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5 places near New York City that you never knew existed

I always say that New York is that kind of destination whose tourism and leisure options are endless. It is a city with many things to do – every season there are new and different activities, not to mention new restaurants, new attractions, new developments. There are dozens of areas to explore in the city – and outside the city as well. I think the areas around New York are underestimated – often unknown to travelers. One of my favorite things to do is to explore these areas around the city – there are so many beautiful places in Long Island, Hudson Valley, and Upstate. Let’s check out some amazing places?

Mohonk Mountain House – Mohonk is one of the best resorts in the country, with incredible scenery with a lake in front and Victorian architecture. Looks like you’re in Europe. It is a great getaway for any time of the year. There are several ways to visit the place:

  • The first, of course, is staying there. It is an all-inclusive resort with meals and everything. You can check the details here.
  • Another way is to buy a Spa package – there are several treatment options available and you can check prices and details here.
  • You can also make a reservation for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, all with buffet. Lunch costs $ 71 (adult) and $ 39 (children). Dinner and brunch cost $81 (adult) and $41 (child). Breakfast costs $48 (adult) and $27 (children). By clicking here, you can check more details, such as the menu and also times. I recommend making the reservation in advance (it’s by phone, (855) 883-3798).
  • The other option to visit Mohonk is through a Hiking Pass – which costs $22 (weekdays) and $27 (weekends) per person. The pass does not give access to the resort premises and you have to bring water and something to eat. In addition, anyone who buys the Hiking pass must leave the car parked at the first entrance of the mountain. From there to the resort, you will walk almost an hour (it is so far). So, keep this in mind. With the Hiking Pass, you are free to explore the area around the resort, which has a beautiful view! There are also public restrooms. There are over 100 miles of trails in the resort area!
  • How to get there? It is better to rent a car. You can also catch a train from Grand Central to Poughkeepsie ($18) – it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes and then you have to request an Uber.
  • Check my post about it!

Castle Hotel & Spa – Only thirty minutes north of Manhattan, Castle Hotel & Spa sits majestically atop one of the highest points in Westchester County overlooking the Hudson River amid sprawling acres of manicured gardens and grounds. With over 100 years of history, begins shortly before the turn of the 20th century, when General Howard Carroll, a well-respected newspaperman, playwright, and businessman, purchased the land as a home for his growing family. The Castle was built in two stages between 1897 and 1910, in a style reminiscent of Norman fortification in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The finished castle boasted 45 rooms. General and Mrs. Carroll were notable social figures in Westchester County and New York City society. Today, the Castle is a luxury hotel with a gourmet restaurant, meeting and event facilities, and a spa.

You can visit the place by staying there or having a meal at the Eqqus restaurant, which is located inside the hotel and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch.

  • How to get there? By Metro-North trains. Trains depart from Grand Central and also from 125th St, Harlem. You can buy your ticket on the machines and you choose Round trip, destination Tarrytown, around $20 per person, round trip. Once you arrive in Tarrytown, there are several taxis in the area. From the train station to the Castle it is about 5 minutes and the ride costs from $8 to $10.

Kykuit, Rockefeller Estate–  located in Sleepy Hollow, the hilltop paradise was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family, beginning with the philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. His business acumen made him, in his day, the richest man in America. The residence – as well as its gardens – are part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and has been maintained for over 100 years. You can visit Kykuit through one of the offered tours. The Classic Tour is great for those visiting the place for the first time. It costs $25 on weekdays and $28 (Friday to Sunday). I recommend buying your ticket in advance on the website.

  • How to get there? By Metro-North trains. Trains depart from Grand Central and also from 125th St, Harlem. You can buy your ticket on the machines and you choose Round trip, destination Tarrytown, around $20 per person, round trip. Once you arrive in Tarrytown, there are several taxis in the area. From the train station to the Castle it is about 5 minutes and the ride costs from $8 to $10.

Oheka Castle – Resting majestically on the highest point of Long Island, Oheka Castle emanates the elegant refinement of a chateau in France. Oheka has been celebrating the art of entertaining since 1919, when financier and patron of the arts, Otto Hermann Kahn, commissioned celebrated architects, Delano and Aldrich, to design his palatial country residence to accommodate Kahn’s fondness to host lavish parties. It was a summer house. Humble, hum? After Otto Kahn died in 1934, the estate changed hands several times, serving as a retreat for New York sanitation workers and a government training school for Merchant Marine radio operators. In 1948, the Eastern Military Academy bought OHEKA, bulldozed the gardens, subdivided the rooms and painted over the walls. After the school went bankrupt 30 years later, OHEKA stood abandoned, except by vandals who set numerous fires over 5 years. In 1984, developer Gary Melius purchased OHEKA and the remaining 23 acres that surrounded the estate and began the painstaking challenge of restoring the Castle to its original grandeur.

Today, Oheka is also a hotel – with  32 suites – and it is recognized as one of the most prestigious wedding and event venues in the world a – and it’s not hard to understand the reason. Oheka Castle reminded me of a more humble version of the Palace of Versailles in France. There are two ways to visit Oheka Castle: guided tours or having lunch or dinner at the restaurant, which is open to the public.

The tours take place every day at 11 am, but you must book in advance. You can click here and check the calendar. As the place hosts many weddings, the tours may not happen on some dates due to these events. The ticket costs $25 – and includes coffee, tea, and cookies (children under 12 pay $5). At the restaurant, the main dishes are $19 – $30 – but the food is not unforgettable.

  • How to get there? From Penn Station (NYC) take the Huntington Line to Cold Spring Harbor Station. Taxi Service: Orange & White Taxi Service, 631-271-3600; Ectotaxi, 631-624-3727. (No taxi depot at the station). You can also request an Uber, but it can take a while.
  • Check my post about it!

Black Space Videoclip is at Oheka Castle:

Lavender by the Bay – Lavender By the Bay is New York’s premier lavender farm and one of the largest in the USA.  A family-run farm, it has been growing the highest quality lavender on Long Island for over 15 years. The farm has planted twenty varieties of lavender across seventeen acres of farmland, yielding over 50,000 plants for cultivation. The place is open to visitors and also has a store, that sells lavenders, of course, honey, cosmetics, and other things. Needless to say how magic it is to see a field like this, right? And I don’t need to mention the delicious aroma of the place, right? The plants come into full, gorgeous bloom during three different times – these are approximations and bloom times are ultimately decided by mother nature. You can’t predict the exact time. The first English Bloom typically takes place mid to late June and sometimes into early July. The main French Bloom usually begins in early July and lasts about 2 weeks. This is the best time to visit because this bloom is the most impressive. The second English Bloom typically starts late Summer early Fall. You can check the Fan Page for blooming status.

So, do you have any other suggestions for places near the city?

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