Escape the City: The Coolest Weekend Getaways from New York City

By Natalia Kvitek,

Traditionally, once the coals of Memorial Day BBQs have cooled off, New Yorkers are quick to start planning their summer weekend escapes.  We’ve all heard of the covetable weekend in the Hamptons, Montauk, Lake Placid, Saratoga Springs– but been there, done that. These long established escapes are so busy with the scenester bustle all summer long that you barely escape the city at all — isn’t that the guy who works at your Starbucks?

Our picks for weekend getaways from New York are hardly secret or hidden with easy transportation links from New York City as well as fantastic hotels and yummy restaurants. Pack the Le Pliage weekender bag and hop aboard the Amtrak- we’ll see you there!


Tarrytown & Sleepy Hollow, New York

Tarrytown Lighthouse Tarrytown Weekend trips from New York

The Tarrytown lighthouse. Photo by June Marie CCBY.

The name Sleepy Hollow might raise the hair on the back of your neck, but the village formerly known as North Tarrytown (they voted to change the name to Sleepy Hollow in 1996) and its larger neighbor Tarrytown bloom with charm.

The Tarrytown Third Friday entertainment series turns the business district into a street party with live music, food and a jolly atmosphere. Day to day, one of the prettiest towns in America (according to Forbes magazine) is chock-full of gourmet food, antiques and art galleries.

Don’t miss a visit to Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate. Extensive gardens, beautiful views of the Hudson Valley and a remarkable art collection are all found at this lush property, home to four generations of one of our country’s most powerful families.

Hungry? The Taco Project for a succinct menu of fresh tacos and a friendly, casual space or The Twisted Oak for a locally-infused, sophisticated take on American bistro cuisine.

Where to stay: Castle Hotel and Spa

Castle Hotel and Spa Tarrytown Sleepy Hollow

Photos courtesy of the Castle Hotel and Spa.

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You’ll have your nose stuck to the windowpanes that bring in majestic views of the Hudson River Valley courtesy of the Castle Hotel and Spa’s high perch.  Its majestic facade draws inspiration from Norman fortifications from all over the UK and the sumptuous interior calls to mind other pivotal historic elements like carved wood, plaster ceilings and crystal chandeliers.

No doubt, you’ll feel like royalty with a stay in one of the 31 rooms outfitted with working fireplaces, elegant armoires and four-poster beds dressed with imported linens and goose down comforters. Onsite Equus Restaurant serves a French-inspired locally-sourced menu and the spa soothes with holistic Thai-inspired treatments and decor.

Castle Hotel and Spa getaways from new york


Beacon, New York

Dia:Beacon Art Gallery Beacon New York

Dan Flavin’s light sculpture at Dia:Beacon. Photo by Chris Dignes CCBY

Following the conversion of a Nabisco box factory on the banks of the river into the Dia:Beacon Art Foundation, Beacon has been sparkling with creative energy while holding onto its tranquil, small-town roots. The gargantuan factory space provides ample room to display the collection of large sculptures and installations, also allowing visitors to admire them from all angles. On show are pieces from notable artists like Agnes Martin, Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol. Outside the 34 acres of grounds have been artistically shaped into gardens that beg for a leisurely stroll.  

A huge selection of boutiques and the weekly Sunday Farmer’s Market offer hand-made and artisanal gifts such as light fixtures, glass, hats and snacks which nod to Beacon’s many creative merits and the burgeoning creative community that calls it home.

Hungry? The Dogwood pub offers a warming selection of comfort food (including lots of vegetarian options), craft beer and live music. Locavores love to frequent the unpretentious and delicious Homespun Foods.  

