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    North of NYC North of NYC By Houlihan Lawrence By Houlihan Lawrence by

    The blossoms.

    Those first shoots and sprigs are always cause for celebration because they're harbingers of blooming flowers and warm weather to come. The gentle white blossoms don't last long before being displaced by lush waves of green, but those couple of weeks stretch a surreal canvas over everyday living—and look #epic on Instagram.

    The farmer's markets

    Great chefs and gourmands have long evangelized letting the catch or forage of the day dictate the menu, and with abundant green markets popping up everywhere from downtown thoroughfares to high school parking lots, there's no shortage of places to score some fresh local bounty.


    The biking.

    Thanks to the abandonment of the lost "Old Put" train line that once served central Westchester and Putnam counties, three interconnected trailways afford joggers and bikers over 22 paved miles of smooth, graded right-of-way without ever sharing the road with automobiles. Further north, the Dutchess Rail Trail couples up with Walkway over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, linking to additional mileage in Ulster County. Did we mention the Bronx River Parkway closes for "Bike Sundays" all through summer?

    The picnics.

    From the Hudson Valley to the back country of Connecticut, we're in the bread basket of the Northeast. What better way to enjoy it than nuanced noshing in nature? Dust off an afghan, break out the sporks and hit a local farmer's market for ingredients. Even Storm King Art Center has designated picnic areas—and we're pretty sure a grilled salmon gravlax ramp panini pairs perfectly with a whimsically gargantuan Calder abstraction.


    The patio brunches.

    The lazy Sunday meal near and dear to all our hearts becomes infinitely better al fresco, and we're lucky to have plenty of places to do it, each offering a unique experience. Whether watching tugboats trudge up the Hudson from Irvington's Red Hat on the River, Hinckleys in the harbor docking at L'escale in Greenwich Harbor, teleporting to Paris in the courtyard of Chappaqua's Le Jardin du Roi or sampling locally-sourced cuisine over crashing water at The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, the food and surroundings are equally on point.

    The hiking.

    Trails, trails everywhere. We've got paths skirting shorelines, wandering through the woods and into the past. Backpackers can pick up the Appalachian Trail at multiple locations in the Hudson Valley and Litchfield Hills. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation between Bedford and Lewisboro boasts 4,700 acres, including paths followed by the fabled Leatherman, a nomadic French-fluent vagabond immortalized in local legend and his own Pearl Jam song. The Leatherstocking Trail in Lower Westchester affords routes for residents in our busier suburban neighborhoods that seem worlds away.

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