Top 5 Local Escape Swaps for Your International Vacation When You Can Travel Again

Please bookmark this page and come back! With the travel restrictions on us, we can understand the disappointed wanderlust of having a long-awaited vacation postponed. Once you get the green light to travel again, we thought we’d give you a few ideas for local spots that have the international flavor or similar terrain.

Believe it or not, the northeast region is full of hidden gems that elicit comparisons of Tuscan wine country, Swiss mountains, Dutch canals and more! Read below and find a way to get your travel fix without having to go more than a few hours from New York City.

Jim Thorpe, PA

Switzerland Swap: Jim Thorpe, PA
Canceled trip to the Swiss Alps? Go to Jim Thorpe, PA. Also known as “America’s Little Switzerland,” this gorgeous town was nicknamed because of unique architecture and picturesque mountains evoking a quintessential Swiss hamlet.  Explore the rich history of this very walkable Victorian village. Plus, nearby there is the Lehigh River and gorge tons of activities for the outdoor enthusiast: Hiking, biking, skiing, horseback riding, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and the Pocono Mountains. Stay at the elegant Inn at Jim Thorpe, one of the town’s landmark treasures since 1849.

Jim Thorpe is roughly 120 miles / 2.5 hour drive from Grand Central Terminal in NYC. No car? You can take a bus from Port Authority in 3 hr 15 min. 

Cayuga Lake Wine Trail

Italy Swap: Ithaca, NY
Postponed your wine vacation to Tuscany? Visit the Finger Lakes! Considered the “Wine Region of the East,” the Finger Lakes region is home to the longest-running wine trail in America, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. Plan your visit to 14 local wineries where you can taste wine that’s earned over 6,000 national and international medals and see breathtaking views of Cayuga Lake, Taughannock Falls and rolling vineyards. Stay in Ithaca during your escape and enjoy a picnic on a peaceful shore, bike through incredible forests, and hike to the base of a plethora of unbelievable waterfalls. Ithaca is roughly 225 miles / 4-hour drive from Grand Central Terminal in NYC. No car? Take a bus from NYC’s Port Authority in 4 hr 30 min. 

Central NJ
Central NJ

Netherlands Swap: Central New Jersey
Amsterdam adventure put on the back burner? Spend a weekend in Central New Jersey and uncover the rich Dutch history sprinkled all across the region. Among its most iconic landmarks, the canal system of Amsterdam is something that (believe it or not) you can experience right in NYC’s backyard. Soak up the fresh air and beauty outdoors when you set off on the D&R Canal Tow Path, a flat, a nearly uninterrupted 70-mile walking and biking pathway that practically defines Central New Jersey. Before the advent of freight railroads, New Jersey’s canal system provided the vital means of industrial transportation across the state. Stay for the weekend and soak up the history of the canals, landmarks like Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage and the Prallsville Mills, a collection of beautiful, historic buildings with a spectacular view of the Delaware River and D&R Canal. Stay for the weekend at The Chauncey Hotel, which is surrounded by 370 acres of peaceful lakeside woodlands, and is minutes from historic Princeton, and close to farms and craft beverage makers. Central New Jersey is roughly a one hour drive from Grand Central Terminal in NYC. No car? Take the bus (1.5 hr) or NJ Transit (1.5 hr, with transfer) to Princeton, NJ. 

Innisfree Garden

Japan Swap: Hudson Valley
Saving your Japanese wellness journey for a later date? Unwind in the Hudson Valley, focusing on ancient Japanese wellness practices like spending time with nature. At its core, Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, NY is about the individual’s experience in nature. Inviting exploration and even contemplation, the sweeping landscape merges the essence of Modernist and Romantic ideas with traditional Chinese and Japanese garden design principles. In North Salem, explore the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden, a place of natural beauty and tranquility, meant to delight the senses and refresh the spirit. You don’t have to travel across the world to calm your mind, body and spirit with nature as your medicine. You can also find several meditation retreat centers and monasteries in the area, where you can take a breath and calm your mind. Check out The American Meditation Institute in Averill Park, NY or the Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY. The Hudson Valley is between 1 and 3 hours drive from Grand Central Terminal in NYC. No car? Take Metro-North Railroad from Grand Central Terminal to the Hudson Valley any day of the week. 

Roscoe, Trout Town

Germany Swap:  The Catskills
Postponed boys beer tasting trip to Germany? Visit the Sullivan Catskills! Did you know that the Catskills is considered the birthplace of American fly fishing? With an endless supply of lakes, rivers, streams, and more, the fly fishing history is rich in this gorgeous region. Visit Roscoe, also known as “Trout Town USA,” for a fishing weekend that will take your mind off of Germany’s Black Forest! Not to mention, the area has lots of great local breweries so you can get your beer fix, too! Check out Roscoe Beer Co., Shrewd Fox Brewery, Catskill Brewery, Callicoon Brewing Co. and the rest of the local gems on the Craft Beverage Trail. Stay at a local B&B for the weekend and explore the entire area. Sullivan Catskills is roughly a 2-3 hour drive from Grand Central Terminal in NYC. No car? Hop on a bus from NYC’s Port Authority to Roscoe, transferring in Monticello (total: 3 hr 50 min). 


Leave a Reply