LEGO Ninjago City Adventure in Westchester – Review

LEGOLAND Ninjago

Calling all NINJAS! The much anticipated LEGO Ninjago movie is finally out in theatres and I have one very excited ninja ready to go! To celebrate the film, we headed to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester to experience their new attraction and get a sneak peek of the new LEGO Ninjago City Adventure in Westchester!

LEGOLAND Ninjago

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester has an amazing new attraction – LEGO® Ninjago City Adventure. We headed over on Saturday to check out all the excitement and it did not disappoint. Legoland Westchester is exciting, to begin with, but now with a Ninjago theme, my little Green Ninja was over the moon.

LEGOLAND NinjagoThe new attraction has lots of cool exhibits that we loved. We loved the LEGO 4D film, decoding the secret language of Ninjago with Ninjago characters and even meeting Kai, The Red Ninja of Fire.

LEGOLAND Ninjago

But our favorite was The LEGO® Ninjago City Adventure which is a two story 2300 square foot play area modeled after the Temple of Airjitzu that the kids absolutely loved. In true Ninja training style, the kids loved finding their way through the maze and working on their ninja abilities.

LEGOLAND Ninjago

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is definitely a not-to-be-missed destination. LEGOLAND is at Ridge Hill shopping center which has a ton of amazing stores and restaurants. The kids love being at LEGOLAND and Matt and I take turns shopping through – Lord and Taylor, H&M, REI, TJ MAXX, Sur La Table, Uniqlo and the super swank new Brooks Brothers Flatiron store!

LEGOLAND Ninjago

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is in Yonkers, NY and open daily. But be sure to get your tickets in advance if you can because it does get pretty busy. Swing by LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester for all the details.

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Best Places for Apple Picking Near New York City

It’s Fall Y’all! Fall is quite possibly THE most beautiful season in the Northeast. Sure we love our summers but the fall with the leaves, and the chill in the air and the apple cider and the cinnamon donuts and the craft fairs and … the silence you have in the home when the kids are back in school! You can see how this is easily my favorite season. To kick off the season, I’m excited to share the Best Places for Apple Picking Near New York City.

Every year we go apple picking several times a season. Living in Northern Westchester, there is no shortage of apple picking orchards all around us. Thomas and I love to go on the weekdays when it’s quite and take our time through the trees, picking the best apples. We make apple pies, apple crumbles, apple juice and simply eat everything we pick pretty fast.

Best Apple Picking In New York

There are lots of lists about the best places to go  so I’m narrowing down mine to a few faves. I have lots of tips and tricks to make your apple picking experience instagram worthy and a memorable fall activity.

Tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Traffic can get pretty intense. Come early in the morning or late in the afternoon for ideal crowd control that 10am time slot is the most coveted which makes the traffic and the orchard insane.
  2. Bring CASH money! Most farms have tons for the kids to do. Hay rides, corn maze, pumpkin toss and of course provisions for the adults – beer, hard cider, and wine is usually served too. There are farm stands with pies, local honey and donuts. So come prepared with some cash!
  3. If you can swing it, go on a weekday. The weekends at most farms within an hour driving distance from NYC can get crazy with lines for everything from hayrides, beer, cider, donuts and even the orchards are overcrowded. Many times the farms will run out of food and booze after you have spent 30 mins in line.
  4. Wear comfy shoes…I know you are all about that instagram feed… but heels in an orchard are just silly. Get your Hunter boots on, some skinny jeans, a cute plaid top, fall hat and done! Comfy and cute.
  5. Call the farm before you to go to see what the apple situation is. Last season there was a shortage and by mid October there was nothing left.
  6. If you know your apples, call the farm to see which varieties are growing right now. To me, an apple is an apple so as long as they are on a tree and tasty, we are good.
  7. Most of these farms have ‘harvest festivals’. Call or swing by their websites to get the info. Most, if not all of these, are run by local families so calling is always better than website info.

Best Apple Picking In New York

Our Favorite Apple Picking Farms:

Westchester County – This is the county that sits directly above Manhattan… it’s the “other” borough. There are a few farms down county but I live in Northern Westchester and these are about a quick 10 minute drive for us.

