Monthly Archives: March 2016

Saying goodbye to your well-loved home

Goodbye to HomeFor many of us, moving to a new home means a fresh start. It’s an exciting experience, especially when you think about the new adventures that lie ahead – new neighbors, new places go to, and a new home where you and your family will make new memories.

But what about the home you’re leaving behind?

Parting with your old home can be difficult, especially if you’ve lived there for quite sometime. It has become a part of your life, and has been with you and your family through the both the good times and the bad.

Before you get caught up in the hectic whirlwind of packing, planning, and moving, it’s a good idea to take at least some time out of your busy schedule to celebrate the home you’ll be leaving behind.

Here are some of the things you can do:

Take photos

Before you pack your belongings, take a picture of every area around your house, so you’ll have something to remember it by. You can also ask your kids to pose in memorable spots, like the wall they once doodled on.

If you want something better than photos, some smartphone apps like Google Street View have a special camera feature which you can use to capture 360-degree images. With these, you’ll always remember what it’s like standing right inside your old home.

Leave something behind

By this, we don’t mean your old junk! You can leave behind a simple note addressed to the new owners, telling them what you loved about living there. You can also consider leaving a time capsule filled with photos or other items in the attic or the basement, in honor of all the happy memories you’ve had in the home.

Organize a farewell party

Invite your friends, or just have a simple celebration with your family. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve already packed most of your things – all you really need are a few snacks and drinks, a couple of outdoor lights, some music, and you have a nice little party to celebrate all the good times you’ve shared in your home.

For more great tips about moving, take a look at this page


Explore the scenic Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Pound Ridge NYThe Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is Westchester County’s largest state park, covering a total area of more than 4,300 acres. Known for its diverse hilly terrain and network of wooded trails, the park is a favorite outdoor destination for both residents and visitors, who come to enjoy different activities or to simply relax and take in the beauty of nature.

Once part of Cortlandt Manor, the park was originally called “Poundridge” until 1938, when it officially became county property. The name “Ward” was later on added in honor of William Lukens Ward, one of Westchester’s most notable leaders and the former County Parks Commissioner, serving from 1896 to 1933.


Most of the park facilities are located along Reservation Road, which runs parallel to the Cross River. You can find the park office and most of the picnic areas situated along this road. The park’s Trailside Nature Museum, which houses an extensive collection of Native American artifacts, educational exhibits, interactive displays, and nature-inspired artwork, is also located along Reservation Road.

Visitors looking for a more secluded atmosphere can head to the Michigan Road parking and picnic area to access the southern area of the park. Surrounded by open meadows, expansive wetlands, towering hardwoods, and bold rock outcroppings, this area is the perfect spot for those who want to soak in the park’s natural splendor.

Hiking trails

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation boasts a 42-mile network of trails that go through woodlands, marshes, granite-faced ridges, and pine-covered glens. Throughout the trails, hikers will be able to spot a few remnants of the park’s past, such as old farmhouses and low stonewalls that used to serve as dividers for farmlands.

More adventurous hikers can try one of the park’s many unmarked paths, which offers a more challenging experience. One of these trails lead to an overlook which rewards hikers with a truly breathtaking view of the Cross River Reservoir and the Catskills in the far distance.

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is just one of the many attractions you can discover in the community of Pound Ridge. To know more about the area, visit this page.


Dog-friendly hiking trails in Westchester County

dogfriendlyThe hiking trails in Westchester County are some of the most scenic trails you’ll find in the entire region, offering enjoyable and unforgettable adventures for nature enthusiasts of all ages.

The best part is, many of these trails are also dog-friendly, perfect for hikers who want their canine buddy to tag along.

Here are a few of the best dog-friendly hiking trails to check out in the area:

Granite Knolls Park, Yorktown

3.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Granite Knolls Park’s 3.5-mile circuit loop hike takes about two hours to complete. The area is the site for small-scale quarry operations, so you’ll be able to see plenty of interesting boulders and rock formations throughout the trail. One of the trail’s highlights is an enormous glacier erratic nicknamed the “Giant Boulder.”

Bronx River Parkway Reservation, Bronxville

9.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Completed in 1925, Bronx River Parkway Reservation is one of Westchester County’s oldest parks, as well as one of the country’s first linear parks. The hiking trail runs mostly alongside a river, meandering through picturesque meadows, soaring woods, and a railroad underpass.

