Things To Do In Yorktown NY: Top 15 Most Unique Spots | Stanton House Inn

New Croton Reservoir, south of Yorktown Heights and Jefferson Valley

Yorktown, nestled in the bosom of northern Westchester County, is a haven from the concrete jungle. This scribe, a self-proclaimed worshipper of Mother Nature, finds solace in its landscapes, more captivating than any historical tale it could spin. Yorktown, unlike its famous Virginian namesake, doesn’t bask in the glory of historical events. Rather, it revels in its natural beauty, a mere 45 miles from the bustling metropolis of New York City. Its claim to fame? An abundance of nature and outdoor pursuits.

 

So, let’s get’s into it: the best things to do in Yorktown, NY.

Quick hits

  • Explore Yorktown, NY for its historic sites & nature preserves, perfect for making lasting memories!
  • Enjoy a variety of activities from North County Trailway to Hilltop Hanover Farm.
  • Shop ‘til you drop or take in the vibrant arts scene – there’s something for everyone in Westchester County!

A Brief History of Yorktown, New York

Historic postcard of the First Presbyterian Church in Yorktown

Once the stomping grounds of the Wappinger trible, namely the Kitchawank, Yorktown was largely the playground of the Van Cortlandt family, gifted to them by King William III himself. The town sprung to life in the early 18th century and officially got its name in 1788. For a good while, it was a humble farming community, a simple dot on the map, until the 20th century rolled in and changed its fate.

 

Revolutionary War

Yorktown Heights, perched atop the northern reaches of Westchester County, New York, played host to a rather noteworthy scuffle between British loyalists and colonists during the Revolutionary War. The 1st Rhode Island Regiment, a motley crew of White, African American, and Native American soldiers, were tasked with guarding the Pines Bridge crossing of the Croton River. In May 1781, the 1st Regiment met their match in the Battle of Pine’s Bridge, a brutal confrontation that claimed the lives of many, including the esteemed Colonel Christopher Greene. A stone memorial, a silent sentinel to their sacrifice, stands guard at the Presbyterian Church in Crompond, New York. Major John André, a British officer who found himself entangled in Benedict Arnold’s web of treachery, had his final breakfast at the Underhill House before his capture and subsequent hanging.

 

In 1788, the township was officially christened as Yorktown, a nod to the Franco-American siege of Yorktown that took place on October 19, 1781.

 

1800s & Modern Era

Yorktown Heights, a hamlet in Yorktown, is a 40-square-mile rectangle, home to 37,500 souls. Its commercial district is a mere speck, covering less than three square miles. Yet, according to the post office and the people who call it home, the hamlet stretches its arms to cover two-thirds of the town. The Croton River, the lifeblood of Yorktown, was tamed by the New York City water supply system to provide clean water. A dam was built, but in 1842, it buckled under the weight, causing a deluge that claimed lives and left properties in ruins.

 

Post-World War II, Yorktown’s population did a merry jig skywards, only to lose its breath and slow its pace in the 1970’s. The demise of the rail line put a damper on further growth, much like a bartender announcing last call. But locals don’t seem to mind. They’re a fan of their town just the way it is – not too big, not too small, just right.

 

The Best Things to do in Yorktown NY

The rail trail is a personal favorite among state parks here

Yorktown Heights, while it might lack the quaint charm of a downtown, compensates with a practicality that’s hard to beat. Local shops rub shoulders with national chains, offering a cornucopia of retail pleasures. The outskirts of the town are a symphony of tranquillity, home to residential neighborhoods that whisper of peace and parks that burst with life. Yorktown is a Pandora’s box of activities and attractions.

 

North County Trailway

Ah, the North County Trailway, a winding ribbon of adventure from the hamlet to the New Croton Reservoir any beyond. A haven for pedal-pushers and foot travelers alike. It’s more than a trail, it’s a treasure. Strap on your boots or grab your bike, and come see for yourself.

