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More Fun to Be Had: Westchester Magazine Editors' Favorite Summer Fun Activities

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In our Summer Fun feature story, we guide you through some of the best entertainment available in the County this summer. But that’s not everything—we list our all-time favorite summertime activities below. From the best nearby beaches, drive-ins, and amusement parks to bars where you can drink in a view of the Hudson River, we’ve got even more reasons to get out of the house and enjoy Westchester in its finest season.

» Find all of our summer fun guides, in full, here

From our 2012 Guide:

Gardens to Visit

Sure, we all know about (and love!) the PepsiCo sculpture garden, the grounds at Caramoor, and the Wildflower Island at Teatown. Here are a few notable public gardens that may not be on your radar—but are definitely worth a trip.

Hudson River School artist Frederic Edwin Church’s 250-acre estate, Olana, in Hudson, New York, (olana.org) is one of the few remaining artist-designed landscape gardens in the world. One highlight is the 165-foot-long, 20-foot-wide flower garden that curves along the stonewall leading up to the house.

Innisfree Garden in Millbrook (innisfreegarden.org) comprises “cup gardens,” a Chinese design concept that creates a series of garden vignettes tucked throughout the 150-acre property, allowing visitors to stroll from one scene to the next amid meadows, streams, and waterfalls.

Author Edith Wharton’s Berkshire estate, The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts, (edithwharton.org) has three acres of gardens including an Italianate walled garden (which she paid for with the proceeds of her first bestseller, The House of Mirth); a French-style formal flower garden surrounding a pool with fountain; grass terraces; a lime walk of linden trees; and a woodland walk.

Steepletop in Austerlitz, New York, (millay.org) is Edna St. Vincent Millay’s former estate with walled rose gardens, wildflower and rock gardens, and a spring-fed swimming pool. A poetry trail leads to the family gravesites.

The Climbery in Livingston, New York, is the largest private clematis garden in the world with nearly 6000 vines, along with specimen trees, peonies, irises, lilies, English rose gardens, and lotus ponds. Be aware, though: Viewing is by appointment only.

Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, New York, (stonecrop.org) features 12 acres of rock, woodland, and water gardens, along with an enclosed English-style flower garden, an extensive collection of dwarf bulbs, and an exquisite conservatory.
 

Biking

With gas prices north of $4 a gallon, you might be looking to take your old bike out for a spin again. But where to ride? We asked the experts—the pros at our local bike shops—for their favorite rides.

“There are three really good mountain biking trails in the area,” says Bino Cummings, manager of Hickory & Tweed Ski & Cycle in Armonk (914-273-3397; hickoryandtweed.com). “Sprain Ridge in Yonkers, Graham Hills in Pleasantville, and, my absolute favorite, Blue Mountain in Peekskill. It’s the place to ride. They’re not really for kids—they’re more aggressive.”

AJ Picarello, owner of Down Cycles in Croton-on-Hudson (914-827-9570; downcycles.com), couldn’t agree more, causing Stefan Pappalardo, the shop’s manager, to opine: “I try to get him to ride elsewhere in Westchester, but there’s no doubt that he could easily spend the rest of his life riding at Blue Mountain.” Perhaps it’s just a sense of pride—Picarello is actually personally responsible for the construction of one of Blue Mountain’s trails, aptly named “My Favorite Trail.” But, even without the personal connection, Pappalardo says, “Blue Mountain provides the most selection, distance, and variable terrain for all abilities.”

If you’re looking to take the kids with you, Steve Kahn, president of Danny’s Cycles  (Scarsdale 914-723-3408; Rye Brook 914-939-1150; dannyscycles.com), recommends the North and South County Trailway. “As part of the Rails-to-Trails project, this trail is dedicated to many forms of non-motorized transportation,” he says. “With scenic terrain, paved paths, and car-free riding, the trail network is ideal for family riding.” Kahn adds that Westchester is “home to one of the country’s longest-running race-pace group rides, the Gimbels Ride, which leaves Yonkers and heads north, covering a huge swath of our county.” You can find out more about the Gimbels Ride at usicycling.org.

