I’ve lived in Westchester County for over 30 years, so I’m familiar with the delights of this wooded, hilly and sophisticated county. Flanked by Long Island Sound and the Hudson River. Westchester is made up of big cities, towns, villages, farms and miles of natural beauty.
Just 30 miles north of downtown New York, it offers a great getaway and a nice, close addition to a New York City vacation or business trip. The county is easily accessible by major interstate highways and parkways, its own regional airport, Amtrak, and three commuter rail lines, and is home to more than 40 hotels and conference centers.
Here’s a sampling of Westchester’s seasonal delights:
Events to come
The 146e The Westminster Kennel Club’s annual dog show will return to historic Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, America’s finest Gothic Revival mansion, June 18-22. July 9, 16e The annual Pleasantville Music Festival takes place at Parkway Field, featuring local headliners, stars and artists.
The Caramoor Jazz Festival is a highly anticipated highlight of the county’s summer schedule amid the lush gardens of the Katonah Marquee Center for Music and Art.
Jazz Forum Arts will host free outdoor summer concerts in Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow and Ossining. The 32 concerts will take place in July and August.
Untermyer Gardens Conservancy will host its second annual Minnie Untermyer Concert Series through September 4 in the amphitheater of the beautiful walled garden and overlooking the length of this monumental Indo-Persian space.
Four leading arts organizations, including the Jacob Burns Film Festival, Historic Hudson Valley and the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, have partnered to offer the Hudson Valley Summer Arts Pass.
Sleepy Hollow’s Kykuit is home to four generations of the Rockefeller family, with stunning river views; the National Trust for Historic Preservation historic site is open until November 13, 2022 for guided tours.
Westchester history shines at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, Philipsburg Mansion, Pocantico Hills Union Church, or with a tour of historic homes and the landscape of the eight-sided Armor-Stiner Octagonal House, a historic landmark national.
The iconic Hudson River Sloop Clear waterwhich has undergone a major refit, will cruise the Hudson Valley between Albany and New York through October, docking in Ossining and Yonkers.
Bike Sundays have been a beloved Westchester tradition since 1974, where participants bike, skate, scooter, walk or jog the 13.1-mile loop of the Bronx River Parkway. Another option is Gotham Bicycle Tours, along the Empire State Trail, a 750-mile crossing designed for cyclists and hikers to explore New York State.
Mianus River Gorge Preserve in Bedford is a trail that rises 40 feet above the Mianus River. And at Croton Gorge Park in Cortlandt, an easy two-mile hike includes gorgeous views of New Croton Dam.
Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Mount Pleasant offers horseback riding, walking, jogging, running, bird watching, and fishing. I have spent many years walking its beautiful fields and hills daily. Today it includes a farm and education center and a world-class farm-to-table restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
Teatown Lake Reservation will offer guided tours of Wildflower Island throughout the season, providing in-depth insight into the sanctuary’s unique ecology.
On Long Island Sound, beach options include Rye Town Park & Beach and Playland Beach, both of which offer water access from Rye. On the Hudson River, Croton Point Park Beach in Croton-on-Hudson is popular for its scenic views and spacious beach, as well as kayaking, boating, and stand-up paddleboarding. Adventure seekers can explore the 508-acre Croton Point Park.
Or sail the Long Island Sound with Port Sailing School at the New Rochelle Municipal Marina.
Playland in Rye is renowned for its historic rides, seaside setting and Art Deco architecture. The park offers thrill rides as well as family options.
Notable places to eat and drink
Cool treats include Bigfoot Creamery in Ossining, King Kong in Katonah, The Hudson Creamery in Peekskill, Ice Cream Social in White Plains, and Main Street Sweets in Tarrytown. For a different sweetness, Baked in Color launched in Larchmont this spring – featuring colorful cookies.
Outside enjoy fine weather at 3 Westerly Bar & Grill in Ossining, Apropos Restaurant & Bar at The Abbey Inn & Spa in Peekskill, RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen in Tarrytown, The Bit in Dobbs Ferry or Harvest on Hudson in Hastings-On-Hudson.
At Eastchester Fish Group in Scarsdale, you can shop at the fish market or enjoy a fine dining experience; Tipsy Taco Bar offers authentic Mexican cuisine in Mount Kisco; and Wood & Fire Napolitan Pizza in Pleasantville and Scarsdale offer handmade pies.
For outdoor happy hours: Bartaco in Port Chester; Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. in Mount Kisco; Freebird Kitchen and Bar in White Plains; The Fontane at Katonah; and even BXVL Coffeehouse in Bronxville, which offers a European-style happy hour with music, cocktails, appetizers and small plates.
Where to stay
The Opus is Westchester’s newest contemporary lifestyle hotel in the heart of White Plains.
The Westchester Marriot Hotel in Tarrytown offers modern accommodations, as well as easy access to destinations such as the historic Hudson Valley’s Lyndhurst Mansion, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside and Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate.
Located on a hill overlooking the Hudson River Highlands, the Abbey Inn & Spa is a former convent-turned-boutique hotel, with over 20 acres of scenic hiking trails.
Set on 26 acres, Tarrytown House Estate offers luxurious accommodation and amenities with extensive leisure and recreation facilities. The resort is home to Goosefeather, offering al fresco dining and Cantonese cuisine by celebrity chef Dale Talde.