Writer, Spirituality and Yoga teacher, Jen Aloisi Ham moved to Westchester from NYC when she was pregnant with her daughter. As a Westchester County native, she knew she wanted her daughter to grow up in Westchester. She currently lives in Mamaroneck but previously lived in Larchmont and has enjoyed living in both Mamaroneck and Larchmont. Here is a peek into her Westchester life.
Describe your move to Mamaroneck
I am a Westchester Lifer. I grew up in Rye Brook. My mother is originally from Port Chester and my father from Mamaroneck. When I became pregnant with our daughter (3), my husband and I knew we wanted to move out of New York City and to move to Westchester. In thinking about where we wanted to be, we knew proximity to the train and town was important. However, given the limited availability at the time of apartments that accept dogs and had the amenities we were accustomed to from the city, Mamaroneck was really the only viable option. I remember we were on the Metro North driving back from my baby shower and we saw an apartment building from the train, and the rest is history. We are so grateful to have found our first apartment there, because Mamaroneck / Larchmont is where we are meant to be.
You used to live in Larchmont. What do you like about living in Larchmont? How is it different from Mamaroneck?
I love Larchmont. I love Larchmont for the charm, the history, the town, the people, the Manor and proximity to the water. To me, Larchmont is the closest town to Gilmore Girls you can find! Most mornings we would take family walks to the french bakery, pick up some croissants, and stroll to the water and take in the beautiful view and fresh air. Since I work in Westchester, I am always running into people I know, which just makes it feel even more like home.
I love Mamaroneck too, but for some slightly different reasons. My favorite thing about living in Mamaroneck – besides the proximity to the beautiful Harbor – is the diversity. Mamaroneck brings together all different backgrounds in a beautiful, harmonious way and I don’t take that for granted. We get to experience a variety of cuisines and cultures by way of our neighbors, shops, and restaurants.
We love that Larchmont and Mamaroneck share the same middle and high school, and would be happy finding our forever home in either town!
Did you know anyone when you moved to Larchmont/Mamaroneck? Any advice for newcomers on the best way to meet people?
Since I grew up in Westchester, I have some childhood friends that live nearby, but it has been really wonderful meeting new friends at this phase in my life. Luckily, I teach Yoga and the Lagree Method at a few of the local studios and have cultivated incredible relationships with my students who have since become great friends. When we first moved here, I joined the Women’s Club of Rye and met some fellow moms. Once we moved to Larchmont, my husband and I joined the Larchmont Newcomers Club and have met lots of wonderful couples and families. Also, Larchmont has a lot of spirit, and puts on great town events such as the Tree Lighting Ceremony, Halloween Parade, Bonfire, and Block Parties, which have been a fun way to meet and get to know other families.
Can you describe your social life?
Oh my gosh, it hasn’t been this busy since my college days! My husband and I often joke that we are way more fun living out in the suburbs than we were in the city for over a decade. We really make it a point to surround ourselves with the people that make us feel good, and we are so lucky that the friends we have made since moving out to the suburbs are some of the best friends we have made. We often plan brunch dates with family friends and definitely take advantage of eager grandparents for weekly date nights. We are big foodies and will travel for food, so we are usually trying a new restaurant in a neighboring Westchester town so we can add it to the list (and have it in our back pocket for the next double date night). We also found a great parenting hack when it comes to double dates! If you want to see friends, but can’t find a babysitter, invite a couple over once the kids go to sleep for some appetizers and drinks before their (usually much needed) date night. Game changer!
What do you like to do with your kids in Westchester?
Our daughter, Eloise Grace, will be three in July. We absolutely love going for family walks and playground visits. Between Mamaroneck and Larchmont, there are probably about 20 playgrounds to choose from! We also love walking in and around town (a slice of pizza from Sal’s Pizza and cannoli from Boiano Bakery). When we have some more time, we take trips to Rye Playland in Rye, Cherry Lawn Farmstand in New Rochelle (Eloise loves the garden statues), and Harvest Moon in North Salem (I love the cider beer!)
How would you describe residents of Larchmont? Mamaroneck?
One of the reasons we love Larchmont and Mamaroneck so much is because of the community. Both towns are progressive, community conscious, family-oriented, and laid back. It doesn’t get any better than that!
What are your favorite restaurants in Larchmont/Mamaroneck or in the area?
Here are my favorite restaurants in Larchmont:
Coffee and Crepe: Auray Gourmet – Caroline and Yanni are the best!
Croissant: Cafe Parisien
Lunch: Stan’z Cafe
Dinner: Vintage 1891 Kitchen
Here are my favorite restaurants in Mamaroneck:
Coffee: The Roaster Cafe or Espresso Cafeto
Lunch: Cafe La Fondita (tacos)
Dinner: Rani Mahal (Indian)
Pizza: Sal’s Pizza or Jimmy’s Pizza (Greek)
Desert: Boiano Bakery
What are your go-to places in Larchmont/Mamaroneck or in the area?