Ilene Marcos, co-owner of Bicycle World in Mount Kisco (914-666-4044; bicycleworldny.com), has a tip for those looking for a little serenity. “Picking the right time of day to be on the roads will make them feel like they’re your own,” she says. “Avoid rush-hour rides.” But where to bike during those off-hours? “Connecting the reservoirs in the area—such as the Amawalk, the Titicus, and the Croton—is always a great ride. It’s hard to believe that we’re as close to New York City as we are when you’re taking in such beautiful scenery.”

Ready to hit the road? You can get out onto the trails even if you don’t have a bike—just rent one for the weekend from a bike shop.

Bicycle World
Hybrid: $30/day, $55/three days, $100/week; Carbon-fiber road bikes: $40/day, $70/three days, $125/week;
Bike racks: $15/day, $50/week

Danny’s Cycles—Scarsdale Location
Hybrid: $40/day, $120/week; Cross-country: $50/day, $150/week; Mountain: $60/day, $180/week; Road: $60/day, $180/week

Down Cycles
Hybrid: $40-$45/day; Mountain: $45/day

Hickory & Tweed Ski & Cycle
Hybrid: $35/day; Full-suspension bikes: $75/weekend
 

Kayaking

You’re gliding through the water along the twisting current, dipping one oar cleanly into the water on your right, then pulling hard and repeating on your left. You’re a little bit out of breath, but it sure feels good. There’s something so much more satisfying about kayaking than, say, sailing—it’s all personal achievement and no polo shirts.

To find out where to get that feeling, we asked David Hellerstein, founder of the Kayakers Alliance of Larchmont and Mamaroneck (KALM; kayakthesound.tripod.com), and John Clark, program director of Hudson River Recreation (kayakhudson.com), both of whom have been kayaking our waters for more than a decade. Here are some of their favorite spots.

On the Sound:
Dog Beach, Larchmont
Hellerstein, a Larchmont resident, says this is the most popular “put-in” spot in the Larchmont area. “Larchmont Harbor has a lot of little inlets and wetlands, and there are nesting areas, nice homes to look at, rock formations.” The catch, he says, is the weather, which can change quickly. “You have to keep your wits about you.” Experience Level: Moderate

Harbor Island Park, Mamaroneck
Although there’s a fee during the season, there’s also a boat ramp, which makes launching a little easier. According to Hellerstein, Mamaroneck Harbor is a deep, glacial harbor—up to three-quarters of a mile long—which makes it a mellow spot “for the go-out-for-a-half-hour crowd.” He adds that it’s great for people with simple kayaks, and even for kids. Experience Level: Beginner

Glen Island Park, New Rochelle
A Westchester County-owned spot, you need a park pass during the season, but it’s the best place to start out a trip to City Island in the Bronx, or even Glen Cove on the other side of the Sound. “That’s a really nice paddle, but it’s a shipping lane. You’d have to be out of your mind unless you go with other people and lots of safety gear,” says Hellerstein. Experience Level: Expert

On the Hudson:
Eastview Reservoir, Tarrytown
The former reservoir system near the Saw Mill River isn’t open to the public, but Hudson River Recreation is allowed to bring lesson groups there. “It’s good for folks who want to enjoy the water at their own pace,” says Hudson River Recreation’s Clark. “It’s a freshwater ecosystem with birds and ducks and turtles.” Hudson River Recreation also offers kayak rentals starting at $20 per hour, three-hour lessons for $99, and guided tours beginning at $69. Experience Level: Beginner

Echo Canoe Launch, Croton-on-Hudson
Located on a Hudson tributary, kayaking here gives you those Palisades views without the waves, wind, and boat traffic. You can also fish as you paddle by Van Cortlandt Manor, and rumor has it that the area was once used as the setting for one of the old Tarzan movies. “There are some areas with some rocky cliffs,” Clark says. “You don’t feel like you’re paddling so close to civilization back there.” Experience Level: Beginner

Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson
Around the bend from Echo, the sandy-beach launch spot and protected bay make this park somewhat unusual, according to Clark. It is a county-owned park that provides sweeping views of the Palisades. On clear days, Clark says, you can even see Manhattan. But he warns: Kayakers “kind of need the ability to fall out and get back in.”  Experience Level: Moderate

 

 
summer fun 2011

From our 2011 Guide:

Farmers’ Markets

The best meals come from the freshest ingredients—and the freshest ingredients come from local farms. But keeping track of when and where the county’s farmers’ markets are up and running isn’t easy, so save this handy list for when culinary inspiration strikes.

