Life in Rye: 26 Things You Should Know, from A – Z

Welcome to Rye!

Congratulations on one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. As a Rye resident, you have access to top notch schools, great food, waterfront recreation, arts and culture, and a warm and welcoming community.

As you settle into your new hometown, you may have many questions about where to go, how to get around, and what to do in your new hometown.

I’ve called Rye home for over 25 years and feel uniquely qualified to offer some tips on this very special place to live. My children attended Rye public schools and I’ve been a very active member of the community (details here!)

I’m happy to offer a list of extensive resources for you to find answers to some of those questions! You’ll find links to important government, education, recreation, and community resources here.

Fiona Dogan’s ABCs of what every Rye Newcomer Needs to Know

For a more personal look at what I love about Rye, here’s a list from A to Z for you to discover what makes Rye such a special place:

A is for Arcade Books, Rye’s only independent bookstore. In operation for over 30 years, it’s a local favorite. A is also for the Rye Arts Center, a terrific community resource for art classes and so much more.

B is for the beaches! Rye Town Park has 34 acres of beach and swimming areas (also known as Rye Beach and Oakland Beach) and Rye Playland Beach is backed by the boardwalk and amusement park. Plenty of space for frolicking and fun in the sun and sand.

C is for the croissants and other delectable offerings at Patisserie Salzburg, a European-style café in Rye. 

D is for our lively downtown Purchase Street, lined with upscale shops for and restaurants. It’s also the site of many wonderful events put on by our active Chamber of Commerce, including the annual Sidewalk Sale and Mistletoe Magic.

E is for the Expat Connection, a terrific resource for the community of expatriates from other countries who now live in Rye.

F is for Frankie and Johnnie’s, Rye’s fabled steakhouse that is just a short walk from the Metro North train—perfect for dinner and drinks on the way home!

G is for the city-owned Rye Golf Club, home to a challenging 18-hole course with spectacular views of the Long Island Sound and an Olympic sized swimming pool.

H is for the hometown feeling you have when you live in this tight-knit community that is so warm and welcoming.

I is for indoor ice skating at the Playland Ice Casino, which offers a nice schedule of public skating time.  

J is for the Jay Heritage Center, the historic landmark home of American Founding Father, John Jay. An active museum, educational programs and historical tours are all offered here.  

K is for kid-friendly! There’s no community more suited to family-life than Rye! With top-notch schools, kid-friendly restaurants, waterfront fun, easy hiking, and a walkable downtown. Life’s a beach!

L is for Longford’s Ice Cream, simply the best! Small batch, premium ice cream for the past 26 years in downtown Rye.

M is for the 5.5 miles of pristine Long Island Sound shoreline you have access to, now that you live in Rye!

N is for Rye’s Nature Center, a wildlife preserve offering hiking, recreation, and educational programs and special events throughout the year.  And the Rye Newcomers Club — and excellent resource!

O is for oyster bar, as in Ruby’s Oyster Bar, a Rye mainstay serving up delicious steak, seafood and so much more in a chic and comfy setting.  

P is for Rye Playland, the historic art deco amusement park home to Westchester’s famous Dragon Coaster. Hours of entertainment!

Q is for all of your real estate questions I’m happy to answer! Just email me at

R is for our fabulous recreation department, which hosts several community events throughout the year including summer concert series, magic shows, Shakespeare in the Park, October Fall Festial, and much more.

S is for schools — Rye is home to two top-ranked public school districts, Rye Neck and Rye City school districts.  

T is for our beautiful 62-acre Rye Town Park with verdant spaces for relaxing and shoreline for swimming and historically significant buildings and structures.

U is for the dozens of upscale shops on Purchase Street which offer everything from clothing and home décor to wine, fresh produce and prepared food.

V is for very close to New York City! Whether you’re doing the daily commute or just popping into the city for dinner and a show, you’ll appreciate the quick trip in and back.

W is for the Wainwright House, a beautiful mansion that houses health, wellness, spiritual, and ecological centers. A great place to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit!

