Crisp autumn air and bright colors make us want to get outside. The cool weather is an ideal time to take a weekend hike or road trip to check out the fall foliage, with at least a few stops at farmers’ markets and apple orchards along the way. And since we’re based in Manhattan, we decided to gather a few of our favorite local excursions to make the most of the gorgeous days ahead.
Find Solitude on Fire Island
If you’re looking for a secluded escape near the ocean, Fire Island is your place. We love this slim barrier island along the Atlantic because it inspired our brand, and we think you’ll appreciate the empty beaches and quiet vibe in the off-season.
Ferry service is limited and many of the businesses are closed, but if you’re a fan of nature, there’s plenty of activity: The annual migration of birds and monarch butterflies, seascapes, abundant wildlife, native plants, and witnessing the poison ivy turning a brilliant red across the island. Visit Fire Island Wilderness Visitor Center or the National Park Service for more information.
Explore the Outdoor Art Scene
Just a little over an hour from Manhattan, the Storm King Art Center hosts the largest collection of contemporary outdoor sculptures in the United States. This impressive 500-acre site in the Hudson Valley has colossal works from some of the most acclaimed artists of the 20th century, including Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi, Richard Serra, and Maya Lin.
Rolling, grassy hills and wide open spaces are excellent for families with young children, and older kids will enjoy renting bicycles on site to roam the extensive grounds. Nearby towns Cornwall, Newburgh, and Cornwall-on-Hudson have plenty of delicious restaurant options for daytrippers.
Go for a Hike
You don’t have to travel far out of the city to get a dose of the great outdoors and Awosting Falls and Minnewaska Lake is a relatively easy, flat ramble that’s great for beginners. Expect pristine waterfall and lake views along with plenty of trails to keep you moving. More experienced hikers will want to head to nearby Gertrude’s Nose, a much more challenging trek in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve near New Paltz, NY.
If you’re looking for something accessible by train, the Cornish Estate Trail is located in the town of Cold Spring, NY, within the Hudson Highlands State Park. Take the train from Grand Central into the charming town along the Hudson and walk to the trailhead for magnificent mountain and river views and follow it to the ruins of a historic estate. Then head back to Cold Spring for ice cream, shopping, or a fantastic meal at any one of the local restaurants along the historic main street.
Sip Wine at a Local Vineyard
While we’re not Napa Valley, New York is the third largest wine-producing state in the country. Some of the best local wines are created just a stone's-throw away from the city in the North and South Fork of Long Island, where 57 distinct wine producers have their vineyards.
With so many to choose from, you’ll have to do your homework to figure out what specific kind of winery experience you’re interested in – organic and biodynamic, rustic, sophisticated Provençal-inspired, small-batch and pioneering and many others.
Stay in a Sustainable Hotel
Why not commune with nature without rushing back to the city? Stay upstate for the weekend at any number of cool and exciting new sustainable hotels and resorts. Wildflower Farms is a stunning 140-acre retreat in Gardiner, New York, about 90 minutes from New York City. An on-site farm supplies its restaurant with ingredients; a 3-mile walking trail, 65 free-standing accommodations with sleek furnishings, deep soaking tubs, and floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors that open up to private decks.
About an hour north from Wildflower Farms is the cliffside Piaule Catskill, one of the best hotels for leaf peeping. Located on 50 beautiful acres, this modern minimalist escape features 24 private cabins with ample windows and natural wood. Nearby hiking trails and a quick twenty-minute drive to downtown Hudson offer diversions to suit everyone.