Westchester is uniquely positioned to make the most out of summer. We’ve got sandy beaches, secluded lakes, and sweeping riverfront views. We’ve got gardens—and they’re in our backyards, not someplace where we have to pay an admission fee to see pretty flowers. We’ve got the country’s only government-owned and -operated amusement park—take that, Coney Island—which will soon also house a new children’s museum. Our restaurateurs understand that what we lack in sidewalk seating, we can make up for on our rooftops—and our relatively low-lying skylines give us incredible views from those roofs. And, of course, we’ve got access to the best hot dog ever put to a grill.
So, how do you want to spend your summer? Be it lying out at the shore, kayaking on the Hudson, road-tripping on the Thruway, or eating your way through the local alfresco offerings, we bring you 37 ways to enjoy the summer, none further than a three-hour drive.
For nine months of the year, we live by the credo of healthy, seasonal eating. When summer rolls around, though, we like to go off-diet. But we don’t just want any old hot dog or charred-to-a-crisp burger. We want to pull up to a roadside joint and indulge in a little nostalgia along with our cholesterol and calories.
For hot dogs, there really is only one destination, and it’s been that way since 1919: Walter’s Hot Dog Stand, which serves luscious split dogs—a blend of pork, beef, and veal, slathered in house-made mustard (any other condiment is considered a perversion). And for burgers? Kory Wollins, founder of Burgers, Shakes & Fries in Byram, Connecticut, understands that you don’t really need all that haute stuff to make a great burger. He also understands the virtue of staying local: his beef is ground daily in Port Chester, his buns come from the Rockland Bakery in Nanuet, he serves Freaky Dog Soda from South Norwalk, Connecticut. And he knows that they taste best when they come on a piece of wax paper in a plastic basket, not on fine china.
Walter’s Hot Dog Stand
Burgers, Shakes & Fries
Byram, CT (203) 531-7433
It’s finally summer, and we’re loath to spend a single second of it inside—even to eat. It’s time to investigate your alfresco options. Pull out the calendar and make a spate of reservations at some of these spots—and remember to request an outdoor table.
Hastings-on-Hudson (914) 478-2800
For years, Westchesterites have been relying on Harvest’s outdoor offerings as a way to cozy up to the River while nibbling on some Mediterranean fare. In addition to soaking in views of the Hudson, foodies and locavores like poking around the ingredient-laden garden (at least to get a whiff of the herbs).
White Plains (914) 683-1313
Who says pizza has to be eaten from the discomfort of hard, plastic booths? (Frank Pepe, we’re looking at you.) Take in the excitement of White Plains’s nightlife from above at Iannelli’s expansive rooftop deck. There’s outdoor, sidewalk-level dining available, too, but it doesn’t give you the same above-it-all exhilaration.
Le Jardin du Roi
Chappaqua (914) 238-1368
“Jardin” means “garden” in French, so, in the summer, why would you choose to come here and eat anywhere other than in the garden?
Le Fontane Ristorante
Somers (914) 232-9619
Didn’t get enough scratch together to go on that tour of Southern Italy? At least you can eat like you did, with a leisurely meal on the patio, feeling the soft breezes and admiring a fountain that’s just a little bit gaudy.
Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar
Byram, Connecticut (203) 813-3555
There are only 20 seats available on this buzzed-about eatery’s outdoor patio—snap them up! There, you’ll be able to see old black-and-white movies projected onto the side of the building next door.
Mamaroneck (914) 899-3130
Grab a seat under a wine-colored umbrella in the backyard patio so you can eat your sliders and salads alfresco. For those of you who like to linger—and we mean really linger—the patio’s outdoor fireplace and heat lamps ensure that you can remain outside long after weaker folk have decamped for indoor climes.
Port Chester (914) 939-3111
This year, tables on the “Tarry Terrazzo,” Tarry Lodge’s trellis-covered roof deck, will be the hottest seats in the house—the restaurant is offering a full menu out on its rooftop patio. With little street noise and twinkling village lights below, you’ll hardly believe you’re still in Port Chester.
Living in the metro area, when you hear the word “camp,” you might think of drag queens and John Waters before you think of trees and nature. This summer, bust that tent out of storage, pack a cooler, and head out into the wilderness. Yes, we’re talking a weekend getaway without Frette linens, rainfall showerheads, and Moulton Brown lotion in the bathroom. But don’t worry—we wouldn’t actually expect you to shed all the shackles of civilized society at once and head out into the woods with nothing but a tarp, a match, and a Swiss Army knife. Instead, we suggest you return to camping slowly—baby steps—by checking out one of our cushier, nearby state parks. Reservations can be made though Reserve America (800-456-2267).
Beaver Pond Campgrounds
Stony Point, NY
Distance from White Plains: 30 minutes Accommodations: Tents, trailers, and large vehicles Amenities: Picnic table, fire ring, comfort station, laundry, dumping site. The details: To get away without really getting away, visit this campsite, which is just a half-hour jaunt on the other side of the Tappan Zee. The campsite adjoins the Lake Welch Recreation Area, so you can take to the lake with other campers for swimming, boating, canoeing, and fishing. Plus, with amenities like laundry and showers, you’ll only be dipping a toe in to the camping waters.
Clarence Fahnestock State Park
Distance from White Plains: 40 minutes Accommodations: Tents and trailers Amenities: Picnic table, fire ring, showers The details: You’re a sportsman. You love biking and bird-watching, rainbow trout-fishing and rowboating, and hiking, hunting, and horseback riding. You can do it all—and then some—at this 14,086-acre state park. Come back in the winter for sledding, snow-mobiling, ice-fishing, and cross-country skiing. But that’s for another issue—until then, we recommend renting the rowboats.
Lake Taghkanic State Park
Distance from White Plains: 90 minutes Accommodations: Full-service cottages, cabins, campsites, and trailer sites Amenities: Showers, grills, pavilions, picnic tables The details: Pull your kids away from reruns of iCarly and take them here; in addition to a choice of two beaches, they’ll have their run of playgrounds, playing fields, and pavilions. On the way out, take a side-trip to Olana State Historic Site, a breathtaking Persian-style house built by artist Frederic Edwin Church.
Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park
Distance from White Plains: 90 minutes Accommodations: Tents, trailers, and cabins Amenities: Grills, marina pump-out stations, pavilions, picnic tables, showers The details: Consider this the campsite for those who don’t want to give up the finer things. Instead of schlepping all your gear in an SUV, you might as well pack the boat and cruise up to the park’s marina. There is also a bridle path for the horses and two nine-hole golf courses. Nobody said camping had to be rough.
