Activities in Westchester County for Every Interest: Adventurious Activities

First published in Westchester Magazine, November 2012. View the original here.

Horse riding, gun shooting, rock climbing, river kayaking—no, we’re not talking about the latest Brad Pitt blockbuster. It’s the ideal county journey for spirited, outdoorsy types.

When the sun sets on Friday night, the adventurer’s weekend begins with a kayak ride down the Hudson River. Atlantic Kayak Tours (914-739-2588; atlantickayak, with locations in Cortlandt Manor and Staatsburg, New York, offers a variety of evening rides. Watch the moon rise over the Palisades or paddle all the way out to Cold Spring, New York. It’s a great way to get physical without being stuck in a gym on a Friday night. Make sure to bring a flashlight and some waterproof gear. ($25 to $65 for a half-day rental)

Cowboys are the original American adventurers, so why not spend an afternoon following in their footsteps? Start the day with some good old-fashioned gunplay at Coyne Park Rifle and Pistol Range (771 McLean Ave, Yonkers 914-377-6488; This indoor range has everything you need to become the next Wild Bill Hickok, and you don’t even have to bring your own rifle (though handguns are BYO). For new shooters, who must be 21 or older, it offers several NRA-developed orientation and safety programs.

In the afternoon, visit Boulder Brook Equestrian Center (291 Mamaroneck Rd, Scarsdale 914-725-3912;, where you can have a private lesson ($60 for a 30-minute adult lesson) on how to bridle, saddle, and hold the reins, Scarsdale-style. Group and individual lessons are available in the largest indoor riding ring in Southern Westchester.

Start the day off right with a long, leisurely hike through the Westmoreland Sanctuary (260 Chestnut Ridge Rd, Mount Kisco 914-666-8448;, a nature center and wildlife preserve in scenic Mount Kisco. The Sanctuary covers 640 acres of wildlife habitat, and offers more than seven miles of trails covering a vast array of terrain, from rocky cliffs to bountiful wetlands. Trail maps are available on its website, so you can plan the perfect hike before you go. If you want to learn more (or if you have little adventurers with you), stop by the reconstructed 200-year-old farm building, which is now the nature center that offers bird watching, a small petting zoo, and other educational programming.

Once you’re warmed up, it’s time to go for some real exertion. Work those arms with a trip to The Rock Club (130 Rhodes St, New Rochelle 914-633-7625;, a fully equipped rock-climbing center in New Rochelle. The main climbing wall is a giant, three-dimensional installation that stands 40 feet high. The facility has courses for every kind of climber, from complete novice to seasoned expert, with more than 200 possible climbing routes overall. Beginners have their own area to experiment with rock-climbing, so don’t be intimidated if it’s your first time. All necessary equipment is available onsite (to rent or buy), as are instructors and climbing partners.