With constant talk of weekend getaways and city escapes, summer has us convinced that we’ve always been the outdoorsy type.
Yes, seeing as though we’re substituting perpetual subway commutes with oxygen-nutrient saunters, demanding patio seating at our favorite lunch spots, and swearing by rooftop nightlife, we’re obviously terrestrial beings — right?
All this delusion that we’re suddenly off the grid has us wondering if there’s any way to actually get in touch with Mama Nature...as New Yorkers, that is.
It goes without saying that hopelessly wandering the city for truly ventilated terrain can feel, well, hopeless. Central Park is to nature as kitten is to heel; it’s almost there, but not quite. But, lucky for us, right outside of Manhattan are some of the most awe-inspiring places to grab a breath of real fresh air.
Understandably, not all of us are Mount Everest ready. So, we’ve tailored our sanctuary finds to fit the needs of the vegetating and the vagabond alike to guarantee that we can all get our enviro-fix before falling back into arctic hibernation.
Created in the early 1900s as the stomping grounds for a millionaire’s large family, Greenwood Gardens was eventually purchased by a lawyer (doubling as a farmer), who transformed the grounds into a sculptural celebration of horticulture.
Today, the gardens are a nonprofit conservation organization and have the prestigious title of being one of the 16 American gardens that the Garden Conservancy has deemed "exceptional." Talk about a green thumb!
Greenwood Gardens, 274 Old Short Hills Road, Short Hills, NJ; (973) 258-4026
Storm King Art Center
Just an hour north of the city, in the lower Hudson Valley, you’ll find an artist’s playground in the form of an open-air museum. Storm King Art Center consists of 500 acres of hills, woodlands, and fields that exhibit over 100 sculptures by some of the most iconic artists of our time.
Among others, you’ll see work by Andy Goldsworthy, Roy Lichtenstein, and Maya Lin. You have the option of walking or renting a bike, so if you choose not to part with your leather-soled loafers, Storm King won’t do too much damage.
Storm King Art Center, 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, NY; (845) 534-3115
The Giant Stairs At Palisades
The title itself gives away what you’re in for if you make the 25-minute trek to Palisades Interstate Park. The four-mile trail includes a small section of boulders that have been rightly named: The ‘Giant Stairs.’
We promise it’s a do-able hike, but if you’re not looking to break a sweat, the park has some trails that let you skip the dose of stairmaster and offer great views of the cliffs along the Hudson. So, if you’re committed to getting yourself onto a real trail, you don’t have to climb the Giant to find what you’re looking for.
Palisades Interstate Park, Alpine, NJ; (201) 784-1430
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