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Fall Getaways for New Yorkers Without a Car

By Nigel Chiwaya | October 19, 2012 7:00am

NEW YORK — From farms and orchards that have pumpkin- and apple-picking to vineyards for wine tastings, options for an early fall jaunt abound.

But adventurers don't have to reach for their car keys — DNAinfo.com New York found locations easily accessible by public transportation.

Pumpkin Picking in New Jersey: 2.5 Hours from New York

Though packed on weekends, the Alstede Farm has plenty of options for families. During the fall, the farm gives visitors the chance to pick their own pumpkins, apples, corn and other produce. It also offers free hayrides to the orchards and features a giant corn maze.

And while the lines are long, the farm offers a whole range of animals, from cows and goats to turkeys and ducks, for families to feed and play with even before they reach the ticket booth.

Trish Cirelli, who works at the farm, said that the animals are a hit with families.

"We even have a peacock," she said. "He usually does pretty well with children."

The farm is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and children over 2-years-old. Visitors from New York can reach the farm by taking a New Jersey Transit train to Gladstone and then taking a 10-minute shuttle to the farm.

A Spooky Halloween in the Hudson Valley: 50 minutes from New York

Bookworms and history buffs can visit a piece of living history when they go to Sunnyside, the home of Washington Irving. The legendary author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," Irving spent the later years of his life at the riverfront cottage in Tarrytown, which was turned into a museum after his death in 1859.

Irving's house has been preserved in its original state, and visitors can be taken on tours by guides dressed in 17th-century clothing.

Admission to Sunnyside is $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 3-17. Visitors from the city can take the Metro-North to Tarrytown and then take a five-minute cab ride to the grounds.

In October, nearby Sleepy Hollow, an 11-minute drive from Sunnyside, gets into the spirit of Halloween with performances of Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by storyteller Jonathan Kruk.

Kruk, who wears period attire during the show, described his performance as a "dramatic retelling" of Irving's tale of the headless horseman. He said the experience is heightened by the surroundings; the performances take place under candlelight at the Old Dutch Church, the oldest church in New York State.

"It's the great-grandfather of all spooky stories," said Kruk, who has been performing the tale since 1996.

While the Hudson Valley website says the 45-minute performance is good for ages 10-and-up, Kruk said that the story contains no real description of gore and that he has seen children as young as 6 in the audience.

Metro-North Fall Getaway: 100 Minutes from New York

For those looking to get away without having to choose among activities, Metro-North Railroad offers a fall harvest getaway package that will take visitors to a farm, a winery and an apple orchard in the Hudson Valley.

The package allows visitors to get up close to farm animals and buy dairy products at Sprout Creek farm in Poughkeepsie, enjoy wine tastings and vineyard tours at either the Millbrook or Clinton vineyards and pick apples at the Terhune Orchards in Salt Point.

The tours begin and end at the Poughkeepsie Metro-North station, which is an hour-an-a-half ride from Grand Central Station. The getaway packages run weekends until Oct. 30 and the price from Grand Central Terminal/Harlem 125th Street Station is $31.25 for adults and $6.50 for children ages 5 to 11.

Tour Long Island Wine Country: 90 minutes from New York

Wine fans don't have to travel to California for a tasting adventure: the MTA offers a tour of Long Island's Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard on Oct. 20.

The vineyard, located 90 minutes from Penn Station, offers horse and pony rides, wine tastings and live music. In addition, the Long Island Spirits vodka distillery is located across the street from the vineyard.

The package, which includes discounted railroad tickets, bus vouchers to-and-from the vineyard and coupons for the vineyard, costs $34 for adults.