Want to get out of the city for a day? No matter how much New Yorkers love Gotham (it’s the greatest city in the world), sometimes we need a change of scenery. Here is a list of fun things to do to relax and get away from the stress of the city and there just a short ride away.
Atlantic City, NJ. Take a bus to Atlantic City when you need a change from the lights and sights of New York City. A beach playground, outlets and casino’s are just a bus ride away. With amenities like free WiFi, snack bars, en-route movie showings and more.
Academy Bus: Making daily trips from NYC to AC, this bus line will get you there fast. Catch one of up to 13 trips from Port Authority on the hour to Caesar’s, Resorts, Harrah’s or the Tropicana, or one of up to four daily trips from 85th Street Candy to Caesar’s, Resorts or the Trop. (800-442-7272, academybus.com). See website for schedule details. Round trip $38–$40.
Greyhound Lucky Streak: Enjoy free WiFi and room to stretch your legs on the ride to either Bally’s, Harrah’s, Caesar’s, Resorts or the Tropicana. Multiple no-transfer trips depart daily from Port Authority and select other NYC locations. (800-231-2222, greyhound.com). See website for schedule details. Round trip $25 and up.
Megabus: With up to 10 departures from Port Authority every day—starting at 8am and ending with the last trip at 6pm on weekends—this two-and-a-half-hour route is one of the most accommodating for getting New Yorkers out of town. The double-decker bus includes outlets, WiFi and panoramic views. (877-462-6342, us.megabus.com). Round trip $25–$36.
Cold Springs, NY. Just an hour and a half on the MetroNorth puts you in the heart of town, whose Main Street is lined with cute boutiques and restaurants. Aside from the usual suspect antique shops, there’s also a wealth of specialty stores like outdoor shops, a general store, and a stunningly gorgeous apothecary/salon. You can easily kill the day just shopping, but Cold Spring is also home to one of the best and probably the most famous Hudson Valley hike, called Breakneck Ridge. To get here, take the Hudson Line on the MetroNorth. To go directly to town, get off at Cold Spring; hikers can take MetroNorth directly to the Breakneck Ridge stop, which is just steps from the trailhead. (Note that you have to catch the 7:47 or 8:47 trains for this stop, which only runs on weekends and holidays. If not, you can walk from town, rent a bike, or take a cab.) Hike a Mountain, Visit a Design Legend’s Home. For a more leisurely way to take in Mother Nature, we just recently visited Manitoga, the home, studio, and woodland garden of design legend Russel Wright. After the 90-minute tour of the property, you’re free to take in Mother Nature. What’s so fascinating about the outdoor spaces here are that Russel completely designed them–from the tree and boulder placement to the mossy forest floor carpeting. It’s a ten minute cab-ride from Cold Spring, and tours are $20.
Bear Mountain, NY. Take the Hudson line to Peekskill station (45mins, round-trip $21.50–$28.50) and then a 15-minute cab ride to Bear Mountain (around $20). There’s a hike for everyone among Bear Mountain’s tranquil, woodsy trails, from the short loop around Brooks Lake to the more challenging four-mile segment of the Appalachian Trail. Most impressive is the steep, twisting trek to the Perkins Memorial Tower, from where you’ll have a stunning 360-degree vista of four states (NY, NJ, CT and PA), the Big Apple skyline, Storm King Art Center, the Hudson Highlands and the Hudson River some 1,000 feet below. If you’ve got any juice left after your climb, shoot hoops at the on-site basketball courts. BYO picnic, as food options are limited in the park’s immediate vicinity.
Lily Dale, NY: Hidden away in upstate New York, there’s an idyllic little community that looks like it has somehow been transported here from the 1950s, free of the wear and tear of the last half a century. White picket fences surround well-maintained lawns, smiling groups of people gather at the local church to catch up with loved ones, and a glowing sign at the town’s entrance proclaims it the “City of Light”. If you didn’t know any better, you might think the town of Lily Dale, New York was the most normal community in the America. There’s just one catch: the majority of it’s residents are either psychics.. or ghosts. Like many villages, Lily Dale has a post office, volunteer fire department, library and a playground. There’s a coffee shop, two restaurants, a couple gift shops, a handful of guest houses and a museum. But for 133 years, Lily Dale has also been home to the Lily Dale Assembly, a religious organization of mediums and healers who claim to communicate messages from those who have passed on to those still living on the Earthly plane. You can take a bus but expect to spend $102 to $200 and about 12 hours. If you drive it’s a little over 7 hours, but totally worth it.
Untermyer Gardens and Conservatory, Yonkers, NY: 1 hour and 50 minutes. This historic park is 43 acres, situated in just north of NYC, on a hillside above the Hudson River and features a Persian Paradise garden, a small Grecian-style amphitheater, a classical pavilion, pergola, statuary, a rock and water feature called the “Temple of Love” and a “Vista” staircase. The park has views of the Hudson River and the Palisades. The gardens were developed during the first 40 years of the 20th century, when the area now enclosed by the park was less than a third of an 150-acre site that was the estate of the lawyer and civic leader Samuel Untermyer. The 150-acre estate was known as “Greystone.” The 1 train at 242nd street is only a few feet from the Westchester Bee Line which picks up northbound passengers on the northbound side of Broadway. You can use your NYC Metrocard on the Westchester Bee Line. Take the 2 bus to Dehaven Drive. The gardens are across the street on Broadway at 945 North Broadway.