FISHKILL FARMSFishkill Farm Road, Hopewell JCT, NY 12533 (845) 897-4377

This is our absolute favorite farm!!  We gather up some friends and head up multiple times a year for all the berry picking, apple picking and even just walks around the farm. There are animals, a farm stand and much more.

OUTHOUSE ORCHARDS 139 Hardscrabble Road, Croton Falls (914) 277-3188

This farm is about an hour north of NYC and gets really really REALLLLLY busy on the weekends. They have a ton of activities for all ages with long lines for everything. It’s very popular with “city folk” because of the proximity. On weekdays it’s a great. no crowds but also no activities.

HARVEST MOON FARM AND ORCHARD 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem (914) 485-1210 

Harvest Moon is down the road from Outhouse. Same vibe. Super busy with gorgeous rolling hills and amazing views of the orchards. Check their website for evening live music and firepits.

WILKENS FRUIT AND FIR FARM1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights (914) 245-5111 

This is a smaller farm but also popular with the NYC crowd. There is always lots to do with a farm stand for lots of yummy fall treats.

Apple Picking in N

Take a Drive! 

While the places I mentioned earlier in this post are about an hour’s drive north of Manhattan. I HIGHLY recommend going even further up past Westchester County. This gives you a serious dose of the gorgeous scenery that the Hudson Valley holds and the crowds are not nearly as nutty as the farms closer to the city. These two are our faves and if you go on a Saturday, often times there are local craft fairs and antique markets.

KELDER’S FARM5755 Rt 209 Kerhonkson, NY 12446 (845) 626-7137

There is a giant gnome that’s kinda silly fun and there is SOOO much to do for the kids. Goats, ducks, candied apples… and more.

BARTON ORCHARDS63 Apple Tree Ln Poughquag, NY 12570

Another favorite. Gorgeous drive, lots to do and when the leaves are turning it is spectacular. Check their schedule for the Hot Air Balloon fest!

Our family loves to go toward HUDSON, NY and explore some of the smaller farms there. Take a drive up to Red Hook and Rhinebeck and stop at any of the farms along the way.

Happy Fall Y’all!!

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New York Mom Eats: O Mandarin in Westchester

If I could roam the world and eat all day… I would! Maybe one day when these dragons are grown and fly the nest, I’ll travel and eat and eat and travel! You with me!

Best part about living in New York… there are many best parts… but one of the best parts is the food. Oh. My. Goodness. –  there is no shortage of amazing food to be found in ever single price range.

Moving up here to Westchester – Suburbs of NYC – has not slowed us down in our foodie adventures. Some of the best restaurants are housed up here. Jean Georges, Blue Hill Stone Barnes, so many!

Recently Matt and I dined at O Mandarin in Hartsdale. This is a new Chinese, Sichuan restaurant inspired by, mentored by, somewhat related to the famed cult-following, elusive chef Peter Chang. If you don’t know Peter Chang, please take a second to read about him. He has a following like none other and in his early days, he had to change his name just to keep hidden from fans for certain reasons. Long story… look it up!

We are BIG BIG fans and love that there is something remotely affiliated with him up here in the burbs!

The chef at O Mandarin is Eric Gao, who is a protégé of Peter Chang. This wasn’t a media invite so I am only writing from my pure “fan girl’ point of view.

Any place with soup dumplings is just calling my name! Matt and I met for a quick lunch date and cozied up in a dimly lit booth for our meal. We loved the food we had but didn’t experiment much. I can’t wait to go back for the Peking duck meal and the whole fish meal.  We had the Yu Xiang Pork  – Bamboo | Celery | Bell Pepper | Mushroom and the Shredded Pork in Sweet Bean Sauce –  Cucumber | Scallion | Steamed Buns.  The food was fresh, and very very authentic. Each dish had its own flavor profile that we just indulged in.

I can’t wait to head back for a full meal!

