Things to Do

Fun summer events and activities in Westchester

Every summer, Westchester locals and visitors from neighboring communities take part in a wide variety of activities and events that make the season more memorable.

Want to know what fun events are in store for Westchester residents this summer? Here’s a short list of activities and events we’re all excited to experience:

Blue Door Art Center’s Putting It All Together

Drop by the Blue Door Art Center in Yonkers for “Putting It All Together,” an exhibition featuring collages and assemblage work created by over 50 talented artists from the tri-state area. The event is open to the public, and admission is free. Putting it All Together will run from June 18 up to July 23, 2016.

Kykuit Tours

Although Kykuit Tours are available throughout the year, many say the best time to enjoy them is during the summer, when the gardens of Rockefeller Estate are more verdant and the view of the Hudson River is simply spectacular. The best type of tour is the “Selected Highlights” tour, which gives visitors more time to explore the estate’s lush gardens. You’ll also be able to see the secret grotto, the Italian garden, and the Rockefeller family’s impressive collection of contemporary sculptures.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

Photo courtesy of http://hvshakespeare.org/

Photo courtesy of http://hvshakespeare.org/


This year’s Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival features plays such as The 39 Steps, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Romeo and Juliet. Longtime attendees of the festival will personally tell you that every play during this event is top-notch, with spectacular performances from each member of the company. The festival is also a great opportunity to enjoy a nice, alfresco dinner on the grounds of the gorgeous Boscobel, which boasts unforgettable views of the Hudson River.

Looking for more incredible activities in Westchester County? Take a look at this page.

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Must-visit farmers’ markets in Westchester

Visiting farmers’ markets has many great benefits – you get to support local farmers, encourage more sustainable practices, buy newly harvested produce, and feel a greater sense of community.

Westchester has a huge selection of farmers’ markets that range from compact and low-key to large ones with over 50 different vendors.

Here are a few top farmers’ markets to visit in Westchester:

Hastings

Photo courtesy of Hastings Farmers Market Facebook page

Photo courtesy of Hastings Farmers Market Facebook page

Hastings Library Parking Lot, 7 Maple Ave., Hastings-on-Hudson
8:30am to 1:30pm, Saturdays, June to November 28

Started in 1998, the Hastings market is one of Westchester’s first farmers’ markets. Today, the market has flourished into one of the county’s more popular markets, with over 2,000 shoppers every week. Hastings has a very festive atmosphere, with live performances from local bands, children visiting the library, and a gorgeous view of the Hudson. The market features an exciting mix of vendors, who sell everything from homemade jams, bee pollen, and locally grown produce.

 

Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow (TaSh)

Photo courtesy of  Tarrytown Sleepy Hollow Farmer's Market

Photo courtesy of Tarrytown Sleepy Hollow Farmer’s Market

Patriot’s Park, Rte. 9, Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow
8:30am to 2pm, starting mid-May

Originally one of Westchester’s smaller markets, the TaSh Farmers Market is slowly gaining traction, increasing its number of vendors to nearly three times compared to previous events. The market has a very friendly vibe, where shoppers can join in on picnics, engage in conversations, and enjoy live performances. The TaSh market vendors rotate every week, so shoppers get to enjoy a wide selection of prepared food and local goodies from growers around NY state.

 

Pleasantville Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of Pleasantville Farmers Market Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Pleasantville Farmers Market Facebook page.

Memorial Plaza by the Train Station, Pleasantville
8:30am to 1pm, Saturdays, May to November

The Pleasantville Farmers Market is perhaps the most popular market in the county, with more than 50 vendors, live music, tons of family-friendly activities, culinary demonstrations, and other enjoyable programs. The market draws thousands of visitors each Saturday, making it one of the largest farmers markets in Westchester County.
 

For other fun activities and events in Westchester, visit:
Fun-filled events in Westchester County
Golfing in and around Westchester County

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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.

Facilities

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.

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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.

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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

Rentals

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.

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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.

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Take your Kids to the Greenburgh Nature Center

Photo courtesy of Greenburgh National Center Facebook Page.

Photo courtesy of Greenburgh Nature Center Facebook Page.

If you’re searching for a new place to take your kids during the weekend, the Greenburgh Nature Center is a terrific choice.

Located just off Central Avenue in Scarsdale, the 33-acre preserve offers children a fun, interactive, and educational experience with nature. The sprawling nature preserve boasts over 30 acres of woodland, two wetland sites, educational exhibits, and hundreds of fascinating wildlife species.

Here are several attractions available in this scenic hidden paradise:

Hiking trails

The Greenburgh Nature Center’s Blue Trail offers a memorable outdoor adventure for visitors. The trail is about 1/3 mile in length starting from the back of the main building, circling around Woodfrog Pond, and back to the starting point.

Hikers on the Blue Trail will be treated to a scenic adventure on unpaved paths surrounded by wildlife, majestic oaks, dogwoods, viburnum shrubs, wildflowers, and mushrooms.

Native plant meadow

See a fascinating collection of indigenous plants, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife at Greenburgh Nature Center’s native plant meadow.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the meadow’s walking paths or quietly observe the beautiful surroundings in the comfortable seating area.

The native plant meadow also serves as the venue for the center’s annual live butterfly exhibit during the summer.

Indoor exhibits

Greenburgh Nature Center’s live animal museum boasts a massive collection of more than a hundred species and a diverse variety of plants collected from all over the world.

In addition to its plant and animal collection, the museum also hosts nature-related photo and art exhibits featuring the work of talented local and visiting artists.

Nature camps

The Greenburgh Nature Center offers educational camps where children can enjoy a wide range of nature-based activities and games. They’ll be able to interact with animals, create artwork, develop essential survival skills, and learn more about the vast wonders of nature.

