Whisk Away On Your Island Getaway

Written By Shwetha Ravishankar | August 16, 2013
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New Yorkers always seem to have someplace to go, a deadline to meet, a friend to catch up with, or an errand to run, which keeps them on the go, on one of the smallest and most densely populated islands of Manhattan. Located at the mouth of the Hudson River, bustling Manhattan is surrounded by her smaller island cousins, like Governors Island, Staten Island, Fire Island, which are the most popular among others.

To get away from it all, is just quite simply a ferry ride, a train ride, or a short drive away! So plan the last few weekends of Summer 2013, with our list of getaways, before the summer sun sets on the shimmering silhouette of Manhattan.

Governor’s Island

Governors Island

A seven-minute free ferry ride and a mere 800 yards from Lower Manhattan, Governors Island, is a green oasis in all its old-world charm which was once the military outpost with no public access for over 200 years. Ever since the island opened its doors to New Yorkers in the summer of 2006, thousands of people leave behind Manhattan’s madness with their picnic baskets and cycles, to enjoy the 172-acres of verdant rolling hills and plains, amid the military-era architecture, like Fort-Jay, Castle Williams - which was used as a prison, the 1843 Admiral’s House, the Nolan Park houses, Colonel’s Row - that stand just as they were back in the day.

Admirals House

The best way to get around the island is by bicycle, you can bring your own, or rent a tandem(perfect for couples), a small quad (for a family with small kids), or the large quad (which is for big groups), and go along the promenade around Castle Williams. Surrounding the island are picturesque views of the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty, and the New York Harbor.

Jazz Age Lawn Party

A few things you might want to note before you plan your trip - The island is open to the public only on weekends and holiday Monday’s. The island plays host to the annual “Jazz Age Lawn Party” which by the way, is happening this weekend. Be sure to dress up in all your 1920 finery- flapper dresses, bling headbands and pearls for the women, bow ties, fedora hats, plaid, and sleek suits for the men, shake a leg to the tunes of the Gatsby Era, and have a blast as the island encapsulates you in a 1920 timecapsule.

Long Island

Long Island

Long Island Wine Country

Hop on the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) and within an hour, you find yourself amid all the elements that makes for a perfect island getaway. Barefoot beach walks, hiking up to the lighthouse, sampling the region's finest wines, a walk along the islands historic trail, and much more, all while soaking in the islands scenic splendour.

Long ISland Light House

With a ton of things to do on Long Island, a visit to the “summer Whitehouse” of the former president THeodore Roosevelt at Sagamore Hill, an experience of the high society on Long Island’s Gold Coast, Twilight Thursdays or Sunset Fridays at Wolffer Estate Vineyard with cheese, wine, and live jazz, a visit to The American Guitar Museum, hiking along the Garvies Point Preserve which leads to a quiet stretch of pristine shoreline, the islands Big Duck built in the 1930’s, by farmers in attempts to attract crowds, a visit to the islands numerous art galleries, your free summer outdoor movie at the Lakeside Theater st Eisenhower Park, a stroll through the lovely LongHouse Reserve Sculpture Garden, nature trails in Caumsett Historic State Park, and if all else fails, soak your feet in the azure waters of Coopers Beach and sport that summer tan in style!

Staten Island

Staten Island

A 25-minute free ferry ride on the Hudson River, transports commuters and weekend travelers, offering picture postcard views of the skyline, Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty, away from the hustle and bustle, on to a life more beautiful and tranquil, which serves as a perfect day trip. Staten Island is a historian's delight, a nature lovers paradise, an artists canvas, and perfect for adventure too.

Long Island

Lets dive right in, and we have one of the oldest military sites in all of the country, Fort Wadsworth - that has stood guard for over 200 years, the Garibaldi Meucci Museum - that was once home to two notable Italian political refugees, the historic Richmond Town - with 28 landmarks all set on a beautiful park, this open-air museum takes you back to the 17th century, the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden - takes you through gardens, get a taste of Italy and China, and get to learn about local maritime history, all at the same time, and the Staten Island Children’s Museum and Zoo are ideal for families.

Nature is abundant on the island too, walk along the Bloomingdale Park, the Conference House Park (currently closed due to Sandy), and the gorgeous Greenbelt with forests, meadows, wetlands, and ponds, the South Shore Parks; is truly a blissful experience.All this and more is why they say, “If you haven’t seen Staten Island, you have not seen New York”.

Fire Island

Fire Island

With its roots sunk deep into the times when Isaac Stratford constructed the very first whaling station back in 1653, Fire Island emerged as an important whaling center during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was the iconic Fire Island Lighthouse on its western tip, built in 1825, that transformed this sleepy island into an important landmark on the New York Harbor. The lighthouse was the first thing that the Europeans saw, when they arrived on American soil, that is today still quintessential to the island and now a museum too.

With the real estate boom in the 50’s, the island became the favourite summertime haunt, with a strong bohemian flavor to it. New Yorkers slowly moved to the island, and the island transformed into a vacationers paradise, with the wealthy buying beach homes, to soak up the sun and escape the busy lifestyle back in New York.

Fire Island

Your visit to the island has you spoiled for choice, from boating and sailing along its 101 miles of pristine coastlines, let the wind in your hair and get biking along the trails and boardwalks, Clamming is very popular among the locals, remember clams & Fire Island is like maple syrup & Vermont, so walk along the bay, dig your feet in the sand, and feel for something smooth with a rock like shell, and pull it out, cook it up and enjoy your local and rustic clam chowder! Surf in the Atlantic Ocean, hike along Watch Hill and Sailors Haven, camp out on Watch Hill, Otis Pike and Smith Point, and you cannot miss the Saturday night parties at bars by the beach!

While folks from the rest of the country are always travelling far and wide to see and experience all of this, you find yourself doing everything they do and much more, right here in your backyard! Well, New York is not called “one of the best cities in the world to live in” for nothing, it’s the whole package!

Manhattan Skyline

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