Labor Day looms, casting its end-of-season shadow over the next few weeks. The bathing suits have already disappeared from department stores, replaced by jackets and Halloween decorations. Before the chill returns to the Hudson River Valley, get out and enjoy summer’s sweet treats.
Listen to an Outdoor Concert
Pack a picnic dinner and head to a local venue with a blanket and a bottle of wine. Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, for example, hosts Sunset Jazz concerts on Thursday evenings from 6:30-8. The crowd sits up on the hill behind the mansion, so you can savor the music and the sunset. Admission is $10 a car.
Hit the Beach
Got to get some sand in your swim trunks, right? If you can’t make it to the Shore, why not head to Playland? The iconic amusement park, situated on Long Island Sound, offers a beach for sunning and splashing. Chair and umbrella rentals are available. Admission is free for children 5 and under, $3 for seniors and $5 for the rest of us. After your swim, take a spin on historic rides like the Dragon Coaster or the Derby Racer, one of only three remaining in operation in the world.
Cook a Farm Fresh Meal
Play MasterChef. The NY Farmers Market Federation has a locator for area markets. Find one and pick 3-4 ingredients from the summer harvest and make a meal. From scratch. If you need assistance, this recipe-generator from Mark Bittman will help. If all else fails, slice tomatoes and mozzarella, top with basil and a balsamic vinaigrette. Done. Enjoy.
Watch a Drive-In Movie
Is anything more fun than a drive-in? Put your kids in their pajamas and pack a cooler. There are two in operation in the Valley – Warwick and Hyde Park. But get there early, particularly on a Friday or Saturday night – they’re likely to sell out, as I discovered about 5 minutes too late. Again, great value for your money. Admission is $9-$10 for adults, $6 for seniors and kids.
Go to the grocery story and get a map of the area. Yes, a map. They hide them in the racks near the cash register, behind the photos of Kim Kardashian’s hips. Unfold it and pick a spot an hour or two away. Turn off the GPS, hand the map to your co-pilot, and hit the road. Suggestions include a visit to the Dia museum in Beacon, antiquing in Nyack or tour the US Military Academy in West Point.
And while you’re wandering, keep your eye out for kids selling lemonade. They disappear in September too.