We all love our cozy little corners of Westchester. There are 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.
Mamaroneck is a beautiful waterfront town in lower Westchester. Home to Harbor Island Park, quaint shops, a variety of delicious eateries, and more, Mamaroneck has something for everyone.
What To Do
The harbor park is a 44-acre wonderland that offers a public beach, splash ground, playing fields, fishing and boating spots, year-round tennis, and two playgrounds. Throughout the year, Harbor Island is the setting for many different carnivals, festivals, and fun kid-friendly events, the biggest being The Fireman’s Carnival (held in late June through July 4).
History buffs may enjoy a peek into the one-room schoolhouse built in 1816 and now located on the harbor’s grounds. Meanwhile, environmentalists may enjoy a trip to the Marine Education Center. There, children and adults can learn about the marine life in the harbor and sound waters.
Plus, there are trails to walk and plenty of photo opportunities. I can’t help but take pictures there every time I go! Try visiting in the spring when the cherry blossom trees bloom; it’s a pink princess wonderland! (location: Mamaroneck Avenue and Boston Post Road).
Sheldrake Environmental Center/Leatherstocking Trails
This trail is a town staple. It’s a relatively easy trail to bring kids on. We have gone with our five and three-year-olds. There are a couple of different loops, so you can decide how far you want to go. While much of the trail views are backyards of the neighbors, there’s nothing that beats the beauty of the reservoir. The trail has several entry points, some with better parking than others. You can enter through Leatherstocking Trail or the Sheldrake lot on Weaver Street.
A Day at the Theater
One of the best little parts of Mamaroneck is the Emelin Theater. The Emelin is a performing arts center that offers various performances at very reasonable prices. They host local productions as well. There are comedy nights, movie series, and, best of all, kid/family-friendly shows! We have seen many shows there, and each one is better than the last.
The kid shows are always packed with children; knowing this, the staff is very friendly and accommodating. Seats are often first-come, first-serve, so arrive in a timely fashion. Parking is ample, and the theater is attached to the Mamaroneck Public Library (check out their beautiful children’s room while you are there). It is also down the block from Mamaroneck Avenue and every kind of restaurant you can imagine.
Mamaroneck High School Productions
This may sound like a strange recommendation, but hear me out. I’m a teacher at MHS, and my students are incredible performers. Our robust PACE program puts on 10-12 shows throughout the year. There is also a full-school musical. Many people may not know that these shows are open to anyone! Tickets are fairly priced, and they often sell treats during intermission. If you have a child who loves dance, music, or theater, chances are they will enjoy the student productions at MHS. Sometimes the content is geared toward older students (this year, they performed Chicago), but that’s not always the case. The school musical is usually held in the winter, while PACE puts on shows throughout the year. Events are listed on the website with the link to order tickets online.
Let your inner artist out at MADE: My Art + Design Experience. At Made, you can walk in, pick a piece, and get creative! They have pottery wheels, mosaics, and paint your ceramics and canvas opportunities. That’s not all. They have fun theme nights and will host a great event with many party options, after school and summer camp programs, and group projects for scouts and other groups. They’ve adapted to the virtual world with amazing opportunities to grab art in a bag and will pack up everything you need to let your inner Picasso out at home. It is the best artistic outlet for kids and adults alike. My only warning is that you may not be able to stop yourself from visiting repeatedly—one note on logistics is street parking only.
Where to Eat
There are many kid-friendly places to enjoy a good bite in Mamaroneck. Locally nicknamed “The Ave, “many restaurants can be found right on Mamaroneck Avenue, locally nicknamed “The Ave.” My family is full of some picky eaters, but we can all agree on one place: Sal’s. Sal’s Pizza has been at 316 Mamaroneck Avenue for over 50 years. It has an old-school Italian pizzeria feel. Try their Sicilian slice or a calzone. On a weekend night, you will find lines around the block waiting for these no-muss slices. If you look up NY pizza in the dictionary (or if you Google it, because who uses a dictionary anymore), you’ll see a Sal’s slice. Trust me, one slice, and you will be hooked. Come for the salad slice (what?! Salad on a pizza? YES!) and stay for the gelato at their attached gelateria. This little spot offers you a scoop (or two) of deliciously authentic Italian gelato or a nice cup of coffee to finish your evening.
