Travel

3 Epic NYC Summer Road Trips (That Aren't the Hamptons)

Avoid the crowds and discover Malaysian street food, Venetian snacks and raw bars
New York Road Trip Ideas
Photo: John Greim / Getty

Don't get lost in the crowds: Maximize Summer Fridays with our no-fuss guide for where to stay, play and eat in three of the coolest destinations on the East Coast.

① Newport, Rhode Island: for an Excuse to Use the Word 'Summer' as a Verb

Stay: Channel your inner blue blood at the Grace Vanderbilt, a 1909 mansion that’s been rehabbed into a 33-room boutique hotel, complete with a courtyard garden and rooftop bar. Regular Yappy Hours and an in-room Canine Menu assures that your dog will summer in high style, too. Meanwhile, the new Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina brings to the waterfront the signature cool cred it’s honed in Montauk. The property has 257 guest rooms and suites, a pool with cabana service, a Scarpetta, and 50,000 square feet of outdoor space.

Eat and Drink: Start the day at Belle’s Café at the Newport Shipyard & Marina, where you can ogle the yacht crew's uniforms while digging into poached eggs and avocado toast. For lunch or dinner, try Midtown Oyster Bar, which offers a greatest-hits seafood menu of fried-fish sandwiches, pokes and crudos; classic apps, like fried calamari and stuffies (stuffed clams); and a raw bar. For brunch, post up on one of the white Adirondack chairs on Castle Hill Inn's sloping lawn and sip Bloody Marys while watching sailboats whiz by.

Play: Do as 400,000 people a year do and visit The Breakers, the grandest of the Newport mansions, where a new Beneath the Breakers tour offers a glimpse at the basement and tunnels of the 1890s estate. Unwind at Newport Storm Brewery, which offers regular tours and tastings, or cruise around Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay with Newport Sailing School and Tours

 

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② Hudson, New York: for a Taste of Hickster Heaven

Stay: Make Rivertown Lodge your home base; the 27-room boutique hotel occupies a 1920s building that was first a movie theater then a motel. Interiors by Brooklyn-based design firm Workstead create a real vibe, from the lobby with two wood-burning stoves to the tasteful spare guest rooms. The breakfast porridge is not to be missed, nor is the stylish shoe box of a bar located just off the lobby.

Eat and Drink: Devote one night to chef Zak Pelaccio: first for dinner at Fish & Game, Pelaccio’s upscale restaurant that focuses on ingredients from the Hudson Valley, then for a nightcap at Backbar, his divey Malaysian street food den, which is tucked behind an antiques shop. For night number two, sip a house mai tai while browsing modern art at ÖR Gallery and Tavern, then share a bunch of pâtés, veggies and house-made pastas beneath Swoon Kitchenbar’s gorgeous tin ceiling.

Play: Spend a full day cruising the antiques shops lining Warren Street and spend another afternoon picnicking in the 250-acre Olana State Historic Site. On the way in or out of town, drive the scenic 10 miles to Little Ghent Farm, where husband-and-wife owners Richard and Mimi Beaven sell fresh eggs, meats and breads from a small farm store that’s closely watched over by their sweet pup, Bumble.

 

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③ Boston: for a New Taste of an Old City

Stay: At the 93-room Verb Hotel in Fenway, nearly every detail pays tribute to Boston’s rock ‘n’ roll history, from vintage concert posters in the lobby to typographical murals that read Ice Ice Baby and Walk This Way. The guest rooms’ Mondrian-esque windows overlook a central courtyard and pool, and the restaurant, Hojoko, is an izakaya from the O Ya team. Meanwhile, in the Seaport, The Envoy Hotel, Boston’s first Autograph Collection property, has a glassy, open-concept lobby outfitted with a digital pool table and low-slung seating. Guest rooms—plus a roof bar that’s open seasonally—afford killer river views.

Eat and Drink: Chow down on fiery laap, cha ca la Vong and curried noodles at Tiger Mama, Top Chef finalist Tiffani Faison’s joyous tribute to Southeast Asia; experience Venetian aperitivi culture by sampling cicchetti (snacks like baccala and pork-and-beef meatballs) and two-and-a-half-ounce pours of wines at SRV, a newish restaurant from two Del Posto vets; and grab fancy cocktails at Gold Bar, a miniscule cluster of seats at the front of Menton, Barbara Lynch’s upscale French Italian restaurant. For something sweet, head to the closest Flour Bakery and order a slice of the lemon meringue.

Play: Go for a one-two culture punch: Start at the Museum of Fine Arts. Then walk the few blocks to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where an early-1900s structure (Gardner’s former home) and a Renzo Piano addition form a labyrinthine network of rooms to explore—one with painting-less frames that recall the Rembrandt, Manet, Degas and Vermeer works that were stolen in March 1990 in a $500 million heist, the biggest art theft in history.  

 

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