Chappaqua
Chappaqua Train Station
chappaquafarmersmarket.org
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May through November

Croton-on-Hudson
Municipal Lot across from Municipal Pl and Riverside Ave
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=30
Wednesdays, 1:30 to 6:30 pm, June through November

Hartsdale
Hartsdale Train Station
Saturdays, 9 am to 2 pm, June through October

Hastings-on-Hudson
Hastings-on-Hudson Library parking lot
hastingsfarmersmarket.org
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, June through November

Larchmont
Metro-North Parking Deck No. 3
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=24
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May 25 to December 21

Mount Kisco
Location not set at press time
(914) 923-4837
Saturdays, 9 am to 1 pm, year round

Muscoot Farm
Muscoot Farm, Katonah
(914) 864-7282
muscootfarm.org
Sundays, 10 am to 3 pm, May 12 through October

New Rochelle
Library Green
(914) 923-4837
http://www.localharvest.org/new-rochelle-farmers-market-M2900
Fridays, 8 am to 3 pm, June 7 to November 22

Ossining
Corner of Main St and Spring St
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=1
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May 25 to December 21

Peekskill
Bank St
(914) 737-2780
downtownpeekskill.com
Saturdays, 8 am to 2 pm, June through November

Pelham
Pelham Town Square
(914) 923-4837
http://www.pelham.ca/Residents/CommunityEvents/PelhamFarmersMarket/tabid/305/Default.aspx
Thursdays, 4:30 pm to dusk, May through October

Pleasantville
Memorial Plaza
(914) 923-4837
http://pleasantvillefarmersmarket.org/
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May 25 to November 23

Pound Ridge
Antiques & Tools of Business & Kitchen
(65 Westchester Ave)
(914) 764-0015
http://www.realtimefarms.com/market/pound-ridge-farmers-market
Sundays, 11 am to 4 pm, April 14 to December 29

Rye
Parking Lot No. 2 on Theodore Fremd Ave
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=8
Sundays, 8:30 am to 2 pm, May 26 to December 15

Pocantico Hills
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
(914) 366-6200
stonebarnscenter.org
Sundays, 10 am to 4 pm through November 17

Tarrytown
Tarrytown’ Patriot’s Park
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=9
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May 25 to November 23
 

Barbecue Redux

Sure, summer means fresh vegetables and ripe, local fruit—but we really just crave pulled pork, Carolina ribs, and brisket slathered in barbecue sauce. Don’t feel like manning the grill? Last month, we surveyed our local barbecue dining scene. If you missed it—or, heaven forbid, didn’t save the issue—here are the highlights. Bring wet-naps at your own discretion.

AJ’s Burgers
New Rochelle
(914) 235-3009
Though this may look more like a diner than a smokehouse, its super-secret barbecue sauce makes it rival any BBQ joint.

Bob-B-Q’s
Shrub Oak
(914) 214-8239
If you don’t have the time to make it to Bob’s Shrub Oak location, keep your eyes peeled on the road for its flame-detailed mobile food truck.

House of Soul
Mount Vernon
(914) 663-7685
The former owners of Yvonne’s make their barbecue with old family recipes before heaping large portions onto your plate.

Memphis Mae’s
Croton-on-Hudson
(914) 271-0125
CIA-trained chef Andreas Nowara, or “Ace,” packs just as much flavor into side dishes as he does in the entrées.

