This is Depression

December 21, 2022


There is a sorrow that transcends time and place, it comes from every direction and pierces you from every angle, moves through you into the earth and back out again, breaking back open the wounds that had barely just healed. It sits then in its non-place inside you, for a while, before making itself known to the world through words you don’t mean to say, tones you don’t mean to use, messages you don’t mean to send, through the movements of your body, the micro expressions of your face. This sorrow will not be caught or categorized. It is not solid enough to see as a thing, but it is too dense to see through. It has no defining lines but defines everything you touch. I have met myself outside of this sorrow, and what I saw was good–a whole being, formed and certain, with qualities I could name, and which I liked, loved even, and so desperately wanted to bring back with me to battle the dark place.

Seeking Sanity

I have struggled with varying degrees of depression, anxiety and panic disorder throughout my life. I have ridden emotional rollercoasters so intense I was sure they’d do me in. And yet few people know this about me. I didn’t grow up at a time when people talked about these things openly; in fact, any indication that you weren’t 100% upstairs was sure to elicit some pretty negative—and often detrimental reactions. The going theory–as I understood it–was simple: you were either sane or crazy. 

Sane meant you were in control of your thoughts, emotions, and behavior; crazy meant you weren’t (and thus belonged in a mental institution). Period. As explained to me by various people without a clue: depression came from a weak-will; anxiety from sheer wimpyness; and panic from some combination hypersensitivity and hysteria. So, the message was clear: my suffering was due not to (what we now know is) faulty wiring in my brain, but to significant character defects. The solution? Buck up and keep my suffering to myself. A mighty tall (and unhealthy!) order.

The Stinging Stigma 

The term mental illness is a tricky one. It can mean anything from depression and anxiety to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and is inclusive of all degrees of severity—from a chronic malaise to outright debilitation. Without fail however, it conjures the image of someone who can’t hold it together, is ever at risk of losing control, potentially dangerous at worst, simply unreliable at best, but ultimately someone you don’t want in your life. However much valuable information has been made available to us, the stigma remains, and it ain’t pretty! 

The Truth

But here’s the reality: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an estimated 1 in 5 adults experiences some form of mental illness in a given year, and 1 in 5 youth (13-18) will experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their young years. In fact, mental health issues are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for people 18–44. Which is to say that either we ourselves fall into this category and/or know a good many people who do. Yes, roughly 44 million people in this country go to work, care for their children, build relationships, and navigate daily life while trying to manage the effects of a malfunctioning brain. And chances are, we have no idea who these people are. To hear from some celebs who’ve chosen to share their stories check out: 


Beating the Holiday Blues

December 8, 2022



                               Tips for coping with whatever you may face this holiday season 

A version of this article can be found in the Nov/Dec edition of Katonah Connect

While there are many things to love about the holiday season, from the bright lights and beautiful decorations to the all-around good cheer. But for some (heck, for most), this time of year can bring up a lot of 'stuff' and leave us a little emotionally drained. Perhaps you have a close-knit family, but you can’t make it home this year. Or maybe you don’t have anyone special to celebrate with or feel like you’re missing out on meaningful holiday celebrations. If you’re feeling down about the holidays, there are ways to manage your thoughts and feelings, and maybe even find something to be thankful for. 

Don’t assume other people are having a stellar holiday experience 

The holidays are a notoriously difficult time for many people, largely because of the assumptions that come along with them. “Many of my clients believe they are alone with their holiday challenges,” says Melinda Canno-Velez, LMSW, a therapist in Pound Ridge. “But people everywhere face issues with family, finances and unmet expectations this time of year.”  Almost everyone has their own struggles during this time of year, and yours is simply one version of that struggle. 

Keep expectations to a minimum 

Keep your expectations in check by staying in the present before, during and after any holiday-related activities. The more you keep yourself in the present and focus on what you do enjoy, versus thinking about all the joy you should be feeling this holiday season, the better you can manage whatever experience you do have.  

“Being in the present can prevent you from imagining unrealistic outcomes for future events,” explains Cynthia Haupt LCSW, PLLC, a therapist in Cross River.  “Try to stay mindful of your thoughts and intentions throughout the day, and do things that create a positive impact in the moment.”

Replace anticipation with action 

Anticipation of what’s to come can be overwhelming, but doing something productive (instead of ruminating on all the possible outcomes of the holidays) can help ease your mind. Consider starting that project you’ve wanted to tackle, setting aside time to learn a new skill or volunteering at your favorite charity. 

