Places you can get to without a car
Mon Jul 19 2010
Dia: Beacon, Beacon, NY
Dia: Beacon (diabeacon.org) was into Louise Bourgeois before her death made her cool—just check out her monumental installation sculptures still hanging at the museum (a former factory located right on the Hudson River). The museum isn’t the only artsy enclave in this tiny riverside village either. Lots of handmade doodads can be found at the boutiques on Main Street, but for our money (or lack thereof), the best shopping experience is Hudson Beach Glass (hudsonbeachglass.com), where you can often see glassblowing classes in progress.
Travel: Metro-North to Beacon; round-trip $26--$46. Travel time: approx 80mins.
Cooperstown isn’t just about the Baseball Hall of Fame (baseballhall.org). There are other worthy endeavors celebrated in the Fenimore Art Museum (fenimoreartmuseum.org), which houses one of the nation’s premier collections of American Indian art and the Farmers’ Museum (farmersmuseum.org), which gives a nod to our rural heritage. Or forget the outside world and just hide out in the upscale Otesaga Resort Hotel (otesaga.com), an oasis with on-site golf, canoe rentals, dining and even dancing.
Travel: Pine Hill Trailways bus; round-trip $100.50. Travel time: approx 5.5hrs.
The unbelievable views make Boscobel House and Gardens (boscobel.org), a Federal-style mansion on the bluffs over the Hudson River, worth a visit anytime of year. But come summer, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (hvshakespeare.org) pitches a tent on the grounds and offers a rotating series of three of the Bard’s plays, and lawns open for picnicking two hours before the show. (Or you can buy an overpriced picnic dinner there, if you’re traveling light.) If you’d rather vacation the way the other half does, start and end your trip at the Garrison (thegarrison.com), where you can indulge in a round of golf or a soothing spa treatment, and chow down locavore-style at the Valley restaurant.
Travel: Metro-North to Garrison; round-trip $22.50--$42. Travel time: approx 65mins.
One of the best reasons to visit Long Island: wine. So you might as well indulge your inner lush. Call North Fork Wine Tours (northforkwinetours.com) to schedule a tour of a handful of vineyards—then set off to downtown Greenport for dinner to soak up all that alcohol.
Travel: LIRR to Greenport; round-trip $33.50--$58. Travel time: approx 2hrs 45 mins.
Hyde Park, NY
Pick your Roosevelt: Eleanor or Franklin? The couple—along with Frederick W. Vanderbilt—had two here (Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, nps.gov/hofr; Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill National Historic Site, nps.gov/elro; Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, nps.gov/vama). After you spend your afternoon drooling over the fancy fixtures in these refined estates, drool some more over the food at the venerated Culinary Institute of America (ciachef.edu). Even if you’re too broke to get into one of the school’s fine restaurants, you can still taste the goods from up-and-coming top chefs at two of the campus’s more affordable eateries, St. Andrew’s Caf or the Apple Pie Bakery Caf.
Travel: Metro-North to Poughkeepsie; round-trip $27.56--$39. Travel time: approx 1hr 45mins.
If you think the problem with a place like Colonial Williamsburg is that there’s too much history and not enough shopping, you might want to check out the admittedly kitschy Peddler’s Village (peddlersvillage.com). It’s got the cutesy village feel, but instead of a town blacksmith and milliner, you can find 70 shop owners hawking jewelry, pottery, art glass and clothes. (The food here, though, is hearty and colonial—starve yourself before attempting to finish one of the on-site restaurant’s potpies.) When the cheesiness finally gets to you, head to the nearby Penn’s Purchase (pennspurchase.com) for outlet shopping without cobblestones.
Travel: Trans-Bridge bus to Lahaska; round-trip $37. Travel time: approx 2.5hrs.
Milford’s keeping a low profile as a secret destination for New Yorkers looking to avoid sceney destination spots. Still, for a one-stoplight town, it’s very metropolitan (the swanky basement bar of the Hotel Fauchre is adorned with Paul Solberg and Christopher Makos photos, including one of Andy Warhol smooching John Lennon). Spend your days dining on fine cuisine and getting spa treatments at one of the many B&Bs and small hotels, rummaging and antiquing in the tiny downtown’s boutiques or exploring the Delaware Water Gap. Depending on your tolerance for blood and creepy roadside attractions, you might want to visit the Columns Museum (570-296-8126), which houses a flag with Abraham Lincoln’s blood on it.
Travel: Short Line bus to Milford; round-trip $50. Travel time: approx 2hrs.
New Paltz, NY
One of the best reasons to leave the city is to explore the nature we don’t have, right? New Paltz, besides being a college town, offers much for hikers and bikers with energy to burn. From the bus stop you can jump right onto the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail (gorailtrail.org), a 12-mile path that follows the old railroad along the Shawangunk Mountain ridge. Afterward, you can prove your youth by heading downtown and downing beers with SUNY students.
Travel: Adirondack Trailways bus to New Paltz; round-trip $39. Travel time: approx 90mins.
You don’t have to travel farther than Connecticut to experience that New England feel. Mystic has the historic Mystic Seaport (mysticseaport.org), as well as charming harborside B&Bs. When the charm starts to feel cloying, though, consider cabbing it over to Foxwoods (foxwoods.com) or Mohegan Sun (mohegansun.com), both about a half hour away.
Travel: Peter Pan bus to Mystic; round-trip $60. Travel time: approx 3hrs.
Saratoga Springs, NY
The racing season at the Saratoga Race Course (saratogaracetrack.com) runs from Friday 23 to September 6. Even after you’ve gambled away your stash, there’s still plenty to do, including the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (racingmuseum.org), a sweet little downtown and outdoor concerts at SPAC (spac.org).
Travel: Greyhound bus to Saratoga Springs; round-trip $90. Travel time: approx 4hrs.
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