How many stops at uptown, downtown and midtown stores will it take to get all the Christmas and Hanukkah presents this year? You could just buy everyone on the list a Barnes & Noble gift card or you could turn your generous but tiring errands into a fun and relaxing shopping getaway for you and a travel companion.
From the historic and high spirited town of Bethlehem to scenic Center Valley and the Jersey Shore, these four “shop and stay” hotel packages near NYC will take the stress out of gift hunting. Some properties offer free shuttle services to the outlets and even give you money to help get the job done.
Woodbury Commons | 315 Red Apple Court | Central Valley, NY | 845.928.4547
Why Pick the The Caren House B&B Package: Only an hour from the city, this 18th century farmhouse b&b with a peaceful setting and pond is a lovely way to end a day of nonstop shopping. Stay Friday & Saturday Night, and receive a VIP coupon book along with a $25 center-wide gift card redeemable at the outlets. Mention “offManhattan.com” when you call to make your reservation, and the Caren House will arrange for complimentary transportation to and from Woodbury Common. Visit carenhousebb.com or call 845.782.0377 for booking and more details.
The Package Price: $79/one room with two single beds; $89/full bed
The Shops: Barneys, American Apparel, Diane Von Furstenberg, Crate and Barrel, Ralph Lauren, plus factory stores like Ann Taylor, Nike, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, and The Luggage Factory. For a full list of shops, visit premiumoutlets.com
How to get there: Take the Short Line Bus from Port Authority to Monroe, NY. From the bus stop, the inn will pick you up for $8 each way (cabs are $12+ tip each way).
Jersey Shore Outlets | 1 Premium Outlets Blvd. | Tinton Falls, NJ | 732.918.1700
Why Pick the Ocean Plaza Package: A cozy room with ocean views and you are within walking distance of everything this small town has to offer, which includes fabulous craft shops and antiquing. Vicki at Ocean Plaza suggests dining at Moonstruck, a tri-level Victorian property serving Mediterranean fare—and a participant in Jersey Shore Restaurant Week, November 5-14—or Seagrass Restaurant for its contemporary American menu and BYOB policy, followed by fire-side drinks in an ocean-facing alcove at Watermark on the boardwalk. The package comes with accommodations, continental breakfast enjoyed on a wrap-around porch, a $25 gift card and a discount coupon book good for any store at the outlets. Visit the theinnsofoceangrove.com for booking, area info, and further package details.
The Package Price: $110/night – Nov. 1st through April 30th
The Shops: In addition to the standard shops found at the Jersey Shore Outlets, nearby Main Street in Asbury Park has an eclectic mix of charming boutiques filled with unique items you can’t find at the mall.
How to get there: Take NJ Transit to the Asbury Park train station, then a five minute cab ride to the hotel.
The Pier Shops at Caesars | 1 Atlantic Ocean | Atlantic City, NJ | 609.343.3199
Why Pick the Pier Pleasure Package: The smell of the salty sea air when the shopping madness is over, lunch with a view of surfers and Atlantic City, and a waterfall that dances. (Plus, the unlikely chance to call it a free shopping spree if you win big at the casinos.) The package includes accommodations in a classic room and a $50 gift card good anywhere at The Pier Shops at Caesars. To book Pier Pleasure, visit harrahs.com
The Package Price: From $109/night, Sunday-Thursday; From $297.36/night on Friday; From $349.12 on Saturday (Including taxes and fees)
The Shops: Burberry, Banana Republic, Tiffany & Co., White House | Black Market, Chico’s, BCBG Max Azria, and many more. To browse the stores available, visit thepiershopsatcaesars.com
How to get there: Consult offManhattan’s public transportation guide to Atlantic City Watch an episode of HBO’s The Boardwalk before you go.
Christkindlmarkt | 33 W Walnut St. | Bethlehem, PA | 610.332.1300
Why Pick the Hotel Bethlehem Package: This grand historic hotel caters to guests looking for a festive and luxurious (yet still affordable) experience, and is the closest hotel to Christkindlmarkt, known for being one of the best holiday bazaars in the world. When you book the Bed & Breakfast package, which includes a welcome cocktail in the Tap Room Lounge and breakfast for two at 1741 on the Terrace, Kelly Ronalds at the hotel will have an insider’s guide to shopping in Bethlehem waiting for you at the front desk upon arrival. (Not everyone is privy to her local tips, so make sure to mention that offManhattan.com sent you.)
The Price: Weekdays starting at $149; weekends starting at $169. The Christkindlmarkt is open December weekends through the 19th.
The Shops: Christkindlmarkt is one giant brightly-lit, gingerbread-and-cider-smelling space, featuring handcrafted goods by 75 countrywide artisans.
How to get there: Take the Trans-Bridge Bus line from Port Authority to Sands Casino, then a 5-minute taxi to Main Street. The ride is approximately an hour and a half.
The co-founder and editor-at-large at offMetro, Lauren is a sustainable travel specialist and freelance journalist with frequent bylines in National Geographic, Bicycling Magazine and Shape. Follow Lauren’s adventures at @laurenmati.