Even if you’re having a great time in New York City, you may want to get out of town for a day to decompress. Here are the top five day trips to take while you’re visiting NYC. You can leave the City in the morning, get in a full-day’s experience, and return in the evening.
1. Take a wine-tasting tour of Long Island: As you exit the Big Apple through Queens and onto Long Island, the scene will gradually change from big city to suburban to country. You’ll soon be in rich, undulating farm country. Favorite vineyards and wineries for tours and tastings include those in the North Fork where award-winning wines have been produced for the last decade. Favorite stops include Macari Vineyards, Paumonok Vineyards, Palmer Vineyards, Pindar Vineyards and Martha Clara winery. A discussion of wine making and free samples are part of the tour at most of these locations.
2. Rub shoulders with the Amish in Lancaster County: Between NYC and Philadelphia, you’ll find Lancaster County with its high concentration of Amish. Tour working Amish farms, shop for handmade crafts and furniture and enjoy deliciously fresh baked goods made with recipes that are 300 years old.
3. Scout the Hamptons and Sag Harbor: East and South Hampton hug the ocean shore along the South Fork of Long Island. You’ll find well-manicured lawns, lovely gardens, interesting shops and galleries and the homes of the rich and famous. Jerry Seinfeld, Paris Hilton, Stephen Spielberg and David Letterman are just a few of the celebs with places there. Sag Harbor is a picturesque harbor with a rich, quant New England heritage and ambiance. Points of interest include the harbor and its marina full of yachts, Coopers Beach, the antique shops in town and the cozy restaurants.
4. Hike, bike, boat and more at Bear Mountain State Park: This park in the mountainous region on the west bank of the Hudson River has it all. There are things to do in every season. Summer favorites are hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and bird-watching. Fall colors are amazing, and so are the wildflowers from spring into autumn. In winter, you can cross-country ski, sled and ice skate on the lake. The Christmas Tree lighting is one of the highlights of the year, and the holiday atmosphere pervades the park from November into the New Year. The Bear Mountain Inn is lovely for a meal. You may want to stay the night or put a week’s visit on your list for next year.
5. Take a drive to Cold Spring and beyond: This vintage American town along the Hudson River takes an hour to get to, but you’ll feel like you went back in time 125 years. The vistas of the Hudson River Valley are outstanding. The town is the essence of charming. A trolley runs about town in the summer. Tasty restaurants and stimulating shops are everywhere. The inns are excellent if you want to spend the night. Take a car if you want to make a more general tour of the Hudson Valley. Otherwise, you can catch the train from NYC.