School breaks are coming! Don’t let the time off sneak up on you with no plans. Torly Travels can plan your last mini minute trips as well as your full-on vacations. In part I, we feature short trip ideas lasting either one full day or 1-2 overnights. In part II, we feature 3-5 day excursions and 7-10 day trip ideas. Here are a few unique ideas that you may not have considered for your short adventures.
**For the purposes of these two posts, lets assume you live in the Northeast, it’s winter and you want to stay in the USA.
If you have just one day:
- Take a leisurely trip up the Hudson River on Metro North to Beacon, NY and visit the Dia- Beacon. A modern art museum on the banks of the Hudson River in what used to be the Nabisco box printing factory. Beacon is a quaint town to walk around in and have a meal before you return. No car necessary. There’s a cute little blog on all the happenings in Beacon here. Pro tip: For the best views, ride the train on the left side going north and the right side going south.
- Coney Island and the NY Aquarium – Great for all ages, there is plenty to do in either winter or summer. The Boardwalk, the Aquarium (including the 4-D theater) and Nathan’s Hot Dogs are open all year round and Luna Park is open from Easter to Halloween. And you can get there with your Metro Card in about an hour from midtown. Pro tip: The worlds first frozen custard was created in Coney Island. Rita’s on 15th and Surf is one of the last places you can get this yummy treat while you are there.
- Hudson, NY is filled with historic buildings, antique shops, restaurants, and loads of delightful boutiques. It’s a two hour hop from Penn Station on Amtrak (or an overnight in a charming B&B). As you arrive at Hudson station, explore the Hudson River waterfront before taking the short walk into town for the day. The NY Times has a great reveiw here.
- Hike Kaaterskill Falls : You need a car for this one but its worth it. A two hour drive up I87 to the Catskill mountains gets you a beautiful day hiking in the woods (works for winter or summer) and ends at the tallest two tier waterfall in New York. The relatively easy 2 mile hike (there and back) has a 260 ft waterfall as it’s payoff. Pro tip: The walk from the parking area to the trailhead can feel like a game of Frogger. Take it slow and be careful.
*All photos mine except for the top left shot of main street Hudson, NY which was taken from the NY Times review of Hudson in July, 2016.
If you have one or two overnights:
- Skytop Lodge is a fave of our family. We have been in both summer and winter and have even spent 2 New Years weekends there. Located in the Pocono mountains about 2 hours from NYC, it’s a great little break. There are so many activities to keep you busy, 2 days might not even be enough. From dog sledding in the winter to a tree top course in the summer, there is something here for everyone. Men need a jacket in the main dining room on Saturday nights. Pro tip: The sweet potato fries in the Tap Room are the best we’ve ever had!
- Mystic, CT is a town I have returned to for quick little getaways for decades. Three hours from NYC, you can get there by Amtrak or straight up Highway 95. An aquarium, a museum, a seaport, and a quaint town are just a few of the activities available. Olde Mistick Village has all the touristy boutique shopping you could desire. Just 10 miles from Mystic are two beautiful top notch casinos if you want to try your luck at the crap tables (hmm, hmm…we may have done some damage there!) Pro tip: Watch the 80’s movie Mystic Pizza before you go, and stop in at the restaurant there on Main Street.
- Great Barrington, Mass. – while there are many places to ski in the northeast, we love the Berkshires because they are easy to get to and there are things to do for the non-skiers among us. Great Barrington is a lively, quaint town with lots of fun shops and restaurants. The Red Lion Inn, a few miles away in Stockbridge, is our go-to in this part of the world and has been an inn and tavern since the late 1700’s. Fun Fact: While the red lion symbolizes the British Crown, the green tail indicates sympathy for the cause of independence during the Revolutionary War.
A mecca for artists and writers, Stockbridge is also home to Alice’s Restaurant and the Norman Rockwell Museum. Pro tip: Big group or small, after a full day of skiing, reserve a spot for dinner at Shiro for hibachi where they cook the food (and entertain you) while you watch!