From Oyster Bay to the Catskills, here are a few of the best destinations for those looking to get away from city life for a day.
A popular day trip on Long Island’s North Shore is Oyster Bay, home to Sagamore Hill, Theodore Roosevelt’s former summer home. After touring the estate and its adjoining visitors center, have lunch in the village’s Canterbury Ales Oyster Bar & Grill, or head east another six miles to Cold Spring Harbor. Here you’ll find a number of other good lunch spots, along with attractive shops and art galleries, a fish hatchery, and The Whaling Museum—all interesting places to while away the afternoon.
One of the best day trips in the Hudson Valley is Tarrytown, home to a collection of mansions that once belonged to famous men, among them Washington Irving (Sunnyside), John D. Rockefeller (Kykuit), and Jay Gould (Lyndhurst). Visit one of the mansion museums in the morning and another in the afternoon, and have lunch in one of the village’s many good restaurants.
If time permits, make a stop at Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground, where Washington Irving found inspiration for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, or Union Church of Pocantico Hills, holding nine stunning stained-glass windows by artist Marc Chagall. Splurge for dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the region’s favorite farm-to-table restaurant. Plan in advance, though; reservations are always needed.
West Point and Storm King
Another good choice for a Hudson Valley day trip is West Point, perched on a cliff at a bend in the Hudson River, and nearby Storm King Art Center.
Spend the morning at The U.S. Military Academy, where you’ll find a fascinating museum of military history, a visitors center, and bus tours of the campus. Have lunch at the academy’s Thayer Hotel.
In the afternoon, take in Storm King Art Center, a stunning mountainside sculpture park featuring the work of world-famous artists spread out over 500 acres with great views. The center is open from early April to late November.
New Paltz to the Catskills
Fall is an especially good time to make a day trip to the Catskills; the foliage here is often spectacular. On your way north, stop in New Paltz, founded by French Huguenots in the late 1600s. The main sight here is Huguenot Street, known as “the oldest street in America with its original buildings.” Official walking tours are offered May-October. New Paltz also holds many good lunch spots.
After lunch, continue north on Routes 213 and 209, past the scenic villages of High Falls, Stone Ridge, and Hurley. A bit farther north, pick up Route 28, which will bring you into Catskill Park. Take a scenic drive on Route 28A around Ashokan Reservoir, if time allows, and then head east to the artsy village of Woodstock, home to numerous shops, galleries, and good restaurants.
From the village green, drive to the top of Overlook Mountain to explore the Tibetan monastery, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, or take the steep but well-cleared carriage trail opposite the monastery to enjoy impressive views.