Fall Foliage Destinations Near NYC
The best time to glimpse those majestic reds, oranges and yellows of fall is finally upon us. If you’ve never seen a New England fall, now is the time to start planning a trip. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy fall foliage within driving or train distance from NYC. Here’s our list of some of the best places for leaf-peeping.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
First on our lists lies only an hour and a half from Manhattan in Bushkill, Pennsylvania. Autumn doesn’t get more glorious than in the Pocono Mountains, where the eclectic mix of trees turns every color on the fall-foliage spectrum. With over 70,000 acres wrapping around the Delaware River, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is especially great for aquatic activities. Canoes, kayaks and rafts are available to rent. You’ll also find 100 miles of hiking trails to traverse. Afterward, treat your tastebuds to some seasonal sips at R.A.W. Urban Winery & Hard Cidery in downtown Stroudsburg.
Greenbelt Nature Center
Next on our list of Fall destinations close to NYC, Greenbelt Nature Center on Staten Island. It will take you roughly an hour and a half by MTA to get to this sprawling nature preserve with 35 miles of woodland trails, including one for biking. The eight-mile Yellow trail passes the ironically named Moses’ Mountain, which was created from debris from Robert Moses’s nixed plan to construct a highway through the area. From the 260-foot hill, you get a panoramic view of the surrounding treetops—the mix of oaks, sweet gum, tulip, sassafras and red maple provide a blaze of autumnal color. When you’re hungry be sure to stop by Joe & Pat Pizzeria, serving up wood-fired pies located less than 10 minutes away.
Connecticut has an unbelievably impressive leafy scenery. While your mind probably goes to the more woodsy Litchfield Hills, that means overlooking shoreline gems like Essex where you can gaze at foliage from both land and sea. The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat makes daily runs into the Connecticut River Valley, traversing 12 miles of prime leaf-peeping territory. Opt for the full tour, which also passes by local historic sights such as Gillette Castle and the Goodspeed Opera House.
Palisades Interstate Park
Continuing our fall destinations close to NYC, we head over the Hudson. Just a short trip over the George Washington Bridge lies a scenic stretch called Palisades Interstate Park that’s always a sight for sore eyes but gets exponentially prettier in the fall. Drive up the parkway to Rockleigh and back down to Fort Lee for vibrant leaves, 30 miles of trails and a slew of excellent Korean restaurants. A warm bowl of sundubu-jjigae from So Kong Dong is the perfect comforting dish on a chilly evening.
Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park
Finishing our list is a destination that is worth the trip. Two hours by Metro Train brings you to Poughkeepsie. Spanning 1.28 miles between Poughkeepsie and Highland, the expansive Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park is the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. Record-breaking length aside, it offers sweeping views of the Hudson River and the surrounding color-changing trees. You could easily spend a full day exploring the two towns it touches. There are historic districts, waterfront walks and a Little Italy on the east bank. Sandwiches from Rossi Rosticceria Deli shouldn’t be missed.
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