Looking for that quick, outdoor escape from the city? Then look no further than Tarrytown New York in the Hudson Valley. We're just 35 minutes from NYC's Grand Central Station and offer tons of fun stuff to explore outdoors.
Here's just a few of the fun things you can do here...
And, don't worry if you're without a car. All these spots are walkable from the train station, either at Tarrytown or Philipse Manor.
Read on and learn about 10 incredible spots in one of "America's Prettiest Towns" where you can get outdoors and have some fun!
Note: All destinations are within 3.5 miles or less of the nearest train station. Technically, you could walk to them all. Below, you will find walking maps for each spot. However, to reach some, you may prefer to take a taxi. Taxis are readily available at the Tarrytown train station. To see a train schedule, click here.
Pierson Park is one of my favorite outdoor spots in Tarrytown New York because it's all brand-spanking-new, it's so close to town, and, well, it's just simply gorgeous!
And, it's most definitely THE best place to witness construction of the New Tappan Zee Bridge.
The park has expansive views of the Palisades, the Tappan Zee Bridge, Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse, and the New York City skyline, so bring your camera!
One the greatest features of Pierson Park is the Westchester Riverwalk, a paved foot path stretches for about a mile along the waterfront.
The Riverwalk is THE spot for fireworks on the 4th of July and also a great place to catch the sunset.
As you take your sunset stroll, you'll find people chatting on park benches, walking their dogs, and casting lines from the fishing pier.
It's a lively place, an oasis near the train station - flanked by excellent restaurants and the new Hudson Harbor condominiums.
During the summer you can picnic on the large grass field and catch a concert presented by Jazz Forum Arts.
Summer concerts are sporadically held throughout June and August here at Pierson Park, usually on Thursday or Friday evenings.
At the field's south end, next to the green carpeted hills, there is a brand-new playground with splash fountains. The kid's will love it, especially on a hot day. And you can relax in the shade and watch at the nearby picnic pavilion.
There are brand-new tennis and basketball courts at Pierson Park, too, just over the little footbridge near across from the Marina. So bring your A-game!
Now, all this is just steps from the Tarrytown train station. All you've got to do is walk off the platform and you're already there.
So grab your picnic blanket, you sweetheart, the pooch, or a good book and get out there!
Kingsland Point Park is another spectacular outdoor spot in the area. You'll find it less crowded than Pierson Park and offering much the same views. Plus, with a little guidance, you can reach the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse.
View of the palisades from Kingsland Point
This "point" of land, which sticks out of the Hudson's eastern shore and is now part of the Westchester County Park system, was formed by the outflow of sediment from the Pocantico River, a tributary running through Sleepy Hollow.
Kingsland Point became a hazard for passing ships, so in 1883 the federal government built a lighthouse. The Tarrytown New York Lighthouse still stands to this day and is one of 7 lighthouses on the Hudson River.
Upon entering the park, you'll see the 1920s Spanish Renaissance style bath-house, home to the Kathryn W. Davis RiverWalk Center.
The company Hudson River Recreation rents and launches kayaks from here. But, the launch is not open to the public, so you'll have to arrange it with them first.
Beyond the bathhouse, you'll come to the fenced-in dog park - a great place to exercise and socialize the pooch - and a large sports field with a baseball diamond.
The rest of the park consists of several acres of level grass scattered with oak trees, gazebos, picnic tables, and BBQ grills. There's also a playground decorated with white shiny teeth, presumably to promote dental hygiene among our youth.
At the southern end of the park, you can reach the Lighthouse; it's just past the pine trees. To get there, you'll have to side-step the fence (if it's locked) and hop down the wall at the little beach. (Don't worry, it's legal!)
Then, continue around a little concrete bend with a mural painted on it and you'll see the lighthouse. The lighthouse, which is now on the National Register for Historic Places, was built in the 1883 and continued it's service until 1961.
When it was originally built, the lighthouse was located about a quarter mile out into the water. However, General Motors extended the shoreline in the early 1900s. Thus, you can now walk right up to the lighthouse via the little footbridge.
Rockefeller State Park Preserve - approximately 1,400 acres of dense woods, lakes, open meadows, and wetlands - makes the perfect escape from the city.
