Art by the Tracks (Literally)
Don’t count on your GPS to navigate to the Hastings-on-Hudson site devoted to famed Hudson River School painter Jasper Cropsey. (We did, and ended up in some random driveway.) Instead, look for the little blue sign directing you past the Metro-North parking lot and under the Warburton Avenue overpass to the Newington-Cropsey Foundation, where you’ll find the stunning Gothic Revival-style Gallery of Art. The building houses the majority of the Foundation’s collection of Cropsey’s scenic oil paintings. Call ahead for appointment-only guided tours of the Gallery, as well as Ever Rest, Cropsey’s former home and studio on nearby Washington Avenue.
25 Cropsey Ln, Hastings-on-Hudson
(914) 478-7990; www.newingtoncropsey.com
Washington in White Plains
History buffs aside, most Westchesterites know nothing about the tidy red-shingled house that sits at the end of a bend in the road on Park Ave in White Plains. It’s the circa-1721 Jacob Purdy House, thought to be George Washington’s primary headquarters during the Battle of White Plains in 1776. Arrange for a tour of the home, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to see artifacts from the battle, copies of letters Washington wrote while at the house, as well as period artwork, furniture, and household tools—and experience the cool juxtaposition of Colonial history against the expanding skyline of modern downtown White Plains.
60 Park Ave, White Plains
(914) 328-1776; www.whiteplainshistory.org
Where Lincoln Looms Large
In October 2007, a life-sized statue of Abraham Lincoln appeared at an old rail depot situated between Peekskill’s Riverfront Green Park and Homestyle Desserts Bakery. A sign promised that a museum dedicated to Lincoln and his stop at the depot on February 19, 1861, would someday emerge. This past October, the Lincoln Depot Museum finally opened, providing us with a refurbished 3,000-square-foot collection of art and artifacts from and about the 16th president.
10 South Water St, Peekskill
(914) 402-4318; www.lincolndepotmuseum.org
A Bit of Oz in Peekskill
Peekskill’s very own yellow brick road (which may or may not have inspired L. Frank Baum, who attended the Peekskill Military Academy, to write The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) is actually not a road anymore. It’s a small parking lot behind Dylan’s Wine Cellar on Hudson Avenue. If viewing a patch of yellow Dutch bricks is not your idea of fun, you can combine this homage to Oz with a trip to the newly opened 4.4-acre Historic Peekskill Landing Park, Peekskill Brewery, or Homestyle Desserts Bakery. South Water Street, Peekskill
While an actual Sing Sing museum doesn’t exist yet (funds are being raised to build one), you can study up on the history of Ossining’s most famous address at the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center. There, at the Sing Sing Prison Exhibit, you can see a replica of an electric chair, get the feel for what it’s like to be in a prison cell, and view confiscated weapons. And (as we discovered when we tried to visit at the end of October) at Halloween, it turns into a haunted house!
95 Broadway, Ossining (914) 941-3189