Katie Karpenstein

Katie Karpenstein

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Latest posts by Katie

Play & Learn in the Great Outdoors: Nature Summer Camps in Westchester

Westchester is known as New York City’s backyard for good reason--the county boasts about 18,000 acres of parkland and more than 50 natural recreation areas. So if your kid is looking for a summer camp experience that will immerse him in the natural world, Westchester has more options than you can shake a stick at!  

We continue to add to our Summer Camp Guide with a look at four nature-themed camp options in Westchester. These programs offer young naturalists summer days spent studying, exploring and appreciating nature--interacting with animals, hiking and communing with natural world around them. Looking for more camp options? Check out our new Westchester Camp Directory, full of traditional and specialty camp options for kids of all ages, stages and interests. 

Aerial Arts, Juggling, Tumbling at Westchester Circus Arts Center

My kids are five and seven and both attend public school. I’m amazed at how much is expected of them at such an early age. In addition to rigorous academics, students are expected to sit still for huge portions of the day—not easy for active kids like mine! We stay busy with activities like hiking and ice skating, and of course, we love all the indoor play spaces Westchester has to offer. Still, I wanted a class where my kids could learn some new skills. Nothing too regimented—I wanted to balance out the school stress, not add to it. My kids needed a class that would let them get their wiggles out, help them become strong and confident and, most of all, have some silly fun. Luckily, we've found a great place to combat the Common Core blues: the circus!

Pick-Your-Own Farms in Westchester and Lower Hudson Valley

Pick-your-own is not just for apples and pumpkins! Westchester and neighboring counties offer many options for getting down in the dirt (or up in the trees) to pick all kinds of fruits and veggies. This can be a great way to show kids where their food comes from--you might even get them to try a new vegetable or two. Plus, it just doesn't get any fresher than when you pick it yourself. It's been a long winter, but the taste of spring is finally here.

Read on for more about our top "picks" in the area. Also be sure to check out our post on strawberry picking farms in lower Hudson Valley.

Nature Trails for Westchester Families: 3 Places to Experience Nature with Kids

Westchester is chock full of beautiful places to enjoy nature--it’s one of the reasons so many families choose to live here. From historic sites like Kykuit and Sunnyside with lush gardens to explore, to huge parks like Rockefeller State Park and Croton Point Park, there's more than enough green space to go around. We previously wrote about great places to go hiking with kids, however some of the most gorgeous spots to commune with nature are not the most commonly known. If you're looking to blaze new trails, here are three great places to start.

Places to Play in the Rivertowns: Where Kids Can Run, Laugh and Learn

We wrap up our month-long focus on the Rivertowns with a look at the best places to play in the charming cluster of villages along the Hudson River. So far this month, we've highlighted our favorite coffee shops and eateries in the area. Now it's time for some adventures along the Hudson.

The Rivertowns have beautiful libraries (many with play areas), riverside parks, and nature preserves. For kids eager for structured play, there are classes in art, yoga, gymnastics, and more. Kids can even learn a little history while they play on the grounds at the former home of Washington Irving. Read on for our top picks for places to play in the Rivertowns. 

Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in the Rivertowns

We continue our month-long coverage of the Rivertowns in Westchester, a collection of quaint villages along the Hudson. For the purposes of our posts, we're including the villages of Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Tarrytown, Ossining, Croton-on-Hudson and the city of Peekskill. Route 9 runs straight through, making it easy to zip from town to town exploring the parks, playgrounds, and historic sites.

We've already told you about fantastic local coffee shops in the Rivertowns. But if your stomach is really grumbling (and so are your kids'), there are plenty of family-friendly dining options as well. Read on for details on 10 of our favorite places for dining and dessert in the Rivertowns.