 

Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve

The Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve of Yorktown is a veritable Eden of 125 acres of untouched splendor. Here, trails meander like the thoughts of a dreamer, offering up views of the Croton Reservoir and Hudson River that would make even the most hardened cynic gasp in awe. The local fauna play out the drama of life in the underbrush, oblivious to the human intruders. The Preserve’s crowning glory, Turkey Mountain, stands a stoic 771 feet tall, a silent sentinel overlooking its domain. A two-mile hike is all it takes to conquer this gentle giant. A mere five-minute drive from the town center, the preserve is the perfect respite from the mundanity of everyday life, a place to reconnect with the wild heart that beats within us all.

Town of Yorktown Museum

Perched in Yorktown Heights, you’ll find the Yorktown Museum, a treasure trove of history and nostalgia. Dollhouses, Indian artifacts, and farm tools share tales of times long past. The museum also houses a faithful recreation of an 18th-century Yorktown home, paying homage to Westchester County’s first inhabitants with a Mohegan settlement. A model of the dearly departed ‘Old Put’ railroad stands as a monument to progress, while prize ribbons won by Rufus, the museum’s resident feline, add a touch of whimsy. The town is also the proud custodian of several Colonial structures, including Lane’s Tavern. This former public house, erected in the early 1700s, once offered respite to weary Revolutionary War soldiers.

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park

Children enjoying a fishing trip at summer camp

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, a darling of the masses, is a carnival of outdoor delights, sprawling over 930 acres of land. It’s a playground for the adventurous, boasting a smorgasbord of activities – from trails that beckon walkers and cyclists, to fishing ponds that lure the patient angler. There’s disc golf for a unique challenge, and picnic spots for those who prefer a leisurely afternoon. And the pièce de résistance? A swimming pool of such grand proportions, it holds the title of the state’s largest. It’s a park, it’s a party, it’s a paradise.

Junior Lake Park

Junior Lake Park, a darling of Yorktown, sports a public swimming pool and a playground, perfect for cooling off or burning energy. If you’ve got an ear for tunes, their summer music series at the John DeVito Veterans Memorial Gazebo will have you tapping your foot and humming along in no time.

Mohegan Lake

Should your heart yearn for a picturesque haven to laze away a sun-soaked afternoon, then my friend, Mohegan Lake is your siren. This bewitching body of water in the heart of Yorktown serves as a sanctuary for swimmers, boaters, and picnic enthusiasts when summer graces us with her presence.

 

And for those with a penchant for angling, prepare to be overjoyed. The waters of Mohegan Lake are teeming with largemouth bass, common carp, white perch, bluegill, and black crappie, all waiting to be lured by your bait.

 

So, gather your swimwear, your sunblock, and your fishing gear. Prepare for a day of memories at Mohegan Lake that will echo in your mind long after the sun has set.

First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown

Now, let’s talk about the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown. It’s a place that’s seen its fair share of history, bearing scars from the Revolutionary War when British troops decided it would make a fine bonfire in 1779. Despite this, the church stands tall, a monument to resilience, much like the monument it houses honoring the First Rhode Island Regiment. Today, the church is more than just a building. It’s a community hub, a place where folks gather for Sunday services, picnics, and special worship services like Pride Month. It’s a sanctuary, a place for quiet reflection, and a testament to the unity of the good people of Yorktown.

Pines Bridge Monument

The Pines Bridge Monument stands as a stark reminder of the blood and valor spilled during the Revolutionary War. A tribute to the gallant soldiers of the First Rhode Island Regiment, who dared to defy the iron fist of the British forces at Pines Bridge.

 

A unique portrayal of soldiers of different races standing shoulder to shoulder in the face of danger, this monument is a potent symbol of unity and courage in the face of adversity.

Hilltop Hanover Farm

Hilltop Hanover Farm

This environmental center and farm is more than meets the eye. Hilltop Hanover Farm is a scholar, offering educational programs, field trips, and workshops. It’s a chef, hosting farm-to-table events. The farm is a hiker, boasting woodland trails. And it’s a farmer, with a farm stand and you-pick crops. This nonprofit farm, situated just a stone’s throw from town, spreads across 120 acres of forest, a farm stand, and the opportunity to rub elbows with friendly cows and goats. It’s a haven for families and nature enthusiasts, a place where learning and leisure shake hands.

