If last summer marked the moment I fell head over heels for NYC, the summer of 2015 was marked by my urge to explore outside the city’s confines. For reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, I’m not fully embracing my urban domain, and have felt a calling toward greener pastures.
That urge has led Ayaz and I to hop in Tootie (our car), and hit the road at random on mini day trip adventures.
My favorite oasis outside the city is, hands down, the Hudson Valley. Nearly anywhere you choose to travel in the region is beautiful: lush, green (at least in summer), filled with artsy, quirky towns, and bee-you-ti-ful nature walks and vistas along the Hudson River.
We’ve driven up there many times over the years, but this summer, decided to hit a few new-to-us spots. First up, Bear Mountain, where we took some tiny hikes, gawked at sweeping river views, and rented a paddle boat on the lake.
With our outdoors fun complete, and early evening approaching, we decided to spend the night, and found a super cheap room at The Thayer Hotel, right in the heart of West Point’s campus.
I had never been to West Point, and man! I hadn’t realized what an enormous, magnificent campus it had. The Thayer Hotel is historic, and also pretty grand. One unexpected reality did pop up: each of the hotel’s rooms is dedicated to a former graduate. Ours was a gent who had served as a diplomat to the Vatican, among other impressive government duties.
That’s cool, but hanging from the walls around my bed where photos of him with the Pope, George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Ronald Reagan, and others. It’s fair to say their presence did not set a romantic mood.
My other top day trip was a jaunt out to Storm King, the sprawling outdoor sculpture museum.
If you’ve never been, and you’re in the area, by all means — go, go, go! The sculptures are mind-boggling, and the setting — sweeping hills, forests, trails, and ponds — is gorgeous. We rented bikes to explore the grounds. Pro tip: If you do rent wheels, get ready: there are some SERIOUS hills.
If you’ve got any suggestions on other awesome day trips from NYC, let’s hear ’em!