The best complement to an urban lifestyle? A rural retreat. Put an auto-responder on your email and put the car into drive for a three-day getaway around Greater New York.
NEW YORK CITY – Every New Yorker searches for the perfect weekend away that involves nature (hello leaf peepers!), culture, good food, hip bars and inns, and somewhere to rest their head and be sure they won't hear a single taxi horn. This fall, do something very un-NY and get behind the wheel and hit the road.
If you're in the mood for: Nature, culture, design, history, good food, reading by a roaring fire, and a manageable driving distance.
Route to take: An easy drive as you wind your way up the Hudson River, taking in the changing leaves as you approach the border of Litchfield County, Connecticut.
On your agenda: Troutbeck, a 250 year-old inn-cum-gathering spot in Amenia that has played host to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemmingway, Governor Teddy Roosevelt, and such giants of the civil liberties movement as Sinclair Lewis, W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Langston Hughes. The vibe is historic, low-key and luxurious: The building has seventeen highly individualized rooms — some sprawling suites, some intimate doubles that are perfect for a one-night escape. It’s animated and lively, with sitting rooms, stone patios, manicured gardens, a babbling brook with hammocks swinging nearby, and doors wide open for children, artists, locals, large groups, private parties, posh millennials, and empty-nesters.
Beat the Sunday blues: Break up the ride to and from Armenia with a stop at The Glass House, designed by Philip Johnson as his own residence in the 1940s, in New Canaan, Connecticut. Tours, available from May through November, make their way through the main house, painting and sculpture galleries, and a one-mile walk over grassy paths. Advance reservations are required and kids under ten are not allowed. Fortunately, design junkies with smaller children can get their fix at nearby Grace Farms, a fascinating non-profit center on 80 acres of fields and woods punctuated by a $67-million-dollar building known as the River, a curvaceous structure built of steel, concrete, wood, and glass that meanders through the landscape.
SHANDELEE, NEW YORK
If you're in the mood for: Hiking, biking, foraging, and dozing off in the sun.
Route to take: Wind through the Palisades and continue northwest.
On your agenda: The Arnold House, an adorably Instagrammable 10-room inn (Sferra linens, Pendelton blankets, cork floors), is the perfect setting for your country retreat. Being the proper hosts that they are, the Foster family proprietors offer plenty of fun activities (ice fishing in the winter, ramp foraging in the spring, ravioli making at nearby Northern Farmhouse Pasta). Fifteen-minutes away, in the sleepy hamlet of North Branch, the 150-year old North Branch Inn bed and breakfast was refurbished in 2015 but maintains its old-fashioned vibe. The two-story townhouse has five bedrooms, a 35-seat family-style restaurant, and a handsome wood bar that according to the former owners was carved for the 1939 World's Fair.
Beat the Sunday blues: If you didn't bring your own pooch (the hotel provides dog beds, water bowls, house-made treats), spend some time cuddling with Adelaide, the English Bulldog. Or visit the charming antique two-lane bowling alley next to North Branch Inn with out-of-the-box pins from the 1950s.
Read more on Fathom: A Two-Hotel Hideaway in New York's Catskill Mountains
BARRYVILLE, NEW YORK
If you're in the mood for: Locavore eating, sustainable shopping, patronizing family businesses.
Route to take: Route 97 through Barryville has crazy winding roads, scenic overlooks along the Delaware River, and habitats for birds of prey (once a dirt road referred to as the Hawk's Nest).
On your agenda: School's out for summer, unless you're bunking at Hillside Schoolhouse, a two-bedroom charmer nestled in the woods of Sullivan County. Head to Benji & Jake's for cold beers and wood-fired pizza on the upstairs deck overlooking Kauneonga Lake. Pick up locally sourced pantry items from modern general store River Market or the Barryville Farmer's Market (on Saturdays May through October). Rent an inner tube and take a ride along Skinner's Falls. Follow with a long and lazy dinner at The Heron.
Beat the Sunday blues: Take a cue from owner Bronson Bigelow, who quit his corporate job to open the inn and make all the furniture in it. Or just shop his collection of upcycled antiques, vintage industrial objects, and restored ice boxes.
STONE RIDGE, NEW YORK
If you're in the mood for: It's all about farmstands, antiques, and wooden hikes in Mid-Hudson Valley. Start the day with yoga, ending at a campfire by the lake, picking apples in the orchard next door, dining at an incredible farm-to-fork restaurant, and taking a dip in the 55-foot swimming pool circa 1923 or bike on nearby trails to explore farther afield.
Route to take: Take a detour to Mohonk and the Minnewaska State Park for its 75 miles of carriage trails, cliffs, fields and forests.
On your agenda: Turn a summer fling into a fine fall romance at Hasbrouck House, a chic and polished farm-to-fork B&B in an 18th-century Dutch Colonial mansion with incredibly thoughtful design details, high-end amenities, beautifully manicured grounds, and an incredible restaurant. Wandering around the place, you may be convinced that this is what it's like to hang out at Martha Stewart's country home. Blue stone paths, reclaimed wood flooring, painted wainscotting, and a 55-foot swimming pool circa 1923 are just a few of the highlights.
WEST KILL, NEW YORK
If you're in the mood for: The simple Catskill pleasures.
Route to take: Hit the Palisades and roll through Woodstock. No wheels? Coordinate a pick-up with your guest house after catching the Trailways bus from Port Authority.