We’re Americans, and, to celebrate the birth of our nation, we like nothing more than to watch things explode. Cookouts, parades, and flag-waving is all well and good, but the Fourth of July is really all about fireworks. To get a good view, when Independence Day weekend rolls around, stake out a spot (go early, bring bug spray) at one of these fireworks-spotting locales.
Photo by Gabe Palacio
Waterfront Park (914) 693-0024
Harbor Island Park, Boston Post Rd (914) 777-7754
Hudson Park, Hudson Park Rd (914) 654-2087
Playland, Playland Pkwy (914) 813-7000
Louis Engel Waterfront Park, Main St (914) 941-3189
Riverfront Green Park Route 9 and Hudson Ave (914) 737-3400
Port Chester High School 1 Tamarack Rd (914) 939-8291
Kingland Point Park Beekman Ave and River St (914) 366-5106
Kensico Dam Plaza, Bronx River Pkwy (914) 864-7000
White Plains High School 550 North St (914) 422-1200
Recreation Pier on the Hudson River, foot of Main Street (914) 377-6300
Note: Please call ahead, as some 2010 summer schedules were not available at press time.
Who says our love of things that go boom have to end when the Fourth of July does? Playland keeps up the pyrotechnics throughout the summer. Swing by the park every Wednesday and Friday for some more fireworks displays—because waiting for the next Fourth of July for more fireworks is totally lame.
It’s time to break out those homemade shirts with your carefully chosen, inside-joke-laden team names on them. But, as you practice your trash-talking in your bathroom mirror, cheering on your imaginary teammates, what sport is most deserving of your swagger? Sure, almost every town fields an adult recreational softball league, and you could also try your hand at basketball, soccer, or flag football. Those are fine, but if you really want to show your true athletic nature, there’s only one sport for you: kickball. Yes, the kind with the big rubber ball. Why? Because—as much as you’d like to deny it—after a long winter of sitting on the couch watching epic, DVRed TV marathons, your competitive-sports skills do not actually match your brimming self-confidence, so you’re better off sticking with a sport that elementary school children can be good at. (It’s just more fun that way.)
Big League Kickball
Purchase (there are also divisions in Nyack, NY, and Stamford, CT)
Cost to Join: $75 per person, per division
Games Held: Purchase College Athletic Fields, Purchase Number of Members Needed: eight/ minimum, 26/maximum; at least four women must be on the field at all times.
Even in summer, our lives are busy. Our social calendars don’t slow down just because the temperature goes up. When the frantic schedule of daily life gets to be too strong, block out time to relax—and there’s no place more serene than the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden. (Just getting there, through the sleepy streets of North Salem, makes you feel like you’re miles away from your Google calendar.) Feel inner peace as you amble through the stroll garden, admiring the pond and water lilies (often a spot for wedding ceremonies), waterfalls, and bamboo groves. When you arrive back at your starting point, refreshed, you can stroll around the museum to see Chinese brush paintings by the Oriental Brush Artists Guild—and check out the Silk Tree Café. Admission is $5 for adults or $4 for seniors; children under 12 are free.
Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden
North Salem (914) 669-5033
Look, we have nothing against ice cream. For us, ice cream in the summer is a staple—not a treat. However, when we get the urge to go a little wild for a cool dessert, we skip our daily soft-serve in favor of one of these sweets. It’s time to scream for…
Don’t dare call it ice cream—this cool concoction is creamier, thicker, and has less air than your typical scoop. Try Abbott’s favorite flavors, like vanilla almond, pistachio pineapple, or blue ribbon blueberry pie.
Abbott’s Frozen Custard Shrub Oak (845) 282-1761
Molto bene! The ice cream artists over at Longford’s have studied with the gelato makers of Italy to come up with this creamy, velvety confection. Those looking for a taste of the Old Country can find it in their Tahitian vanilla, hazlenut, or blackberry scoops.
Longford’s Own-Made Ice Cream Larchmont (914) 834-0207; Rye (914) 967-3797; Old Greenwich, CT (203) 637-0480
Or popsicles to you and me—but, then again, they’re so much more than popsicles. These are more like delicious frozen fruit bars on a stick—no high-fructose corn syrup in sight. And, when you get sick of standard ice cream flavors, you can come here to kick things up with treats like avocado, tamarind, or mango with chili.
Paleteria Fernandez Port Chester (914) 939-3694
Hmm, “water” and “ice” sound bland and boring, not cool and refreshing—that is unless you’ve had this Philadelphia import. (They’ve translated it to “Italian ice” for us Northerners.) Enjoy Rita’s mix-up of fresh fruit bits and ice in flavors like cherry, mango, and Swedish fish.
Rita’s Elmsford (914) 347-7482; Mamaroneck (914) 833-7500; Yonkers (914) 779-7482
When it comes to picking your own vegetables, autumn gets all the glory: there’s pumpkin picking, apple harvesting, and cider and doughnuts to enjoy afterward. No longer. Since 2007, farmers Larry and Marian Cross have put in a bid to make summer the best time to go a-picking. Their Amawalk Farm has become famous for its luscious “u-pik” raspberries (and they’ve got some pickable green beans as well, though that prospect is less likely to make your kids jump up and down with delight).
Katonah (914) 245-2319
The farm reopens to the public on July 4.
When you hit the beach this summer, you want to have a body that will fill your exes with regret. That doesn’t mean you have to while away your beautiful summer hours inside a sweaty, stuffy gym. Instead, work out in the great outdoors. Enter the Rye Boot Camp by the Beach, led by drill instructor—uh, personal trainer—Lee Sandford. Classes are held in Rye Town Park, but the class is not just a walk on the beach: “I write a new workout every single class,” Sandford says, “and we use circuit, interval, and ‘Tabata’ training protocols for maximum calorie burn and increases in strength and fitness.” Classes are $14 per hour, or $20 for single-class drop-ins.
Rye Boot Camp by the Beach
Rye Town Park, Rye (914) 473-3790
Oh, the 1990s. It was a decade when men and women dressed alike (both in flannel shirts and ripped jeans), when Kurt Cobain brought “alternative” music into the mainstream, and when Starbucks started its campaign of world domination. No one had heard of Twitter, Chatroulette, or BlackBerries—we were too busy watching 90210.
Do you long to return to those simpler times? Unless you have your own hot-tub time machine, the best you can do is take in a Broadway-show-length time capsule in the form of Rent, which opens at the Westchester Broadway Theatre on August 8. Sure, after the conspicuous consumption and subsequent economic crash of the ’00s, Rent’s themes may suddenly feel odd to us. (These characters are mad because their friend won’t let them live—for free—in his prime, Alphabet City bit of real estate? And we’re supposed to empathize with them?) But—admit it—back in the ’90s you grooved to “La Vie Bohème” and dreamed about living the life of an artiste.
