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10 Pros and Cons of Moving to Beacon, NY

Written by Leigh Cooper

Beacon is situated in the southern part of Dutchess County, approximately 1.5 hours by rail from New York City. The small town of Beacon sits snugly at the foot of Mount Beacon, with the Hudson River stretching out to the west. 

The Hudson Valley and Beacon in particular are experiencing a population boom due to the region’s attractive combination of small-town charm and proximity to New York City, making it an ideal commuter destination.

Here are ten pros and cons you need to be aware of before moving to Beacon, NY.

Pros of Moving to Beacon

1. You don’t necessarily need a car to get around

Beacon is a great place to live if you’re not a driver. Main Street is home to public transportation, supermarkets, and drugstores. 

While a car might be necessary to visit the dentist or doctor, you can probably have most of your needs met by exploring the Main Street specialized stores or ordering groceries online and having them delivered to your door by Instacart or another similar service.

2. The people are community-minded

Beacon is a tight-knit community where residents share a strong sense of togetherness and common purpose. Neighbors genuinely care for one another and rally around each other in times of need. There is a feeling of inclusiveness that welcomes people from all walks of life.

New residents will find no shortage of ways to follow their passions and meet like-minded neighbors. If there is not already a group for your particular interest, the community support systems in Beacon make it easy to start your own. From sports leagues to gardening clubs to gaming groups, if you build it, members will come.

3. Dia Beacon is a major attraction

Dia Beacon, a modern art museum housed in a former Nabisco box printing facility, has been a game-changer for the town of Beacon. When Dia Beacon opened in 2003, it put Beacon on the map as a destination for art lovers. Its location right next to the MetroNorth train station makes it easily accessible for day-trippers from New York City looking to explore the Hudson Valley.

Dia Beacon draws not just New Yorkers but visitors from around the world who come specifically to view this world-class assembly of art. For a small river town like Beacon, the influx of art-focused tourism has been a boon to the local economy. Galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and hotels have sprung up to cater to museum patrons. Dia Beacon, one of the biggest modern art museums in the US, has put Beacon on the global art map and continues to shape its identity and economic outlook.

4. Beacon has a thriving cuisine scene

Beacon’s food scene has blossomed in recent years, giving residents and visitors tasty options for every meal. For weekend brunches beside a waterfall, The Roundhouse’s farm-fresh restaurant overlooking Fishkill Creek is a charming choice. 

Homespun Foods cafe uses organic, locally sourced ingredients and has an entire gluten-free menu, plus a big selection of craft beers and natural wines. Beacon Falls Cafe puts a contemporary spin on classic American dishes in a cozy renovated factory setting. And Beacon Bread Company bakes its own bread and pastries to accompany morning meals in its cheery bakery cafe. 

As an après dinner option, Wonderbar at Story Screen movie theater serves artisanal cocktails and small bites in its lounge. From lazy brunches to pre-movie drinks, Beacon’s diverse eateries attract diners who are eager to sample the thriving food scene.

5. Each season comes with its perks

Beacon experiences warm, muggy summers with temperatures climbing into the low 80s at their peak. Winters bring cold weather and regular snowfall, with temperatures dropping into the 20s on the coldest days. The area sees regular precipitation all year long, averaging 30-40 inches annually. Spring and fall offer mild transitions between the more extreme summer and winter weather. Highs tend to be in the pleasant 50s and 60s during these shoulder seasons.

Overall, Beacon’s four seasons provide comfortable weather suitable for outdoor activities like hiking and water sports during much of the year. Summertime brings hot and humid days that are great for cooling off in the Hudson River or enjoying ice cream. The snowy winters allow for winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing in the surrounding mountains. The mild springs and falls are perfect for cycling, fishing, or taking in the autumn foliage colors outdoors. The moderate climate with all four seasons gives residents plenty of opportunity to take advantage of the natural beauty surrounding Beacon.

6. Beacon is a safe place to live

Beacon maintains relatively low crime rates, offering a sense of security to residents and visitors alike. The city sees significantly fewer incidents of violent crime compared to national averages. Beacon’s violent crime rate sits at 15.8 per 1,000 people, noticeably lower than the U.S. rate of 22.7 per 1,000. 

Property crime is also less frequent than in the rest of the nation. Beacon has 26.9 property crimes per 1,000 people, while the U.S. has an average of 35.4.

With violent crimes quite rare, and instances of property theft and burglary below national benchmarks, the numbers paint the picture of Beacon as a safe community with less crime than many other parts of the country.

Cons of Moving to Beacon

1. The job market in Beacon is small and limited

Beacon has a limited local job market, especially for remote workers. The town does not have a highly diverse or robust economy within its borders. Most employment opportunities are centered around retail, tourism, and basic services. 

Remote workers living in Beacon run the risk of not finding similar job opportunities if they lose their current positions. The options within commuting distance are sparse, and very few similarly high-level remote jobs are available nearby.

So if a remote employee does get laid off or needs to make a job change, they will likely have to expand their search radius significantly. Their best bet may be trying to secure another remote role, but even that could prove challenging. 

2. There’s little to no anonymity or privacy

Beacon’s tiny footprint and tight-knit community come with a lack of anonymity. In this limited area, you’ll run into people you know everywhere you go. You’ll keep seeing the same faces at the grocery store, coffee shop, brewery, trails, and even across the river in places like Newburgh. 

For those wanting an anonymous experience where they can fade into the crowds and not run into people they know all the time, Beacon does not offer that. The small size means you sacrifice privacy and blend into a community where everyone knows your name and your business, but some may find the fishbowl-like environment and lack of anonymity in Beacon to be a drawback.

3. Tourists can get in the way

Beacon’s economy depends heavily on tourism, which can make the small town feel overrun. During warm weather seasons especially, the crowds flock in from Thursday through Monday, and the swarms of visitors congest the compact downtown area. Lines get long, parking is scarce, and seating fills up fast at popular spots. 

For residents trying to run errands or enjoy local amenities, the constant influx of tourists can mean fighting through shoulder-to-shoulder crowds just to shop or eat out. The tourism-dependent economy brings in money for the town but compromises the quality of life for residents trying to carry out daily activities.

4. Beacon’s cost of living is higher than the national average

Beacon has a cost of living index of 118 and a median home price of $471,372. The annual cost of living for a single adult in Beacon, including housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and other essentials, comes out to $44,714. This is lower than the overall cost of living in New York State, which is $46,110 per year. However, it is higher than the national average cost of living, which is $38,433 annually. 

So while Beacon remains more affordable than New York overall, its cost of living is still pricier than many other parts of the country. Residents pay a premium compared to the national benchmark, even if they save a bit when compared to living in a bigger New York city.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Beacon offers a small-town vibe amid beautiful Hudson Valley scenery, with a thriving arts scene and restaurant culture. However, prospective residents should weigh the pros against the cons like high costs, tourism crowds, and limited job prospects. 

Individual priorities will determine if the pros outweigh the cons, or vice versa. Those seeking an inclusive artist community with direct NYC access may find Beacon ideal, while others may prefer more affordability and privacy.

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