X is for the eXcellent opportunities to volunteer in and around Rye. From getting involved in your children’s schools to joining a community organization such as the philanthropic Woman’s Club of Rye, there are several ways to give back to your new community.

Y is for the Rye YMCA, an important community organization offering exercise, swim, and sport programs, in addition to arts and community health programs. They host birthday parties, too!

Z is for Zoltar, the fortune-telling machine on the Rye Playland Beach Boardwalk where the 1988 fantasy comedy “Big,” starring Tom Hanks, was filmed.

Selling Your Parents’ Home? Here Are the Steps to Take

Selling a loved one’s home is a task many of us will face in our lifetime. Whatever the circumstances — you may be helping your parents transition to senior living, or handling their estate after death — the responsibility may be challenging.

To start, the sale of a childhood home triggers emotions and memories that would not be true of another home. Those pencil marks on the wall show how much you grew year to year; the scratch in the hardwood floor reminds you of the time you played hockey in the dining room. Plus, you may be emotionally drained because of the circumstances, and the real estate process can add to that stress.

But help is on the way! Working with an experienced real estate professional can help bring peace of mind and ease the stress of selling your parent’s home.

Four Tips for Selling Your Parent’s Home

  1. Gather important documents. You may have already had the conversation with your parents about important papers related to their home, including insurance documents, homeowner’s policy, and bank accounts. If not, be prepared to gather everything you need and put it in one place. You may want to change mail delivery to your home to ensure you receive any important updates.
  2. Take an inventory of the home. Categorizing helps: sort things according to what you, a sibling, or a neighbor may want to keep, what you will donate, and what can be trashed. Of course, that is easier said than done when it comes to your parent’s belongings. If that is the case, consider hiring professional appraisers to help establish the value of items.
  3. Pare down or purge! You may view the home and reflect on the lovely life lived there, but buyers will just see someone else’s belongings. Buyers won’t be interested in the majority of the items in the home, so ideally, you should purge most of them. After determining the value of furniture, clothing, and jewelry, arrange for the delivery of or disposal of the home’s possessions. For hazardous materials (fertilizer, chemicals, leftover paint) check with your town or local carting facility. A real estate professional can help decide what to keep for staging the home for sale.
  4. Get the home ready for market. Now that you’ve pared down the home’s interior it’s time to get the house ready for buyers to view. If the home was purchased 30 or 40 years ago, chances are the décor (paint, wallpaper, carpet) is outdated. If your parents were infirm prior to their move or death, there may be underlying structural issues that need to be addressed. A real estate professional can assess what needs to be updated or fixed prior to putting the house up for sale.

Saying goodbye to a home you and your parents have lived in for decades is hard. But selling it doesn’t have to be. Real estate agents can help you every step of the way, from providing referrals for services and staging the home for sale, to establishing the right price and negotiating the best deal.



Fiona Dogan Joins Prestigious Sotheby’s Producers Club

Dogan Now Ranked Among Top 3% of All Agents

Here’s some very good news for home buyers and sellers who are searching for a trusted real estate professional.

Realtor Fiona Dogan was invited to join the William Pitt Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty 2018 Producer’s Club, signifying that she ranks among the top three percent of all agents across the entire company. This impressive distinction places her among the top 30 brokers across 26 brokerage offices in Westchester County, Connecticut, and Massachusetts!

“The recognition is terrific, of course,” says Dogan. “But even more rewarding is knowing how many clients I’ve helped find a perfect home, or find the buyer that is just right for their property.”

As real estate decisions are among the most important financial and lifestyle decisions people make, it is critical to have the expert guidance of a broker who has successfully navigated the local and global market, time and again.

Broad expertise

Dogan’s expertise includes new construction, home staging, and buying, selling, and renting homes in Rye, Harrison, Purchase, Port Chester and White Plains. She also serves international clientele looking to relocate to the area. Dogan offers concierge service to her clients, a differentiating factor that has helped her become a top-producing broker.