Rent is also dear to us because of its myriad local connections: creator/composer Jonathan Larson was a White Plains native and graduated from White Plains High School; Adam Pascal, the original Roger, lived in Mount Vernon; and, of course, the character of Mark admits he learned to tango at the Scarsdale JCC.
Rent August 8 to September 25
Westchester Broadway Theatre, 1 Broadway Plz, Elmsford (914) 592-2222
When you get an itchy trigger finger, it’s time to head up to Patterson, New York. There, you can take advantage of summer’s fresh air and sunshine to run away from maniacs hell-bent on shooting you with colored pellets. Should such an enterprise appeal to you—we won’t call you crazy—Liberty Paintball has 350 acres for your team to scamper through try to find your opponent’s flag (without getting shot). You can hide in cabins, duck behind wooden bunkers, and dash up a ravine—but, in the end, you’ll probably have to take a shot, so aim high. It’s $30 to play with one of their guns, $25 if you bring your own, and paint must be purchased on-site ($70 for a case of 2,000 balls, $45 for 1,000, and $25 for 500).
Liberty Paintball (845) 878 6300
Ah, the pleasures of seasonal summertime employment: low pay for little responsibility. How did you make your teenage gas money—slinging burgers, counseling campers, or enduring the horrors of retail? Chances are, what you didn’t make in wages, you got in a summer’s worth of crazy, can’t-believe-that-just-happened anecdotes. We asked a few Purchase students to recall their most memorable summer jobs.
Summer Job: Riding instructor
Why a riding instructor? My dad owns a ranch.
What was the most memorable thing that happened to you while working on this job? Having to throw myself off of a huge runaway horse while we were trying to acclimate him to having someone on his back. Eventually, we caught him and everything was okay, but my whole body was sore for a week!
Summer Job: Umpire for Little League baseball
Pay: $20/game (games ranged 2 to 4 hours)
What made this job so interesting? I was a fifteen-year-old with no job experience thrown right into the shark tank. The Sachem Youth Advisory Group paid me as an umpire to officiate baseball and softball games for children who barely knew what the sport was about. The games took forever, and I had to deal with a constant array of arrogant parents who were certain that every call I made was wrong.
Most memorable moment? I umpired three playoff games in a row on one of the hottest days of the summer without a lunch break and still had to deal with a middle-aged father yelling in my face about a rare strike I had called.
Summer Job: Sales associate at an antiques trade show
What made this job so interesting? The eccentric customers. One guy was really into the occult and mysticism—something about the power of the pyramids, possibly having something to do with the Bermuda Triangle. I’d see this guy about every other week, and he always wore on his head this pyramid-type shape that looked like it was made out of wire. It was hard to keep a straight face around him.
Any memorable happening? Once, I spent a whole day trying to track down a stolen watch. We found out who stole it, but there was no hard evidence against him, so there was nothing we could do.
Summer Job: Working for Zenith Party Productions, a Long Island-based company that travels throughout the Tri-State area setting up carnival games, magic shows, hot dog stands, or costumes and things like that.
Pay: Between $55 and $80 for a five-hour job.
What makes this job so interesting? It’s different every time. One day you’re in a huge country club in Suffolk County, giving rich kids cotton candy, and they complain it isn’t good enough. The next, you’re dressed as Elmo, hugging kids in the slums of Philadelphia, who think it’s the best moment of their lives.
Kylie Jane Wakefield
Summer Job: Working as a waitress at a country club
Pay: $8/hr, no tips
What made this job so interesting? The pay was awful, and this job was sometimes the complete opposite of laid-back. But I’m also doing standup comedy, and this job gave me a lot of great material.
What did you like least about this job? The actual work, and some of the guests. One time I got hit on by a table of seventy-year-old men. I was nineteen.
It’s hot. You barely want to move, let alone think. But, no matter how tempting, don’t use the heat as an excuse to let your mind turn to mush. These creative classes will keep your neurons firing, even in the hottest heat.
Clay Art Center
Port Chester (914) 937-2047
Cost: $130 to $255 Classes: Sick of your cushy office lifestyle and looking to get your hands dirty? Sink them into mud at the Clay Arts Center, where you can learn everything about clay, from wheel-throwing to hand-building to making basic cylinders. More experienced students can try out teapots, sculptures, and glaze and surface development.
Hudson Valley Writers’ Center
Sleepy Hollow (914) 332-5953
Cost: $150 to $230 Classes: We’re sure you’ve got some stories to tell—you pitch them to us every time you find out we work at a magazine. Time to get your prose flowing. If you can’t commit to a whole class, look for one- and two-day workshops.
Katonah Art Center
Katonah (914) 232-4843
Cost: Varies by class Classes: The Center hosts all sorts of classes to get your creative mojo working, from drawing and painting to sewing and improv comedy. Our favorites: fashion illustration, silver jewelry-making, and stop-motion animation.
New York Dance Center
Ardsley (914) 478-8844
Cost: $199 Classes: It doesn’t look so hard when they do it on Dancing with the Stars, right? Dmitri and Svetlana Ostashkin—award-winning ballroom champs—can get you up and doing the tango, cha cha, foxtrot, salsa, hustle, or merengue. Making your brain and body work together to salsa dance definitely staves off the summer stupor.
Bedford Hills (914) 234-2197
Cost: $75 to $150 per class Classes: Wannabe chefs who don’t have time for a multi-week cooking class should sign up for a coveted spot in one of Rainbeau Ridge’s workshops. Classes cover topics like how to use cured or smoked foods in your dishes (June 16) to a “Battle of the Chefs” in which two industry vets create different dishes from the same ingredients (June 7).
Once the working backbone of our County’s manufacturing history, now the Hudson River is the place we go for a bit of respite when the work day is over. The biggest advantage of a reclaimed waterfront is that now we have a beautiful backdrop for our drunken revelries. When it comes time to tie one on, check out one of these riverfront bar scenes:
X2O Xaviars on the Hudson
Yonkers (914) 965-1111
Imbibe: The Bubble Love (Elderflower liqueur, blood orange, and Prosecco)
It says a lot about a restaurant when even the bathrooms have gorgeous views of the George Washington Bridge.
Dobbs Ferry (914) 693-4130
Imbibe: The Half Moon Cocktail (T.B. White Sand Rum, fresh grapefruit, fresh lime, and maraschino juice)
Head straight to the patio’s “Beach Bar.” There, you can take a sip of something tropical and stroll along the Hudson-side decks, watching boats lazily sail up the river.
