itinerary suggestion
June 13, 2013 9:05 AM   Subscribe

a family of three, parents + 4 yr old boy, is looking to escape NYC.

the father likes open space & beautiful scenery. the mother is into small antique shops and unique stuff that can't be found anywhere else. the little boy likes playground & amusement park stuff.

there should be no flight involved as the boy is prone to get sick on the plane. so the trip should be drivable from NYC.

would really appreciate the following suggestions:
1. where to go?
2. what are the things to see and do?
3. how many days needed for the trip

posted by kingfish to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Aside from the baseball hall of fame, there's a wonderful farmer's museum, an art museum, a cute, quirky downtown with antiques and wonderful lodging options. We usually do it as a three day weekend.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:10 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Pennsylvania Dutch County? With a side of Hershey's Park.
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:11 AM on June 13, 2013

New Hamsphire - Story Land is great for kids that age.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:11 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hudson has great antique shops and is reachable by amtrak on a lovely two hour train ride. Hudson also has a firefighter's museum. There are great state parks like Lake Taghkanic quite close by, single-A baseball in Troy, Norman Rockwell museum in Lenox, Ma.
posted by shothotbot at 9:15 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hastings on Hudson

Northampton, MA and the Berkshires.
posted by deanc at 9:16 AM on June 13, 2013

The Jersey Shore! It's a two-hour drive from NYC to Ocean City, NJ aka America's Greatest Family Resort. You've got the beach* plus a boardwalk full of neat shops and arcade/amusement stuff.

*The beach is undergoing replenishment at the present time and some sections are closed, but it's still operational!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:17 AM on June 13, 2013

Pittsburgh can be fun.

Go to The Strip and walk around, check out the Heinz History Center, see if you could have been a pickle-packer at the Heinz plant! It's a Smithsonian museum and it's pretty great! Have lunch at Primanti Brothers.

The Andy Warhol Museum is a total gas! Mylar ballons in a silver room to play with, and you can do your own silk screen in the basement. I'd love it if I were four.

Kennywood is a fun amusement park, one of the last Trolley Parks in the country, so it's historically significant.

Take a walk among the Mexican War Streets. Gorgeous houses with art glass in a funky neighborhood. While in the area, check out the Carnegie Science Center, and one of the oldest planetariums in the country.

I recommend staying at the Courtyard in Homestead. It's in a large shopping area that makes it very convenient. There's and Eat' n Park and a Giant Eagle. Also a waterpark!

Explore Squirrel Hill and Shadyside. Also, Hong Kong is sending a giant Duckie to Pittsburgh.

What are you waiting for??
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:26 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Hudson, NY.
posted by waterisfinite at 10:14 AM on June 13, 2013

In similar threads I often suggest Mystic, CT.

-small walkable village setup
-good food and ice cream
-Mystic Seaport is really interesting for adults and very fun for 4 year olds (horses, boats, play climbers, things to play with)
-Ditto Mystic Aquarium
-a nice drive out of town puts you in beautiful green countryside
-pocket beaches nearby plus some of the country's nicest beaches in South County, Rhode Island, just 20 minutes away. I recommend Napatree Point for great scenery
-lousy with antiques and unique shopping
posted by Miko at 10:42 AM on June 13, 2013

Chincoteague! We travel to the Catskills, through NYC, then to Chincoteauge most years for the past four or five. It's about five hours, so we often go from NYC to spend one night in Cape May or Wildwood, then go from there. (Your son might love Wildwood.) In fact, mrgood just took on a freelance job that will hopefully pay for our trip there this year.

This article, "Summer Rituals on Chincoteague" is spot-on. The barbecue place mentioned that's on the way, Em-Ings, is one of my favourite in the world. You can also take the ferry from Cape May, which your son may or may not like. Once we took it and a ship that looked just like a pirate ship went by. My daughter loves that.

For your husband, the islands are BEAUTIFUL (especially Assateague) and the drive down is relaxing. I love the sunsets. There's a lighthouse to climb, bikes to rent and beautiful beaches. Nice boat trips around the islands too. There are deer, cormorants and pelicans and ponies everywhere. (Oh my!) If he fishes or crabs or clams (or if he wants to try) there's fun to have with that.

For you, there are a few antique shops there, and on the way down too - great for pulling over and stretching everyone's legs. One place on the island sells gorgeous seashells. Lots of small shops of all sorts, though sadly a lot of them have touristy crap. There's a wonderful decoy maker there and I love his sandpipers. There's a decoy museum too. I LOVE the real sandpipers there too. There's a farmer's market, and there's always some kind of festival going on.

For your son, for most of July, there's the Fireman's Carnival. Going during Pony Swim week may or may not be exciting for him - we've done it both ways (hotel prices go WAY up during swim week), and my daughter is fine just seeing and riding ponies without the big event. She loves taking lessons at the Pony Centre or just visiting the ponies in the pen. There's kiddie golf and such, and maybe the NASA visitors centre.

We always stay at the Best Western. It's right by the bridge to Assateague, and there is a bike rental and a pony pen right across the street. And sadly, a McD's, but we've never needed to eat there, because the food from Woody's Beach BBQ is so good we eat it every night. They have fridges, so we bring a pie from Em-Ings to eat all week, and get groceries for picnics. Also, a farmer leaves his cart behind the hotel every morning loaded with whatever's fresh with payment on the honour system, so we each pretty much eat a pint of figs or a pint of tomatoes every day when we're there. Best Western also has apples in a bowl in the lobby, and complimentary lemonade and a really really gorgeous swimming pool.

Watch Misty of Chincoteague - that's what inspired us to go. I loved the book as a kid, and then my daughter did. She watched the movie, and wanted to go desperately, so we did. It was amazing, and I was verklempt.

Also, for everyone, ponies. Ponies everywhere. This is a five year old on ponies.
posted by peagood at 10:49 AM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Misty and Stormy were taxidermied and are on view at a museum.
posted by brujita at 1:53 PM on June 13, 2013

Response by poster: thanks a million...
posted by kingfish at 4:13 PM on June 13, 2013

The parents of a friend who grew up in Manhattan had a book that was a compendium of "day trips" or weekend trips from NYC that was a list of places that fulfill just about all your various requirements. I can't find the exact book on Amazon, but poking around, "short trips from NYC" seems to be an entire genre of travel books.
posted by deanc at 9:04 PM on June 13, 2013

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