Drive, She Said
By Jana Seitz
“Only boring people get bored.” At least that is what I tell my kids when I hear the familiar whine. As says Eloise, my favorite children’s book character, “Getting bored is not allowed. Sometimes I comb my hair with a fork… Kleenex makes a very good hat.” Or in grownup language: one can never get bored if one sheds new light on the same old things.
I admit I have a very low threshold for repetition coupled with an aggressive case of wanderlust. It can be tough on my loved ones. My husband says I would drive a thousand miles to see The Biggest Ball of Twine. Well I would. And I’d drive back on a different route just to make it even more interesting.
Some of my favorite discoveries have been accidental, found on the daily grind. I fight the urge to sit in a parking lot on my phone, and instead get out and explore. If only I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen a driver (including myself) basking in the familiar glow of a phone, blissfully unaware while blocking traffic. There’s a whole world out there beyond your car, one parallel step off the beaten path.
If you care to take a dare, I’ll bet you’ll stumble upon some interesting things you never knew existed in your own metaphorical backyard. I’m talking about re-thinking your drive to work or the grocery or your wait for the train or doctor, not about strapping on a backpack and heading off into the wild. I know the temptation to check email and social media is overwhelming…it’s designed to be. But it’ll all still be there in thirty minutes. Okay, bring the phone if you must to tamp down the monkey mind (“I might get lost I may be late I may need Google I may need a picture I may see a coyote”). But wouldn’t it be fun to shake it up a little?
Following are some of my favorites to get you started on your treasure hunt.
*Unearthed while waiting to cool down enough to drive home from Yoga Spark in Mamaroneck: a burial ground from 1755 now surrounded by condos.
www.townofmamaroneck.org – “historic cemeteries”
*Found while waiting for end of football practice at Port Chester High School: Crawford Park, 36 acres of paths and green space. www.friendsofcrawfordpark.org
*Stumbled upon when I accidentally went an hour early to the chiropractor: Saxon Woods and the Mamaroneck River. I hit the mother lode with this one. Track the river on Google maps.
*Brought to light on route to the Rye/Harrison football game: Kentucky Stables circa 1928.
*Tracked down while waiting for kids at Chipotle: the old General Foods building at 800 Westchester Avenue. Has a beautiful walkway, a bridge over Blind Brook, and a café — a great example of the way old-school corporations made the workday a little better.
*Explored while waiting at Extreme Archery: Otter Creek Preserve in Mamaroneck, a three-mile stretch of salt marsh on Long Island Sound with a trail and benches for viewing.
*Uncovered while killing many hours during horseback riding lessons at Stratford Stables in Purchase (a find in itself): Silver Lake Preserve in West Harrison. 236 acres, a 1.6-mile loop with 337-foot elevation gain. The damming of the Mamaroneck River created the lake. www.parks.westchester.org
*Discovered during various sporting events at SUNY Purchase: Pepsico Sculpture Garden (aka the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Garden). Open to the public Saturday and Sunday 10-4. SUNY Purchase campus is also a lovely walk with some surprising sculptures thrown in for good measure, a lively art museum (The Neuberger), and a Starbucks in the student center.
*Spotted while waiting on a birthday party at LIFE The Place To Be in Ardsley: South County Bike Trail, a 14-mile paved trail beginning at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and running north to intersect the more picturesque North County bike trail.
* Sniffed out while trying to find a party (any party!) in Old Greenwich: Tod’s Point. 2.6-mile loop. Go off-season — November 1 through April 30 — as you need a pass in season.
* Come across while taking the back roads to Westchester County Airport: Purchase Quaker Meeting House. A beautiful old cemetery and a friendly caretaker who will tell you all about the Quaker faith. www.purchasemeeting.org
Places to explore right in Rye:
*Jay Heritage Center: 23 acres including a lush stroll behind a gorgeous mansion
*Marshlands Conservancy: 147 acres of trails and water views off Post Road
*Rye Nature Center: 47 acres of trails and fun right in the middle of Rye
*Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary: 179 acres of trails and Sound views behind Playland