Places To Go,
Places To See FRANCES HADDAD
hew!” exclaimed Miri from New Jersey, as she mopped her brow with her right palm and surveyed her finally gleaming kitchen. “The last pot has been scrubbed, and every speck is swept off the tiled floor,” she sighed. “I can’t believe the holidays are over.” She dropped into the closest chair and turned to her husband, Shimmy. “They were amazingly uplifting!” “Yes, they really were incredible,” Shimmy said with a nostalgic smile. “Thank you for all the hard work you put in to making them so memorable.” He paused for a moment before adding, “After all that cooking and cleaning, you could sure use a break!” Miri dried her hands on the pink-and-white checkered kitchen towel. “You know, Shimmy, mid-winter vacation is coming up. The break from school would be an excellent opportunity to take the kids away for a few days and unwind. True, traveling somewhere on a plane may be unreasonable, but we are lucky enough to live within driving distance to some pretty great get-away spots!” “Miri, what a great idea,” Shimmy enthused. “We can spend quality family time, all while saving on airfare. That’s what I call having your cake and eating it too!” Like Miri, you may also be hoping for a well-needed respite from the recent holiday whirlwind. And like Shimmy, you may be striving to keep travel bills to a minimum. Fortunately for those seeking a delightful family get-away at the fraction of the cost of a cross-country or international retreat, there are several terrific getaway spots just a car ride away from NY and NJ. These destinations offer sight-seeing and child-friendly activities to boot, all while allowing for rejuvenation and family bonding-time.
Home of the White House: Washington, D.C. For American history buffs, Washington D.C. has obvious appeal. But it also offers lots of exciting attractions even for those who fall asleep at the mention of the Revolutionary War. “After my graduation trip to Washington, D.C., I must admit that I remembered it as quite educational, and frankly, a bit boring,” says Sally L., a community mom from Brooklyn. “But a couple of years 58
ago, my husband and I spent a few days there, and I can’t even tell you what a blast it was!” Sally shares that she especially enjoyed the International Spy Museum, which provides insight into the daily life of professional spies. The Newseum, a breathtaking display of centuries of news showcased in a vast 250,000 square-foot building, and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, which has a special display of each of the 44 U.S. Presidents, also topped Sally’s list. “If given the chance, I would go back in a heartbeat!” Sally shares. The nation’s capital is home to hundreds of museums that are both educational and entertaining. The Smithsonian Institute, the world’s largest museum complex, has 19 museums under its wing, including the Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum encases one of the most tragic eras of Jewish history, and visiting will add an extraordinary depth to your knowledge of the Holocaust. Of course, the Washington Monument and The Lincoln Memorial are must-see pieces of American history. And although the White House no longer accepts tour groups due to security concerns, you can peer through the black-iron front gate to get a glimpse of the President’s home (and snap some pictures!). Its hundreds of reasonably-priced hotels and handful of kosher restaurants make Washington D.C., the country’s capital, the perfect place for a two or three-day retreat.
The Smallest State in the Union: Rhode Island Rhode Island is the smallest of our country’s 50 states, yet it is home to America’s oldest synagogue. Visit the magnificent Touro Synagogue in Newport, and revel in the rich history of an influential early Sephardic community that settled in the U.S. during colonial times. Also in Newport are exquisite mansions that were once the summer homes of America’s wealthiest elite during the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, they belong to The Preservation Society of Newport County, and are open for tours. Visit the mammoth homes that once belonged to the Astors, Vanderbilts, and other legendary, mega rich families.
Published on Oct 3, 2013