Activities in Westchester County for Every Interest: Intellectual Activities
When you’ve had your fill of escapist entertainment, and socializing with friends isn’t what you crave, perhaps you’re hungry for some intellectual stimulation. Fortunately, there are enough mind-provoking options around the county to occupy an entire weekend.
Attend a dramatic reading hosted by The Small Town Theatre Company (914-273-0300; smalltowntheatre.com). Founded in 2008, this Armonk-based performing arts organization presents theatrical plays and readings, outdoor summer concerts, and theater and film festivals, most of which are free. Past plays have included Lyle Kessler’s Orphans and Love Letters by A. R. Gurney; performances are held in Armonk and Rye.
Many local historical societies host lectures, exhibitions, and special events. The New Castle Historical Society (newcastlehs.org) is housed in the Horace Greeley House, the Greeley family’s country home from 1864 to 1872. Rye (ryehistory.org) sponsors tours of different neighborhoods as well as the Greenwood Union and Town of Rye African-American Cemeteries. Other historical societies are located in Bedford (bedfordhistoricalsociety.org), Hastings (hastingshistorical.org), Ossining (ossininghistorical.org), Tarrytown (thehistoricalsociety.net), Yonkers (yonkershistory.org), Peekskill (The National Maritime Historical Society—seahistory.org), and Elmsford (Westchester County Historical Society—westchesterhistory.com).
On second Saturday afternoons of each month from September through June, consider joining one of Westchester County Genealogical Society’s (rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nywcgs) monthly meetings. Participants at all levels of research share tips on tracing family roots. Meetings are held the second Saturday at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Dobbs Ferry.
By now, you’ve probably worked up an appetite, but after dinner, more intellectual pursuits await. Take in literary pleasures at the Marmaduke Writing Factory (marmadukewriting
factory.com). This collective of professional writers, housed at the Marmaduke Forster House (415 Bedford Rd; marmadukeforsterhouse.com) in Pleasantville, not only provides a communal workspace for its members, but also hosts a public reading series. And for literary oenophiles, Marmaduke’s Rhyme and Riesling evenings combine readings with wine tastings.
If you’d rather spend the evening outdoors, and the skies are clear, meet up with Westchester Amateur Astronomers, Inc. (877-456-5778; westchesterastronomers.org). They organize regular night sky viewings at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and monthly astronomy lectures at Pace University’s Pleasantville campus.
The weekend paper may not be as comprehensive as it used to be, but you can still get a healthy dose of intellectual stimulation on Sunday.
Renewing America’s musical heritage and increasing awareness and appreciation of US composers is the mission at Copland House at Merestead (455 Byram Lake Rd, Mount Kisco 914-788-4659; coplandhouse.org). Attend an educational/community outreach program, or catch one of the musical performances on slate for 2013 such as “A Solitude of Sound: The World of Emily Dickinson” and “I Hear America Singing,” a tribute to Walt Whitman.
In the early evenings, public lectures, performances, and other educational events are held at many of the colleges and universities in Westchester, among them Sarah Lawrence College (slc.edu), Westchester Community College (sunywcc.edu), and Purchase College (purchase.edu). Past options have included a talk at Sarah Lawrence by Sherry Turkle, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of 2011’s Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, and one at Purchase by visual arts and performance artist Michael Mahalchick, part of the School of Art+Design’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
After all that brain exercise, conversation over Sunday dinner is guaranteed to be erudite and enriching.