Our Guide to a Summer of Fun in Westchester
Ah, summer — it’s what we wait for all year long. Now that it’s here, make sure you make the most of it, with our guide to everything fun under the Westchester sun.
Summer’s finally here, and the weather is fine, so why not dine (and drink) outside? Luckily for Westchester residents, plenty of options abound for noshing and imbibing al fresco. Whether you’re feeling rooftop, waterfront, or any other outdoor set-up, here are our favorite picks.
By Barbara Basbanes Richter
No need to swelter in the city to enjoy a rooftop-dining experience. The swankiest among us will head over to Winston in Mount Kisco to sample upscale all-American fare at the rooftop lounge and open-air bar. Craving that city vibe but dreading the drive? Check out Esposito’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in White Plains for straightforward Italian fare served on a trellis-covered rooftop. Keep your rendezvous a secret from the hoi polloi at Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, where the sunny terrazzo has its own private entrance.
It’s hard to resist an invitation to sip something sweet by a beautiful body of water. Harvest on Hudson offers magnificent Hudson River views in Hastings-on-Hudson that perfectly accompany the traditional Italian menu. One Metro-North stop up, in Dobbs Ferry, is Half Moon, which boasts two outdoor patios mere feet from the water’s edge. For a close-up view of the TZB, settle into a seat at Hudson Farmer & The Fish (scheduled to be opened sometime this summer) in Sleepy Hollow, where outdoor seating adjoins the Riverwalk and accommodates up to 30 people. Commuters can cool their heels at The Boathouse in Ossining, with bistro favorites served at the outdoor bar overlooking the Westerly Marina.
Some of the county’s best outdoor dining is right under our noses — if you know where to look. Ocean House in Croton-on-Hudson serves up New England-style oysters and chowder on its recently renovated backyard patio. Harper’s, a Dobbs Ferry hub for locally sourced fare, welcomes diners in its private garden surrounded by a 150-year-old wall adjacent to the Old Croton Aqueduct. Cozy Scalini Osteria has a secluded courtyard nestled beside a patio in a quaint corner of Bronxville. Finally, indulge in Jamaican classics on the patio alongside the jerk smoker at Mount Vernon’s Ripe.
Like your outdoor dining on the green side? We’ve got you covered. Get into the old-fashioned groove in North Salem at VOX Bar & Restaurant, where manicured lawns give this white-linen standby that certain je ne sais quoi. Monteverde, housed in the Cortlandt Manor mansion of the same name, has outdoor patios under century-old grapevines that overlook majestic vistas of the Hudson Valley. Patio dining at Amore in Armonk includes wafting scents from the restaurant’s fragrant herb-and-vegetable garden. A four-acre farm at Purdy’s Farmer & the Fish supplies the North Salem restaurant with produce and diners with farm-to-table views. Southern Italian hospitality at rural Le Fontane in Katonah awaits diners on the traditional outdoor patio.
Need more than green acres to complete your outdoor dining experience? Baldanza in the Bedford Post Inn oozes star power, so just kick back under wisteria-covered pergola and keep an eye out for high-profile diners. If the name of Village Social in Mount Kisco isn’t enough of a hint, take a seat on the rustic outdoor patio and watch the cool kids cruise in. And the enclosed patio at Victorian-themed White Plains hotspot Lilly’s fills to capacity after hours with hungry nocturnal revelers.
Love it hot, hot, hot? Check out these fun-in-the-sun activities.
By Ali Jackson-Jolley
Go With the Flow
Ditch the studio and practice your sun salutations al fresco at Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard in North Salem. Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., certified yoga instructor Kathy Daigneault leads an Alignment Vinyasa class against the backdrop of the orchard. After your last pose, grab a complimentary cup of coffee and a cider donut.
Lend a Hand
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to help the farmers do some hands-on planting and harvesting at the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture’s Warm-Weather Weekends at the farm. You may find yourself collecting eggs, prepping the field beds and planting lettuce. The program, which runs on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., changes each week to accommodate the needs of the farm.
See What’s up With SUP
If you’re looking for a new way to exercise, improve your balance, and have fun on the water, try stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) classes at SUP Westchester. Located at the boat dock at Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck, SUP Westchester offers one-hour classes, plus all the gear you’ll need, for just $35. Once you’ve finished the Intro to SUP class, you can rent a SUP board and explore the waters on your own.
Catch a Big One
Check out Shamrock Charterboat in New Rochelle for deep-sea fishing expeditions. You can book a private charter for 10 to 50 friends or jump onto an open boat trip (available on a first-come, first-serve basis), including Sunset Fishing for Porgies and Fluke, and Night Striped Bass and Bluefish. Boats leave from the Fort Slocum dock in New Rochelle.
