We all love our own little cozy corners of Westchester. There are so many things to do and see, places to eat, parks to visit. Who doesn’t love exploring the county and “finding” the kid-friendly gems! It is our mom-bloggin’ duty to highlight some of those awesome places so that other moms can take advantage too! With each installment one or two new towns/cities will be highlighted to give you a glimpse into the awesomeness that is Westchester! Read all posts in our Spotlight on Westchester Series.
When my husband and I were in the market for a new home about nine years ago, we wanted a town with a suburban feel, but yet, didn’t have a complete suburban feel. Confused yet? So were we! My husband and I both grew up in the Bronx and we will always want a sense of “city” in any place we live. At the time we were looking to move, we both occasionally still had to go into Manhattan for work, so easy access to NYC was important. We wanted a cross between an urban and suburban town, with a little bit of rural thrown in. The town of Mount Kisco seemed to be just what we were looking for.
Mount Kisco is in Northern Westchester and is conveniently located off I-684 and the Saw Mill Parkway, and even the Taconic isn’t too far of a ride. There is a downtown area with a mix of local and chain businesses, all close by to the Metro North commuter rail. On the flip side, if you make a few turns off of the main strip (117), you stumble upon farms and huge houses off of dirt roads. It really is the best of everything.
What To Do
We first learned of Mount Kisco when my husband and his friend began to play disc golf on a regular basis. Disc golf is like regular golf, but instead of a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc or frisbee. Leonard Park in Mount Kisco has an 18 hole course. The park has a nice sized playground, hiking trails, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball fields and a greenway where many play soccer. Leonard Park is home to the Memorial Pool Complex, which has a main pool, a wading pool for young children, and a lap pool. The Tea House, pictured here can be rented for family or company events through the local recreation department.
There are a few further options for nature buffs. Westmoreland Sanctuary is a non-profit nature center and wildlife preserve with 640 acres of land and 8 1/2 miles of hiking trails. They also offer a vast variety of educational and recreational programs on environmental conservation, nature and preservation – including teaching almost 10,000 children and adults each year. Westmoreland is free to the public and is open 365 days a year. They offer a full calendar of family friendly events.
Not far from Westmoreland is Arthur W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary, which is 363 acres with a number of marked trails with all sorts of flora and fauna, as well as historical stone walls and huge boulders. Each trail offers different observations and levels of difficulty. The trails are marked well, but I suggest planning a bit in advance to ensure you get the experience you’re hoping for. The trails offer views of rock formations, stone walls, walks along the streams, lakes, waterfalls and awesome viewing platforms. Parts of the sanctuary are quiet and secluded, yet at other areas you can hear some traffic from the highway. The Hawk Watch viewing platform gives you a neat east view, as well as the chance to see various birds.
The Pottery Factory is a recent and welcome addition. You can walk-in anytime to paint pottery, do candle making, glass fusing and/or soap making. It’s spacious and has a comfortable atmosphere. The store also has Cork & Canvas events (wine and painting!) and even has a Tween Night Out (sans wine!) coming up. And it’s fantastic to have another option for a place to hold birthday parties.
And last, but not least, between Rockin’ Jump and Grand Prix it is tough not to find something to do! Rockin’ Jump is a venue with indoor trampolines, including a basketball zone and a dodgeball area. There’s even a climbing wall if you need a break from all the jumping! Grand Prix also provides a great variety of attractions including indoor race tracks, bowling, and a fun arcade.
Where to Eat
Mount Kisco has such a variety of places to eat. It’s almost nine years since we moved here and there’s still so many places we have yet to try, but here are a few of our favorites. Thank goodness there are a few local gyms!