One thing we can thank the pandemic for is the extra outdoor seating on Mamaroneck Ave. Most restaurants have a couple of parking spots with tables, and Smokehouse Tailgate Grill is one of the best. The long picnic tables with large umbrellas make it a great spot even when it’s sunny. There’s plenty on the menu for the kids, mine were partial to the mini cheeseburger sliders, and for the adults, there are some delicious barbecue offerings. The hot honey fried chicken sandwich was just the right amount of salty, spicy, tart, and sweet. Oh, and did I mention the 2 for one house cocktails? Try the Pomegranate Marg (I skipped the agave for less sweetness). They also have a great craft beer selection to wash down the tangy sauce of the boneless wings. You can also add a “shift beer,” which is essentially a way to tip the back-of-the-house workers and shows how much they value their staff!
One of a Kind:
If you are in the mood to take the kids out for a quick-serve kind of meal, Walter’s is for you. Walter’s is a walk-up restaurant featuring delicious hot dogs, fries, and shakes. There is no indoor seating, but they have many outdoor tables if the weather is nice. My little one loves to order a puppy dog – half a hot dog, just her size. I suggest getting a double with Walter’s special mustard blend. It’s tangy and delish. Wash it down with one of their cowboy shakes, or try their funnel cake fries if you have a sweet tooth. They serve their dog on buttery, toasty buns, just as they have been serving the community for 101 years in their historic pagoda-style building. If you can’t make it to Mamaroneck (and seriously, why not, it’s so cute here!), then keep an eye out for their food truck or try their White Plains location. These dogs do not disappoint. Logistics – street parking only, and be ready to wait in line.
Anyone who lives in or near Mamaroneck and is hungry at lunchtime knows to go to Anthony’s Deli. Parking is difficult in their tiny lot or on Halstead Ave, but it is worth it. Don’t go during the high school lunch hour, or you’ll wait in line behind kids from both MHS and Rye Neck. The line moves quickly as the guys behind the counter stuff your sandwich to the gills. While you wait, you can decide what crunchy go-with to pick out, pretzels or salt and vinegar chips, or baked Lays? My husband loves the signature sandwich, The Godfather, with every kind of meat you can think of, while I prefer to make my own grilled chicken, mozzarella, roasted pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Definitely get it on half a wedge (or a full one, if you want leftovers or to share with a friend!). They also make pretty killer breakfast sandwiches hot off the grill. Just be sure to bring CASH! Like Sal’s, Anthony’s is cash only.
Ok, so sometimes we mommas need a step above the dogs and the fries. When that’s the case, I suggest Andrea’s 25 North. This restaurant oozes Italian hospitality and charm. You can get all the classic Italian dishes you love, plus their specials are always delicious. I’ve never had a dinner I did not enjoy at Andrea’s, from the lobster ravioli to lighter choices like zucchini marinara. They also have a kids’ menu with smaller portions of pasta, chicken, or even steak or ravioli! Andrea’s has a bar and lovely wine selection for when it’s just been that kind of week. The only downside is the parking, as there is almost none. The restaurant does have a valet to help with the lack of parking but trust me, by the time you’ve finished pasta/carb loading and hit dessert, you won’t care about the parking anymore.
Sometimes you need to let your sweet tooth win and treat yourself to a delicious treat. Well, when that craving hits, Mamaroneck will not disappoint. If you are in the mood for a warm donut made with whatever wild creation you can concoct in your mind, head over to Duck Donuts. These sweet cake-based donuts can be topped with whatever you desire, or you can pick one of their classic combos like Bacon in the Sun or classic cinnamon sugar. Order ahead online for contact delivery, or head into the store and watch them make your treat in front of your eyes. DIY kits are available for a fun donut topping night at home too!
If you want to stay on the Ave, stop at Paleteria Fernandez for a sweet treat on a hot day. They have every flavor, even some spicy ones! The shop is family-owned and operated. Many of the pops are individually wrapped, which means you can take them to go. The best part is that they have something for everyone–fruit pops or ice cream–and no one will leave disappointed.
I recommend a trip to our little town when you find the time.