Hi! Our names are Zoe Grossman and Phoebe Sander, and we are seniors at Hastings High School this year. For our senior internship this spring, we decided to find some cool, hidden spots in Westchester to share with you all. We have spent the past three weeks hiking, eating, and thrifting our way through Westchester and the surrounding area. We have listed here some of our favorite places we found, and highly, highly suggest them all to you and your families. Enjoy!
Enormous store located about 20 minutes away, right on the edge of the bronx. Slightly pricier for a chain secondhand store, but has some amazing hidden gems. Be prepared for long lines, and crowded aisles, but also to find some amazing pieces.
The best Salvation Army that we have found so far (and we’ve been to a lot!). Tons of amazing pieces at a great price point. They also seem to have sales every time we go, and we end up walking out with enormous bags of clothes for right around $20.
Delicious ice cream shop in West Nyack right off of I87 Variety of flavors, lots of vintage signs on the walls and a perfect stop on the way home from hiking in the area (i.e Bear Mountain, Harriman State Park).
Quaint cafe with a mediterranean twist in downtown Nyack centered around art. Creative cappuccinos, menu items named after artists, breakfast, lunch and a cozy environment. Explore the rest of Nyack (see Grace’s Thrift Store above) and their other little shops after your meal! Link
A classic breakfast spot in downtown Coldspring. Before setting off on a hike or exploring the rest of the town, stop here for eggs, bacon, coffee and feeling for the Coldspring small town vibe. It’s about a two minute walk from the train station and about a 10 minute drive from both the main hiking trails (see Hudson Highlands State Park) and The Indian Brook Waterfall and Constitution Marsh (see below).
If your planning to camp, hike, or just spend the day at Lake Taghkanic State Park or anywhere in its surrounding area, stop here for a quick bite, strong coffee and a upstate New York feel. Check out their blueberry iced tea and numerous plates and decorations hanging on the walls. If your looking to pick up some last minute camping goods, stop at the local grocery store next door or grab a novel at the bookstore across the street.
4.5 mile loop that climbs all the way up Bear Mountain. The top brings breathtaking views, and numerous vending machines with ice cold drinks (believe me, you will need these!). Very interesting terrain including boulder scrambling, and a couple small waterfalls. If you’re not in the mood to hike up, there is a road that winds around the mountain, and allows visitors to drive up and experience the views.
This place was truly a hidden gem but it did take a little of time to find and we got lost multiple times. Use the link below as we eventually did and follow it’s directions! The cascades are located in the woods around Lake Mohegan in Fairfield, Connecticut which is a VERY popular spot for dog walkers so bring your dog for some serious fun and be prepared to run into a lot of pups. The Cascades is a beautiful waterfall and watering hole with rock structures around it that almost make a sort of canyon shape. Bring a towel and lunch and relax on the rocks. Swimming is prohibited but still people often jump off the rocks into the deep area, just a thought 😉
One of the best spots we discovered during our internship! First head over to the waterfall. Parking is sort of a pain and is only allowed in one lot that fits about 8 cars so plan to go on a quiet day. Once you have parked in the the lot, walk up the hill on Indian Brook Road for about 5 minutes until you reach a gate and a trail. Walk on the trail for about 3 minutes and when you reach a fork, take a left (the sounds of a waterfall should help you out). Swimming is prohibited but the water is still amazing to deep your feet in. After the waterfall, go back to the fork in the trail and this time turn right to reach a bright, red bridge that is fun to check out.
Now to the marsh! (See header art.) Head back to the parking lot and take the trail marked Constitution Marsh. Keep walking down a gravel hill and signs will guide you to a conservation house. Keep following the trail markers until you reach a beautiful boardwalk that is built into Constitution Marsh. This place was so beautiful with views of mountains in the distant. Bring a picnic to eat on the many small docks, check out the blurbs about the animals that live in the marsh or go on a guided canoe tour if you’re interested!
This is a 3.6 mile loop located in Cold Spring, which offered some of the best views that we have seen in the past three weeks. Follow the instructions in this link to make it to the top of Bull Hill, and be prepared to spend the whole day exploring. The trails in this area cross over at many points, and it can be difficult to navigate your way through, but getting a little lost is part of the fun! The trail also offers numerous streams which you can stick your feet in to cool off.
Beautiful waterfall about 20 minutes away from Lake Taghkanic State Park (see below). We recommend that you camp at the park, and spend an afternoon at High Falls. We found that there were many hiking trails which led to pretty views of the waterfall, but the best views came when we did some off-trail exploring. We did this by following along the water, until we found ourselves at the base off the falls. This requires some rock hopping and muddy boots, but is definitely worth the trek. Bring a hammock, or a book to read, and spend the afternoon listening to the calming sounds of the fall.
State park including a beautiful lake beach, and an amazing campground. Very secluded camping plots, and clean bathrooms scattered throughout the campground. Each plot houses a fire pit, and a picnic table, and you can pull your car right up to the plot. Campsites can be expensive, but this one was incredibly reasonably prices, around $17 a night. We rented kayaks and spent the afternoon kayaking around the lake, swimming, and the hiking around High Falls Conservation Area (see above).