Hudson Highlands Gateway Park, Cortlandt

4.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Once a lookout site during the Revolotuionary War, Hudson Highlands Gateway Park is now a popular destination for outdoor lovers looking to enjoy activities such as hiking, fishing, skiing, and snowshoeing. The hiking trail’s starting point can be located along the hillside, where it enters into a vast forested area before proceeding to a steep uphill climb. Hikers will be able to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view once they reach the viewpoint located at a stone fireplace.

Mountain Lakes County Park

5.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

This 5.5-mile circuit loop features majestic surroundings with unique rock outcrops, serene lakes, gently meandering streams, and enchanting hardwood forests. The park is the highest point in Westchester County – breathtaking views stretching beyond the horizon are in store for those planning an outdoor adventure.

For more great activities in Westchester County, visit this page.


Cleaning the dirtiest spots in your home

Kitchen Cleaning TipsGerms and bacteria are unwelcome guests at our homes. We may not see them, yet they’re everywhere – on your doorknobs, your couch, your kitchen sink, your coffee maker – the list goes on and on.

Germs are not only nasty, they cause all sorts of problems as well, like allergies, illness and infection. The sad part is, no matter how often we clean our homes, a small amount of germs will always be present.

One of the best ways to significantly reduce the amount of germs however, is to target the most notorious breeding environments. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the dirtiest spots in our homes, and how we can effectively clean them.


Kitchens are the filthiest

A common misconception is that bathrooms are the filthiest areas in a home, but according to a study conducted by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International, kitchens harbor way more germs than bathrooms – which is definitely a cause for concern since this is where we keep, prepare and eat food.

NSF conducted tests on 22 different households, and found Coliform bacteria on more than 75% of the dish sponges or rags, 45% of kitchen sinks, and 32% of kitchen counter tops. Coliform bacteria is a type of bacteria that includes strains such as Salmonella and E. Coli, among others.


Eliminating the germs

Needless to say, if you want to keep your family safe from germs, the kitchen is definitely one area you should focus on.

Below are some of the dirtiest parts in our kitchens, as well as some effective tips from NSF on how to keep them germ-free:

Kitchen sinks – Wash and disinfect all sides and the bottom part of your kitchen sink once or twice a week. Use a solution of one teaspoon bleach, one quart water and pour it down the drain and disposal at least once a month.

Kitchen sponges or rags – Heat wet sponges or rags in your microwave (set to high) for two minutes everyday.

Countertops – You clean these every day, but there’s always a better way to clean them. NSF recommends using hot, soapy water, rinsing, and applying a mixture of bleach and water afterwards.

Faucet handles – Simply rinsing faucet handles with water and wiping them is not enough. Use disinfecting cleaner or wipes on your faucet handles daily.

Cutting boards – Place your cutting boards in the dishwasher after every use, or hand-wash them with hot, soapy water.

Take a look at more home improvement tips by visiting this page.



The White Plains Performing Arts Center

Photo courtesy of WPPAC Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of WPPAC Facebook page.

The White Plains Performing Arts Center is a 410-seat state-of-the-art professional multipurpose theater located in the City Center building in downtown White Plains. Completed in 2003, the center provides the community with a full array of cultural and performing arts programs, as well as year-round activities.

The theater was the result of a 20-year project, which sought to provide residents of White Plains as well as nearby communities easy access to an intimate and comfortable venue to enjoy unforgettable live performances.

It was also created to be used as a professional space for local artists, educational institutions, and special interest groups looking for a place to host meetings, hold special events, or present their own performances.

Conservatory Theatre

The White Plains Performing Arts Center is home to the Conservatory Theatre, which is Westchester’s only youth theater and educational organization housed in a professional theater. The Conservatory offers year-round professional workshops, training sessions, and presentation programs for theatrical talents aged 10-25.

Training programs at the Conservatory focus on engaging the youth and providing knowledge about the art of theatre, encouraging them to reach their full potential in expressing themselves artistically. Known as the region’s premiere theater training organization, the Conservatory holds the students to high professional standards, at the same time providing them with the tools and knowledge required to meet and exceed those standards.

Some of their programs include:

  • The Summer Theatre Academy
  • Creating Broadway
  • Voice and Piano Lessons


The theater is also available for rent as a venue for concerts, recitals, corporate events, social outings, fundraisers, business meetings, and other special events.

The minimum rental time for the venue is five hours, and fees include the services of a staff consisting of a production manager, a light board operator, a sound engineer, a deck hand, and a house manager.

Additional items such as projectors, instruments, dance floors, and promotional options are also available.

In addition to the White Plains Performing Arts Center, there’s plenty of superb attractions available in the community. Visit this page for more information.


Things to consider when relocating to a new city

RelocationIt’s always important to keep in mind that there are certain factors that can affect your future when you move to a new city.

