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Top 20 Spring Day Trips From New York City

Once the winter coats and hats are safely stashed away until next year, New Yorkers are just itching to get out and enjoy the springtime and all that that entails—from strolling in fragrant gardens to sipping wine in an outdoor tasting room. Here’s a list of 20 fab things do outside of NYC (and well, maybe a few right in the city) once the sunny weather starts to hit.


Farms, Food, and Wine

Take a tour at the 80-acre non-profit Stone Barns Center in Pocantico Hills with sustainable gardens, livestock pastures and planting fields (Dan Barber’s award-winning Blue Hill restaurant is also here).

You may have bought Valley Shepherd Creamery, cheese at NYC Greenmarkets but you can actually visit this working sheep dairy in Long Valley, New Jersey for tours and cheesemaking classes.

Wile away an afternoon tan with a wine tasting at Warwick Valley Winery in Warwick, New York. Grab a table (they go fast) or spread a picnic on the grass and sample the pinot gris, Riesling and Harvest Moon blend.

In Long Island’s Wine Country on the North Fork, visit the open-sided tasting room in a restored barn at Bedell Cellars. Sip an aromatic Gewurztraminer while taking in the sweeping views of the vineyards.

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Gardiner, New York (reached via the Thruway) is where you’ll find Tuthilltown Spirits, a distillery that makes whiskeys from locally grown grains and vodka from Hudson Valley apples—try them both in the tasting room.


Outdoor Museums

Discover the works of 100 renowned sculptors including Louise Bourgeois and Isamu Noguchi at Storm King Art Center, a 500-acre sculpture park and museum in the Hudson River Valley.

In Hamilton, New Jersey (midway between NYC and Philly), the Grounds for Sculpture is a 42-acre sculpture park with more than 200 contemporary works by both American and international artists.

Part of the Met Museum, the Cloisters, in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan incorporates elements of five medieval cloisters. Highlights include inner courtyards, stained glass windows and the Unicorn tapestries.

Learn what life was like back in the 18th century at Philipsburg Manor, a living history museum in Sleepy Hollow with a 300-year-old house plus barns, gardens and a working grist mill.

Wander amid stone and metal sculptures, fountains and ponds in the 145-acre Sculpture Garden at the Nassau County Museum of Art on the former Frick estate in Long Island’s Roslyn Harbor.


Blooming Gardens

Long Island’s Old Westbury Gardens, the former home of U.S. Steel heir John S. Phipps, boasts 200 acres of formal gardens, landscaped grounds and ponds. Spring flowers include tulips and daffodils.

Kykuit, the grand estate built by John D. Rockefeller in 1909 is also known for its impressive grounds. The garden tour includes the Italian Garden, formal terraces and the Adam and Eve fountain area.

At 28-acre Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, New Jersey, take an hour-long tour to discover its beautiful sycamore tree allee, the sloped terraces of its formal gardens and its wildflower-filled meadows.

The grounds at Lyndhurst, a National Trust Historic Site in Tarrytown, are an example of 19th century landscape design complete with sweeping lawns, a rose garden and the nation’s first steel-framed conservatory.

The New York Botanical Garden is a magical 250-acre floral wonderland right in the Bronx with everything from old-growth forests to the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. Don’t miss the Orchid Show (until April 22).


Spring Sports

Hike amid hardwood forests and waterfalls to beautiful Lake Minnewaska in 14,500-acre Minnewaska State Park Preserve, near the arty town of New Paltz in upstate’s Ulster County.

The Catskill Scenic Trail, a 19-mile rail-to-trail in the Western Catskills is the perfect spot for weekend biking. As you pedal along the easy-going trail, you’ll pass small streams, wildflowers and rolling farmland.

If you’re keen on kayaking, sign up for the Hudson River Recreation’s Sleepy Hollow Tour, a three-hour excursion on the Hudson that takes in the 1883 Tarrytown Lighthouse and the Tappan Zee bridge.

Ready for some adventure? Try ziplining at Hunter Mountain where the adrenaline-pumping ride is four miles long, 600 feet off the ground and reaches speeds up to 50 mph.

Another hair-raising activity is white water rafting—and springtime is the best time to do it. Beaver Brook Rafting offers rafting trips on the Moose and Sacandaga rivers in the Adirondacks.

Photo Credits: Ziplining courtesy of New York Zipline; Rose Garden courtesy of Lyndhurst; Three Legged Buddha by Zhang Huan courtesy of Storm King Art Center; Whisky courtesy of Tuthilltown Spirits

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