Bohemia Blog by Agent Asher Jacob Ben-Or
Let’s face it- when we live in NYC, most of us are trading space in our homes for proximity to all that the city has to offer. Although as New Yorkers we consciously make this decision, the truth is that living in a 450 square foot apartment can sometimes feel confining, even under the best of circumstances. I think we can all relate to the feeling of needing to get out of town every so often to re-calibrate and get a change of perspective. No offense NY, but sometimes you drive us batshit crazy.
As a lifetime resident of Upper Manhattan, I’ve found that NYC is close to so many great destinations where you can enjoy the great outdoors, camp, swim in the ocean, hike, go fishing and more. Some of the best hiking on the East Coast is only a 90-minute ride north of Manhattan on the Metro North! Having these options available to refresh and unwind has really improved my relationship with city life, and I want to make sure that you know about them!
#1: Cold Spring
Located less than 90 minutes from Upper Manhattan by car, this gorgeous town in the Hudson Valley boasts some of the best hiking in the Northeast, as well as a lovely and charming downtown area with cute shops, restaurants, and lots of history. You’ll find the best hiking spots in Hudson Highland State Park, which is home to Breakneck Ridge and Mount Taurus. These mountains have incredibly scenic and breathtaking views of the Hudson River and nearby mountain ranges. There are various trails available for great hiking, some suited to people of all ages and some for more serious hikers. Cold Spring is a great place to visit for a day trip, or better yet, rent a room at a local hotel or stay in an Airbnb for a long weekend.
#2:Bear Mountain State Park
Under an hour away from the city by car in the Hudson Highlands, Bear Mountain is one of the most convenient and easy to reach recreation destinations from NYC. Bear Mountain State Park has you covered with amazing trails to hike on, peaceful rivers to fish in, a zoo, ice-skating rink, and boat rentals. Come check out Bear Mountain and be back home by dinner time, or rent a room at the Bear Mountain Inn if you’re looking for a slightly longer getaway.
#3: The Hamptons
Most of us have at least heard of the Hamptons, a set of small towns and hamlets by the beach in eastern Long Island. The area has a reputation for splendor and luxury (which you can totally find there if that’s what you’re looking for!) but it’s also very possible to experience the Hamptons on a budget by using Airbnb, biking to the beach to avoid expensive parking costs, and avoiding the tempting but rather costly restaurants that are prominent in the area. The Hamptons is home to some of the best beaches in the country and is only about a 2-hour drive from Manhattan with good traffic. You can also reach the Hamptons by taking the Hampton Jitney, an express bus that goes back and forth between the Hamptons and Manhattan. While it might be a bit too far for a one-day getaway, the Hamptons are an amazing place to visit for a few days or more at a time.
#4: Rockaway Beach
Located in Southeastern Queens on the Rockaway Peninsula, Rockaway Beach is an amazing beach location with great eateries, smoothie shops, a beautiful boardwalk, and of course, a pristine sandy beach. Rockaway got hit pretty hard by Hurricane Sandy several years ago but has been rebuilt and improved since then to the point that you’d never know that a major hurricane had completely decimated it. You can reach the beach by taking the A train to the last stop (Rockaway, NOT Lefferts Blvd- there are two final stops in Queens on the A-line). Since the days of the Ramones, Rockaway Beach has been a haven for hipsters, surfers, beach enthusiasts, and New Yorkers just looking to enjoy a nice summer day at the beach. If you haven’t been yet, you need to check this place out ASAP!
#5: The Jersey Shore
Regardless of what you may have seen on TV, The Jersey Shore boasts some incredible beaches, along with surprisingly charming towns like Cape May and Wildwood, fully equipped with great places to eat, cozy B and B’s, and regional theaters. It’s relatively easy to reach the Jersey shore- you can drive to many destinations in around 2 hours from Manhattan, or hop on a Greyhound bus that will get you there in around 4 hours. The Jersey Shore is a great option for families looking to accommodate people in different age groups. You’ll find homemade fudge shops and artisanal candy stores, museums and romantic bistros, theaters with union performers, and of course, some of the best beaches on the East Coast.
These 5 destinations are in no particular order- they’re simply a few of my favorite places within close proximity to NYC to get away from the hustle and bustle and relax. I hope you add these to your list of places to visit in 2019 and encourage you to explore and find your own favorite spots!
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