Over the Memorial weekend bank holiday, I took the Friday as a holiday from work, giving myself a four-day weekend. It was my first day off since I went to Nashville in February.
Due to the coronavirus and working from home situation, it’s not really the best time to be taking any holidays from work as I don’t want to waste the days off, should the US reopen again.
However, since my parents didn’t manage to get to New York for a week in April as they had planned, and my holiday to Puerto Rico didn’t go ahead, I am left with a lot of holidays to use.
A lot of interns were able to take the Friday off work also, and so I had my first day off. We rented a car and off we went.
Related: 48 Hours in Nashville, Tennessee
RENTING A CAR IN NEW JERSEY
To rent a car for the day, we used the Turo app which shows cars in the nearby area that can be rented for a day or for however long you need.
Think of it as the AirBnB of car rentals.
We were able to rent a car from someone a ten minute walk from our apartment which was ideal and it was relatively cheap to hire for the day. The more people you have in the car, the cheaper it will be, obviously. But it was just the two of us out for our first road trip.
There are the official rental car services available in Newark Airport, but Turo is much cheaper and much more convenient too.
BEACON, NEW YORK
Our first stop was Beacon. My road trip partner chauffeur had been here before for Thanksgiving, so knew the way and knew that it was a quaint little town situated on a huge river.
It was around an hour’s drive from Newport, New Jersey and we were able to get parked very easily on the main street as it was quiet of people.
There were a few shops open, but not many. We walked up one side and then down the other. It was quite colonial America with a lot of American flags, war memorials and state buildings. The view of the mountains from the main street was amazing, and there were a lot of shamrocks painted along the road, which I’m guessing were from the St. Patrick’s celebrations.
COLD SPRING, NEW YORK
The main destination of the drive was actually Bull Hill, a mountain hike around the Catskills area of New York. It’s supposed to be a beautiful walk that takes around 3-4 hours with stunning views.
According to Google the trails were open, but it wasn’t long before we noticed upon arriving to Cold Spring that all of the trails were very much closed.
We stopped off at the little town of Cold Spring and walked up its main street. A lot of the antique and furniture stores were open as well as the cafes and restaurants as the little town was very quiet, just like Beacon.
We grabbed a sandwich and basked in the sun while watching residents go about their days. Then we headed to the bottom of the main street which met the large river.
We were able to go along the waterfront for a while and take in the mountains and water which made a change from the New York skyline we usually see when we go down to our own waterfront.
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, NEW JERSEY
Visiting Princeton wasn’t planned for the day, but since we couldn’t go on the hike as we were meant to, we chose to drive to Princeton which was around an hour and a half away from Cold Spring.
Another deserted area, the gates to the university grounds were open and along with them, so were the heavens. It was lashing with rain when we got to Princeton so it may have been a good thing that we didn’t end up on that hike after all as we definitely weren’t dressed for it, given the high temperatures of the morning.
The university is beautiful and on large grounds. It reminded me of Queens University in Belfast, with very old architecture, but very grand buildings.
I’ve ticked off three Ivy League universities since moving to New York – Princeton, Harvard and Yale – it’s just a pity I was never smart enough to attend one of them.
UPPING THE ROAD TRIP GAME
Well since miss ‘rona won’t allow us to travel very far, we’ve decided to dedicate our time to road trips for the foreseeable, so we’re still able to see new places and not staying in Newport and the city all of the time.
We’ve been in lockdown for the past 10 weeks or so and haven’t been anywhere other than where we live and the surrounding areas. Not that I’m complaining about being stuck in New York, but it’s nice to see some greenery now and then.
We’ll just have to see where the next road trip is going to take us!