Weekends are meant to be man’s break from routine. But most of us end up sleeping our free hours away or indulging in activities like brunching and drinking, which become a part of the routine in itself. Whether it’s feeding the foodie in you, hiking through picturesque trails or enjoying the sounds of the woods while camping, here are some ideal New York City breaks you can go enjoy with family or friends, all within a few hours of the Big Apple. After all, getting away from routine, even if it’s just for the weekend, can bring new perspective and passion into your life.
Trail the Bear Mountain
Whether you’re looking for a weekend of absolute relaxation or one that will challenge your hiking skills, this city break is for everyone. An hour and a half’s car drive away from New York City will have you in the Bear Mountain State park, where you can get away from the hustle of the crowded city. If you can’t get hold of a car, just hop onto a bus that will drop you off right in front of the Bear Mountain Inn and Overlook Lodge. This woodland resort was built in 1915 and features traditional rooms that have been renovated to include Wi-Fi and satellite television channels on flat screen TVs. Families can rent out cottages with multiple bedrooms and common living areas.
The resort has a spa, a souvenir shop and several event spaces to host a special occasion. The resort also features a large play field, several picnic spots, swimming pool, and children’s play areas. Grab food at the tapas bar, café or the on-location restaurant. A short walk will get you to the Bear Mountain Ice Rink which is ideal for skaters but is open seasonally.
The adventurous kind can go on picturesque hiking and biking trails that take you through rolling hills and brooks. You can also hire fishing and docking boats and spend some tranquil time in the Hudson River. The Perkins Memorial Tower is a must-visit to get an enchanting view of the New York City skyline. If you want to push yourself, set out on the first section of the Appalachian Trail which begins at the Bear Mountain Inn and see how far you can get.
Treat the Foodie in You at North Fork
The North Fork is a 30-mile-long stretch of farmland with local breweries, beaches, and wineries. The place is crawling with talented NYC chefs who want to entertain ardent food lovers. Billy by the Bay is a seafood restaurant that should be at the top of your list while at North Fork. This casual joint has delectable lobster and seafood fare, complete with a Tiki bar and lively weekend entertainment.
Crabby Jerry’s is a casual open-air restaurant with a lobster specialty to die for. Next door is Claudio’s Clam Bar which has a live music scene and an array of fruity cocktails to choose from while people-watching or boat-watching. The Snowflake Ice Cream Shoppe is a traditional ice cream parlor offering old-school ice cream flavors, sometimes with a modern twist.
You can also check out the largest lavender farm in the country in East Marion called Lavender By the Bay. With an entry fee that is redeemable at the gift shop, you can walk along the lush lavender fields and calm your senses as you soak in the lovely scent of the purple flowers. The Orient Beach State Park is close by and hikers can explore the nature paths through the pristine wilderness. Bikes are available for rent if you wish to bike this trail.
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