Miles of wide, easy-going carriage trails, ideal for jogging and long nature walks, criss-cross and loop around the entire property. (For rugged hiking, look elsewhere.)
My advice is to grab a map, get lost, and explore.
The trails at the former site of Rockwood Hall, a mansion once belonging to William Rockefeller, has stunning river views. Other trails meander through golden meadows and along crystal clear streams.
In winter, I often see people cross country skiing. Recently, I stopped and talked to a man snow-shoeing. He said, "It beats the gym and all those circulated germs!"
But there's more to this park than just footing it on the trails.
Licensed fisherman can catch bass on Swan Lake and brown trout on the Pocantico River.
Bird-watchers can look for some of the 180 bird species that call this place home.
And, if you've got one of your own, you can go horse-back riding.
In early May, their infamous Peony trees (425 of them near the entrance) start to bloom. The Peony trees were donated by the people of Japan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It's a spectacular, and sweet smelling sight.
If you're coming by car, the main entrance is on Route 117 off Route 9. There's a $6 parking fee. However, you can park either along Bedford Road or Sleepy Hollow Road, or access the park via the Old Croton Aqueduct for free.
Patriots Park, a charming 4-acres in the middle of town, is by no means a wilderness escape, but still, it's a great spot to relax outdoors. And there's some interesting history here. In fact, it is on the National Register of Historical Places.
If you're walking down Route 9, you'll notice a large statue at the entrance to the park. The statue is of John Paulding, a local militiamen, who, along with some cohorts, captured Major John Andre here during the American Revolution.
Andre, a British spy, was caught attempting to deliver stolen blue prints of West Point to the Brits. After a military trial he was hanged. Benedict Arnold, Andre's partner in crime, escaped to England for asylum.
Also of interest to history buffs, Andre Brook, the stream which runs through the park, is where Ichabod Crane first encounters the Headless Horseman in Washington Irving's tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Though the land was a marsh back in those days, today, Patriots Park has grassy knolls, stately oak and tulip trees, a babbling stream with stone arcways, a fenced-in playground, and a basketball court.
The Tarrytown's Farmers Market sets up here on Saturday Mornings from May through November. And, on the second Saturday of October, the Tarrytown recreation department sponsors a scarecrow building festival for kids and families.
Stone Barns Agricultural Center is a place for city-folk to get a taste of the country life without getting their shoes too muddy.
David Rockefeller and his daughter Peggy started cattle operations here in 2004, establishing the non-profit Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.
Since then, they've become a leader in the the farm-to-table movement.
I suggest stopping by for the farmers market and then strolling the property. The market is open on Sundays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and runs from May to November.
Your kids will have a memorable day, and you will too, as you walk the easy-going trails through the pastures.
Along the way you may very well encounter the lonesome mooo of a cow, clucking turkeys, chickens, and pigs chortling through the mud.
If that sounds a little tame, you can extend your hike by taking the trails into the 1000+ acre Rockefeller State Park Preserve. It's all connected.
You might want to visit their acclaimed restaurant, Blue Hill. It's expensive, but worth it. Just remember to make reservations and wear formal attire. For cheaper eats there's the Stone Barns Cafe in the courtyard as well.
The Old Croton Aqueduct played an important role in the history of New York City. Built between 1837 and 1842, it provided 14 million gallons a day for a desperately thirsty Manhattan.
Without this fresh supply of water, the booming, young metroplis would not have been able to continue its rise to prominence.
The "old" croton aqueduct has since been replaced, but the trail remains. In total, it extends 26 miles from Yonkers/Bronx border to the Croton Dam in Westchester County.
As you journey along you'll see stone towers every mile or so. These are old ventilator shafts for the tunnel below.
If I were you, this is what I'd do: take the train and hop off at Tarrytown. Walk up the hill to Main Street. Cross Broadway/Route 9 and continue uphill onto Neperhan Rd.
Once you're on Neperhan, you can access the OCA between Grove and Archer Streets. A wooden signpost marks the spot, and you'll seen a beaten dirt path.
If you head left, you'll go north into Sleepy Hollow. Head right and you're going south towards the Lyndhurst Castle, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry. Both are equally attractive choices. It just depends on how far you want to take it.
You can't go wrong really. Just make sure you get back in time for dinner!
