Q: I just realized there’s a 3-day school holiday weekend coming up the end of the week for Columbus Day! Where can I take small kids near my home in New Jersey without flying?
A: Yay! A 3-day autumn weekend! This October holiday always sneaks up on me, too, especially since it’s one of those shaky “off” dates (i.e. my nephew and niece in Florida don’t have the day off, but my son in New Jersey does. Federal offices are closed, but most businesses are open.) The good news is that the crowds are usually thin, and prices low, for this long weekend– take the opportunity to shake up your usual routine and try out a new activity or destination that’s driving or train distance from your home.
From New Jersey, road trip to family friendly cities such as Philadelphia or Boston, both of which Georgette and I have visited recently. Or how about a “staycation” in New York City? Catch a Broadway show such as Matilda, or a concert at Symphony Space, indulge in the chocoholic menu at Max Brenner (one of my son’s favorite New York spots), tour around Rockefeller Center or relax in Central Park — then either head home or make it a real vacation by hitting the hay in a cool NYC hotel—my son Aidan and I did this last year at Kimpton’s swanky 70 Park Avenue in midtown east and we had a blast! (An extra bonus of our overnight is that we got to visit the Empire State Building after dark; a real treat for a suburban kid.). Remember: there’s a parade on Columbus Day (Monday, noon to 3), so plan accordingly.
For a fall foliage weekend, consider the all-inclusive Mohonk Mountain House in the gorgeous Gunks of New Paltz, New York, or take a day trip to an upstate NY destination such as Storm King Art Center, an expansive outdoor sculpture park. New Jersey’s also has a fun outdoor sculpture park (with a great restaurant), Grounds For Sculpture. Finally, don’t forget about old-school October fun: apple and pumpkin picking — one of my favorite ways to get outside in October.
Safe travels! Enjoy the weekend!
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