Pound Ridge

Tree Lighting Celebrations to Kick Off the Holidays in Westchester

The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to herald its arrival than with a grand (or cozy) holiday tree lighting? You don't have to head to Rockefeller Center to enjoy that holiday magic. Many events in Westchester have live music, toasty refreshments, a visit from Santa himself and—in some cases—some extra bells and whistles.

We’ve rounded up several tree lighting festivities, starting as early as this weekend(!) and ranging from grand celebrations to cozier small-town affairs. 

Looking for more seasonal fun? Check out our November GoList and be sure to browse our Event Calendar. Don't forget to sign up for our newsletters to keep up to date on our latest info.

6 FREE Chess Clubs for Westchester Kids

“Life is a kind of chess,” wrote Benjamin Franklin in his 1786 essay on “The Morals of Chess.” Chess teaches foresight, circumspection and caution, as well as not to be “discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs,” he wrote.

Fast forward a couple hundred years, and it's believed there's a positive effect on cognitive development in children who play chess. In addition to offering intellectual stimulation, chess crosses cultural and socioeconomic boundaries, bridging gaps in a disparate population.

Fortunately, numerous opportunities for Westchester children to play chess exist. In addition to schools often offering extracurricular play, we previously rounded up chess camp options and have now compiled FREE chess clubs and classes available at Westchester libraries. Whether your child is a novice or a Bobby Fischer, there’s something for everyone—in fact, there’s at least one option for each weekday.

Keep tabs on our Event Calendar, as programs are often added or repeated. Read on and go for checkmate!

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. 

Free Holiday Craft Workshops for Kids in Westchester

One of the greatest hallmarks of the holiday season is the personal touch we can create. This month, a number of workshops are being offered throughout Westchester that help children create their own handmade treasures—all of which are FREE (as an added gift!).

Read on for some nifty ways for kids and their grown-ups to get crafty this holiday season. And be sure to check our December GoList and our Event Calendar for even more ways to enjoy the holidays with kids!

Stargazing in Westchester: Best Places to See Meteor Showers, Comets and Stars

Several times a year I find myself outside on my tiny patio at all odd hours, staring up at the sky in hopes I will catch a glimpse of some spectacular astronomical happening in the skies over Westchester. There are meteor showers, comets, planet alignments, super moons, eclipses, oppositions and conjunctions--not to mention man-made events like shuttle launches and space station pass-overs.

Recently, a friend asked if I knew of any public spaces in the area where the skies are dark enough for stargazing--places that welcome families and amateur astronomers to observe the skies. Happily, there are several places in Westchester and the surrounding area where families can see and learn about the night sky and we've rounded them up for you.

Pack a thermos of hot chocolate, grab some warm blankets and check out these local astronomical viewing sites and activities--one might even say the views are out of this world!

5 Great Campgrounds for Westchester Families

It happens to me every year. Friday afternoon rolls around and meteorologists are predicting the most beautiful weekend of the season. We have half a tank of gas in the car, our tent is lying in the hall closet and I decide that we need to go camping--right now. Luckily, we live in Westchester County where the urban, suburban and rural blend together in such a perfect balance that parks with tent-ready campsites are never more than a 45 minute drive from any front door in the county.

Feeling the itch to get out, sing some songs, make some s'mores and sleep under the stars? Good. We've rounded up details on five great campgrounds in and around Westchester County.

Looking for more summer ideas? Check out our Summer of Play series or our Summer Activity Guide

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