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Waterfront Wonders: 8 Great Ways to Enjoy Rye’s Sound Shore

(PHOTO: Sunrise over Rye Town Park’s Oakland Beach and, in the distance, the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary.)

Special promotional content provided by Fiona Dogan of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s in Rye

By Fiona Dogan of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s

Fiona Dogan at Rye Town Park

Long Island Sound is Rye’s treasured waterfront haven and the linchpin of our town’s recreational activity. Being at the waterfront is like being on vacation all year-round. With Covid vaccinations underway, we’re all looking forward to getting out more in 2021. Whether you like to swim, boat, walk, paddle, or picnic, recreational opportunities abound. As a 25+ year resident of Rye, I’ve done them all.

As a young mother, I relished the beach for its family-friendly vibe. As an empty nester, I’m now enjoying the peaceful, restorative aspects of early morning walks on the beach. No matter your age or stage, Rye’s waterfront has something for everyone. Here are my recommendations for the best ways to soak up the Sound:

1. Fun and sun in the sand

Why fight traffic to go to the Hamptons when we have 34 acres of beach and swimming areas right here in town? Rye Town Park/Oakland Beach compose a crescent-shaped 1,200-foot-long strip of sand offering a lifeguarded swimming beach, walking paths, and seasonal kayak rentals. It’s also the site of the Westchester Triathalon, a premier Olympic distance race on the East Coast. You’ll have greater access to Rye Town Beach if you purchase a seasonal permit, available now for the upcoming season through the town park’s website. Set your alarm and catch a sunrise there sometime. Trust me, it’s gorgeous!

2. A day at Playland

It’s not summer in Rye if you don’t spend a day at our historic Art Deco amusement park, Rye Playland. With rides for teenage thrill-seekers as well as the toddler set, Playland offers fantastic views of sparkling Long Island Sound, (Pro tip: the best views are from the 80-foot tall Dragon Coaster!) as well as easy beach access, a swimming pool, and food concessions. Twice weekly fireworks in the summer season are a huge draw. After being closed last year due to Covid, Playland is set to re-open in May, 2021.

3. Westchester Children’s Museum

Serving as the cultural anchor of the Playland campus is the Westchester Children’s Museum. Built to provide interactive learning activities in science, technology, education, the arts, and math to children of all ages, the museum expanded in 2019 and now offers both virtual and in-person experiences. (Tip: To go from the beach, use the Playland locker rooms to change from swimsuits to shorts).

(PHOTO: Fiona Dogan, with her daughter Leyla, in Rye Town Park.)

4. Private beach clubs

Looking for beach access with extra amenities and social activities? Consider membership at one of Rye’s five family-friendly, private beach clubs, many of which have been in operation for over a century. Manursing Island Club provides multi-generational family fun including tennis, the beach, swimming, summer camp and more. Covleigh Club offers a relaxed waterfront experience at its shoreline, pool, and also includes tennis and youth camp. In addition to its beachfront access, summer camp, swimming, and tennis, membership at Shenorock Shore Club includes a reciprocal relationship with St. Andrew’s Golf Club in Hastings-on-Hudson. Westchester Country Club Beach Club offers similar amenities plus a competitive Swim and Dive team which uses the club’s 800K gallon saltwater pool. If sailing is your specialty, American Yacht Club prides itself its world-class sailing programs and competitive events.

5. Row, row, row your boat

If you’d rather be out on the water than playing at the water’s edge, you have choices! Row America Rye in Milton Harbor provides rowing group lessons for beginner youth and adults, as well as private instruction and competitive racing. The Carefree Boat Club at Rye City Basin offers membership-based water sports, boating, and fishing. Hudson River Recreation offers seasonal kayak and SUP boarding to enjoy the open water.

6. Nature

In addition to sand and sun I often take a walk at Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary. With trails that wind through fields of wildflowers, a forest and bamboo grove, wetlands, and field grasses waving in the water’s breeze, this nature preserve provides a completely different experience on the Sound — restorative and peaceful and memorable, every time. Enjoy three miles of trails at the Marshlands Conservancy; watch for wildlife including deer, birds, crabs, and fish—and the views of the water are stunning.

7. Seaside dining

We all mourned the loss of Seaside Johnnie’s a few years ago, but The Barley House has stepped up to the (delicious) plate! It offers fare you might expect from a beach restaurant (burgers, tacos, chicken tenders) with a few sophisticated options added to the mix. (Try the lobster roll and soy sriracha brussels sprouts, you won’t be sorry). We’re looking forward to The Barley House re-opening this spring.

8. Arts in the park

There’s nothing like a waterfront breeze while catching a concert in the park. We are so fortunate to have amazing organizations that stage creative programs for residents to enjoy. The Rye Arts Center presents Shakespeare in the Park and ongoing art installations; our fabulous town recreation department sponsors magic shows, a jazz series, children’s story times, fall festivals, and more.

Fiona Dogan is a top-producing realtor at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s in Rye.


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