Whether you live near the city or you live in more rural areas, the need to connect to nature is instinct. There are so many hidden places waiting to be explored outdoors if you know where to find them. Especially right now due to the state of the current pandemic, the places we can go for entertainment are limited. However, as history has shown we have the capacity to adapt to this situation. Reconnecting to nature may be the solution we’re looking for when wanting to feel a sense of excitement and adventure in our daily lives during this unprecedented time. Certain outdoor activities allow us to have fun while following COVID-19 regulations so that we can continue to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Going on adventures helps us to grow and see new sceneries. It opens our minds to a different perspective and allows us to reflect on what isn’t always right in front of us. Technology can be useful, but it has deterred us from taking the time to develop our individuality. It leads us to focus on issues that don`t always matter. Sometimes going on a road trip, whether long or short, is exactly the kind of change we`re craving. I feel most myself when I`m in nature exploring its vast beauty. It humbles me to be a part of something bigger than myself. I grew up learning more outside than I ever did being in a classroom. My creative writing teacher from high school put it best in one of her famous sayings, “Always have two fingers on the pulse of the world.” So what are you waiting for?
- Kip`s Castle
Location: 22 Crestmont Road Verona, NJ 07044
Kip`s Castle, located near Montclair State University, is a 9,000 square foot mansion that overlooks the New York City skyline. The property spans eleven acres and is a great photo opportunity if you`re looking for a landscape filled with opulence and grandeur.
Originally built in 1905 by Frederic Kip, it had served as a private residence for a while and since seen various eccentric owners. In 2006, it was sold to Essex County Parks System and became open to the public.
- Awosting Falls
Location: Rochester, NY 12525
Admission: $10 per car
Awosting Falls is a waterfall located in Minnewaska State Park and takes a 60-foot plunge into Lake Minnewaska. Take a hike along Sunset Carriageway Trail to view the magnificent waterfall or any of the other hiking trails offered at the park.
- The Pagoda
Location: 98 Duryea Dr, Reading, PA 19602
The Pagoda is a landmark that definitely seems out of place for Pennsylvania which is why so many people are fascinated by the structure. Pagodas are towers usually found in Asia and are used for religious functions. It was commissioned by business Mongol William Abbot Witman, Sr. as a way to bring more tourism to Reading. In 1908, it was built by Charles and James Matz on the slope of Mount Penn.
- Paulinskill Viaduct
Location: Columbia, NJ 07832
The Paulinskill Viaduct is an abandoned railroad bridge over the Paulinskill River. Beneath the rail bed are various step ladders that allow you to travel through the inside of the viaduct. Between the arches, lies hollowed towers leading into rooms filled with graffiti that attracts explorers from all over. In 1908, it was built by the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad; and for a brief time was the largest structure of its kind. The towers stand 115 feet above the Paulinskill River.
- Cragsmoor Stone Church
Location: 280 Henry Rd, Cragsmoor, NY 12420
The Stone Church in Cragsmoor was designed by Frederick Dellenbaugh in the late 1800s. Sitting on the Shawangunk Ridge at 2,000 feet in altitude, the scope of its view spans 50 miles. Its gothic stone, stained glass windows, and scenic views create a serene feeling for meditation and reflection. You could see out for miles and the stretching mountains are endless. Looking at it can feel like coming to meet the ocean at the shore and waiting for it to pull you into its waves. It can also feel like you’re about to fall off the face of the Earth.
- Longwood Gardens
Location: 1001 Longwood Rd, Kennett Square, PA 19348
Longwood Gardens is a botanical garden located outside of Philadelphia. Its horticulture displays span 1,000 acres and consists of 11,000 varieties of plants. The world-renowned institution was established in 1906 by Pierre du Pont.
- Sandy Hook Fort Hancock
Location: Sandy Hook, NJ 07732
Fort Hancock is a former United States Army fort built in 1857 by Robert E. Lee. It features two rows of identical, colonial-style houses on each side of a street. The shore can be seen from this spot in the background which makes it a popular destination for creative photos
- Storm King Art Center
Location: 1 Museum Rd, New Windsor, NY 12553
Storm King is an outdoor sculpture gallery spanning 500 acres tucked away in Hudson Valley of New York. Its mission since it was established in 1960 is to connect nature, art, and discovery all under one location. As you stroll through its vast terrain, you stumble upon large scales of astonishing displays waiting to be uncovered.
- Penn’s Cave
Location: 222 Penns Cave Rd, Centre Hall, PA 16828
Penn`s Cave is part of Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park and offers a 45-minute boat ride through the watery cavern. The tour features sparkling stalactites and stalagmites inside the only cave in Pennsylvania registered as a historical site.
- Sunflower Mazes
Location: NJ, NY, PA
Admission: around $10
Sunflower mazes can be found in most places especially in the Tri-State area. Wandering through a patterned sunflower maze is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. You can pose for photogenic pictures in the floral backdrop and at the end of your visit purchase a myriad of colorful sunflowers to take home with you.