Exit 4 Food Hall refers to themselves as a “first of its kind in Westchester County offering local, freshly-prepared food and drinks.” Exit 4 opened up in February 2016 and offers at least nine different food stations. I’m usually partial to the sushi, but they also have stations with oysters, barbecue, pizza, pasta, Mexican, salads, as well as a full bar. It’s a casual, fun and communal experience with indoor and outdoor seating. In addition, I love their belief in sustainability. For example, wine and beer is served on tap and they use Green Box (a box that serves as plates and gets smaller for left-overs) for delivery/take-out items. Exit 4 is quite community oriented as well – daily left-overs are distributed to those in need in the local community. And save some room for dessert – diagonally across the street is Frannie’s Frozen Yogurt!
Village Social is a cool gastropub that gives you very little feeling that you’re actually sitting at a restaurant in Northern Westchester! The name of the restaurant pretty much explains the atmosphere. It’s fun and locals can always trust that they’ll see someone they know. The menus are seasonal and the ingredients are farm fresh. It’s ideal for a date night and a girls night out, but also perfect for a family. I love the “bowls” on the lunch menu, like the Wok-Styled Chicken. For dinner, I’m all about the Veggie Burger.
When I’ve mentioned to folks that I live in Mount Kisco a common response has been, “I love the Lexington Square Café!” This was one of the first places that my husband and I tried when we moved here. It has impressive 17 foot ceilings and an awesome layout of different tiered dining areas. The menu certainly provides plenty of options for everyone – in fact, it’s often tough to choose what you want to eat, but for now I’ll just say……The Lobster BLT Salad = Yum!
Winston is for the adults in the room. Two Words: Rooftop Bar! It’s the perfect place for those upcoming summer nights to hang out with friends, have a few drinks, and snack on some appetizers. The dinner menu is pretty tasty too and there’s a kid menu as well.
Finally, an honorable mention – and a huge one at that – goes to “The Littles” – Little Drunken Chef, Little Crepe Street, Little Kabob Station, and Little Spice Bazaar. The latter three are located right next to each other and The Little Drunken Chef, which offers a fresh oyster bar and amazing tapas, is located directly across the street. These restaurants can certainly be referred to as local favorites. We’re lucky to have them in our town.
Where to Shop
Beehive is the perfect place to shop for specialized gifts. Hands down. They sell beautiful and original products by independent designers and artists, including home goods and décor, bath and body items, clothing, jewelry and other accessories. They also have a great kids section for those unique gifts that you don’t see in typical retail stores.
Last fall, as my son’s Bar Mitzvah was approaching, we were looking for a Havdalah candle and a kippah for the service. To Google I went and searched for a Judaica store in Westchester and The Aesthetic Sense popped up. This excellent shop was literally right down the street from where we live! If you’re in need of a special Judaica gift or an item for a wedding or Bar/Bat Mitzvah, definitely visit this store. They have gorgeous one of a kind and handmade pieces and I’d definitely recommend stopping by.
A few months back, I accompanied my daughter and her Girl Scout Troop on a field trip to Bicycle World. While we were there, I decided to ask the owner what type of bike is best for a woman in her late 40s to learn to ride. Instead of laughing at me (like most people do) he spoke of a few options – including renting a bike from the store before purchasing. My thoughts went right to how many bicycles get smashed up from people like me! Although, I haven’t been brave enough to rent a bike, it’s wonderful to know that I can. It is a pretty cool bicycle shop and the team is super nice and helpful. One additional fact is the store is a must see for history buffs. Bicycle World is in a historic building that has been restored to its former glory of the late 1800s. It’s part of Mount Kisco history.
For us mainstreamers, there are a variety of chains, including Target and TJ Maxx – which to be perfectly honest is one of the reasons we moved here. Best of both worlds.
Mount Kisco is Home
Mount Kisco has a true sense of community and the residents have such pride in the town. Over our years here, we’ve met many people who were born and raised in the town, who in turn, decided to raise their own families here and open up local businesses. And they truly have nothing but open arms to us “outsiders” moving in….and we all quickly become “insiders!” It’s a lovely place to love and fun to visit too! Come Eat! Come Shop!Come Play! We hope to see you soon….