Sometimes you just need a break and let’s face it, we all could use a change of scenery which helps us relax and can do wonders for our attitudes. But with work and other responsibilities getting in the way, it’s just hard to get on that plane or take that long drive. We also love to camp but sometimes it’s just not worth taking the camper on a short trip (yes remember we live on Long Island and need to go over the New York City bridges to go just about anywhere). So this is when a weekend trip getaway from NYC comes to mind.
Over the years we have taken many of these trips, so check the following list to see where you want to take your next fast getaway to. I’ve also taken many of these trips with my friends (girl’s weekend) that we look forward to every year.
1. Amish Country, Lancaster PA
Lancaster PA area, known for their Amish population where you can learn how they live without electric and anything motorized. Can you imagine living without a cellphone these days, it’s hard to believe but there is a whole community doing just that only 3 hours away from NYC.
There is so much to see and do in this area that I have written an article about the many places and things to go to when in the area. You can read it here https://ourusaadventures.com/15-things-to-do-in-amish-country-lancaster-pa/
2. Lake George, NY
There is so much to do in Lake George that you could stay a week or more so I will mention a few below and in the future will write a more detailed post just on Lake George as its one of my favorite area in New York.
The Lake, of course, is the main focus of the town. Its huge with all types of boating allowed. During warmer months the lake is active with everything from canoes to Lake George steamboat cruises, water skiing, and parasailing. My daughters had their first experience with parasailing there and I was able to watch from the boat (I could never do that since I’m afraid of heights but the girls loved it). So rent a boat, go out for a cruise and really enjoy what Lake George is all about.
Lake George is located in the southern Adirondacks and has all the advantages that they offer. Biking trails, hiking trails, horseback riding, white-water rafting, scenic drives, Lake George area offers it all.
The Great Escape
Six-Flags’ the Great Escape Amusement Park and Hurricane Harbor water park is fun for the whole family and is located 6 miles from Lake George in Queensbury, NY. Opened May to October, the park has over 135 rides and attractions with over 10 thrill rides, kiddie rides, family rides, and water park rides. The park also has festivals throughout the season such as the Octoberfest.
3. Peddlers Village PA
Peddler’s Village located in Lahaska, Bucks County (near New Hope) PA is an outdoor shopping center with one of a kind specialty shops and boutiques with everything from clothes to household products, jewelry, and home décor. This unique center has charming colonial-style buildings and beautiful gardens with 90% of the stores privately owned by small businesses.
Also on the premises are local restaurants, bakeries, a wine bar, bourbon bar, and a local brewery. Literally, there is something for everyone here.
The village is always decorated for the season and has year-round festivals on weekends. With too many to list, they include an Apple Festival, Peach Festival, Bluegrass and Blueberry Festival, Gingerbread display and competition, wedding shows and of course a Christmas festival. Check their website at https://peddlersvillage.com/ for the upcoming festivals.
I’ve been to Peddler’s Village numerous times as it is a favorite spot for my friend’s girl’s weekend getaway. But with all that it offers its great for families or for a romantic weekend.
4. Catskill Mountains, Upstate NY
When New Yorkers want to get to the mountains, the Catskills is where we go. Only 90 minutes from NYC (of course, depending on where in the Catskills) you get away from the hassle of the city to the peacefulness of the mountains and all the activities that they bring.
New Rail Trail
The Ashokan Rail Trail is scheduled to open in September 2019 and goes 11.5 miles from Basin Road in West Hurley and Rt 28A in Boiceville. The multi-use trail constructed of crushed stone will hug the northern edge of the Ashokan Reservoir offering beautiful views of the area. I’m personally excited for its opening as I am a big fan of rail-trails using them all over the country and having a cabin in Margaretville, NY makes this trail almost right in my backyard.
There is hiking all over the Catskills from easy day hikes to several day backpacking ones. There is a hike for everyone’s ability. Slide Mountain is the highest mountain in the Catskills with moderate to difficult hiking. These are only a few of my favorite places to hike in the Catskills.
north-south lake state park
North-South Lake State Park is a hiker’s paradise with many hiking trails. The Escarpment Trail takes hikers to many viewpoints such as Artist’s Rock, Sunset Rock, Newman’s ledge and Boulder Rock while Mary’s Glen Trail in less than a ½ mile roundtrip to the beautiful Ashley Falls and another short trail from the beach area to the Catskill Mountain House. There is also an easy 2.5-mile loop around the lake.
