There are so many ways to get out and experience the NYC suburbs this fall…
September is here—and, hands down, it’s one of the best times to explore the suburbs. With schools restarting in most communities as well as fall sports and activities rolling out, this time of year tends to paint a pretty accurate portrait of “real life” in suburbia. Families are home from summer vacations, camp sessions have wrapped and, overall, people are ready to hunker down and get back to their normal routines—so get out there and explore.
Given all of the amazing seasonal activities on tap, it’s easy (and fun!) to do just that. Here are a few family-friendly ways to explore the NYC suburbs over the next few weeks.
FALL for Westchester
If your family loves the great outdoors, Westchester won’t disappoint. Head to Tarrytown Lakes Park—you can even bring your dog to this pet-friendly hiking and biking hotspot.
While you’re here, take a hike around the lake, hop in a kayak (rentals are available) or bring your bike and explore. Another option: Westmoreland Sanctuary in Mount Kisco. Hike, bike, stroll, picnic—you can even see a quartz rock outcropping. In either spot you’re just minutes from Tarrytown and Mt. Kisco, respectively, as well as neighboring towns such as Sleepy Hollow, Irvington, Pound Ridge and Bedford.
Many city families head to The Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson. Expect 7,000 expertly carved jack-o-lanterns including a 25-foot high Statue of Liberty, a pumpkin carousel and tons of spooky and not-so-spooky carvings your kids will love. Buy tickets early though—this event sells out fast. And, of course, pre- or post-Blaze, be sure to check out the Rivertowns or other towns you’ll pass along the way—Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Briarcliff Manor and Ossining, just to name a few.
Petting Zoos, Produce and Pumpkin-Picking on Long Island
Exploring Long Island? Get ready for some serious pumpkin-picking, complete with petting zoos, corn mazes and more. For families checking out Suffolk, Schmitt Family Farm in Dix Hills (nearby: Commack, Melville and Huntington) is great for not just pumpkins but also offers, animal train rides, duck races and a local farmstand packed with produce and baked goods. The farm is open on weekends through Halloween.
Elwood Pumpkins and Christmas Tree Farm in Huntington is another fall/winter essential. Perfect for kids 10 and under, you can grab a pumpkin right from the vine, then ride back to the main farm via tractor. After that, wander through the corn maze and see how long it takes your family to “escape.”
After leaving Elwood, be sure to explore downtown Huntington as well as any of the nine beaches in town. Then, consider swinging through neighboring communities like Northport, Cold Spring Harbor and Oyster Bay—they’re definitely worth the trip.
Also popular in fall: farm stands. If your kids are too little to enjoy the pick-your-own experience—or if you want a quicker stop-over during or between town tours—head to these farms stores that offer up the best Local Island produce, cheese, flowers and jams. Friendly Farms Market in Bellmore is known for its corn, veggies, peaches and local honey. The market is open through late October and is minutes from the center of Bellmore as well as Merrick and Freeport.
If you’re heading to the North Shore, Rottkamp Bros. Farm in Old Brookville or Youngs Farm in Glen Head are good go-tos. Just minutes apart, you’ll find everything from a variety of Long Island farms—fruits, veggies, corn, flowers and cheese, for starters. Plus, both farm stands have massive bakeries, with fresh pies, cookies, cakes and brownies made onsite using local ingredients. If you’re visiting around Thanksgiving, be sure to book your pie at least 2-3 weeks in advance.
After filling your bags, there’s lots to explore in both Old Brookville and Glen Head (the towns share a single school district, North Shore). You’re also just minutes from Sea Cliff, Glen Cove, Roslyn, Port Washington, Manhasset, Albertson and other sought-after suburbs.
Grab Local Goodies—and See the Animals!—in New Jersey
No Demarest town tour is complete without a trip to Demarest Farms. Open year-round, at Demarest Farms visitors can pick apples and pumpkins, or browse the massive farm store for local produce, baked goods, cider and other seasonal favorites. This fall, reservations are required, so if you’re heading this way, be sure to book online in advance. And while you’re heading to Demarest, be sure to check out neighboring suburbs—Cresskill, Closter, Haworth and Tenafly are a short drive away.
South Mountain Reservation is also a fall must and includes everything your family needs to enjoy a day in the ‘burbs. Not only is there ample space for hiking and fishing, there’s also a dog park, swan boat rentals and even waterfalls. And if that isn’t enough, check out the fairy trail to see where the fairies make their homes in the trees before hopping on the train around the Turtleback Zoo to go see the animals (reservations are required).
From here, you’re just minutes from Livingston, Short Hills, Montclair and other popular family communities, so plan to stop by and get the lay of the land.
Connecticut is for the Birds (and the Apples!)
Part of the Connecticut Audubon Society, the Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary in Fairfield is a great spot to kick off your Connecticut exploration. All programming has been moved outdoors, ensuring your crew can still explore nature and check out local birds and wildlife. Then, after exploring Fairfield, consider heading to New Canaan, Norwalk or Rowayton—they’re just minutes away.
While a bit farther from the city (about 80 minutes by car), Silverman’s Farm in Easton is a great choice for both apple picking, cider-sipping and interacting with some cute farm animals. Stock up on local produce and baked goods, then hop in the car and explore Easton as well as nearby towns—Redding, Weston, Wilton and Ridgefield.
This is just the beginning. Looking for more outdoorsy suburbs—or something ELSE top your suburban must-have list? We want to hear about it. Contact us now to schedule your Suburbs Strategy session.