Tarrytown (914) 366-4455
Imbibe: Steve’s Famous Bloody Mary (“So good that the recipe is copyrighted,” the menu boasts.)
When leisurely waterfront drinks just seem too lazy, head to the Striped Bass, where you can often catch a live band to go with your Hudson River vista. Check out the restaurant’s new Cabana Bar & Grill for burgers, hot dogs, and other greasy treats you crave when you drink.
Bridge View Tavern
Sleepy Hollow (914) 332-0078
Imbibe: The Twisted Spritzer (Grey Goose Citron, muddled green grapes, St. Germain, and chardonnay with a splash of soda)
It’s true to its name; you can certainly hoist a Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold while gazing at the lights of the Tappan Zee. Even better, though, is catching a glimpse of the oft-overlooked Tarrytown Lighthouse.
Ossining (914) 923-6466
Imbibe: The French Kiss Martini (Stoli Vanilla, Chambord, and pineapple)
Grab a spot on the patio to watch boats and yachts sail in and out of the adjacent marina. You can also glance across the river to Rockland’s Palisades State Park—or northward to the hook of Croton Point Park.
|Red Hat on the River
Imbibe: Strawberry Sangria (strawberry purée, Cointreau, vodka, fresh juices, red wine)
Red Hat is one of the county restaurants that started the whole rooftop-deck trend. And oh, what a deck: stake out a spot on the comfy couches for the best view of a waterfront sunset from Yonkers to Peekskill.
Neighbors, neighbors, how do your gardens grow? Unless you’re invited into your neighbor’s backyard, you might never know. Lucky for you, the Garden Conservancy scored you a backyard pass, through its Open Days program, to see amazing local gardens that aren’t normally open to the public. Entry into these secret gardens cost only $5, and the proceeds benefit programs such as the Rocky Hills gardens in Mount Kisco. Here is a schedule of this summer’s Open Days:
June 5: Gardens in Bedford, Briarcliff Manor, and Tarrytown. June 6: North Salem June 20: Bedford Hills, Bedford, and Yorktown July 25: Bedford Hills, Cortlandt Manor, and New Rochelle
Garden Conservancy’s Open Days
You shipped your little ones off to sleep-away camp, and now you’re getting homesick letters. Better send a care package, pronto! Believe it or not, tearing through a box of new toys, even if they’re little, really does make a kid feel better. (Oh yeah, and we’re sure your encouraging words don’t hurt, either.) When those first-week-of-camp blues set in, head to one of these stores for pick-me-up “bunk junk.”
Scarsdale Child’s Play LTD
Scarsdale (914) 723-4396
Coveted camp items: Tie-dyed signing pillows to use as summer yearbook-style keepsakes ($18 to $35); plastic clip cases to hold stationery and use as a lap desk for writing letters ($15); myachi hacky sacks to knock around ($8 to $9); head lamps for hands-free reading ($9.99).
Try & Buy
Pleasantville: (914) 769-2997
Coveted camp items: Light-up Frisbees to toss around after lights-out ($11); sailor-knot bracelets and glow-in-the-dark rubber-band bracelets ($3 to $5); “Coke and Pepsi” quiz and survey-filled books to start bunk-wide conversations ($8); extra-large rocket balloons that are fun to fill up and watch zoom around as they deflate ($4 to $15 with pump and balloons).
Picnics are perfect. They offer alfresco dining with no waiting around for a table, no BYO corkage fees, and no tipping. But a picnic need not limit you to a meal of PB&J and Nilla wafers (unless, of course, you want it to—no judgments here). We’ve scouted the best spots in the County for you to spread your checkered blankets and found where you should stop beforehand to load up your pick-a-nick baskets.
Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens
PepsiCo, Purchase (Pictured above)
Pepsi’s HQ offers vast expanses of open-to-the-public greenery for picnicking on immaculately manicured grounds studded with world-famous artwork. You’ll be dining in good company: Alexander Calder, Auguste Rodin, Claes Oldenburg, Henry Moore, and Isamu Noguchi. Pack a Lunch: Head for Casa D’Italia in Harrison to pick up fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, and other goodies imported from Italy. Then, maybe finish with some gelato (914-835-6370).
Tarrytown (914) 631-4481
William Paulding—the New York City mayor who built Lyndhurst mansion—was no fool. When it came time to pick a spot for his Gothic Revival mansion, he found one with unparalleled views of the Hudson River. And, for just a $5 grounds-only admission, it can be your picnic spot. Pack a Lunch: Mint Premium Foods in Tarrytown changes its offerings on a daily basis—but everything it dishes up, perhaps couscous or homemade hummus, is deliciously picnic-worthy. Don’t leave without tasting some of the cheeses—in fact, you can make a satisfying picnic out of the cheese here alone (914-703-6511).
Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Pocantico Hills (914) 762-0209
Where do you want to picnic? In the woods or by wetlands? In a meadow or by a beach? At this state park, your $6 admission gives you 1,400 acres of picnicking options. Pack a Lunch: Blue Hill Café offers the freshest to-go goodies around, including straight-from-the-farm salads, chewy homemade cookies, and possibly the best egg-salad sandwich you’ve ever eaten. Take a walk around the farm before you head off into the park for your picnic (914-366-9600).
Croton Landing Park, Croton-on-Hudson
The newest addition to the Westchester Riverwalk now offers two miles of primo picnicking spots right along the Hudson River. Bring a camera; this one is prime for photo opportunities. Pack a Lunch: Zeytinia Fine Food Marketplace in Croton-on-Hudson can put together a fine sandwich with its full-service deli. But brunch might be a better option, to take advantage of the shop’s fresh-baked muffins and cookies, artisanal breads, and 30 different varieties of coffee (914-271-5600).
The perfect summer requires the perfect soundtrack—a playlist you’ll listen to on every road trip, at every barbecue, and during every sojourn to the beach. It’s got to have that relaxed, easy summertime vibe and show off your diverse musical interests. We asked three Westchester-resident DJs to tell us what’s on their summer playlists.
Darren DeVivo (90.7 WFUV)
(1) “Grazing in the Grass” by the Friends of Distinction. “They added lyrics to the Hugh Masekela hit instrumental and came up with a song that’s the equivalent to a romp in the grass under a summer sun.”
(2) “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone. “This song conjures up images of an urban, carefree summer day, hanging with good friends on the stoop, watching some kids play ball while others romp through open fire hydrants.”
(3) “Keepin’ the Summer Alive” by the Beach Boys. “Written by Brian Wilson of the Guess Who and Randy Bachman of Bachman Turner Overdrive, this song features the late Carl Wilson on lead vocals and guest guitarist Joe Walsh.”
