Summer officially ends on September 22nd, but we all know that it really ends around Labor Day. So with only a few days before the season goes kaput, here are a few things you simply must do.
Catch Some Rays at Rye Playland’s Beach
Just look at yourself. Go ahead… do it. Are you a nice golden tan like the rest of the beach-goers returning to the county on these final summer days? If not, we’ve got the solution to your epidermal deficiencies. The Westchester playground so many of us grew up with may be open through the end of September, but your chance to lay out the towel and perfect that summer bronze ends on Labor Day, when Playland’s beach closes. Hurry! Beach admission is $3 for adults, $2 for kids, and free for infants (Actually, leave the infants at home. We like a little peace and quiet when we’re finishing whatever John Grisham book we haven’t read yet.). Afterwards, go for a stroll on the boardwalk, where you can see the picturesque Long Island Sound and even enjoy the best view of the season’s last fireworks show (which starts at 9:15 p.m. on Aug. 31st).
Stock Up on Tomatoes and Corn at Community Markets
Sometimes, we like to be a little bit country. That’s why we know that it won’t be long before tomatoes go out of season (early September to be exact, according to Miriam Haas, director of Ossining-based Community Markets, which runs fifteen markets), so head over to your local Community Markets chapter, where you can get a fresh, locally grown batch of your favorite red veggies (tomatoes are fruits because they have seeds… right… but then, what the heck is a vegetable?). Want to set aside some of that homemade pasta sauce to feast on later in the year? The organization’s Pleasantville, Tarrytown, and Ossining markets plan to hold demos on canning and freezing (dates and times will be posted on the website as soon as they’re available). And soon, the super-sweet corn that takes a little bit of the sting out of eating your vegetables will disappear from the shelves until next spring, too (local farmer’s typically stop growing it in mid-September), so stock up! And don’t miss the corn roast on Sept. 8th at the Pleasantville farmers’ market—you’ll get your very own free husk of corn, and Westchester’s self-appointed Corn King, Pleasantville resident Pono Wong, will be on the scene to share his own roasting technique.
Close your eyes and picture yourself nice and snug next to your favorite loved one, gazing up at the stars and talking about summers gone by. Now go to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River—the county’s largest park, at 4,700 acres—for an evening of unobstructed stargazing on Sept. 8th, where you can live out the fantasy. The free “Starway to Heaven” event will give you a chance to see the planets and constellations with either the naked eye or through members’ telescopes. This time of year is optimal for viewing the Summer Triangle—the bright stars of Vega, Deneb and Alpair, which are each from different constellations—directly overhead, according to Paul Robinson, an astronomy professor at Westchester Community College. Also visible, he says, will be planets Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, and constellations Sagittarius and Scorpios. Go to the SkyMaps Web site and print out a sky map of the Northern Hemisphere to help you prepare for your star-studded evening out.
Dine on the Patio at Harvest on Hudson
We just love restaurants that make us happy to be in Westchester. We also like restaurants that make us feel like we’re miles away from home. Harvest on Hudson is just the place to achieve this magical mix of emotions. Situated in a most spectacular location on the Hudson River, Harvest makes diners proud to be from The WC. But with its Tuscan décor, Harvest also makes guests feel like they’re eating their tasty Mediterranean concoctions in the middle of Italy. Summer specialties at Harvest will soon disappear off the menu, so manager Steve Ali recommends trying the crispy ahi tuna, served with a Moroccan carrot salad with raisins and grapes; the Colorado lamb chop Milanese, served with arugula and tomato salad; or the raw bar’s harvest tower, which is a delectable mix of iced shrimp, oysters, clams, jumbo shrimp and Alaskan king crab legs, as soon as possible. Top it off with a mojito—Harvest’s popular specialty drink of the summer—and you’re sure to be making reservations for June 21, 2008!
Spend a Day at Rockefeller State Park Preserve
With its 1,100 acres of woodlands, meadows, wetlands, a lake and over 20 miles of soft carriage road, Rockefeller State Park Preserve is easily one of the most beautiful parts of our county. Before the brisk weather sets in, head over to jog or walk Fido (bring a leash!) around the 24-acre Swan Lake. For bird-lovers, now’s the time of year to spot Catbirds, Red-eyed Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers, humming birds, Black-throated Warblers, Eastern Phoebes, and American Redstarts, according to park naturalist Richard Nelson (tip: best spot to bird watch is along the half-mile-long Old Sleepy Hollow Road Trail). While picnicking’s prohibited on preserve grounds, you can still munch on your home-packed lunch at the Rockwood Hall area (where John D. Rockefeller’s estate once was and the ruins still lay) while taking in a stunning view of the Hudson River.
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