Eating outdoors is one of the many pleasures of summer. Try these locations that offer much more than just a patch of grass for dining al fresco.
Boscobel is an elegant Federal-period house museum with amazing views of the Hudson River and a majestic front lawn. Every Saturday there is free entrance to the grounds only. See the luscious gardens, hike the Woodland Trail of Discovery and then picnic on the lawn.
Plus, on June 9 and July 14 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. kids can take a trip through time with history and Museum Educator Lisa DiMarzo in Bring the Kids! Second Saturdays program. Explore the past through hands-on chores, games, crafts, a family-friendly tour of the Historic House Museum and you can take a picnic to enjoy afterwards. Or attend the Ice Cream Social from noon to 3 p.m. on June 30 featuring music, lawn games and ice cream. See the website for admission to these programs.
1601 Rte. 9D, Garrison
It’s Play Days @ Jay on June 1, 8, 15 and 22 from noon to 2 p.m. Explore the six Discovery Centers, visit with the chickens and there’s a short hands-on activity for the kids. Then tour the formal gardens and stop at one of the picnic benches scattered throughout the property. Grounds open sunrise to sunset year round. The Education and Visitor Center is open May through Oct. 15 on Wednesday through Sunday from 12:30 to 4 p.m. The Discovery Centers open at 10 a.m. Free admission.
Or attend the Homestead’s Family Outdoor Movie Night featuring The Princess Bride on June 23, from 7 to 10 p.m. Food trucks offer dinner items, Breezemont Day Camp provides activities for kids – just take the blanket and make a picnic. Movie shown at dusk, admission is $10 per car. See website for tickets.
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site
400 Jay St., Katonah
Did you know Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is the largest park in Westchester County? This 4,315-acre park has miles and miles of wooded trails ripe for exploring. There’s also the Trailside Nature Museum (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Monday and an occasional Friday) with American Indian artifacts, educational exhibits and kid-friendly interactive displays. Family activities and programs are scheduled nearly every weekend. You can go butterflying in the meadow and try to find all 83 species that have been seen on the grounds. There’s also a one-half acre wildflower garden containing more than 80 different types of labeled wildflowers. Once you’ve worked up an appetite head to the Kimberly Bridge Picnic Area for a meal by the brook. Grounds open daily 8 a.m. to dusk. Free admission. Parking $10.
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
6 Reservation Road, Pound Ridge
Individual families can enjoy Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Yorktown Heights, but it’s great if you’re gathering a large group. Spacious picnic areas accommodate hundreds of people who visit the park daily. There’s a swimming pool, playground, nature trails, fishing and boating. Reservations are required for groups of 25 or more, the fee is $30 for every 50 people and requires a picnic permit application, which is available online. A variety of picnic areas can accommodate from 30 to 300 guests. Many picnic areas have volleyball nets, basketball courts and softball fields. Two NCAA regulation basketball courts and a soccer field are available and sports enthusiasts can try their hand at Disc golf, located a short distance from the picnic areas. The park is open 8 a.m. to sunset. Parking fee is $8. Take a picnic and spend the entire day.
Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park
2957 Crompond Road, Yorktown Heights
– Jean Sheff