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Patch Picks: Early Spring Outdoor Activities

Start celebrating the long-awaited nice weather!

Go Take a Hike

Nope, it’s not the Catskills—but the ponds, streams, woods and mountain terrain at Peekskill’s 1,500-acre are equally beautiful. Hiking trails are available for all skill levels, from wide open roads to the steep ascents of Mt. Spitzenberg and Blue Mountain. Keep an eye out for the two historically significant comfort stations built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, reminiscent examples of depression-era National Park structures.

Or Take a Bike

Get exercise and an education at the same time. The twenty-two mile North County Trailway winds its way through Yorktown Heights along the “Old Put” railroad bed. The train line was in service from the late 19th to mid-20th century and among the remaining stations is the charming one at Yorktown’s Railroad Park. Historic marker plaques dot the entire route. Don’t have a bike? You can rent one at starting at $25 a day.

The One That Got Away?

Large-mouth bass, yellow and white perch, bluegill and pumpkin-seed sunfish, black crappie, and American eels have all been caught in Yorktown’s . Originally one body of water, now you can choose between the scenic Mohansic Lake or the smaller Crom Pond, named for its crooked shape.

Trout season in New York begins on April 1 and the state makes the odds good by stocking nearby waters. Catch dinner in Croton River, Croton Reservoir or Carmel’s Lake Gilead.

Fishing licenses are required and may be obtained online, by phone, by mail or in person at a license-issuing agent. Click here for more information.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Get out your kneepads, sunhat and gloves. It’s time to till the soil and plan the summer garden. Yorktown’s offers a large variety of educational programs for both children and adults.  On April 2, for instance, classes are offered on “Putting in Your First Garden” and “Herbal Healing Garden Design.” To get back into gardening shape, you can even join the Hilltop farmers in their field work—planting, weeding, watering and, eventually, harvesting. 

Before the 19th Hole

The in Yorktown Heights is a Par 70 challenge, just waiting for your tee-off. Eighteen holes, lots of hills, interesting slopes and tight spaces. Every tee has been renovated and several of the greens upgraded, too. Warm up on the Practice Green or hit a few dozen at the Driving Range. Find you’re a bit wobbly after the snowy winter? Call at the Max Galloway Pro Shop for lessons.

Play Ball

Peekskill’s 60-acre abounds with courts and fields—basketball, tennis, baseball, bocce, and for those less ambitious—a horseshoe pitch. And that’s not all. There are hiking and biking trails, running tracks, swimming pools and a playground.

You can also play ball at Yorktown’s F.D.R. State Park. Volleyball and basketball courts, softball and soccer fields are available. So is “Disc Golf,” played with Frisbees (rules, score cards and loaner Frisbees provided at the park office).

Climb Every Mountain

One never forgets one’s first view of Mohonk Mountain House—a spectacular Victorian castle tucked among rocky cliffs overlooking a blue glacial lake. The resort, still owned by the Smiley family after 140 years, offers a plethora of activities for both overnight guests and day-trippers. Among them is some of the most spectacular rock climbing in the state. Experience Sky Top’s prominent face and breath-taking views of the valley below while accompanied by an authorized guide. Four-hour half day and eight-hour full day packages are available seven days a week.

For Your Best Friend

Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy the first signs of spring!

Cortlandt’s new dog park at Sprout Brook has separate areas for large and small dogs. The dog park on the lower level of Peekskill’s Tompkins Park also divides dogs up by size. Amenities for dog-minders include benches, plastic bag dispensers and a restroom.

In both cases owners are reminded to keep their dogs under control and to clean up any poop.

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