While the City has plenty to offer in the summer, even die-hard urbanites need to get away from it all sometimes. For New Yorkers looking to put a little luxe into their weekend travel, we selected eight high-end getaways that are just a stone’s throw (or about a three- or four-hour car ride, max) away from the light pollution and subway delays. From waterfront resorts to luxurious spas and chic country towns, even the most discerning New Yorker can discover the perfect retreat, without resorting, so to speak, to the Hamptons.
This year, the unofficial horseracing capital of New York, located just three hours from the city, will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of its Saratoga Race Course, complete with fireworks and the special opportunity to place a $15,000 bet. Relax at the end of a hot day at the races by slipping into one of the area’s famous hot spring baths like the Health and Day Spa at the Roosevelt Inn (Rooseveltsuites.com), and even organize a tasting tour of the bitter, medicinal waters. Stay the night at Saratoga Arms—a concierge hotel with the charm of a bed and breakfast (saratogaarms.com). History buffs may want to eat at the historic 18th-century Olde Bryan Inn at Saratoga Springs, with an upscale, continental menu (oldebryaninn.com).
Waves lap the rocky shores of this picturesque “Downton Abbey of the Americas” and yachting capital of the Northeast. Known for its Gilded Age mansions, the city by the sea offers the Old World charm of afternoon tea, as well as high-end lodging at the Hotel Viking (hotelviking.com) and at the Vanderbilt Grace Hotel (vanderbiltgrace.com). Dig even deeper into the aristocratic history of the town with a tour of servants’ life at the Elms. Or simply take in the breathtaking scenery along the 10-mile Ocean Drive. Bouchard, Newport’s highest-rated restaurant, will satisfy even discerning New Yorkers’ palates (restaurantbouchard.com). And for something a little more casual, locals swear by O’Brien’s Pub for the classic pint.
Finger Lakes Wine Country, NY
Get the most out of a visit to the popular Finger Lakes region by keeping your wine glass full, and staying at the Mirbeau Inn and Spa (www.mirbeau.com). The peaceful resort, located in Skaneateles, is known for an assortment of therapy treatments, as well as yoga and pilates classes. Most of the architecture, including a footbridge re-creation, is inspired by Monet’s paintings. Guests are welcome to wander the grounds of the resort and even eat in their spa robes. The Dining Room fare at Mirbeau is, of course, French-inspired. The surrounding area? Miles of wine country. Explore a wine trail and experience dozens of food and wine pairings in one visit, or visit during Finger Lakes Wine Month in May.
The Lodge at Woodloch, Hawley, PA
The Lodge at Woodloch combines the natural backdrop of the Poconos with the indulgence of a high-end spa (voted #4 destination spa by Travel and Leisure). It’s hard to believe that the lodge is down the road from the fast-paced Woodloch Pines family resort. But this secluded destination is a decidedly grown-up getaway. The men’s and women’s retreats include quiet pools and treatment areas. And after massages and mud masks, eat at the in-house restaurant or at the gourmet chef’s kitchen, where chefs host cooking demonstrations. Tour the property’s cranberry bogs, and take a painting or yoga class. Blow off some steam with a round of golf or tennis at the adjacent Woodloch Springs Golf Course. New to Woodloch are the unusual beer-inspired spa treatments and the peaceful butterfly garden. Learn more at thelodgeatwoodloch.com.
The Berkshires, MA
Located in the highlands of western Massachusetts, the Berkshires were originally the go-to second-home destination for wealthy 19th-century New Yorkers. These days, you don’t have to own a home. Guests can stay at The Blantyre in Lenox, a Gilded Age mansion converted into an inn (www.Blantyre.com), or one of the charming bed and breakfasts dotting the area. Apart from the natural beauty, the big draw is the abundance of arts and culture to be enjoyed in the great outdoors in the summer. Watch a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert at their outdoor Tanglewood retreat (the setting is so natural, even the seats are made from logs). Highlighted 2013 concerts include a Jerry Garcia tribute and a performance of West Side Story (bso.org/tanglewood). Dance fans should check out Jacob’s Pillow, one of the nation’s most popular summer dance festivals, in Becket. And get in with the local farm-to-table movement at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge (www.redlioninn.com).
The Best of Dutchess County, NY
Take the Metro-North to the heart of Dutchess County, where the highlights aren’t just confined to one small town, but are sprinkled throughout the region. Visit the modern art museum at Beacon, and stay at the Roundhouse at Beacon Falls—with rooms and art studios overlooking the eponymous falls (roundhousebeacon.com). Take a visit to FDR’s home and library in Hyde Park. The foodie in you will want to dine at Il Barilotto, a modern Italian eatery in Fishkill (www.ilbarilottorestaurant.com) and rated one of the best in the area. And don’t forget the little places nearby: Millbrook—an antiquing hotspot surrounded by wineries—or Millerton, voted “one of the ten coolest small towns in America,” where Main Street is still alive.
The well-known boating town and home of the Mystic Seaport museum, this Connecticut coastal town offers a variety of vacation experiences from Mohegan Sun Casino to wineries and art museums. The town of Mystic itself is known for its family atmosphere, but if you are traveling sans kids, you can stay at the tiny Steamboat Inn (steamboatinnmystic.com) and the waterfront Whaler’s Inn (whalersinnmystic.com). Tuck into a meal at the Oyster Club, where the menu changes daily based on what’s fresh and local. Take a course on boating in Mystic Harbor, or just sip some wine and let someone else do the work aboard the Schooner Argia sunset cruises.
Long Island’s Gold Coast
Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby is hitting theaters this month, which may be the perfect excuse to visit the area that provided inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. Although the original “Gatsby house” was demolished two years ago, visitors can still tour the remaining mansions and estates left over from the golden age of Long Island’s North Shore, when it, rather than the South Fork, was the setting for summer homes of the very wealthy, including the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts and Whitneys, among others. (Contact Carole Lucca at www.longislandtourguide.com for more information.) Guests can even stay at Oheka Castle or Glen Cove Mansion, two sprawling gold coast mansion estates (glencovemansion.com and oheka.com). For a cultural fix, be sure to visit the nearby Nassau County Museum of Art, and slake your thirst with a ride through the North Shore vineyards (LIwines.com).