17 Things To Do In Southern Westchester When The Kids Are At Home

Leave the children at home and enjoy cultural offerings, scenic trails, upscale shops, and vibrant suburban charm at these Southern Westchester venues.

Whether it’s watching a top-notch performance, enjoying locally brewed craft beer, or embarrassing yourself at karaoke, this part of the county offers a wealth of activities guaranteed to keep your itinerary filled when you need some time for yourself.

Join the Film Club at the Pelham Picture House (175 Wolfs Ln, Pelham 914-738-7337; www.thepicturehouse.org), the oldest, continuously running movie theater in Westchester County, where you’ll be treated to screenings of not-yet-released movies, along with Q&A sessions with directors and actors in a series led by film critic Marshall Fine. If you get lucky, your show will be playing in the Screening Room, a plush space that feels like you’re sitting in someone’s gorgeous home theater.

Soak up the suds at Broken Bow Brewery (173 Marbledale Rd, Tuckahoe 914-268-0900; www.brokenbowbrewery.com), a 1-year-old and counting family-run operation where everything from brewing to canning to marketing is done on the premises. Tours, held Saturdays at 4 pm and Sundays at 3 pm, are free and packed with all kinds of interesting information. The tasting room offers up to 13 different beers, and though there’s no food, you’re welcome to bring your own or even order from one of the area’s local restaurants. Farther north is Captain Lawrence Brewing Company (444 Saw Mill River Rd, Elmsford 914-741-2337; www.captainlawrencebrewing.com) where you can see a craft brewery in action, and then sample some of the beloved brews in the tasting room (try the Freshchester Pale Ale or Liquid Gold). Tours are free and available on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm and 4 pm. (Private tours are also available.) 

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Sweat it out at SoulCycle (7 Popham Rd, Scarsdale 914-713-1200; www.soul-cycle.com), where the exercise is practically a religion. This energetic fitness routine combines inspirational coaching with high-energy music, leaving folks feeling better both mentally and physically. If getting physical outdoors is more your thing, try hiking the well-marked trails and paths line at Cranberry Lake Preserve (1609 Old Orchard St, North White Plains 914-428-1005; parks.westchestergov.com/cranberry-lake) where you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with a tranquil lake, interesting plants, a defunct stone quarry, and turtles, dragonflies, and migratory birds. For another easy loop, try the lush forest offerings at Saxon Woods Park (1800 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains 914-995-4480; parks.westchestergov.com/saxon-woods-park). Or opt for some historical scenery—as well as beautiful views from the ridge— at Silver Lake Preserve (Lake St, White Plains 914-231-4500; parks.westchestergov.com/silver-lake-preserve), a former battleground of the American Revolution and a stopping point for slaves escaping to Canada via the Underground Railroad. 

Who needs Fifth Avenue when the nation’s top shops are located in one central (heated/air-conditioned) location? The Westchester (125 Westchester Ave, White Plains 914-683-8600; www.simon.com) draws folks from all over the county and features high-end retailers such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Lululemon, and both Apple and Microsoft stores. For another shopping mecca, albeit outdoors, visit The Vernon Hills Shopping Center (700 White Plains Post Rd, Eastchester) where you’ll find Lord & Taylor, Gracious Home, Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, and Talbots, among others.

If doing your best impression of Madonna or Bruce Springsteen is your idea of fun, try karaoke at the Black Bear Saloon (166 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains 914-422-3270; www.blackbearwp.com), known for its drink specials and various theme nights. Karaoke is held on Tuesday nights starting at 8:30 pm. You can also show off your vocals with Thursday night karaoke at Pete’s Saloon (8 W Main St, Elmsford 914-592-2372; www.petessaloon.com) starting at 9:30 pm. There’s also live music on Friday and Saturday nights to jam the night away with a cold one.

The Reid Castle at Manhattanville College is the setting for the Castle Conversations speaker series.

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Manhattanville College (2900 Purchase St, Purchase 914-323-1277; www.castleconversations.org) is launching Castle Conversations, an exclusive subscription-based speaker series at the historic Reid Castle on campus. Experience a four-part series of unparalleled dialogue and cultural engagement; so far on the docket: media titan Arianna Huffington, newsman Dan Rather, astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, and biographer/historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

The Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Garden at PepsiCo headquarters (700 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase) offers a serene setting to stroll and contemplate. Aside from the art—there are 45 sculptures by such luminaries as Auguste Rodin, Henri Laurens, Henry Moore, and Alexander Calder—the lush landscaping offers the ideal place for a picnic or simply a day spent reading under the shade of a tree. (The Garden is closed for renovations through mid-late 2015.)

No need to schlep to Manhattan when name-brand performances are in your backyard at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College (735 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase 914-251-6200 www.artscenter.org). The center, known among locals as a “mini Lincoln Center,” features lectures, performances, classical music, theater and dance, everything from an evening with noted jazz musician Branford Marsalis to comedy with Mike Birbiglia of Public Radio International’s This American Life to singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega. Also located at Purchase College is the Neuberger Museum of Art (735 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase 914-251-6100; www.neuberger.org) where American, Mexican, and European master works are on display, plus a host of modern, contemporary, and African art, sculpture, prints, and photographs.

Broadway-level productions (dinner included!) can be seen at the Westchester Broadway Theatre

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See Broadway caliber productions—while enjoying dinner and cocktails—at the Westchester Broadway Theatre (1 Broadway Plz, Elmsford 914-592-2222; www.broadwaytheatre.com) where there’s a long list of comedy shows, musical revues, and original retrospectives. Recently performed titles include The Cast of Beatlemania, A Tribute to John Denver, and The Drifters Revue. Shows are also performed (minus the dinner and cocktails) at the White Plains Performing Arts Center (11 City Place, 914-328-1600; www.wppac.com)

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