Epic holiday vacation not in the cards this year? That's OK. Escape the crowds and noise of the city with these close-to-home suggestions that will make you feel like you're in a land far, far away.
What: Thunder Ridge Ski Area
Where: 137 Birch Hill Rd, Patterson, NY
Travel Time from Brooklyn: Appx. 72 miles; around 2 hours and 45 minutes on public transit. Click here for more info from the MTA.
Thunder Ridge may not have the most scenic runs or gnarstiest jumps you've ever faced, but it is conveniently located for New Yorkers looking to hit the slopes for just one day. Check the website for available dates.
Where: 535 N. Rte 73, West Berlin, NJ
Travel Time from Brooklyn: Appx. 90 miles; two hours by car.
Dust off the ol' bathing suit and head to West Berlin, Jersey, home of Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor Water Park. The 58,000-square-foot complex is sheltered by a retractable roof, meaning it's always balmy and warm, even when the weather outside is decidedly the opposite.
What: Mohonk Mountain House
Where: 1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, NY
Travel Time from Brooklyn: Appx. 95 miles; two hours by car.
Mohonk Mountain House is nothing to shake a stick at—though with 6,400 acres of forest surrounding it, you certainly could. With 266 guest rooms, indoor pool and spa, outdoor ice-skating rink and a staggering array of recreation options that range from boating to horseback riding to fishing to hiking to rock climbing, you'll shed your city-induced cabin fever in no time.
Where: 3 Beekman St., Beacon, NY
Travel Time from Brooklyn: Appx. 72 miles; around 2 hours and 15 minutes on public transportation.
Housed in a former Nabisco Factory, this 240,000-square-foot art gallery boasts and impressive collection of large-scale installations, paintings and sculptures that even the little ones will delight in gawking at. The museum also sits on the scenic banks of the Hudson River, so visitors can take in the scenery both indoors and out.
What: Princeton, New Jersey
Where: Princeton, New Jersey
Travel Time from Brooklyn: Appx. 53 miles; around 1.5 hours on public transit
Seth Kugel, author of the excellent New York Times Frugal Traveler column, had himself a perfectly lovely (and thrifty) day traversing the tree-lined avenues and intellectual hotspots of Princeton, New Jersey. While the historic town is best known for the fancy college of the same name, Princeton isn't all-highbrow: It's also home to the House of Cupcakes, recently declared the victor on "Cupcake Wars."