Where to stay: The Round House

The Roundhouse guest suite Beacon

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What was once an industrial complex home to textile manufacturers and blacksmiths has been reclaimed as The Roundhouse, a nest of buildings housing a hotel and restaurant beside Fishkill Creek and Beacon Falls. The interior design borders on industrial without losing its warmth thanks in part to the original wood beams and mid-century modern furnishings that pair perfectly with the factory windows that spill in heaps of light and usher in the melody of the waterfall and creek. The Penthouse suites have an unbeatable Jacuzzi in the middle of the bedroom which overlooks the same waterfall.

The Roundhouse restaurant is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Terrance Brennan who employs a sustainable nose-to-tail menu which sees the entirety of farm produce shaped into delectable dishes.

Beacon Falls The Roundhouse Hotel view of the waterfall


 Hudson, New York

Hudson, New York Foodie

Photo from Unsplash.

For those looking to spend the weekend wine-ing and dining, Hudson has emerged as a true foodie destination- and with New Yorkers having taken note and packed their weekend totes- reservations are often required.  

Brunch is a Hudson weekend necessity. Turn it into a verb with some brunching in the garden at Red Dot, the town’s oldest continuously operating restaurant. Lunch comes next at Grazin’. The farm-to-table restaurant serves up 100% animal welfare approved meats.

For dinner, Crimson Sparrow’s tasting menu changes every month, employing a mix of classic French cooking techniques and standout Asian flavors. Their wine selection, favoring heavily on French, is extensive. Another fusion heavy menu is presented at Hudson Food Studio. Their sesame-crusted tofu with white miso gravy, greens and rice noodles is the definition of “umami”. 

Hungry? Probably not. Sick of food? You’re out of luck as the theme continues to all corners of town. Find vintage cookbooks at Hudson City Books or drive out to the nearby farms including Old Field Farm who supplies some of Manhattan’s best restaurants with produce and eggs. On the main drag, Warren Street, you’ll find Flowerkraut, an odd combo of floral studio and sauerkraut shop as well as other boutiques selling ceramics, spices and other Instagrammable-must haves.

Where to stay: The Inn at Hudson

The Inn at Hudson Weekend trip from New York

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Stay in the heart of Hudson with a foodie affair to remember at The Inn at Hudson. Full of delicate historical detailing including a restored plaster frieze in the dining room, the Inn is a charmer with plenty of space to spread out despite only having five guest rooms. Each comes with an en-suite and access to the library solarium and the walled garden.

Breakfast menus change every week. The quality is of an impeccably high standard from poached eggs with lime-infused hollandaise, Huevos Rancheros to fluffy pancakes with fruit.


Shelter Island, New York

While Shelter Island is truly the perfect place to spend the day in an Adirondack chair doing nothing but watching the waves and listening to the birds’ chirp, the coastline and terrain beg for a meander. The Island, accessible only by ferry from Greenport or North Haven, is easily discoverable via bike or foot. Trendy boutiques and craft breweries can also be found, bringing the nice parts of city life to this sleepy yet hip patch of land.

The Mashomack Nature Preserve is a tangle of hiking trails that take you across all parts of Shelter Island’s quintessential landscape, guiding you through marshes, meadows and tidal creeks, oftentimes joined by ospreys.

The coastline hides three lovely beaches for any occasion: Wades is for families, Crescent is hip and Shell is private and quiet. If you are coming with kids, Whale’s Tale is a mini-golf paradise of maritime-themed kitsch.

Hungry? After a round of grueling mini-golf, the best ice cream and cannolis on the island are at Whale’s Tale. Feeling the freshly harvested, market price, local seafood vibe? Snack on the raw bar at the marina-front restaurant SALT.

Where to stay: The Chequit Inn

The Chequit Shelter Island Porch

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Quietly sophisticated, The Chequit best re-creates that original Shelter Island cottage atmosphere. A porch overlooking the harbor waves in visitors. If decor colors truly influence your mood, the whitewash of The Chequit guarantees a relaxing stay. Delicate pink and gray meet pale blues and whites while reclaimed ladders hang straw hats.

