Greetings from Your Perfect Summer

The 23 best ways to get the most out of summer in Westchester



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It was a brutal, snowy winter. The cold and rain lingered well into spring. But it’s summer now and, frankly, we’ve got a lot of fun to make up if we want 2011 to end on a good note.

Thankfully, Westchester is one of the best places to spend a summer. We don’t suffer the same oppressive heat bouncing off of skyscrapers and concrete—not to mention the sticky, pressed-up-against-strangers subway commutes—that our city counterparts do. As a result, we’re not afraid to leave our air-conditioned homes to go do something. Here, we humbly present our suggestions.

Jazz It Up

Photo by Margaret Fox

Young jazz fans shake it at Shades of Jazz at the Katonah Museum of Art.

What do you think of when you hear the words “jazz club?” We think of cool musicians and soul-patched audiences, yes, but also rooms that are dark, cramped, smoky, and located in some hole-in-the-wall joint in an impossible-to-navigate part of Manhattan.

The Katonah Museum of Art shakes up that idea with its annual Shades of Jazz series. Instead of sitting elbow-to-elbow with other strangers in total darkness, you can bring a lawn chair or blanket and sit in the pleasant sunshine among the works in the museum’s sculpture garden. (Picnicking is encouraged.) And—something you’d never, ever find in a real jazz club—beer and wine is on the house.

What about the music? Turns out, you don’t have to leave the county for authenticity. The music series is sponsored by Manhattan's Blue Note, and is curated by legendary guitarist John Scofield. Joining him on stage are fusion guitarist Marc Ribot, who has collaborated with musicians from the Black Keys to Elton John (June 8); bebop musicians Joe Lovano and Judi Silvano, along with their quartet (June 29); and jazz-funk percussionist Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin, and Wood (August 10).

Shades of Jazz costs $10 for museum members and $20 for non-members. Grounds open at 5:30 for picnicking, and concerts start an hour later. For more information, call (914) 232-9555 or visit katonahmuseum.org.

 

Take a Swing

There’s nothing like spending a day out on the links. But 18 holes of golf can be so time-consuming—and, let’s face it, you’re not that great of a golfer. There’s no shame in scaling back a bit and taking a couple of practice rounds on a mini-golf course. (Unless you call it “putt-putt.” That is embarrassing for all involved.) Leave your driver at home and perfect your short game on one of these greens.

Brookside Mini Golf
Yonkers (914) 557-5046
Cost: $7.50
New York artist Mike A. created “Freaky Dinkys,” brightly colored characters that pop up along the course, which is located in Tibbetts Brook Park.

Fairview Golf Center
Elmsford (914) 592-1666
Cost: $5
Fairview has two 18-hole mini-golf courses to choose from—the “Legends” course is reputed to
be a little bit harder than the “Masters” course.

Funfuzion
New Rochelle
(914) 637-7575
Cost: $8.75
Taking a cue from the popularity of galactic bowling, this indoor mini-golf course is lit by black light, so everything glows.

Playland
Rye (914) 813-7000
Cost: $4
This course, which has views of both the beach and the park, features a 19th hole for good measure.

Yorktown Golf and Baseball Center
Mohegan Lake (914) 526-8337
Cost: $5.50 to $7

For families with boundless energy, if mini-golf isn’t enough, this center also has batting cages and picnic tables.

 

Make a Fresh-From-the-Farm Dinner

The best meals come from the freshest ingredients—and the freshest ingredients come from local farms. But keeping track of when and where the county’s farmers’ markets are up and running isn't easy, so save this handy list for when culinary inspiration strikes.

Photo courtesy of Muscoot Farm

The goods at Muscoot's Farmers' Market

Chappaqua
Chappaqua Train Station
chappaquafarmersmarket.org
Saturdays, 9 am to 1 pm, May through November

Croton-on-Hudson
Municipal Lot across from Municipal Pl and Riverside Ave
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=30
Wednesdays, 1:30 to 6:30 pm, June 1 to November 23

Hartsdale
Hartsdale Train Station
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, June 4 to November 26

Hastings-on-Hudson
Hastings-on-Hudson Library parking lot
hastingsfarmersmarket.org
Saturdays, 9 am to 1 pm, June 4 to November 26; second Saturday of each month December through May (held in the James Harmon Community Center January, February, and March)

Larchmont
Metro-North Parking Deck No. 3
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=24
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May 28 to December 17

