Best Bets

Very Verdi

One of the perks of living in Westchester is being only a train ride away from all of New York City’s cultural gems. For opera lovers, a trip to the Metropolitan Opera House is a pilgrimage to one of the world’s great centers for performance, but with steep prices and the best seats hard to come by, it’s also not an everyday reality. Instead, snag a $25 ticket and head to Connecticut’s Ridgefield Playhouse for an on-screen viewing of an encore performance of Verdi’s Aida at the famed opera house. It’s a fraction of the price, the view is always good, and the story is no less compelling. Still feel like it can’t compare to the real thing? During intermissions, the theater offers behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast.

Video Made the Radio Star

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Remember back when MTV was primarily music videos? In the ’80s, British pop band Duran Duran was a cornerstone of the channel’s lineup, and the videos for “Hungry Like a Wolf,” “Girls on Film,” and “Rio” became huge hits. Since their peak during the MTV-spawned “Second British Invasion,” the band has continued to record and release albums, including Paper Gods—their latest album, which will drop this September. Instead of waiting until September, kick-off August with one of two concerts by the group at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester.

Mischief in the Museum

If you have time to drive there, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is currently taking place at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, New York. Southern Westchesterites unwilling to travel for a show should head to the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers instead. Throughout the summer, the museum will host actors from the festival for special performances, like a 30-minute excerpt from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The adaptation—subtitled Bottom’s Dream—focuses on the character Bottom’s relationship with Titania, the queen of fairies. Written in contemporary prose with smatterings of Shakespearian language, the performance utilizes the galleries as a stage, and gives the work an interactive spin by encouraging audience participation.

Take Me to the Fair

A trip to the fair is a classic summer activity. And, as luck would have it, the state’s second largest county fair is at the Dutchess Fairground in Rhinebeck, perfect for a day trip. There are acres of gardens, thousands of farm animals, live music and performances by up-and-coming talent, agricultural exhibits, and vendors selling all kinds of wares. In addition to the traditional multicolored Ferris wheel, there are games and rides that will satisfy everyone from kids to thrill-seekers. Maybe best of all are the classic fair foods. Corn dogs, fried pickles, and milkshakes? Yes, please!

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Full-Moon Viewing

Spend a summer afternoon relaxing among the Zen ponds of the Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden, but once you’ve gotten your fill of relaxation, stick around for the annual Moonviewing Concert, when the gardens will be lit with large, white paper lanterns. After a performance of traditional music played on a bamboo shakuhachi flute, take another walk in the gardens to see it bathed in lantern light. You can also get a sense of Japanese rituals at a traditional tea ceremony or pre-purchase tickets for dinner on the grounds.

A Star is Born

It’s not every day that someone creates a constellation, yet that’s exactly what Hudson Valley-based artist Melissa McGill has done. Captivated by the ruins of Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island in the Hudson River, McGill envisioned creating an original cluster of stars above the ruins. Her installation, Constellation, features 17 LED lights that slowly appear over the castle, mimicking the lines of the structure and accentuating the missing parts of the ruin. Two hours after emerging in the sky, the lights disappear until the next night. You can see the installation any time, but on August 1, Hudson Valley Sloop Clearwater offers a special sail past the “stars” (departing from Beacon, New York) on one of its 18th-century sloop replicas.

Passage to India 

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Outside of the vindaloo at your favorite Indian restaurant, how much do you really know about Indian culture? Experience a sampling of the subcontinent’s rich and varied traditions at this year’s annual Heritage of India Festival at Valhalla’s Kensico Dam. Take in some of the traditional dancing and performances, or shop for art and colorful home items at the bazaar. Women can check out the mehendi (temporary henna tattoos that are an integral part of Indian weddings) or examine embroidered textiles at the fashion show. Of course, there’s also food. Sample dishes, like spicy curries, hearty dal, and flaky samosas, from the country’s various regions.

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

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