Palmer Hill is a 1.5-mile round-trip hike in Andes (right off Highway 28) that gives you spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. This is a pleasant moderate hike.
Kaaterskill Falls is a two-tiered stunning waterfall. At 260’ it’s the tallest waterfall in NYS. There are numerous trails going there but the most direct is from Rte. 23A up to a .5 steep trail along the Spruce Creek. Hiking boots or sturdy shoes should be worn on this hike. Say away from the edges as wet rocks are slippery. You can also hike to the top of the falls from North-South Lake State Park on a much longer hike but please use caution and stay behind the fences.
5 Catskill fire towers
The restored 5 Catskill Fire Towers are very popular hikes in the area. Hunter Mountain Fire Tower, Red Hill Fire Tower, Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower, Tremper Mountain Fire Tower, and Overlook Mountain all offer panoramic views of the surrounding areas. For detailed information on the Catskill Fire Towers read this article https://ourusaadventures.com/5-catskill-park-fire-tower-hikes/.
Tubing the Esopus Creek in Phoenicia is a fun and thrilling experience for all. It’s a class 2 white water river and cautious should always be taken when on any river. So it is mandatory for anyone 12 and under and recommended for all others to wear helmets, some kind of water shoe and life jackets when on the river. You can rent tubes or use your own. The Town Tinker Tube Rental is a company that rents tubes, and they provide a ‘tubing” taxi to a start point upstream then you tube back to your car. You are on the river for about 1.5 and 2 hours depending on water conditions.
5. Hershey Park, Hershey, PA
Hershey Park is an amusement and water park that has over 70 attractions including 15 roller coasters. The pay one price ticket gives you all day at the amusement park, water park, and ZooAmerica. Don’t forget to visit the Hershey characters throughout the park. It’s fun for the whole family, young and old alike.
In November and December come to experience Hersey’s Christmas Candyland with over 4 million lights all around the park. You can also visit Santa and all his reindeer and see there Christmas musical show.
Hershey’s Chocolate World is a free 30-minute tour explaining how chocolate is made beginning with the cocoa bean and ending with a free sample of Hersey chocolate. You take the tour (not a factory tour) on a slow-moving ride showing you the process of chocolate making. It’s fun for everyone.
6. Cape May, NJ
Cape May is known for its beaches and quaint towns but there are other things to do. Here is a shortlist for a weekend getaway but don’t forget to spend a little time at the beach if you’re there during the warmer months.
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Taking a dolphin and whale watching cruise is a favorite pastime around here. There are several different companies to choose from, Cape May Whale Watcher and Cape May Excursions both offer a similar experience. It’s very exciting no matter how old you are to see whales and a beautiful day on the water is always good to me.
World War II Lookout Tower
In Cape May Point State Park you can go see one of the few remaining World War II Lookout Towers, Fire Control Tower No. 23. Originally built in 1942 it was used, along with the other 14 towers at the time, for coastal defense. It has been restored and moved to this location.
Cape May Food Tours
This 3-hour guided tour stops at 6 places to try different local foods. You walk around this Victorian neighborhood and learn all about the culinary scene of the area. The tasting is a mix of savory and sweet for your enjoyment. It’s a good way to experience the charm and tastes of this community.
7. Eastern Long Island, NY
Long Island’s North Fork
The towns of Greenport, Mattituck, Southold, and Cutchogue along with some smaller towns make up the North Fork of Long Island. This area is wine country; with over 30 wineries producing award-winning wines. The area is also known for its farm stands selling the freshest picked vegetables including the best and sweetest corn. Over the years, it’s become a food lover’s paradise with not only the freshest seafood but with many farm to table restaurants.
Greenport is a quint village with an old fashion restored carousel located on the pier by the famous Claudio’s Restaurant. It offers an 8 minutes ride back in time for only $2.
There is nothing better than enjoying a day winery hopping, drinking local wine, listening to music and enjoying a great meal at the end of the day.
The Hamptons are known for its jet setting residents of the rich and famous. Walking in town you may be able to get a chance to see a celebrity or two. East Hampton and Southampton have wineries you can stop at that have music playing on the weekends. The towns are filled with high-end retailers but have that old-fashion atmosphere.