On your agenda: The Spruceton Inn, a Catskills "bed & bar" with mountain views. Get your pancakes stacked at Phoenicia Diner. Work off the carbs with a picturesque hike to Diamond Notch Falls, a serious hike up Overlook Mountain, or, come winter, some ski tubing on Plattekill Mountain. Dine on savory pies at Table on Ten. Ride Icelandic horses on quiet trails. Or, back at the inn, just play some bocce and make some snacks in your own kitchenette or on the grill.
Beat the Sunday blues: Leave plenty of time to get home so that you can stop for antiques and farmstand souvenirs: raw milk and gouda from Byebrook Farm; old thingamabobs from Lyon Mountain Blue Barn Antiques; farm-y furniture at Wood Bull antiques; honey and grass-fed meats from Stone & Thistle.
Read more on Fathom: Where to Go from NYC, the Catskills Checklist
WOODSTOCK, NEW YORK
If you're in the mood for: Groovy vibes, organic food, and the Summer of '69 that still rings true.
Route to take: Cue up Bob Dylan classics, roll down the windows and wind your way up to Rock N' Roll history.
On your agenda: Drink boozy apple cider and forage veggies to top a wood-fired pizza, hang in a restored railroad train station, take a dip in the Big Deep, and get your eco intel from the BYO shop (it used to be a store, now it's a newsy site). Tucked away from town behind a flowing waterfall, the newly re-opened Woodstock Way is a twelve-room contemporary hotel deeply routed in the music and arts community that put Woodstock on the map. For the design-crazed travelers, look no further than hippie-chic Hotel Dylan. Sitting on Route 28 across from the Ashokan Reservoir, the eleven-room boutique hotel is itself a music and arts colony, just like the festival 50 years ago, with rooms named after Jimmy Hendricks and Van Morrison with album covers and instruments lining the warm and bright walls. An outdoor fire pit is set for late-night jam sessions and the Sante Fe Mexican restaurant continues the good vibes with killer margaritas.
Beat the Sunday blues: Treat yourself to a crystal healing session or massage at Woodstock Healing Arts and hang for a DIY-beauty workshop.
Read more on Fathom: Beyond the Festival Legend: The Best of Woodstock, New York
If you're in the mood for: Indulge in a fantasy of Gilded Age glory.
Route to take: Cruise up the rolling hills and green genteel countryside of the Berkshires Mountains.
On your agenda: Ten minutes outside of Lenox, arrive to the 110-acre estate of Blantyre, an opulent Tudor-style Manor House with an outdoor terrace, music room, bistro, Dom Perignon Champagne Salon and a massive wine cellar. Books — shelves and stacks of them — are everywhere, lining the upstairs hallways and the pool and spa are located a leisurely walk or bike ride slightly downhill, past the Carriage House and Cottages. Sit back on plush overstuffed sofas as you gaze out to the countryside and feel as though you're starring in your own Edith Wharton novel. Take a lazy stroll to the town of Lenox and check out a great local bookstore, The Bookstore and Get Lit Wine Bar, a bar with an outdoor patio, The Olde Heritage Tavern, and a tapas restaurant, Brava.
Beat the Sunday blues: Don't miss a daily tourof Blantyre with David Pupo, the director of membership and concierge services who does double duty as the in-house historian. He's been coming to the estate since he was a local kid swimming in the pool.
Read more on Fathom: The Gilded Age Fantasy Is Alive and Thriving at Blantyre
ITHACA, NEW YORK
If you're in the mood for: a healthy dose of counter-culturalism and hippie goodness.
Route to take: Make it scenic and curve up the Catskill Mountains.
On your agenda: The Argos Inn, a LEED-certified 10-room inn meticulously renovated with heated stone slab floors, velvet drapes, and turn-of-the-century Bergere chairs. From this town sprouted the iconic Moosewood restaurant, which turned all-natural cooking and '70s-era co-operative business ideals into a full-fledge vegetarian kitchen collective. Obviously, pick up a cookbook from the local book shop. Morning coffees can and should be had at the original Gimme! Coffee (now a Brooklyn mainstay). Besides swimming holes and architectural tours of nearby Cornell campus (I.M. Pei! Koolhaus! Richard Meier!), you are spitting distance from the Finger Lakes wine country.
Beat the Sunday blues: It's a long ride home. How about a few scoops of ice cream made from Cornell's own dairy farm?
Read more on Fathom: This Is Where Locavore Was Born
NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS
If you're in the mood for: Cozy sweater-weather fun.
Route to take: Take the FDR to 87 N to the scenic Taconic State Parkway and head east to Williamstown.
On your agenda: Cruise to the newly updated, 48-room roadside design motel called Tourists. It has spartan rooms with white oak headboards, oversized pillows, and big picture windows; a cozy living room lodge for all-day hanging; truly delicious food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and its own short-wave FM radio station playing a super nice-winter soundtrack. The house next door has been turned into an extremely homey and comfortable dining space, where you go to the kitchen for a drink and can sit at the piano in the parlor for post-dinner tunes.
Beat the Sunday blues: A bouncy suspension bridge over the Hoosic River on the property leads to a big interactive chime installation by the cool art collective, New Orleans Airlift. (Kids will love it. ) The motel is just minutes from MASS MoCA, The Clark, and entry points for the Appalachian Trail. Make sure to pick up the hotel's own sweet field guide with lots of recommendations for things to do, eat, see, and try in the area.