Autumn is here and still many sunny days ahead to take advantage of all that Westchester County and Fairfield County have to offer for seniors and their families to enjoy - fall foliage drives, fascinating historical homes and sites and easy flat walking trails through the woods. Check out our own STEPS Home Care recommendations for local favorite fall activities that will provide seniors and other family members with social-distanced, but happy autumn moments and memories. These include...
- Fall Foliage Drives
- Historical Sites
- Baking with Apples
- Farmers Markets
A Halloween Movie with History in Mind
In the past, The Norwalk Historical Society has hosted a spooky evening of history and chilling true stories of the residents buried at the Mill Hill Cemetery in downtown Norwalk. The fundraiser is a popular event with a tour of the graveyard and a series of six stories acted by local actors and based on research by the historical society. The characters are brought to life at night as they act out the tragic tales of how they passed. This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, The Haunting at Mill Hill was recorded as a movie and is available until November 1. You can help support the Norwalk Historical Society with your movie ticket purchase - $10 per household. This movie is NOT recommended for children under 8 years old and parental discretion advised. The link to the movie will be in your Eventbrite Confirmation Email.
Scenic Fall Foliage Drives
Westchester Drives and Walks
Palmer Avenue, Sleepy Hollow, NY
Jutting out into the Hudson River just beside the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Kingsland Point Park offers vistas of the Palisades and Hook Mountain across the river, Westchester’s gorgeous shoreline north and south of the point, and, on a clear day, the silhouette of New York City in the distance. Walk along Scenic Hudson Riverwalk. Time your visit for sunset and watch as the brilliant oranges and reds glow as the sun goes down behind the hills of Rockland County.
125 Phelps Way, Pleasantville, NY
Rockefeller State Park Preserve offers quiet countryside walks of all lengths including short flat trails surrounding sunlit pastoral fields perfect for seniors. The property is the former Pocantico Hills and Rockwood Hall country estates of John D. Rockefeller family and William Rockefeller. Since 1983, the Rockefeller Family has generously donated over 1771 acres to the State of New York to safeguard these lands for present and future generations.
The trails of the Preserve are 45 miles of wide and flat crushed stone carriage roads designed to complement the landscape. Popular for walking, riding, jogging, and carriage driving, combinations of trails lead through varied landscapes and past natural and historical features, such as Swan Lake, the Pocantico River with its wood and stone bridges, gurgling streams, colonial stone walls and rock outcroppings. Trail maps of the carriage roads are available at the Preserve Office.
How do you pick a great easy walking trail in Rockefeller State Park Preserve? The App AllTrails has 28 great walking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers. In addition All Trails has 22 designated easy trails ranging from 1.4 miles and from 124 to 688 feet above sea level.
Don't miss the last of the peak fall foliage. Connecticut has New England’s longest fall foliage season, running from north to south steadily over about 6 weeks. Greenwich Botanical Center located in Cos Cob, CT, is right here in our backyard and is breathtaking. If you want to venture further, here are several suggested Scenic driving “loops” recommended the CT Dept. of Energy and Env Protection. Below is the 115 mile route through Fairfield County into the southern part of the Litchfield Hills region.
Scenic Fairfield County Drive
- Begin in Norwalk at Route 15 (Merritt Parkway) exit 38.
- Go north on Routes 123, 106, 33, 35 and 7 to I-84 exit 3 in Danbury.
- Then head east on I-84 to exit 5.
- Take left on Starr Ave.
- Quick right onto Cowperthwaite St.
- Quick right onto North Main Street
- Quick left onto Golden Hill Road to Route 39
- Go north on Routes 39 to 37 to Route 7.
- Take Route 7 to New Milford.
- Go south on Route 67 to Roxbury, then Route 317 to Woodbury.
- From Woodbury take Route 6 south to I-84 exit 15.
- Jog west on I-84 to exit 10, then southwest on Routes 6, 25 and 302 to Route 58.
- Head south on 58 and 136 to Route 15 (Merritt Parkway) exit 42 and head for Norwalk to close the loop.
