Truesdale Lake Mark Abramson for The Wall Street Journal

In some areas of South Salem, a hamlet in northern Westchester County, residents say they can sometimes hear the howling of wolves.

Those wolves aren’t roaming backyards, but are in the Wolf Conservation Center, a not-for-profit organization on Buck Run Street. Still, the sounds of wildlife seem like a natural part of the rural atmosphere of this community, which still has horse farms, dirt roads and large tracts of open space.

“It’s a really bucolic, quiet town. It’s got a beautiful country setting, a lot of beautiful acreage, gorgeous country roads,” says Peter DeLucia, who has lived in South Salem since 1995 and is now a councilman on the Lewisboro Town Board. “From some backyards, you [might] think you’re in the Adirondacks.”

The hamlet, the largest in the town of Lewisboro, also enjoys many trappings of suburbia, including well-regarded public schools, an active local recreation department and relative proximity to New York City. It is one of six hamlets in Lewisboro, which also encompasses Goldens Bridge, Waccabuc, Cross River, Lewisboro and Vista.

Situated roughly 50 miles from Manhattan, South Salem is close to the Connecticut border and convenient to Interstate 684. Though there is no Metro-North station within South Salem, residents can drive to Katonah, Goldens Bridge or New Canaan, Conn., for trains that travel to Grand Central Terminal in around an hour and 10 minutes.

South Salem itself includes a variety of distinct areas. In the lake communities, residents pay an association fee and have access to Truesdale Lake and Lake Oscaleta, among others. There are also newer subdivisions with large houses and modern amenities, as well as older homes.

Horseback riding at Echo Farm Mark Abramson for The Wall Street Journal

“It’s affordable, though prices range all the way up to $20 million. It’s pretty, it’s rural, there’s a lot of greenery, yet it has communities,” says Mary Anne Condon, a broker with Houlihan Lawrence. “People like the diverse styles of the neighborhoods.”

Real estate in South Salem has a wide range of prices. Of more than 50 houses sold so far this year, the lowest price was $145,554, the highest was nearly $6 million and the median was around $518,000, Ms. Condon says.

By comparison, the median sale price in August for homes in the nearby Bedford school district was $835,000, according to data analyzed by Houlihan Lawrence from the Westchester-Putnam multiple listing service.

There are few stores and restaurants within South Salem. Oakridge Common, a shopping plaza in nearby Vista, has such amenities as a specialty grocery store and pizzeria, and more services are a short drive away.

Many in town are dedicated to preserving open space. In 2005, the Westchester Land Trust and the town of Lewisboro, with help from other groups, bought the approximately 370 acres that now comprise the Leon Levy Preserve, which includes wetlands and hardwood forests.

Children from South Salem attend Katonah-Lewisboro public schools. Student enrollment in the district has been declining, and earlier this year the Lewisboro Elementary School was closed.

The Lewisboro Library, on Main Street in South Salem, is currently undergoing a modernization and expansion, with facilities temporarily relocated to Spring Street. The library’s annual fair is one of the area’s most popular events, with vendors, entertainers and an old-fashioned flair.

Dinner at the Horse and Hound Inn, located in an 18th-century building. Mark Abramson for The Wall Street Journal

Other community gatherings include the Fourth of July celebration at Onatru Farm Park, a daylong event culminating in fireworks, and the South Salem Fire Department’s summertime carnival.

“We do a lot of things. Even though it’s a spread-out community, it’s also still a close-knit community, because we have different events that bring everyone together,” Mr. DeLucia says. “It’s a fantastic place to grow up and to grow old.”

Parks: Onatru Farm Park includes walking trails, ball fields and tennis courts, and the Onatru Preserve has a marsh, pond and camping area. Large county parks in or near South Salem include the 4,315-acre Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, offering hiking, lean-to camping and cross-country skiing, and the 1,082-acre Sal J. Prezioso Mountain Lakes Park.

Schools: The Katonah-Lewisboro School District, with around 3,500 students, includes three elementary schools, a middle and a high school.

According to state data, around 95% of students who entered high school in Katonah-Lewisboro in 2009 met or exceeded state standards for proficiency in English Language Arts four years later, compared with 81% statewide; around 96% did so in math, compared with 84% statewide.

Dining: The Horse and Hound Inn serves American cuisine in an 18th-century building. Additional restaurants can be found in nearby towns.

Shopping: Greenwich Produce, a gourmet grocery store, is in the Oakridge shopping center. There are more options in Pound Ridge, Ridgefield or New Canaan.