Posts Tagged ‘staycations’

Orange County Staycations — Try One!

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

The Bear Mountain Inn.

By Shawn Dell Joyce

Instead of making pricey travel plans this year that damage the environment as well as your bank account, take a local vacation, or “staycation.” This is a chance to rediscover the beauty of the Wallkill Valley, and the rest of Orange County by taking the time to visit cultural attractions and natural places that you may be too busy to see in your daily routine. The month of June is Orange County Month according to the O.C. Tourism Office.

A staycation does not mean staying home and doing yard work, or addressing the list of jobs you’ve been putting off for the past year. “Instead,” suggests Pauline Frommer of Frommer’s Travel Guides, “become a tourist in your own hometown.” Plan to see tourist attractions and historic sites, take an art class, learn to swim, or enjoy a number of small adventures you always wanted to do if you’d had the time.

A fringe benefit of staycations is that you develop a deeper connection to your community and hometown. People feel more connected to a place when they experience its history and natural beauty firsthand. Try to see something different each day; a different spectacular view, a different museum, a new restaurant. At the same time, you benefit your community by pumping vacation money into the local economy.

Some staycationers even go camping locally to get away from the daily routine. If you are addicted to technology, and can’t imagine a day without email or internet, consider leaving the house and staycationing in a nearby campground or bed and breakfast. You’ll still save gas money and travel expenses, but you’ll feel refreshed after being away from the computer for a few days.

Here are a few tips for staycationing in Orange County:

–Explore the rail trail from Walden to Wallkill, or offroad from Wallkill to Gardiner/New Paltz. Or try Goshen’s Heritage Trail all the way to Monroe for a 20-mile bicycle ride. Find other rail trails at

–Check out the new Orange County Tourism Guide for local motorcycle rides, as well as for art gallery and museum listings.

–Spend a Saturday touring farms and farm markets in your region to find out what is grown locally, and get a fresh delicious taste of the local flavors. There’s plenty of useful information at and

–Pick an Orange County town and spend the day walking through it, antiquing, eating in local restaurants, and getting a real sense of the history and culture of the place. Try West Point, Pine Bush, or Warwick for quaint walkable downtowns with plenty to see.

–Take an art, music, or acting class. Wallkill River School offers outdoor painting classes on Orange County farms, historic sites and open spaces. Most of these are places off the beaten track and give you a sense of local color and flavor.

–Orange County has more park land than any surrounding county. Take the family to a new park each weekend. Some particularly beautiful and family friendly parks are Bear Mountain, with an indigenous zoo, historic hiking/birding trails, and Perkins Point, a Mecca for motorcyclists, and Silver Mine Park in Harriman with a rich history, and a beautiful lake.

–Don’t forget Orange County’s historic museums like Hill-Hold in Campbell Hall, and Museum Village in Monroe, where you can get a glimpse of colonial life live, and in real time.

–Orange County has several campgrounds nestled in scenic places like Winding Hills Park in Montgomery, and Black Bear Campground in Florida.

–If camping is out, try a local bed and breakfast like Borland House or Buck’s Homestead in Montgomery. Both are historic homes within walking distance of farms, quaint downtown shopping and antiquing. Plus, you feel pampered and have no dishes to wash.

Shawn Dell Joyce is the director of the Wallkill River School of Art in Montgomery.