A Picnic Pit-Stop to a CT Vineyard
Hopkins Vineyard, Warren, CT
For a bit of a longer trip (one hour 20 minutes from Greenwich), but well worth it, drive up to Litchfield County to Lake Waramaug in Warren, Connecticut. After a short drive around the scenic lake, stop at Hopkins Vineyard where you can bring your own picnic to dine outside at a table on a sprawling lawn overlooking the lake. Free wine tastings available and wine wine and cheese platters are available to purchase. Live music - gentle on the ears - on weekends from 2-5 pm.
The Glass House - Johnson House
Ponus Ridge Road, New Canaan, CT
The Glass House is a historic house museum built in 1948–49. It was designed by Philip Johnson as his own residence, and "universally viewed as having been derived from" the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois design, according to Alice T. Friedman. The Glass House is open as an outdoor-only experience on the 49 acre property in a limited capacity on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday between the hours of 10:00 am – 4:00 pm through November 15. Please click here to purchase your grounds passes ($20 per person).
Time for Apples and Baking Apple Recipes
Whether you were able to visit a local apple orchard in Westchester or Fairfield County or pick up a bag of apples at the market, now is the time to take out your favorite family apple recipes. Ask your grandchildren to join you for a virtual cooking session on FaceTime or Zoom as baking is such a meaningful and fun bonding experience when an apple dessert is the focus.
Fall Apple Crisp by Westchester Magazine
- 2 medium sized apples (13 ounces), preferably Granny Smith
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- Pinch of spices such as nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger, totaling about 1/4 tsp
- Squeeze of lemon juice or splash of pure vanilla extract (about 1/2 tsp)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Peel, core, and chop the apples and place into a quart sized zip top freezer bag. Add spices and lemon or vanilla into the bag. Seal the bag and gently shake to evenly coat all of the pieces. Set aside while you make the topping.
Topping Ingredients: (for 2 apple crisps)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and chopped
Place all topping ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until ingredients are blended with some large clumps beginning to form.
Assembly & Baking: Place the pan on a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. This makes it easier to pull in and out of the oven and will catch any juices that bubble over while baking.
Pour seasoned apples into the pan and cover evenly with the topping. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until topping is golden and juices are bubbling. Remove pans to a cooling rack and cool. Serve warm with ice cream.
Fall Farmers Markets
STEPS Home Care published a blog on local farmers markets in 2018. While the dates have changed, the contact information in the post and the directions have not. There are new safety precautions such as some markets asking you to make a reservation in advance. See link here for STEPS Home Care blog: Dig in- time to Visit a Local Farmers Market to Buy Fresh Produce and Connect with Your Neighbors.
Below are suggestions for a few farmers markets still open in October and November in our area:
Westchester County, NY
400 Jay Street, Katonah
Saturdays Through October: 10am - 2pm
Safety Protocol: By appointment only; 30-minute appointments; one person per family can register; mask and gloves mandatory; patrons may not handle anything at vendor stalls, no sampling allowed; verification of registration required and must be shown upon arrival; separate exit and entrance; only one patron may be in a vendor’s booth at once, waiting lines have 6-foot spacing; contactless form of payment is preferred; no dogs allowed, service animals are an exception; arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your scheduled time.
51 Route 100, Katonah
Sundays through October: 10am - 2pm
Safety Protocol: By appointment only; 45-minute appointments; one person per family can register; mask and gloves mandatory; verification of registration required (printout or phone) and must be shown upon arrival; one-way circulation; shopping time is limited to 30 min, though 20 min is encouraged (leave enough time for payment); credit/debit card or contactless form of payment is preferred, though cash is acceptable as an alternative; arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your scheduled time. Preregistration Required: Yes; via website and Eventbrite
38 West End Avenue
Wednesdays through November 18: 1pm - 4pm
Safety Protocol: Masks are required and all shoppers are should maintain social distance between customers as best they can. Please move quickly through the market in the direction of the arrows.