Railroad Park

Railroad Park is a charming gem of a park. Here, you’ll find a playground, picnic areas, and a train station that’s been standing since 1877. This station, with its gabled, hipped roof, is the last of its kind to have heard the chug of a train before freight service was abandoned. It’s the last standing passenger station in the area, in fact.

John C Hart Memorial Library

The John C. Hart Memorial Library, nestled in Shrub Oak with a satellite in Yorktown Heights, is a proud member of the Westchester Library System. The heart of the library beats within an old house, a relic from 1700. The house, though ancient, has been graced with a modern extension.

Yorktown Stage

At the heart of Yorktown Community and Cultural Center, you’ll find Yorktown Stage, a bustling epicenter of the performing arts. It’s a stage that welcomes local talent, a canvas that invites a myriad of musicals and children’s theater. It’s a place where thespians of all ages can strut their stuff, a place where every production is a feast for the senses.

Mohansic Golf Course

Golf course in Shrub Oak, north of Yorktown Heights

Yorktown, NY is home to the 18-hole Mohansic Golf Course, a sanctuary for those who find joy in the pursuit of the little white ball. But the golfing delights don’t end there. Two commercial courses also call Yorktown home, each offering its own unique challenges. One boasts a full 18-hole course, perfect for an afternoon of friendly competition. The other, a nine-hole, par 3 course, is a dream for those seeking a swift round or those just beginning to dip their toes into the world of golf.

Dining and Shopping in Yorktown, NY

When it comes to dining and shopping, Yorktown, NY has it all. Here are some of the top spots to check out:

 

On weekends, Uncle Giuseppe’s Marktetplace, a two-story grocery store on Commerce Street, is a hive of activity. This isn’t your ordinary grocery store. Imagine a fusion of Las Vegas and Trader Joe’s, complete with a live singer serenading shoppers as they peruse the aisles on weekends. The former Turco’s prides itself on selling locally sourced produce, imported delicacies, and freshly prepared salads. It also houses a gourmet food court, an ice cream parlor, and a pizzeria.

 

And for those who love to shop, Yorktown offers a mix of mainstream and unique shopping experiences. Some options include:

  • Jefferson Valley Mall
  • Yorktown Flea Market

Seasonal Events and Festivals in Yorktown, New York

Yorktown, NY truly comes alive during its seasonal events and festivals. Some of the highlights include:

  • The vibrant San Gennaro festival celebrating Italian culture
  • A Memorial Day parade
  • The Native American festival honoring various tribes
  • The spooktacular Halloween parade, complete with costume showcases and hayrides
  • The firemen’s carnival for an adrenaline-pumping experience

 

As the year comes to a close, Yorktown’s holiday festivities begin. The town is known for its dazzling Holiday Lights and New Year’s Eve celebrations, ensuring that every season in Yorktown is filled with excitement and joy. Regardless of the season, be it balmy summer or frosty winter, Yorktown always has a festive event to match your interests.

Directions to Yorktown, NY

As you may have noticed, no train station graces Yorktown Heights, which sits roughly 40 miles from the city that never sleeps. And yet, one finds solace in the nearby Croton-Harmon and Cortlandt Metro-North Railroad stations, a mere 15 to 20 minutes away.

 

The Mount Kisco station on the Harlem line, while further, offers a journey of 51 to 68 minutes. During rush hour, the ride from Croton-Harmon to Grand Central Terminal can take anywhere from 45 to 71 minutes – a perfect opportunity for a nap or a good read.

 

The Town Hall in Yorktown Heights is 18 miles north of White Plains, NY, and 37 miles from Times Square. The Taconic State Parkway offers an hour-long drive from Midtown Manhattan, a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Hotels, Inns, & Places to Stay in Yorktown, New York

Garden gate of a bed and breakfast near Yorktown Heights, NY

As far as this writer is aware, there are no hotels in Yorktown Heights, or the rest of Yorktown, for that matter.

 

And the resort hotels along Mahopac Lake are no more.

