Summer Fun in Westchester: Nearby Daytrips



We’ve all seen the hippies in Woodstock. We’ve all been to Hyde Park, with its Roosevelt homes and culinary school. We’ve done Long Island’s beaches and wineries.

The problem with living in an area known for great daytrip destinations is twofold. First, after hearing about how lovely and amazing these spots are, it’s easy to burn through them all too quickly. And second, when you do make a trip there, you mostly run into other day-trippers.

In this case, it’s best to go under the radar. You’ve gone shopping for one-of-a-kind artsy jewels in Saugerties, but what about Sugar Loaf? Ever been to Red Hook? (No, not the one south of us—the other Red Hook.)
Though we’re loath to divulge all of our secrets, we will let a few slip. Here are five unheralded daytrip destinations that are worth the drive.

Glenmere Mansion, Chester, NY

For Craft-Lovers
Sugar Loaf, NY
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour
From the outside, it looks like Old Sturbridge Village, with shabby-chic buildings that date back to the 1700s (and look it). But Sugar Loaf (sugarloafnewyork.com) is actually a hamlet of artisans selling everything from handmade pottery to country furniture fashioned from reclaimed barn wood. After a day of browsing, you can either opt for a kitschy dinner in the on-site Barnsider Tavern (845-469-9810), or splurge at the nearby Glenmere Mansion (845-469-1900; glenmeremansion.com), a recently named Relais & Châteaux hotel with a restaurant that won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence in 2011.

For Drinkers
Gardiner, NY
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Why choose Gardiner over its better-known counterparts, like New Paltz or Poughkeepsie? The booze. Gardiner is home to Tuthilltown Spirits (845-633-8734; tuthilltown.com), a distillery that makes whiskey, bourbon, vodka, and other drinks in a gristmill that’s more than two centuries old. You can tour the premises Saturdays and Sundays at noon, 2 pm, or 4 pm, or during summer hours, Fridays at 6:30 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at noon, 1 pm, 3 pm, and 5 pm, starting June 4—and then it’s off to the tasting room. Just remember, it’s a day-trip, so you have to be able to drive yourself home come sundown. But if you do need to sleep it off, make it a weekend by taking a room at the Minnewaska Lodge (845-255-1110; minnewaska lodge.com), perched at the edge of the 25,000-acre Minnewaska State Park.

For Romantics
Red Hook, NY
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Not to be confused with Red Hook in Brooklyn, which overlooks a less inspiring body of water, Red Hook in Dutchess County offers sweethearts a chance to take in a romantic view of the Hudson River. To best take advantage, visit Poet’s Walk (scenichudson.org/parks/poetswalk), a park maintained by Scenic Hudson. The park is designed as a series of “outdoor rooms” to evoke different emotions, and from the trails you can see the River, the Catskills, and the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge. The Overlook Pavilion, which looks like it was dropped in from a fairy tale, would be a smart place to stop if you’re considering a summertime proposal. After you’ve hiked up an appetite, head to the Historic Village Diner (845-758-6232; historic-village-diner.com), a shiny, Airstream-like diner that dates back to the 1920s.

Poet’s Walk Photo by Vickie Muller

Long Branch photo by mikejonesphoto.com

For Beach Bums

Long Branch, NJ
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Long Branch has neither the infamy of other Jersey Shore hot spots—no Snookis or Situations here—nor the claim to nostalgia of its nearby neighbor, Asbury Park. But therein lies its charm—you get all of the beach and boardwalk you want without any of the baggage that goes with it. Lounge on the sand all day for just $7 (visitlongbranch.com) and, when you start to feel crispy, head to the Pier Village (piervillage.com) for shopping and dinner.

For Antiques-Hunters
Stroudsburg, PA
Distance from White Plains: 2 hours
Travel & Leisure touted Eastern Pennsylvania as a low-profile destination for pristinely preserved antiques. Your first stop: The Olde Engine Works Market Place (570-421-4340; oldeengine works.com), where more than 125 dealers gather to showcase their wares. The building itself is an antique, a former machine shop built in 1903. From there, you can move on to antiques stores and craft shops like Main Street Antiques & Collectables (570-421-7071) and Findings (570-426-1888), located in the center of town along with art galleries, theaters, specialty stores, and places to eat.
 

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