Mount Kisco
Location not set at press time
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=35
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May 28 to November 19

Muscoot Farm
Muscoot Farm, Katonah
(914) 864-7282
muscootfarm.org
Sundays, 10 am to 3 pm, May 8 to October 30

New Rochelle
Library Green
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=31
Fridays, 8 am to 3 pm, June 17 to November 18

Ossining
Corner of Main St and Spring St
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=1
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May 29 to December 18 (except June 12)

Peekskill
Bank St
(914) 737-2780
downtownpeekskill.com
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 2 pm, June 11 to November 19

Pelham
Corner of Harmon Ave and Fifth Ave
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=27
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May 28 to November 19

Pleasantville
Memorial Plaza
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=2
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May 28 to December 17

Pound Ridge
Antiques & Tools of Business & Kitchen
(65 Westchester Ave)
(914) 764-0015
Sundays, 11 am to 4 pm, April 10 to
November 30

Rye
Parking Lot No. 2 on Theodore Fremd Ave
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=8
Sundays, 8:30 am to 2 pm, May 30 to December 19

Pocantico Hills
Stone Barns Center for Food  and Agriculture
(914) 366-6200
stonebarnscenter.org
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 1pm to 4 pm, through November 30

Tarrytown
Tarrytown’ Patriot’s Park
(914) 923-4837
communitymarkets.biz/market.php?market=9
Saturdays, 8:30 am to 1 pm, May 28 to November 19

 

Bond with Dad

Clearwater Great Hudson River
Revival's World Dance Stage

What generation gap? This Father’s Day weekend—on June 18 and 19—you can spend some quality time with Dad and listen to good music at the Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival. With more than 50 performers spread out across the two days, there’s bound to be someone playing for each of you, whether it be Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Yarrow, and Jorma Kaukonen (what do you think, Dad?) or the Drive-By Truckers, Josh Ritter, the Low Anthem, and the Felice Brothers.

And there’s more than just music, too. If Dad likes to cast a line, take him to see the display of Hudson River fish in one of the educational tents. If he works with his hands, perhaps he’d like to check out what’s available in the juried crafts show. If he can cut a rug, take him to the World Dance Stage. And don’t forget to take him for a spin on the River in the Sloop Clearwater or the schooner Mystic Whaler.

Tickets cost between $45 and $150, with the highest price for those who also want to camp on the grounds overnight (Did Dad go to Woodstock?). For more information, call (845) 418-3596 or visit clear waterfestival.org.

 

Take a Walk on The Wildcliff Side

Earlier in this issue, we touted the Wildcliff Art Market (see page 28), the new Brooklyn-Flea-like craft fair taking place at New Rochelle’s Wildcliff Manor. That’s not the only reason to visit the Gothic Revival manse. If shopping isn’t your thing, check out Music on the Cliff, where performers will play overlooking the Long Island Sound, or, if you need a good laugh, stop by for live stand-up and sketch comedy. These multimedia events will take place June 11, June 19, July 30, July 31, and September 10. Performances come courtesy of Incoming Tide Entertainment; for more information, visit incomingtideentertainment.com.

Go Fast

Speed racers: Seek out one of these havens where driving fast isn’t just sanctioned—it’s encouraged.

Photo courtesy of Grand Prix

Waving the checkered flag at Grand Prix New York.

Grand Prix New York
Mount Kisco
(914) 241-3131
This is racing for the masses: it's the least expensive racing option, and anyone at least 16 years old can drive a car (though those under 18 need a parental waiver). If you’re 8 years old and over 48 inches tall, bring along a legal guardian, so that you can floor it on one of two European-style tracks. Tracks are a quarter-mile in length, but, unlike a drag-race strip, there are also 14 turns per track.

Photo by Paul Johnson courtesy Lime Rock Park

Spectators gather at Lime Rock Park.

Lime Rock Park
Lakeville, CT
(860) 435-5000
Owner Skip Barber has a series of racing schools set up across the country (skipbarber.com). For $700, you can attend the school’s intro to racing class (there’s one on June 30), where you’ll spend an hour zooming around in a 2.0-liter Formula Skip Barber race car. You can also attend the one-day racing school ($1,800 on 7/21), where’ll you’ll get a spin in a Mazda Miata-based MX-5 Cup race car.