Plan ahead with self-care strategies 

Don’t wait until you’re in the midst of the holidays to figure out how to navigate them – start now. Determine what you’re going to do to keep your spirits up (or at least not too far down). For example, you can take a day trip to a nearby town or museum you’d like to visit, spend time in nature, volunteer at a local charity, schedule an extra therapy session or work on the aforementioned project. 

Consider volunteering

Thanksgiving and Christmas come with lots of volunteer opportunities, and showing up for others – even if you feel like you can scarcely manage as it is – will be more than worth it. When you give yourself a concrete task, it pushes you up and out at a time when you may just want to lay in bed (which is almost guaranteed to make you feel worse). 

This is also a great reminder that you have something valuable to offer, and that you are needed and appreciated – things you may not be feeling much of during this time. 

Don’t pressure yourself to give the best gifts or host the biggest celebration

“COVID-19 has greatly contributed to people’s holiday stress, in part because they can’t afford to celebrate like they have in past years,” explains Canno-Velez. “Many of my clients experience guilt because they cannot give their children the same experiences they’ve had in the past. So, I remind them that it’s the quality of their time together, as opposed to quantity of gifts, that kids will ultimately remember. Engaging your children in the act of giving back in some way can also help them focus on the spirit of the holiday.”

Try to take a logical (as opposed to emotional) approach to the holidays

Be honest with yourself if you’re struggling. This may be a difficult time, but you’ve experienced challenges before and got through them, and were okay on the other side. Some calming techniques can help keep you clear-headed.

“The most important strategies for managing difficulties over the holidays are often the simplest,” says Haupt. “Remember to take deep breaths, pause, talk kindly to and about yourself, and allow moments of reflection. Moment to moment, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, taking one breath at a time and reminding yourself, ‘I got this!’ and ‘I am ok!’”

And finally, remember that each holiday only lasts a couple of days. By reframing your thinking and reducing the importance of them, you can get through each one… even if you’re forced to wear that ugly Christmas sweater Aunt Edna bought you last year. 

Mood Boosters

Below are some simple mood-enhancing tips for the holiday season or any time you need a little boost.


Slow Breaths

As soon as you open your eyes, slowly inhale through your nose for five seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth for four seconds. Repeat five times. (If you’re congested, inhaling through your mouth is fine). 

Try to hold your thoughts at bay by focusing your attention on the sensations of the inhale and exhale – the air streaming in, the coolness or warmth, etc.

Morning message

Make your first thought of the day an intentional and encouraging one. 

Consider something like, “I’m going make the most of this day” or “Today is another chance to feel better.” You can choose anything that will help you be hopeful and proactive.

Cold water splash

Splash your face with cold water to stimulate your Vagus nerve which will help to create a sense of calm. Do this at least five times. Learn more about why that’s a good thing HERE).

Be kind to your reflection!

When you see your reflection in the mirror first thing in the morning, if anything unkind comes to mind, nip it in the bud by doing one of the following: 

take a deep breath 

refocus your attention on something else

send yourself a more assuring self-message (i.e. "I am far more than a face or body")

A little yoga (or stretching)

Sun salutations are a series of fairly simple yoga poses that help expand the lungs, limber the spine and strengthen your arm and leg muscles – while also giving your whole body a great stretch. By combining movement and breath, your blood starts pumping and oxygen flows to your brain, which is both energizing and calming. 

Even two sun salutations can make you feel as though you’ve done something good for yourself and help set a positive tone for the day. Check out this video to learn how. And if you're not up for yoga, you can try these simple stretches from the comfort of your bed.


 Infinity Breath 

The most effective (and always accessible) tool to regulate our nervous system and create a more relaxed state is conscious breathing. When combined with physical touch, it can also help us feel grounded in our bodies. 

To do the Infinity breath, imagine you’ll be drawing an infinity symbol on your hand; start with your finger at the middle point of the symbol, and take a slow (3-4 second) breath in as you make the first circle, and a slow exhale as you trace the second circle – so your out-breath will start as soon as your finger reaches the middle point again. 

Create an anchor thought

This one is extremely helpful when you feel yourself becoming despondent. Creating an anchor thought is done by visualizing yourself doing well in the near future. This image can be you in a place or with people you love, doing your favorite activity or simply looking and feeling well. Once you have created that image, stay with it until you feel like you can really believe in it. 