Here are my go-to places in Larchmont:
Nails: Coco Nails
Gift Shop: Village Mercantile
Catering / Local Food Shop: Larchmont Meatearia
Fish: Fjord Fish Market
Wine: Chit Chat Wine + Spirits
Housegoods: Foley Hardware Store
Here are my go-to places in Mamaroneck:
Toy Store: Miller’s
What are some things you don’t like about Larchmont? Mamaroneck?
I don’t love that almost everything closes on Sundays in Larchmont. While it’s nice to have a day of rest, it would be nice to have some more options of things to do or eat.
Are you a member of a country club/beach club/yacht club?
When we lived in Larchmont, we joined Larchmont Manor Beach, which is a private beach on the sound available to Larchmont residents only. This quaint little beach made for some amazing family memories. Given the lower price point compared to the other clubs in town, Larchmont Manor Beach often sells out the day it starts accepting applications. For us, Larchmont Manor Beach provided us with a comfortable place to spend time together, introduce Eloise to the water in a manageable way, and relax with their (should-be) award-winning Sangria’s on Friday night family night!
All of the clubs have a different vibe. I think it’s super important, if you don’t already have friends at a particular club, to tour them. Like picking a town to live in, you want your club to feel like an extension of your family’s values. After all, it’s where you’ll be making amazing family memories to come!
What has your experience been with schools in the area?
Eloise has been in daycare since she was 11 months old. While we did look at preschools in the area, ultimately, we have kept her in daycare, simply because the hours are much better.
Any advice I have on the Private School Admissions process would be very out-dated. I graduated from Sacred Heart Greenwich in 2003! I will say that one of the reasons we love Westchester (particularly Larchmont / Mamaroneck) is the wonderful Public Schools.
Do you or your spouse commute to New York City? What has your experience been with the commute?
My husband commutes into New York City about three days a week. I am usually in New York City once a week. While my husband drives (he has a parking permit in Larchmont), I prefer to walk to the train station when I go. It seems to me that regular commuters have their rhythm and generally know when to arrive at the station and where to park to make for a seamless commute. When we take the train from Mamaroneck, our local train is around 35 minutes.
Any advice you can give to someone looking to move to Larchmont and/or Mamaroneck?
I think it’s so important to find a town that aligns with your values. If you love to walk, find a town that has great walking trails. If you hate a commute, find a town closest to the city. If you value community, look for a town that offers events and opportunities to get together. Spend time in the town you are interested in – do your daily activities and weekend routines.
Since Larchmont and Mamaroneck are relatively big, with four elementary schools between the two, explore every nook and cranny. While the overall feel of the towns is similar, each neighborhood has its unique charm. Discover the one that is right for you!
You are working on a book. Tell me more about it.
I am currently in the very early stages of writing the manuscript, ‘hot mama’ – for the woman lost somewhere in between her pre-baby bliss and post-partum reality.’
“Hot mama is not a physical descriptor, it’s a vibe. It’s a pretty phrase that we throw on top of sleepless nights and dark under-eye circles like concealer. It’s a term of endearment, reminding us and our tribe of fellow mamas, that though we are not at our best, (ah, remember when?), we are doing the best we can. On a good day we have hopes, dreams, and aspirations about finding ourselves again before our final postpartum comeback – which, looks a lot like our lives before children – alone time, traveling, when self-care wasn’t a thing to do but a way of life – but much, much better. See any postpartum celebrity for inspiration. On a bad day we are four years deep in a walk down memory lane wondering where it all went wrong and if we’ll get back ‘there’ again.
My therapist has great one-liners to pull me out of the ‘but, before the baby’ rabbit hole. “You are exactly where you are meant to be,” she says, with a hopeful smile on her face. …But where are we, moms? We are in a state of limbo – caught in-between who we were and who we want to be, when we don’t even know who we are anymore. We are trying to find the acceptance, joy, and dare I say, sense of self somewhere in-between our pre-baby bliss and postpartum reality.
…This book has one intention. To let you know that you are not alone in this process. I’m with you. I’m with all of you – all types of moms with all types of parenting styles – because this book has actually nothing to do with motherhood and everything to do with reclaiming your womanhood – for yourself and you alone – now that you’re a mother.”
This is my story – a compilation of my many ups and downs, highs and lows, steps forward and back on my postpartum journey back to self. Our paths may look and sound different, but I hope you feel good in knowing that you are not walking on yours alone and that where you are headed – the road back to yourself – is exactly where you are meant to be.”
About Jen Aloisi Ham
Jen is an Intuitive, Teacher of Spirituality and Yoga, Lifestyle Writer, Contributor for POPSUGAR, and Author of her book-in-progress, ‘hot mama’ – for the woman lost somewhere in between her pre-baby bliss + post-partum reality. Previously, Jen oversaw US Marketing + Business Development for Sweaty Betty – women’s fitness apparel company. Jen holds her Masters in Counseling and Guidance from New York University, where she was awarded Valedictorian Commencement Speaker at Radio City Music Hall. Jen is based in New York, with her husband, Chris, their beautiful daughter, Eloise, and their lazy, cat-like dog, Bruno. She loves any workout that doesn’t make her sweat and savoring any meal by Sakara Life. She is currently ‘manifesting’ baby number two, whom she lovingly refers to as, ‘Rocco.’ Visit her website. Follow her on Instagram @jenaloisiham
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