Q Restaurant and Bar
Port Chester
(914) 933-7427
Take the family to Q: On Wednesdays, kids eat free (with the purchase of an adult meal), and they’ll love drinking iced tea out of a mason jar, which they get to keep.

Sherwood’s
Larchmont
(914) 833-3317
If the ribs and wings here are your favorites, it’s because Sherwood’s has had a lot of practice—the restaurant has been in business since 1989.

Smokehouse Grill
New Rochelle
(914) 813-8686
Grab some suds to wash down that barbecue—the bar is stocked with local and craft beers.

Take in Art—Outside

Museums are fantastic, but not necessarily where you want to be on a gorgeous summer weekend. But your desire to be outdoors and your love of art don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Instead, bring a picnic lunch to one of these outdoor sculpture gardens. Take in the works of some talented artists and get your vitamin D all in one shot.

Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate
381 N Broadway (Rte 9), Sleepy Hollow
(914) 631-8200; hudsonvalley.org
Say what you will about the Rockefellers—they had an eye for art. Thank Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller for the 120 sculptures displayed throughout this estate. Find sculptures by, let’s see, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Pablo Picasso, and David Smith, among many others. Oh, yeah—the 2D artwork inside the house isn’t half-bad, either. Tours range from $13 to $23 for the “Classic” and other tours to $30 to $40 for the “Grand Tour.”

The Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens
700 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase
It seems antithetical to the principles of big business that one of Westchester’s largest corporations would offer access to world-class works of art completely free-of-charge, but that’s the case at the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Garden. Former PepsiCo CEO Donald M. Kendall sees Rockefeller’s Calders, Moores, and Noguchis and raises him Claes Oldenburg, Max Ernst, and Robert Davidson on PepsiCo’s 168-acre park. Forty-five monumental works of art take their place on the grounds. After you’ve scoped them out, if you haven’t tired of art, head across the street and visit the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College (914-251-6100; neuberger.org).

Storm King Art Center
Old Pleasant Hill Rd, Mountainville, NY
(845) 534-3115
Think 168 acres of sculptures are impressive? Try 500. With such a vast space, the sculptures are given room to spread out and be placed so they’re in perfect artistic harmony with the backdrop of the Hudson Highlands. The collection includes works by post-war artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra, and Richard Hunt, but the center garnered lots of attention in 2009 with the addition of Storm King Wavefield, a site-specific work of carefully calculated hills made to look like ocean waves, created by artist Maya Lin. Admission is $8 for students, $10 for seniors, $12 for adults, and free kids under five.
 

Water Parks

Your kids have waded in the pool. They’ve swum in the pool. They’ve played Marco Polo (a thousand times). They’ve even gone to the beach. Now they’re looking for something more exciting. So, pack them in the car and take them to one of these nearby water parks.

Great Wolf Lodge
Scotrun, PA
(570) 688-9899
Distance from White Plains: 2 hours
You needn’t wait for a sunny day to schlep the clan here; this 550,000-gallon operation is indoors. Though more family-focused, with a blissfully static “Fort Mackenzie” water playground, there are a few rides here for daredevils.

Six Flags New England
Hurricane Harbor
Agawam, MA
(413) 786-9300
Distance from White Plains: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Though the Six Flags of choice in these parts may be Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, Six Flags New England is almost equidistant and has a bigger selection of water rides. The Tornado takes you and two of your nearest and dearest through a funnel that’s 60 feet in diameter—talk about dizzying. Or, try to ride the crest in the 500,000-gallon wave pool—one of the largest in the country.

Splish Splash
Calverton, NY
(631) 727-3600
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Budget Travel chose this as one of the 15 greatest water parks in the United States—probably because it aims to be a little more thrilling than your average water park. Try the Tunnel of Terror: you’ll be taken on a series of twists, turns, and loops—all in total darkness.

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom
Allentown, PA
(610) 395-3724
Distance from White Plains: 2 hours, 15 minutes
When you’re riding the Aquablast, you’re 70 feet up in the air—this is one of the longest elevated water slides in the world, according to the park. Competitive? Try the Patriot’s Plunge, where you choose either the red, white, or blue slide and see who gets to the bottom first.
 