As you start to feel what it’s like to be a happier, healthier future-you, reinforce that feeling by saying, “This is me”, “This is where I’m heading,” or a similar message that resonates for you. Whenever you feel yourself resisting a self-supporting action (exercising, socializing, eating well), you can use this anchor thought as a reminder of why you should do it.     


Get moving

It’s extremely hard to motivate ourselves to exercise when we’re in a compromised mental state, but the positive impact makes it well worth giving ourselves a serious push. Even just 20 jumping jacks, taking a walk, swimming, hiking or yoga will work – anything to get your body moving. Check out this post  to learn more about why exercise is so important for our mental health and some helpful tips on how to work it into your daily routine. 

Sunshine (or at least some fresh air)

Even if you don’t consider yourself a ‘nature-person,’ being amidst trees, watching the ocean, strolling through a park, being in any natural environs can give you a sense of ease like nothing else. It’s essentially a place free of ‘triggers’ (assuming, of course, you're not venturing through snake infested terrain). And there’s a good bit of research supporting nature as a stress reliever, energy and memory booster, as well as anxiety reducer. So try to give yourself the gift of some ‘green-time’ at least once a week. 

And if nature’s not accessible, you can still get the benefits of fresh air, Vitamin D, sunlight and exercise from a 20-minute walk anywhere.   


Give yourself some good news

We often have bad news coming at us from every angle – conflict, disaster, terrorism, scandal and crises of every kind, so inject some positivity whenever possible. Check out these alternative news sources for a dose of good: Good News Network, YES Magazine, The Optimist Daily, Greater Good Magazine and Positive News. And if you’d prefer your news the good old-fashioned way, check out The Happy Newspaper.



Calming activities

Reading a good book or listening to an audiobook can be supremely relaxing, or if you prefer TV, make it something humorous or otherwise uplifting.   

Take a hot bath or shower with essential oils

Lavender, rose, geranium, jasmine, sandalwood are all known for their sleep-promoting, stress-relieving, pain-reducing and mood-regulating benefits. Our sense of smell is directly wired to the brain’s center of memory and emotion, which is why a familiar smell can instantly trigger a flood of emotions.      


Peaceful Sounds

White noise is like a sound-blanket that covers other existing sounds (think whirring fan, wind in the trees, streams, waves); the consistent focused sound of white noise has a calming effect for many people. Pink and brown noise operate on the same premise but at lower frequencies (think thunder or a waterfall). Any of these can help you fall and stay asleep, and you'll find many options when you search “sleep sounds” apps.          


Recall the good

Before sleep, take a few minutes to run through your head and/or write down in a journal anything that felt good during the day — a pleasant conversation, a moment of calm, a smile from a passerby, anything kind you’ve done for yourself or others. Large or small, everything counts. As you recall these positive moments, try to hold your attention on them for a moment until you get a full sense of their benefit.   

Sleeping breath

Doing this exercise before bed can combat nightmares and ensure a good night’s sleep. This is also a great breathing technique for whenever you’re experiencing symptoms of stress or dysregulation during the day. You can do this sitting or lying down.

Breathe slowly into your diaphragm on the count of four.

Hold for a count of seven, keeping your body relaxed.

Exhale for a count of eight.

Repeat a minimum of 10 times, fewer repetitions are significantly less impactful. 

If you feel your jaw getting tight as you do this, you can soften it by stretching out your tongue as far as it can go, then keep your teeth separated when you close your mouth. 

Doing at least a few of these daily can help improve your mood at any time, and making them part of your daily routine will help keep you on an even keel. 

Empowered Optimism

June 9, 2022

Empowered Optimism-the only kind that really works

We hear a lot about the importance of keeping a positive attitude, aka, being optimistic. Like gratitude, it’s a term that gets thrown around as one of those absolute “must-do’s” if you’re going to “live your best life” and “shed the negative beliefs holding you back,” and so on. The question is, how? With all the many not-so-positive things most of are contending with on a daily basis, optimism is a tall order.

When I talk about optimism though, I am not talking about the happy-face-emoji version of it we so often see espoused as a mental health panacea, but rather, a grounded, clear-eyed optimism. This optimism doesn’t ask us to superimpose a blanket of feel-goodness over layers of unhappiness. It does not ask us to deny, avoid, or repress pain in favor of “positivity.”