Take a Hike
Westchester has some of the best hiking trails in the state, and summer is the perfect time to explore these well-shaded climbs:
Mianus River Gorge Preserve, Bedford
Croton Gorge Park, Cortlandt
Anthony’s Nose, Peekskill
Cranberry Lake Preserve Loop, West Harrison
Hit the Bike Trails
Westchester’s bike trailways offer something for everyone:
Blue Mountain Reservation Trailways, Peekskill
The North County Trailway
Bronx River Pathway
Convene With Art
The PepsiCo Sculpture Gardens in Purchase have finally reopened. Take a self-guided tour of this popular spot, designed by internationally renowned artist Russell Page, who took PepsiCo’s corporate grounds and turned them into an arboretum housing works by major 20th-century artists. Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If hazy, hot, and humid makes you miserable, head indoors for these cool options.
By Ali Jackson-Jolley
Try out the Newest Movie Experience
Date night just got a lot more interesting with the addition of iPic Theater, a brand-new luxury cinema in Dobbs Ferry. It offers in-cinema dining, creative cocktails, and reserved luxury seating for ultimate comfort.
Hit the Ice
Ice-skating isn’t just for winter. Make a trip to Westchester Skating Academy in Elmsford to cool down with an open skate, group lessons for kids and adults, or private lessons.
Grab a Good Book and a Cold Drink
Cool off with a glass of white before finding your next beach read at the new Barnes & Noble concept store in Eastchester. It combines a traditional bookstore with a full restaurant, called Barnes & Noble Kitchen. If cozy is more your speed, treat your favorite bookworm to a frozen lemonade from the café at Katonah’s Little Joe’s Coffee & Books while you browse the children’s titles.
Indulge Your LEGO Obsession
LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Yonkers is the perfect indoor destination for LEGO-obsessed kids — and parents. Explore Miniland, a replica of New York City landmarks made from LEGOS; check out a movie at the 4D Cinema; stop into a play area; and buckle up for the family-friendly rides.
Learn to Make Ice Cream
With nearly 20 years of experience in the ice cream business, Ellen Sledge, owner of Penny Lick Ice Cream in Hastings-on-Hudson, will teach you her tricks in appointment-only ice-cream-making classes, which run $12 per person for a 45-minute lesson. (You’ll learn to make sorbet and popsicles, too.)
Get Sporty, Not Sweaty
Take a break from sunny sports with these high-energy indoor activities:
The Rock Club, New Rochelle
Westchester Table Tennis Center, Pleasantville
Glow Mini-Golf and Roc N’ Bowl at FunFuzion, New Rochelle
Splash in Style
Your overexposed summer skin needs a break from the sun, but you still crave a day at the pool. Book any spa service at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester in White Plains, and you get full access to the hotel’s swank indoor rooftop pool with skyline views.
We’re blessed with two stellar stretches of waterfront in Westchester, and summer is the best time of year to enjoy them —with everything from a scenic river cruise to sailing lessons, waterfront concerts, and more.
By Ali Jackson-Jolley
On the River
1. Spend a perfect summer’s night at Peekskill’s Riverfront Concert Series, which kicks off July 4 with party band The Barnstorm and a new band performing each Wednesday. Entertainment for the kids runs every Monday through the end of July.
2. Hop aboard Trinity Cruise Company’s Evening Star for an hour-long cruise from Peekskill to the Bear Mountain Bridge. Highlights include the scenic water views (obvi!) and sights like Iona Island and the peak of Anthony’s Nose.
3. Stroll or bike the Hudson RiverWalk in Tarrytown. The five-acre shoreline park, which includes a half-mile riverside esplanade, boasts picturesque views of the Tappan Zee Bridge to the south and the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse to the north.
4. Keep cool in a kayak with an excursion down the Hudson, led by Hudson River Recreation, with locations at Croton Point, Croton River, and Tarrytown Lakes Park.
5. Treat yourself to drinks or a meal with a view at Red Hat on the River in Irvington, a French-American bistro with a charming Rivertown vibe and spectacular waterfront location.
On the Sound
1. Indulge in a spectacular view of the Long Island Sound, with a delicious lobster roll and beachy cocktail on the side, at the Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar in Rye. It’s a summer classic!
2. Grab your favorite birdwatcher and explore the extensive saltwater marsh at the Marshlands Conservancy in Rye, where you can discover more than 230 species of birds while hiking along the shore.
3. Soak up some tunes at Mamaroneck’s Summer Nights on the Sound — a free concert series at Harbor Island Park that kicks off July 4 at 7 p.m., then continues Sundays through July.
4. Don’t let lack of know-how stop you from setting sail across the Sound. Up your nautical skills with lessons at the Port Sailing School in New Rochelle, with sailboats launching from the New Rochelle Marina to Echo Bay.
5. Delight your inner child at the Glen Island Park Sand Castle Competition in New Rochelle (Aug 5), where Westchester residents of all ages square off in a battle of sand sculpting.
