Short, dark days are growing longer and brighter, and it’s time to emerge from winter’s cocoon. Flanked by the Hudson River and Long Island Sound, New York’s Westchester County is a welcoming oasis for a spring retreat. Located just 30 minutes from Manhattan by car and rail, its bucolic countryside – including the acclaimed Hudson River Valley – feels eons away from the hustle of city life.
Westchester is home to some of New York’s most beautiful gardens, quaint river towns, and quiet villages. Travelers can pick up local produce at the outdoor Pleasantville Farmers Market, experience the magnificent blooms of the area’s many incredible gardens or unwind at one of the county’s exceptional accommodations, like the eco-friendly Relais & Châteaux property, Bedford Post, which is also home to farm-to-table dining. Explorers can soak up the county’s beauty with a picturesque hike or bike (North Country Trailway), kayak on the Hudson (Hudson River Recreation), fish, golf, sail, or enjoy some retail therapy at one of the county’s many high-end shopping destinations
What to Do
Adventure seekers can learn how to kayak or stand-up paddleboard at the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School. Highly trained instructors will teach the basics on select Saturdays and Sundays at Five Island Park in New Rochelle. Classes start at $25 and all equipment is provided.
The 508-acre Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson offers a host of adventure opportunities, including boating, hiking, swimming and kayaking. Fishing by sailboat, canoe or car-top carried boat is also available starting at 8 a.m. Fisherman can get their NYS fishing license in advance from the Westchester County Clerk’s office. As dusk falls, travelers can set up camp in their RV, tent or rented cabin and end their day around a campfire.
Not for the faint of heart, Anthony’s Nose in Peekskill, New York, offers a strenuous 3.5 hour hike that will reward hikers with one of the best panoramic views of the Hudson River from its peak. After the ascent, hikers will follow the white blazes of the historic Appalachian Trail downhill.
The Lyndhurst Flower & Antiques Show– April 5-7, 2019 – at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown has quickly become a spring tradition. The visually magnificent show recreates the opulent days of the Gilded Age, when Lyndhurst was decorated with flowers from the estate gardens and greenhouse. To assemble this wonderland of color and fragrance, each floral designer handcrafts a display to highlight and harmonize with the sumptuous interiors of the historic mansion. The Flower & Antiques Show is a rare opportunity for visitors to experience Lyndhurst, filled with spectacular flower arrangements, and to walk through the house at their own pace without a guided tour.
Beginning in April, South Salem’s Wolf Conservation Center will host Sleeping with Wolves. This popular nocturnal adventure experience gives guests a chance to camp out overnight with the 20+ wolves that call the conservation center home. With all the howls, circling vultures and nature’s nighttime chatter, travelers will delight in this under-the-stars campout with wild wolves.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the writing of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and the premiere of the region’s Sleepy Hollow Lit Fest. Set for May 18, this festival will extend across various venues from the historic Tarrytown Music Hall to the Burying Grounds of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow. It will be a celebration of the art of writing and will showcase multiple areas of interest that connect deeply with this historic region–specifically horror, children’s books, historical and contemporary literature.
And for spring’s finale, travelers can head to Croton-on-Hudson from June 15 to 16 for The Great Hudson River Revival, also known as the Clearwater Festival. The festival features seven stages with diverse music, dance, storytelling and family-oriented programming as well as a juried handcrafters’ village, green living expo, a waterfront with small boat exhibits and rides, an artisanal food and farm market and environmental education displays and exhibits.
The dazzling gardens and bucolic grounds of Caramoor in Katonah come to life in springtime. Midweek afternoon tea service in its stunning Spanish courtyard, followed by a tour of the Rosen House, are delightful. And while its prized summer series of musical events begins June 15, there is plenty to enjoy in April and May as well, including many concerts unique to the region, ranging from cutting-edge compositions to the finest in early music on period instruments, and from orchestral and chamber masterpieces to jazz, roots and world music.
The state-of-the-art Bedford Playhouse has a jam-packed schedule of exciting events and shows taking place this spring including Hudson Valley Shakespeare Workshop (April 13), An Evening with Comedy Legend Robert Klein (April 18), and a Woodstock Party(June).
Historical mansion tours of Sleepy Hollow’s Kykuit, The Rockefeller Estate resume in May. Kykuit was once home to four generations of the Rockefeller family, beginning with the philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. Now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, this extraordinary landmark has been continuously and meticulously maintained for more than 100 years. Enjoy the beautiful surrounding gardens in bloom this spring.
Where to Eat (and Drink)
The county has emerged as a hub for craft beverage enthusiasts in New York State. It continues to expand its roster of breweries and taprooms. In the last year alone, four breweries (River Outpost Brewing in Peekskill, Wolf & Warrior in White Plains, Decadent Ales in Mamaroneck and Sing Sing Kill Brewery in Ossining) opened their doors.
For travelers that gravitate to wine and cider, Westchester has both a micro winery and cideries to enjoy this spring. South Salem Winery produces small batches of hand-crafted wine in the beautiful surroundings of the Gossett Bros. Nursery. Hardscrabble Cideron Half Moon Farm and Orchard in North Salem epitomizes handcrafted, farm-to-bottle beverages with the dedication of a family-run business.
The Pub in Yonkers is the newly refurbished, high-energy sports bar at Manhattan’s closest gaming destination, Empire City Casino. Recently acquired by MGM Resorts International, the casino’s reimagined gastropub menu was created by MGM Resorts International Executive Chef Anthony Amoroso, and boasts mouthwatering fare including wings, sandwiches, burgers and more, and is complemented by an expanded beer and cocktail program curated by the company’s Corporate Mixologist Craig Schoettler.
Where to Stay
Castle Hotel and Spa in Tarrytown elevates the travel experience in more ways than one. Beginning in Manhattan, guests are treated to a 45-minute helicopter tour that showcases both the iconic city skyline and the majestic beauty of the Hudson Valley, concluding at Westchester County Airport, where guests are greeted with a luxury car to escort them to the hotel. The package includes elegant accommodations, a three-course dinner at the award-winning Equus restaurant and two 90-minute Swedish massages at the brand new SANKARA Sanctuary Spa.
Travelers may opt to unwind with a romantic stay at the eco-friendly, luxury-focused Relais & Châteaux member, Bedford Post Inn. Co-owned by Richard Gere, the charming eight-room inn is home to a yoga studio, and two distinct restaurants serving sustainable locally grown farm-to-table fare. Guests may choose from five different room layouts, most with a fireplace to enhance the cozy and romantic feel. All rooms are prepared with Frette linens and towels, and some rooms have a terrace which overlooks the wooded property. Rates this spring start at $540 per night.
With firepits for s’mores, family movies, a heated pool and a golf course, Doral Arrowwood presents an abundance of fun options for families. This spring, the hotel is offering 20% off stays and 15% off golf and dining with prices starting at $119 per night, making it an ideal location for a spring retreat with family.