In Travel

Take A Day Trip Out Of NYC On Your Next Holiday

New York may be the city that never sleeps but the city’s unrelenting pace can leave even visitors feeling exhausted. If you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple, it’s worth considering a day trip out of the city to discover some of the many gems the East Coast has to offer, from the fashionable fishing town of Montauk to the folksy charms of upstate New York. Ready to escape the concrete jungle for a day? Whether you’re after adventure or some serious R&R, here are some places that will make it worth your while.

Beacon

Located on the banks of the Hudson River, Beacon is just an 80-minute train journey from Grand Central. Full of small-town charm, Beacon’s biggest attraction is the 300,000 square foot modern art gallery Dia: Beacon.

Housed in a former Nabisco box printing factory, the gargantuan space plays host to works from some of America’s most admired and prolific artists, from Andy Warhol to Louise Bourgeois. The light-filled industrial building is perfect for larger-than-life installations like Richard Serra’s famed steel sculptures and Dan Flavin’s fluorescent light works.

Beyond art, Beacon boasts natural beauty (it’s at the foot of Mount Beacon, the tallest mountain in the Hudson Valley, which keen hikers can conquer in about two hours) and a flourishing main street full of designer vintage stores, cafes that put local produce at centre stage (try Homespun Foods or The Roundhouse) and award-winning distilleries.

Philadelphia

Want to escape the city… for another city? If you can’t get enough of world-class restaurants, museums, and historic sites, head to the City of Brotherly Love, located just a 90-minute train ride from Penn Station.

The birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, Philly offers plenty for the history buff. Head to Independence Hall, Constitution Square and Liberty Bell in the charming Old City district to follow in the footsteps of the nation’s founding fathers.

The city also holds its own on the art front, with the Rodin Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation hosting works from European masters. Alongside these institutions, the city also boasts indie attractions like Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, an eye-popping mosaic installation.

Though having a Philly cheesesteak at the city’s rival institutions Geno’s or Pat’s is on every visitor’s bucket list, the city has much more to offer on the food and drink front. Sprawling over an entire city block, Reading Terminal Market offers a taste of the region’s local delicacies, from DeNic’s roast pork sandwiches to Beiler’s doughnuts. Pay a visit to Israeli restaurant Zahav, speakeasy Hop Sing Laundromat or the casual eatery-meets-museum Pizza Brain in the up-and-coming suburb of Fishtown to get an idea of why foodies keep flocking to Philly.

Storm King

If you feel like the city is starting to close in on you, it’s time to hop a train to the wide-open space of Storm King, the cultural epicentre of Mountainville, New York.

An open-air sculpture park set on 500 acres of rolling hills, verdant woodlands and glistening ponds, Storm King features over 100 large-scale sculptures and site-specific commissions by artists including Alexander Calder, Henry Moore and Roy Lichtenstein. All pieces are carefully placed within the park to draw attention to the bucolic setting.

Have a picnic on the grounds or take a bike tour of the sleepy surrounding town of Cornwall before heading back to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.

Montauk

Perched at the easternmost end of Long Island, the sleepy seaside town of Montauk has become something of a Hamptons hotspot. As the popularity of Montauk has grown, so too have the transport options: visitors can now opt to take the Long Island Railroad, the Jitney, a seaplane or even a helicopter to reach the area.

Surfers should head to Ditch Plains Beach for what locals claim is the best surf on the entire East Coast. Hikers, too, have plenty to choose from, with picturesque beachside trails in Shadmoor State Park, Montauk State Park or Camp Hero State Park.

Crow’s Nest is a must-visit for chic beachside vibes and killer crab linguini (it’s also an ideal vantage point for taking in Montauk’s breathtaking sunsets), as is Duryea’s for the region’s most famous lobster roll. Also worth checking out? Navy Beach for drinks and people watching, the scene-y (and always packed) The Surf Lodge for live music, or Gurney’s for a taste of that ritzy Hamptons nightlife you’ve heard so much about.

The Catskills

If Central Park isn’t cutting it for you on the nature front, it’s time to rent a car and make the two-and-a-half-hour pilgrimage to The Catskill Mountains.

A nature lover’s mecca in upstate New York, The Catskills cater easily to those who like a day trip with a dose of hiking, biking, fishing, rafting or skiing. One of the most popular hikes is to Kaaterskill Falls (New York State’s highest waterfall, it rings in at 260 feet) in Tannersville, while Kaaterskill Creek attracts whitewater rafters. Keen fishers congregate at Willowemoc Creek in Sullivan County for fly-fishing, while skiers and snowboarders head to Belleayre, Hunter Mountain and Windham Mountain in the cooler months.

The region also has a rich cultural and culinary scene. Located on holy land (the site of the Woodstock Festival), Bethel Woods Centre For The Arts explores the cultural legacy of the 1960s. The restaurant landscape is dominated by New York City transplants, who’ve opened acclaimed eateries including Table On Ten, Brushland Eating House and Phoenicia Diner.

Published 05 September, 2018