Much of Milford, Pa., is a National Historic District, with 19th century architectural treasures by Frederic Law Olmsted, Richard Morris Hunt, Chester Aldrich and others.
There’s nothing like a quick getaway to restore some balance in a busy New Yorker’s life. Luckily, we’re encircled by charming little towns, breathtaking wilderness, and eye-popping culture — sometimes all in the same place. Here’s our guide to the best day trips from New York City this season.
In Beacon, N.Y., Dia:Beacon houses masterpieces by giants like Dan Flavin and Richard Serra in a 34,000-square-foot gallery that’s a converted 1929 Nabisco factory.
With masterpieces by giants like Dan Flavin and Richard Serra, the Dia:Beacon (diaart.org) gallery in a converted 1929 Nabisco factory would be reason enough to visit this once-derelict Dutchess County town. But Beacon’s laid-back Brooklyn-north vibe makes it worth lingering. On Main St., you’ll find cool shops like American Gypsy Vintage (americangypsyvintage.com), Binnacle Books (binnaclebooks.com), and the brilliant gift store/gallery Dream in Plastic (dreaminplastic.com), a Brooklyn transplant. After shopping, enjoy more art with a swirl-topped latte at cozy Bank Square Coffeehouse (banksquarecoffeehouse.com). Beacon’s just 90 minutes on Metro-North from Grand Central.
Wonderbar in Asbury Park, N.J., still hosts dog-friendly happy hours.
Asbury Park, NJ
Asbury Park’s first new hotel in 50 years, The Asbury (theasburyhotel.com), is opening its doors in May. It’s the harbinger of a new era in the historic beach town immortalized in Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 album debut. A lot’s changed here since its well-publicized bad old days. You’ll find happening eateries like Mogo Korean Tacos (eatmogo.com), quirky boutiques like StyleRocket (stylerocket.com), and every kind of performance at House of Independents (houseofindependents.com). But it’s what hasn’t changed that’s great. The Stone Pony (stoneponyonline.com) still hosts must-see acts — Pete Yorn and Judas Priestess these days. Riotously decorated Wonderbar (wonderbarasburypark.com) still hosts its dog-friendly happy hour. And the legendary boardwalk’s as full of character, and characters, as ever. It’s all just 90 minutes from New York City by car or NJ Transit.
The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia puts into historical context the most famous four pages ever written through high-tech exhibitions, artifacts and interactive displays.
There’s so much going on in Philadelphia that it’s easy to forget the city’s just a 2-hour drive — or civilized Amtrak ride — away. Want to make history? The National Constitution Center’s (constitutioncenter.org) timely “Headed to the White House” lets you become a candidate with your own campaign. Curious about the sizzling food scene? Check out white-hot newcomers like Hungry Pigeon (hungrypigeon.com), a farm-to-table spot in a former gay porn theater. Want to see some real characters? At The Franklin Institute’s (fi.edu) “The Science Behind Pixar,” learn what animates icons like Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley.
Hotel Fauchere, in Milford, Pa., is a jewelbox Relais & Chateaux property housing one of Pennsylvania’s chic-est eateries, The Delmonico Room.
One of the nation’s most beautiful river towns sits just 70 miles and change (a 2-hour drive) from the Big Apple. Much of Milford is a National Historic District, with 19th century architectural treasures by Frederic Law Olmsted, Richard Morris Hunt, Chester Aldrich and others. The great outdoors are next door. Milford’s the north gate to the 70,000 acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, with trails, beautiful waterfalls, and spectacular wildlife. If you prefer wildlife on your plate, Hotel Fauchere (hotelfauchere.com) is a jewelbox Relais & Chateaux property housing one of Pennsylvania’s chicest eateries, The Delmonico Room.
North Fork, Long Island
No need to schlep to Napa Valley for wine country, beautiful views and great food. You can find it all on the North Fork of Long Island, just two hours from NYC. Sample an Albarino or Muscat at Acquebogue’s Palmer Vineyards (palmervineyards.com), one of a score of wine producers with free tastings. Try the lobster tempura taco at Greenport’s Scrimshaw (scrimshawrestaurant.com), celeb chef Rosa Ross’ pristine waterside eatery. And don’t leave without visiting the 67 Steps beach in Greenport for breathtaking views of the Long Island Sound. It’s tradition to leave a stone at the top-stairs railing. Just 96 miles away, Greenport’s an easy trip from Penn Station.
Hudson’s been a getaway for generations, but it’s constantly reinventing itself; the very cool Rivertown Lodge, on Warren Street, is a brand-new arrival.
About 120 miles from NYC and easily accessible by train, Hudson’s been a beloved getaway for a century. But the town keeps reinventing itself. There are the familiar attractions — 50 antique stores, more than 20 art galleries, the always-cool Club Helsinki (helsinkihudson.com) lounge. And then there’s the very hip new Rivertown Lodge (rivertownlodge.com), a 27-room converted movie theater; Moto Coffee Machine (motocoffeemachine.com), a combo espresso bar/motorcycle gallery; and the new rustic-chic WM Farmer & Sons (wmfarmerandsons.com), a “boarding house” where you can dine on tender grilled octopus and rich smoked pork shank.
Sure, there’s a general store and a Main Street. But Cold Spring is not your grandparents’ small town.
Cold Spring, NY
Sure, there’s a general store and a Main St. But Cold Spring is not your grandparents’ small town. The Cold Spring General Store (coldspringgeneralstore.com) is all about local artisan goods, and Main St.’s dotted with quirky shops and easygoing eateries like French-accented Bouchon. Be sure to look up; you’ll see beautifully preserved 19th-century architecture, and — since Main Street dead-ends at the Hudson River — breathtaking views. Once you’ve eyed folk-art prints at The Country Touch (thecountrytouch.net), settle into a booth at riverside Hudson House (hudsonhouseinn.com) for superb new-American dishes like steak and grilled shrimp. You can get to Cold Spring in less than 90 minutes from Grand Central.