There’s no better time than summer to get out there and plan an outdoor adventure! Did you know that exciting treasure hunts await just outside your door? One amazing way to get out there and explore your surrounding areas — the Hudson Valley, Catskill Mountains, Finger Lakes and more — is geocaching.
Haven’t tried geocaching before? Geocaching.com, guide to all things geocache, defines the game as a “real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.” It’s simple! Sign up at Geocaching.com — even simpler, download the Geocaching App — and you can follow virtual treasure maps wherever you are to uncover clues and items planted in plain sight all around you. You can even make a day trip or weekend getaway out of it! Need inspiration? We’ve got you covered…
Take Metro-North Railroad up to Westchester County and explore the number of hidden geocaches in the area. Maybe even leave your own! Rent a car near the Croton Harmon train station and explore the area, which is rich with agriculture, sweeping landscapes and farms to visit. While enjoying your treasure hunt, stop by and visit Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center — bucolic, 187-acre farm with pastures, crop gardens, historic buildings and forests dating to the 1600s. Pick vegetables, have a picnic, and hike the woodland trails! After that, head a couple miles down the road to out Meadows Farm and load up on sweet corn, fresh vegetables and herbs at their farm stand to take home with you. Finish up your adventure at Faraway Farm Alpacas — located on a beautiful hilltop farm. You can schedule a visit to meet the alpacas and friendly Icelandic horses. Learn about the animals, their care, natural history and fleece use! You can even choose from an extensive selection of garments, yarn and hand-crafted items by local artisans in the farm store. Make a weekend out of it — more info on local B&Bs here!
Another premier location for outdoor treasure hunting is Ithaca, NY — you know what they say about Ithaca…it is just so “GORGES”! Explore the 150+ waterfalls that flow through the town, funneling water through gorges carved out thousands of years ago. And be sure to make time for some wine! The Finger Lakes is considered the wine region of the East — so pick and choose a few spots (you can’t go wrong!) from the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail for a little reprieve from your geocache hunt. From NYC, you can take NJ Transit to Newark Penn Station, where you can pick up a Greyhound Bus straight to Ithaca. However, there’s lots of geocaches to find along the route from the city if you’re up for a treasure hunting road trip!
Take your adventure up to Central New York, whose towns span from the foothills of the Adirondacks to the peaks of the Catskills! Hop on the Amtrak Empire Service Route from NYC up to Rome, NY, where the geocache treasures are aplenty! While you’re on the hunt, take advantage of some of the CNYFresh locations, which includes 562 farms, agri-businesses and attractions. Check out the Rome Fish Hatchery, which has provided fish to over 350 public waters for over 75 years. They hatch out more than 1 million Brown and Brook trout eggs annually, raise them to about 8-9″ long, then stock them in rivers, streams, lakes & ponds in 11 counties in New York State. Or go visit the local honeybees at Busy B Apiaries (call ahead for their hours!), where you can taste and purchase locally-produced honey, beeswax candles and other aritisanal goods. Then head to Wagner Farms, which grows fresh figs and fig trees for sale seasonally. You can pick and choose from over 150 varieties and colors and take greenhouse tours of the beautiful figgery daily (except Fridays).
Hop on Amtrak to Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County and spend the afternoon exploring the sprawling, sparkling riverfront. Seek out the geocaches planted around the esteemed Walkway Over the Hudson! After your outdoor exploration, embark on a self-guided beer crawl! Enjoy craft ales and lagers in a repurposed factory building at Blue Collar Brewery, rich with Poughkeepsie history. Clearly view the brewing process. Pair your beer with items from pub style menu. Then venture over for a selection of local beers from Mill House Brewing Co., located in the rehabilitated Mill House. This spot serves locally grown food for a complete Hudson Valley dining experience. Consider spending the night at one of the quintessential Hudson Valley B&Bs nearby!
Grab a Zipcar or rental car from NYC and spend a weekend in the Great Western Catskills searching out your geocaching treasures! Plan your trip to Bovina around the 6th Annual Bovina Open Barn & Studio Tour on Saturday, August 19th. You can visit local artists, farmers and makers who make Bovina the perfect environment for creation and collaboration! Check out Burnett Farms, ByeBrook Dairy Farm, Bovina Valley Farms, Bread Fellows, and many more gorgeous spots taking part in the tours. Find additional lodging info and make a weekend out of it!
Spend a couple days in Sullivan County and enjoy the gorgeous Catskill Mountains backdrop while you treasure hunt the days away! With lots of geocaches in Bethel, Roscoe, Liberty and more, you’ll have tons of agritourism treasures to enjoy along the way. Creekside Bed & Bath is the perfect lodging for those that enjoy the rugged great outdoors, especially fishing! For a hearty meal anytime, the nearby Roscoe Diner is a great bet. Sink your teeth into a juicy burger or tasty sandwich and cap off your day with a tasting or a tour at nearby Prohibition Distillery. Make the planning easy on yourself and book some time at all of these sites with a Catskills Craft Beverage Package, available now at EscapeMaker.com/packages! Visit by bus, or rent a car to enjoy the full extend of this breathtaking region.
With so many stunning sites to geocache across the changing landscapes of New York state, it will be hard to decide which is more a more treasured find… the geocache or the views!