February 16, 2024
Nestled just north of downtown Raleigh, the Westchester neighborhood has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century.
Though originally farmland, the area saw its first real development in the 1950s and 60s as Raleigh expanded its borders.
Builders like York Properties and Curtis Properties bought large plots of land and constructed hundreds of brick ranch homes on spacious wooded lots. This ushered in an era of rapid growth for Westchester.
Over the decades, the neighborhood has maintained its quiet suburban feel while also adapting to the times.
In the 1980s and 90s, many of the aging ranch homes were torn down and replaced with larger colonial and neo-traditional designs.
The area also saw some townhomes and condos built to accommodate Raleigh's expanding population. Though denser than in its early years, Westchester retains its lush natural beauty with mature trees and greenbelts throughout.
Notable Neighborhoods and Features
Westchester is comprised of several distinct neighborhoods, each with its character. Chestnut Hills, positioned near Rex Hospital, contains mostly ranch homes dating to the 1960s. It's known for having some of the area's largest lots. To the south lies Forestville, recognized for its winding streets and wooded landscapes. Home styles here range from mid-century ranches to more contemporary two-story designs.
Over in Biltmore Hills, neo-traditional suburban homes dominate the landscape. This section features parks and green spaces tucked into the neighborhood. Finally, Westchester Downs offers a mix of housing options from ranch homes to townhouses. Its proximity to shops and restaurants makes it a popular choice.
In addition to its neighborhoods, Westchester also contains small retail plazas, churches, and access to the city's greenway system. The neighborhood is bounded by major thoroughfares like Wade Avenue, Blue Ridge Road, and Edwards Mill Road, making driving downtown or to nearby malls easy. It provides suburban living just minutes from urban amenities.
Top Restaurants and Eateries
Westchester offers quick access to some of Raleigh's best dining options. Here are a few top-rated eateries in and around the neighborhood:
Lynnwood Grill - This neighborhood sports bar and grill serves up classic American fare like burgers, wings, and salads. The happy hour draws crowds for cheap drinks and appetizers.
Sassool - For delicious Mediterranean cuisine, Sassool offers fresh hummus, baba ghanoush, gyros, and kebabs in a fast-casual setting. Everything is house-made daily.
Capital Crepes - Satisfy a sweet tooth at this cozy creperie serving both savory and dessert crepes, waffles, salads, and milkshakes. It's a perfect lunch or snack spot.
Second Empire Restaurant & Tavern - Housed in a stunning Victorian mansion, this AAA four-diamond restaurant excels at refined entrees like duck, rack of lamb, and seafood. The wine list is extensive.
Bloomsbury Bistro - For fine dining in a more intimate setting, Bloomsbury Bistro serves creative new American cuisine paired with craft cocktails. The menu changes seasonally.
Vivace - If Italian food is more your style, Vivace offers homemade pasta, veal chops, seafood, and more in a romantic, modern setting. Their wine bar has a great selection.
Hibernian Pub - This authentic Irish pub offers classic fare like fish and chips, shepherd's pie, and bangers and mash. Kids love the laid-back atmosphere.
Duck Donuts - For a sweet treat, Duck Donuts serves warm, made-to-order donuts with fun toppings like sprinkles, Oreos, and maple bacon. The kids' donut option is a hit.
Jujube - Jujube offers Chinese favorites like potstickers, sesame chicken, and lo mein in a colorful, contemporary space with outdoor seating.
Accessibility from Downtown and Beyond
One major perk of Westchester is its proximity to downtown and other areas. From the center of the neighborhood, it's only about a 10-15 minute drive to downtown Raleigh, allowing easy access to urban amenities. The tree-lined streets and suburban feel, however, provide a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
Westchester is also conveniently located near other Raleigh hot spots. It's only a 10-minute drive to North Hills and its upscale shopping and dining. Trendy Glenwood South is also just a 10-15 minute drive away. And for travel, Raleigh-Durham International Airport is less than 15 minutes from the neighborhood's center.
Tim M. Clarke's Take: Why Westchester?
As a Durham native and real estate agent in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle for almost 20 years, I've helped many clients find their perfect home.
For families and professionals alike, I frequently recommend Westchester for its unique blend of suburban quietude and easy accessibility.
The neighborhoods here provide safety and community, with amenities like parks and trails that foster an active lifestyle. The area schools, both public and private, also have excellent reputations.
At the same time, Westchester allows quick commutes to work centers in and around Raleigh. The proximity to restaurants, nightlife, and the airport also adds convenience.
For homebuyers who want the perks of suburban living close to everything, I always highlight Westchester first. With its rich history and natural beauty, the area offers the best of all worlds.
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