(4) “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago. “It’s songs like this that make me wonder how Chicago has yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
(5) “Summer’s Cauldron” and “Grass” by XTC. “Complete with the sound of chirping birds, barking dogs, crickets, and other insects flying by, these two songs drip with psychedelic imagery that put you right in the middle of a green field at a warm and hazy stoned soul picnic!” (6) Anything by Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66. “Their music, a mixture of light jazz, bossa nova, and soft pop, was like a warm, tropical breeze. I am pretty certain Brasil ’66 was a fixture on Austin Powers’ reel-to-reel machine!”
Dennis Elsas (90.7 WFUV and Sirius/XM Classic Vinyl; denniselsas.com)
(1) “All Summer Long” by the Beach Boys. “Summing it up as ‘T-shirts, cut-offs, and a pair of thongs.’”
(2) “Drivin’ Around” by the Raspberries. “It celebrates those ‘long hot days, catching the rays.’ Great power-pop from the seventies.”
(3) “On the Beach” by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. “This 1980s tune still works anywhere there’s enough room to lay down your towel.”
(4) “Summertime Thing” by Chuck Prophet. “This song sounds like a warm ocean breeze, complete with the waves rolling in.”
(5) “When the Sun’s Out” by James Maddock. “Recently released, it’s a ‘beach party’ forecast for 2010—and don’t forget the sunscreen.”
Scott Shannon (95.5 WPLJ and “The True Oldies Channel,” scottshannon.com)
(1) “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison. “I could listen to this song for hours and not get tired of it.”
(2) “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran. “This is the very first summer song I can remember.”
(3) “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock. “Skynyrd meets Kid Rock is an awesome combination.”
(4) “All Summer Long” by the Beach Boys. “If you’ve never heard it, you’re missing out. Go to YouTube immediately and find it.”
(5) “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful. “Nothing says summer in New York City better than this song.”
We hate to admit it, but not every summer day in Westchester is a beautiful one. Regrettably, we’re no strangers to long stretches of rain. The next time a thunderstorm cancels your outdoor plans, move indoors and host a summer movie marathon. Will McCord, producer of film programs at The Picture House in Pelham (914-738-3161), gives his suggestions for what to rent.
“You can literally feel the heat coming off of the screen in this gripping thriller about a cop who loses his gun, from master director Akira Kurosawa.”
Do the Right Thing
“The colors pop, the characters shine, and the heat and building tension are palpable in one of Spike Lee’s greatest films.”
American Graffiti/Dazed and Confused
“School’s out and cruising the streets couldn’t be more fun for these teenagers or for you as the audience.”
Dog Day Afternoon
“Based on a true story, Al Pacino is at his best in Sidney Lumet’s classic about a bank heist gone seriously wrong.”
“Kathleen Turner at her sexiest melts the screen and burns through William Hurt’s heart in this film noir classic.”
For where to find these tangy summertime treats, see “Main Course,”.
Ah, those glorious post-school, pre-camp days. The time when you can spend uninterrupted, 24/7 quality time with your children. Yikes! If those few weeks are looking pretty long and unstructured, try killing a day at one of these kid-friendly destinations. Quality time, yes; being subjected to The Wizards of Waverly Place reruns, no.
Greenburgh Nature Center
Scarsdale (914) 723-3470
Remind your plugged-in kids what nature is with a trip to this 33-acre oasis. Take them for a walk on the trail, an easy loop around a pond, then head inside to the Live Animal Museum, which features more than 100 crawling and scurrying specimens.
Groove Performing Arts
Larchmont (914) 834-3383
Catering to kiddies from birth through elementary school, these music classes and “jams” have parents and kids singing to original music, trying out some easy instruments, and dancing to the point that they might actually nap when they get home.
Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
Norwalk, CT (203) 852-0700
Meerkats moved in to the aquarium over Memorial Day weekend, and now your kids can come face-to-face with the mob. A viewing “bubble” lets kids pop up to see a meerkat-eye-view of the world, and windows into the underground burrows ensure that they’re on view round-the-clock.
Katonah (914) 864-7282
At Muscoot, you can find cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, ponies—and, if you can stand the cuteness, baby chicks, lambs, and piglets. Cute overload, indeed—and all for free!
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Norwalk, CT (203) 899-0606
Kids can come here to explore the rainforest or the human body, race model boats or read books, and take part in tons of hands-on activities. Special events each month focus on a different culture.
Quality time is great, but you can only take so many consecutive bonding experiences before “quality” time becomes “quick-tempered” time. When you reach your breaking point, it’s time to let someone else enrich your darlings for a while. Look into one of these skill-building summer camps.
Broadway Training Center of Westchester Performing Arts Camp
Broadway Training Center of Westchester
Hastings-on-Hudson (914) 478-5825
Ages: Kindergarten through 12th grade
Ship your divas here: Each summer, the Broadway Training Center of Westchester puts on one mainstage show after five weeks of intensive training with real theater professionals.
Circus Arts Camp
Solomon Schechter, Hartsdale (914) 923-4650
Ages: 7 and up
Circus Camp teaches everything a budding Big Top performer would want to know: juggling, balancing, aerial arts, trampoline, and clowning.
Historic Hudson Valley Summerweek Day Camps
Historic Hudson Valley (914) 631-8200
Ages: 9 to 11
Give your kids a taste of life in the 18th and 19th centuries at camps that’ll have them churning butter, making stone soup, spinning wool, punching tin, and cranking homemade ice cream.
Paul Green School of Rock Camp
Paul Green School of Rock, Bedford (914) 234-0418
Ages: 7 to 18
Students at the Paul Green School of Rock take rock music very seriously, studying how to play, perform, write songs, and record them. If they want to attempt a knee-slide, they have to learn that on their own.
Stone Barns Farm Camp
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, Pocantico Hills (914) 366-6200
Ages: Kindergarten through eighth grade
The littlest kids get to help out with farm chores, like gardening, egg collecting, and seed planting. As they get older, there’s more instruction so they can learn about food policy and the roles farms play in the food cycle.
Next time you find yourself bored and broke, check out one of the free, outdoor concerts on this (by no means exhaustive) list:
Dobbs Ferry Summer Music Series
Waterfront Park Dobbs Ferry
Jazz music performed Wednesday evenings, 6:30 to 8 pm, from the end of June through August.
Lunch at Lasdon/Midsummer Night Music
Lasdon Park and Arboretum Somers (914) 864-7268
Lunch at Lasdon classical concerts are offered on Fridays in July between noon and 2 pm. Midsummer Night Music features the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra on Saturdays in July.
Summer Breeze Jazz Concerts
City Hall Plaza Mount Vernon
Jazz and other performances held every Tuesday and Saturday, 7 pm.
