New York City may be one of the hottest international tourist destinations, but even the most avid Manhattan-phile needs to ditch the skyscrapers and non-stop nightlife sometimes. But what's an urbanite to do if you don’t have a car or can’t afford to hop a jet on a whim. Here’s a list of five nearby vacations you can get to without ever paying at the pump.
Take the Train to the Trail
Did you know only one train station exists along the entire 2,175-mile length of the Appalachian Trail? In less than two hours, Metro-North can drop you off you in Dutchess County where you can day-hike or camp along a lovely stretch of the AT that leads you towards Hammersly Ridge and the Pawling Nature Reserve. But plan your hike carefully as the train only stops there on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Otherwise, it might be a much longer walk home.
Additionally, Metro-North also has two other stations that primarily serve hikers: Breakneck Ridge (north of Cold Spring) and Manitou (in Putnam County).
For a less crunchy-granola getaway, the burghs of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow might be perfect. Just 25 minutes from the city on the train, Tarrytown’s downtown shopping district is a pedestrian-friendly marketplace featuring gems such as an old-fashioned candy store, homemade ice cream shops and a generous selection of Italian foods. Plus you’re close to such historic locations such as Sleepy Hallow (home to Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman), the Rockefellers’ out-sized and beautiful Kykuit Estate and the Lyndhurst Castle.
Take Your Pick: Apple Orchard Adventures
Picking fresh apples is a sure way to add some nostalgia to a crisp autumn afternoon, so forget about the crowds at Trader Joe’s and head to the source. Maskers Orchard, in Warwick, NY, is a 200-acre estate with romantic hideouts, piglets and five varieties of apples that can be reached by bus from Port Authority followed by a short walk or cab ride. For more variety, Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Junction also offers seasonal cherries, berries, peaches, hayrides and live music. Take the Metro-North to Beacon and grab a cab to the farm.
Fall Ferry Fun
Cruise along the Hudson River on one of Seastreak’s Fall Foliage Day Cruises that can bring you to West Point for an Army football game ($85 including ticket) or to Oktoberfest at Bear Mountain ($59/adult and $39/children under 12). Or, for the same price, take the ship to Cold Spring where you can enjoy a 1-hour sightseeing trip to Bannerman Castle. All trips depart from Pier 11.
Want a trip to the islands, mon? Well, Manhattan is surrounded by them. With just a quick boat ride you can escape the city scene and relax on Staten or Governors Island. Both feature incredible views and a hustle-free vibe.
Alternatively, you can get yourself a spray tan and take a short subway ride to Queens. Then you can honestly tell your friends that you went to Jamaica.