4 Summer Getaways in the Northeastern US
Weekend escapes in the northeastern section of the country are plentiful. Relax and recharge on any of these summer getaways in the Northeastern US. Just pack the necessities and go!
Fire Island, NY
New Yorkers who don’t dig the Hamptons typically adore Fire Island. This storied isle on the eastern side of Long Island’s South Shore is accessible only by ferry, boat, or water taxi. With the exception of service and emergency vehicles, there are no cars allowed on the island.
One of the things I love about Fire Island is the anything goes, laidback vibe––it’s super casual, as a beach destination should be. You’ll find 17 communities, each with a distinct flavor, but the entire island feels like it’s from an earlier era, with folks riding their bikes and pulling their wagons. Ocean Beach is the biggest town and the most commercialized. While most visitors stay here, I recommend one of the other communities such as Ocean Bay Park, Kismet, Saltaire, or Cherry Grove. No matter where you stay, all the beaches are stunning, so no worries there.
It’s a bit of a pilgrimage to get there. From Manhattan, the drive is about 55 miles to the ferry, and then it’s about a 20- minute ride. But the trip is so worth it! People on Fire Island are friendly. They smile a lot. They stroll around and drink beer on the beaches, and their children and pets roam free. It is a rare and magical place that everyone should experience at least once.
Cape May, NJ
At the southern tip of the Jersey shore is Cape May, a town of majestic Painted Ladies (colorful Victorian houses), sugar sand beaches, and idyllic scenes at every turn. The character of this town is a draw–– the seaside city was declared a national historic landmark in 1976, with the one of the largest collections of 19th-century framed buildings in the country.
Cape May’s pristine beaches were voted one of the top ten in the US by the Travel Channel, so you shouldn’t mind the daily $8 beach tag fee per person. After catching some sun, walk the promenade and peruse the local businesses; people watch; grab an ice cream, rent a kayak or jet ski, and take yoga on the beach. Or wander aimlessly, listening to the squawking seagulls and soaking up all this lovely beach resort town has to offer.
Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Long Island is the burbs to some, and an extension of Brooklyn and Queens to others. Whatever you recognize or assume about Long Island, New York, there’s no denying the allure of its landscape and quaintness of its towns. One brimming with charm on Long Island’s North Shore is Cold Spring Harbor – an easy trip that’s about a 40-mile drive from Midtown Manhattan. The town has a small-town-America feel, and offers spectacular water views and lovely Victorian architecture.
“Cold Spring Harbor” refers to the freshwater springs that run through the area and into the harbor. If you visit, you’ll want to spend a little time browsing the whaling museum and fish hatchery, where you’ll find the largest living collection of New York State freshwater reptiles, fish, and amphibians. And, of course, save time to take in the great outdoors in Cold Spring Harbor State Park.
Cold Spring Harbor also happens to be the title of Billy’ Joel’s first solo album, released in 1971, and since I’m a fan, I wanted to understand the significance of this town. Huntington dedicated Cold Spring Harbor State Park to Joel in 1991, so even though his first record wasn’t the biggest hit, he remains connected to the area, which has a plaque in his name. The hamlet is located close to the town where the Piano Man grew up and the album’s cover was shot at Harbor Road in Cold Spring Harbor.
Less than a four-hour trip by car, Manchester in Bennington County, Vermont, offers a true country escape from the hurriedness of busy cities in the Northeast. Although Vermont is widely regarded as a skier’s paradise, summer in this section of the state is lovely thanks to the lush greenery and cool mountain air.
In Manchester, you can stay in a charming inn; swim in the Emerald Lake; and visit Taylor Farm, a 180-year-old working dairy farm in nearby Londonberry. You can also rent a bicycle to tour the area; drive to the top of Mount Equinox for an incredible view of Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.
But here’s more than nature here. The town is a shopping destination, too. Manchester Designer Outlets are located in the heart of town, so expect to spend at least part of your Vermont excursion browsing or buying at independently stores and designer favorites like Tumi, Michael Kors, and Armani. Bring your credit cards for the shopping and your camera for the photos.
Do you have any favorite summer getaways in the northeastern US? Please share in the comments.
Also, charming small towns in the Northeast and US destinations to visit.
Plus, great road trips.
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