We all love our own little cozy corners of Westchester. There are so many things to do and see, places to eat, and parks to visit. Who doesn’t love exploring the county and “finding” the kid-friendly gems! We are spotlighting some of those awesome places so that other moms can take advantage and get a glimpse into the awesomeness that is Westchester! Read all posts in our Spotlight on Westchester Series.
When my husband and I were in the market for a new home about twelve years ago, we wanted a town with a suburban feel but didn’t have a complete suburban feel. Confused yet? So were we! My husband and I both grew up in the Bronx, and we will always want a sense of “city” in any place we live. When we were looking to move, we both occasionally still had to go into Manhattan for work, so easy access to NYC was important. We wanted a cross between an urban and suburban town, with a little bit of rural thrown in. The town of Mount Kisco seemed to be just what we were looking for.
Mount Kisco is in Northern Westchester and is conveniently located off I-684, and the Saw Mill Parkway and even the Taconic isn’t too far of a ride. There is a downtown area with a mix of local and chain businesses, all close to the Metro-North commuter rail. On the flip side, if you make a few turns off the main strip (117), you stumble upon farms and huge houses off dirt roads. It really is the best of everything.
What To Do
We first learned of Mount Kisco when my husband and his friend began to play disc golf regularly. Disc golf is like regular golf, but players use a flying disc or frisbee instead of a ball and clubs. Leonard Park in Mount Kisco has an 18 hole course. The park has a nice sized playground, hiking trails, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball fields, and a greenway where many play soccer. Leonard Park is home to the Memorial Pool Complex, which has a main pool, a wading pool for young children, and a lap pool. The Tea House can be rented for family or company events through the local recreation department.
There are a few more options for nature buffs. Westmoreland Sanctuary is a non-profit nature center and wildlife preserve with 640 acres of land and 8 1/2 miles of hiking trails. They also offer various educational and recreational programs on environmental conservation, nature, and preservation, including teaching almost 10,000 children and adults each year. Westmoreland is free to the public and is open 365 days a year. They offer a full calendar of family-friendly events.
Not far from Westmoreland is Arthur W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary, with 363 acres of land. There are several marked trails with flora and fauna and historic stone walls, and huge boulders. Each trail offers different observations and levels of difficulty. The trails are marked well, but I suggest planning a bit to ensure you get the experience you’re hoping for. The trails offer rock formations, stone walls, and walks along the streams, lakes, waterfalls, and awesome viewing platforms. Parts of the sanctuary are quiet and secluded, yet you can hear some traffic from the highway in other areas. The Hawk Watch viewing platform gives you a neat east view, as well as the chance to see various birds.
Please note that some events have been canceled, and visits may be limited to these venues due to COVID-19 health and safety precautions. Please check event pages on the websites for up-to-date information.
The Pottery Factory has been such a welcome addition. You can walk-in anytime to paint pottery, do candle making, glass fusing, and/or soap making. It’s spacious and has a comfortable atmosphere. And it’s fantastic to have another option for a place to hold birthday parties. To adapt to COVID-19, the Pottery Factory also offers Virtual Paint & Sip Nights for those not comfortable coming into the studio. You’ll purchase a To-Go box that has all the supplies needed for the event, which can be shipped or arranged for pick-up. Instruction is held on Facebook Live, where the instructor provides a step-by-step guide of the painting process. You can also purchase other Create-at-Home kits for Pottery-To-Go, Seascape Resin projects, or knitting Chunky Blankets.
At Grand Prix New York Racing & Entertainment, it is tough not to find something to do! They provide a great variety of attractions, including indoor race tracks, bowling, laser tag, a ninja course, and a fun arcade – all complete with COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place.
Where to Eat
Mount Kisco has such a variety of places to eat. It’s over ten years since we moved here, and there are still so many places we have yet to try, but here are a few of our favorites. Thank goodness there are a few local gyms!
Exit 4 Food Hall refers to itself as a “first of its kind in Westchester County offering local, freshly-prepared food and drinks.” Exit 4 offers at least nine different food stations – there really is something for everyone! I’m usually partial to the sushi or the pho soups, but they also have stations with oysters, barbecue, pizza, pasta, salads, as well as a full bar. It’s a casual, fun, and communal experience with indoor and outdoor seating. In addition, I love their belief in sustainability. For example, wine and beer are served on tap, and they use Green Box (a box that serves as plates and gets smaller for left-overs) for delivery/take-out items. Exit 4 is quite community-oriented as well. Daily left-overs are distributed to those in need in the local community. And save some room for dessert – diagonally across the street is Frannie’s Frozen Yogurt!
