Compiled and Photographed by Sarah Einhorn
It’s hard to find the right Chol Hamoed trip to satisfy everyone. Some prefer, nature while others go for amusement parks or indoor activities. Often, I hear how families sit around the table moaning, “What should we do today?” and “We have nowhere to go!” Then the phone calls begin: “Any good ideas?” Here are some lesser-known ideas you may find appealing, geared toward a variety of ages.
Northlandz is a 52,200 square foot mini-train museum with about 40,000 square foot of train tracks that run through various scenes and types of landscapes. Created by Bruce Zaccagnino, it is the largest museum of its sort in the world. The trains run on timers through detailed towns and cities, and if any of them malfunctions, Bruce repairs them after hours. Although the museum is astonishingly large, Bruce still works on adding to it on a constant basis. Aside for a mile-long tour of the mountains and model railroad, Northlandz also offers an outdoor train ride on a genuine steam engine train and a doll exhibit featuring a 94-room dollhouse. Before we visited Northlandz, I thought it was made just for little boys. I sure was pleasantly surprised to see that Northlandz is suitable, enjoyable and of course fascinating, for adults and children alike.
Flemington, NJ 08822
Wednesday-Monday: 10:00 A.M.-6:00 P.M.
Seniors (62+)- $18
Baby (under 2) -Free
Outdoor Train Ticket- $7
Approximate Distance from Flatbush: 1 hour, 30 minutes
The views of Bear Mountains and the surrounding area as seen from Anthony’s Nose are magnificent!
The trailhead to Anthony’s Nose is on Rte. 9D, north of the Bear Mountain Bridge. If you are coming from the side of Bear Mountains, cross over the bridge and take a left onto Route 9D. The trail starts just past the Putnam County sign, where there are white markings to mark the beginning of the trail. Park along the side of the street, where you may see other cars already parked and start climbing. The actual hike is not very difficult but is mostly uphill. At the end of the white uphill path there is a junction. A right turn on the blue path will lead to the direction of Anthony’s Nose. Part of the path meets up with the famous Appalachian Trail. Many Appalachian Trail hikers take a slight detour to take in the panoramic view on Anthony’s Nose. The blue trail is less strenuous. It is more relaxing as you near the viewing spot of Anthony’s Nose. The Rocky clearing at the top affords awesome and clear breathtaking views of the Bear Mountain Bridge, West Point, and the areas across the Hudson River. The clearing is a great place to enjoy a snack or lunch before turning around and retracing your steps back down to Route 9D.
Rte. 9D, north just past the Putnam County sign.
Approximate Distance from Flatbush: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Tappan Golf Center and Go-Karts
Mini golfing and go-karting are popular activities at the Tappan Golf Center. There is an 18 hole mini-golf course near the driving range where people practice their golf swings. There are also batting cages and a golf simulator there. At the end of the parking lot is the go-karting track. There are both single and double karts. The maximum speed of the karts is 20 mph. In order to drive a kart, it is mandatory to be at least 54″ and 10 years old. In order to drive a double kart with a child, the driver must be at least 18 years old. A passenger of a double go-kart must be at least 36″ tall. It is a lot of fun to drive the go-karts but the steering is a bit heavy and children sometimes find it difficult even when they meet the height and age requirements.
Tappan, NY 10983
Open all year. Hours may vary depending on weather.
Hours: 9 A.M-9 P.M.
Open all year weather permitting (winter hours will vary).
Weekdays: 12P.M.-8 P.M.
Weekends and Holidays: 10 A.M-10 P.M
Adults (over 10 years old): $7
Children (10 years and under): $6
Price Per Race: (Approximately 4 laps)
Single Go-Kart: $8
Double Go- Kart: $13
Coupon Books 🙁6 Coupons per book)
Single Go-Kart: $42
Double Go- Kart: $72
Approximate Distance from Flatbush: 55 minutes
There are an incredible amount of glass options to choose from and decorate at Glassworks, including vases, bowls, trays, coasters, shapes, and specialty items. Whatever you choose to create at Glassworks Studio ends up looking professional. You don’t need to be an artist and there is no right and wrong.
Once you decide on an idea or have gained inspiration from the many samples, you are seated with the materials and tools while a staff member provides instructions. You learn how to cut the glass or choose from the plethora of cut pieces, all divided by color. Goggles are worn for safety while cutting, and glue is used to secure the glass pieces so that the glass stays in place. When you finish your project it needs to be left there to be fused. Projects are generally ready a week later for pickup. For more distant cities, they offer to send your project home with someone at a later date. Although walk-ins are generally welcome, they do not always guarantee availability. It is probably smart to book a spot in advance for busy times like Chol Hamoed.
151 South Street
Walk in Studio Open Hours
Ages 3 to 103 – Weekdays from 12P.M. to 6 P.M.
