One of the most special parts about living in New York is the quick access to so many different Northeast regions, famous for their fresh air and utter beauty.
Spend the weekend in Central New York, where you can take off on a rare adventure below ground at the Howe Caverns! 156 ft below the earth’s surface, your journey will wind through limestone corridors, cavernous galleries, under massive boulders, until you discover a subterranean riverbed carved over countless millennia. Deep in the cave, solid rock appears fluid: creating strange formations, flowing sheets and dripping stalactites. Mysterious grottos lead off into distant, unexplored passages. Shadows hide secrets in deep cracks and crevices. The well-worn path twists and turns descending into the depths, downward to the glassy surface of an underground lake that trails off into the absolute darkness of the cave’s Eastern Terminus. An amazing experience for all ages!
Visit Garden of Eve in Riverhead, NY for their Sunflower Festival Weekends (July 21 & 22, 28 & 29 9am – 6pm). For just a $5 admission fee, enjoy Fun Fields admission with 100,000 flowers, one sunflower to take home and you can cut your own as you explore the Sunflower Path (additional stems are $1 each), hayrides, farm animals and more! The farm café will include Sunflower specials and locally produced organic sunflower oil tasting! U Pick blueberries and other berries available! Get there via LIRR from Penn Station in NYC!
If you can’t get enough Sunflowers at these Festival Weekends, head up to Dutchess County to Hudson Valley Cold Pressed Oils. This year, they are offering U-Pick sunflowers in addition to their variety of sunflower oil products. While the timing of the beautiful blooms is still up in the air, they’ve announced the U-pick season will take place in August. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram for updates! Get there via Metro-North Railroad from Grand Central in NYC!
Just 90 miles from NYC, head to Sullivan County and embark on a great adventure with Rail Explorers! Their Catskills tour is routed along the historic Ulster & Delaware Railroad. The newest tour ‘The River Run’ travels alongside the Esopus Creek through the beautiful woods of the Catskill Mountains on an 8 mile round trip. The Rail Explorers are easy to pedal, the terrain is mostly flat and the ride is relaxing and enjoyable. Everyone can enjoy this activity: couples young and old, groups of friends, and families of all ages and abilities. Get your outdoor fix and explore the gorgeous Catskills region! Stay for the weekend and check out the farmers markets, craft beverage trails and more.
On August 2nd, head just outside the city to Westchester County for a unique workshop on advanced plant breeding at the famous Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. Follow along with Rob Johnston, Founder and Chairman of Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and Stone Barns Farm Director Jack Algiere. Come learn about breeding theories and methods for improving plant variety genetics, breeding design, techniques, and selection as visitors explore the crop trials at Stone Barns and utilize it’s living laboratory to learn more about how to trial and breed crops for optimal market success. Check out their other workshops and events here!
Spend the weekend in beautiful Ithaca, exploring the waterfalls, Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, farmers markets and more! While you’re there, you have to check out Gourdlandia. More than a gallery, not quite a farm… Gourdlandia is a must-see Ithaca destination. Visitors can learn how lamps are grown, try their hand at making something with gourds, and buy one-of-a-kind local organic art! Vases, drums, piñatas, nightlights, and more. Come enjoy the viney trellises, heavy with potential art, and see for yourself how truly “gourd-geous” Ithaca is. (Call first on weekends!)