Nearby Getaway Escapes for Summertime Fun

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by Barbara Moroch

Mystic, Connecticut

Driving Distance: approx. 2 hours

Explore all things nautical in Mystic, Connecticut.

Swab the decks, batten down the hatches and get ready to set sail for Mystic, Connecticut’s seaside city devoted to all things maritime. From the popular Mystic Seaport, a recreated 19th-century seafaring village, to the newly updated Mystic Aquarium, there is something nautical at every turn. Be sure to visit the Colonial period buildings of Olde Mystick Village, savor tasty seafood, soak up the historical atmosphere and peruse the multitude of unique gift shops. Mystic is geared toward children, making it a fun and educational family getaway. While you’re there, take a side trip to nearby Groton, where you can step back in history with a visit to Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park (a Revolutionary War site), and the Submarine Force Library & Museum, where you can tour the USS Nautilus, the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine. Visit: www.ctvisit.com/mystic.

Long Island Wine Country

Driving Distance: approx. 1-1/2 hours

In Long Island Wine Country, you can sip and sample at over 20 area wineries.

A veritable paradise for wine aficionados, a visit to Nassau and Suffolk counties will usher you in to Long Island’s famous wine region that produces a wide number of diverse and high-quality wines from grapes that flourish in Long Island’s cool maritime climate. The region produces wine with moderate alcohol, intense aromatics and crisp acidity. There are more than 20 wineries in the area, and all have a style and character all their own. Visit: liwines.com.

Ulster County

Driving Distance: approx. 1-1/2 hours

Get into the swing of things at the Ulster County Fair, July 30-August 4.

Ulster County is home to more than 350 miles of scenic biking and hiking trails. You can go wine tasting or visit the famous Tuthilltown Distillery, home to some of the most prized spirits in the Hudson Valley. Be sure to check out the great lineup of concerts and festivals, or shop in towns such as Woodstock, Phoenicia, Kingston and New Paltz. You’ll discover quaint shops throughout the county selling everything from handcrafted jewelry, pottery and furniture to locally designed clothing. And mark your calendar: The Ulster County Fair is being held this year from July 30-August 4 at the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz. Visit: www.ulstercountyalive.com.

Pennsylvania Amish Country

Driving Distance: approx. 3 hours

Take a horse and buggy tour
in the Amish countryside.

The Amish of Lancaster County comprise America’s oldest Amish settlement, where thousands still live a centuries-old “plain” lifestyle. Arriving in Amish Country allows you to step back in time to enjoy a slower, more peaceful pace – one where the horse and buggy remains a primary form of transportation, and where windmills dot the landscape, providing power harnessed from nature. Always a vital part of Lancaster County culture, the Pennsylvania Amish are involved in agriculture as well as an array of businesses and cottage industries. Be sure to take a tour of the Amish countryside on horse and buggy, explore the many Amish-themed attractions and events, and shop for hand-made Amish crafts. Visit: ww.discoverlancaster.com.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Driving Distance: approx. 2-1/2 hours

Try your luck at one of Atlantic City’s many famed
casinos

Just the mention of Atlantic City conjures up world-renowned casinos, resorts, big-name restaurants featuring famous chefs, headline entertainment, luxurious spas and elite shopping. But there’s more! Take a stroll on the world-famous Boardwalk or through Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, play a round or two of golf on championship golf courses, or plan a nautical adventure with Atlantic City Cruises that offers daily sightseeing cruises, Dolphin Watching Adventures, and Happy Hour cruises. Atlantic City is one destination that has it all. Visit: www.visitnj.org.

Brandywine Creek, Delaware

Driving Distance: approx. 2-1/2 hours

The majestic Winterthur Museum & Gardens in Brandywine Creek, Delaware.

The Brandywine Valley is home to world-class museums, lavish American castles, formal and natural gardens and unique events. Among the must-sees: Longwood Gardens, with more than 1,050 landscaped outdoor acres and 20 indoor gardens to explore, Winterthur Museum & Gardens featuring an unrivalled collection of American furniture and decorative arts, and Brandywine Battlefield Park, where the Revolutionary War era comes to life through authentic displays amid the rolling, wooded hills near the site. Visit: www.thebrandywine.com.

