Located 84 miles from Grand Central Station is Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, CT, the best hiking experience in southern New England (speaking as a Connecticut native).
While the mountain from the east and west resembles yours truly after many a long night studying during college at Quinnipiac University, located just across the road from the park, I assure you the name and likeness is entirely coincidental.
We will meet Saturday morning at 11 a.m. in the main parking lot on Mount Carmel Avenue. The 4.37-mile hike will follow the orange-green-yellow loop on the enclosed map (http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/stateparks/maps/sleepgiant.pdf) and is considered moderate with both steady ascents on green and orange trails, but level on the mid-point yellow trails.
What to bring & wear:
Comfortable hiking boots or trail shoes; Fleece jacket/base layer and light weight rain shell (weather permitting) Trail mix / energy bars / fruit / pickled veggies / sandwich for lunch 1-liter or more of water, energy drink, bottled or Camelbak Hiking poles (optional) Depending how we feel, I'm amenable to providing a complementary tour of the Quinnipiac campus afterwards, or at least sitting in the quad and/or checking out the student center, including where I hosted a Saturday morning radio show and feverishly edited a weekly newspaper column.
Afterwards we will dine at Bar & Brü Room (254 Crown St, New Haven), a brewpub, pizzeria and music venue in downtown New Haven.
(a) We will be driving up and leaving at 8:45 a.m. from the 63rd St. / 2nd Ave. meet-up spotin Manhattan; There is room for two (2) comfortably in my car, so please respond soon if you'd like a ride with Amy and I. Otherwise, here are driving directions from NYC/Westchester:
Directions From I-91 (from I-95 N): Take Exit 10. Then get onto Route 40 connector and stay on until the end. At the light, take a right onto Route 10N drive 1½ miles then take a right onto Mt. Carmel Avenue. The park entrance is on the left across from Quinnipiac University.
From Wilbur Cross/Merritt Parkway: Take Exit 61. Go north onto Whitney Avenue for 3 miles and take a right onto Mt. Carmel Avenue. The park entrance is on the left across from Quinnipiac.
(b) From Grand Central Station, take a 2-hour Metro North train direct to New Haven and take the 'J' CT Transit bus from Union Station straight up Whitney Avenue to Mt. Carmel Ave. / Quinnipiac University stop (approx. 27 minutes); off-peak train fare is $15.50 one-way and bus toll is $1.30 with free transfers. Can't beat that in NYC!
*Note: You are responsible for your own well-being and hiking ability for moderate ascent trails. Please plan accordingly per weather reports. Bring appropriate clothing, gear, water, food & first aid.