I know, I know. Labor Day’s kind of a downer, an end-of-the-good-times holiday with a tiring name, and, by 2025, advertisers will be calling it the beginning of the Christmas season. But I’m telling you not to get down on it. Because it’s also a holiday of attractions with no waits, spa-like oceans, and juicy produce that’ll have you wiping nectar off your lips, cheeks, fingers, and neck. Just try these five things, okay? You can thank me later for making your end-of-summer better than (or at least as good as) its
Get Away, Romantically
To do this right, stretch the weekend past its natural three-day state and stay out after the kids are recalled to school (for many school districts in Westchester, that’s on Tuesday). Once they are, though, you and your special someone can enjoy the pool without cannonballs and water wings, the wine menu without asking for the kids’ menu, and no one has to go to sleep early to “get on a schedule.” Plus, it doesn’t hurt that hotels and resorts tend to have autumn specials that kick in once the Labor Day crowd has fled. The Doral Arrowwood in Rye Brook (975 Anderson Hill Rd 914-939-5500; doralarrowwood.com) has a Romance Package that includes a bottle of Champagne, sliced fruit, and breakfast the next morning, all delivered right to your room. If you want to step outside our borders, the Delamar Greenwich Harbor (500 Steamboat Rd, 203-661-9800; delamar greenwich.com) has the Romance on the Harbor Special, which comes with a choice of Champagne or wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, or a cheese plate, plus a bouquet of flowers and a rose-petal turndown, credits toward spa treatments and dinner, and more.
Check Out an Amusement Park
Or check out a museum, the ice cream store, or anywhere else that tends to be jammed in the summer. Because sometimes, you want to be the one doing the cannonball with vanilla soft serve still smeared on your face. And it’s that much easier to find your inner child when those places aren’t clogged with tourists, camp groups, and other people’s kids. The big local hub attracting our ids is obviously Playland (100 Playland Pkwy, Rye 914-813-7010; rye playland.org), where you can also get a $5 discount just for being a Westchester resident. (Admission normally ranges from about $10 to $30.) If you want something not necessarily available all summer long, try skipping over to nearby Orange County for the New York Renaissance Faire (600 Route 17A, Tuxedo Park, NY, 845-351-5171; renfair.com/ny) and get your fill of meat on a stick and obsolete pronouns. You can order your tickets—about $11 to $22—online at a $2 discount.
Despite air temperatures peaking in July, it takes longer for the world’s oceans, seas, and lakes to make it to balmy, so you’re actually most likely to find water with Jacuzzi-like temperatures during September and October. But, since you probably don’t want to go swimming on Halloween, this is often the easiest time to get both warm water and the toasty air temps that make the shivering scramble to the towel a lot more pleasant. You can visit parks.westchestergov.com/activities/swimming to see a list of county water destinations. A word to the savvy: Parking fees (usually about $5 to $15) go down after 4 pm at most pools.
Take a Hike!
Play a pick-up game or paint the house. Mid-summer is supposed to be the time to be outside, but the truth is that it’s likely to feel like 100 degrees or more when you factor in the humidity during the dog days. Wait for early September, when the temperatures are more manageable but the sun still sets (relatively) late. Despite not being known as a hikers’ destination, our own county has a number of high-up spots, including Anthony’s Nose in Peekskill, where you can get almost 1,000 feet in the air while looking down on the Hudson, the Bear Moutain Bridge, the Palisades, and the soft light of autumn.
And make sure to bring a picnic on that hike. Because Labor Day and the weeks following are, simply put, the best time for tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, peaches, raspberries, and dozens of other delicious fruits, veggies, and herbs, many of which are ripening right on local farms and available to you day-of-picking at our farmers’ markets. For produce, try the John Jay Homestead Farm Market (400 Jay St, Katonah 914-232-8119; johnjayhomestead.org/events/farmmarket.html), one of the county’s best-loved farmers’ markets. It takes place 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays through October 15. Find details on other county markets—and there are many—at communitymarkets.biz.