Spotlight on Westchester :: Croton


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 incredible 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.

CrotonAn easy escape from the hustle and bustle of NYC and the perfect place to call home, Croton-on-Hudson provides respite to those who want to enjoy nature, a slower pace, and charming establishments. Over six years ago, when my husband and I began our search for a home in the Westchester suburbs, we knew we wanted something special; a town where we could relax a bit and enjoy dining and socializing, all the while still being just a hop-skip from our beloved NYC.

After toiling over many of the wonderful towns in Westchester, Croton-on-Hudson landed on our radar. The draw of Croton’s massive train station, with express trains to NYC, was attention-catching. The picturesque nature spots and quaint yet cool establishments and events that continue to show themselves the longer you live here are the anchors of this amazing town. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or want to put your roots down, you’ll find Croton has so much to offer.

What To Do

Eagle Fest is a February event held at Croton Point Park that will truly take your breath away. There is something so awe-inspiring about seeing aeries of mature and young bald eagles flying, diving, and nesting in their own environment right on the Hudson River. Bring your telescope or binoculars or cheat a peak from many enthusiasts set up riverside and catch these forces of nature in their most active season!

The Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor is a widely known event during spooky season and sells out every night. It’s such good fun for the kiddos, and even the adults are impressed by the hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins. Can’t make it in October, did you know that you can also visit Van Cortlandt Manor off-season?

If you love live music, the arts, and enjoying it all for a good cause, like preserving the Hudson River, this weekend-long Clearwater Festival is for you. Held at Croton Point Park, you can enjoy spectacular river views while taking in all this event offers.

Oktoberfest is celebrated in the heart of the Upper Village. Stroll the blocked-off town streets to enjoy food samplings from local restaurants, live music, kids’ activities, and much more. And, of course, there is a healthy dose of German fare and beer!

If you are looking for some fun specifically catered to your little one, check out Mayfair, held each May by Croton Community Nursery School. This charming nursery school offers a fun-filled backyard event with games, prizes, bounce houses, arts and crafts, face painting, and refreshments.

If you need a quick gift, pick me up, or memento from your visit to Croton, check out Orchid & Elm. This store features carefully selected items from local female artisans. You can pick up anything from gorgeous reclaimed furniture to scrumptious-smelling candles.

Head Outside

Croton Point has lots of gravel walking paths, playgrounds, and even a campground. (You read that right, you can camp right here in Westchester). This is the only place in the county with a swimming beach on the river. The park, rich in natural and human history, is also the site of historic wine cellars that are thought to be the oldest in New York State and the Croton Point Nature Center.

If you want to take in the Hudson River by foot, Croton Landing is a great way to do it. The curving, paved walkway winds along the Hudson River and is frequented by those looking for an easy stroll or bike ride. The wildlife, boats docked along the way, and summer wildflowers are a bonus.

Sunset Park is the cutest playground for your young ones and a hot spot for parent meet-ups.

Croton Gorge Park is one of the most spectacular sights in Westchester County and is home to the Croton Dam. You can stare at the massive dam from the park as water flows down into the Croton River below. (It will give all the kids, Frozen 2 Northuldra dam vibes, pre-earth giants, of course). The park is a great area for a picnic or hiking as it also boasts open green space, a playground, and connects to the aqueduct hiking trails. Once you’ve taken in the dam from below, drive to the top and walk across the bridge for a bird’s eye view! Like Croton Point, this is a county facility, so they charge for parking on the weekends and some weekdays during the summer. I recommend going off-season or during the week when the crowds are gone.

Croton River Kayak Tours are perfect if viewing the beautiful rivers in Croton isn’t enough; you can hop on a kayak and actually take to your water adventure. These kayak tours launch near the train station and proceed into the serene, winding Croton River. You’ll be in a totally different world as you paddle up the river taking in water foul like osprey and herons. There are wonderful little beaches and shallow areas to pause for a moment of reflection.

Check out Pedego Electric Bike Tours. If you don’t have a bike and want to try out a nearby trail, or if you’re going to take in Croton in a different way, try out these new bike rentals. You can rent the bikes and choose your own adventure or check out specialty guided tours like this one.

Where to Eat and Drink

La Catrina de Westchester is perfect after a day of outdoor activities. Head to this authentic Mexican eatery that infuses modern cooking techniques for a palate-pleasing meal. Their short rib taco, Pantera Rosa cocktail, and Sopa Azteca served in authentic Catrinas from Mexico are a personal favorite.

140 Grand is known for its in-house smoked meats and serves up unctuous dishes like smoked brisket sandwiches, pork belly bao buns, and even a peanut butter burger. The restaurant has a cozy vibe perfect for digging into this soul-warming fare.

If you are looking to imbibe a bit more, head over to Croton Tapsmith, a local brew shop. It’s simple in design and decor but packs a lot of carefully selected craft beers with a few nice wines and ciders to boot. If you’re lucky, they’ll have their wood-fired oven going outside, serving some seriously delicious pizzas.

Blue Pig is the best dessert, and this ice cream shop cannot be missed. No joke, I know people who travel far and wide to Croton just for this ice cream. This spot delivers homemade frozen masterpieces, sourcing ingredients from their own garden, local growers, and neighboring purveyors like the Black Cow, the killer coffee shop just around the corner. Try their real oreo, and you’ll never be able to eat cookies and cream ice cream from another maker again. If chocolate isn’t your thing, the mixed berry crumb is the best melding of ice cream, baked goods, and fruit ever.

I know it’s hard to leave NYC and not know where your next decent bagel is coming from. Fear no more. Bagels on Hudson serves the best in Westchester and gets pretty close to some of the bagels I’ve had in the city.

It’s also hard to leave NYC and not know where your next good fast health food is coming from. Nella’s Nutribar, a relatively new addition to Croton, fills a much-needed gap in cuisine. You can enjoy mostly vegan salads, wraps, or smoothies. And if you’re looking to healthily indulge, the açai bowls with Nutella and fruit are crave-inducing.

By now, Baked by Susan is kind of an establishment in Croton, maybe even Westchester. When your sweet tooth calls you, I’d recommend trying their chocolate croissants and cinnamon rolls, or if it’s the weekend, their cinnamon bread is to die for. The beef or black bean empanadas also make for a yummy, quick on-the-go lunch, and the kiddos love them.

Where is your favorite spot in Croton?

To read all posts in our Spotlight on Westchester series, click here.

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After spending over ten years living in NYC, Katie moved to Westchester County with her husband in 2016 to start their family. They have been blessed with two beautiful girls Eva (2018) and Carolina (2020). Katie began her career working at some of NYC’s top advertising agencies leading strategic media efforts for Fortune 500 clients in the fashion/beauty space. After a series of events, Katie decided to pursue her lifelong passion and work more deeply in the style realm. She honed her chops, training to become a certified personal stylist under two industry vets. Soon after she founded her personal styling company, Style Outside the City (@styleoutsidethecity). Her business focuses on helping moms who have lost a bit of their creativity and confidence in dressing with all of the changes motherhood (and suburbia) brings. Katie loves to help women truly understand the mental side of style as a way to express themselves and hone their visual identity. She also brings a technical eye to personal style by educating on body shapes, fabrics, closet organization techniques, and shopping skills. She works with clients one-on-one to help them build style and a wardrobe that makes them shine.