Take a Swing

There’s nothing like spending a day out on the links. But 18 holes of golf can be so time-consuming—and, let’s face it, you’re not that great of a golfer. There’s no shame in scaling back a bit and taking a couple of practice rounds on a mini-golf course. (Unless you call it “putt-putt.” That is embarrassing for all involved.) Leave your driver at home and perfect your short game on one of these greens.

Brookside Mini Golf
Yonkers (914) 557-5046
Cost: $7.50
New York artist Mike A. created “Freaky Dinkys,” brightly colored characters that pop up along the course, which is located in Tibbetts Brook Park.

Fairview Golf Center
Elmsford (914) 592-1666
Cost: $5
Fairview has two 18-hole mini-golf courses to choose from—the “Legends” course is reputed to
be a little bit harder than the “Masters” course.

Funfuzion
New Rochelle
(914) 637-7575
Cost: $8.75
Taking a cue from the popularity of galactic bowling, this indoor mini-golf course is lit by black light, so everything glows.

Playland
Rye (914) 813-7000
Cost: $4
This course, which has views of both the beach and the park, features a 19th hole for good measure.

Yorktown Golf and Baseball Center
Mohegan Lake (914) 526-8337
Cost: $5.50 to $7

For families with boundless energy, if mini-golf isn’t enough, this center also has batting cages and picnic tables.
 

Go for a Swim

Air conditioning may make us cool, but it doesn’t always make us happy. Sometimes we feel trapped, like hamsters in a habitat. Swimming can cool us off and help us celebrate our self-determination. Shake off the shackles of climate control by heading to one of these oases—and don’t forget your swimmies.

The best places to dip your toes in the waves between here and the Hamptons:

Playland
Rye
(914) 813-7010; ryeplayland.org
Distance from White Plains: 15 minutes
Fees: $3 (seniors); $3 (children 5 to 11; for pool, add $1); $4 (adults; for pool, add $2).
Open: Wednesdays through Sundays, except holidays.
After taking a spin on the Dragon Coaster, come to this beach to set out a blanket and relax.

Oakland Beach
Rye
(914) 967-0965
townofryeny.com
Distance from White Plains: 15 minutes
Fees: Beach access is $7 on weekdays and $8 on weekends and holidays for residents, and $9 and $10 for non-residents. In addition, there is a parking fee for residents ($8 to $9) and non-residents ($10 to $15).
Open: Daily, 9 am to 5 pm.
After a day of sunbathing, towel off and head to Seaside Johnnies, also located within Rye Town Park.

Croton Point Park Beach
Croton-on-Hudson
(914) 862-5290
parks.westchestergov.com
Distance from White Plains: 25 minutes
Fees: Parking fees only—$4 with park pass, $8 without park pass.
Open: Wednesday to Sundays, and holidays only, from 11 am to 6 pm.
For something different, eschew the ocean and take a dip in the Hudson River (it’s safe here, we promise).

Glen Island Park
New Rochelle
(914) 813-6720; parks.westchestergov.com/
Distance from White Plains: 25 minutes
Fees: Must have a Westchester County Park Pass or picture ID, plus $2 (seniors Monday to Friday), $3 (children 5 to 11), $4 (adult); $10 (adults without a park pass); season swim passes range from $75 to $200.
Open: Wednesday to Sundays, and holidays only, from 11 am to 6 pm.
Stake out a spot near the boat launch; there are 65 to 70 launchings per weekend.

Orchard Beach
Bronx, NY (718) 430-1825
nycgovparks.org/parks/orchardbeach
Distance from White Plains: 30 minutes
Fees: None—as with many New York City beaches, admission and parking are both free.
Open: Daily from 7 am to 7 pm.
This mile-long, 115-acre beach was once called the “Riviera of New York.”

Calf Pasture Beach
Norwalk, CT
(203) 854-7806; norwalkct.org
Distance from White Plains: 35 minutes
Fees: $15/car on weekdays; $20/car weekends.
Open: Every day from Memorial Day through September.
Practice your putting—there’s mini-golf on-site.