I forgot to tell you about the best part . O Mandarin is located at – 361 N. Central Avenue, Hartsdale –  in the same shopping plaza as my other fave – H-MART!! all the goods in one place.

I would love to know if you go… report back!

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TNYM Travels: A Day Trip to Cold Spring, New York

Are you all recovering from the long weekend. While I certainly enjoyed my weekend with the whole family, I am exhausted and desperately need a day off!

We kept our plans pretty relaxed over the long weekend and just mulled around the house, hung out with friends and went day trippin! Matt and I love to travel with the kids and sometimes a quick day trip is all we need to take care of the travel bug!

One of my most favorite places to spend a day is Cold Spring, New York. This is a quaint little town up the Hudson Valley, about 2 hours north of Manhattan,  with specialty stores that line the main street. But that’s not the main attraction.

Cold Spring has one of my favorite hikes – BreakNeck Ridge. Lily and I have climbed this mountain many many times and love it. Best to go on a weekday because it gets really busy on the weekends and takes the calmness of a hike, out of the experience.

We go toCold Spring so often that I just can’t fit everything you should do in one post.  There is so much to experience in this sweet town that one trip just won’t do it justice.

On Saturday we went for a hike and then settled into lunch at the ColdSpring Depot. A big burger seemed to do the trick for a post hike meal!

We wandered around main street and peeked into all the stores, picking up goodies here and there. We stopped by ColdSpring Apothecary for coffee, and treats. What’s with the new trend of barbershop/hair salon/bars and cafes! You can get your hair cut and have a snack!

One of the newest stores to arrive inCold Spring is Pink Olive – the cutest gift shop with something for kids and adults. I love this perfectly curated little shop with hand-made items and great inspiring decor.

Of course you can’t go to Cold Spring without getting ice cream at MOO MOO’s creamery! It’s right by the water and the views are stunning.

ColdSpring General Store is a must stop as well. Go to the back room for a whole secret stash of must have foods. That Bloody Mary Mix is delish! and they have tons of specialty beers and pickles! 

Where to EAT:

  • Hudson Hills – fresh farm food – simple and delish!
  • The Foundry is a great spot as well but the food takes FOREVER to come out and the server even said – it might not be best for the kids. But we have been to the foundry in the past and it’s good munching if you are not in a hurry.
  • Coldspring Depot – Pub fare. Something simple and delish for everyone.
  • For a quiet romantic meal or drinks and apps – sit outside at Brasserie Le Bouchon. This is french food with yummy small plates and a decent wine list. This place seems a little hit or miss for us, so we only do apps and drinks. The ambiance is great!

I hope you get to head up to Cold Spring this season. It’s a beautiful little town and there are lots of bed and breakfasts for an overnight trip.

 

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New York Mom EATS: Barnes and Noble Concept Store

Last week our friends at Barnes and Noble invited me over to check out their new concept store right here in Westchester County. There are only a handful of these stores in the country and only one in New York.


What a treat! This Barnes and Noble store offers a full sit down restaurant, and a bar that serves local wine and beer. Of course their coffee game is right on point!

We met the chef who took us through a play by play of each course complete with his favorite tips for the food. His secret to that amazing hummus… more tahini.


The space is gorgeous with a massive outdoor patio complete with fire pit and bocce ball courts. I love being able to park myself in the comfy cafe and get some work done! The new concept store is bringing a sense of community back to the bookstore. I love bookstores, large and small. This concept store is targeting all ages and demos, families, singles, seniors, students, networking events… all of it. Hope to see you there sometime!

Barnes And Noble WESTCHESTER  is  located at 680 Post Road, Eastchester, NY.

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National Jump In Muddy Puddles Day

Did you know there is a day for one of our favorite outdoor activities!!

Today is National Jump In Muddy Puddles Day! And it’s perfect because it’s been raining all week here in New York! No shortage of puddles around!

Thomas and his friends threw on their rain boots and headed to the farm nearby for some muddy jumping fun. We love going to Muscoot Farm here in the suburbs of New York City. The kids love to see all the animals and I love the open spaces where they can just run.

