Where do I start? It’s been a crazy, stormy week, to say the least. Personally, my home was without power for just under a week. We got it back and poof! It was out again. I hope that none of us ever take our heat, hot water and lights for granted again. I can’t believe that I was ever irritated when just the cable went out! School is closed for yet another day. At this point, I think my daughter will be repeating kindergarten.
But all this quiet snowiness has gotten me thinking about how to make the best of it. Of course, in the middle of the storm you can’t venture out, but once the sun rises and the roads are clear, there are some wonderful, seasonal outdoor diversions to check out.
V.E. Macy Park
Saw Mill River Road and Route 9A, Ardsley
If you are new to the area or unfamiliar with this park, you may not realize how often you drive right by it while traveling on the Saw Mill River Parkway north. In the warmer months, it boasts ballfields, picnic areas, a playground, hiking on the South County Trailway, fishing and a pavilion. In the winter, there are snowshoe and cross-country trails, as well as ice skating on Woodlands Lake. The park encompasses 172 acres and includes the Great Hunger Memorial, a tribute to the Irish migration to Westchester to escape poverty and famine. Bring your snowshoes, cross-country skis, boots and skates, pick up a park map and enjoy the snow.
Why I love it:
Well, because I grew up in Dobbs Ferry and we went to the park a lot for class picnics, Girl Scout activities and birthday parties. Because the legendary Cantina Restaurant was one of my favorite restaurants, perched on the banks of Woodlands Lake. It is really just a terrific county park for all seasons.
Clarence Fahnestock Winter Park
1570 Route 301, Carmel
Yes, I have mentioned Fahnestock Memorial State Park in a past column, but that was in the summer. The CF Winter Park, part of the state park system, is a winter wonderland, an oasis in the middle of Putnam County. It offers opportunities for sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking and ice skating in a section of the 16,000-acre park that has both groomed and natural trails. There is a lodge where you can rent skis, eat, warm up indoors or by the outdoor fireplace, and a small pro shop. The perfect spot to take the kids on a snow day.
Why I love it:
Because, back in the day, they also had alpine skiing, a small ski lift and cozy lodge and it’s where I learned to ski downhill. Because the terrain is diverse and the winter views spectacular.
Sal J. Prezioso Mountain Lakes Park
201 Hawley Road, North Salem
Hidden away in the woods of North Salem, the Sal J. Prezioso Mountain Lakes Park is the northernmost county park and well worth the hunt to find it. There are five lakes within the 1,082-acre park, breathtaking views, diverse terrain and plenty to do and explore year-round. In the winter, there is hiking, ice skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. There are no rental facilities, so be sure to bring your own equipment. All outdoor skill levels are accommodated here, so it is ideal for a family snow day. There is also an event space in the lodge and seasonal camping.
Why I love it:
Because when I discovered it, on a drive around the back roads of North Salem, I was awestruck; the park seems so large and is stunning to view in every season. Because it has a yurt village to rent if you are looking for an even more experiential visit.