More Fun to Be Had: Westchester Magazine Editors' Favorite Summer Fun Activities
Couldn’t get enough of our 2013 Summer Fun guide? Our editors pick their favorite activities from years’ past
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Drink in the View
Once the working backbone of our County’s manufacturing history, now the Hudson River is the place we go for a bit of respite when the work day is over. The biggest advantage of a reclaimed waterfront is that now we have a beautiful backdrop for our drunken revelries. When it comes time to tie one on, check out one of these riverfront bar scenes:
X2O Xaviars on the Hudson
Yonkers (914) 965-1111
Imbibe: The Bubble Love (Elderflower liqueur, blood orange, and Prosecco)
It says a lot about a restaurant when even the bathrooms have gorgeous views of the George Washington Bridge.
Dobbs Ferry (914) 693-4130
Imbibe: The Half Moon Cocktail (T.B. White Sand Rum, fresh grapefruit, fresh lime, and maraschino juice)
Head straight to the patio’s “Beach Bar.” There, you can take a sip of something tropical and stroll along the Hudson-side decks, watching boats lazily sail up the river.
Tarrytown (914) 366-4455
Imbibe: Steve’s Famous Bloody Mary (“So good that the recipe is copyrighted,” the menu boasts.)
When leisurely waterfront drinks just seem too lazy, head to the Striped Bass, where you can often catch a live band to go with your Hudson River vista. Check out the restaurant’s new Cabana Bar & Grill for burgers, hot dogs, and other greasy treats you crave when you drink.
Bridge View Tavern
Sleepy Hollow (914) 332-0078
Imbibe: The Twisted Spritzer (Grey Goose Citron, muddled green grapes, St. Germain, and chardonnay with a splash of soda)
It’s true to its name; you can certainly hoist a Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold while gazing at the lights of the Tappan Zee. Even better, though, is catching a glimpse of the oft-overlooked Tarrytown Lighthouse.
Ossining (914) 923-6466
Imbibe: The French Kiss Martini (Stoli Vanilla, Chambord, and pineapple)
Grab a spot on the patio to watch boats and yachts sail in and out of the adjacent marina. You can also glance across the river to Rockland’s Palisades State Park—or northward to the hook of Croton Point Park.
Red Hat on the River
Irvington (914) 591-5888;
Imbibe: Strawberry Sangria (strawberry purée, Cointreau, vodka, fresh juices, red wine)
Red Hat is one of the county restaurants that started the whole rooftop-deck trend. And oh, what a deck: stake out a spot on the comfy couches for the best view of a waterfront sunset from Yonkers to Peekskill.
The best way to experience the summer is upside-down. Or from the middle of an endless, 270-degree spiral. Or hurtling face-first towards the ground at 77 mph. Wait—why do we think that roller coasters are fun again? Check out the variety of heart attacks offered within a day’s drive:
Signature Ride: The Dragon Coaster, a historic wooden roller coaster that dates back to 1929 and hurtles you into the open mouth of a waiting dragon. Taking a ride is an official rite of passage for every Westchester resident.
Coney Island/Luna Park
Signature Ride: The Cyclone. It may be more than 80 years old, but this wooden coaster still causes chills as it takes you through six 180-degree turns and drop after drop (the highest being 85 feet).
Signature Ride: The Zoomerang takes you through twists, turns, and loops, and when it’s finished, you do it all over again—in reverse.
Six Flags Great Adventure & Wild Safari
Signature Ride: Kingda Ka, which the park claims is the tallest, fastest roller coaster on Earth. The ride launches you to 128 mph (a world-record speed), then takes you through a lunch-losing 270-degree spiral.
Six Flags New England
Signature Ride: Bizarro, which not only takes you for a 77-mph ride, but also hits your senses with in-headrest music and fog effects.
Signature Ride:For the faint of heart, this park blissfully has no signature ride. Instead, find playspaces, jungle gyms, mazes—and a few mild rides—populated by all your child’s favorite Sesame Street characters. Okay, maybe a life-size Snuffleupagus is still a little scary, but that’s all you really have to worry about.
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
Signature Ride: Possessed, a U-shaped roller coaster that shoots its passengers up a 90-degree incline. (Yes, straight up.)
Drive to a Drive-In
Of all the cultural artifacts lost to new technologies—jukeboxes, phone booths, etc.—we miss drive-in theaters the most. Not just any drive-in theater, but the Elmsford Drive-In, which operated until around 1990. (It’s now a Sam’s Club.)
Apparently, this history of our precious drive-in is a common one. According to Time, at their peak popularity in 1958—the height of ’50s car culture—there were 5,000 drive-in cinemas across the country; by 1995, there were fewer than 500.
How short sighted is that? After all, who is more into their cars than Westchesterites? We spend all day in our cars; it makes sense that we’d want to get our culture and entertainment in our vehicles, too. Plus, at a drive-in, we also could partake in our second-favorite leisure activity—talking on our cellphones—without bothering other moviegoers. And yet, we’re the community that finds itself without a drive-in.
All is not lost. There are still a few drive-ins in the area that still let you see the stars under the stars. Plan a day trip that ends with catching a feature at one of these open-air drive-ins: