There’s something about an outdoor meal that makes it extra tasty! Try one of these hot family spots to dine al fresco.
Contemporary American cuisine combined with a hint of traditional Italian at affordable prices makes this place a must-go-to for families. Bonus features include live music, outdoor dining and Sunday brunch. Experience the family-friendly dining room or tented outdoor patio and most importantly – a children’s menu. 465 Main St., Armonk. 273-4676. www.opus465.com.
Boasting Mexican cuisine along with a well-spaced, comfortable dining area makes this spot great for families with children. The service is professional and very accommodating. Live music adds to the Mexican flavor and outdoor dining is available.
The children’s menu offers Mexican fare as well as the standard burger and chicken nuggets. 2011 Albany Post Road, Croton-on-Hudson. 271-2920. www.tenampamexican.com.
Abatino’s Pizza & Pasta Restaurant
Family owned and operated since 1985, this pizza and pasta establishment provides a family dining experience with freshly prepared foods at affordable prices. The menu offers the traditional Italian favorites. Enjoy a specialty pizza or come up with a personal combination. Many choose to dine outdoors. Children’s menu is available. 670 North Broadway, North White Plains. 686-0380. www.abatinosrestaurant.com.
This is a great place for a family to go to enjoy classic American burgers and the Inn’s famous buffalo wings. The kids can be entertained with the TVs that line the dining area and the arcade games that help pass the time in the event of a wait. Outdoor dining is a very viable option here as well. 519 Central Ave., Scarsdale. 472-9706. www.allmenus.com/ny/greenburgh/23097-candlelight-inn/menu/
Walter’s Hot Dog Stand
Walter’s hot dogs have received nationwide notoriety and your family would be missing out not paying his stand a visit. Milkshakes, multiple varieties of French fries and Italian ices are all available as well. Outdoor picnic table dining is a big hit with the kids. 937 Palmer Ave., Mamaroneck. www.waltershotdogs.com.
Melt offers a fun, fresh atmosphere where healthy and affordable food can be eaten indoors or out. Choose from one of the dozen specialty sandwiches or design your own. The possibilities are endless. Breakfast served too! 277 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains. 358-1364. www.meltsandwich.com.
Offering boat parking and live music on the weekends, The Cove allows for fine dining on the Hudson with spectacular views. The delectable Sunday brunch allows kids under the age of 5 to eat for free and kids 12 and under eat for half price! Reservations are recommended. 5 John Walsh Blvd., Peekskill. 739-0337. www.thecovecharlespoint.com.
Ice Cream Shops
Ice cream and summer are synonymous. Don’t delay – dig in!
Main Street Sweets
A great collection of homemade ice cream flavors and a large selection of other classic sweets such as cupcakes and cookies make Main Street Sweets a huge hit. Some of their flavors such as Oreo Bomb, Raspberry Chocolate and Cookie Monster will take your breath away. 35 Main St., Tarrytown. 332-5757.
Blue Pig Ice Cream Factory
This ice cream shop in Croton is now under new ownership and the changes that have been made are all great. New owner Lisa Moir creates all the ice cream from scratch using only Hudson Valley milk and cream. Ingredients, from maple sugar to strawberries, are also sourced locally. Don’t miss the homemade hot fudge sauce and real whipped cream. Enjoy your cup or cone in the outdoor patio and garden. 121 Maple St., Croton-on-Hudson. 271-3850.
Stop at this roadside stand for the retro feel, the smooth, creamy soft serve and hard packed ice cream. Outdoor tables offer a great place to linger over your summer confection. Rte. 100, Somers. 232-0571.
Red Rooster Drive-In
While cheeseburgers and onion rings may highlight the menu, customers should not overlook the tremendous shakes, floats, ice creams and egg creams that are offered. A small mini golf course on-site adds to the fun. 1566 Rte. 22, Brewster. 845-279-8046.
Longford’s Own Made Ice Cream
Everybody that talks about Longford’s Own has good things to say – about the ice cream, the establishment and the owners! Some flavors such as Graham Cracker Snacker, Birthday Cake and Espresso Nugget are mouth watering. Smoothies are also a big hit here. 1941 Palmer Ave., Larchmont. 834-0207.
Ice cream is nice, but gelato is a great way to cool down on a summer’s eve.
This Italian gourmet deli and shop happens to also serve tremendous gelato. Try the pistachio, chocolate hazelnut or peach flavors. 57 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains. 328-9400. www.theirontomato.com.
This Italian restaurant located right inside Mount Kisco’s original train station offers well-known seasonal homemade gelato. Flavors ranging from fig & crème to pumpkin and Italian cheesecake can satisfy your cravings. 2 Kirby Plaza, Mount Kisco. 666-6400. http://viavanti.com.
Fabulous Frozen Yogurt
In case you haven’t noticed there’s a frozen yogurt craze happening. Don’t miss out – try this delectable treat.
Red Mango serves one-of-a-kind frozen yogurt with flavors such as raspberry cheesecake and pomegranate. There are also parfaits and smoothies with flavors such as mandarin mango and berry banana, hot chocolate chillers and a variety of iced beverages. 1924 Palmer Ave., Larchmont. 833-2300. www.redmangousa.com.
Frannie’s Goodie Shop
There’s a choice of 12 frozen yogurt flavors at this self-serve frozen yogurt cafe every day. Root Beer Float, Red Velvet Cake, Thin Mint Cookie and Apple Pie are just some of the flavors offered. Create your own masterpiece by adding items from the 40 plus topping bar or syrup station. Outside benches allow you to relax and enjoy your treat. 134 E. Main St., Mount Kisco. 218-8697. www.franniesgoodieshop.com.
This make-your-own set up allows you to pick your flavor and then your toppings. You put it all together and make it as healthy or dessert-like as you want. Flavors include plain tart, green tea and more. Two locations: 8 Purdy Ave., Rye. 967-0049 and 16 Harwood Ct., Scarsdale. 725-8818. www.yogojoy.com.
Parks and Playgrounds
When we say get outside we mean it. And there’s nowhere better to go than a park or playground for the ultimate outdoor fun.
As the main recreational park in the village of Larchmont, the park is home to a variety of sport facilities, playgrounds for both toddlers and young children and ample amounts of space for kids to be kids while parents are able to watch them. Located in the park is a waterfront nature trail as well as a boardwalk. Throughout July, the Village of Larchmont sponsors outdoor evening concerts. Restrooms are located in the park. The park is open from sunrise to dusk. Off Locust Avenue in Larchmont. 834-6230, press 6. www.villageoflarchmont.org/government/parks.asp.
This 126-acre park serves every need of the nature-loving child. Different trails are spread throughout the property going through wooded land and other ecological settings. There is also plenty in the way of playgrounds, basketball and baseball facilities and wide-open space. There are restroom buildings in the park. Rte. 120/133 in Millwood. 238-4771. www.newcastle-ny.org. Click on Rec & Parks tab.
Croton Point Park
This scenic park just off the Hudson River offers a multitude of attractions. There are spectacular views of the sunset, a variety of nature walks and a playground area for the kids. Refreshments are offered within the park and group picnicking is encouraged. There is also a swimming beach. The waterfront benches alone are enough to make this a desirable summer location. 1 A Croton Point Ave., Croton-on-Hudson. 862-5290. http://parks.westchestergov.com /index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2567&Itemid=4500.
This park, located along the Hudson River, offers everything you and your family need for a fun-filled day. Among its amenities are playground units, shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, volleyball nets, picnic tables and a spray pool. Concerts and movies are held at the park throughout the summer. Many have said this is a great spot to enjoy the spectacular 4th of July fireworks. Bridge St., Irvington. 591-7736. www.irvingtonny.gov/index.aspx?nid=131.
Hudson Park and Beach
Located in the southern part of New Rochelle, Hudson Park and Beach offers more than just the classic park experience. Yes, it has the playground and the grassy recreation areas. However, unique to this facility is its beach atmosphere. There is a very small fee for beach access, but it is well worth it. There’s a tremendous July 4th firework show free of charge! One Hudson Park Road, New Rochelle. 235-6447. www.newrochelleny.com/Facilities.aspx? Page=detail&RID=9.
Harbor Island Park
This 44-acre park is the largest in the village of Mamaroneck. This summer haven has it all from playground apparatuses and swings to a saltwater beach. There are even fishing floats and a boat launching area. Picnic tables, ball fields, benches and pavilions can be found throughout the park. Bathrooms are within the facility and there is ample parking available. Mamaroneck Avenue and Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck.
Byram Shore Park
In addition to its fine athletic facilities, Byram Shore Park offers a state-of-the-art playground and picnic area. There are also beach and pool areas within this very large space. Restrooms are located within the park and there is more than enough room for parking. Corner of Rich Avenue and Byram Shore Road, Greenwich, Conn.
Ice Is Nice
Is there a better way to cool down during the hot summer than to get on the ice? Read about these places below, and we’ll let you decide …
Westchester Skating Academy
Whether you want to skate for fun or play some hockey, this place is for you. Week long summer camps are also available. 91 Fairview Park Dr., Elmsford. 347-8232. http://westchester.pucksystems.com.
Brewster Ice Arena
Offering skating lessons, hockey lessons, group sessions, parties and special events such as Friday Night DJ Skate. Camps are also offered all summer long. 63 Fields Lane, Brewster. 845-279-2229. www.brewstericearena.com.
The Ice Hutch
This bubble enclosed skating rink can provide a great time for you and your family. There are learn to skate classes for all ages as well as free-skate time and stick time for those who wish to play some hockey. 655 Garden Ave., Mt. Vernon. 699-6787.
Darien Ice Rink
This rink offers public sessions, skating parties, stick time for hockey, summer skating school and other programs. 55 Old Kings Highway North, Darien, Conn. 203-655-8251. www.darienicerink.com.
Biking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Try one of these paths for great fun.
South County Trailway
Extending from Tuckahoe at its southern end to around where Rte. 100C crosses the Saw Mill Parkway at its northern end, the South County Trailway is mostly flat and gentle, with some off-road terrain. Total length approximately 10 miles.
North County Trailway
At 22 miles running from Valhalla (approximately at Westchester Medical Center) all the way up to the northern border of Westchester County, the North County Trailway offers a fully paved, slightly more hilly path for you and your family to enjoy. Whereas the South County Trailway may offer an easier ride with its flatness, this trail may offer a bit more of a challenge.
Tarrytown Lakes Extension
Right around the north end of the South County Trailway and the southern end of the North County Trailway you’ll find this one-mile path. Very flat and fully paved, this area may serve the purpose of getting your kid out there on a real bike path for the first time.
Bronx River Parkway
On Sept. 11, 18 and 25, a seven-mile stretch of the Bronx River Parkway (exit 4 to exit 22) will be closed to all cars between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. During this time the Westchester County Parks Department runs “Bicycle Sundays.” 995-4050.
For more information on these Westchester Trails, visit www.roberts-1.com/bikehudson/r/p/e/w/westchester_county/routes/index.htm.
Quaker Ridge Trail
Running through southeast Dutchess County and adjoining Connecticut, this path offers a hilly ride with beautiful scenery on quiet back roads. The path has many starting points, one of which is in Brewster. For more information on the Quaker Ridge Trail, visit www.roberts-1.com/bikehudson/r/p/e/d/ dutchess_county/routes/index.htm.
Overlook Drive-In Theatre
Go back in time and experience what was once a classic summer ritual. There are just a few drive-ins still operating so don’t miss the chance to introduce your kids to this novelty screening style. 126 Degarmo Road, Poughkeepsie. 845-452-3445. www.overlookdrivein.com.
Screening Under The Stars
Families from all over Westchester County can go to the Kensico Dam on July 7 and see Shrek Forever After on a giant 65-foot outdoor screen for free. On July 14 see How to Train Your Dragon in Yorktown Heights at the Yorktown Community & Cultural Center’s Athletic Field. Films start at dusk. 245-4650.
Movie In The Park
Take your blankets, chairs, snacks and flashlights down to Crossway Field in
on July 29 for the annual “Movie in the Park.” This year the free movie is DreamWorks’ Megamind. The movie begins at 8:45 pm. Don’t forget bug spray! Scarsdale Recreation, Parks and Conservation 722-1160. www.scarsdale.com.
Outdoor Movie In The Park
On July 22 spread out on the lawn at Memorial Park, enjoy free popcorn and marvel at the giant screen showing the film How to Train Your Dragon. This free event begins at approximately 8:45 p.m. The rain date is Friday, July 29. Memorial Park, Mamaroneck. 381-7865.
The Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Art
This year enjoy free films under the stars including: August 1, Westport Youth Film Festival – short films program “Best of Westport”; August 8, Accepted; August 15, Jaws; August 22, Toy Story 3. Take picnics, blankets and folding chairs. The park opens for pre-show picnicking approximately 60 minutes before showtime. There is also an on-site concession with snacks and ice cream. 40 Jesup Road, Westport, Conn. www.levittpavilion.com.
Minor League Baseball
Want to please those sport savvy kids of yours all while keeping some extra money in your wallet? Take them to a minor league baseball game! With more kid and fan friendly activities throughout the game, seats closer to the playing field and simply a more intimate feeling, minor league baseball can provide an economical and satisfying family outing.
Additionally of note, these minor league teams often host birthday parties. It is a sure way for your kid and his friends to have a great night watching and being a part of an American pastime.
Hudson Valley Renegades
Affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays. 1500 Rte. 9D, Wappingers Falls, N.Y. 845-838-0094. http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp?sid=t537
Affiliated with the New York Mets. 1904 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
500 Main St., Bridgeport, Conn. 203-345-4800. www.bridgeportbluefish.com.
Staten Island Yankees
Affiliated with the New York Yankees. 75 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, N.Y. 718-720-9265. http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp?sid=t586.
Rainy Day Alternatives
Summer means sun, but it can also mean rain. Here are a few things to do when the clouds decide to open up.
New Roc City
Arcade games, laser tag, bumper cars and roller coaster simulators are only the beginning. There are glow-in-the-dark bowling and miniature golf facilities along with Westchester’s only indoor go-kart track! It is also home to an IMAX theatre and a large Megaplex with 18 movie theaters. 33 Lecount Pl., New Rochelle. 637-7575. www.newroccity.com.
LIFE: The Place to Be
State-of-the-art arcade games, laser tag, a rock-climbing wall, and four mini bowling alleys are only some of the offerings. This 25,000-square-foot family-fun entertainment center also runs birthday parties and hosts events of any kind for 30 to more than 500 people. 2 Lawrence St., Ardsley. 591-4400. www.lifetheplacetobe.com.
Andrus Planetarium at the Hudson River Museum
Rainy days were made for a visit to this only public planetarium in Westchester County. The heavens are portrayed beautifully by the state-of-the-art Star Machine. And when you’ve gone through what the planetarium has to offer be sure to enjoy the rest of the Hudson River Museum. 511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. 963-4550. www.hrm.org.
This indoor family entertainment center is home to more than 200 video games, bumper cars, laser tag, batting cages, miniature bowling and an accessible rock-climbing wall for children. There is also a massive two level jungle gym filled with slides, mazes and balls. Food and refreshments and restrooms are all on-site. 380 Saw Mill River Road, Elmsford. 592-2111. www.sportimeusa.com.
Conveniently located in the Kohl’s shopping center in Port Chester, Leapin’ Lizards is home to ball pits, slides, mazes, tunnels and a foam forest! An arcade and dining areas for groups to eat are also for you to enjoy. 421 Boston Post Road, Port Chester. 937-5867. www.leaplizards.com.