Philipsburg Manor, located off Route 9 in Sleepy Hollow, teems with fun activities year-round. The Horseman Hollow event is a must-do in October.
This historic estate once belonged to the prosperous Philipse family, who settled the area on a land-grant from the British Monarchy.
Frederick Philipse soon built a flourishing enterprise which included a farm, a gristmill, a church, and a port for sailing his goods down the Hudson to New York.
The buildings you see today are the originals, some of which date back to 1650s. In fact the Old Dutch Church, which lies just across Broadway, is the oldest church in New York State.
Year-round there are many fun activities. I suggest springing for their tours. You can get an inside peek into how this plantation was run, meet the actors, and see inside the farmhouse decorated with period furniture.
By far the most popular event here is the fantastically frightful Horseman Hollow, a haunted trail that runs each weekend through October. In-your-face ghouls and goblins are professionally trained to scare your pants off! You can purchase tickets by following the link above. But get them early, they sell out quick.
Tarrytown Lakes refers to the two reservoirs - Upper Lake (small) and Lower Lake (large - located on Neperhan Road, just past the EF Marymount Campus in Tarrytown New York.
Many people come here to use the scenic path alongside the water, which connects to the extensive North & South County Trail. For all you cyclists out there - you might want to check this out. The trail extends 40 miles from Yonkers to Brewster!
Fishing is also a popular activity at the lake. Anglers perched on the grassy edges among the tall reeds are a common sight. Their buckets slosh with Largemouth Bass, Yellow Birch, Catfish, Carp, and of course, the ubiquitous Sunfish.
Ice-Skating is also permitted on the lake when the conditions are safe enough.
In season, Hudson River Recreation rents and launches kayaks from the larger lake. You can call ahead to reserve a boat, or just show up. They should be able to accommodate you on the spot.
The trail at the Tarrytown Lakes actually used to be the old Putnam Line - a train that ran through this area and stopped at Pocantico Hills. (This same line is the path of the North/South County Trail)
In the early 1900s the Rockefeller's had the train line torn up and rerouted as the noise and billowing black coal-fire smoke disturbed their country sanctuary at Kykuit just up the hill.
Jay Gould, the railroad baron, who lived nearby at the Lyndhurst Castle helped finance the creation of the lakes after a great fire in the village in the 1800s.
The lakes put out fires and quenched the thirst of local Tarrytowners until 1992 when it was put out of service.
Today, Tarrytowners get their water from the Catskills, but the lakes remain as a beautiful legacy to this once important civic project.
The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery offers you a unique, enchanting, and hauntingly beautiful sojourn into the outdoors.
One fun (and free) activity is to go "headstone hunting" and seek out the famous Americans buried here.
Walter Chrysler, many of the Rockefellers, Andrew Carnegie, and Washington Irving have all chosen this site as their final resting place.
There are countless more tombs, angelic statues, and Revolutionary War grave sites. Notably, there's a 20 foot tall statue of a Civil War general pointing out over the valley towards the Hudson River and Tappan Zee Bridge.
If you enter the tall gates near the Old Dutch Church and follow the road along the Pocantico River, you'll come to cross the famed Headless Horseman Bridge!
The cemetery is a big tourist draw around Halloween. During the leafy season, they do night lantern tours of the premise with a guide, and you can sit-in on a live story telling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in the Old Dutch Church.
If you're looking for a small piece of solitude, Taxter Ridge, about 500 acres of woods on the Tarrytown New York/Irvington border, is a nice place to start.
It is very much "off the radar." Chances are you'll encounter only a few deer bounding through the trees as you explore the trails. (look for the blue and orange markers, 2.3 miles total)
The park is a good example of civic-minded preservation.
In 2004 the state and town of Greenburgh bought the property for $10.9
million, keeping it out of the hands of developers in this busy corner
of southern Westchester.
2 different colored trails (blue, orange) wend their way through the hilly terrain. Some interesting features include: deep ravines; glacial rock formations; wetlands; and some very old and large Oaks and Maples.
When I first explored this place, I was most impressed by how quiet it was, and how alone I felt. Except for all the deer! They were all over the place. One buck came whizzing past me. He stopped about 20 yards ahead and posed for a few pictures.
Pick up the blue trail from Mt. Pleasant Lane, or the orange trail from Sheldon Ave. Both trails link to each other.
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