10 quintessential must-do Westchester summer experiences.
By Ali Jackson-Jolley
1. Meader Down Your Favorite Main Street
You can make a case for spending a lazy day walking almost any of Westchester’s picturesque Main Streets, but we’re partial to these:
Downtown Pleasantville, home to the iconic Jacob Burns Film Center, the Pleasantville Music Festival (July 8), and one of the best farmers’ markets in New York State, as well as numerous boutiques and eateries.
On Tarrytown’s Main Street, you’ll find some of Westchester’s fave food destinations — The Twisted Oak, Mint Premium Foods, and Main Street Sweets (not to mention nearby RiverMarket Bar and Kitchen). It also boasts Third Fridays, a live-music street fair, with food and vendors aplenty, on the third Friday of every month.
Or, check out classic Katonah Avenue, Katonah’s quaint shopping district, which includes independent boutiques, multiple eateries, and even the old-fashioned family-run Charles Department Store. Nearby, you’ll find the Katonah Museum of Art, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, and John Jay Homestead.
2. Indulge in Soft-Serve at King Kone
Nothing screams summer like a trip to Westchester’s nostalgic Somers ice cream shop, King Kone, an old-fashioned roadside stand that’s been dishing out oversized soft-serve since 1953. King Kone also offers 18 hand-dipped ice cream flavors, milkshakes, and even a lunch menu, including burgers and lobster rolls.
3. Attend a Summer Festival
When summer hits its stride, Westchester comes alive with festivals. The Pleasantville Music Festival, on July 8, is a full day of rock, blues, and folk music, plus food, booze, and outdoorsy fun for the family. The summer season at Caramoor runs from June 17 to July 30 and offers seven weeks of jazz, opera, American roots, orchestra, piano, and more — all on its picturesque grounds. The Clearwater Festival at Croton Point Park, June 17 and 18, is our country’s oldest music-and-environmental-awareness festival, full of folk tunes, vendors, and kid’s activities — all in keeping with Clearwater’s mission to promote environmental responsibility (below).
4. Play Lawn Games at Captain Lawrence
Brush up on your bean-bag-tossing skills and join the cornhole craze at Captain Lawrence Brewing Co’s
5. Get Clams at Greasy Nick’s
When it comes to finding the tastiest clam strips around, skip the swanky eateries and head to Leno’s Clam Bar (lovingly known as Greasy Nick’s by locals) located near Long Island Sound in New Rochelle. Don’t let the shabby storefront fool you: Greasy Nick’s has been drawing in crowds for years, with its perfectly prepared clams and cheeseburgers with a mound of grilled onions.
6. Experience Playland
Get your roller-coaster fix with a visit to Rye Playland, where you can brave more than 50 rides (the Dragon Coaster is a must!), treat yourself to fried dough, take in one of the daily shows, check out the beach and pier, and stay for the fireworks, which happen every Friday in July.
7. Drink in Happy Hour at Sunset Cove
Located at the Washington Irving Boat Club in Tarrytown, the Sunset Cove tiki bar and cash-only grill are so close to the Hudson, you can practically dip your toes in the water. Bonus: unforgettable views of the river, the Palisades, the Tappan Zee, and the Manhattan skyline.
8. Watch a Movie Under the Stars
Pack a picnic and treat the family to dinner and a movie al fresco in Valhalla at the Entergy Screenings Under the Stars at Kensico Dam Plaza. There’s a free showing of The Secret Life of Pets on Friday, July 7, and Sing on Friday, August 18. Arrive by 6 p.m. to soak in some live music and hit up the food vendors before the movie starts at dusk. Or, head down to Yonkers for Mayor Spano’s Summer Film & Concert Series, a free outdoor movie event (plus popcorn!) that shows a new family-friendly movie at a different Yonkers park each Wednesday and Thursday, beginning July 6 through August 14.
9. Spend a Day at the Beach
For many, sand and sea are the perfect elixir when the temps begin to soar. Hit Oakland Beach in Rye, which boasts a 1,200-foot-long shoreline along Long Island Sound, a walking path that leads directly to Rye Playland, and plenty of quality people-watching. If you’re partial to riverfront beaches, head to Croton Point Beach, tucked into Croton Point Park, which is always bustling with swimmers, sunbathers, and kayakers.
10. Party With Us
Forgive the shameless self-promotion, but two of the summer’s biggest parties happen to be hosted by this publication. Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Festival, June 6–11, is a summer-must for anyone with taste buds. It’s a week of exclusive dinners, tastings, seminars, and demos hosted by the hottest chefs and vintners. Then join us and approximately 3,000 other revelers at the Best of Westchester Party on July 26 at the Glen Island Harbour Club, which showcases the best of everything Westchester has to offer, as picked by our readers and editors — the county’s top food, drinks, and services, all under one roof.
