Quick No-Fly Getaways for Burned-Out Parents in the NYC Area
There comes a time in every parent’s life...when you’re afraid you’re going to lose your mind if you don’t get a break.
At first, the idea of leaving your newborn baby might seem impossibly out of the question. But as parenthood rolls on year after year, getting away becomes essential. A lengthy overseas vacation of your pre-kids years might be out of reach, but a quick overnight? Yesssss!
So when your mini-me is driving you up the wall, you feel the need for quiet to collect a thought or two, or you just want to reconnect with your partner, check out these seven destinations for those in the greater New York City metro area. No need to hop on a plane. These trips are all within a 2½-hour drive of Midtown Manhattan, and several are reachable by public transportation. Many offer R&R perks, including in-house spas.
Buttermilk Inn – Milton, New York
This pretty B&B sits a stone's throw from the Hudson River just south of Poughkeepsie on 75 lovely acres that include gardens, pathways, a small creek, a restaurant, and a separate building with an indoor pool, steam room and sauna, and spa. Choose from among the rooms in the historic inn or opt for one of the more private cottages or guest houses. (Some are even pet-friendly if you want to bring your pooch along).
Although the inn is tucked away on an otherwise nondescript back road, It's just a few miles from the pretty Walkway over the Hudson (one of our top things to do in New York state) though I admit, we didn't leave the pool area when we spent one-night here during last year's epic January blizzard. Floor-to-ceiling windows let us watch the snow fall outside from the comfort of our robes and suits! Locals come from all over to book services at the spa, so get your appointments scheduled ahead of time. I enjoyed one of the best facials and Swedish massages ever here. No wonder, it was founded by the same folks behind New York City's Great Jones Spa.
The Lodge at Woodloch caters to grown-ups looking to unwind.
For that Extra-Special Occasion
The Lodge at Woodloch – Hawley, Pennsylvania
This all-inclusive resort surrounded by the tranquil quiet of the Poconos’ woodlands comes with an added bonus for parents getting away: It’s adults only. Each day the Lodge is jam-packed with activities, including fitness classes (yoga, barre), outdoors adventures (hikes, archery, kayaking), and even cooking demos and art classes. But you can also just spend all day in the spa, which boasts indoor and outdoor water features. The halls were loaded with young couples when I visited, but also retirees and groups of girlfriends.
It is a splurge, but three meals a day are included. Grab your post-dinner glass of wine or dessert and head to the fire pit, or walk along the wooded path toward the lake and gaze up at the stars. Take note: The resort’s family-friendly accommodations, Woodloch Pines, are just down the road, and some vacationing families sign up for just a day pass to the spa at the Lodge while another family member hangs with the kids.
Emerson Resort and Spa – Mount Tremper, New York
This Catskills favorite definitely caters to families, with amenities such as a new Amusements Package for kids, and quirky fun like the World's Largest Kaleidoscope. But the recently remodeled 6,200-square-foot spa with a quiet room and outdoor hot tub overlooking the Esopus Creek, is definitely for grown-ups. Start with a mani-pedi, hit the steam room, and then relax with a hot stone massage, facial, or any number of specialized treatments. The rooms are modern and lush. (If you can, ask for a room on the second floor for a better view of the mountains from your balcony.)
Head outdoors the next day for any number of hikes: The Kaatterskill Falls are a popular wooded hike, or try the easy paved path around the Ashokan Reservoir. These are just two options of many. Ask staff for recommendations. The food was great here (both dinner and breakfast), but there’s also the famed Phoenicia Diner practically across the street, and more options in Woodstock and downtown Phoenicia. I recommend nearby Saugerties, home to the picturesque lighthouse of the same name, for dinner; it’s loaded with great restaurants sure to appease a fussy New Yorker’s palate, including the casual BBQ Cue to the more upscale but friendly Miss Lucy's Kitchen.
The minimalist style of the luxe Greenporter Hotel makes it a North Fork favorite.
Vino + Sea Breeze
North Fork – Long Island, New York
The North Fork, and Greenport in particular, feel like a mini New York City with farm-to-table restaurants that pay attention to the little details, modern accommodations, and a delicious sea breeze. It's a popular destination year-round, including in the summer for the beaches, of course, but also fall for pumpkin picking. Booking your parental getaway in the offseason will guarantee fewer crowds, e.g., more options and fewer kids. A few recommendations (it was impossible to narrow down!) for an overnight: The Greenporter Hotel with its central location, seasonal pool, and quirky mod sense of style; the North Fork Table and Inn, where you’ll find spare, modern rooms, an outstanding restaurant that draws on the local bounty of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound, plus a food truck permanently parked out front; the Jedediah Hawkins Inn with luxe rooms, gardens, acclaimed restaurant and speakeasy, plus neighboring vineyard is a good bet; and the Harborfront Inn for those looking for water views and great location.
