I’m so excited to be preparing for a summer jam-packed with diversions! Memorial Day weekend is my official kick-off, but this year the week leading up to the holiday really set the tone for what I’m sure will be a season of adventure. So, while I’m busy planning my routes and exploring new places, I’ll just highlight what I did and where I went and hopefully your curiosity will lead you to check out these spots, as well.
 

Feurtado Gallery at Prato Capital
70 Gedney Way, White Plains
www.feurtadogallery.com
This is the newest gallery space in White Plains and it’s already making a statement and creating buzz. Located in the public spaces of the first and mezzanine floors of the completely renovated Prato Capital Building, Feurtado Gallery is a collaboration between artist Willie Feurtado and Gregory Prato, founder and president of Prato Capital. Open by appointment and for special events, Feurtado Gallery is currently showing the works of regional contemporary artists and is in the process of becoming a multi-disciplinary hub for artists and creators who are expressing cultural trends and experiences through their work. There will be artist workspaces, an artist-in-residence program, educational partnerships and workshops offered in multiple mediums.
The gallery is a perfect complement to the exquisite renovation and decor, where the architectural detail creates the perfect backdrop for the diverse and robust featured collection. 

Why I love it:
Because the black-tie opening of the exhibit was spectacular; incredible art, access to the artists and the opportunity to learn the story or influence behind the work, live music and great food by the legendary Sam’s of Gedney Way.

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Taste of Ridge Hill
Ridge Hill
1 Ridge Hill Blvd., Yonkers
www.ridgehill.com
OK, so the third annual Taste of Ridge Hill has passed; it was on May 24. But it is a definite do-not-miss for 2019, so keep your eye out for it next year. Here is what you missed this year: great food, incredible music by Deva (Mahal), Sephora makeovers and giveaways, psychic readings, craft beverages and signature cocktails on the new South Lawn event space. This third year was the charm; the location in one area, timed check-ins, free valet parking and an all-around great crowd and vibe. It doesn’t hurt that the location is in Westchester’s premier mixed-use, full-service lifestyle center. In addition to shopping, movies and entertainment, lodging, dining, sports, events and even medical facilities, the new South Lawn will be home to health and wellness fairs, musical and cultural events and more. It backs up to the new Community Garden, which, in conjunction with Whole Foods and Lowe’s, is teaching the broader community through the local schools how to create and nurture sustainable produce for healthier living.

Why I love it:
Because we stayed so long at The Taste of Ridge Hill that we got to meet the general manager. He gave us a private tour of the Community Garden and an intimate look at all that Ridge Hill has to offer. Because if you follow Diversions you know that I have now found a disproportionate number of amazing things to do and places to go in Yonkers. And for years I only went there for the best mechanic on the planet! (Proof: 289K miles on my old ML320. Enough said.)

Lake Lillinonah
199 Main St. S., Bridgewater, Conn.
www.ct.gov/DEEP (Department of Energy and Environmental Protection)
Full disclosure: I didn’t spend my day on Lake Lillinonah (named for the daughter of Chief Waramaug of the Pootatuck Indians. The legend of her life and death on this waterway, once part of the Housatonic River, is quite colorful; Google for full story) at the public boat launch. I spend every Memorial Day holiday at our extended family’s home on the lake. However, it is so beautiful, accessible and worth it to enjoy from spring through fall starting at the free public boat launch. The lake is the second largest in Connecticut and never crowded. It spans two counties and six towns. Power boats, kayaks, canoes and sailboats can all peacefully co-exist and as the foliage changes from summer to fall, the scenery is breathtaking. Pack a picnic because there are no public services, gas or food on the mostly residential and forested shore.

Why I love it:
Because it is a haven for bald eagles and I have had the pleasure of seeing many when visiting. Because it is the perfect venue for watching public fireworks on the Fourth of July (or the day we celebrate the Fourth) from your boat.