Fleet week was canceled and the Statue of Liberty is closed till the 4th of July. But don't get down in the dump. There are plenty of other great outings you can plan for the holiday weekend. The weather has been fantastic so far in May, three cheers for global warming. Will the upcoming holiday weekend be warm enough for the beach or a wash out? Even if it will be bright and sunny, you can certainly count on the ocean being frigid. It takes weeks of smoldering heat to get the Atlantic comfortable enough for a dip. So what else is there to do? Day trips are the way to go this time of year. Save the hotel trip for the end of summer, or when all the kids are away in sleepover camp. Here are some day excursions for the whole family. Always check the websites for exact times and prices.
New Hope & Ivyland Railroad
Ninety minutes from Bergen County is a quaint little town, New Hope, PA. For a family with little ones, the steam trains of the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad will be a memorable experience. The conductors are very friendly and will be kind enough to entertain any photo op requests. Don't forget to take photos in front of the steam engine with the entire family. If it is a nice day opt for the open air car tickets, first class is not all that. The open air seats are the least expensive and will provide a better view and aroma of the countryside. The train departs and returns from the same station and passes through lovely farm country. Bring some food and drinks for a picnic and a straw hat if you can. If you have time after your train experience, take a walk through downtown New Hope, you will not be disappointed. There are fantastic antique shops and gift stores galore. New Hope is home to one of the few authentic steam trains still in operation. For more info and to purchase tickets visit www.newhoperailroad.com.
'The Ride' Theatre & Tour Experience
If you work in NYC you may want to spend your holiday time anywhere but midtown. If the city still excites you, or you want to experience something new 'The Ride' is worth checking out. NBC's "Today" show describes as "part flash mob, part theater on wheels." I can say from experience it is a lot of fun. It is a tour bus where you sit facing the sidewalk rather than facing the driver. The music belts out as the bus driver weaves through NYC traffic. There is a lot of improv by the two hosts, and as the bus makes stops 'bystanders' break out into song and dance. As with any group improv event the show can vary based on the audience. Make sure you arrive on time. Unlike a Broadway show if you miss the start time for 'The Ride' you will miss the bus and the entire show. 'The Ride' should be part of full NYC day if you can plan it right. Walk around Times Square and try the new Bravo Pizza or Pitopia Shwarma (Both with real hasgachas and located on 37th an Broadway). Don't forget Mr. Broadway, the place was recently renovated and is much more upscale, even though the menu is still the same (They have the Best Onion Rings in NY). Also visit www.travelzoo.com for a coupon that is 30% off 'The Ride,' the coupon is good for performances from now up until May 26th. For more info on 'The Ride' visit www.experiencetheride.com
Rafting on the Delaware
Did you receive one of those talking fishes for father's day back in the 90's? The one that sings "Take me to the River, Drop me in the Water." Well, if you have that song stuck in your head like I did a few years back you may suddenly have the urge to go river rafting. The best river for rafting in our area is the Delaware River. Yes, it only takes about an hour from Bergen County to get to the Delaware River, but the best rafting places are farther north from Route 80 where the river is not as wide. You will need to drive about up to Matamoras, PA to get to one of the premier rafting operators, Kittatinny Canoes. Fun for the whole family, rafting is a fantastic full day experience. Just keep in mind the little ones must be at least 40 lbs. or heavier to participate. Kittatinny Canoes is quite a busy place so call in advance to make a reservation. Also check the weather for Matamoras, PA, you might want to skip this outing if there is any chance of rain, since there are no rain checks. Bring wet shoes, crocs, a change of clothing, and towel just in case. Keep your cell phone in an airtight pouch if you can get one or leave it in the car, iPhones and water do not mix. This is a long day trip so get there early as early as you can. For more info and prices visit www.kittatinny.com .
By Benjamin Cohen