It’s important to let kids get messy. If you have ever been to our house, there is no shortage of messy unfinished art projects, mud boots by every exit and no shortage of mud-pies that line out back garden! We support messy play all the way. Of course these puddles had their fair share of goose poop… but who cares… what’s a little goose poop when you are having THIS MUCH FUN!

Thomas’ preschool is raising awareness for the TY Louis Campbell Foundation. This is a foundation that helps raise funds for pediatric cancer research. His preschool had a ‘hop-a-thon’  and a cocktail fundraiser to help support this foundation.

And then a friend of mine sent me the press info for the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation (TLC Foundation) and I figured I MUST share this with you.

I hope you join me in a simple, fun a quick way to help support the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation and help bring awareness and support for pediatric cancer.

The “Muddy Puddle Jump Challenge” – post a photo of yourself or your family jumping in a “Muddy Puddle”,  on your social account. Muddy puddle not even required!!! Make sure to tag with #PeppaMuddyPuddleChallenge. You can do this the entire month of April!

Feel free to tag me @Thenewyorkmom so I can check out your shenanigans!

Now go out there and jump in puddles!!!

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Yonkers Brewing Company – Westchester Restaurant Review

Matt and I were recently invited to a private beer tasting at the Yonkers Brewing Company. We jumped at the chance to go out on a rare date night! The city of Yonkers is on the Hudson River in lower Westchester County. Westchester County is sometimes considered the ” other borough” to NYC.

If you haven’t been to the Yonkers Brewing Company, you should go NOW! The restaurant has large exposed industrial ceilings, long communal tables, an even longer bar and some great food and drinks. The open relaxed communal vibe makes this restaurant perfect for couples, groups and kids!

We had a private tasting with the master brewer, Dave Hartman,  who gave us all the deets on all the new offerings at Yonkers Brewing Company. We had a flight of 6 beers and food that paired perfectly with each.

Matt , the snobby beer drinker that he is, loved the whole experience. He loved getting to talk beer-making with Dave Hartman and chatting with local leaders in Yonkers.

I’ve heard amazing things about the brunches at YBC… and can’t wait to go back. Kids in tow!

When you do make it over to Yonkers Brewing Company, make sure you take advantage of the location. Go for a walk along the water or visit the other restaurants in the area. The town boasts a wonderful waterfront location and perfect for warm spring days! The town of Yonkers has put a lot of effort into making this waterfront city a destination and it really doesn’t disappoint.

Stop by Yonkers Brewing Company to learn more and plan a visit!

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A S.T.E.A.M. Play Space at The Westchester Mall

The long-awaited play space at the Westchester Mall has finally opened! and just in time for the winter months.

Thomas and I headed to the mall to run a few errands and pick up a christmas suit for him and lo and behold… the play space was open! This is part of the new Connect and Play – tech lounge and play center that really brings the classic mall play space into the tech world. There are comfy couches and charging stations all around and the play space is nothing short of an interactive science and art center!

This Play space is not like other mall play spaces. It’s almost like a mini children’s museum with a full S.T.E.A.M. focus. There are 4 primary activity centers featuring – art, engineering, music, and a tile table. A STEAM jr, space for babies and toddlers is blocked off to keep the crawlers and early walkers contained and safe.

Thomas and I were there on a weekday morning and it was really quiet and clean. I am curious to see what this space will look when it’s used. While I felt that the space was pretty cool with the STEAM focus, Thomas wanted to just run around and there really isn’t any space to just run. Additionally the Tile Table is pretty small and there were 3 kids at the table when we were there and that was at capacity, the digital art easels filled up too and Thomas had to wait for his turn but it took some of the play out of the experience. I know my toddler and he wants to tumble and run and there isn’t much for that. But there is a lot of interesting interactive play and he loved the engineering corner.

Thomas and I are looking forward to spending some time at this play space this winter. Bonus for me… there is an Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Potterbarn, Apple Store, Sur La Table and so much more at the Westchester!

The fancy new food court is slated to open Aril2017… I can’t wait! Seems like this is a new concept for mall food courts and play spaces. I’m looking forward to seeing all the changes.

