Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Day Trips in the Tri-State Area: 10+ Sensational Staycations

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Davidson, Hudson River from Tappan Zee, 1871
(Courtesy Hudson River Museum)

After months stuck at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go, you'll be glad to know that some lovely, small museums and gardens in the tri-state area have finally re-opened. If you've been starved for culture--and nature--but don't want to wander too far from home yet, here are some suggestions for delightful day trips (more will be added as places open up). Be prepared for the new normal--timed entry tickets are now required just about everywhere:
CULTURAL & CULINARY OUTING
Greenwich, Connecticut
Only a 50-minute train ride from New York City, the coastal Connecticut town of Greenwich is one of the oldest, full of history, culture, and wealthy people. Spend a lovely day visiting the museum, strolling through town and relaxing by the waterside.
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr, Greenwich, CT; Tel: 203-869-0376; 
brucemuseum.org 
Hassam, The Mill Pond, 1902
(Courtesy Bruce Museum)

Situated at the top of a hill, in a beautiful park setting, the Bruce Museum highlights both art and the natural sciences in several annual, changing exhibits. The museum's permanent collection includes impressive natural history specimens and artwork from the Cos Cob School of American Impressionists. Originally built as a private home in 1853, then Robert Moffat Bruce, a wealthy textile merchant, deeded it to the Town on Greenwich in 1908. Now, a modern expansion is underway to provide more space for the museum's educational programs.
Other Cultural Activities:
Roger Sherman Baldwin Park - Chill out at this lovely little harborside park. Admire the sculpture by Lila Katzen, Priapos, the Greek god of fertility, sometimes referred to as the god of the harbor.
Visit landmarks from the 1700s:
Bush-Holley House (Greenwich Historical Society)
Putnam Cottage–Knapp Tavern Museum (George Washington dined here during the Revolution)
Come back post-COIVD19 for: Greenwich International Film Festival & Greenwich Symphony Orchestra.
Dine: There are over 20 eateries to choose from on Greenwich Avenue, the town's main drag. Stroll along to find one that appeals to your tastes. For a fancy French meal, or just a drink by the waterside, head to: L'Escale (500 Steamboat Rd; Tel: 203-661-4600).
Priapos
Getting There: Dive or from New York (Grand Central Station), take a Metro North train (New Haven line) to Greenwich. The Bruce Museum & Greenwich Avenue are a 5-minute walk from the station. Travel time: About an hour.

ART & NATURE ON VIEW
Yonkers, New York
Just a 25-minute train ride from midtown Manhattan, Yonkers overlooks the Hudson River. While the downtown area could use a good spruce-up, there are other pretty places to explore. Visit the museum, stroll through the gardens' grounds, then have lunch by the waterfront.
Hudson River Museum
511 Warburton Ave, Yonkers, NY; Tel: 914-963-4550; www.hrm.org 
Fuechsel, Hudson River Scene, 1875
(Courtesy Hudson River Museum)

This lovely museum has an impressive collection of 19th-century, Hudson River School paintings and also shows contemporary art in changing exhibits in its modern, main building. On the property, there's also the historic Glenview home, built in 1877, showcasing Gilded Age period rooms, and a state-of-the-art Planetarium--both currently closed due to COVID19.
Untermyer Park & Gardens
945 North Broadway, Yonkers NY; www.untermyergardens.org
(Currently Open: Fri Sat Sun, 12-6pm)

These 43 acres of gardens, maintained by a handful of dedicated gardeners and horticulturists, have been preserved and restored from the former 150-acre Samuel Untermyer estate, once tended to by 60 gardeners. In 1916, Untermyer hired Beaux Arts architect Welles Bosworth to design the gardens overlooking the Hudson River. But after his death, the property fell into disrepair. Now owned by the City of Yonkers, the garden-park is being brought back to its former glory by the Conservancy. While some areas are still in ruins, others have been lovingly restored.
(Courtesy Untermyer Gardens Conservancy)

Other Cultural Activities: (Both currently closed due to COVID19.)
Philipse Manor Hall (29 Warburton Ave) - Built in the 1600s, the manor house is one of the oldest historic sites in the U.S. Now, a museum of history, art, and architecture.
Sherwood House Museum (340 Tuckahoe Rd) - Built in 1740, it's the oldest Colonial farmhouse in Yonkers.
TV series: "Show Me a Hero" (HBO) - A dark yet fascinating take on Yonkers' history.
Dine: Have a meal with the view of the Hudson in downtown Yonkers. Try these sister restaurants: Dolphin (1 Van Der Donck St) & Cafe Hudson right on the waterfront.
Getting There: Dive or from New York (Grand Central Station), take a Metro North train (Hudson line) to Yonkers or Glenwood (for the museum). Travel time: About 25 minutes.

SCULPTURE/SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS - New York & New Jersey
If you love sculpture and the great outdoors, a few of these
(Courtesy StormKing)
lovely places are finally open for the 2020 season and are easy to get to: Governors Island right in NYC, StormKing in Mountainville, New York & Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey: http://bit.ly/NCwCrW

GLORIOUS GARDENS: OLDIES BUT GOODIES
These wonderful garden spaces have reopened; just a subway ride away:
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens - Brooklyn, New York
900 Washington Ave.; www.bbg.org
The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden is a lovely feature of this garden. Imagine you’re in Japan as you stroll the winding paths by a pond, waterfall, picturesque bridges, and a traditional Shinto shrine. The garden is especially delightful during cherry blossom season (April-May).
The Brooklyn Museum of Art (200 Eastern Pkwy; www.brooklynmuseum.org) is right near by and also worth visiting; reopens 9/12/20.
Japanese Garden
(Courtesy Brooklyn Botanical Gardens)


New York Botanical Garden - The Bronx, New York
2900 Southern Blvd; www.nybg.org
The garden's beautiful grounds are a nice way to escape your apartment without leaving the city. From late April to early May some 50,000 tulips are in bloom here.
Wave Hill - The Bronx, New York
4900 Independence Ave; www.wavehill.org
Wave Hill's lovely, 28-acre public garden overlooks the Hudson River and the Palisades. It's a great place to sit, read a book and contemplate life. (The cultural center is closed during COVID19.)

ARMCHAIR TRAVELING - During COVID19 & Beyond
Do some traveling without leaving your couch:
TenLocals - 
Mila in Macao,
Travessa de Paixiao
Go to Macao, Bali, India, Vietnam, Japan, Israel, Morocco, etc. right from your living room via ZOOM. These "virtual" trips are lead by interesting, engaging local hosts who offer much more than a typical city tour. The experience is more like when you visit a friend or family member who shows you around where they live. You get a real sense of what life is like in that place, plus you can ask questions of the host before, during & after the tour. For example, 
Milathe lovely host in Macao, not only takes you to the glitzy casinos, but also to the beautiful older parts of town as well as sharing what it's like to be a mom and a model in Macao. So, on each trip, you get a very upclose-&-personal sense of the place to inspire your future travels. (Cost: around $15-$20 per trip)

Read Paris eBook:
THE ARTSY VOYAGER: 101 Artsy & Cool Things To Do in Paris
You'll be ready to go as soon as we can all travel abroad again!

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