No, this type of optimism asks us to acknowledge and validate our emotions and experiences, actively face our difficulties and challenges, take self-supporting action, and find as much empowering and motivating material from our own lives as we can throughout the process. It creates a sense of possibility based on a recognition both of what we’re capable of, and the actions needed to shift us a little closer to wellness.

This is what I call Empowered Optimism.

We often think of optimism as that sense that things can and will somehow get better. When you add ‘empowerment’ into the mix however, it becomes a sense that things can and will get better because of what you do to make that happen.

Getting Real is Good

Empowered Optimism doesn’t tell us we can do anything and be anything, because that’s a set up for disappointment and disillusionment. For instance, telling myself I will someday be totally depression and anxiety-proof is not helpful because it’s unrealistic. Instead, I want to give myself something that is both inspiring and attainable.

So while there is nothing in my history to suggest I have the mental health superpowers necessary to attain a forever-state of bliss, I know that even when I’m scraping bottom, I’ve got the tools to pull myself up.

How do I know this? Because I have the evidence. Even if I have no idea how I’m going to drag myself out of bed, and less than an ounce of faith that anything I do will make a difference, I consistently choose to help myself—whether that means reaching out to friends, exercising, journaling, picking up my guitar, reading an inspirational blog or book, listening to an uplifting song. And I won’t stop until I feel better. 

Try This: Proof of Your Inner Strength

  • Think of a day or moment, sometime over the past month, when you pushed through painful or difficult mental health symptoms to get yourself up and out into the world, fulfill obligations, or take care of yourself and/or others.

  • In your mind’s eye, picture yourself on that day or in that moment. Remember the obstacles, and see yourself overcoming them, doing what you needed to do in spite of everything working against you

  • What did it feel like to prevail in spite of those challenges? Was there a sense of empowerment? Pride? Reassurance? Whatever the feeling, let it sink in.

This is proof that you have the inner strength needed to take care of yourself! 

Taking Action with Self-Care Goals              

When struggling with our mental health, it can feel like we’re just being carried along by a stream of circumstance, watching life from the sidelines, or stuck in “wishing and wanting” mode. Putting small, manageable, self-care goals in place gives us a greater sense of control, purpose, and direction. 

If you’re going through a rough time, a self-care goal can simply be getting out of bed, calling a friend, reading an uplifting book or blog, doing a random act of kindness. If you’re managing anxiety, you could have as a self-care goal, a twice-daily breathing practice or finding a good therapist, a support or meditation group. And if you’re anything like me, making your physical environment as peaceful and cozy as possible is huge, so I include self-care goals things like clearing out clutter or adding some cozifying element to my house (I do love Etsy for that!).

Every time we fulfill one of these goals, however small, we’re reminding ourselves that we have the ability to take care of ourselves, and this provides a good dose of motivation to keep at it! 

This is empowered optimism in action.


Whenever you need a morale boost...

March 13, 2022

We all need a little boost sometimes, a reminder that we’re on the right track. One of my favorite ways of giving myself that, is having what I call "a letter of appreciation" on hand that I can read and/or listen to when the need arises. This letter is a way of reminding yourself of all that you've accomplished and all you are able to accomplish. 

The best time to write and/or record your letter is when you're in a positive state of mind. Simply finish these three sentences:

  • I have overcome...
  • I am proud that I’ve...
  • I am still working on...
  • I am...and I will..

You can do these in any order, or use other words for the same idea. Try to allow yourself to free-write without editing, then you can go back and edit as needed. However you answer these, try to end on an empowering note, giving yourself a nice verbal high five. This can be something you read to yourself, or you can make a recording of it–hearing the encouragement from yourself can be very powerful. 

Below I've shared a version I wrote for myself. I hope some of it resonates for you.

“I am not past all my struggles, and that's okay. It wasn’t a smooth road to get here, but I've come a long way and am proud of how hard I've worked to get where I am now. I have so many more tools and resources than I ever have. While my pain may still knock me down sometimes, I now know it won’t sink me; I have learned how to get back up again. I no longer believe that the struggles I face will do me in. 

I work daily to maintain a foundation of mental and emotional health through all the practices I've learned and integrated into my life. I am developing positive psychological filters, which will bring greater resilience, emotional fortitude and a whole host of other inner resources that will emerge over time. My intuition about what I need grows with my awareness and acceptance of my current experiences and I trust that there is good growing behind the scenes that I may not yet be able to see. 