The onsite restaurant Red Maple has cozy booths among pretty wallpapered walls and a smattering of tables and chairs outside on the lawn with string lights setting a whimsical tone. The food is both seasonal and local when possible with classic dishes updates with some more adventurous twists, like the Tuna tartare with soy ginger glaze, and a pan-fried Caprese salad.

Breakfast is included in your stay and can be taken in the lobby or in your room, wrapped up like a picnic. Offerings vary from granola and fruit, to sweet or savory pastries.


Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth Harbor Tugboats

Photo by Mark Bonica CCBY

Dating back to 1623, Portsmouth has been brewing upon the remnants of the American Revolutions, fishing and shipping traditions to emerge as a hip, locavore-loving destination. What better way to spend a weekend than breathing in that fresh, salty air and dining on the ocean’s bounty? Let’s dive into a Portsmouth weekend getaway from New York City.  

The town is centered around Market Square, a collection of brick and clapboard commercial buildings that showcases the beauty of New England coastal life so well. Today locally-owned shops sell anything from  jewelry, to toys and even cigars.

A local gem is the Strawbery Banke, a 10-acre outdoor living museum collection of houses, gardens and taverns that go back to the 17th century. Step back in time through the portal here with costumed interpreters and artisans displaying the colonial way of life in Portsmouth through coppering, boat building, pottery and weaving.

The best way to see the town is naturally by boat while heading towards the Isles of Shoals, a collection of small historic islands with a monument to John Smith (of Pocahontas stardom) as well as several 18th century stone buildings. Another boating option is the Heritage Harbor Cruise that lasts just over an hour.

Hungry? Slurp them raw, fried, marinated and even stuffed at The Franklin Oyster House plus plenty of options to suit the oyster-haters. The black truffle salt fries at Lexie’s Joint take casual to upscale without a white tablecloth. 

Where to stay: The Ale House Inn

Weekend getaways from New York the Ale House Inn

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Much like the city in which it resides, The Ale House Inn is equal parts historic and chic. Built within an old brewery warehouse on the fringes of the city center, there is plenty of free parking for those coming by car. The rooms are decorated in a purposeful minimalism that lets the historic details stand out, including the foot thick walls used to keep the beer kegs cold. The lighting is designed by Jonathan Adler and guests can utilize the free Trek cruiser bikes to explore the very bikeable city.  

Guest have free snacks and drinks in the lobby in addition to discounted rates at the nearby Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club and sails with Gundalow Company.


Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic River Connecticut Weekend Getaways from New York

Photo by peasap CCBY

The only cheesy thing about Mystic isn’t just the made-famous-by-film pizza joint. The former seafarer’s village is a popular spot for seekers of salty air and salt water taffy wares (the best to be found at Franklin’s General Store).

The Mystic Seaport is one of the best maritime museums in the country and has managed to recreate the spirit and anatomy of the town’s history. The 40-acre Seaport Museum has an impressive collection of Tall Ships open for climbing including the Charles W Morgan, the oldest remaining wooden sailing whale ship.

The marine theme continues across many of the shops and galleries that dot the seaside abode. Walk across Main Street from east to west across the Mystic River Bascule Bridge and hopefully witness the hydraulic action. There is an overarching feeling of quaintness about, making Mystic the perfect place to relax. An afternoon cat nap in Mystic is strictly guilt-free.

Hungry? Famous Mystic Pizza is deep kneaded and dripping with toppings and a tasty tomato sauce. It’s a rite of passage for any visitor. The Engine Room is home to burgers, beers and bourbon and a great happy hour from 4-6 p.m. 

Where to stay: The Whaler’s Inn

The Whaler Inn Mystic

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The Whaler’s Inn is made up of five different buildings from different times in Mystic’s history. The hotel’s historical tidbits which remain include original floors and the tin ceilings found in certain hallways and guest rooms. Some rooms have views of the river and the Bascule Drawbridge and the tasteful nautical decor is a modern twist on the town’s past.