Summer Sounds Concert Series
Hudson Park Band Shell
New Rochelle (914) 654-2091
Wednesday-night concerts at 7:30 pm in July and August are performed with the backdrop of the Long Island Sound.
Untermyer Summer Concert Series
Untermyer Park Yonkers (914) 375-3435
Saturday-night concerts feature music, dance, and more starting June 26.
The best way to experience the summer is upside-down. Or from the middle of an endless, 270-degree spiral. Or hurtling face-first towards the ground at 77 mph. Wait—why do we think that roller coasters are fun again? Check out the variety of heart attacks offered within a day’s drive:
Playland (Pictured above)
Signature Ride: The Dragon Coaster, a historic wooden roller coaster that dates back to 1929 and hurtles you into the open mouth of a waiting dragon. Taking a ride is an official rite of passage for every Westchester resident.
Coney Island/Luna Park
Signature Ride: The Cyclone. It may be more than 80 years old, but this wooden coaster still causes chills as it takes you through six 180-degree turns and drop after drop (the highest being 85 feet).
Signature Ride: The Zoomerang takes you through twists, turns, and loops, and when it’s finished, you do it all over again—in reverse.
Six Flags Great Adventure & Wild Safari
Signature Ride: Kingda Ka, which the park claims is the tallest, fastest roller coaster on Earth. The ride launches you to 128 mph (a world-record speed), then takes you through a lunch-losing 270-degree spiral.
Six Flags New England
Signature Ride: Bizarro, which not only takes you for a 77-mph ride, but also hits your senses with in-headrest music and fog effects.
Signature Ride:For the faint of heart, this park blissfully has no signature ride. Instead, find playspaces, jungle gyms, mazes—and a few mild rides—populated by all your child’s favorite Sesame Street characters. Okay, maybe a life-size Snuffleupagus is still a little scary, but that’s all you really have to worry about.
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
Signature Ride: Possessed, a U-shaped roller coaster that shoots its passengers up a 90-degree incline. (Yes, straight up.)
Barbecues aren’t just barbecues. True foodies see these genial gatherings as their own little Top Chef-style competitions. Sure, if you’re not the host, you’ve got no control over manning the grill. But who out there is going to challenge your supremacy over side-dishes? You want your hosts asking you for the recipe, not sending you home with a Tupperware full of your sad, left-out-in-the-sun-too-long leftovers.
We have a secret weapon for you, a kickin’ potato salad recipe, courtesy of barbecue masters Jeffrey and Jennifer Kohn of Q Restaurant and Bar in Port Chester. “Jeff’s mother has an annual barbecue, and one of the guests, a Southerner from Virginia, always brings this potato salad,” Jennifer says.
Q Potato Salad
(Serves approximately 8 people)
5 lbs red potatoes
2 red bell peppers (small dice)
2 red onions (medium dice)
2 bunches of scallions (sliced)
9 hard-boiled eggs (medium dice)
4 celery ribs (small dice)
2 tbsp Gulden’s mustard
6 tbsp sweet relish
2 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
Cook potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain well in a colander, then lightly mash the potatoes with a fork. Let them cool slightly, then add all other remaining ingredients. Toss and evenly distribute ingredients; salt and pepper to taste.
Q Restaurant and Bar
Port Chester (914) 933-7427
Road trips are about just getting in the car and driving. Everything you need should be in your vehicle: friends, snacks, and the agonized-over playlist. In the end, the destination doesn’t really matter. But eventually, you’ll need to find an arbitrary spot to get out, stretch your legs, and turn around. When you feel the call of the open road, we suggest setting the GPS to one of these day-trip destinations.
Walkway Over the Hudson (Pictured right)
Poughkeepsie, NY (845) 834-2867
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour
Forget the High Line. This is the really, really High Line. Formerly the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge—the world’s longest bridge at the time of its completion in 1888—the structure has been totally rehabbed and re-opened last fall as one of the longest, highest pedestrian parks in the country. Stroll the span, and you get unspoiled views of the Hudson Valley and the mid-Hudson Bridge.
Val-Kill National Historic Site
Hyde Park, NY (845) 486-1966
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour
Tour Eleanor Roosevelt’s family cottage and gardens, and visit the only National Historic Site dedicated to a first lady. The Roosevelts originally built Val-Kill as a furniture factory to teach young men a trade during the Depression, but when the factory closed, they used it as a family homestead. The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt NHS, the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, and Vanderbilt Mansion are also all within two miles.
Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
Essex, CT (860) 767-0103
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour, 45 minutes
When wanderlust really sets in, take a ride out here—where you’ll be able to swap your car for other modes of transportation. First, get on a coal-fired locomotive and speed down the Connecticut River Valley in a restored, classic train car. Then, disembark from the train at Deep River Landing to board the steamboat Becky Thatcher and cruise down the Connecticut River.
Lahaska, PA (215) 794-4000
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Think of it as Old Sturbridge Village meets Woodstock. Brick-lined paths take you to old-timey Colonial cottages, where merchants hawk their artisan wares (think handmade doo-dads, not name-brand items). If you find all the cutsiness grating, a short drive away is Penn’s Landing, an outlet mall with more of your standard selection of mall shops.
Peconic, NY (631) 734-6200
Distance from White Plains: 2 hours
Long Island’s wine-making scene is booming, and this vineyard is one of the largest: 500 acres, producing more than 70,000 bottles of wine. Tour the vineyard (tours leave daily at 2 pm), then head to the tasting room, where for four dollars you can try up to five different types of wine. Believe us: after two hours of driving on the L.I.E., you’ll need it.
If there’s one thing that distinguishes Westchesterites, it’s our contempt for everything about Long Island or New Jersey. It’s not that they’re inherently bad, it’s that they’re such a pain to get to. And, when you look back fondly on past summers, did you ever wish you’d spent more time sitting in traffic on the L.I.E. or merging onto bridges?
We understand the siren call of Long Island and New Jersey beaches. But you don’t have to pay a bridge toll to find a gorgeous stretch of sand, a sunny spot to sit, and a place to get soft-serve when you’re ready to go home. Here, the public beaches of Westchester and Fairfield Counties will make you wonder why you sprung for that EZ Pass.
Rye (914) 813-7010
The beach is only a fraction of the action. Even if you don’t care for the rides in the amusement park—and we pity you if that’s the case—when the beach gets boring, try the pool, play a round of mini golf, check out Playland’s Ice Casino, or take part in other similar retro pleasures.
Croton Point Park Beach
Croton-on-Hudson (914) 862-5290
In addition to swimming, you also can go boating and fishing in this 508-acre park. Schedule a visit during one of the festivals happening in the park—Clearwater being the most famous—and get a two-for-one on entertainment.
