Joel Griffith, Tivoli’s mayor since 2015, described the village as “unpretentious” and “authentic.” Having grown up there (his father was a philosophy professor at Bard) and having earned a master of fine arts degree from the college (he moonlights as a landscape painter), he is especially good at mediating town-gown relations. His administration increased penalties for noise violations and passed a nuisance gathering ordinance that makes it “difficult to have an ‘Animal House’ party,” he said.
“There are many, many boons to living three miles away from Bard,” said Mr. Griffith, singling out greater cultural and demographic diversity and a market for the businesses concentrated on Broadway, Tivoli’s main street. These include several restaurants, a community theater, and the art-filled Hotel Tivoli, owned by the painters Brice and Helen Marden.
But Bard is just a corner of his preoccupations. He is also working to develop the land along the Hudson where trains currently run. In 2010, the town bought three acres from CSX Transportation and has done preliminary designs for a riverfront park that would be reached by a pedestrian overpass above the tracks, offering a place to take in the dramatic Catskill Mountain views.
What You’ll Find
Part of the town of Red Hook, Tivoli is 27 miles north of Poughkeepsie and 16 miles south of Hudson off Route 9G. The location is something of a dead end, observed Adelia Geiger, a broker with Gary DiMauro Real Estate. “People don’t just drive up 9G, turn left, and go through Tivoli and out,” she said, explaining why she believes that Tivoli feels more like a working village than a tourist pit stop.
Second-home residents like Ms. Schwarzbaum, who spends half her time in the village, tend to put down deep roots and even become permanent fixtures.
Diverse architectural styles are found in and around Tivoli’s 1.8 square miles. Historic estates with river frontage and multiple outbuildings represent the grandest examples, even if they’re but leftover crumbs from the original properties held by prominent Hudson Valley landowners, like the Livingston family.
In these houses live Tivoli’s best-known part-time residents, including the Mardens, who own the 23-acre Rose Hill estate, built in 1843, and the publisher Jann Wenner; his is the 69-acre estate, called Teviot, built the same year. Such spreads rarely come on the market, Ms. Geiger said.
More modest and accessible are the peak-roofed workers’ houses on Feroe Avenue near Broadway, which date from the turn of the 20th century, when Tivoli had a shirtwaist factory and a gristmill. Likewise the ranch houses and condominium buildings in a subdivision northwest of downtown.
What You’ll Pay
Because of Tivoli’s high demand and small size (the 2010 census counted only 570 housing units), inventory is chronically tight. Five properties drawn from multiple listings were advertised for sale on Zillow’s website as of Monday. These included a six-bedroom house used as a rental property for students, at 101 Montgomery Street, listed at $245,000, and a three-bedroom Victorian at 18 Broadway, listed at $695,000.
The median sales price of Tivoli houses as of June 5, according to Ms. Geiger, was about $302,000, based on eight sales from multiple listings over the previous 12 months. The most expensive of those properties sold for $710,000.
Eight homes advertised for rent on Trulia as of Monday included a one-bedroom apartment in a condo at 9 Elizabeth Drive, listed at $895 per month, and a converted barn on an estate at 50 River Drive, listed at $3,600 per month.
Tivoli’s soil is notorious for its heavy clay content, but that didn’t discourage peonies and poppies from bursting out in gardens in early June. At the 18th-century riverfront estate of Edwynn Houk, a photography gallery owner, and his wife, Nancy Wu Houk, an art conservator and beekeeper, alternating rows of fruit trees and lavender plants provide a buffet for Ms. Houk’s tough Russian honeybees. And just south of the village border, in the town of Red Hook, an honor guard of vivid purple salvia lined up in front of Ham House, an 1854 Italianate Revival residence once owned by Saul Bellow that overlooks the 1,500 protected acres of Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area.
Tivoli children attend public school in the village of Red Hook, about seven miles southeast
Mill Road Elementary School serves about 800 students in prekindergarten through fifth grade. On 2016 state tests, 51 percent met standards in English, versus 39 percent statewide; 50 percent met standards in math, versus 43 percent statewide.
Linden Avenue Middle School serves 481 students in sixth through eighth grades. On 2016 state tests, 45 percent met standards in English, versus 37 percent statewide; 43 percent met standards in math, versus 34 percent statewide.
Red Hook Senior High School serves 677 students in ninth through 12th grades. On the 2016 SATs, the school’s average score in reading and writing was 540, compared with 483 statewide; the average in math was 544, compared with 501 statewide.
The village is about 12 miles from the Rhinecliff-Kingston Amtrak train station in Rhinecliff, N.Y. The trip from Pennsylvania Station takes about one hour and 40 minutes and costs $29 to $69 one way.
Trains on Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson line stop in Poughkeepsie, a 45-minute drive south. The trip from Grand Central Terminal takes about two hours and costs $18.50 to $24.75 one way.
In the 1790s, Peter Delabegarre (also known as Pierre de la Bigarre) acquired riverfront property next to Clermont, the estate of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, and planned a town he called Tivoli, after the summer residence of Roman emperors. The plan was never executed quite as he imagined it, and he eventually went bankrupt, but the name stuck. In 1872, Tivoli was incorporated with neighboring Madalin to create the village of that name today.