With the kids heading back to school soon now is the time to plan those last-minute trips. Or you can start planning your fall trips. All of these destinations are within a short drive from Hartsdale, New York. They make the perfect weekend or day trip for families.
Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Rockefeller State Park Preserve offers quiet countryside walks through forested hills and valleys surrounding sunlit pastoral fields. Located thirty miles north of New York City, the property is the former Pocantico Hills and Rockwood Hall country estates of John D. Rockefeller family and William Rockefeller. Since 1983, the Rockefeller Family has generously donated over 1771 acres to the State of New York to safeguard these lands for present and future generations. Managed by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the Preserve is open to the public year-round, sunrise to sunset.
The trails of the Preserve are crushed stone carriage roads laid out by John D. Rockefeller Sr. and Jr. in the first half of the 20th century. There are 45 miles of scenic carriage roads that are wide and easy to walk. Trail maps of the carriage roads are available at the Preserve Office.
The Preserve is primarily hardwood forest dominated by huge oak, tulip poplar, maple, and beech trees. You’ll find a large variety of native species including migratory birds, mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish and aquatic species, some of which are in decline and now uncommon in Westchester County. With 202 recorded species of birds, it’s the perfect place to spend some time bird watching.
New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden was established back in 1891. The gardens were inspired by an 1888 visit that eminent botanists Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife, Elizabeth, took to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London. They returned to New York and started the garden on just 50 acres of forest. Here they studied botanical science. Over the years the garden has grown to over 250 acres!
The New York Botanical Garden has several specialty gardens and collections, with more than one million plants. The Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the nation’s preeminent Victorian-style glasshouse are the specialty gardens. Some of the unique finds are the award-winning Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, the Native Plant Garden, and 30,000 trees, some more than 200 years old!
With over one million visitors annually visiting the grounds, exploring innovative exhibitions, and participating in educational programs that are larger and more diverse than those of any other garden in the world, this is a busy place and one you don’t want to miss if you are nearby.
Larchmont Manor Park
Larchmont Manor Park is a privately owned park by the Larchmont Manor Park Society. This not for profit company takes care of the park throughout the year for the public to enjoy.
There are not many waterfront areas on Long Island Sound, Larchmont Manor Park is one of them and it’s accessible to the public for the enjoyment of the natural beauty of the Sound and its shoreline.
The Park is about 12 1/2 acres with about 5,000 feet of shoreline. There are paths for casual strolling and benches where visitors can rest and take in the striking scenery.
A wide variety of trees and shrubs complement the broad expanse of lawn and spectacular natural sculptures created by glacial rock formations. An old well, which remarkably produced freshwater only a few yards north of the shore, has been filled in but its rustic housing has been faithfully restored. Summer houses, three gazebos, on three promontories enable one to sit and enjoy a sweeping view of the Sound, the rock-ribbed shoreline and boating activity.
These are just a few of the family-friendly destinations you can enjoy while visiting Hartsdale.