When my family and I moved out to suburbia from NYC a few years ago, one of the main reasons I wanted out of the city was to be in more open space and surrounded by much, much more green. The concrete jungle wasn’t working for me anymore. Once we moved here, to the county of Westchester, it was like we suddenly had all this new territory to explore. No matter which direction we went in this leafy new home of ours, adventures awaited us, many of them outdoors and in nature. One of our first and most favorite day trips, a place where we continue to go, is Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Located in Pocantico Hills, NY, and just 25 miles north of New York City, is this beautiful and serene 80-acre farm. Westchester’s oasis, as I like to refer to it.
Stone Barns has a four-season farm, farm animals, a chicken coup, an education center, green houses and a couple different restaurants and cafes. On our most recent visit there, I was taking the girls to one of their kids’ drop-in programs (a free farm tour), but we missed it because we got stuck in bad traffic. I was annoyed at first, but my older daughter said she’d prefer to just walk around on our own anyway. So we did. There’s a lot to see and take in on this farm, from rolling country hills, to the perfectly manicured flowers and foliage, to the farm animals, to simply checking out their fields of current produce. The scenery is stunning, and when you’ve had enough walking, the Grain Bar café is the perfect place to stop, eat and play around. It’s in a big courtyard so if the kids want to run around after they eat they can. But the food is where it’s at – all locally sourced, obviously (right there), the food is fresh and delicious and varies according to what they have growing at the time. It’s always a very limited menu, but you’re getting the freshest of the fresh.
As many people know, Stone Barns is home to the famous restaurant Blue Hill, a sophisticated restaurant where you want to go at night and leave the kids at home. I celebrated my 40th there, and it was one of the most exquisite dining experiences I’ve ever had. Most definitely on the east coast. It’s like the Auberge du Soleil of Napa in the middle of Westchester County, New York. I remember first going for a friend’s birthday when we lived in the city, and after several courses we deemed it the best restaurant in all of New York, and ever since I had wanted to go for my own birthday. Between that and the café, the food at Stone barns is simply mouth-watering deliciousness.
Other important things to note about making a visit there are their classes and workshops for both adults and children. They vary so check out their website, but activities include “meet the farmers”, tours, tastings, etc. Also, on weekends, make sure to purchase tickets ahead of time, as they sell out. The good news is that Wednesday – Friday is free! Which is when we most recently went…but alas, school has resumed. And don’t leave Stone Barns without a visit to its gift shop. I want to live in this gift shop, it’s that good. It has the most amazing linens, among a gazillion other feel-good things, and a fantastic kids’ section.
Stone Barns, 630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, NY 10591