I know that sometimes it's easier to see the negative than the positive, and I may still need evidence of positive changes in my life, but I am committed to paying attention to the good, no matter how small, and celebrating my every accomplishment. I know that it takes time and that every little bit helps. I am a powerful work in progress, and every day I am closer to healing what I can, and more skillfully managing anything that cannot be fully healed. I trust that the result will be a life that feels truly, deeply good."

Self-Care Strategies for Tough Times

January 14, 2022

In the Time of COVID (as we may be referring to it years from now), things got pretty rough for most of us. And if you were already struggling with your mental health or a child’s mental health, you know it was like a double whammy. We were stretched to our limit on all fronts–keeping our kids and ourselves safe, engaged, and sane were like three full-time jobs rolled into one! So here are some things I did (and didn’t do) to help me get through– tips that are good for any time of crisis. 


Here’s what I did...

1. Create a Support System Call List (and use it!).

A. Make a list of all your most non-judgmental, safe-feeling sources of support–whether family, friends, professionals, support groups, Facebook groups, or hotlines. This won’t be everyone in your life; most of us have at least some well-meaning people in our lives that just won’t get it, or who, for whatever reason, we’re not comfortable sharing highly sensitive information with. And of course, there are times we are just too emotionally exhausted to explain the situation while worrying about potentially negative reaction. Know that even if your list is short now, it will grow. I began this journey feeling certain that no one could understand my particular struggle, but along the way discovered so many unexpected allies.

BConsider the types of support you need. I know for myself, there were days I just need a lighthearted conversation; other days I was looking to commiserate with someone who was equally invested in mine and my son’s well-being; and others, I needed specific recommendations from someone who’d faced similar challenges. With this in mind, write down next to each name, what that person/group offers you.

For instance:           

  • Mom: Comfort, compassion
  • YMHP Parent Support Network: Understanding, guidance
  • FB Group:  professional recommendations
  • Parenting Coach: Insights, parenting techniques
  • Crisis Hotline: Immediate professional support & referrals

  • Having this list did three things for me: first, it was a comforting reminder that I was not alone; second, it helped me identify the kind of support I needed in a given moment; and finally–and most importantly–it encouraged me to reach out when I needed that support.

    C. Get comfortable reaching out. This can be tough for a lot of us; we may be embarrassed, afraid of appearing weak, worried about judgment, or just simply tired of talking about our problems. One thing is certain though, trying to manage things alone is hard as hell, and not nearly as effective. Support is available, you just need to practice asking for it!

    2. Create a map of hope

    When things look bleak, we need hope. Not fantasy-style hope, but hope based on real possibility. This may take some creative imagining, but you will never regret the time you spent thinking up all these good things!

    A. You can use a sheet of paper or posterboard, depending upon how big you want your ‘hope map’ to be, and where it will end up (I like mine big and visible ). Then choose three colored markers and write the words Immediate, Near Future, and Long Term in different colors, wherever you like on the page, leaving room beneath each heading.

    B. Now, ask yourself this question: What do I have in my life right now that feels good? This can be anything you enjoy doing, person you enjoy being with, or place you like spending time. Beneath the heading Immediate, write out as many of these things as you can without editing.

    C. Next, write your response to this question under the heading Near FutureWhat positive things can I foresee happening in the near future (ie. taking a trip to visit our cousins, resuming our weekly family walks)? Try to visualize these experiences until you have a felt-sense of their comforting realness.

    D. Finally, under the heading Long Term, finish this sentence: I am so looking forward to the time when… Allow yourself to imagine the very best of what’s possible for you and/or your child. It’s okay if your list is ambitious, in fact, it should be! You want this to be an exercise in hopefulness.

    I feel bolstered whenever I read my hope map. Every one of these existing and potential positives is like an emotional nutrient. And as long as I have enough of this nutrition, I can get myself from point a to point b, however rocky the terrain in between. This is also a great exercise to do with your child!

    3. Two highly-targeted meditations every day: The Regulater & The Elevater.

    These meditations are based on a method I developed called CACAO, which combines the tools of conscious breathing, awareness, compassion, appreciation, and optimism, to regulate your nervous system and boost your mood. I recommend doing The Elevater (intentional spelling :) first thing in the morning, and before you go to sleep at night; and using The Regulater whenever you’re feeling anxious or just out of sorts. You can listen to them both here and download the cheat sheet’ versions here.