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Family-Friendly Activities and Destinations in Rye

Known as a predominantly residential community, the city of Rye boasts plenty of fantastic attractions and fun things to do for residents of all ages.

If you’re planning a weekend trip or looking for new places for you and your family to visit, here are a few of the best activities and destinations to enjoy in Rye:

Playland

Rye Town Park and Playland

Rye Town Park and Playland

Open since the late 1920s, Playland is an amusement park that has entertained thousands of families with its assortment of thrilling rides and attractions.

The 280-acre park is home to the iconic Dragon Coaster, one of the few operational wooden roller coasters in the country. Open since 1929, the classic ride features over 3,400 feet of track, and a maximum height of approximately 85 feet.

Playland is especially popular during the summer, as many visitors take advantage of the nice weather to enjoy the park’s paddle boat rides, swimming pools, and live concert series.

Oakland Beach and Rye Beach

Located along the same stretch of sand, both Oakland Beach and Rye Beach are perfect for families looking to enjoy a relaxing day under the sun.

Enjoy a long walk along the coastline, bring a blanket and umbrella and relax on the sand, or enjoy a refreshing dip in the ocean (or the nearby swimming pool, in case it gets too hot on the beach).

Rye Town Park

Rye Town Park is a terrific place to relax, soak in the beautiful scenery, and enjoy outdoor activities with the entire family. Included on the National Register of Historic Places, the 62-acre park has provided unforgettable memories for generations of families for more than a hundred years.

Features include nearly 30 acres of lawns with pathways, picnic areas, gazebos, a naturalized duck pond, and an expansive beachfront with magnificent views. There’s also a restaurant and snack bar where residents can fuel up after a tiring day of outdoor fun.

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Westchester is Hollywood on the East Coast

Photo courtesy of The Picture House website http://www.thepicturehouse.org/about-us/

Photo courtesy of The Picture House website http://www.thepicturehouse.org/about-us/

On the northwest corner of Wolf’s lane and Brookside Avenue lies this unassuming movie house. It blends with the string of single-story brick-and-mortar storefronts and the little gas station beside it.

The theater’s name is spelled in an arching neon sign that shines bright red when turned on. “Pelham Picture House” it reads, with today’s line-up of films on the bottom.

You probably wouldn’t guess it with just a passing glance, but there’s deep history to this structure.

Nearly a century of movie magic

Built in 1921, the theater then been operating continuously since it opened.
It has retained its simple yet elegant Spanish revival style, so unlike high-tech cineplexes that have come to dominate our more modern movie experience.

In fact, it narrowly escaped being demolished in 2001-2002, when the theater was set to become a retail bank.

Part of Westchester history

A group of citizens wished to protect its rich history and established the Pelham Picture House Preservation, a non-profit organization which aimed to purchase and look-after the theater.
From 2002-2004 it successfully raised just under $1,000,000 which was enough to buy the theater and keep it open.

By that action, the nonprofit also saved a piece of Westchester history.

Revival

The theater launched its own two original film series in 2009: the preview series “Reel Insider,”which featured discussions with film talent and critics, and the classic series “Sunday Essentials.”

In 2010 The Picture House was added to the National Register of Historic Places, thus cementing its historical importance.

Since then it has attracted major movie stars like Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Michael Douglas, Ryan Reynolds, and more to its guest list.

The future

In 2015, The Picture House was also set to present the Future Filmmaker’s Festival, featuring students from Westchester County High School showcasing their short films in narrative, documentary, comedy, drama, and musical categories.

All will vie for the prestigious “Chester”–Westchester’s Oscar.

Whatever the future holds, the contributions of The Pelham Picture House has already earned Westchester the title “Hollywood on the East Coast.”

 

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Must-visit coffeehouses in Westchester

EspressoA steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee in the morning is enjoyable for many reasons – the invigorating aroma, the strong and rich taste, and simply the warm, cozy feeling it brings as you sip from the cup.

What complements the experience is heading to your neighborhood coffeehouse, where the barista already knows your name, as well as your regular order.

When you’re a resident of Westchester, you’ll have no shortage of exceptional local coffeehouses to visit. Here are a few of them:

The Black Cow Coffee Company

4 Old Post Rd South, Croton-On-Hudson • 914-271-7544
7 Wheeler Ave, Pleasantville • 914-495-3726

The Black Cow Coffee Company, simply called “The Cow” by locals, is a neighborhood café with a very cozy atmosphere. Their coffee is roasted on-site, and customers can enjoy different varieties that come from all over the world, from Brazil to Costa Rica.

One interesting quirk about the café – regulars bring their own mugs, and the staff washes and stores them at the establishment.

Aroma Coffee Roast

1932 Palmer Ave, Larchmont • 914-834-0989

Aroma Coffee Roast has been in the business for over 20 years, and is a favorite among many locals. One of the biggest reasons for their longevity is their coffee’s superior quality. Coffee beans at Aroma are freshly roasted the second after each customer places his or her order. Six different coffee varieties are available daily, and customers get a discount by bringing their own mug.

Coffee Labs Roasters

7 Main St, Tarrytown • 914-332-1479

Friendly baristas, a cozy setting, and the best-tasting coffee blends all combine to make Coffee Labs Roasters one of the top coffeehouses in Westchester. Their baristas are experts when it comes to brewing a fresh cup of joe, and are skilled latte foam artists as well. The coffeehouse uses eight different methods to brew coffee, and seven different varieties are available daily.

To ensure that the coffeehouse always has a fresh selection of high-quality coffee, owner Mike Love scours the globe each year to look for the best blends.

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