What it is: Neat contemporary art (60s to the present) set dramatically on the Hudson, in the shade of a mountain, surrounded by trees, near food and strong drink, in “a friendly city with the attitude of a village.” Truly a beacon of gentle wonders. NB: Check out the Sol LeWitt sculptures and drawings on display until September. (diacenter.com)
Getting there from NYC: $23 or $30 round-trip Metro-North ticket (depending on peak/off-peak times), leaving from Grand Central. Takes less than an hour.
Price: $10 for museum entry ($7 for students).
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What it is: Owned and painstakingly designed by former B-52 Kate Pierson, this is the ultimate not-that-rustic kooky rustic getaway in the Catskills, stocked with 50s kitsch, specialized cabins (tricked out with private decks, “fantasy bathrooms,” wall-covering nature graphics, wet bars and turquoise kitchens), gorgeous views, a natural salt spa and a hot tub. Bonus: no cell phone reception. All a stone’s throw from canoeing, fishing, hiking, antiquing, restaurants and golf.
Getting there from NYC: It’s 130 miles from NYC, you’ll need a car.
Price: $150-275 per night (depending on rooms/dates).
What it is: Haute barnyard cuisine, in an actual barnyard restaurant (farm, actually), with gorgeous views of Hudson Valley greenery — but wear a dress or a jacket, and book well in advance. The menu changes daily, but expect delectables like the Black Bass with Bordeaux spinach, Hen of the Woods mushrooms, meyer lemon and Hudson Valley vodka; and the Stone Barns Berkshire Pig, with fromage blanc spaetzle, pancetta, ramps and greenhouse minutina. We eat what we like! (630 Bedford Road, Pocatino Hills, NY, bluehillstonebarns.com)
Getting there from NYC: A 35-minute Metro-North trip takes you from Grand Central to Tarrytown ($15-$20 round trip), and a $7 cab ride delivers you to the restaurant’s door.
Price: The three-course menu costs $65, the four-course $78 and the Farmer’s Feast $110. Bottles of wine range from $34 to $74.
What it is: More medical curiosities and spooky, mesmerizing fetuses than you can shake a long and misshapen femur at. Bonus: Take your bike there because, according to an anonymous and occasionally trustworthy source, “Most cool people in Philly that you’d hang out with would have bikes.” And, since it’s summer, try Philly’s super-cheap and delicious Water Ice. It’s good, we promise.
Getting there from NYC: A round-trip on the Chinatown bus takes four hours and costs $20 (stow your bike in its storage area). Or, for a quicker trip, take the New Jersey Transit to the SEPTA (Philly’s version of the MTA) for $30 round-trip.
Price: $12 for museum entry ($8 for students).
What it is: Life’s a beach, and also the occasional maritime forest and lighthouse on this Long Island barrier island with an almost completely seasonal population, so secluded from the world that no cars are even allowed. (But watch out for those dune buggies.)
Getting there from NYC: A ferry, accessible from the Babylon LIRR stop, drops you right off at Ocean Beach (among other Fire Island locales); rent a bike at Ocean Bay Park to get around the island.
Price: $8.25 for a one-way off-peak ticket; $12.50 for a round-trip ferry; BYOB discreetly on the beach to save yourself from gouging by the locals.
What it is: If you go far enough east, you can bypass the boring, characterless suburbs and the Hamptons, which just make you feel bad about yourself. Also, you can get drunk, for free.
Getting there from NYC: If you have a sober friend with a car, make him or her drive you. If not, take the LIRR out to Sag Harbor, where you can get a ferry to a handful of the vineyards. It’ll take you a couple hours, but least you’ll be drunk for the return trip.
Price: Tastings range from free to about $10.
What it is: It’s pretty simple, really: You get into a giant rubber tube and you float up and down the Hudson River, which is among the most underrated in the whole damn country. And the company that will set all this up for you is called Tubby Tubes, which is awesome.
Getting there from NYC: You’ll need a car for this one, but the four-hour trip up the Thruway to the town of Lake Luzerne is beautiful. Soak it in.
Price: $19.95 for a two-hour trip, which, frankly, is as much tubing as you need. Plus the cost of car rental.
What it is: Sand, sunburns, booze and buttered crustaceans. Yes please. For a meaty, overflowing lobster roll, try The Lobster Roll (known locally as just Lunch, for its retro sign), a chilled-out, old-school summery spot right off the highway. Their Fried Softshell Crab Roll (crispy legs hanging out the sides, feet dipped in tartar sauce) — also ridiculously good. (June-September, 631-267-3740)
Getting there from NYC: LIRR takes 3 hours, from $15 to $20 for a one-way ticket (if you buy it online).
Price: Lunch’s lobster rolls range from $15-$20; $12 for the Crab Roll. (Whole lobsters available at restaurants all over Montauk — market prices apply).