Cool Things to Do in Yorktown Heights
+ Fun Facts You May Not Know about the area
Thirty-five miles south of NYC, Yorktown Heights is a hamlet in the town of Yorktown in northern Westchester County. It’s been around since 1683 and played a significant role in the Revolutionary War.
Niche.com gives Yorktown Heights top marks for public schools and an A- for health and fitness. It earns a B+ for good for families, outdoor activities and the commute. Niche doesn’t list any crime rate information, but AreaVibes.com gives Yorktown Heights an A+, stating the crime rate is 90% lower than the national average, violent crime is 97% lower, and property crimes are 91% lower.
Eighty-one percent of people own their homes, and the median housing price is $406,500, with median income hitting around $52,301, according to Niche. If you are commuting into Manhattan, plan to spend two-and-a-half hours by train; a train-bus combo will take you three hours; or you can drive in approximately 45 minutes.
Those are all good statistics, but everyone knows it’s the character of an area that makes it a good place to live. So here are some cool things to do in Yorktown Heights.
5 Cool Things to Do in Yorktown Heights
1. Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park
Originally known as Mohansic Park and Mohansic State Park, the Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park is located in Yorktown Heights on 40 acres of green space, and includes Mohansic Lake and Crom Pond.
It was originally the site of the Mohansic State Hospital, (aka the Mohansic State Insane Asylum, because polite and politically correct didn’t exist in 1909), and was intended to take overflow patients from New York City.
Democratic Senator Richard F. Wagner expressed concerns that the hospital waste would contaminate the New Croton Reservoir, and Republican State Senator Henry M. Sage agreed. Eventually, construction of the hospital was stopped and the institution relocated upstate. The park was created on the former site in 1922.
2. Hyatt House
Built in 1732, it is one of the few pre-Revolutionary War buildings still standing. It was built by Colonel John Hyatt, who was an officer with the local militia in the Revolutionary War. It was designated a historic site by the Yorktown Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1976. Sadly, after surviving war and age, it was heavily damaged by a falling tree in 2020.
3. Railroad Park
The Putnam Railroad began operating in 1869, linking New York and Boston with Canada. At that time, the railway station was the hub of the community, linking people and supplies with the outside world. The railway operated until 1958.
Railroad Park in Yorktown Heights is the location of the original railway station, which was restored in 1976 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The surrounding grounds became a state park.
On the same site, you can visit the monument to Colonel Christopher Greene and the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, which played a crucial role in the Revolutionary War defending the Pine Bridges crossing of the Croton River. This led up to the Battle of Yorktown, Virginia, which led to the defeat of British General Cornwallis and the retreat of British forces.
4. Faraway Farm Alpacas
If you’ve had enough history, why not visit an alpaca farm? Faraway Farm Alpacas is tucked on top of a hill in Yorktown Heights, and has been the family farm of the Blumberg family since 1951.
It is a working organic farm with vegetables, fruits and berries, as well as a herd of alpacas and Icelandic horses. They have been breeding and raising alpacas since 2007, and their herd are multiple award winners with high pedigrees for fleece quality and conformation.
You can book an in-person or virtual tour, and be sure to stop and shop. They offer a wide array of toys, hats, gloves, outerwear, yarn and throws, all produced from fleece from the herd.
5. Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center
If you’re interested in sustainable agriculture, environmental stewardship and farm-to-table projects then Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center is a must-see place.
The farm was established in the late 1780s, and originally encompassed 445 acres. In 2003, Westchester County purchased 187 acres for watershed management and agricultural education. In 2010, the “Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm” was formed to manage the farm, organize events and develop programming.
One of the initiatives of the farm is supplying fresh produce to food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens. In 2020, they provided more than 11,000 pounds of produce to local organizations.
You can volunteer at the farm, buy fresh produce or flowers at the farm stand, including a variety of native plants and flowers, take a workshop, or enjoy 3.5 miles of hiking trails amid 120 acres of forest.
They also offer a twist on a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Instead of receiving a box of produce that may or may not contain produce the members will use, members have a credit at the farm stand that they can use to choose produce when they want until the credit is used up.
Fun Facts About Yorktown
Yorktown or Yorktown Heights?
People outside the area consider Yorktown and Yorktown Heights one and the same. People in the area disagree.
Yorktown Heights is in the southern end of the Yorktown Central School district, while Yorktown is in the northern end and in the Lakeland School District. The Yorktown Historical Society is actually located in Yorktown Heights. Yorktown Heights is considered a business district of Yorktown.
Spies and Intrigue
In 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was rocked to the core by the discovery that one of its agents assigned to the Soviet counterintelligence squad was actually a double agent, who had been selling state secrets to Russia since 1976.
Robert Hanssen sold thousands of secrets over the 15-year period he went undetected, including the plans for surveillance the U.S. planned to incorporate into the Russian embassy that was under construction in 1977 in Washington, D.C.
Multi-million-dollar state of the art surveillance equipment proved useless once Hanssen provided the plans to the Russians, who then efficiently employed counter-surveillance measures.
While quietly committing treason and earning an estimated $1.4 million dollars in cash and diamonds, Hanssen, his wife and six children lived in Yorktown Heights in a 3-bedroom, 1 and a half bath ranch style house until they transferred to Washington, D.C in 1987.
Hanssen is currently serving 15 consecutive life terms with no possibility of parole in a supermax prison in Colorado.
Yorktown is a fascinating place steeped in history. If you are a historical reenactor, a history buff with more books than space, or are moving to Yorktown Heights, Storage Post can help keep your possessions safe.
Our location in Yorktown has a variety of storage units, including climate-controlled options and places to park vehicles in the off-season.