Hershey Pennsylvania

Driving Distance: approx. 3 hours

Reese’s Cupfusion – an all-new interactive
gaming ride at Hersheypark.

How sweet it is! Hersheypark® is a historic family amusement and water park with something for everyone. Genuine hospitality, thrilling rides and attractions, water fun and live entertainment are all part of the authentic Hershey experience. Conquer all 14 thrilling coasters, ride your way through more than 70 attractions, and soak up the fun at The Boardwalk At Hersheypark.” Enjoy Reese’s Cupfusionsm – an all-new interactive gaming ride that creates a sweet sensory adventure for the entire family. While you’re in Hershey, be sure to stop by Hershey Gardens that include 23 acres of colorful flowers, rare trees, a butterfly house and a children’s garden; and the Hershey Story Museum for all-things Hershey, including a chocolate lab for kids and Zoo America, a walk-through zoo and wildlife habitat. Visit: www.hersheypa.com.

Sullivan Catskills

Driving Distance: approx: 1-1/2 hours

Resorts World Catskills in the Sullivan Catskills features
100,000 square feet of gaming action.

The newest gem to dazzle the area is Resorts World Catskills, New York’s newest casino-resort with the closest proximity to Manhattan. Nestled among the beauty of the Catskill Mountains, Resorts World Catskills features 100,000 square feet of gaming action including 150 live Las-Vegas style table games, 1,600 state-of-the-art slot machines, a poker room and private gaming salons and a new indoor water park. Rounding out the action is headline entertainment, dining options galore, Trivia Night Thursdays, and Karaoke Night on Fridays. While you’re in the area, check out the Sullivan Catskills Dove Trail that includes 50 amazing dove sculptures, each designed and painted by local artists. There’s a Wine & Spirits Trail, museums and historic sites to check out, horseback riding, and plenty of unique and interesting dining options. Visit sullivancatskills.com.

Rockaway, Queens

Driving Distance: approx: 1-1/2 hours

Surfing Tim Thayer
Rockaway in Queens has the only two surf beaches in the five boroughs.

Rockaway Beach will fully re-open this summer. The seaside span was shuttered last summer after the beach suffered heavy erosion following a series of powerful storms. The Rockaways are a popular summertime spot, but surfers flock to it in particular, as the area contains the only two surf beaches in the five boroughs. With miles of coastline on the Rockaway Peninsula, there’s more than enough room for the non-surfing crowd, too. Stroll the boardwalk, amuse your kids with not one but seven playgrounds and water play areas, plus spots for fishing as well. Keep your eyes peeled for cool ocean creatures on a whale- and dolphin-watching adventure cruise, explore the massive Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in nearby Broad Channel, which is home to hundreds of bird species and offers frequent free family programs, including kayaking and tours led by National Park Rangers. Visit: www.nycgovparks.org.

Norwalk, CT

Driving Distance: approx. 40 minutes

Explore marine life at The Maritime Aquarium, in
South Norwalk.

South Norwalk, also known as SoNo, is an eclectic neighborhood in Norwalk where classic waterfront meets urban hip to create a jazzy, vibrant hub with fabulous shopping and dining options. Among SoNo’s main attractions: the Maritime Aquarium, where you can explore the watery world of the earth’s ocean and rivers; beautiful scenic pathways along the Norwalk River and Harbor, which you can explore by bike or on foot; the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, National Historic Landmark and a magnificent example of a Second Empire-Style country home that illustrates the beauty and splendor of the Victorian Era. Stepping Stones Museum for Children provides an environment that inspires lifelong learning for children through an array of educational-based exhibits and displays. And check out the Sheffield Island Light, built in 1868. The historic lighthouse is based at the end of the Norwalk Islands, and uses an oil lamp to warn ships of the treacherous shoreline. Visitors can explore the lighthouse and the beautiful surrounding area on a guided walk. Visit www.ctvisit.com.

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