Glen Island Park
New Rochelle (914) 813-6720
Pack a picnic for the pavilion area, then do your best Gatsby impression and gawk at the fancy affairs going on at the (private) Glen Island Harbour Club.
Calf Pasture Beach
Norwalk, CT (203) 854-7806
If you think swimming is just so…pedestrian, come here to rent kayaks, windsurf boards, and sailboats. After you’ve worked up an appetite, buy a treat at the Stew Leonard’s Concession Stand.
Westport, CT (203) 341-1000
This beach has all the state-of-the-art beach amenities you can ask for: ball fields for baseball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball; a skate park and open skating area; concessions; and a pavilion—but we still like the simple act of walking on the boardwalk.
Sherwood Island State Park
Westport, CT (203) 226-6983
Shhh! When you visit this beach, keep quiet about it. One of its biggest draws is its crowd-to-space ratio—really, you can spread the whole blanket—and we’re trying to keep it that way.
Fairfield, CT (203) 256-3010
Your surly teens don’t want to be caught dead near your beach blanket? Bring them here, where they can hang out—away from you—at the totally remodeled skate park. Afterwards, they’ll be so pleased, they might even deign to come home in the same car as you.
Fairfield, CT (203) 256-3010
Along with your sunscreen and towel, remember to pack charcoal and matches to have yourself a seaside barbecue at one of this beach’s public grills.
One of the biggest advantages of living in this area is our proximity to the always-inspiring Hudson River. How sad is it, then, that we get the best views of the river when were commuting, and too harried to fully notice or appreciate it?
No, the best place to take in views of the River is from the River itself. Book yourself passage on one of these Hudson River cruises, and pity those poor saps who are stuck at the Tarrytown toll booth.
Hudson Highlands Cruises
Departs From: Riverfront Green Park, Peekskill Admission: $30 (children), $33 (seniors), $35 (adults) Duration: 3 hours
When you board the M.V. Commander, you’re not just stepping on a ship—you’re entering a landmark. The vessel was added to both the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1984. And with good reason: the boat actually served in World War I. If it’s tough enough for that, it should have no problems bringing you on a leisurely, three-hour cruise along the Hudson, where you’ll pass the Fort Montgomery battle site, the Bear Mountain Bridge, Highland Falls, and Garrison Landing.
The Tahiti Queen
Departs From: Charles Point Marina, Peekskill Admission: $80 Duration: 3 hours
Embark on this Mississippi-style paddleboat, and you’ll get more than just some gorgeous views. Go on one of their Sunday Brunch cruises—a good Father’s Day outing for you planning procrastinators—and you’ll also be treated to a meal on the high seas. On Father’s Day, you can dance off your big breakfast to a live DJ.
Hudson River Adventures (845) 220-2120
Departs From: Newburgh Landing, Newburgh, NY Admission: Free (children age three or younger), $17 (seniors and kids age four to 11), $20 (adult) Duration: 2 hours
This sightseeing excursion takes you on a narrated “best of” tour of all the River’s hotspots: Pollepel Island, Storm King Mountain, Breakneck Mountain, The Catskill Aqueduct, World’s End, Cold Spring, and West Point. Those looking for something a little more hands-on can find a trip that’ll tour the ruins of Bannerman Castle, a breathtaking Scottish-style castle built in 1901.
Boy Scouts and portable-grill BBQers may think they know how to make a s’more—but we call them amateurs. To get the gooiest, most delicious version of that perfect summertime treat, you have to call in an expert. In our case, that expert is Maria Valente, owner of Mamaroneck’s Chocolations, purveyor of all things sweet and tasty (914-777-3600). Here, we asked her to dissect her version of the classic s’more:
Forget Kraft and its jet-puffed nightmares. Valente spends two days whipping up her homemade marshmallows (made with corn syrup, gelatin, and sugar), which “taste fresher, and are also airier,” she says. “Store-bought marshmallows are too dense.”
Valente uses either dark or milk chocolate from Guittard, an American artisanal company, whose chocolate is “fresher and brighter-tasting” than European chocolate because it doesn’t have to be shipped across the pond. The twist: instead of melting the chocolate between the graham-cracker and the marshmallow, Valente dips the entire sandwich into the chocolate.
To get the proportions right, the marshmallow is cut to the exact size as the cracker. Here, the classics work best: it’s Nabisco Honey Maid graham crackers all the way.
If you’re an at-home (or at-camp) roaster, Valente offers this tip: go for that second marshmallow. “It gushes out a lot, and it’s messier, but there’s something that’s just more satisfying about having two.”
Like oh-so-trendy bicycling, kayaking is man-powered, good for your body, and affords a better view of scenery than you’d get from your car. If you’re thinking of trying it out, start with one of these beginner-oriented tours.
Atlantic Kayak Tours
Cortlandt Manor (914) 739-2588
Cost: $85 Tours: The “Annsville Easy” starts you off slow, with basic instruction, then a launch into the Annsville Creek in Cortlandt Manor. When you get your sea legs, you’ll paddle into the Hudson River and strike out for the Bear Mountain Bridge (a three- to six-mile jaunt).
Hudson River Recreation
White Plains/Kingsland Point Park (914) 682-5135
Cost: $79 to $89 Tours: Beginners can start with some instruction, then spend some time paddling around Half Moon Bay and Croton Point Park. When you finally get out on the river, you’ll be able to spot Teller’s Point, High Tor, and Hook Mountain (three hours).
Hudson Valley Outfitters
Cold Spring (845) 265-0221
Cost: $60 to $120, includes lunch Tours: The Little Stony Point tour is perfect for beginners, since it starts off with some on-water instruction in Foundry Cove. When you finally get paddling on the river, you’ll pass Little Stony Point (and stop for lunch), Storm King, Breakneck Ridge, and Bannerman’s Castle (four to five hours).
In a year that hit 90 degrees in April, who wants to risk spending a moment in fresh, non-climate-controlled air? Next time you get cabin fever during one of summer’s sticky, sweaty weeks, head to one of these blissfully frigid locations.
Empire City at Yonkers Raceway
Yonkers (914) 968-4200
This has all the cheesy appeal of a day in Atlantic City without the Garden State Parkway traffic. (Or the beach or the boardwalk, but those are located under the blistering sun.) True gamers might want to risk $100 a pop on video poker, but we prefer to sit by the penny slots and make fun of the other patrons. There’s live harness racing every day except Thursday and Sunday—but again, that’s outside, so you’re better off trying to watch the races from the indoor (air-conditioned!) Empire Terrace Restaurant, which overlooks the track.