Out of all the places in Mount Kisco, Stone Fire is my family’s fave. The website describes the cuisine as “old world Italian-fare and more with a twist.” I am a huge fan of the Szechwan Cauliflower appetizer, the Neapolitan Pizzas (all of them!), the Chopped Salad, and good ol’ classic Chicken Parm. Stone Fire has an a-la-carte brunch on the weekends. One day last summer, I had the Smoked Salmon Pizza, my daughter ate and loved the Chicken and Waffles, and my husband and son ordered the Short Rib Grilled Cheese. All delish! We have never been disappointed in anything we’ve ordered! Another great offer is the daily meals to-go that serves 4 to 6 people and includes a main dish, pasta, salad, bread, and a bottle of wine – all for $50.
Village Social is a cool gastropub that gives you very little feeling that you’re actually sitting at a restaurant in Northern Westchester! The name of the restaurant pretty much explains the atmosphere. It’s fun, and locals can always trust that they’ll see someone they know. The menus are seasonal, and the ingredients are farm fresh. It’s ideal for a date night and a girl’s night out, but also perfect for a family. I love the “bowls” menu, especially the Wok-Styled Salmon. For dinner, I’m all about the Wild Fish Tacos.
When I’ve mentioned to folks that I live in Mount Kisco, a common response has been, “I love the Lexington Square Café!” This was one of the first places that my husband and I tried when we moved here. It has impressive 17-foot ceilings and an awesome layout of different tiered dining areas. The menu certainly provides plenty of options for everyone. In fact, it’s often tough to choose what you want to eat, but for now, I’ll say…The Lobster BLT Salad = Yum!
A lovely independently woman-owned coffee shop in the village is Mimi’s Coffee House. Mimi’s is owned by the same owner as Lalibela, the only Ethiopian restaurant in the county. Mimi’s works directly with farmers in Colombia and Ethiopia and prides itself on the use of direct trade beans, sustainable/compostable products, and revolutionary brew methods. They also offer healthy organic and gluten-free food options to snack on with your caffeine or drink of choice. The environment is friendly, welcoming, and warm. It’s a perfect hide-out for a little solo time and relax with a delicious cup of coffee – or to meet up with a friend to catch up.
Finally, an honorable mention – and a huge one at that – goes to “The Littles” – Little Drunken Chef, Little Crepe Street, Little Kabob Station, and Little Spice Bazaar. The latter three are located right next to each other, and The Little Drunken Chef, which offers a fresh oyster bar and amazing tapas, is located directly across the street. These restaurants can certainly be referred to as local favorites. We’re lucky to have them in our town.
Where to Shop
Beehive is the perfect place to shop for specialized gifts. Hands down. They sell beautiful and original products by independent designers and artists, including home goods and décor, bath and body items, clothing, jewelry, and other accessories. They also have a great kids section for those unique gifts you don’t see in typical retail stores.
All Together Now pens itself as “a resource for kids and parents.” The store is a true community partner that sells clothing, toys, books, accessories, you name it, and they sell it! Much of the clothing and toys are from manufacturers that use natural, environmentally friendly products. A photography studio in the store provides special photo experiences for maternity shoots, newborn sessions, cake smashes, etc. All Together Now typically holds classes for young children. They are currently on pause until COVID-19 calms, but in the meantime, you can certainly purchase educational toys and games to keep your children busy and learning until then!
The Hamlet is a new retail shop opening up in late February 2021. The shop mainly sells British goods – food, books, gifts, home decor, and vinyl records. Most food items are imported from England, which gives customers the chance to taste authentic delicacies not found in other local stores. One of the co-owners lived in England before moving to the US. Quite cool that he is bringing this unique store to Mount Kisco. Really looking forward to getting a taste of Britain close to home!
I accompanied my daughter and her Girl Scout Troop on a field trip to Bicycle World many years ago. While we were there, I decided to ask the owner what type of bike is best for a woman in her late 40s to learn to ride. Instead of laughing at me (like most people do), he spoke of a few options – including renting a bike from the store before purchasing. My thoughts went right to how many bicycles get smashed up by people like me! Although I haven’t been brave enough to rent a bike, it’s wonderful to know that I can. It is a pretty cool bicycle shop, and the team is super nice and helpful. One additional fact is the store is a must-see for history buffs. Bicycle World is in a historic building that has been restored to its former glory of the late 1800s. It’s part of Mount Kisco’s history.
For us mainstreamers, there are various chains, including Target and TJ Maxx – which, to be perfectly honest, is one of the reasons we moved here. Best of both worlds.
Mount Kisco is Home
Mount Kisco calls itself The Big Little Village. Approximately 3 square miles, it is geographically small, but it delivers big.
Mount Kisco has a true sense of community, and the residents have such pride in the town. Over our years here, we’ve met many people who were born and raised in the town, who in turn decided to raise their own families here and open up local businesses. And they truly have nothing but open arms to us “outsiders” moving in. We all quickly become “insiders!” It’s a lovely place to love and fun to visit too! Come Eat! Come Shop! Come Play! We hope to see you soon.