Breakfast is included in your stay and has an emphasis on sourcing local products when possible, including sweet & savory pastries from SIFT, Dave’s Coffee from neighboring Rhode Island and other continental staples.


New Paltz, New York

A winning combination of quaint college town and outdoor dreamland, a weekend in New Paltz is an all-inclusive getaway for greedy weekenders who want it all. Located between several preserved forests, those who fancy themselves “outdoorsy” will delight in hundreds of miles of trails at their New Paltz doorstep, ready to be trotted, run, biked or sauntered over.

Huguenot Street has taken the gold medal for the longest continuously inhabited street in all of America, dating back to when the Huguenots first fled persecution in France during the 1600s. You can find traces of the town’s beginnings at Jean Hasbrouck House, once a family home and village store as well as the church graveyard.

Soaring pine trees move up towards the Shawangunk Ridge which casts a shadow over the town but spotlights it as one of the best places to rock climb in the country. The ridge is part of Minnewaska State Park, conveniently home to waterfalls, sparkling lakes that are even open for scuba diving.  

If you’re looking to be alone with your thoughts, the Mohonk Preserve occupies 8,000 acres of land with dense forest, fields, and tinkling streams.

Hungry? The quaint Village Tea Room comes with a delicious assortment of European bistro food from local farmers. Huckleberry fuses lip-smacking cocktails with upscale pub grub with options for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

Where to stay: The 1850 House Inn

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A bearer of many names since its humble 1850 beginnings as a hostelry, The 1850 House Inn & Tavern has gracefully grown into her historic features while bearing the modern day comforts we can’t live without.

Old wood bears the patina of years past and the brick exterior is easily spotted from Main Street. Views of the River and a complimentary breakfast which includes made to order omelets and the indulgent oatmeal-blueberry streusel French toast amp up the luxurious feel of the property.


 Asbury Park, New Jersey

Born and still living in Asbury Park is locally adored legend Bruce Springsteen who should be testament enough to visit the city, regardless of whether you’re vying for a glance of The Boss or escaping NYC. A burgeoning LGBT scene since the mid-2000’s has raised the formerly derelict city into the beautiful mermaid New Yorkers enjoy for many a weekend today.

The mile-long boardwalk is the perfect place to begin getting acquainted with the town. The atmosphere here is cooler than the average boardwalk with foodie worthy offerings of ceviche and empanadas at Runa, vegetarian Korean tofu tacos at Mogo and a vegan take on the ultimate boardwalk staple, the ice cream. Shops aren’t limited to magnets and muscle tees but sell stylish souvenirs from local designers.

Not missing from the boardwalk is Madame Marie’s Temple of Knowledge where you can get your fortune told and the pinball machine mecca at Silverball Museum. The live music scene one of the draws for coming to Asbury and venues like The Stone Pony and Wonderbar often host a spur of the moment secret performance from the Boss as well as local and national acts.

Hungry? It wouldn’t be a visit to the Jersey Shore without an Italian sandwich- the Speakeatery makes a “so stuffed it’s silly version” with homemade mozzarella. With sun comes beers and the ones at Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten are accompanied by German pretzels, weiners, wursts and schnitzels.

Where to stay: The Asbury

The Asbury Hotel ocean view Asbury Park

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Also bringing life to Asbury Park is destination hotel, The Asbury, developed out of the bones of a decrepit Salvation Army building, has become a social hub for weekenders and locals. From the pool, an onsite food truck to the rec rooms with ping-pong and pinballs all the way upstairs to the two rooftop bars and 20-foot movie screening wall, the hotel has been whimsically conceived, designed and decorated.  

You’re only one and a half blocks from the beach and the ocean views are seemingly endless from many of the rooms. A multitude of room configurations from single king all the way up to an octo dorm makes it perfect for a weekend getaway with your entire group of friends, or just you and your beloved.

 

Which escape will you indulge in this summer?