New Yorkers are tough cookies through and through; we thrive off of the hustle and bustle of our glorious city. The very things that make us love our city also tends to be the things that drive us mad during the summer season. The heat and humidity in the city, honking cabs, jammed subway cars (to the point where you feel like a sardine) and dare I say…the tourists! This is enough to drive anyone a little crazy. With that being said, the key to a great summer in the city is to escape lol. The city only has so many rooftop pools and bars so you can imagine how crowded they get on a sunny day.
The beauty of living in such a big city like Manhattan is that the accessibility to public transportation is seamless. Trains, planes and automobiles are at your disposal for a quick and easy day trip from the city. I have a car, so for me, it’s easiest to drive rather than take public transportation (mainly because of my kids and the gear that comes along with having young kids). But pre-kids, I was all about leaving from Grand Central Station. Grand Central is one of my favorite places in the city, not only because it is breathtaking but also because it is conveniently located in the heart of the city. There are numerous places to visit that are just a hop and a skip away from Manhattan. I don’t think people realize how many beautiful places are within such close proximity to the city. Whether you are looking to spend a day at sea, drink at a vineyard, or scale some mountains, you are bound to find numerous places that are ideal for day trips. If you are in need of a day trip where you can get away, relax, unwind and clear your head, here are a few of my personal favorite places.
This beautiful town is located on the North Shore of Long Island and is about an hour drive or train right from NYC. Although it is a small town, there is a lot to see and do, making it the ideal day trip and perfect escape from the city. If you are looking to spend some time by the water, you can either visit the Waterfront Center or Oyster Bay Marine Center. Waterfront Center is ideal for enjoying a day of sailing on smooth waters whereas the Marine Center is perfect for boating. If you are looking to explore the historical side of Oyster Bay, make sure to stop by the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, an incredible preserved museum of Theodore Roosevelt. This is know as his summer “White House” and is located on 80 acres of trails, woodlands and pastures. The Planting Fields Arboretum is another incredible historic state park that is worth visiting. It includes the Coe Hall historic House Museum, which is essentially an arboretum that covers over 400 acres of Upper Brookville, located in Oyster Bay. The main gardens are beautiful and remind me a bit of Versailles (with a much shorter travel time and cost).
Tarrytown, New York is another lovely city to visit that is very close to NYC. I highly suggest spending a day at the Castle Hotel and Spa, which is part of the Hudson Valley Hotels. This hotel has gained its reputation as being a world-class destination for a relaxing and romantic getaway with incredible cuisine and hospitality. During the summer, this is the ideal place to spend the day, whether it be relaxing by the pool or spending the day at the spa. Did I mention it’s only an hour drive outside of NYC? This is the ideal luxury day or weekend escape!
The North Fork
This is such a lovely getaway that is underrated (in my opinion). There is so much to see and do as it is home to numerous 1950’s motels that have been transformed into retro boutique hotels. The North Fork is highly known for it’s incredible wine tours and tastings. My personal favorite is Croteaux, a family-run vineyard that makes rose all day (and only rose). Their tasting barn is incredible and the garden is beyond Instagram worthy! Another winery I enjoy visiting is Coffee Pot Cellars which is a small production winery owned by the sweetest couple, Laura Klahre and Adam Suprenant. Besides making and selling an array of delicious artisanal wines, they also have handcrafted lip balm, honey and beeswax candles all made by Laura who also happens to be a beekeeper! The drive to from NYC to The North Fork is a bit further than some of the other places I have mentioned but believe me, it is 100% worth the under 3 hour drive. The town itself is filled with delicious restaurants and numerous vineyards that will leave you feeling rested and relaxed (after a glass or two).
If you are in need of a day of luxury shopping outside of NYC, The Woodbury Commons Outlets is the place to go. The drive is about an hour and a half outside NYC but you can find some of the best designer stores with incredible deals. If you are looking to buy fantastic high-end clothing and accessories at bargain prices, this is where you need to go. This is a day made easy! Woodbury offers direct luxury bus shuttles form the city right to the outlets. Don’t worry about lunch! When it comes to food, there are quite a few fab places to eat; the ideal time to take a break, refuel and get ready for some more shopping.
Last but certainly not least, my favorite place to visit within driving distance is The Hamptons. It goes without saying that The Hamptons is one of the most luxurious places to visit outside NYC. Although most people end up going for a weekend, it’s just as easy to spend the day there. You can either drive, take the Hampton Jitney (super comfortable) or the Long Island Railroad, all of which leave at various times during the day. I love the quaint vibe of The Hamptons, as it’s rich in history and culture with a small town vibe. The beach is beautiful and there is always an activity going on, whether it is in South Hampton, East Hampton, Sag Harbor or Bridgehampton. If you are looking for an unforgettable getaway, The Hamptons is the ideal place to visit.
I know what you are thinking…there are too many places to visit! I have lived in NYC for many years and am still amazed to see what the city and surrounding areas have to offer. Living in NYC can get a little hectic so day trips are the ideal way to balance this crazy yet wonderful lifestyle. I think it’s time for you to make a decision and start visiting some of the places I suggested. It is still summer so I say start at the top of the list and work your way down. Each place I recommended is truly special in its own way and I guarantee you will enjoy yourself!