Not since the days of Robin Hood has the bow and arrow been so front-and-center in the pop-cultural consciousness. This year’s biggest movies are filled with archers: Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Princess Merida in Pixar’s Brave, and Hawkeye in The Avengers. Not only that—they make it look like fun.
If you want to follow in their sure-footed footsteps, there’s never been a better time to take up the sport in Westchester.
Start by taking one-on-one lessons at Extreme Archery in Mamaroneck (914-777-7500; extremearcheryny.com). Practice shooting paper targets on the 20-yard range, which is entirely indoors, so you won’t have to worry about your sessions getting rained out. (Katniss never had it so good.)
Once you’ve picked up a thing or two, head on over to the Sportsman Center at the Blue Mountain Reservation in Cortlandt Manor (914-862-5280; westchestergov.com/parks). There, the targets are actually hidden out in the woods, so you have to go through a progressive course and shoot at different elevations. And, new this spring, they have a 3D course where you can practice hitting Styrofoam figures that resemble real wildlife. Range officers are on hand to give you tips (and keep you safe).
Extreme Archery’s lessons are $30 per half-hour—after an introductory $55 lesson that includes arrows—and target practice at the Sportsman Center costs $8 for two hours with a Westchester County Park Pass ($11 for two hours without one). But the cost will be worth it when you stroll up at the next Renaissance Faire with your own quiver in tow and show off your target-hitting skills.