New Yorkers know that they live in the most exciting city in the world, but we often forget that other places can only enhance our city experience. Within the bubble of our hectic city lives, it’s easy to feel like literally nowhere else matters, but in fact, there are places that you can go to for just a few hours in order to enhance your perspective on the city you love to call home. These places are all either a subway, train ride, or bus trip away, and they’re all worth a meaningful visit.
Amtrak and Metro-North are truly wonderful services, and they can take you from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan to some of the most beautiful small towns in the entire country in less than an hour. The town of Poughkeepsie, located on the shore of the Hudson River, is home to Vassar College and Marist College, as well as the FDR Presidential Library and stunning natural wonders. Once you’re up there, you can enjoy a small town lunch followed by a beautiful walk across the Poughkeepsie Bridge, where you’re bound to get some of your best Instagram shots of the semester.
Long Island, NY
You may have heard of the famous Hampton beaches from “Gossip Girl” or “The Great Gatsby”, but Long Island actually has a lot to offer. If you’re the kind of person who needs to breathe the smell of ocean waters every once in awhile, the Jones Beach State Park or Fire Island National Seashore might be the right places for you. You can get here by hopping on the Long Island Rail Road from Grand Central, which is both affordable and convenient.
The Bronx, NY
This is *technically* cheating, because the Bronx is one of the boroughs that make up New York City, but I am shocked at the number of people I meet in Manhattan who have never made their way up there. You can take the subway or MTA to visit the magical New York Botanical Gardens, Yankee Stadium, and The Bronx Museum of the Arts. These are all incredible destinations, and definitely give Manhattan a run for her money.
If you’ve never been to Philly and are dying for a sneak peak, then you’re in luck, because two of our HCTNS team members will be there this weekend and will be recording their adventures on our @hctns Instagram account. The city of brotherly love is teeming with history at every corner, and might also be the backdrop for some of your favorite movies (think “Rocky”, “The Sixth Sense”, or “Creed”). I especially recommend the Rodin Sculpture Garden, which is free to the public and serves as an amazing getaway for an afternoon stroll or read.
Coney Island, NY
Again, cheating just a little bit because getting to Coney Island does require a little more planning than most other places in NYC, but it’s totally worth it! The historic beach and amusement park used to be one of New York’s hottest places to see and be seen, and is still one of the top tourist destinations in Brooklyn. In fact, Woody Allen’s newest film, “Wonder Wheel”, is based on the legendary ferris wheel found on the Boardwalk. Although it usually fills up during the summer, it’s literally never a bad time to play some classic carnival games in a historic spot.
Where are my “Gilmore Girls” fans at? Kent, Connecticut is a tiny town about an hour from NYC, but it’s also home to the official Gilmore Girls Fan Fest. The festival took place in late October, but the town has Stars Hollow vibes all year round. If the late 90s show isn’t your thing, you can also enjoy refreshing walks through the Pond Mountain National Area and the adorable historic downtown.
TBH, I’m kind of poking fun at every New Yorker who talks about New Jersey as if it’s a million miles away with this one. You can literally see Hoboken from the West side of NYC, and all it takes is a couple of stops on the PATH to get there, but there is so much to see. You can enjoy views of Manhattan from some pretty spectacular waterfront parks, as well as *much* cheaper prices for food that’s just as good (if not better). Plus, if you’re a “Cake Boss” fan, you can visit the famous Carlo’s Bakery on Washington Street for a chance to take Buddy Valastro’s iconic baked goods.
[Feature Image by Unsplash]