Stepping Stones Museum
for Children The many engaging and educational exhibits offered are sure to keep your child entertained and educated throughout the day. An all-new attraction is the Energy Lab, which is a wet, wild and wonderful way for your child to learn about the science of energy. Visit the new Tot Town designed especially for toddlers. 303 West Ave., Norwalk, Conn. 203-899-0606. www.steppingstonesmuseum.org.
See river otters, sea stars, sand tiger sharks and many more water loving friends! Classic IMAX movies, specially made by the aquarium, can also be seen here. 10 North Water St., Norwalk, Conn. 203-852-0700. www.maritimeaquarium.org.
Save with the Westchester Park Pass
A Westchester Park Pass is required to use county-owned parks, pools, beaches, the tennis courts at Tibbets Brook Park and the boat launch at Glen Island Park. Pass offers savings at six county-owned golf courses, venue parking fees, county summer camp programs and a 50 percent savings off Greenburgh Nature Center admission price. Individual Park Passes are available for $50. Save big with a Family Park Pass. For a fee of $100, two adults and any children (ages 12-18) living in the household get their own individual pass, which is good for three years. Residents must apply in person at several area locations including County offices in Mt. Kisco and White Plains, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and Playland Park. In summer months passes are also available at pools and golf courses. www.westchestergov.com/parks/parkpass.htm.
On a scorching summer’s day, don’t be afraid to take a drive to one of these fine water parks where you and your family are sure to enjoy a day full of non-stop fun.
SplashDown Beach Water Park
Coming this summer: an all new Bob the Builder Splash Works section filled with small slides, geysers and other great water fun for the little ones! 16 Old Rte. 9 West, Fishkill. 845-897-9600. www.splashdownbeach.com.
Tons of water rides for everybody from the little kid to the adventurous adult! It’s small enough to be manageable for a day’s outing yet exciting enough to be super satisfying. 822 Lake Ave., Bristol, Conn. 860-583-3300. www.lakecompounce.com.
Coming this summer: an all new wave pool that you can even body-board in! 254 Splish Splash Dr., Calverton. 631-727-3600. www.splishsplashlongisland.com.
Quassy Amusement Park
Looking for a great day trip? Head to Quassy for a day filled with all kinds of fun including Tunnel Twister water slides and the Saturation Station. This year the park celebrates 103 years of providing families unbelievable fun. Lake Quassapaug, Rte. 64 (2132 Middlebury Road), Middlebury, Conn. 203-758-2913.www.quassy.com.
If the entire family is getting outdoors don’t forget to give Fido a chance to enjoy the sunshine too.
East Rumbrook Park
This one-acre dog run has a fenced area for small dogs and a separate fenced in area for all dogs. Dog owners are also allowed to walk their dogs on a leash on a wooded trail. East Rumbrook Park, Greenburgh. www.eastrumbrookdogpark.com.
Peekskill Dog Park
This park offers separate fenced in and gated areas for small and large dogs in addition to benches, plastic bag dispensers and a restroom. There is plenty of parking. Open daily 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1795 Main St., Peekskill. www.peekskilldogpark.com.
Ossining Dog Park
This park has two enclosed acres of wood chips, trees and other dog friendly terrain. The park has three double-gated entrances. Separate areas are available for small and large dogs. Water fountains for dog and human use are in the park and lights for evening visitors. 235 Cedar Lane, Ossining. www.ossiningdogpark.com.
Bark Park Dog Park
This fully-fenced dog park has separate areas for small and large dogs, water, benches and built-in toys. Prospect Ridge. Off Governor St., Ridgefield, Conn.
Taylor Farm Dog Park
Large fields, a swimming pond, multiple trails and fenced-in areas highlight this dog park. Calf Pasture Beach Road, Norwalk, Conn.
Mitchell Ostrower is a Westchester-based writer who enjoys the outdoo