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One of the best suburban neighborhoods outside of the New York City area surrounds little Peach Lake. Once a popular summer getaway location, the neighborhoods surrounding Peach Lake have matured into primarily year-round homes occupied by families who appreciate the scenic lake vistas. In earlier days, this little spring-fed lake 50 miles north of New York City in Westchester and Putnam Counties used to greet hundreds of weekend summer visitors to enjoy a large beach, boating, and a variety of commercial amusements. Those days, like the excursion trains that brought the fun-seekers, are long gone. In their stead, a new crop of daily commuters into the big city enjoys quiet evenings beneath mature shade trees and the joys of lakefront living.
There is no public beach at Peach Lake any longer. Instead, several of the housing development associations maintain private beaches for their members where they can enjoy sun and sand. Most also have clubhouses and playgrounds available for their members. Other lakefront homeowners can swim from their private docks, water ski, wakeboard, pontoon, canoe, kayak and generally enjoy life on the water. Although some areas along the three-mile shoreline are densely developed, a portion remains in farmland fields and horse pasture. Many of the former summer cottages have been rebuilt as larger, year-round homes. Although the housing holds a number of retirees, the majority are middle-class families who take the commuter rail-line to Danbury, CT, Stamford, CT, upper Westchester County or New York City daily for work. Peach Lake's quiet neighborhoods are the perfect place to raise children who can enjoy the water daily, with all of the advantages of the big city only an hour away.
Fishing has always been popular at Peach Lake. The water holds chain pickerel, largemouth bass, rock bass, perch, black crappie, smallmouth bass, bluegill and panfish. In winter, ice shanties appear to keep the hardy ice anglers warm until time to go home for dinner. Non-residents attempt to wangle an invitation to fish Perch Lake from any homeowner of their acquaintance. Because the lake has no public access, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation does not stock the lake. All state fishing regulations are in effect, however, and a state fishing license is necessary.
Peach Lake's name seems unusual as there are no peach orchards in the area. Seventeenth century Dutch records show that the Native American tribes in the area lived in a village called Pehquenakonck next to the lake. The earlier name of Peach Pond likely was a derivative of the native word, Pech-Quen. This area of New York originally was within colonial Connecticut's boundaries. The dispute between the colonies of Connecticut and New York in 1683 resulted in a land trade in which New York got the strip of land called the 'Oblong' in return for the Connecticut panhandle. The area was farmland for much of its long, settled history. Early farm families built a Quaker Meeting House at the lake. It wasn't until after the turn of the 20th century that Peach Lake became a recreational destination complete with cottages and campgrounds. Today, four large housing developments hold much of the lakeshore: Bloomerside, Vails, Pietsch Gardens and Northern Westchester Country Club. A golf course nearby serves to keep the golfers happy.
Peach Lake has no inflowing permanent streams and only one outlet. The Peach Lake Outlet flows into the East Branch of the Croton River. The lake isn't dammed, but a small water control weir crosses the outlet. Peach Lake is now part of the Croton Reservoir System supplying New York City. The reservoir system controls many of the shoreline acres within the watershed to protect the water supply. Because issues arose in recent years from deteriorating home septic systems, a sewer system was recently installed to improve water quality. Volunteers monitor water quality through a loose association with the Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP). Currently, the association members of CSLAP are working to identify areas of concern for invasive species and control the spread of hydrilla. Without public boat access, Peach lake is somewhat protected from infestation, but members are busily educating homeowners just in case.
Life may be quiet at Peach Lake, but residents are never far from more exciting locations. The lake lies within two towns: North Salem in Westchester County and Brewster in Putnam County. Anything more substantial than what is available at the few convenience-type stores around the lake can be found in these bigger towns, along with restaurants and services. Danbury, CT is only 10 miles away and has a variety of interesting sights to see and things to do. Tarrywile Park has numerous hiking trails which are particularly attractive during the autumn color season. Danbury Railway Museum has a good selection of old train equipment and offers seasonal train rides that are of special interest to young children. The Elephants Trunk Flea Market is considered one of the best in the state and is an enjoyable place to locate unusual and hard-to-find items any Sunday spring through fall. And the Military Museum of Southern New England will fascinate all history buffs with its tours of old military equipment.
Those who wish to vacation at Peach Lake will need to find a private owner who will rent their property for a week or so. Sometimes homeowners rent a single room to visitors. Nearby in Brewster and the surrounding countryside, there are a number of bed & breakfasts, small inns and other forms of lodgings to be found. As Peach Lake is near the confluence of highways I-84 and I-684, there are many large chain hotels nearby. Many small lakes in this area contain guest cottages and campgrounds. There is always something happening in the area to engage every family member. If you cant live here year-round, at least come for a visit.
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