Out and About Revisitied

The “Out and About” column was born in February 1998 when the dynamic editorial duo of Dolores Eyler and Robin Jovanovich decided that readers of The Rye Record would enjoy learning about the natural world around them in addition to politics, sports, and other local happenings. The first article began:

Published July 2, 2014 6:24 PM
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book-thThe “Out and About” column was born in February 1998 when the dynamic editorial duo of Dolores Eyler and Robin Jovanovich decided that readers of The Rye Record would enjoy learning about the natural world around them in addition to politics, sports, and other local happenings. The first article began:

By Paul Hicks

bookThe “Out and About” column was born in February 1998 when the dynamic editorial duo of Dolores Eyler and Robin Jovanovich decided that readers of The Rye Record would enjoy learning about the natural world around them in addition to politics, sports, and other local happenings. The first article began:

“Many would side with George Santayana, who wrote ‘I like to walk about amidst the beautiful things that adorn the world.’ Fortunately, for those of us who live in the Rye area there are numerous interesting and beautiful places nearby to ‘walk about’ alone and with others (and sometimes with dogs). A sampling of prime walking places will be featured from time to time in this column.”

Among the 300 articles (including this one) I have written for this fine publication, more than 60 have been about our favorite places to go walking in Westchester County and beyond. I was planning to collect those articles in a book but happily abandoned the project when I read “Walkable Westchester,” by Jane and Walt Daniels, which was published in 2009. The publisher of “Walkable Westchester” is the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, whose website is another good information resource about places to walk in the tri-state region (http://www.nynjtc.org/pa nel/gohiking).

The Daniels’ guide to walking and hiking in Westchester County just got better with an updated (2014) edition. It describes over 200 parks with more than 600 miles of trails. There are detailed maps and a great deal of useful information, including whether you can bring a dog and how various parks got their names. Also included are driving directions and icons for activities as well as a county-wide locator map and GPS coordinates. 

A particular favorite place among our more recent discoveries is the Jack Harrington White Plains Greenway Trail. It runs for 1.2 miles through a residential section of that city along a former right-of-way of the New York, Westchester & Boston Railway. Between 1912 and 1937, the railroad ran from both White Plains and Port Chester to Mount Vernon, where the two lines joined and then continued to 133rd Street in the Bronx. From there passengers had to transfer to an elevated railroad for the trip into Manhattan.

out-and-aboutBecause of the inconvenience for passengers and lack of freight the electrified line failed during the Depression, and the scrap metal was removed during World War II. The City of White Plains acquired the section of the right-of-way that runs from the Scarsdale border to Bryant Avenue in 1943. After dedicating it as parkland, it opened the Greenway in 1996 and has recently laid new wood chips over its entire corridor.

There are three points of entry to the Greenway, which are well marked by large signs and can be found on Google Maps. The northern section of the trail begins at Gedney Way (near Emma’s Ale House-one of our favorite restaurants) and the southern section is entered from Ridgeway Avenue. The middle section is accessible from the end of Hartsdale Avenue. Although there is one sign that says dogs are not allowed, dogs are frequently seen on the trail.

You can find additional information about the Greenway and other former railroad corridors on the website of an interesting organization called the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (www.traillink.com/). Another great resource for walkers is the Westchester Land Trust, which has ten preserves with trails that are open to the public. On their website you will find descriptions, maps and directions at http://www.westchesterlandtrust.org/land-we-own.

Also worth checking is the website describing Westchester County’s parks (http://parks.westchestergov. com/). Under the heading “All Parks” you will find separate pages describing “Nature Centers” and “Trailways.” The latter has some excellent trail maps. Lastly, you can learn more about Internet guides to Westchester parks from my article in the November 21, 2013 issue of The Rye Record (see the newspaper’s online archives).

Fortunately, the Westchester Land Trust, Greenwich Land Trust and other conservation groups continue to preserve a growing amount of open space in our area. Future Out and About articles will highlight some of the new as well as revisit some of our favorite places to walk “among the beautiful things that adorn the world.”

 

 

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