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Save & Splurge: Westchester


Close enough to feel the energy of NYC, yet far enough away to appreciate the quiet, Westchester delivers a New York experience with an appeal that’s all its own. With historic sites, a vibrant food and culture scene, and parks and preserves for all your nature adventures, it’s an ideal spot for a day trip or quick weekend jaunt.

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Stay: The Crowne Plaza White Plains Downtown is centrally located near local attractions and less than a mile from the White Plains Metro North train station (a train ride to Grand Central Station takes less than an hour.) The Three Diamond Rated property was renovated in 2014 and features accommodations such as a free airport shuttle, valet service, indoor pool, fitness and business centers and an on-site restaurant. AAA members receive a 5-15 percent discount on the current best rate.

Do: Walk or jog along the scenic carriage trails at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The roads, designed by John D. Rockefeller Jr., lead visitors to wetlands, woodlands, rivers, streams and lakes. Bring your best friend – leashed dogs are welcome. A $6 vehicle entry fee is all it will cost you. On weekends, PepsiCo opens the sculpture garden on its corporate grounds in Purchase to the public for free. And a stroll through quaint downtown Tarrytown never disappoints.

Dine: Hot dogs at Walter’s in Mamaroneck are consistently ranked among the top in the country. Since 1919, the institution has been making its signature franks the same way – split down the middle, grilled in a secret sauce and served on a toasted bun with housemade mustard. Grab one from the copper-roofed Chinese pagoda roadside stand or track down the food truck. More local favorites include award-winning soups from grab-and-go Ladle of Love, and the Greek eatery Lefteris Gyro, which each have several locations throughout Westchester.

The historic mansion at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside. (Photo: M. Musto)


Stay: Restored from a 18th century barn and carriage house, Crabtree’s Kittle House Inn B&B in Chappaqua offers 13 rooms of old-world comfort and modern amenities like high-speed internet. It is home to an acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant, which pairs modern American cuisine with an award-winning wine cellar. Come for a memorable dinner and stay for the hospitality.

Do: Tour historic Hudson Valley, including Kykuit, the opulent Rockefeller estate recognized for its stunning architecture, gardens and art galleries. Or walk the grounds at Lyndhurst, a 19th century Gothic Revival mansion overlooking the Hudson, complete with a recently restored and fully operational bowling alley (the oldest regulation lanes in the Western Hemisphere!). Of course, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside is a must-visit in Sleepy Hollow country. For family fun, there’s plenty to be found at Rye Playland amusement park. And Legoland Discovery Center in Yonkers will entertain the little ones for hours.

Dine: Relax with a cocktail and seasonal comfort foods presented with style at chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s rustically elegant, Three Diamond Rated The Inn at Pound Ridge. For indoor or outdoor dining with stunning Hudson River views (and the bright lights of the Manhattan skyline in the distance), Half Moon in Dobbs Ferry and nearby Harvest on Hudson are two excellent choices with fresh fare, great atmosphere and prime sunset viewing.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. (Photo: M. Musto)


Stay: AAA Four Diamond Rated Castle Hotel & Spa is located in Tarrytown, but pulling up to the Lismore Castle-inspired property feels like entering a fairy tale in a land far away. Dine at Equus overlooking the gardens and the Hudson River in the distance – a view that only the highest point in Westchester County affords, or indulge in ultimate tranquility at the Thann Sanctuary Spa, which specializes in Thai treatments and techniques.

Do: Visit The Westchester mall and treat yourself at shops like Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton, catch a show at the Capital Theatre or the Paramount Hudson Valley, or play a round at the 18-hole Hudson Hills Golf Course. The more adventurous can charter an Awesome Flight helicopter tour of NYC from the Westchester County Airport.

Dine: When it comes to dining in Westchester – or anywhere, for that matter – there are few better options than Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Chef Dan Barber’s standard-setting field-to-table restaurant was ranked number 11 on World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for 2017. Based at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, there are no menus, just a multi-course feast created from what’s currently available at  the fully sustainable farm and locally within the Hudson Valley. Baldanza, the signature fine dining restaurant at Richard Gere’s bed and breakfast, Bedford Post Inn, is also worth a visit whether your staying over or just stopping in for a meal.

For more things to do in Westchester, go to

And for all of your travel planning needs near or far, get in touch with a AAA travel counselor.  


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