If you’ve planned a week or more in New York City and want to take a day trip out of the Five Boroughs, here are some ideas. For some of these destinations, you will need to rent a car, but most can be reached by train or bus from:
- Grand Central Station (Metro-North commuter railroad)
- 125th Street and Park Avenue Station (Metro-North commuter railroad)
- Penn Station (Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad)
- Port Authority Bus Terminal
Here are some favorite destinations:
Hudson Valley Historic Sites — most of these can be reached by Metro-North train to Tarrytown. There are also bus tours that take in multiple sites. Of the sites mentioned above, these are favorites of mine:
- Rockefeller State Park Preserve — easy hiking trails, and the Stone Barns restaurant
- Stone Barns Restaurant at Blue Hills Farm
- Kykuit: The Rockefeller Estate
- Philipsburg Manor — great for families
- Union Church, Pocantico Hills — beautiful Chagall stained glass windows
Two delightful towns that can be reached by Metro-North train are Beacon and Cold Spring. Your train snakes along the Hudson River and affords beautiful views. In Cold Spring you’ll have access to excellent hiking trails. Beacon is the home of the Dia Art Foundation, an enormous industrial building housing an impressive collection of large-scale modern art and sculpture. Both villages have charming main streets and lovely shops and restaurants. No car needed.
NY NJ Trail Conference — If you like to hike, this organization will help you plan your day, with info about trails, transportation, and maps. If you use their services, please consider a donation. The Conference organizes volunteer groups to maintain our wonderful network of trails around New York. They have played a critical role after major snowstorms, Hurricane Sandy, etc. If you don’t have time to purchase maps from them online, visit one of our outdoor gear stores, such as Eastern Mountain Sports or REI.
Storm King Art Center — outdoor sculpture garden
Jones Beach State Park — New York has some of the best sandy beaches on the East Coast USA
Fire Island is a favorite location for summer homes for New Yorkers, but it also boasts the Fire Island National Seashore run by our National Park Service. There are nature trails through marshes and dunes, as well as a broad, sandy beach. Accessible by Long Island Railroad and a short ferry ride.
The Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens at Pepsico Headquarters in Purchase, NY — I try to visit this lovely park once a year. The sculpture collection is outstanding and the atmosphere so relaxing. Pack a lunch; there are picnic tables and benches under the trees and beside the pond.
Interested in architecture? Head to Connecticut. Take Metro-North to New Haven for a guided or self-guided tour of the architecture of Yale University. Yale is known for both its traditional campus and the work of modernists such as Louis I. Kahn, Eero Saarinen, Philip Johnson, Cesar Pelli, and Frank Gehry. Closer to NYC, in New Canaan, tours of the Philip Johnson Glass House and grounds can be arranged between May and November. Tours begin at a visitor’s center in the village of New Canaan, opposite the Metro-North train station, so no car is needed. We had a good lunch at Rosie’s on Elm Street before our Glass House visit last fall. A terrific way to spend a day in the country!