Harvest, Haunts and Howls: a Fall Family Adventure
Autumn is a magical—and spooky—time in Westchester County. This wild and wonderful weekend makes the most of it all, from an apple-picking outing in the countryside to a celebration of one of America’s most “legendary” Halloween tales.
Your adventure starts at Wolf Conservation Center (South Salem) at 10 a.m. for a presentation on North American wolf packs and a chance to introduce your own pack to the center’s ambassador wolves, Alawa, Zephyr and Nikai.
Westchester’s abundance of agricultural land offers a wealth of fun experiences for your future farmer. Here are three to choose from:
- Option 1: Head to Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard (North Salem) for apple picking and a pumpkin patch, then stay for BBQ lunch, fresh apple cider donuts and live music on the farm.
- Option 2: Enjoy a hay ride with your apple picking at Westchester’s oldest apple orchard, Stuart’s Fruit Farm (Granite Springs). Have lunch/brunch before or after in nearby Yorktown Heights, with its diversity of palate-pleasing choices from Pappous Greek Kitchen to the Southern-inspired Savannah & Company to Nadine’s Restaurant for German and French specialties in the beer garden.
- Option 3: Meet the animals at Muscoot Farm (Katonah), an historic estate and former dairy farm, now County-owned park and museum. There are cows, horses, donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks and pigs for youngsters to befriend, plus a beautiful pumpkin patch and picnic tables (bring your own lunch or order from the concession window).
Next stop: Croton-on-Hudson for a sampling of fresh pressed, old-fashioned apple cider at Thompson’s Cider Mill. Then unwind by the Hudson River at Croton Point Park, where you can stroll a stretch of the Westchester RiverWalk or let the little ones loose at the playground.
Head south to Irvington for eclectic American comfort food at River City Grille, with its excellent kid’s menu and indoor/outdoor seating options.
End the day at Sunnyside, the historic estate of Washington Irving, author of the classic tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. There, under the stars, a mastery storyteller will perform The Legend, complete with live music and an appearance by the Headless Horseman himself! Tickets to this special seasonal event are limited and sold in advance. (Oct. 1-31)
After a full day of adventure, tuck the kids in at one of Westchester’s many family-friendly hotels.
Fuel up with a hearty brunch at Eatarry in Tarrytown, where the fare ranges from egg sandwiches, grain bowls and salads to s’mores pancakes with toasted marshmallows and chocolate sauce.
From there, it’s just a short drive to Lyndhurst, one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions, where the sprawling grounds overlooking the Hudson River have been magically transformed by Fall Reflections. Made entirely of mirrors, the first-ever art installation features three exhibitions: Wanderlust, Let’s Go Fly a Kite, and Shadows. Pro tip: the event promises multiple photo opportunities for kids who come in costume. (Sept. 30-Oct. 31)
Or, head back to Sunnyside—this time while the sun is out—for Home of The Legend, a kid-friendly, literature-themed grounds tour and scavenger hunt (through Nov. 8). Afterwards, you can check out the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground, made famous in Irving’s tale, then visit the author’s grave, along with the final resting spots of many other notable locals, at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
Top off your legendary fall weekend with a trip to Tarrytown’s family-run ice cream parlor, Main Street Sweets.