What a difference a day makes. You don’t always need a two-week vacation. Sometimes even a brief change of scenery boosts your mind, body and spirit. You can splurge or go budget; either way, there are plenty of places within an hour or two of New York City where you can hit the refresh button and come back home ready to play your A-game.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
In less than two hours drive you can find yourself in Bucks County, with its scenic countryside, vineyards, small villages and good eats. One of the best places for a boat ride or a hike in Bucks County is the 5,286-acre Nockamixon State Park. Hike, bike or horseback ride the more than 50 miles of several trails. Make your way to Peddler’s Village, with its colonial-style buildings, gardens, shopping and dining. Then there’s Ringing Rocks Park. Bring a hammer to strike the boulder field and hear the boulders ring like a bell. Do pack a lunch and enjoy Buck County’s largest waterfall.
Woodstock, New York
Kate Krause, founder of BornWild Adventures, offers the Secret Ruin Hike. You’ll hike Overlook Mountain in search of old hotel ruins, explore the fire tower where you’ll climb the tower and see magnificent views, as well as Eagles Point, where in the 1800s folks etched their name in stones. End your experience with time in the golden shrine room temple at the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. It’s four hours you’ll always remember.
Montclair, New Jersey
The grand old homes are straight out of central casting. Montclair is much more though. The South End district is charming boutiques and restaurants and home to the MLK Peace Garden. This small town is cool enough that there are spots to hear jazz, art galleries, artisan bakeries, a vibrant restaurant scene, as well as an authentic Irish pub. Anderson Park is ideal for family-friendly activities. Even if you don’t stay the night, you want to pop in the MC Hotel, with its art collection and rooftop bar with views of Manhattan.
Hudson Valley VIP Vineyard Tour, New York
This is for wine lovers. This extreme wine tasting experience from Wings Air Helicopters begins with a private helicopter flight to Torne Valley Vineyards, where helicopters conveniently land right on the property. Your adventure begins with a tour of the vineyard and grounds, including the 1875 mansion. The tour is followed by a three-course meal featuring foods from the Hudson Valley paired with wines from the vineyard. After a 2-3-hour stay at the vineyard, you’ll head back to Manhattan by helicopter and take in the city in all its glory.
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Your kids, tweens and teens will be down for Dorney Park with its more than 100 rides, shows and attractions. Learn about the ancestral inhabitants of Lehigh Valley at the Museum of Indian Culture. For the outdoorsy types, the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor spans 165 miles along historic railroads, canals and rivers. Bike, hike or stroll to your heart’s content. There’s also the Karl Stirner Arts Trail in Easton, a nearly 2-mile paved trail with 16 unique sculptors. Historic Bethlehem, nominated to the U.S. Tentative List for World Heritage Designation, also welcomes visitors to enjoy a self-guided stroll of the city’s 19 historic buildings, 20 acres of land and two National Historic Landmarks. Drink up. Lehigh Valley has more than 30 wineries, Two Rivers Brewing and Bethlehem Brew. When hunger calls go for rooftop views and New American cuisine at ZEST bar+grille in Bethlehem. One of the most-awarded restaurants in Lehigh Valley is Aman’s Artisan Indian Cuisine in Easton.
New Paltz, New York
Twin Star Orchards is the place for wood-fire Neapolitan pizza and burgers, natural ciders by the pond with live music on Saturday. The 210-acre family and dog-friendly orchards offer cider tastings. Close to the Shawangunk Mountains and the Mohonk Preserve, New Paltz is great for hiking, cycling, horseback riding and visits to Huguenot Street, a National Historic Landmark District.
East Hampton, New York
For a romantic romp, Wings Air Helicopters has a tour for you. The beach picnic experience begins with a private helicopter flight to East Hampton. Make like a bigwig when a luxury sedan arrives to take you to a nearby Hamptons beach picnic spot. A fully catered picnic is already arranged beautifully with blankets, pillows and fresh flowers. You and your lover will enjoy your favorite foods and drinks from real china and glassware while being waited on by an attendant. After a 2-hour oceanside picnic, you’ll be driven back to East Hampton Airport. Finish off the day with the helicopter flight back to Manhattan.