“I help my clients with every aspect of the process, from identifying homes that meet their needs and evaluating options, to negotiating the best price and understanding home inspection reports. I go the extra mile,” she explains.

Being affiliated with William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty benefits her clients in myriad ways, she says.

“Through our affiliation with Sotheby’s International Realty, we achieve broader exposure than any other firm for our listings. Coupled with my own extensive network, I’m able to assist buyers and sellers locally and around the world.”

The William Pitt Julia B.Fee Producer’s Club is the latest in a series of accolades received by Dogan, who was also named among America’s Best Real Estate Professionals by Real Trends in 2018. Brava!!!


Prep Your Home Now for Listing This Spring

What you can do now to get ready for the spring market

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market this spring, this is the time to get HGTV-ready!

As that popular show reminds us, today’s buyers are shopping online. So, you really need to make a striking first impression that stops potential buyers mid-scroll. Your home must dazzle someone who’s checking Zillow at 4 a.m.

Decluttering is no longer enough

Many homeowners are focused on tidying up, thanks to Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo, whose book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, has sparked a global decluttering craze. But in order to achieve that picture-perfect look, you can’t just clean out a few closets; you must downsize your entire interior.

Less is more! What to clear out? If you have five sofas and chairs in a room, get rid of two of them. Imagine moving in two weeks: What are you going to take with you? If it’s not on your packing list, get rid of it or donate it now.

After your purge, take a good look around and ask yourself: What else can you do to make your home camera-ready?

My advice:

Get rid of heavy drapes and valances, and anything with pattern, including wallpaper. No one likes busy patterns or dark wood. Besides, they do not photograph well. Photos of your home have to sparkle and standout online. Think bling! Think bright and white!

I recommend that walls be all white or a very neutral light color. Other simple investments you can make and do yourself include putting in new light fixtures, new door hardware, and all-white bedding including comforters and shams. These are inexpensive items that will offer a huge bang for your buck.

Curb Appeal Counts

Lastly, if the weather is mild enough (even mid-winter), tidy up outside.

Clean up the last of the fall leaves and twigs, tuck away outdoor furniture, cut back shrubs and grasses so they’ll grow back nicely. Nothing looks lush and green in the early spring market, but you can make your property look trim and manicured.

Fiona Dogan is a Licensed Realtor® in the Rye office of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. She is a Westchester Five Star Real Estate Agent, Platinum Award winner, and an Accredited Buyer Representative. For more information, please contact Fiona Dogan at:

Customized Renovations Can Be a Hard Sell

Are you thinking of renovating your home and adding customized, truly unique amenities?

If so, think again.

There’s nothing wrong with having a Turkish bath, Atlantis-sized aquarium, gold-plated toilets, rock climbing wall, or monogrammed tile floor in any remodel … if that’s your taste. But if you’re planning to sell your home (now or at any point in the future), such amenities could actually depress your home’s value and limit your pool of prospective buyers.

Better to think about modifications that will improve your home’s curb appeal and boost the sale price because most buyers don’t appreciate too many personal touches. If potential buyers don’t like what they see, they’ll start wondering what’s it going to cost to remove your customized renovations instead of visualizing themselves living in your home. And that could be a deal-breaker.

I’ve heard woeful tales from both buyers and sellers: One person’s eclectic masterpiece may be another’s cluttered nightmare. Where you may see dollars signs, someone else might see empty wallets. Therefore, the goal is to have your home as close to turnkey as possible.

How should you approach renovating your home?

Choose your amenities wisely

Here are some tips to consider when renovating:

  • Avoid lavish lighting fixtures and ornamental wall finishes. That ultra modern chandelier or stone wall may be on trend today, but out of date in a few years.
  • Skip highly personalized additions such as a children’s theater with a stage, elaborate home gym with a rock climbing wall, or indoor hot tub (which could lead to you taking a bath on your asking price!).
  • Think classic and timeless when it comes to color. Use neutral décor, with small splashes of soft color; avoid heavily patterned wallpaper, loud colors, or overly ornate cabinetry.
  • Go for uniform flooring. Hardwoods offer more resale value than tile or composite materials. Steer clear of custom finishes! A large nautical star in the floor of your entryway may appeal to the boat lover in you, but not to a potential buyer with Western ranch on his mind.