Sag Harbor is a beach community with a quaint town and a fishing dock in the center of all of it. Years ago it was known as a whaling town and many of the houses still have the “widows walk”. This community is special to me although it has changed over the years, since I spent summers there as kids with my family, mostly fishing off the town dock and Long Beach. Today the streets are lined with restaurants and bars but there are still some of the original stores there and the village has the same beach charm it always had.
8. Baltimore Inner Harbor, MD
Just 4 hours from NYC you will find Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, simply beautiful surrounded by the calm water. There are many things to see and do in the inner harbor area, here are just a few, enough to fill your weekend.
Out of all the aquariums, this is one of the best with almost 20,000 animals. They have many different exhibits including dolphin discovery, jellies invasion, living seashore, Stark Alley and Tropical Rainforest. You can spend a whole day here and still not see it all.
Maryland Science Center
The Maryland Science center has 3 levels of exhibits featuring the following:
- a plantation
- 3D movies
- Kid’s Room-many exhibits such as a hands-on kids room
- Newton’s Alley– all about power
- Life beyond earth all about planets and moons in our solar system
- Follow the blue crab– all about the Chesapeake Bay and its relationship to the Atlantic Ocean
- Dinosaur Mysteries Exhibit-has over 12 full-size dinosaurs to discover
Take a cruise around the Inner Harbor
There are many cruise companies located on the piers offering moonlit, sunset and all types of fun daily cruises around the Inner Harbor. See the Baltimore skylight from the water and enjoy a few hours relaxing.
Chessie Paddle Boats and Electric Boats
Take a ride on either the “Chessie” Monster Dragon boat (max 4 people, $20 for ½ hour)) or the Pirate Ship (max 6 people, $25 for ½ hour) and stroll around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. These electric boats operate with a lithium battery so the most ego-friendly experience you can get.
The Inner Harbor is known for its fine dining with numerous restaurants and bars all over (way too many to mention) and when your visiting remember to have famous Maryland Crab, cooked all different ways, you will never get it any fresher.
9. Washington, D.C.
Just 5 hours from NYC, Washington DC has so much to see you probably can’t do it in a weekend. Here are some free places to visit you should experience when you’re there:
- National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
- Tour the public rooms of the White House
- See the Washington Monument
- See the Jefferson Memorial
- See the Lincoln Memorial
- Go to the National Zoo
- Smithsonian Institution has 17 museums for you to explore including the Air and Space Museum, American Art Museum and the National Museum of Nation History to name a few
- Walkthrough the US Capitol Building
- Visit the Library of Congress
- Tour the National Mall
- See how money is made on the tour of Bureau of Engraving and Printing
10. Mystic, CT
Mystic Aquarium is a research facility as well as a tourist attraction displaying whales, penguins and sea lions as well as a 30,000-gallon tank with all types of fish from around the world. They also have many exhibits such as a coral display; you can even touch a shark!
Mystic Seaport Museum
Tour the Mystic Seaport Museum located on the Mystic River. It is home to America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. They also have three other large vessels for you to see where you can board two of them. They have a water tour (extra fee) and also a working village of yesteryear. They offer kids activities such as candle-making and building a wooden boat.
11. Newport, RI
Newport RI is a seaside city on the Aquidneck Island which was the home of America’s Cup (yachting tournament) for many years. A sailing community, you can see the beautiful yachts in the harbor while eating dining in the many seafood restaurants.
Known for its mansions during the Gilded Ages when years ago the wealthy would make it their summertime home. You can take tours of these homes which are now museums. The Breakers is probably the most famous one of all.
Is a 3.5 mile walk along the Atlantic Ocean with beautiful views and a cool sea breeze.
St Mary’s Church
Located in the city of Newport, RI, this small church was where John F Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in September 1953 when he was a United States Senator. We went to the church and were able to see where this beloved couple wed.
12. Block Island
Block Island may not be the easiest place on this list to visit but it’s worth the trip as it feels like you are a world away. You can only get there by ferry. The Port Judith Rhode Island ferry is the only one operating year-round and takes cars to the island. In addition, high-speed passenger-only ferries operate seasonally from Montauk, NY and New London, CT.
Once there you can rent a bike, mopeds or smart cars to get around. The island also has a taxi fleet. New Shoreham is the main town. You can walk this small town and explore its quaint shops or search for the perfect restaurant for dinner. There is only one market in town where you can purchase sandwiches. There are choices for ice cream and desserts too!
