It is officially the season of apple cider, pumpkin picking, Halloween decorations, and, sadly, midterms. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am swamped with assignments, and I am at the point of the semester where school seems very overbearing. In times like this, I find that setting aside time to get outside and explore really helps me to de-stress, recharge, and prepare myself for the hardcore studying that will soon ensue. So, if midterms are getting you down, and you just need to get away from your textbooks and laptop screen for a while, here are four places in New York that might just cheer you up and calm you down!
- Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Rockefeller State Park Preserve is the perfect place to escape to this midterm season if you are looking to relax while also seeing some stunning fall colors. The Preserve consists of 45 miles of semi-paved walking trails laid out amongst various species of trees which are just starting to change color. In the fall, the area is perfect for bird watching and is a destination where you can see the southward migration of monarch butterflies. The preserve is also home to many geological sites, waterways, and there is even an art museum on the grounds. What makes this destination even more awesome is its proximity to Sleepy Hollow. After a nice, mind clearing walk under the fall leaves, you can pop over to Sleepy Hollow to fully immerse yourself in all sorts of traditional fall festivities before heading home.
- Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park
Some fall days, it is just way too cold to spend an entire day outside, no matter how much you want or need to. The Planting Fields Arboretum offers the perfect solution to this problem, with both outdoor and indoor recreation areas. This park, located in Oyster Bay, was once a Gold Coast mansion estate. Today, entry into the park is free after Labor Day, and the mansion is open to visitors on weekdays. There are a few places to grab food onsite as well, so you can really make an entire day out of your visit. While there are numerous outdoor paths to explore, the best part of the park has to be its amazing greenhouses. They are cozy, vibrant, and extremely tranquil. If you are feeling stressed, I highly recommend visiting one of the houses, taking a seat, and surrounding yourself in the scent of hundreds of tropical flowers. It works wonders!
- Avalon Park and Preserve
Avalon Park and Preserve is one of the most zen parks on Long Island, with a lake, barn and meadow, a meditation labyrinth, and a mirror sculpture that helps one to self reflect. The park, located in Suffolk County, has more than 80 miles of trails. Avalon Park and Preserve also hosts many special events, ranging from yoga classes to stargazing. The surrounding area for the park is also very cute- I highly recommend you stop by Crazy Beans cafe for an awesome pre-park brunch!
- Dead Horse Bay
While the name might be off putting, I guarantee that this place is one of the coolest locations in New York. Dead Horse Bay was a landfill during the 19th century, and today if you walk along this Brooklyn beach you can find artifacts dating back to the turn of the century. Vintage toys, bottles, and figurines are just a few of the items you may spot on this trip. Just a heads up though that taking items from the beach is frowned upon, so make sure you bring a camera if you want to remember your findings. Additionally, if you find clutter or pollution stressful, this may not be the most ideal place for you to escape to during midterms week. However, it is a dream for scavenger hunters, and I find that the hours just slip by when I’m here as I am fixated on finding the next cool item rather than my next exam.
If you choose to check out any of these four New York locations, I hope they provide you with the same midterm relief that they have previously provided me. Make sure to check out the hyperlinks attached for these locations in order to learn about accessibility, directions, and find out any other information you may require. Good luck on your exams and assignments, and remember that escaping for a little is sometimes all you need to recharge and kickstart yourself onto the path to a successful fall semester!