School.
Visit the Somers Central School District website here.
Additional information about the Town of Somers, including police, fire, and ambulance services, special services, and government operations can be found on the town website.
Visit the Town of Somers webiste here.