Westchester

Westchester's Best Hot Chocolate Spots for Families

Move over, Manhattan. There are hundreds of places in Westchester County that serve hot chocolate, however there are a handful of spots that inspire such fierce loyalty in their customers that entire families are willing to bundle up, brave the cold and make a veritable pilgrimage “over the ground so white” to their favorite cocoa shop.

Last week told you about our favorite coffee shops in the Rivertowns, now we're focusing on our top picks for the best hot cocoa in Westchester County. These are shops where the hot chocolate tastes more like a melted candy bar than that watery powder-based stuff that dribbles out of office vending machines; shops where chocolatiers, baristas and servers routinely go out of their way to create drinkable confections.

5 Family-Friendly Coffee Houses in the Rivertowns

If you’re anything like me, it often feels as if that there is just too much blood in your caffeine system. This is especially true when I am trying to get from Point A to Point B with a bored, cranky, uncomfortable preschooler howling at me from the confines of her ridiculously plush and ergonomic car seat. Luckily, the stretch of Rivertowns between the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Bear Mountain Bridge are home to a variety of cafés and coffee houses that provide more than just a quick pick-me-up. These spots are particularly kid-friendly (one even welcomes pets!) and offer delicious and divinely caffeinated beverages (or decaf, if that's your thing).

So if you need to recharge while you're out and about around town, check out one of our favorite kid-friendly coffee shops and cafés from Tarrytown to Peekskill.

Mostly Free & Fun Things To Do with Westchester Kids This Weekend: Eaglefest, Valentine Fun, Fundraising & More, Feb. 8 & 9

There's lots of fun in store this weekend for Westchester kids. The Hudson River Eaglefest, which we mentioned in our February Go List, is on Saturday. This celebration is headquartered at Croton Point Park but there will be multiple viewing locations lining the Hudson River, all staffed with birding experts. Another great way to celebrate the Hudson is at Clearwater’s Open Boat with a celebration of Pete Seeger and “Song Swap” at the Kingston Home Port on Sunday.

There are plenty of Valentine’s Day themed events happening this weekend. Check out Oh Happy Day Valentine Station at Pottery Barn Kids, Make a Valentine’s Day Collage at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, Lovey Dovey Valentine at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall, and a Valentine’s Day Party at The Westchester Mall.

Teach your children about giving back by visiting Cupcake for a Cure at the Westchester Mall with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Evan and Joshua’s Hot Cocoa Stand in Scarsdale with all proceeds benefiting the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

Read on for our top weekend picks. If you see something that piques your interest, click through to the event listing to view full details. Looking for more options? Be sure to check our Event Calendar for more fun happening this weekend and beyond.

February Winter Break: Gym & Sports Camps for Westchester Kids

The February recess is approaching and while many families head out of town for the week, many parents aren't able to take days off from work or choose to stay local instead. If you're not heading out of town and are looking for ways to keep your kids entertained and active while schools are closed, Westchester offers many week-long mini-camp options.

Last week we told you about art mini-camps that will be in session. Now we are rounding up various gym and sports camps to keep kids moving, jumping and playing all week long.

Special Needs-Friendly Ski Resorts Near NYC: Adaptive Winter Sports Programs for Kids of Different Abilities

Winter is a wonderful season for outdoor fun—just ask my three young snow-loving kids. In fact, there are so many fantastic skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing resorts near New York City, it's difficult to choose.

But since I'm also a mom to a teenager with special needs who isn't into winter sports, that makes our decision all the more challenging. He is both physically and cognitively disabled, and the thought of struggling onto lifts, into gear, up hills and through crowds doesn't appeal to him—not to mention the possibility of wiping out. So my family needs a resort that's able to accommodate children of all ages as well as abilities.

Happily, there are some amazing adaptive winter sports programs at resorts within a few hours of NYC, and some are low cost or even FREE. Here are five ski programs for special needs families.

Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in New Rochelle

So far during our month-long focus on New Rochelle, we've rounded up the top things to do and great places to play. For our final post on New Rochelle this month, we're taking a look at family-friendly eateries around the city. New Rochelle has lots of dining options and a wide variety of cuisine including choices from vegan to southern comfort and everything in between. Read on for our top picks for dining in New Rochelle with kids.

Mostly Free & Fun Things To Do in Westchester This Weekend: Groundhogs, Chinese New Year, Valentine Crafts & More, Feb. 1 & 2

Let’s hope the Groundhog doesn’t see his shadow this year so we can get through this cold as quickly as possible. To help celebrate the Groundhog this weekend, there are plenty of events around Westchester. And don't forget to enter to win FREE tickets to the Royal Hanneford Circus!

This weekend, check out the festivities at Almost Groundhog Day at the Lenoir Preserve in Yonkers, It’s Groundhog Day in Cross River, and Groundhog Day at Westmoreland Sanctuary.

Celebrate the Chinese New Year at Westchester Community College with an afternoon of Chinese cuisine, face painting, traditional Chinese kids’ games, performances, and more. For craft lovers, make a crafty Valentine’s Day bag at Michael’s in Hartsdale or your own Clay Valentine in Yonkers. Visit The Katonah Museum of Art and learn to stretch your body and your imagination as you learn yoga poses and listen to stories.

Read on for our top weekend picks. If you see something that piques your interest, click through to the event listing to view full details. Looking for more options? Be sure to check our Event Calendar for more fun happening this weekend and beyond.

Volunteer From Home: Host a Playdate with a Purpose

Children of all ages from toddlers to tweens love getting together with friends for playdates. And you love hosting them—except when the kids complain about being bored (yes, even with all those games and activity kits spilling out of the closet). The next time your child asks to have pals over, consider organizing a simple and fun service project that can be done at home to help people in need. It's a great way to keep the kids entertained while teaching them the importance of giving back to their community—and reminding them of how lucky they are to have a room overflowing with toys!

Whether you connect the project to something personal, like your child's birthday, or highlight a difficult social issue like homelessness, a service-focused playdate is a gentle way to incorporate helping others into your everyday lives. And of course, doing it with friends makes it feel all the more special.

Here's a list of easy projects for all ages that can be done at home, as well as charities that would love to accept your donations. Always remember to include a handmade card—a sweet personal message from a child can brighten anyone's day.

Places to Play in New Rochelle: Kids' Classes and Play Spaces

We continue our month-long focus on New Rochelle with a look at places to play and learn in the area. New Rochelle has lots of options for kids and families including rock climbing and other indoor play spaces, beautiful parks and libraries with fantastic children's programming, cultural events and more. You'll also find bowling, mini golf, an arcade and a go-kart speedway--all under one roof! Read on for our top picks for places to play with kids in New Rochelle.

Mostly Free & Fun Things To Do This Weekend With Westchester Kids: Chinese New Year, Theater, Crafts & More, Jan. 25 & 26

The last weekend in January is here and if you’re looking to get out of the house and find some fun for the family, Westchester has it. Celebrate the Chinese New Year at the Pelham Art Center with family friendly activities or make a Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet at Lakeshore Learning to ring in the Year of the Horse.

It’s the last weekend to catch Shrek The Musical put on by The Players Theater in White Plains. Westchester Community College is hosting The National Player’s in their version of the Odyssey. Throughout the weekend, visit St. Matthew’s Church in Bedford for The 41st Annual Art Show.

There are always plenty of activities available for the nature enthusiasts. This weekend let the family get some fresh air and check out It’s A Hoot, Waterfowl and Eagles, Tracks and Scats, and Winter Walk. If you’re looking to send your children to camp this summer, check out the 32nd Annual Westchester Camp and Activity Fair at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains to see what options are available for your family.

Read on for our top weekend picks. If you see something that piques your interest, click through to the event listing to view full details. Looking for more options? Be sure to check our Event Calendar for more fun happening this weekend and beyond.

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