Adults Only (ages 21+) – Wednesday: 5-10 P.M.
Private events and team building available 7 days a week by appointment
Prices start at $23 depending on what you choose to make
Approximate Distance from Flatbush: 1 hour
Englewood Cliffs Park and Picnic Area
Englewood Cliffs is a scenic riverfront park with beautiful views of the nearby George Washington Bridge. There is a great playground with space for children to run around and enjoy themselves. The walking path alongside the Hudson River is tranquil. There is also a path that leads up almost to the foot of the George Washington Bridge. The drive down to the park from the street above offers a view of cascading waterfalls. There is also a boat basin with a full-service marina.
Exit 1-Palisades Parkway North and follow signs to the park.
Open during daylight hours
Approximate Distance from Flatbush: 50 minutes
It, the world’s largest indoor ropes course, is located within the Jordan’s Furniture Store. The two 60-foot high ropes courses offer over 100 activities like zig-zag swinging beams, crisscross angled rope ladders, cargo nets, bridges, plank-walking, and four 200-foot long ziplines. There is a 50-foot high free-fall jump off the tallest level. There are the most awesome liquid fireworks consistently choreographed to the music and lights with over 1,000 water nozzles. The waterworks are placed below one of the 45-foot zip lines. Visitors try and see if they can cross without getting wet, but there are no guarantees: the water may dance higher just at that moment! Little It is a smaller version of the full-size ropes course and zipline for children under 48” tall. Parents must walk alongside their child to assist him as needed. There are four climbing walls that are also appropriate for children under 48” tall.
Monday-Thursday: 10 A.M.-9 P.M.
Friday-Saturday: 10 A.M.-10 P.M.
Sunday: 11 A.M.-7 P.M.
IT and Zip IT: $25
It, Zip It, and Jump It: $30
Little It: $10
Climb It: $10 (4 climbs)
Ultimate It Combo-includes It, Zip It, Jump It & Climb It: $40
The last tickets will be sold one hour prior to closing. Gift cards are available at the tickITs’ counter.
Approximate Distance from Flatbush: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Kykuit, also known as the John D. Rockefeller Estate, is an impressive 40-room house in Westchester County, New York. It overlooks the Hudson River with magnificent views of the New York City skyline. This hilltop paradise was the home of John D. Rockefeller and his descendants. Tours of Kykuit will take you to the main rooms of the six-story stone house including the office, the drawing room, the music room the china room, the butler’s pantry, the dining room, the alcove room, and the library. Each room represents a different aspect of the Rockefeller’s life and maintains its unique character. The underground art galleries were originally used as a play area for the Rockefeller children. Later, Governor Rockefeller transformed the area into art galleries to display his impressive collection of art, including Picasso tapestries. The Coach Barn, with its collections of classic automobiles and horse-drawn carriages, brings with it the fascinating experience of automobiles in the early 1900s. There are magnificent expansive, terraced gardens. Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller’s exceptional collection of 20th-century sculptures are placed in strategic areas throughout the garden, to complement the magnificence surrounding them. In 1901, a golf course was added to the grounds. Kykuit was renovated and modernized in 1995 and is open to the public for tours.
Note: Photos of the interior of Philipsburg Manor and Kykuit are not permitted.
381 N Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
May 2- November 10
Tours Thursday-Sunday (October: Daily except Tuesday)
Plus Memorial Day and Labor Day
Classic Tour Weekdays:
Classic Tour Weekends:
Grand Tour Weekends and Weekdays:
Landmark + Timesaver Tour Weekdays:
Landmark + Timesaver Tour Weekends:
$4/ticket surcharge for phone purchases
$2/ticket surcharge for onsite purchases
Admission is by timed tours only
Approximate Distance from Flatbush: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Stony Hill Farm
The famous 10-acre corn maze at Stony Hill Farm is shaped according to the theme of the year. This year’s theme is Bee Amazed, a bee theme. There are a few bridges that cross over the maze and give an amazing view of the ears and ears of corn. Before entering the maze there is a brief video explaining how the maze works. As you work your way through the maze, you’ll play one of the games incorporated into the maze. Maze Masters wander around the maze to help anyone who is lost or wants to exit early. The maze usually takes 1 to 3 hours to complete. It is smart to come with comfortable walking shoes. Strollers are allowed into the maze, but it is not advisable to bring one since it is very hard to navigate in the maze. There are also fence, rope, tile mazes, and a 1-acre corn maze for those who don’t want to do the bigger one. Noah’s Ark Playground is a great place for kids to let out steam. The Barnyard Boardgame is a life-sized game of Candyland where the children are the pieces. On weekends there are also hayrides and trike rides. Stony Hill Farms also has a picking farm where you can pick your own fruits that are in season.
15 North Road
Chester, NJ 07930
Check online or call for the current hours and price options.
Approximate Distance from Flatbush: 1 hour, 20 minutes