New York’s myriad hidden byways and highways make getting to any destination here half of the fun. From winding roads and park-like sceneries, to stunning architecture and mouthwatering food, these five routes and destinations offer breathtaking views, history and memories that will last forever. Take these drives for the sake of the trip, they’re beautiful year round.
Route 287 to Lyndhurst Mansion
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591
Distance: 24 miles one-way
Price: $12 for adults/$11 for seniors/$5 for children 6 to 12/free for children 5 or younger
Hours: Sat to Sun – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The route to Tarrytown takes you through the urban landscape of the Bronx, along the waterfront of the Hudson river straight to the Tappan Zee bridge, where you’ll cross into a different world. From the lush greenery to the picturesque views looking back at the city, it will feel like you’ve stepped into another lifetime. While you’re there, make sure to stop by Lyndhurst. Cruising down the grand, old-world driveway toward the gothic-style mansion is a treat in itself. It winds through the mansion’s sweeping landscapes with the Hudson River as a backdrop. Take a tour through the mansion to gain unique insights into the three families that once lived here: railroad mogul Jay Gould; former New York City mayor William Paulding, and merchant George Merritt. Once outside, take advantage of the gardens, greenhouse and river walk trails.
Route 95 to City Island
Johnny’s Famous Reef Restaurant
2 City Island Ave.
The Bronx, NY 10464
Distance: 19 miles
Hours: March to November Fri to Sat – 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; closed December to February
Drive along the Hudson River and cross the George Washington Bridge to escape to this tiny fishing village. The views of the shoreline along the way are spectacular. The closer you get, the more boats you’ll see gliding along the water. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you cross over a rickety, charming drawbridge and see the Seaport of the Bronx welcome sign. At the very tip of City Island, you’ll come across Johnny’s Famous Reef Restaurant which has been open for more than 60 years. Don’t be fooled by the cafeteria-style setting and dive-bar décor; this restaurant has the best seafood outside of New York City and even better views of the water to watch yachts float by on the Long Island Sound.
Route 9 to the Village of Sleepy Hollow
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and Headless Horseman Bridge
540 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
Distance: 26 miles one-way
Price: free unguided/$5 for detailed map/$9.99 for guided walking tours
Hours: Mon to Fri – 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sun to Sat – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The grave of Washington Irving
Less than an hour outside the city, the village of Sleepy Hollow offers something for everyone, including farmers markets, street fairs, haunted hayrides, and of course – the headless horseman. On the drive to this legendary village, you’ll see beautiful stretches of budding foliage and wildflowers. Enjoy the transformation of architecture from high-rises to quaint, brightly colored, cottage-style homes and storefronts. There’s even a castle slightly off the main route. Take a guided or driving tour through the hauntingly beautiful Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to see the final resting places of iconic figures including Andrew Carnegie, William Avery Rockefeller and Washington Irving, who brought the legend to life. Don’t forget to cross the headless horseman bridge, a favorite haunt of the infamous character.
Route 22 to Salinger’s Orchard
230 Guinea Rd.
Brewster, NY 10509 US
Distance: 54 miles one-way
Price: free to visit/$17.95 pies
Hours: daily – 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
This stretch of winding two-lane highway boasting umbrellas of lush foliage, covered bridges and rippling streams is a dream drive. Hidden on the highway sits Salinger’s Orchard with everything from handpicked apples to homemade pies and fresh strawberry preserves. You’ll pass hundreds of apple trees lined up in neat rows before finding it. Gaze upon the vast orchard while you snack on freshly made baked goods and coffee. Check out its beehive observatory, or take a slightly longer drive. A few more miles north, ride route 7, one of the most scenic highways in New England, for gorgeous landscapes and forests that make the extra miles worth it. It will take you to Kent Falls State Park, where you may visit Connecticut’s largest waterfall, and then on through the Berkshires.
Palisades Parkway to Bear Mountain
Bear Mountain State Park
3006 Seven Lakes Dr.
Bear Mountain, NY 10911
Distance: 46 Miles
Price: $8 per vehicle
Hours: daily – 8 a.m. to sunset
The drive along the Westside Highway to the George Washington Bridge offers splendid views of the waterfront. Once you get to the bridge, take a moment to peak back at the majestic Manhattan skyline. The rest of the drive takes you through green, blossoming trees and shrubbery along the Palisades Interstate Parkway until you reach Bear Mountain. The park is located amidst the mountains rising out of the Hudson River, and features a swimming pool, shaded picnic areas, a zoo, a large play field, lake and river fishing, boat rentals, hiking trails and even a Merry-Go-Round with hand-painted scenes from the park.
Traci Tournoux is a freelance writer living in New York. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.