Even the greatest city in the world can lose some of its charm after weeks of the ordinary chaos. Those endless hours stuck in a windowless cube and the cramped subway rides can take a toll on even the most dedicated of NYC residents. To help you escape another winter weekend cramped in your studio apartment, here are six getaways that will get you out of the city in just two hours (more or less). Whether you’re looking for an off-the-grid backcountry exploration or just a few days swirling and sampling wine, these weekend refuges will provide just the respite you need to recharge and relax—if only for 36 hours.
Travel time: 45 minutes
You’ll find more million dollar homes in Greenwich than anywhere else in the tri-state area, but that doesn’t mean the average joes can’t enjoy the beautiful splendor of this city. Noted as the “Gateway to New England”, this affluent community offers the cosmopolitan comforts of NYC like innovative restaurants and posh boutiques alongside the lush landscapes and relaxing vibe of coastal Connecticut. Visit one of the area’s top beaches for some R&R, like Byram Beach or Great Captain Island, available by ferry during the summer months. Head to the Riverside Yacht Club for a look into the glamorous world of Greenwich’s elite or watch the sunset over the sweeping sound at the Greenwich Point Peninsula.
What it lacks in size, New Hope makes up for in country charm: a hodgepodge of historic inns, a quaint city center, and a surprising artistic vibe. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, New Hope is anything but sleepy. All year long, you’ll find endless strings of music, art and food, and wine festivals. A surprising collection of remarkable eateries, like Blue Moose Café, decorate the main street, offering a tantalizing taste of the area’s best produce. Book your stay at the Inn at Bowman’s Hill, a five-star bed and breakfast on notable Bowman’s Hill. During your stay, visit the Bowman’s Hill Tavern, a local joint that has live music (ranging from classical to pop) every Friday.
For those who can’t bear to leave city life behind, head to Delaware’s biggest city, Wilmington. Although it’s quite commercial, it’s also rather historic, with architecture dating back to the 1700s. The city center, marked by the imposing four-block Market Street Mall, is flanked by Wilmington’s most impressive building, the Grand Opera House. Beyond the Opera House’s iron façade, you’ll find a myriad of city parks and natural preserves in and around the center, like Brandywine Creek and Zoo, Nemours Mansion and Gardens and Bellevue State Park. For art lovers, the city is home to some impressive museums, like the Winterthur Museum and Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts.
Travel time: 1 ½ hours
The rolling hills, the picturesque Hudson River, and the dense pine forests of the Hudson Valley offer a welcome escape from the chaos of the city. The appeal of this beautiful valley lies in the small-country towns that sit alongside the sprawling river. From Nyack’s notable antique scene to Saugerties’s iconic lighthouse to Hudson’s incredible selection of award-winning restaurants, you’re bound to find a cozy place to relax and recharge. During the day, opt for a Hudson Valley wine tour or hike the rugged mountain peaks that tower above the beautiful river. For dinner, sample the award-winning tasting menu at Crimson Sparrow in downtown Hudson.
It may not make sense to go from one bustling city to another, but we promise an escape to the City of Brotherly Love will be worth it. For history lovers, there’s no end to the landmarks and significant buildings, like the iconic Liberty Bell with its infamous crack or Independence Hall, where thousands of men risked their lives in the 1700’s. More than just history, Philly is also a surprisingly awesome food city, offering dishes well beyond the beloved cheesesteak. Taste countless samples of fine foods in the Redding Terminal Market, where you’ll find stalls slinging everything from cured meats to fresh cheeses and mouthwatering desserts. Or, book a table at the top-rated Laurel in East Passunk or Fork in Old City. No trip is complete without a kitschy, slightly cliché run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, mimicking the city’s most famous “hero”—Rocky Balboa.
Travel time: Little over 2 hours
One of the most misunderstood cities on the list, Atlantic City is more than elderly coach tours and wet-and-wild stag parties. Sure, the city closely resembles Vegas with its neon skyline, towering casinos and dazzling hotels, but its far more than just an East Coast replica. If you want to escape the crowds of the casino, go on a historic sightseeing tour of Abescon Lighthouse, learn to surf on the rowdy waves of the Atlantic City Beach, catch a game at the Surf Stadium, visit the family-friendly Atlantic City Aquarium or explore the quirky boardwalk. For blissful relaxation, stay in the swanky Borgata Water Club and get pampered with a world-renowned massage or facial at the 32nd floor Immersion Spa.
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