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A Day Out in Larchmont, Westchester

June 21, 2011

Longing to get out of  Brooklyn for half a day but wondering where to go? Larchmont is a suburb right outside NYC in Westchester County.  Located on the Long Island Sound side, it’s a hop, skip and a jump from the city.

Larchmont is unlike many other suburbs – it’s got the Long Island Sound, for one thing, and for another, it’s very international.  Everyone who lives here basically moved from Manhattan or Brooklyn, so we all still make use of the city, either for work, social or cultural purposes.

I’ve been living here for 8 years now (where did time go?).  If I were to visit one weekday or weekend afternoon, and had never been here before, here’s how I’d spend the day:

8:15am Get off Metro North train from Grand Central and walk west on Chatsworth Avenue to the center of town.

8:30am Stop by Bradley’s (2 Chatsworth Avenue), a delightful café, for a cup of expresso or latte’ and breakfast.  They serve yummy homemade muffins, omelets, pastries, quiche, granola & yogurt, as well as lunch options for later.  It’s a friendly café, always full of locals, and is the perfect place to read the paper as you get a feel for suburb life and get revitalized.  They also sell excellent cakes and pies to take away.  Best of all, they have free WIFI.

9:30am Take a stroll to Larchmont Manor, the oldest part of town that lies on the Long Island Sound and is comprised of large Victorian and Colonial houses, most dating from the early twentieth century.  The wide streets are lined with dogwood, cherry and magnolia trees.   Walk all the way to the edge of town and find yourself in Manor Park, a scenic park on the water lined with sail boats.  Walk down the park’s paths and gaze across the water at the views of Long Island.  Or you can sit inside a gazebo, or on a bench facing the water.   Best of all, make yourself comfortable on the rocks leading out to the sea and take in the glorious views.  The park is open to the public but is privately owned by the Larchmont Manor Park Society (which also maintains a beach within the park only open to residents ).

Larchmont Manor Park. Photo © by Jeanne-Aelia Desparmet-Hart

Larchmont is also quite flat, so you have your bike with you, ride around town.   There are racks right outside the beach if you want to park it and walk around the Manor.

12pm Time for lunch at Soupz (141 Larchmont Ave.) for some good, old-fashioned soup.  Lentil, tomato, wedding  are only a few of the soups they offer – the menu changes daily.  All the soup is home-made and it’s delicious.  They have a few tables inside and you can usually get one without waiting.

Adorable Soupz dressed up for winter

1pm Go across the street to Auray Gourmet (144 Larchmont Ave.) to buy some authentic French cheese, saucissons, pâtés andhams.  Larchmont is home to a nice-sized French population, so don’t be surprised if you hear French all over town.  There’s also a French wine shop (Le Wine Shop at 1945 Palmer Ave.) and a French bistro (Encore, 22 Larchmont Ave.).

Encore Bistro dining room

1:30pm Walk around the village’s shops.  Stop by the Brooklyn-inspired boutique, Field (2095 Boston Post Rd.) and pick up a “eco-chic” gift.  Run by a former Brooklynite, the store is a labor of love and it’s filled with handcrafted earth-friendly gifts from around the world.  On the same block, you’ll find Write On! (2101 Boston Post Rd.),  a charming stationary store and Beadz (2097 Boston Post Rd.) where you’ll find hundreds of interesting beads.  If your kids are in tow, they’ll love a stop at Sweet Teez (157 Larchmont Avenue), a Dylan’s-inspired candy store.  Around the corner is one of our favorite stops, Creative Corner (7 Addison St.) where you can leave your kids for an hour (for just $15 an hour) to do some serious art work.

Sweet Teez

On the other side of town closer to the train station, you need to visit The Voracious Reader (1997 Palmer Avenue), a children’s bookstore that has a great selection and offers events for kids of all ages.  Szent & Company (1969 Palmer Ave.) is a fragrance boutique where you can create your own perfume.  At Pink on Palmer (1907 Palmer Ave.), you can find bath and body products, aromatherapy, oils, perfumes, cosmetics, brushes and hair products.

Inside the Voracious Reader

3pm Grab an ice-cream at Longford’s (1941 Palmer Avenue) before you head back to Brooklyn.  It’s all home-made and they have every flavor under the sun, including frozen yogurt.

Longford’s ice cream

To get there: Larchmont is 21 miles from midtown Manhattan. Take the subway to Grand Central Terminal and jump on Metro-North’s New Haven line which takes 40 minutes.  If you’re driving, take the BQE to the Van Wyck Expressway to the White Stone Bridge.  Get on 95 North and come off at exit 16 in New Rochelle and drive north to Larchmont down Palmer Avenue.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Holly Rosen Fink has spent the last 15 years in NYC working in all facets of media, from MTV to the world of traditional and online publishing.  Now working as a consultant  in Westchester, she blogs about travel, theater, film, art, books, advocacy and more at The Culture Mom Blog.  She has two children, ages 5 and 7, who share her culture addiction.