Create your own DIY wine tour, hitting up favorites such as Bedell Cellars, Jamesport, or Sparkling Pointe where you can sip your glass outdoors. Check out the wine-making process with a tour at Pellegrini Vineyards. Rosé fans might try boutique maker Croteaux Vineyards, which makes the pretty pink wine exclusively and does not allow buses (read: no drunken groups). Switch it up for local hops at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company. Bike your way through North Fork's vineyards with East End Bike Tours if you're feeling ambitious. Cap off your day with a quiet stroll along the beach in the offseason and great local eats at top-notch restaurants like The Frisky Oyster, Italian newcomer Caci, Love Lane Kitchen, and many, many more. It's not Napa in terms of size or breadth of the wine (white varietals are the specialty here), but between the salt air, pretty views, and enviable eats, Long Island's North Fork makes a lovely destination for any couple.
Crystal Springs Resort – Sussex County, New Jersey
I know what you're thinking: a getaway to New Jersey?! Yes! This all-inclusive resort set in the rural countryside of Sussex County is a quick escape for those in New Jersey, but also NYC and Westchester. It's the northernmost county of New Jersey, barely an hour outside of the city, and it's loaded with the typical resort trimmings, including two top-notch gorgeous spas, a dozen dining options, pools (indoor and out, plus a waterslide), award-winning wine cellar, and even golf courses. Choose from between the Minerals Hotel or the Grand Cascades Lodge for your overnight. It’s a family resort, but you can avoid the kids by sticking to adults-only activities, including supping in what's reported to be one of the state's most expensive restaurants. Head to nearby Mountain Creek if you're looking for summer water sports or winter skiing and snow tubing.
The Inn at Bowman's Hill offers all the trappings of a romantic getaway in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
The tranquility of Bucks County is not to be missed, especially in the fall and winter. Stay at the Inn at Bowman's Hill, known as one of the most romantic B&Bs with offers such as in-room massages; the well-appointed Washington House Hotel, or the Bridgeton House on the Delaware for river views and luxury touches such as whirlpool tubs and fireplaces. You likely came to Bucks County for the views, quiet, and country chic vibe. Take a stroll through the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, shop (and eat) your way through Peddler's Village, go antiquing, hiking, see a covered bridge, or tour your way around Doylestown's shops, museums, and historic homes. There's even a Bucks County wine trail.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns – Pocantico Hills, New York
Although Blue Hill maintains a restaurant in the city, there's something special about visiting the Westchester location. Perhaps its the proximity to Stone Barns, a farm and agricultural center that it draws on, along with other local farms, to create its constantly evolving dinner menu, that makes it a destination for foodies in the tristate area and beyond. There's no doubt this is a splurge. The tasting menu currently starts at $238 per person (seats at the bar for the tasting menu begin at $188), and that's before adding on the wine pairing. But it is hands-down the best, most inventive meal we've ever had. No wonder it is repeatedly named to "best restaurant" lists. Our meal began with edible weeds from the grounds, which we dredged through a delicious herb sauce. Given the length of the meal, our waiter moved us around to three different tables and rooms, each affording a new view, while we munched and slurped our way through all sorts of incredible creations.
My husband and I enjoyed a meal here thanks to a generous wedding gift from friends who knew we were dying to go. We stayed at a chain hotel, possibly the DoubleTree in Tarrytown or the Westchester Marriott, though I don't quite recall to be honest. After a boozy dinner, we cabbed it back to the hotel, and the next morning we took a leisurely jog along the Swan Lake path in Rockefeller State Preserve before returning home to Brooklyn and our then 6-month-old baby. It was the perfect refresher for a new parent's first time away. There are plenty of gorgeous hotels and B&Bs in the area, but the point here, for us anyway, was to spend our money on a special night out with a mind-blowing dinner experience, rather than a fancy hotel.
Don’t forget that more budget options can be found via Airbnb or even your local parent listserv, where neighbors might rent out their upstate, Hamptons or Jersey Shore home or cottage. Camping in the summer is another way New Yorkers can get away on the cheap, but my biggest tip is just go offseason. Get grandma to visit in the dead of winter, snag a midweek getaway, and regain your sanity with a night away and a morning spent sleeping in...to 7am.
Top image: The Lodge at Woodloch. All photos courtesy of the resorts.