INSPIRATION • September 2018
Crawling down Broadway in a cab, it’s easy to forget that just beyond New York City’s borders are long sandy beaches, forest-ringed lakes and wildflower meadows. So, says travel writer Francesca Syz, why not hire a car or hop on a train and see for yourself?
Travel time from NYC: Two-hour drive
There’s something wonderfully remote about this sleepy corner of the Catskills in Upstate New York, but you’ll find the produce of its farms, dairies and breweries on menus throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. For a weekend of hiking, horse riding, antique shops and brewery tours, head to Sullivan County in the Upper Delaware Valley. Check into the 14-room North Branch Inn (doubles from $191), which has a two-lane vintage bowling alley, gardening workshops and Adirondack chairs at the river’s edge. Swim at Skinner’s Falls, hike at Jensen’s Ledges, explore nearby Livingston Manor and Callicoon or simply cosy up in front of the wood-burning stove in a new pair of socks from the local alpaca farm.
Travel time from NYC: Fifty minutes by train
You don’t have to be a hedge fund billionaire to live in Greenwich, but it helps. Alternatively, you can just go for the weekend, hiring a car or hopping on a direct train at Grand Central Station. One of the oldest and most affluent towns in Connecticut, a weekend here is all about brunch at celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s The National, facials at Delamar Greenwich Harbor and a visit to the Bush-Holley historic site, birthplace of Impressionism in America. For some good old-fashioned beach time, head down to Greenwich Point, jutting out into Long Island Sound (pick up a single-entry pass for the beach from the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center). Stay at the Homestead Inn (doubles from £249), once a Victorian manor house, now an 18-room hotel with an award-winning French restaurant in the exclusive Belle Haven neighbourhood.
Travel time from NYC: One-hour drive
With more than 46,000 acres of wilderness, it’s hard to believe the heart of Harriman State Park is only an hour north of Manhattan. The second-largest state park in New York, it offers over 200 miles of walking trails, waterfalls, amazing wildlife and mountain terrain to climb. An excellent base in the middle of it all is Sebago Cabin Camp (cabins from $72 per night) on Lake Sebago, which offers rustic cabin accommodation and hikes right from your doorstep. Try one of the lake-to-lake routes dotted with natural swimming holes or do the challenging Seven Hills Trail.
Travel time from NYC: One-and-a-half hour drive
This bit of Jersey shoreline isn’t as rough around the edges as it was when Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith grew up here, but it’s still pleasingly grungy. Asbury Park is a great place to escape to for 24 hours of good food and live music, either by car or by hopping on the New Jersey Transit Line from New York’s Penn Station. Legendary music venues include the Stone Pony where Springsteen cut his teeth and the beachside Convention Hall. Peruse the vintage pinball machines at the boardwalk’s Silverball Museum and sample as much food as possible on Cookman Avenue, from shrimp tacos at Brickwall Tavern to gourmet Italian sandwiches at the Speakeatery. Stay at Scandi-chic The Asbury Hotel (doubles from $143), love child of design guru Anda Andrei and SALT Hotels co-founder David Bowd, with a rooftop cinema, beer garden and poolside parties galore.
Travel time from NYC: One hour 50 minutes by train
Midway between Manhattan and Montauk on Long Island’s North Shore overlooking Long Island Sound is the pretty, New Englandy town of Port Jefferson – Port Jeff to locals – and the Long Island Railroad will whisk you all the way there. This charming seaside village is car free with excellent cafés and bars, such as Toast for a delicious breakfast, gastropub Brewology for wonderful local mussels and brew frites (house-cut fries smothered with hickory-smoked cheddar and beer-braised pork belly) and Port Jeff Brewing Company for interesting stouts and ales. Check into Danford’s Hotel, Marina & Spa (doubles from $222) in the heart of the village – it has a huge deck with views over the Sound for al fresco evenings.
This article has been tagged Destination, Driving