Historic Homes & Gardens
Westchester has long been a retreat for some of the nation’s wealthiest families, so you’ll find countless historic homes and lavish gardens here — enough to keep you busy for many an afternoon!.
On your first day in Westchester County, start with a fuel up at Peekskill Coffee House in downtown Peekskill. Take note of the wonderful local art that graces the walls while you enjoy your house-roasted coffee and delightful crepes (with gluten-free and vegan options available).
Grab an extra drink to enjoy as you stroll through the Peekskill Riverfront Green Park, an ideal spot to meander and river watch.
Drive east to Katonah, headed for John Jay Homestead State Historic Site. Experience American history at the home of founding father John Jay. The impressive surrounding landscape, spread across 62 acres, is perfect for a self-guided tour. Make sure to stroll the beautiful sun dial garden, herb garden and terrace garden.
Lunch at neighboring Chappaqua’s Crabtree’s Kittle House for a taste of Old New York that will transport you to a rich and elegant past. Dating back to 1790, The Kittle Barn and Carriage House on Ivy Hills has been transformed many times over, from a working farm to a family home, a Prohibition-era retreat for late-night affairs, a girls’ school, and now, one of Westchester’s crown jewel restaurants and inns. Elegant farm-to-table fare can be enjoyed in the Dining Room, and upscale seasonal pub fare is available in the beautiful wood-paneled Tap Room. You can’t go wrong with either setting.
Pop into Chappaqua’s Desires by Mikolay jewelry shop to peruse high-fashion brands alongside a Tudor-inspired collection by local owner and master jeweler, Scott Mikolay. Before departing, pick-up some fresh baked almond biscotti at nearby Chappaqua Village Market to take and enjoy on your next activity.
Drive back north to Katonah’s Lasdon Park & Arboretum for a walk through its Famous and Historic Tree Trail. Here trees and other species honor important events and famous Americans, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy. Panels along the walkway share information about a famous person or event to which the original parent tree was witness. The trees were grown from seeds of the original trees provided by the American Forestry Association.
Stop by Dylan’s Wine Cellar in Peekskill on the way back to your hotel to pick-up a few getaway mementos. This wine shop is in the historic Standard House, dating back to 1853. The owners are great supporters of nearby wineries and distilleries, with an excellent selection of New York craft wines and spirits.
Retreat to your new home for the night, The Abbey Inn and Spa, located on historic Fort Hill in Peekskill, where President George Washington's army set up a key lookout post in the Revolutionary War. The former 1902 convent of the Episcopal Sisters of Saint Mary's has been beautifully repurposed as a secular retreat for today's discerning travelers.
Cap the day with best of the Hudson Valley during dinner at the Inn’s Apropos Restaurant & Bar, where ingredients are sourced through specially cultivated relationships with local farmers and purveyors. Tip: don’t skip the pasta selection, inspired by Italy’s best pasta makers from Bologna to Abruzzo.
Head south along Route 9 to Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown. This majestic estate on the banks of the Hudson River is an icon of architecture and landscaping in Westchester, and the perfect spot for aspiring photographers to capture dreamy content. The mansion was designed in 1838 in a romantic Gothic Revival style, and over the course of several owners, has been expanded and redecorated to suit the tastes and interests of its inhabitants. Make note of the windows, commissioned from Louis Comfort Tiffany in the late 1800s. You can stroll through the beautiful grounds on your own, or consider the Rose Garden, Greenhouse & Swimming Pool Tour, which combines history of the estate and its residents with some discussion of trees and historic plantings.
Lunch options in the lower Hudson Valley are ample. Hudson Farmer & The Fish on Sleepy Hollow’s Riverwalk offers outdoor seating with views of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo bridge. Its seasonal specialties hail from the restaurant’s New York farm, along with a full raw bar and innovative interpretations of seafood classics available. At Harvest on Hudson in the village of Hastings-on-Hudson, gardens, patios and spectacular Hudson River views make this a memorable spot to enjoy the restaurant’s fresh take on Italian fare.
Shop Tarrytown’s Main Street – ONA is a wonderful source for handcrafted items, including jewelry, recycled glass, ceramics, wood products, scarves and artwork by local and regional artisans. And Pretty Funny Vintage, located in a 1890’s Victorian home, is a vintage shopper’s paradise, with slightly off-beat antiques paired with newer decorative wares.
At Untermeyer Gardens Conservancy in nearby Yonkers, make sure to visit The Vista. Modeled on a similar series of descending stairs at Italy’s famous Villa D’Este, it cascades towards the Hudson River. Japanese cedar trees line the walkway, and at the base of the Vista is the Overlook. Here, two columns frame the river view with the Palisades on the other side. Other highlights include The Temple of Love, the centerpiece of an extended rock garden, and The Walled Garden, which owes its inspiration to the great Indo-Persian gardens of antiquity. For late Sunday visitors, the leisurely stroll of a Sunset Tour brings new light to garden discovery, guided by a staff member.
One of Tarrytown’s hottest restaurant additions, Goosefeather, is the ideal spot to conclude your Westchester escape. Seasonal modern Chinese fare by Chef Dale Talde utilizes unexpected ingredients like dry-aged beef, black truffles and more. Located in The King Mansion at the Tarrytown House Estate, former home of Washington Irving, its design is as striking as its food. Replicas of Joan Miró murals are painted on the ceilings above a wood-paneled library. And at the fireplace, a large cluster of white candles dripping wax give a nod to the building’s long and rich history.