New Roc City
You’re not the only one trying to keep cool this summer—your whole family is, too. Lucky for you, you can schlep them all to the same place for air-conditioned entertainment. At New Roc City they can run from bowling to go-karts to laser tag without leaving climate-controlled comfort.
The Cliffs at Valhalla
The Cliffs has all of the appeal of the great outdoors—only without actually, you know, being outdoors. Experienced climbers can attempt to scale the facility’s 13,000 square feet of terrain. Or, if you’ve never attempted to rock-climb before, you can try out a three-hour clinic here for just $40 per person.
Westchester Skating Academy
Elmsford (914) 347-8232
Ah yes—a bit of summertime entertainment that’s supposed to be even colder than your average air-conditioned digs. Group classes are taught year-round, and cost $198 for nine, once-a-week, 30-minute sessions (rental skates included). Who knows? You may even need a sweater.
Of all the cultural artifacts lost to new technologies—jukeboxes, phone booths, etc.—we miss drive-in theaters the most. Not just any drive-in theater, but the Elmsford Drive-In, which operated until around 1990. (It’s now a Sam’s Club.)
Apparently, this history of our precious drive-in is a common one. According to Time, at their peak popularity in 1958—the height of ’50s car culture—there were 5,000 drive-in cinemas across the country; by 1995, there were fewer than 500.
How short sighted is that? After all, who is more into their cars than Westchesterites? We spend all day in our cars; it makes sense that we’d want to get our culture and entertainment in our vehicles, too. Plus, at a drive-in, we also could partake in our second-favorite leisure activity—talking on our cellphones—without bothering other moviegoers. And yet, we’re the community that finds itself without a drive-in.
All is not lost. There are still a few drive-ins in the area that still let you see the stars under the stars. Plan a day trip that ends with catching a feature at one of these open-air drive-ins:
Fair Oaks Drive-In Middletown, NY
Warwick Drive-In Warwick, NY
Overlook Drive-In Poughkeepsie, NY
Hyde Park Drive-In Hyde Park, NY
During the rest of the year, romance (or a close approximation) can be found almost anywhere. But, when spring goes, it takes the college crowd with it, and bars that once were teeming with co-eds sit desolate and empty. So, where do you go and meet your summer fling?
There’s still one spot in Westchester that’s immune to the exodus of the County’s largest population of single folk. Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains is still open for business—and we mean business—in the summer, so strike up a conversation at one of these spots:
Black Bear Saloon
Go: On Thursdays, aka Ladies’ Night, for $3 drafts and $4 mixed drinks.
Elements Food & Spirits
Go: When the weather is particularly nice, to take advantage of the rooftop bar .
Lazy Boy Saloon & Lazy Lounge
Go: On Thursday nights—25-cent wings!
Porter House Bar
Go: Between 4 pm and 7 pm, when Happy Hour means half-price appetizers and $4 beer and drink specials.
Your kids don’t know what life was like before Twitter or text messaging. It’s time to give them a jolt. Take them to one of Historic Hudson Valley’s summer special events, and they can experience first-hand what life was like in the B.I. (Before Internet) era. It’s like time travel, with no DeLorean required.
Animals and Acrobats
May 29 to 31
Van Cortlandt Manor
Jugglers, tightrope walkers, tumblers, and raptor demonstrations show kids that you can be entertained without a single buzzing, blinking, electronic gadget in sight.
Hands-on Heritage Crafts
June 12 & 13
Van Cortlandt Manor
Next time your kids complain about their chores, show them what families had to do in the olden days. Here, they can make candles, spin wool, cook on an open hearth, churn butter, or try their hands at tin-smithing.
Independence Day Celebrations
Van Cortlandt Manor, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside
If your kids think the Fourth of July is a good time now, show them how they celebrated back when the Revolutionary War was still fresh. Van Cortlandt Manor brings you a version of the holiday as it was celebrated in 1800, with parades of costumed Colonials, patriotic speeches, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and military drilling and mustering. At Washington Irving’s Sunnyside’s 1850s holiday, you can play Town Ball, enjoy ice cream demonstrations, and try out some country dancing.
Van Cortlandt Manor
Bring kids to River Day to learn about the history of the Hudson, try fishing in the water, and even participate in making a boat. Landlubbers can stay behind for music, food, and storytelling.
From a Child’s Perspective
August 5, 12, 19, 26
Washington Irving’s Sunnyside
If your kids think history is stuffy, perhaps it’s because they’ve never been on a tour geared directly at them. This time, they can tour Washington Irving’s homestead with kid-friendly tours, an interactive scavenger hunt, crafts and activities, and period toys (though none are as cool as an iPad).
For more information, call (914) 631-8200 or visit hudsonvalley.org.
In Shakspeare’s day, setting out to see a performance of his plays wasn’t an entirely indoor activity. The Globe Theatre had an open roof, so patrons could still feel the fresh air. Today, do ol’ William justice by taking in a show of his en plein air. And, no, you don’t have to sit in line for hours outside of Central Park to do so.\
The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival has been performing the works of the Bard for longer than the lifespan of the original Globe Theatre (you know, before it burned down—whoops). Now in its 23rd season, the Festival presents a rotating series of three productions—Bomb-itty of Errors (a hip-hop adaptation of The Comedy of Errors), Troilus and Cressida, and The Taming of the Shrew—between June 15 and September 5. The plays are only half the fun—the scenery at Boscobel Restoration, where the Festival is held, is almost as entertaining. Arrive at 5 pm when the grounds open with a picnic—or buy one there (there are cheeky menu items like the “Beef Brutus,” a Caesar salad with grilled steak).
Shakespeare’s audience usually paid a penny to sit in “the pit” for performances. Shakespeare on the Sound, in Connecticut, does even better: its shows are totally free. This year’s production, Othello, will feature a brand-new score written by Passing Strange’s Stew. There are two places where you can catch the show: Pinkney Park in Rowayton, CT (June 15 to 26), and Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, CT (July 2 to 11).
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
Shakespeare on the Sound
Summer has barely begun, but there’s no excuse for not thinking ahead—especially when you have something to look forward to. In this case, we’re hotly anticipating the Westchester Children’s Museum, which is under construction this summer and will (knock on wood) be ready for its first visitors next summer.
It’s a bummer that the museum isn’t already open, but you can give your youngsters a taste at the Explore-a-Thon, an event taking place on June 13 to also raise money and awareness for the future museum. (Suggested donation: $75 per family.) There, kids can go activity-hopping along the boardwalk, visiting “exploration stations” modeled after future museum exhibits. For more information, call (914) 421-5050 or visit discoverwcm.org.