The Westchester Mall is in White Plains, NY and a quick train ride or drive north of Manhattan.

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Apple Picking with Kids

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Living in New York means that every season gets a grand hurrah! and Fall – being my favorite season, gets lots of hurrahs! Apple Picking is one of our favorite fall festivities. The smell of the crisp air, the walk through the orchards, apples eaten along the pick, apple cider, cinnamon donuts… I could go on forever. Apple picking with kids has it’s set of challenges as does basically doing anything with kids. Here is my tried and true list of do’s and don’t of apple picking with kids from my years of schlepping my kids up and down orchards up here in New York.

HUGE TIP – Some of the orchards have already run out of apples so please call before you head up. We are fortunate to live in the middle of orchards so we go all the time on weekdays with no crowds. 

Apple picking on the weekends is for those of you who like to live on the edge. We go to some of the orchards that are about an hour north of Manhattan. The weekends are insane. There is no charm in over crowded apple picking orchards. You have to stand in lines for everything and sometimes after standing in that line for 30 minutes you STILL don’t get your Cinnamon Donut! Then you have to walk forever to get to your car to then sit in traffic inching forward as your kids scream because … remember… no cinnamon donut! Go during the week if you can.

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Take the kids apple picking when they are off on ‘school days‘. It’s not as crowded and you will certainly dodge the ‘Instagram Selfie’ crowd.

Dress – don’t wear heels when apple picking! I can’t believe I have to tell you this… you would be surprised at how many gals show up in heels!  You know this is dirt and mud and orchard land right. You are walking up hills and picking apples! Skip the heels. Wear your fall boots, skinnies, a sweater and a hat. Rock!

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Bring water, it can get hot up in the orchards so bring water. The orchards are usually a bit of a walk from the car so a backpack with a snack and water is best.

Some orchards have evening music so check in advance and time your trip accordingly.

I wear sunscreen year round and so do the kids. So add that to your backpack.

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

A little provision for you and your honey. Go ahead – fill that water bottle with a little something special. Sit up at the top of  your apple orchard taking in the scenery and sip away. Because those drink lines are super long and not worth the wait.

MUST go on a hayride. So fun. And definitely do the corn mazes!!!

Poision Ivy likes to go all around apple trees. We haven’t had an issue but some orchards might overlook this and forget to take the poison ivy out. Be on the look out for three shiny leaves! Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Eat the apples from the tree. I know you paid for your bag of apples but what’s apple picking without munching on one red delicious fruit while picking.

Head up north to the Hudson Valley – Beacon, Coldspring, Hudson, Rhinebeck … all amazing towns with gorgeous views and not half the crowds. The time you will spend sitting in your car in traffic will be put to great use driving through the Hudson Valley on twisted roads with falling leaves while taking in some of the best scenery that New York State has to offer.

There ya have it. A bonafide tried and true guide to apple picking this season. Have fun!

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Summer 2016

We are in summer mode over here. The kids are out of school and the lazy summer days have begun. Lily has a sleepaway camp later in the summer, Thomas starts a local town camp next month but for this week we are winging it!

I’ve decided not to put Lily in an all summer camp this summer. I want her to just hang, get bored, to have unstructured days, to find her own entertainment, and to hang out with the neighborhood kids.

We moved to this community for this very reason. Lily walks to the town pool, downtown, rides bikes all over the neighborhood with friends, eats popsicles in the afternoon and builds fairy houses with Thomas. It’s that old school – non programmed- summer days of old.

We’ve been having lazy brunches in town and long strolls through our neighborhood saying hi to the chickens and pig and goats.

Yummy Salmon Toast from the Reading Room in Katonah,NY

If you know us , you know that we don’t sit still for long and we have a whole list of summer trips and day trips and quick jaunts all around the tri-state and I can’t wait to share this with you. New York has just so very much to offer and there is never a shortage of engaging activities for kids… I’m talking about hikes, museums, towns to wander through, flea markets, balloon festivals…etc.

Summer 2016 we are ready!

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