White Plains, NY
During the 17th century, settlers of Manhattan observed a landscape with groves of white balsam and a thick mist hanging over the Bronx River swamps. Historians believe these observations inspired the name for White Plains, a New York suburb covering 10 square miles in affluent Westchester County that is home to more than 57,000 residents. Trivia buffs may recall White Plains as the birthplace of famous figures such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, wife of John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Nestled between two bodies of water, White Plains is seven miles east of the Hudson River and seven miles west of Long Island Sound. Within a short drive visitors can reach either the bustle of city life or a quiet rural setting. New York City lies 45 minutes south, and the Connecticut border lies 15 minutes north. Commuters hop on White Plains’ Metro North express train and arrive in Manhattan in approximately half an hour.
Today, White Plains is known as a shopping mecca, home to upscale department stores like Bloomingdale’s as well as four malls with more than 1,000 small retail establishments between them. Shoppers visiting White Plains might drive four miles east of downtown to The Westchester mall, which features Barneys, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.
Visitors discover plenty of things to do in downtown White Plains, from purchasing produce to sipping cocktails and watching live performances. Situated between Main Street and Martine Avenue, White Plains Farmers’ Market operates every Wednesday throughout the year. Shoppers peruse the stalls for items like quality meats, organic herbs and homemade pies. Two blocks east, between Maple and Main Streets, bars and restaurants line Mamaroneck Avenue, the center of White Plains nightlife. Right around the corner on City Place, White Plains Performing Arts Center hosts Broadway shows and concerts.
History buffs looking for interesting things to do in White Plains head to the north side of town. Jacob Purdy House provides a historical glimpse at White Plains’ role in the Revolutionary War. The wooden structure served as headquarters for General George Washington in 1778 and possibly in 1776, during the Battle of White Plains. Today, the home is the office of the White Plains Historical Society. A five-minute drive north, Miller House on Virginia Avenue is also notable as another of George Washington’s command posts. Exhibits include the original table and chairs used by the first U.S. President.
While visiting White Plains, outdoor aficionados explore Saxon Woods Park, a 10- minute drive south of downtown. Hiking and cycling trails wind through the 700-acre space, where visitors can relax over a picnic lunch or round of miniature golf. The park also manages Westchester County’s largest swimming pool.
For outdoor adventure on the north side of White Plains, locals visit the 190-acre Cranberry Lake Preserve, with three miles of trails that are perfect for activities like cross country skiing and bird watching. Nearby, 236-acre Silver Lake Preserve permits hiking on the trail heads and overlooks Silver Lake.