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The Best Quick Getaways from NYC: An Interview with EscapeMaker’s Founder


Locals know that in order to retain some sanity in The City That Never Sleeps, one must escape on occasion. Lucky for us, a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city is just a train ride away. 

EscapeMaker arranges quick getaways from the city designed for those of us who don’t have a car (because let’s be real here – that’s most of us New Yorkers). The company crafts food-focused trips ranging from apple picking in Hudson Valley to winery escapes in the Finger Lakes region, and each experience is carefully curated to give the perfect balance of food, culture and of course, some much needed R&R time. 

We sat down with EscapeMaker’s founder, Caylin Sanders, to learn more about the company, experiences they offer, and her tips for local life in NYC. 

When did you start your business, and how did you begin?

We launched on September 13, 2000 with a small business loan from a local community bank in Brooklyn. It was the first and last loan they ever made to a dot-com business since it was right before the bubble burst.

What are your favorite experiences to recommend from EscapeMaker?

We do a lot of different things! We blog about great places to visit within a day’s drive or train ride of NYC. We distribute guides from Greenmarket locations across the city and from our agritourism pop-up shop at Fulton Stall Market (91 South St.), so anyone can come by and get inspired for their next getaway. We also offer day trip tours in conjunction with NYC Urban Adventures. We produce seasonal tasting events, like Applepalooza, scheduled for September 30 at the South Street Seaport, where our users can come get a free taste of local craft beverages, wines and apple-related products to inspire them to travel locally on their next agritourism getaway.

What’s the most surprising, weird or unusual thing about your business?

We have a storage space packed with food and beverage-related costumes, windmills, Christmas trees, fake fall leaves, apple blossoms cardboard barns, pigs and cows. Anyone walking in would think we were a prop house. It’s pretty crazy what we’ve accumulated over the years from events we have done.

Also, in 2010 we won an Emmy Award for an agritourism webisode series about New York State that we produced.

What is your favorite thing about living in NYC?

The people watching. I love seeing different kinds of people sitting next to each other on a subway car and co-existing peacefully. Park Slope is my favorite neighborhood.

Who is your favorite local artist, chef or creative?

For art, La Bodega Gallery in Park Slope was started by an artist friend, Miguel Ayuso, who is now living his dream. They hold art shows, live drawing sessions, workshops for kids and all sorts of events.

My favorite chef and baker is Paul Dorr, the the new chef at Fulton Stall Market in the Seaport District. He’s constantly making mind blowing desserts, creative soups and sandwiches. I always look forward to seeing what’s on the daily specials board.
La Bodega Gallery (left) and EscapeMaker’s pop up shop at Fulton Stall Market (right)

What’s your #1 tip for living or traveling in NYC?

Taking ferries around NYC is really underrated. Last year I got a private ferry (because it was empty) from Weehawken, NJ all the way around the tip of Manhattan at sunset to Pier 16 and then transferred to a ferry to Red Hook to the Ikea and then took the B61 bus home. It was amazing and some of the best NYC skyline and Statue of Liberty photos I have ever taken.

You can book a trip on EscapeMaker for the perfect city escape.
At Urban Adventures NYC, we’re currently running fall apple picking tours with EscapeMaker. Learn more about our Dutchess County Apple Picking.
Follow EscapeMaker on Instagram @escapemaker.

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