While relocating to a new area can certainly be exciting, it can quickly turn into a disaster if you fail to plan ahead. Here are some of the biggest factors to consider when you’re moving to a new city:


Property prices vary from city to city, and some areas are better if you plan on renting. Before you look for homes to purchase in a certain area, it’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of options – take a look at the prices of different types of properties within the same area.

When applying for a loan, one of the major factors lenders consider is your credit score, so make sure you keep your credit in check several months before you apply.

Basic necessities

The cost of basic needs such as health care, utilities, and even groceries vary in every place, so be sure to do some research. One thing to also consider is how you can get from place to place in the city you’ll be moving in – how far is the drive from your home to the office? Can you use public transit? Transportation costs can significantly affect your monthly savings.

Career opportunities

If work isn’t the reason why you’re moving to another area, it’s a good idea to look at the job diversity in the new city you’ll be moving to. Consider your interests, and see if career opportunities you’re eying are available.

Quality of life

One of the biggest things that will change when you move is your quality of life. Take a look at some of the things you enjoy in your current area, and see if the new area offers the same things. For example, if you and your family regularly enjoy dining out, make sure you’re moving to an area with a good variety of restaurants.

It may seem simple, but quality of life can greatly affect your happiness in the long run.

For more helpful info on relocating to Westchester County, take a look at our Relocation Guide.


Westchester events to check out this month

Looking for an interesting event to check out in Westchester County? Here are some great events to enjoy this month:

And Still We Rise: Race, Culture, and Visual Conversations

Held at The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, And Still We Rise is an exhibition depicting over four centuries of African-American history through a combination of images, textile, and quilts. The unique exhibit was developed by over 50 artists from the International Women of Color Quilter’s Network.

The exhibit runs until April 4, 2016.

After 1965

Held at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, After 1965 is an exhibit showcasing works from the late 60s to the early 70s. These works are the reflection of a significant period in history, one with massive changes that continue to reverberate even to this day.

The exhibit will be open until March 13, 2016.

Rhythm in the Night

Photo courtesy of Westchester Community College

Photo courtesy of Westchester Community College

This post-St. Patrick’s Day celebration is a musical rendition of the tale of Balor, as he makes his way out of the dark world. The journey is told through Irish step-dancing performed by a very talented troupe composed of 18 dancers. The battle scenes, lightning-fast rhythms, and orchestral atmosphere all combine to give audiences a performance they won’t forget.

Rhythm in the Night will take place on March 20, 2016, at the Academic Arts Theater in Westchester Community College.

Find out more about the different activities and events you can enjoy in Westchester by visiting this page.


Fantastic destinations in downtown Pleasantville

Downtown Pleasantville

Downtown Pleasantville

Pleasantville’s downtown area boasts a diverse array of fascinating establishments, ranging from theaters to bakeries, delis to bookstores, and more.

Encompassing eight blocks, downtown Pleasantville is one of the charming features that make living in the area enjoyable – residents can always look forward to shopping for interesting finds, enjoying a delicious meal, or joining a fun-filled event.

Here are some great destinations to visit in downtown Pleasantville:

Jacob Burns Film Center

One of the area’s most famous establishments, the Jacob Burns Film Center is a non-profit cultural arts center dedicated to the art of cinema.

The Spanish Mission-style film complex was built in the 1920s, and is a great place to check out for moviegoers and film buffs looking for film showings of documentaries, independent films, foreign films, and works by classic and modern filmmakers.

Jean-Jacques Culinary Creations

Jean-Jacques Culinary Creations is a café with patisserie/bakery as well as a full-service caterer for weddings and events. Owned and operated by Chef Jean-Jacques Gabrillargues along with his son and daughter, the café offers a range of delectable culinary delights, which include sandwiches, paninis, wraps, quiches, salads, entrées, soups, French cakes, and specialty items.

The Village Bookstore

The Village Bookstore is an independent bookstore that has won multiple “Best of Westchester” awards over the years. The bookstore features a cozy atmosphere along with an impressive inventory of great titles to choose from.

The shop also hosts literary events such as workshops, author readings, and poetry contests.

The Marmaduke Forster House

The Marmaduke Forster House was a farmhouse originally built in 1786. Throughout time, it has undergone various architectural changes, from Gothic Revival to Queen Anne, with some of the elements from different eras overlapping to create a truly unique appearance.

Today, the architectural masterpiece is one of Pleasantville’s treasures, and is included in the National Registry of Historic Places.

Want to know more about Pleasantville? Check out our previous article here.