Despite this week’s winter weather, spring is officially here. Look forward to warmer days ahead by planning your road trip out of the Big Apple. Just a short distance from the city that never sleeps, you can escape the hustle and bustle. No matter if you’re looking for a romantic trip for two, a family vacation or even a spa relaxation themed event for one, you have several options. Hop in your car (or on a Metro-North, LIRR or N.J. Transit train) for an easy weekend trip. By Erin Semple.
See Also: The 5 Best Family Events For Spring 2013
Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz, N.Y.
If you’re in the mood for a breathtaking view, you must see Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New Paltz, N.Y. A 250-room mountain top resort built in 1869, the resort overlooking its private crystal clear lake and provides activities year-round including hiking, spa amenities, golf, ice skating, lake swimming and boating. It’s another option that provides a great weekend bonding for both families or couples.
Cape May, N.J.
In Cape May, you can take a tour of the beautiful streets to see the beautiful Victorian homes and relax at a Bed & Breakfast. Take a walk down Washington Street, and you’ll wonder if the N.J. Transit train you took maybe took you back in time. The Mall offers tiny shops lined on an awesome cobblestone street. If you have a sweet tooth, check out Laura’s Fudge Shop on the corner of Ocean & Washington Street, where you’ll find old-fashioned salt water taffy and ice cream. For the romantics, you can take a Whale & Dolphin Cruise or a horse drawn carriage ride. Feeling more adventurous? You can also stop at the Historic Cape May Lighthouse or go para-sailing at East Coast Parasail.
Nyack Village, N.Y.
For a quaint break from the city, you don’t have to travel farther than the Tappan Zee Bridge. Grab a train on Metro-North’s Hudson River line out of Grand Central. It’ll take you over the river and through the woods (sort of), where you’ll find the Village of Nyack. Indulge yourself in a Victorian town filled with shops, restaurants, off-Broadway theater, galleries, antiques and, of course, a beautiful view of the Hudson River. If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat, we recommend Cafe Barcel on Main Street. It offers a great spot for a romantic dinner for two, or a family friendly brunch.
Ocean City, N.J.
The well-know summer destination Ocean City offers several non-beach activities as well. These include the Ocean City Arts Center, the Ocean City Historical Museum and the Ocean City POPS Orchestra. If you have kids, there are various parks for their entertainment, including one of the more famous Amusement parks Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, and they can also enjoy Congo Falls Golf or Pirate Island golf.
Are you a history buff? You’ll find yourself at home in Mystic. Mystic is one of the oldest shipbuilding and whaling ports in New England. Mystic was settled in 1654; its name derived from the Pequot Indian Mistuket. You’ll also find many historic homes, the Mystic Seaport, Mystic Marinelife Aquarium, and Olde Mistick Village to occupy your stay with.
Branford, a town along the Connecticut shore, is an ideal beach escape. If the weather allows, check out the back porch at Lenny’s, the town’s waterfront seafood restaurant. At the corner of suburbia, you’ll find some public beaches and trails allowing you to explore wooded hills, peaceful coves and a thriving industry of commerce. We recommend renting a cottage, exploring the woodlands, riding the trolley and, of course, a boat ride.
Greenwich provides access to coves, harbors, sailboats and, of course, yachts. As one of the state’s best symbols of wealth and leisure, you’ll enjoy a picturesque view of the New York City skyline, beaches and upscale shopping outlets. You can also visit the state’s Natural History and Art Museum, multi-million-dollar homes, and 1,500 acres of hills and woodlands as the town’s parkland.
Erin Semple is a New York City-based freelance writer.