 

Monticello Motor Club
Monticello, NY
(877) 578-7223
The Monticello Motor Club is more like a country club for gearheads. You have to be a member to race—and it costs $2,500 to be a member for one day. But membership has its privileges. Here is where Ferrari and Miata drivers come to try to get their mid-life-crises cars up to top speed. They take a lesson in race driving, put on a helmet, and they’re off on the autobahn-like tracks, which feature 1.5-mile straightaways in addition to hairpin turns. When they’re done, some of them leave their cars in the heated garage (and, for good measure, take a helicopter home).

Take in Art—Outside

Museums are fantastic, but not necessarily where you want to be on a gorgeous summer weekend. But your desire to be outdoors and your love of art don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Instead, bring a picnic lunch to one of these outdoor sculpture gardens. Take in the works of some talented artists and get your vitamin D all in one shot.

Photo courtesy of Historic Hudson Valley

Aristede Maillol's Bather Putting Up Her Hair and other sculptures at Kykuit

Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate
381 N Broadway (Rte 9), Sleepy Hollow
(914) 631-8200; hudsonvalley.org

Say what you will about the Rockefellers—they had an eye for art. Thank Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller for the 120 sculptures displayed throughout this estate. Find sculptures by, let’s see, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Pablo Picasso, and David Smith, among many others. Oh, yeah—the 2D artwork inside the house isn’t half-bad, either. Tours range from $13 to $23 for the "Classic" and other tours to $30 to $40 for the "Grand Tour."

Photo by Brian Goodman

Barbara Hepworth's The Family of Man at the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens

 

 

The Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens
700 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase
It seems antithetical to the principles of big business that one of Westchester’s largest corporations would offer access to world-class works of art completely free-of-charge, but that's the case at the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Garden. Former PepsiCo CEO Donald M. Kendall sees Rockefeller’s Calders, Moores, and Noguchis and raises him Claes Oldenburg, Max Ernst, and Robert Davidson on PepsiCo’s 168-acre park. Forty-five monumental works of art take their place on the grounds. After you’ve scoped them out, if you haven’t tired of art, head across the street and visit the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College (914-251-6100; neuberger.org).

Photo by Jerry L. Thompson

Maya Lin's Storm King Wavefield at the Storm King Art Center


 

Storm King Art Center
Old Pleasant Hill Rd, Mountainville, NY
(845) 534-3115
Think 168 acres of sculptures are impressive? Try 500. With such a vast space, the sculptures are given room to spread out and be placed so they’re in perfect artistic harmony with the backdrop of the Hudson Highlands. The collection includes works by post-war artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra, and Richard Hunt, but the center garnered lots of attention in 2009 with the addition of Storm King Wavefield, a site-specific work of carefully calculated hills made to look like ocean waves, created by artist Maya Lin. Admission is $8 for students, $10 for seniors, $12 for adults, and free kids under five.

 

Trek to a Fest

 Tero Saarinen Company, July 7 to July 10

Photo by Sakari Viika

Photo by Putnam Bean

Two Man Gentleman Band, Saturday,
July 30

Leave it to an under-the-radar festival a little up the line to offer one of the most varied lineups around. Bard Summerscape features tons of programming in its crazy-looking Frank Gehry-designed auditorium, and even more in the arguably crazier Spiegeltent. This year, it’ll offer a bit of opera, with Richard Strauss’s Die Liebe der Danae; some Ibsen, with The Wild Duck; Noël Coward’s operetta Bitter Sweet; and a Nordic film festival featuring works by Mauritz Stiller, Victor Sjöström, Ingmar Bergman, and Aki Kaurismäki. Outside in a tent, you’ll be treated to throwback cabaret performances from Weimar NYC, the Wau Wau Sisters, and Joey Arias, in addition to a Thursday-night performance series featuring Irish, Klezmer, African, Bhangra, Latin, and gypsy music. Every day, you can pop into the tent for burgers and local craft beers, and on weekends it stays open until 1 am for club dancing. Bard Summerscape ends with the Bard Music Festival, which, this year, focuses on composer Jean Sibelius. Finnish composers, Nordic filmmakers, Norweigan playwrights, and gypsy musicians? Sign us up, please. The festival takes place from July 7 to August 21. See the complete schedule at fishercenter.bard.edu/summerscape, or call the Richard B. Fisher Center box office at (845) 758-7900.

Red Baraat, Thursday, August 4

Photo by Amy Touchette