The idea is to help a potential buyer imagine what living in the house would be like.

When in doubt, ask a professional. A real estate agent can tell you exactly what renovations make sense and which do not, and share the benefit of their experience so that you make the right decision.

Contact Fiona at 914-417-5147 or



Top 5 Outdoor Additions to Boost Your Home’s Value

At this time of year, the outside beckons. As we spend more time outdoors, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to want to update their outdoor spaces with the kinds of amenities that duplicate what they enjoy in their indoor spaces. We’re not just talking about a gas grill on the patio; far more elaborate open-air amenities are on the rise.

For those looking to invest in their backyard entertainment spaces—and add value to their home—I’ve created a round up here of some of the hottest outdoor home trends in exterior design. From built-in barbecues and pizza ovens, to weather-resistant televisions and overnight mosquito sprayers, your outdoor oasis awaits!

Five Ways to Enhance Your Outdoor Space

 1.  Al Fresco Media Rooms: When it’s 80+ degrees outside but you want to catch up on your Netflix viewing, an outdoor media room is in order. Homeowners are opting to install retractable screens in covered spaces that both protect technology from the elements and ensure sun glare won’t interfere with what’s on the screen. (Game of Thrones, anyone?) Weatherproof TVs that can handle rain, dust, salty air, and humidity also offer a higher brightness and more reduced glare than many indoor products on the market today.

2.  Outdoor Kitchens: Cooking outside used to mean throwing some hot dogs and hamburgers on a charcoal grill. Now, gourmet meals can be put together in outdoor cooking areas complete with high-end appliances. Rotisserie grills, ceramic grills, deep fryers, smokers and even pizza ovens can be found in some of the more elaborate outdoor kitchens. Don’t feel like carrying all the dirty dishes inside for washing? Dishwashers now come in outdoor versions, with winterization features. Add to the list custom cabinetry to store your outdoor flatware and dinnerware and…you get the picture.

3.  Free-standing bar: Tiki huts or similar free-standing bars that offer drinks and entertainment separate from the outdoor kitchen are on the rise, too. They can be designed to offer views of the pool or landscaped gardens, and may feature comfortable seating, a cocktail prep area, beer tap, and cold storage.

4.  High-tech outdoor systems: When planning outdoor spaces, homeowners are considering heating and cooling systems just as they do for their homes’ interiors. Fireplaces, fire pits, and stylized space heaters extend the use of outdoor areas in the cooler months, and ceiling fans and cooling mist systems keep the cool breezes flowing on the hottest days. To keep insects in check, mosquito control systems can be installed that will de-bug your backyard overnight.

5.  Indoor-worthy furniture and flooring: If you do make some of these investments in your outdoor spaces, you’ll need comfortable and attractive furniture on which to enjoy your entertainment and meals! Sitting on your old weather-beaten wicker won’t cut it. Advances in the industry make it possible to have fully upholstered, weatherproof furniture that’s comfortable enough for the duration of a leisurely dinner or two-hour movie. And for feeling barefoot and fancy free, new eco-friendly deck materials both look great and will leave you splinter-free. (That said, bluestone continues to be a hot trend).

The key to enhancing your outdoor space is to ensure that the work is done professionally and the materials are high-quality and built to last. Savvy buyers will appreciate well-designed exterior “rooms,” which add to a home’s value as well.

Before starting any project, do your research. You’ll need to find a great contractor, understand the rules governing your property and the permits you may need, and know which features will help maximize the ROI of your outdoor living additions. With over 15 years of experience helping my with this process, I’d be happy to help guide you through.

Contact Fiona at 914-417-5147 or




Let Fiona help you sell or find your dream home. Contact Fiona at 914-414-5147 or email her directly.