10 Journalists Share Top Getaways Close to NYC

croteaux vineyards

We asked some of our favorite notable New York writers and editors where they go to feel far away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Whether they like to re-energize on a trail in Connecticut, take the train to an Orioles game, or escape to the Catskills and completely unplug, this is their advice for some quick, easy, and affordable jaunts near NYC.

Lauren Shockey
“I love Litchfield County in Connecticut for the quaint town life and antique shopping. Lake Waramaug is a great weekend getaway—you can go canoeing on the lake and hiking in the nearby woods. If you’re willing to fly, though, I highly recommend Quebec City. The plane ride is only an hour and fifteen minutes, but you feel transported to a world away and you feel like you’re in Europe.” – Lauren Shockey, Village Voice
“Most people probably wouldn’t think of it as close, but Baltimore is an under-three-hour train ride from Penn Station and a wonderful place to visit in the spring. You have affordable major league baseball underway at one of the nicest parks in the country at Camden Yards, the Inner Harbor and other waterfront neighborhoods like Fell’s Point and Canton are thawing out from winter and the exciting food scene, complete with a growing number of excellent coffee shops, is a definite draw.”
– Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler
Nicole Davis
“Lucky for me, my parents decided to retire on Long Island’s North Fork, which means I have a standing invite to escape there on any given weekend. It’s only an hour and a half drive from Brooklyn, and once you’re out there you’re surrounded by vineyards, the wide open space of farms and white-steepled churches. It’s a nice mix of historic towns, the burbs and the country—you can easily get stuck behind a tractor on one of the backroads and find $20 7 Jeans at the T.J. Maxx in Riverhead! A few of my favorite spots are Harbes Family Farm with the kids (they’ve got pony rides, playhouses, and cider doughnuts—it’s amazing); Croteaux Vineyards for outdoor pitchers of Rose sangria; Love Lane in Mattituck for great snacks from The Village Cheese Shop and Love Lane Kitchen; the Lunch Truck at North Fork Table & Inn for a gourmet picnic; and Noah’s in Greenport for dinner or lunch.”

– Nicole Davis, Brooklyn Based
“When I get antsy in the city and need some fresh air, I love to head up to the village of Cold Spring, NY for an afternoon of hiking. We take the train from Grand Central to Cold Spring (about 1 hr 10 min), then walk to the trailhead for Mt. Taurus a few blocks north of town. The hike takes about four hours, but offers incredible Hudson River Valley views—and even takes you past some ruins of a 19th-century country manor. It’s a bit strenuous at times, but when you’re finished you can slide into a booth at any of the restaurants down on Main Street and recover with a hearty meal and a few drinks. I bet you’ll be sleeping on the train back into New York! It’s a great way to skip town for the day. Just make sure you get an early start—you don’t want to be watching the sunset from the top of the mountain!”

– Tom Meyers, EuroCheapo.com
Old Westbury Gardens is a gorgeous place on Long Island with an old estate on 17th century grounds. You can grab a cab or bike from the LIRR Westbury station just 2.5 miles away. I love the Equinox Resort in Manchester, Vermont. It’s a very eco hotel, serving local, organic food, and is another beautiful place to explore, just three hours from Manhattan. When I go to Pittsburgh, a burgeoning green city, I’m looking forward to visiting the Phipps Conservatory and the LEED Gold-certified Fairmont.”
– Tracey Greenstein, Forbes 
“Late last summer, I took a very relaxing camping trip up to North South Lake in the Catskills, up past Saugerties. The lake and surrounding mountains are beautiful, but the real bonus was that there was NO CELL PHONE RECEPTION up there, which meant even I was safe from my own OCD about checking in on the world. If you hike up the trails, you can get to the site where the tallest hotel in America once stood. Plus, we stopped in Saugerties, an adorable and groovy little town where we bought beers for about half the cost of what you find in New York City. Beware of bears in the campground, unless you’re like us and actually run towards the bear alarm to see what all the fuss is about.”
– Tim Donnelly, Brokelyn
Karen Sieger
“My favorite getaway is Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate in the Hudson Valley: I love anything and everything along the Hudson, which was my father’s favorite river. So hopping on the Metro-North Hudson Line and ending up at Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate, is a huge treat. Kykuit is full of lovely details and surprises, from the trompe l’oeil books in John D’s office (I think they may be hiding a TV?) to the remarkable modern art collection in the galleries below. The sculpture gardens are lovely too. And the horse stables are not to be missed. By any standards, Rockefeller’s horses had some very nice digs. The estate feels like a grand, historic home, but the hints that it is actually contemporary too make it even more intriguing. I definitely recommend taking a tour to gain access to different parts of the house and the estate. There’s no place like the balconies of Kykuit for breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley.”

– Karen Seiger, Markets of New York
“My favorite escape-from-the-city day trip is taking Metro North north from Grand Central up along the Hudson River to Beacon, NY. Beacon is a small town on the Hudson and home to The Dia, an amazing modern art museum. After you visit the museum you take a walk down its historic main street filled with a hand-blown glass factory and grab some amazing food and drinks at Max’s on Main.”

– Richard Blakeley, Thrillist editor and founder of Websdays
“For a Spring getaway, I would say I love The North Fork in particular. Summer and especially fall get crowded but spring finds few people yet nice enough weather that you can bike ride, wine taste and picnic outdoors, and even go sailing (or ride the ferry to Shelter Island). Local oysters are actually at their plumpest in early spring after feeding all winter in preparation for spawning. They are delicious and can be found at most local eateries that serve seafood in Greenport (like The Frisky Oyster) at prices far cheaper than what you’ll find in the city for the same bivalves!”
– Dorothy McGivney, Jauntsetter
“A drive up on the Connecticut hot dog trail, a jaunt out to Eastern Long Island, or a trip to Washington D.C., preferably during the cherry blossom festival.
– Arthur Bovino, The Daily Meal

Photo of Croteaux Vineyards by Joe Shlabotnik

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