    And here’s what I didn't do

    1. Guilt Myself

    It’s hard not to wonder how much of our own, or our child’s suffering is due to something we’ve done wrong. And the reality is, sometimes it is! For instance, as loving and devoted a parent as I am, that first year of COVID did not bring out the best in me. I lost my cool far more than I consider acceptable, spent far too much time glued to my newsfeed, probably went overboard on safety measures (I know there are many who would insist I did!), shared too much about COVID in an attempt to scare B into being more careful. And these days, I wonder if I’m not being safe enough.

    It’s equally hard not to question yourself when things go awry. Amongst my top 10 greatest self-questioning hits: “Did I miss critical cues?” “Was I not sensitive enough to his emotional needs?” “Was I too strict?”, “Did I not show enough compassion when he had meltdowns?”, “Should I have been more patient when he was bouncing off the walls?”…

    Now, I think these are all reasonable questions, and worth asking. But only if done in a constructive way. So, I recommend, with whatever questions you’re asking yourself: ask the question simply, answer thoughtfully, then make any necessary adjustments and amends. That’s it. Because here’s the thing: guilt is not a motivator. It saps us of the energy we need to make positive changes, and causes us to question our very ability to make said changes. We can take responsibility for our mistakes without heading down the rabbit hole of self-recrimination!

    2. Curb my bad habits

    Like nightly Netflix binging, FB scrolling, over-caffeinating, overeating. Of course, I tried to keep my indulgences this side of destructive, but with everything going on, I knew it was not the time to amp up the self-discipline.

    3. Worry about the future

    We can inform ourselves, hold onto hope, and stay proactive. And that’s all we can do. As I consistently told myself: Plan wisely for the future then forget it.




    January 13, 2022



    The New England Good Life

    Located in the idyllic town of Washington in Connecticut, Mayflower Inn & Spa is an exquisite country retreat, nestled in 58 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and woodland. Just two hours’ drive from New York City, it is renowned as one of northeast America’s most distinguished luxury hideaways. Memories are made easily when you stay at our boutique hotel in Litchfield County, a portal to a simpler time, where the definitive measure of the good life is in soul-stirring moments rooted in the idyllic countryside.


    Mohonk Mountain House

    The Hudson Valley’s Most Iconic Resort

    Founded by the Smiley Family in 1869, our Victorian castle resort is nestled in the Hudson Valley, only 90 miles north of New York City. Surrounded by 40,000 acres of pristine forest, our National Historic Landmark resort offers farm-to-table cuisine and an award-winning spa.

    Immersive Experiences


    Grace Farms


    Sharon Prince, CEO and Founder, envisioned that intentionally-designed space could communicate a set of values and advance good in the world for years to come. Pritzker Prize-winning architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, of the Japanese firm SANAA, embodied this vision into the River building’s design. The result is a hopeful environment that has become a three-dimensional expression of Grace Farms Foundation’s mission to create grace and peace in our local and global communities.

    Grace Farms’ open architecture is designed to break down barriers between people and nature. The extensive use of wood and spectacular 360-degree views of the landscape creates a warm invitation to pause and reflect, while encouraging engagement with each other.

    The land on which Grace Farms sits – almost 80 acres of natural landscape with 10 diverse habitats – creates an environment to bring together diverse communities around common pursuits. By preserving our wetlands and forests as well as planting more than 500 trees and 1,000 native perennials, Grace Farms has enhanced biodiversity and contributed to the fresh air and clean water that are necessary for healthy ecosystems and human flourishing.


    Stone Barns

    Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is the product of a collaborative agricultural and gastronomic experiment. Its seeds were planted in the 1990s by the Rockefeller family, together with conservation planners, organic farmers, chefs and many others who came together to set a common vision and purpose for the land.

    Their goal was to make the beauty and agricultural heritage of the property accessible to the public in hopes of establishing a dynamic campus of farmers, chefs and educators working together to inspire and reconnect the local community to food and farming. They envisioned a place where people could experience the land, farming and an ecological food culture; a place that would bring inspiration and innovation to our regional food system, informed by creativity and experimentation.

