New York City could be a great launching pad for your next East Coast golf trip
NEW YORK CITY – It’s all so overwhelming.
The city lights, the people, the traffic, the incredible architecture, the tall buildings, the famous places.
My first trip to the Big Apple has been a mind-blowing experience. I’m sure it’s that way for everybody.
This may sound a little crazy, but I think every golf trip to the East Coast should start off with a weekend in the city. That’s how I’ve begun my latest golf adventure.
My family - my wife and two children – and I stayed in the heart of Manhattan at the Hampton Inn Manhattan-Times Square North last weekend. It was the perfect location for family fun in the city. The rooms were more spacious than I expected (see photo below), and the hotel staff stored our luggage for us on check-out day on Sunday, giving us a little more time to see the sights. The free hot breakfast was convenient, offered plenty of variety and most important, was perfectly filling, which is necessary considering all the walking you do in NYC.
The hotel location couldn’t have been better. It was just minutes from Central Park in one direction and minutes from Times Square in the other. To save our legs from getting too tired, we rode a GrayLine Bus Sightseeing Tour about town. The ticket pick-up center was also conveniently right down 8th Avenue, the same street as the hotel. Riding these double-deckers might seem touristy (I can’t help but think about the famous Kramer Seinfeld episode), but they were perfect for us first-time city-dwellers.
The GrayLine systems works great because you can hop-on and hop-off when necessary, almost like a taxi service. There are more than 20 pickup and drop-off points throughout Manhattan. And you get the added bonus of the fun facts from your tour guide. I learned where Alec Baldwin and Angelina Jolie live and saw the diner filmed in “When Harry Met Sally.”
We jumped off our tour of the downtown loop in Battery Park to catch a ferry to the Statue of Liberty. The three-hour trip was the favorite destination of my daughter, Kendall, 7. Later, we abandoned another GrayLine bus near Central Park for a great meal at Patsy’s Pizzeria. On the walk back home, we hit all the hot spots for families: Dylan’s Candy Bar, FAO Schwarz (and the Big Piano!), Toys ‘R’ Us and the American Girl store.
On Sunday after a leisurely stroll through Central Park, we picked up our luggage and headed to the Dollar Rent A Car right around the corner, also virtually steps from our hotel (another bonus!).
After two days in such a frenetic place, it’s been great to have some time to chill. And that’s what golf resorts do best. There are some great properties within two hours of the city.
First up is the Crystal Springs Resort, just an hour outside of Manhattan in northern New Jersey. This place, home to three different resort accommodations, is off-the-charts for families, featuring seven courses (including the junior-friendly Minerals nine), a free putt-putt course right outside the Grand Cascades Lodge lobby and a wilder water park called Mountain Creek just minutes away. I’ve never seen my wife so happy than this afternoon after her Reflections Spa treatment. I found my nirvana at the Ballyowen Golf Club, the resort’s best course.
Next up comes visits to the Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort and the Inn at Pocono Manor, two historic resorts in the mountains of western Pennsylvania.
The experiences of city life and the laid-back vibe of a golf resort couldn’t be more different. And that’s why they work so well together. Try it sometime. You won’t be disappointed.
|« Travel back in time at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in Pennsylvania's Poconos Mountains||Is Tom Doak ready to shoot off his cannon, criticizing the world's best courses again, in the followup to his book, The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses? »|