Block Island is shaped like a pork chop with the narrow part at the north end. Sachem Pond and the North End are places to visit. Most of the north end is preserved land with marked trails. Walk along the beaches to look for seals. This is also a great spot for stargazing on a clear night.
The south end is home to South Light. If conditions are clear you can see across to Montauk Lighthouse which is 15 miles away and the 5-turbine wind farm that supplies all of the Island’s electricity.
Block Island is a birding paradise, especially in fall, as the island is a stop-over for migrating birds. The numerous freshwater ponds (over 300 on the island) attract waterfowl and shorebirds. You can also see and variety flowers including goldenrods and wildflowers.
Block Island is a getaway for you if you truly want to relax and take in the quiet and peaceful beauty that this island has to offer.
( I’ve never personally been to Block Island and I want to thank my sister, Rosemary Valente, for sharing with us all this information on one of her favorite getaways.)
13. Finger Lake Region, NY
The Finger Lakes, located in central New York, is 11 long and narrow lakes region known for its waterfalls and wineries.
The Finger Lakes is an area of abundant waterfalls forming from the Ice Age where glaciers carved out the lakes, hills, and waterfalls. Through the many maintained trails throughout the New York State Pars, you are able to explore some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the northeast and around the world. Since they are so many in this area here is a list of only some of the beautiful waterfalls.
Taughannock Falls State Park has the largest vertical drop waterfall in the area at 215’.
Letchworth State Park has a 7-mile scenic gorge trail with 3 major waterfalls and cliffs as high as 600’. This park is rated the #1 state park in the nation by USA Today.
Buttermilk Falls State Park has a series of cascades and rapids. The base of the falls has a large natural pool where you can swim.
Watkins Glen State Park has a series of 19 waterfalls along the Gorge Trail and was voted the #3 state park in the nation by USA Today.
With over 100 wineries in the area, the Finger Lakes is the Napa Valley of the northeast. Centered around Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga lakes, the area specializes in white wines like Rieslings and Gewurztraminer and cool-climate reds like Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. The steady temperatures of the lakes help the grapes to have a longer growing season making it possible to make certain kinds of wine.
The wineries all have tastings for a small fee which is usually refunded if you purchase wine. They are open year-round and no reservations or appointments are required.
14. Providence, RI
Downtown Providence RI is known for its WaterFire Weekends. I went there for a girls weekend with friends but WaterFire can be enjoyed by all. It’s a great event put on by volunteers where they light pales of wood on the river going through downtown. Every event is different as it has different sponsors. We went in October to the breast cancer one where special events took place all weekend in awareness of breast cancer month.
No private boats are allowed on the water during WaterFire but boat tours are offered by two approved companies. La Gondola, which is the boat we took, has authentic Venetian gondola just like they are in Venice Italy. There is a maximum of 6 people per ride. Providence River Boat Company has open boats accommodating 18 passengers at a time and is a more affordable choice.
For information on when WaterFire weekends will occur please visit their website at https://waterfire.org/.
15. Boston, MA
Fenway Ball Park
On a lot of people’s bucket list, Fenway Park has been the home of the Red Sox since 1912. You can take a tour of the park to see the 37’ “Green Monster” in leftfield and learn all about the history and the players over the years. This walking tour is one hour long and you can make reservations online up to 30 days prior. Nothing says Boston like a Red Sox game so if they are in town make sure to put it on your itinerary.
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile walking tour that passes some of the most iconic and historic places in Boston. It’s a self-guided tour beginning at Boston Commons and ends across the river at Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution. You can get a map and fellow the bricks throughout the trail learning about American history as you pass locations such as the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, Samuel Adams and John Hancock’s burial sites, Paul Revere’s House, Faneuil Hall, and Quincey Market.
Quincy Market opened in 1826 and is made up of 3 historic building with Quincy Market in the center and South Market and North Market to either side. Quincy Market today is a world-famous marketplace where you can find shopping, eateries, pushcarts and street performers. You can just about buy anything here making this a popular place for locals and tourist alike.
16. PHILADEPHIA, PA
Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market was established in 1893 and is one of the oldest farmers markets in the United States. It’s a foodie’s paradise as it houses many vendors from around Pennsylvania selling their goods as well as numerous places to eat. You can literally get just about anything you want to eat at this market. You can buy just about everything you need to prepare a meal with all fresh ingredients grown and made locally.