    Oh, and their café has the best food! Hopefully will reopen soon :)



    John Jay Homestead

    John Jay Homestead offers countless immersive and hands-on educational, recreational, and inspirational experiences for visitors of all ages. Come explore today!

    John Jay's Bedford House

    During twenty-seven years of service to his state and nation, John Jay looked forward to the day when he would retire with his wife and family to “the house on my farm in Westchester County…” During his second term as governor of New York, Jay had renovations made to his 1787 farmhouse in preparation for his retirement from public life. He was finally able to move to the house in 1801. Visitors to John Jay Homestead State Historic Site are invited to take a docent-led tour of John Jay’s Bedford House. The historic house’s interior has been restored to reflect its appearance during John Jay’s lifetime. Well over 50% of the furnishings are original to John Jay and his family.

    Carriage Barn Education & Visitor Center

    More than 200 years after it was built, John Jay’s original Carriage Barn has been given new life as the Homestead’s Education & Visitor Center. Open daily May through October, the Carriage Barn hosts interactive, educational exhibits; a 12-minute biographical video about John Jay and his accomplishments; our premier hands-on Discovery Center; a gift shop; and a reading room.

    Discovery Centers

    Six historic buildings at John Jay Homestead feature hands-on, immersive Discovery Centers, each focused on a different theme. Designed as interactive exhibits and exploration areas, the

    Discovery Centers help young visitors and their families learn about life on the Jay Farm during the 19th and 20th centuries in a fun and engaging way.


    Special Exhibition – Moments in Time: Photographs from the Jay Family Collection

    Photographs have a capacity to connect us with people and places long gone, perhaps better than any other pictorial medium except film. Life is captured in an instant: a moment of joy, or wonder, or wistful reflection. The Jay-Iselin family, who lived at John Jay Homestead, compiled an extensive collection of family photographs over many decades, from early daguerreotypes to modern snapshots. Moments in Time will include photographs stretching from the 1850s to the 1950s, depicting the family’s growth, its travels, and its participation in daily life and special occasions.


    John Jay Homestead has many beautiful gardens, lovingly tended to by dedicated organizations. The formal Sundial Garden, originally installed in the mid-19th century is cared for by Bedford Garden Club. The Herb Garden, created in 1991 is cultivated by members of the New York Unit of the Herb Society of America. Rusticus Garden Club restored the 1924 Terrace Garden and continues to maintain it today. The North Courtyard Garden was created in the 1990s by Hopp Ground Garden Club. They oversee this garden and a restored Children’s Garden adjacent to the Schoolhouse. InterGenerate oversees the vegetable garden.

    Explorer Backpacks

    We have three backpacks you can take with you while you explore the Homestead’s natural environment. Junior Explorers can use magnifying glasses and binoculars to study birds and animal tracks. Handy guidebooks are included as well to help explorers identify birds, mammals and plants. Findings can be recorded in the journal and the sketch pad and colored pencils can be used to draw a picture of the experience. We also have backpacks for Bird Watching and Landscape Art.


    Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. If you’d like to place a geocache at John Jay Homestead, please see a staff member for permit information.

    Perimeter Trail

    John Jay Homestead is a beautiful place for a hike. Our perimeter trail offers scenic views and a moderate terrain.


    Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

    The 4,315-acre park makes Ward Pound Ridge Reservation the county’s largest park. With its varied terrain, landscapes, and miles of wooded trails, the park provides a variety of activities in all seasons. There are areas for picnicking, lean-to camping, fishing and cross-country skiing. Originally part of Cortlandt Manor, the reservation was settled by farmers from Connecticut.

    The name Pound Ridge is credited to the Indians who originally lived in the area. They had a local pound in which they kept game on the hoof until they needed it for food. The Indians built an enclosure of saplings driven into the ground and drove their game into the pound.

     The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden

    The Hammond Museums mission is to stimulate interest in appreciating the artistic traditions of the East in the West through exhibitions from the museum's collections, music, dance and theatre; to preserve and develop the Japanese Stroll Garden which serves as a model for teaching people about the value of the environment, horticultural design and Eastern traditions through lectures, walking tours, classes and workshops. And finally, to promote the transformation of Eastern Culture in the West through the efforts of artists and performers in the Greater New York Metropolitan Region, involving them in the presentation of work, performances and teaching opportunities, especially for school groups.



    Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts is a destination for exceptional music, captivating programs, spectacular gardens and grounds, and wonderful moments with friends and family. It enriches the lives of its audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality. Its mission also includes mentoring young professional musicians and providing educational programs for young children centered around music.