On-trend beverages make beating the heat way more fun.
By Samantha Garbarini
Must Eat: Frozen Yogurt
We all scream for… yogurt? A crop of new, independently owned froyo shops in Westchester are making the self-serve treat (and its infinite array of toppings) more fashionable than ever. Here are our favorite spots for high-quality scoops:
A sure sign of summer is when stands overflowing with ripe produce — and other farm-fresh goodies — take up residence around the county. Here, the cream of the crop of our local farmers’ markets.
By Barbara Basbanes Richter
Pleasantville Farmers’ Market
Apr 1–Nov 18, Saturdays, 8:30 a.m–1 p.m.; www.pleasantvillefarmersmarket.org
A Best of Westchester favorite three years running, the county’s largest market takes over Memorial Plaza, next to the Pleasantville train station each summer weekend, offering a cornucopia of cheese, produce, and freshly squeezed lemonade. Live, kid-friendly music rounds out the fun.
New Rochelle's Downtown Grand Market
Jun–Oct, Saturdays, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.; www.newrochellegrandmarket.com
New Rochelle’s market, at Library Green, boasts something for everyone: local tomatoes, pickled everything, handmade crockery, even library books.
TaSH (Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow) Farmers’ Market
Memorial Day to Thanksgiving, Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m.; www.tashfarmersmarket.org
TaSH only hosts vendors who “raise, make, and sell” farm-based products within 100 miles of the market; soap, bowls, and whiskey are all made in New York State. Passionate residents banded together to make the market in Patriots Park a reality — and it shows.
Hastings Farmers’ Market
Jun–Nov, Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.; www.hastingsfarmersmarket.org
Kids yoga, live music, food tastings, and products like specialty chutney, olive oil, and smoked trout are all here at the Hastings library parking lot, while the website provides market-based recipes, so you can put your purchases to good use.
Muscoot Farmers’ Market
May 14–Nov 19, Sundays, 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; www.muscootfarm.org
Located at historic Muscoot Farm, the market includes vendors offering everything from artisanal chocolate to handmade yarn, even handcrafted ketchup. Bring the kids to try their hand at candy-making when they’re not ogling the farm animals nearby.
The top urban choice is White Plains Farmers’ Market (Apr 26–Nov 22, Wednesdays 8:00 a.m.–4 p.m), right in the heart of downtown — you can snag food from the Walter’s Hot Dog truck, too... Part of the Down to Earth farmers’ market collective is Larchmont’s Farmers’ Market (Apr 22–Dec 16, Saturdays 8:30 a.m.–1p.m) in the Metro-North upper lot — get there early to avoid long lines... A similar setup with a large array of vendors can be found downtown at Ossining’s Farmers’ Market (Apr 22–Dec 30, Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m)... And Chappaqua Farmers’ Market (May 6–Nov 25, Saturdays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m), at the Metro-North station in town, is dedicated to supporting local farms.
Westchester’s creative streak shines in the summer, with a slew of top-notch cultural events and artistic programs. We round up a few of our favorites.
By Paul Adler
Caramoor’s Summer Music Series
The gorgeous grounds of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts play host to countless classical concerts throughout the summer, but their June 24 American Roots Music Festival and July 1 Pops, Patriots & Fireworks extravaganza are two of the biggest reasons music lovers often find themselves in Katonah.
White Plains Outdoor Arts Festival
A community tradition for more than 50 years, the White Plains Outdoor Arts Festival boasts dozens of artists showcasing photography, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, glasswork, and more. The annual attraction (June 3-4 this year) in Tibbits Park also includes various food vendors and a free children’s arts-and-crafts table.
Greenwich International Film Festival
This four-day festival may only be in its third year, but it is already attracting celebrities and film fanatics from across the globe. More than 60 events, including film premieres and screenings, educational panels, networking receptions, parties, and more will stretch from June 1 to 4. Academy Award-winning actress Renée Zellweger and humanitarian/model Christy Turlington Burns will be honored during a June 1 gala, and chart-topping rapper Flo Rida will take the stage June 2.
Pleasantville Music Festival
With headliners including ’90s megastars Blues Traveler and Living Colour as well as folk icon Susan Vega, the 13th annual Pleasantville Music Festival is shaping up to be one seriously fun time. The extravanganza — which also features a beer and wine garden, battle of the bands, food, and kids’ activities — will rock Pleasantville’s Parkway Field on July 8.
Throughout the months of June and July, Yonkers’ Cross County Shopping Center holds a free concert series, featuring genres of music ranging from classic rock to Latin. Taking place in the heart of the mall at The Green, the series lights up the stage on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Get a dose of old-fashioned summer fun
Mamaroneck Fireman’s Carnival
Chappaqua Strawberry Festival
Find international activities and ethnic events
Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden
Kensico Dam Plaza