Entertainment is not in short supply for the AVE White Plains resident, who will find fine dining, shopping, cinema and live entertainment a mere footsteps from his or her front door. AVE White Plains is also a short train ride or drive from popular Tri-State attractions – perfect for a day trip to forget about work for a while.
Trek the Shawangunk Hudson Valley Wine Trail
The 12 wineries along the Shawangunk Hudson Valley Wine Trail follow the tradition of fine wine-making established by the early French Hugenot settlers who brought their expertise to the valley more than 300 years ago. Ranging from small to medium in size, the wineries’ red and white wines span from bone dry to dessert sweet. Visitors will find sparkling wines, vinifera and French-American varietals and blends. Throughout the year, the trail, which is easily accessible by the New York State Thruway, hosts special events such as Lobster Fests, jazz concerts and strawberry festivals. Their next event, Wreath Fineries at the Wineries, will kick off the weekend of November 17th, where guests can travel the trail, sample award-winning wines, pick up holiday recipes and do a little gift shopping at the wineries, which are all decked out for the holiday season. Each visitor will receive a grapevine wreath, limited edition Shawangunk Wine Trail ornament and souvenir wine glass at his or her starting winery. At each subsequent winery, they will receive a unique holiday ornament to place on their wreath. Wreath Fineries at the Wineries will also be held on the weekends of December 1st and 8th.
All Wreath Fineries at the Wineries guests will receive a limited edition ornament from each winery on the Shawangunk Hudson Valley Wine Trail.
Get in Touch with Nature at Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain State Park, a 44-minute drive from AVE White Plains, is nestled in the mountains on the west side of the Hudson River. The 5,067-acre state park features a large play field, shaded picnic groves, lake and river access, a swimming pool, trails and an outdoor ice skating rink, perfect for hiking, biking, boating, sledding, ice skating and more. It also offers several facilities like the Perkins Memorial Tower, the Trailside Museums & Zoo and the Bear Mountain Inn, all managed by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The Perkins Memorial Tower, which sits 1,305 feet above the Hudson River atop Bear Mountain, boasts spectacular views of the park, the Hudson Highlands and Harriman State Park. Perkins Memorial Drive and the tower are open from April through late November, weather permitting. The Trailside Museums & Zoo, which started as a bear den in 1926, is now home to many local injured or rehabilitated animals, including bald eagles, deer and otters, while the Reptile and Amphibian House houses different species of fish, turtles, snakes and frogs. The park’s highlight is its hand-painted Merry-Go-Round, which features scenes of the park and 42 hand-carved native animals, including black bears, wild turkeys, deer, raccoons, bobcats and rabbits.
The carousel at Bear Mountain State Park features hand-painted scenes of the park and 42 hand-carved seats of native animals including black bears, wild turkeys, deer, raccoons, skunks and more.
Trace Your Roots at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
The Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum are arguably the two most popular New York tourist destinations. While they are located on two separate islands in the New York Harbor, these national treasures are serviced by the same ferry, Statue Cruises, so visiting both in one day is doable and takes about six hours. Statue Cruises leaves Battery Park, easily accessible via public transit, every 20 to 40 minutes. After a 10-minute cruise, the ferry will stop at Liberty Island. On October 28, 2012, Lady Liberty’s crown reopened to the public, so climb up for amazing views of the city and to learn the history of both Islands from either an audio tour or a park ranger. Another 10-minute ride will take you to Ellis Island, where you can take a free ranger-led tour of the island before exploring the museum. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum, located in the former immigration station complex where 12 million immigrants entered America, offers a 45-minute audio tour, available in nine languages, where you’ll relive the experience of coming to America for the first time. Trace your family’s roots at the American Family Immigration History Center, where visitors can use advanced computer and multimedia technology, printed materials and professional assistance to investigate immigration history, family documentation and genealogical exploration. Enjoy the museum at your own pace – a ferry bound for Battery Park leaves Ellis Island every 20 minutes.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift of friendship from France to the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. Image courtesy of Statue Cruises.
Take a Breather in Mystic
Known as a breath of fresh air between New York and Boston, Mystic, Connecticut, is a charming riverside village with a rich nautical history. Guests can explore our nation’s maritime past firsthand at Mystic Seaport’s Museum of America and the Sea by climbing aboard historic tall ships, strolling through a re-created 19th century coastal village or watching a working preservation shipyard in action. Climb aboard Necessity, the museum’s own water shuttle that takes you from one end of Mystic Seaport to the other for free on weekends. For a longer voyage, hop aboard Sabino, one of the oldest wooden, coal-fired steamboats still in operation, for a half hour or 90-minute cruise along the scenic Mystic River. The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, the nation’s foremost gallery specializing in contemporary marine art and ship models, is a must-see for art enthusiasts and collectors. Mystic Aquarium, home to the only beluga whales in New England, offers unforgettable animal encounters, fun interactive experiences and dynamic learning opportunities for people of all ages. Sea lion shows, beluga whale encounters and live theatre are only some of the exciting attractions that make this a must-see.
Mystic Aquarium visitors participate in the Beluga Contact Program. Image courtesy of Mystic Country, Connecticut.
Revel in Central Park
A short train ride from AVE White Plains, (the local Metro North train travels direct to Grand Central Station), Central Park in Manhattan is the most visited urban park in the United States, receiving approximately 35 million visitors annually. From birding at The Ramble to rock climbing at Rat Rock, this 843-acre public park has something for every visitor. The Central Park Conservancy offers free walking tours year-round to help new visitors get better acquainted with the park’s history, ecology and design. About 230 different species of birds can be viewed in Central Park throughout the year. The Ramble (mid-park from 74th to 79th streets), is the best place to find warblers and other songbirds in early May. In the fall, visit Belvedere Castle (mid-park at 79th Street) to spot migrating hawks from the upper terraces. Built in 1952, the Chess & Checkers House (mid-park at 64th Street), welcomes domino, backgammon, chess and checkers gamers to play a round with New York City’s backyard as a backdrop. Bring your own equipment or borrow pieces from conservancy staff. They can even arrange a partner for you to play with. Experience the park like a true New Yorker by planting your picnic basket and blanket at these popular spots – the Conservancy Garden (5th Avenue and 105th Street), Strawberry Fields (Central Park West between 71st and 74th Streets) and Sheep Meadow (mid-park from 79th to 85th streets) – to take in the sights, sounds and people of New York City. A visit to Central Park wouldn’t be complete without taking a whirl around the Central Park Carousel (mid-park at 65th Street/6th Avenue). A park staple since 1950, it is completely hand-painted and features the largest hand-carved figures ever made.
An aerial view of Central Park, the most visited urban park in the United States. Image courtesy of Central Park Conservancy.