    Audiences are invited to explore the lush grounds, tour the historic Rosen House, enjoy a pre-concert picnic, and discover beautiful music in the relaxed settings of the Venetian Theater, Spanish Courtyard, Music Room of the Rosen House, and the magnificent gardens.

    Our grounds are open to the public Friday – Sunday, 10:00am – 4:00pm, through September 26.  Caramoor’s hours will be adjusted for private events on the following dates: 9/25 – Grounds close at 3:00pm

    Farmer's Markets


    John Jay Farmer’s Market

    The John Jay Homestead Farm Market is a weekly outdoor, certified market which provides the finest New York-grown, fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, seafood, breads, specialty items and more on a historic farm setting. Every Saturday, customers can expect to find certified organic and biodynamic produce, ethically-raised, organic meat and eggs, as well as a wide variety of artisan food items with dozens of weekly vendors.

    While at John Jay Homestead, patrons can also enjoy a walk, sight see, and explore flower, herb, and vegetable gardens or picnic on the historic grounds of John Jay Homestead.

    Market Hours 9:00am to 2:00pm


    Fable Farm

    Located on Route 134 right off the Taconic State Parkway, The Market at Fable opened in 2015 to act as a Food Hub for local farms and small businesses. Come say hello to our farmers, grab some delicious produce, and meet our beautiful free-range chickens.

    Our produce is the freshest you can get. Each herb, leafy green, and vegetable is grown locally, sustainably, and with our commitment to quality and taste. Our chickens are pasture-raised which not only creates happy hens, but delicious and nutritious eggs as well. We make sure our plants and chickens receive the nutrition they need so that you do too.

    To order Contactless Barnside Pickup or Delivery visit our online store here. Please note the store is updated every Tuesday at 10am and orders must be made by midnight on Thursday. Orders are then prepared for contactless delivery or pickup.

    Fable’s selection includes Heirloom Tomatoes, Mesclun Mixes, Squash, Radishes, Garlic, Free-Range Eggs, Microgreens, and more. The Market features these farm fresh crops as well as other produce grown by local farms in the area. If you are a chef please contact us three months in advance if you would like a consistent weekly supply of a certain ingredient.

    The Market is open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:30am to 4pm. During the COVID-19 pandemic masks and social distancing required. To stay updated with our farm and market availability you can subscribe to our marketplace mailer.

    Given the economic impact on farms and small businesses, we appreciate your support. Your purchases in our Market not only help us, but the small business owners who provide bread, muffins, soaps, salsa, and other items as well.

    Fable: From Farm to Table
    1311 Kitchawan Road (Route 134)
    Ossining, NY 10562


    Rochimbeau Farm

    • All of the veggies we sell come directly from our garden.
    • All of our veggies are organic, although we are not "Certified Organic"
    • We also a carry a great variety of specialty items, unique to our stand.
    • Come say hello to our goats, sheep, pigs and ponies!

    Hours of Operation

    Wednesday - Saturday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
    Sunday: 10:00am - 4:00pm


     Farmer and the Fish

    Welcome back to our farm shop with the freshest selection of vegetables, seafood and meats. Offering a daily collection of fresh baked goods and a variety of carefully selected food items, as well as delicious prepared foods for your convenience, there is something for everyone.  For your ease, Shop Online and your items will be ready for pick up. Of course we welcome your call and are happy to assist with delivery, if required.  Happy Shopping!



    Local  |  Organic  |  Sustainable

    Snow Hill is a 140 acre organic farm located one hour north of New York City, in the Town of North Salem, New York. Our purpose is to provide the highest quality farm products to local restaurants, markets and the community.

    We are Certified Organic by NOFA New York and Connecticut.


    Pound Ridge Organics

    Welcome to Pound Ridge Organics

    We are an organic farm market, c.s.a. teaching kitchen & outdoor classroom located in bucolic pound ridge, n.y. (just one hour north of n.y.c.)

    Our mission is to bring local affordable wholesome food & groceries to our extended community year 'round, while supporting local farms & small businesses that share our high standards and passion for ethically are sustainably produced:

    • meats • poultry • fish • dairy • cheeses • veggies • fruit • bread • desserts • beverages • coffee • snacks • spices • honey • maple products • zero-waste gift items & so much more...