New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Opinion: Upstate New York is underrated

An upstate New York getaway can be the perfect way to take a break from preparing for midterm season and the bustling city while enjoying the changing weather.
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Amory Gao
Escaping the concrete jungle for a day of exploration is a liberating experience. (Amory Gao for WSN)

I was scrolling through Instagram a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon a reel of a quaint, Gilmore Girls-esque upstate New York town, with leaf-covered main streets and charming landscapes. This piqued my interest and got me thinking about taking a fall trip out of the city, and what upstate towns had to offer exceeded all my expectations. The revelation was simple yet profound: A journey just beyond the city’s boundaries could be the perfect remedy for the looming midterm season.

As an international student, I had never ventured far from the city before. Surprisingly, going upstate was easier than I had imagined, with the Metro-North train from Grand Central Terminal providing an accessible gateway.

During my search, one destination stood out to me: Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York. Nestled in the Hudson Valley, this 500-acre outdoor museum houses larger-than-life sculptures set amid breathtaking landscapes. To fully savor this experience, I recommend the shuttle-inclusive ticket, which includes a weekend-only shuttle from the Beacon Metro-North station to the art center. I booked through the MTA TrainTime app, and it cost me $17.50 each way — plus I got to go on a scenic journey along the Hudson River during my train ride.

At the art center, I was captivated by the harmonious blend of art and nature. After wandering among colossal sculptures, I ended up in a nearby town called Cornwall. Its main street boasted a cozy coffee shop, an art store, a vintage boutique and a family-owned pizzeria, where I purchased a hoodie as a souvenir. 

My journey unveiled a world of experiences just a train ride away from New York City. Day trip destinations like this one offer a mental break from the chaos of NYU, and rekindle our appreciation for nature. For those longing for a taste of a quieter lifestyle, any of these destinations can make you feel more at home.

The demands of academia can be overwhelming, especially during midterm season, and can take a toll on our mental health. A 2015 Stanford-led study found that spending time in nature — in contrast to urban environments like New York City — can reduce activity in the part of your brain associated with depression, making it a good way to counteract the added stress of midterms.

Beyond the mental health benefits, immersing yourself in nature can help you study better, too. Research shows that exposure to natural settings improves working memory, cognitive flexibility and attentional control, all of which are helpful on exam day.

Escaping the city for a day of exploration in an unfamiliar place was a liberating getaway in contrast to the artificial greenery of the concrete jungle. While city parks offer some access to nature, they don’t quite measure up to the immersive forests you’ll find upstate. There’s nothing like the vivid ochre, red and orange foliage of maple trees.

Planning a brief escape from the city might be the perfect antidote to the stress of the upcoming exam season. I, for one, am definitely planning on several more trips upstate, and I encourage you to do the same.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Valentina Plevisani at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Valentina Plevisani, Deputy Opinion Editor
Valentina Plevisani is a junior majoring in Politics and Journalism and minoring in Italian. Born and raised in Peru she hopes to be a political journalist and is obssessed with reading. When she's not writing you can find her baking, down a Wikipedia rabbit hole or, honestly just taking a nap.

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