I was born and raised in Hastings-on-Hudson, and I truly believe there’s no place like it. Sure, that’s what most people say about “home,” but there’s something so charming about this 2.9-square mile village that I often tell friends and colleagues that they really need to see it to understand it.
Just a 30- to 40-minute Metro-North ride from Manhattan, Hastings is a pedestrian-friendly suburb where you feel the presence of New York City. In fact, if you head to the village’s waterfront, you can see the city skyline.
The New York Times described the Southern Westchester community as “hipsturbia,” due to so many creative professionals fleeing Brooklyn for the more affordable Westchester Rivertowns. But there’s nothing pretentious about Hastings.
Though there are plenty of artists, creative thinkers, and bustling coffee shops in the village, you won’t find crowded streets, never-ending traffic, or unfriendly faces in Hastings. Instead, you’ll find winding hills, a quaint downtown comprising only a couple of streets, and a welcoming community where just about everyone knows everyone.
So what do you do if you find yourself in Hastings for the day?
If you arrive by train, all you have to do is walk up the tree-lined hill to see the action. If you find yourself in Hastings on a Saturday in the summer, head right to the Hastings Farmers Market. It’s in the library parking lot, which is just around the corner from the train station, and you’ll quickly find that its slogan is true, it is the most fun you’ll have in a parking lot. This isn’t any ordinary farmers’ market—you could (and will want to) spend hours here. Peach and raspberry pies, fresh basil pesto, and sweet and savory crepes are only the beginning. You’ll also find live music, yoga, storytelling, cooking contests, and stunning views of the Hudson River.
If you’re visiting on a Sunday, you may be in luck, too. On the second Sunday of every month, the Hastings Flea takes over the train station parking lot with crafts, music, and food from all around the Hudson Valley. There, you can pick up handcrafted jewelry or vintage furniture.
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Harvest-on-Hudson, pictured above, affords patrons a beautiful view of the mighty Hudson.
Next, you’ll want to explore Warburton Avenue, which is just a three-minute walk from the library and home to some of the better independent shops Hastings has to offer. As you walk up the hill and head left on Warburton, check out the stores in the Movie House Mews, a theater which was once a favorite of town resident Billie Burke (the good witch from The Wizard of Oz) in the 1920s. There you’ll find D. Thomas Fine Miniatures, a store brimming with artisan dollhouses and fine-scale collectibles. The shop even offers artisan-led workshops where you can learn to make miniatures straight from the pros. Grab a pick-me-up at Antoinette’s Patisserie down the street.
Looking for a treat? Check out By the Way, a gluten-free and dairy-free bakery across the street. Almond cookies, banana walnut muffins, red velvet cupcakes—there’s no shortage of sweets here. This was the first place I realized chocolate brownies don’t need to contain gluten or dairy to be absolutely amazing. As you make your way toward Main Street, stroll over to Suburban Renewal for unique finds. The store has two floors filled with antique furniture and vintage collectibles from the 1800s to mid-century modern and a full section of fair trade items.
If you’re looking for some outdoor action for the kids, Reynolds Field has a basketball court, a track, and a big playground. It’s also right next to the Old Croton Aqueduct entrance, if you’re looking for a scenic trail to walk or bike (you can rent bikes at Hastings Velo).
For an outdoor scene with a river view, head down the hill behind the train station to the scenic MacEachron Waterfront Park and Kinnally Cove, where you’ll have a breathtaking view of the Hudson River, Palisades, and Manhattan skyline. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. I recommend picking up food at either the farmers’ market or French Press Cafe, which has a selection of salads and sandwiches. There are benches along the water, a playground for the kids, and kayaks rentals if you’re up for an adventure.