 

But there are a few unique places to stay nearby:

 

Now, if you fancy a short jaunt of just 20 minutes, set your compass towards Chappaqua, NY. Here, you’ll stumble upon Crabtree’s Kittle House Restaurant & Inn, a relic from 1790 that once served as a carriage house. Today, it’s a gastronomic paradise and a wine lover’s dream, with a cellar that’s taken up residence where the stables once stood. Once you’ve had your fill, retire to one of the twelve rooms to rest your weary head.

 

Venture a little further, about 21 minutes to be precise, and you’ll discover the Bedford Post Inn in Bedford, NY. This isn’t your average hotel, oh no. This place is a culinary adventure and a yogi’s dream, with three unique dining experiences and a Hudson Valley yoga studio that’s always buzzing with activity. And with just eight rooms, you’re guaranteed to be treated like royalty, as Richard Gere intended.

 

But why stop there? Continue your journey south to our Bed and Breakfast in Greenwich, CT. This charming inn, built in 1843, has been welcoming weary travelers since 1985. With 21 rooms and suites, a complimentary breakfast, and a seasonal outdoor pool, it’s the perfect place to kick back and relax. Westchester Magazine even named it one of the most romantic weekend getaways in the New York Tri-State area.

More Towns & Nearby Attractions in Westchester County

Lasdon Park, on the border of Yorktown Heights, NY

If you’re looking to extend your Westchester County adventure, there are plenty of other charming towns and attractions to explore.

Bedford, NY

Bedford, NY is a town with an irresistible appeal, recognized for its historical charm and captivating rural scenery. With attractions like:

  • Mianus River Gorge Preserve
  • Bedford Playhouse
  • Guard Hill Preserve

There’s plenty to see and do in this idyllic town. Embark on a relaxed promenade through Bedford’s streets, basking in the town’s enduring allure.

Katonah, NY

Nestled in Westchester County, Katonah, NY is a quaint town with a rich history and a thriving arts scene. Visit the charming Muscoot Farm, explore the John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, or catch a performance at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.

Peekskill, NY

Sign for Peekskill, NY

Peekskill, NY is a vibrant town with a thriving arts scene and a plethora of attractions for visitors to enjoy. From the Paramount Hudson Valley entertainment venue to the many art galleries and museums, there’s never a dull moment in Peekskill.

Croton-on-Hudson, NY

For a truly memorable experience, don’t miss the attractions in the town of Croton-on-Hudson, NY. It is home to:

  • The popular Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze event
  • The historic Van Cortlandt Manor
  • The mesmerizing illuminated pumpkin trail at Van Cortlandt Manor
  • The stunning Croton Point Park

 

This charming town offers a variety of attractions that are sure to leave a lasting impression. Boasting a magical ambiance and distinct attractions, a visit to Croton-on-Hudson is an absolute must in Westchester County.

Tl;dr

From its rich history and picturesque landscapes to its lively arts scene and charming attractions, Yorktown, NY is a true gem in Westchester County. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that visitors and locals alike flock to this enchanting town.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Yorktown different from Yorktown Heights?

Yorktown and Yorktown Heights are in fact two distinct places, with Yorktown Heights being a census-designated place (CDP) within the town of Yorktown. So yes, they are different!

Is Yorktown Heights a good area?

Yorktown Heights is a great area for those who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, as it offers plenty of outdoor activities, peacefulness, and high-performing schools. Young professionals and families will also find it appealing with its rural feel and residents leaning conservative.

Does Yorktown Heights have a downtown?

Yes, Yorktown Heights does have a downtown – it’s a mix of midcentury buildings, strip malls, and early 20th-century homes with plenty of restaurants, cafes, markets, and stores.

What is Yorktown Heights known for?

Yorktown Heights is renowned for its beautiful countryside and rich colonial history, with historical sites such as the Hyatt House, Lanes Tavern, and Presbyterian church. Plus, it’s conveniently located just 35 miles away from New York City. And the schools are fantastic, especially Yorktown High School.

What are some must-visit attractions and things to do in Yorktown, NY?

Discover the beauty of North County Trailway, explore the wonders of Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve, take a stroll along Mohegan Lake, and admire the historic architecture of First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown – these are just a few of the incredible attractions Yorktown has to offer.

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