So many of our friends and neighbors have continued to funnel out of Manhattan, so our trips to Westchester have become more frequent. Most of the time we are only there to visit their houses, so we haven’t had many opportunities to explore, apart from some fall apple and pumpkin picking. As my ex-city pals rave about all there is to do in the burbs, I have been eager to see what else Westchester had to offer.
Last week, we took a quick 24 hour trip to Westchester, exploring parts of Yonkers, Peekskill, and Tarrytown, and I have to say, I cannot wait to get back to discover more gems!
Following our quick drive, we pulled into the picturesque grounds of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. I mentioned hidden gem earlier, and this facility was nothing short of that. Sitting on 80 acres of land donated by David Rockefeller and family, the Stone Barns Center uses highly integrated methods of composting and crop and animal rotations, to enrich their soils, and produce nutritious food year round. Before we set out on a tour of the impecciable grounds, we fueled up with lunch at Blue Hill Café. The Cafe offers light snacks, salads, and farm-fresh lattes, all made with ingredients grown right on the property. So we could sample everything, each of us ordered something different. I was totally obsessed with my pesto and fresh heirloom tomato tartine. After we finished lunch and took some pictures in the courtyard, it was time for a private tour of the grounds. This is where we learned more about Stone Barns’ approach to farming. We saw pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks, and learned their roles in the farms’ agenda. The fact that they are growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming, and disposing of all of the food on the farm is mind boggling. Definitely something we don’t consider often enough, and a great lesson for the kids!
Also on the property is Blue Hill restaurant (not café). Known for its chef choice meals of dishes all grown on property, and lasting up to five hours, Jason and I have been dying to come here for quite some time. We made a reservation to come back in the fall, sans the kiddies.
Next, we were off to hit the water, on the Hudson River Cruise with Captain Mary Pat Driscoll of Trinity Cruise Company! We hopped on a one hour tour for a trip from Peekskill to the Bear Mountain Bridge! This short sightseeing cruise is perfect for families with small children, because its so nice to feel the cool breeze on the water during the warmer months! And the sites along the Hudson River were breathtaking. Sure, we live on the Hudson in Battery Park, but it looks like a completely definite body of water up in Westchester! The mountain views were a far cry from the cityscape out our apartment windows.
Next, we dropped our bags quickly at the Holiday Inn in Peekskill. The hotel was super sweet, leaving the kids a bag of goodies upon arrival. The location was ideal because it was a one minute drive, or five minute walk to to River Outpost Brewing Co, one of Westchester’s newest craft breweries, and a surprising a highlight of our trip. With two restaurants on the property, we had an option of the more upscale seafood space located upstairs, or the laid back beer garden vibe setting with picnic tables and benches outdoors! After our long day, we kicked back outside enjoying some of their lobster rolls, peel and eat shrimp, and fresh salads! Everything was super delicious! And lets not forget that its a brewery. Jason is a bit of a beer connoisseur, so he was in his glory!
Connected to the brewery, in an adjoining building was Spins Hudson, the largest entertainment venue on the Hudson. With 40,000 square feet of intense adventure including aerial ropes course, two story laser tag arena, arcade games and more, the kids were in absolute overload mode. These obstacle courses are all the rage lately, but they haven’t tried one as technical as this. Even Jason joined in on the fun. They really haven’t stopped talking about this place since we’ve been home, each begging to have their next birthday celebration at Spins.
The following morning, after breakfast at the hotel, we drove to Yonkers, for some indoor parachuting, at iFly. Ryder has been talking about this forever, so our 30 minute car ride was filled with excitement on what to expect when we arrived! Upon arrival, we were assigned an instructor, who help fit us in flight suits, take us through a safety video, and prep us for flight in the air tunnel! Initially, I thought Gemma would be disappointed watching from the sidelines, but our instructor informed us that some of their youngest flyers are just three years old!In fact, iFLY has a fun program for nearly anyone to become a skilled flyer, through their progression system, personalized coaching. who knew that body flight is one of the most exciting and fastest growing sports in the world.
After our indoor flight, we flew home; and while our stay in Westchester was a short one, we learned not to take all that Westchester has to offer for granted! Can’t wait for the fall to see what else we’ve been missing out on over there!
Thank you to the Westchester County Tourism & Film for hotel and accommodations!