The market has a large Amish selection including scrapple, apple dumplings, and handmade pretzels. And of course, you can get that famous Philly Cheesesteak.
You can’t go to Philadelphia without seeing the Liberty Bell. The National Park Service operates the area and there is no admission fee. There is also a 10-minute video all about the bell and information about its history.
Hop-On, Hop-Off City Tour
A great way to be introduced to Philadelphia is with the Hop-On, Hop-Off City Tour. It goes to the top 27 places to see including the Liberty Bell, US Mint, Rocky statue at the famous “steps” at the Museum of Art, Reading Terminal Market and the Philadelphia Zoo to name a few. We took this tour and found it very easy to just get off the bus wherever we wanted to stop. Buses then pick you up again to go to the next place and run every 20 minutes on most days so you aren’t waiting that long.
Eat a Philly cheesesteak
No visit to Philadelphia would be complete without enjoying a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich. You can get these famous sandwiches all over Philly and is a cold hoagie filled with thin beefsteak and topped with melted cheese with an option for grilled onions. The ordinal one which was invented in the 1930s by Pat Olivieri had lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise on it.
17. Rehoboth Beach, DE
Rehoboth Beach is a lively beach community with a boardwalk stretching over a mile along the beach. It’s lined with shops, hotels, restaurants, bars, and amusements. From miniature golf to summer concerts at the bandstand, Rehoboth beach is an area that attracts young and old alike. It’s a smaller version of Ocean City. If you looking for a beach weekend this is your getaway.
18. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, CT
Operated by the Mohegan Tribe in Uncasville Ct, Mohegan Sun is a huge casino on 240 acres of reservation land offering all types of gambling at this facility. On the property, there is also a 12,000 seat arena home of the New England Black Wolves, a National Lacrosse team and the Connecticut Sun, a National Women’s Basketball team. In addition, there is a large shopping mall, a 350 seat Cabaret Theatre, the 300-seat Wolf Den and meeting and convention center.
Foxwoods is another casino only 10 miles away from Mohegan Sun, in Ledyard, CT is owned and operated by another Indian Tribe, the Mashantucket. With 2 grand hotels, theaters, and all kinds of gambling with 6 casinos including over 5500 slot machines it’s one of the largest casinos in the northeast.
If gambling and casino life is your relaxation, this is the area for a great weekend.
19. Burlington, VT
Burlington Bike Path
Burlington Bike Path is an 8-mile paved multi-use path that runs along the Winooski River with views of the Adirondacks mountains to the west and connects many Lake Champion shorelines and towns along the way. This path was the former railroad bed making it flat and easy for all to enjoy.
Waterfront Park, located along the bike path, is a large downtown park which sponsors many festivals through the year including food and music festivals.
Burlington Farmers Market
This farmers market features Vermont made products such as maple syrup and has countless vendors with homemade arts and crafts available for sale. All during the year, they have music and festivals and so much more. It’s called the “Cadillac” of farmer’s markets. It’s also a great place to grab some lunch.
20. Cooperstown, NY
Cooperstown, NY is a quaint village located in central upstate New York. Known for the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum but also has so many other things to do and see.
Baseball Hall of Fame
Come visit to see the history of our country’s national pastime, baseball. See all the famous players who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame and the many exhibits (uniforms, rings, bats, and balls) that made this sport what it is today.
Cooperstown Beverage Trail
The Cooperstown Beverage Trail is a 37-mile trail in Otsego County featuring 9 beverage making stops including breweries and wineries. Tastings are available at all locations and you can take a tour at of the brewhouse, lagering cellar and packaging hall at Brewery Ommegang.
The trail includes the following establishments:
- Brewery Ommegang
- Fly Creek Cider Mill
- Butternuts Beer & Ale
- Bear Pond Winery
- Cooperstown Brewing Company
- Rustic Ridge Winery
- Council Rock Brewery
- Cooperstown Distillery
- Pail Shop Vineyards
The Farmer’s Museum is one of the oldest living history museums in the United States. You can see craft demonstrations, farm exhibits and hands-on activities all about agriculture. They also offer a horse-drawn wagon ride as well as farm animals.
As you can see, there are many weekend getaways from NYC and the tri-state area. It’s important to get some downtime and relax and enjoy life. I hope this list has given you some ideas for your next adventure!
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