Compo Beach
Westport, CT
(203) 341-1000; westportct.gov
Distance from White Plains: 35 minutes
Fees: $20 per person on weekdays; $40 per person on weekends.
Open: Daily, 4 am to 10 pm.
Compo gives you reason to keep visiting even after the summer ends: dogs are allowed off-leash in designated areas after October 1.

Sherwood Island State Park
Westport, CT
(203) 226-6983
friendsofsherwoodisland.org
Distance from White Plains: 35 minutes
Fees: Weekdays: $9 for in-state vehicles and $15 for out-of-state vehicles ($6 after 4 pm); weekends: $13 for in-state vehicles and $22 for out-of-state vehicles ($6 after 4 pm).
Open: Daily, 10 am to 6 pm.
Bird-watchers can ignore the gulls and visit the birdhouse in the park’s nature center.

Jacob Riis Park
Rockaway, Queens
(718) 318-4300
nyharborparks.org/visit/jari.html
Distance from White Plains: 45 minutes
Open: Daily, 9 am to 5 pm.
Fees: None.
This beach—known as “The People’s Beach”—is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area and features an art deco bathhouse.

Jennings Beach/Penfield Beach
Fairfield, CT
(203) 256-3191
fairfieldrecreation.com
Distance from White Plains: 45 minutes
Fees: $15/car weekdays; $25/car weekends.
Open: Daily, dawn to 11 pm.
Jennings Beach is Fairfield’s largest, but the Penfield Beach Café is a better place to score a beachside snack.

Brighton Beach/Coney Island
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 373-5862
coneyisland.com
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour
Fees: None
Open: Varies but often daily, 12 pm to 12 am.
Head to Coney Island for a chance to check out the new rides at the new “Luna Park,” or choose Brighton Beach if you want to sample some Russian delicacies at one of the boardwalk eateries.

Jones Beach State Park
Wantagh, NY
(516) 785-1600; nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/10/details.aspx
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour
Fees: $10/car.
Open: Varies. At the Central Mall: Monday through Friday, 9 am to 7 pm; weekends and holidays, 9 am to 8 pm.
Check out who will be playing at the amphitheater before you go; you can hear concerts from the beach.

Long Beach
Long Beach NY
(516) 431-3890; longbeachny.org
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour
Fees: Beach passes are $12 and required for
visitors 13 and older.
Open: Daily, 9 am to 6 pm.
The historic boardwalk here was built in 1914 and was once frequented by the likes of Clara Bow and Flo Ziegfeld.

Long Beach/Short Beach
Stratford, CT
(203) 385-4052; townofstratford.com
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour
Fees: $10/car.
Open: Every day.
Both of these Stratford beaches are known to birders and are mating areas for piping plover and the least tern (as well as horseshoe crabs).

Rockaway Beach
Queens, NY
(718) 318-4000
nycgovparks.org/parks/rockawaybeach
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour
Fees: None.
Open: Daily, 10 am to 6 pm.
Surf’s up—this is one of the only places to go surfing in New York City.

Robert Moses State Park
Babylon, NY
(631) 669-0470; http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/7/details.aspx
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Fees: $10/car.
Open: Monday through Friday, 9 am to 7 pm; weekends and holidays, 9 am to 8 pm.
Feel free to really spread out; there are five miles of usable beach here.

 

 
summer fun 2010

From our 2010 Guide:

Drink in the View

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.

Half Moon
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.

Striped Bass
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.

The Boathouse
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
Irvington (914) 591-5888;
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.

Amusement Parks
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
Rye
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
Brooklyn, NY
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).

Lake Compounce
Bristol, CT
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
Jackson, NJ
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
Agawam, MA
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.

Sesame Place
Langhorne, PA
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
Allentown, PA
Signature Ride: Possessed, a U-shaped roller coaster that shoots its passengers up a 90-degree incline. (Yes, straight up.)
 

Drive to a Drive-In

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
 

 

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