Escape from New York
April 22, 2005 2:57 PM   Subscribe

So insanely busy me and my insanely busy SO want to take an overnight trip out of New York with only three requirements for the destination. 1) Close enough where we can leave NYC in the morning and return the next night without feeling completely rushed 2) There has to be a lighthouse nearby 3) A B&B or a hotel that is not your average boring hotel.

Bonus points for
1) accessible by train (not necessary since renting/borrowing a car is possible)
2) near a restaurant that is veggie friendly with non-cheese options
3) not extremely crowded
4) is near a friendly MeFite who we can buy a drink for hooking us up with the best advice
posted by lips to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (18 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Get out to the end of Long Island before it's summer... fall is my favorite time of year, but any warm weekend is great, as long as you don't want to go swimming.

Shelter Island is great too, but our favorite place (Peconic Lodge) is gone... Shelter Island has a 10K in June that takes over the entire island, it's great.
posted by sdrawkcab at 3:33 PM on April 22, 2005

Here's a list of NY lighthouses. (might help?)

Personally, I like City Island, for atmosphere, although not technically out of NYC, and the veg choices are a little limited (although generally better than suburban NJ or CT) I had a decent salad and bread at the crab place. Perhaps bring your own picnic.
posted by milovoo at 3:39 PM on April 22, 2005

Cape May. Great B&B's, great restaurants, a lighthouse, mini-boardwalk, great beach and birdwatching if you care. The Virginia House is a great hotel/B&B type place. Great rooms, great restaurant and a bit modern. Along the water are many great older B&Bs. No train, but there is probably a train to a bus.
posted by caddis at 3:41 PM on April 22, 2005

Mystic, CT
posted by amberglow at 3:44 PM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

Cape May's a bit too far to comfortably meet requirement 1 (although it's a really pretty town). Recommend lodging near Barnegat Light. It's about 2 hours away.
posted by nj_subgenius at 3:53 PM on April 22, 2005

As the relevant SO, I must say, nj_sub, that the book-loving B&B is totally up my word dorky alley. Many kisses. I am kind of scared of New Jersey though.
posted by dame at 4:36 PM on April 22, 2005

Well, I don't know about Cape May really being too far for an overnight. . . but I admit I am biased, as I live here and make my living doing PR about local events/tourism. If you do choose my town, feel free to e-mail me for restaurants, tours and B&B suggestions. Caddis is absolutely right - The Virginia is a class act!
posted by katie at 4:37 PM on April 22, 2005

Oh, and Cape May is near not one but two friendly MeFites - me and my guy, Willpie!
posted by katie at 4:40 PM on April 22, 2005

Cape May is older and has much more charm than LBI, but if you are going in the summer and like the beach, the LBI beaches are really about the best in NJ.
posted by caddis at 4:56 PM on April 22, 2005

Oh, and neither LBI nor Cape May has crime or mobsters, at least not more than any place in NYC.
posted by caddis at 4:58 PM on April 22, 2005

LBI is very cool, especially Barnegat.
Don't let the Linden refineries on the NJ Turnpike scare you, dame. I grew up on Long Island, know Connecticut well, settled in New Jersey 20 years ago and love it.
posted by nj_subgenius at 6:24 PM on April 22, 2005

Mystic CT.

Alternatively, Stonington or even Old Saybrook
posted by IndigoJones at 6:27 PM on April 22, 2005

PS: I never saw bottlenose dolphins playing in Long Island Sound. You'll see them down the shore in NJ. Sorry to leave this state, I have a new job in MD in a week. If you go to Barnegat hoist a drink for me. Else, Cape May is really beautiful, but it's like three hours away. Your move. In any event go New Jersey and you will not regret it.
posted by nj_subgenius at 6:38 PM on April 22, 2005

Best answer: I'll do you a little better than Mystic, where I used to live. Mystic is good to include in your visit, but if you want to get off the beaten path, here's what to do.

1. Stay at the Inn at Stonington in Stonington Borough. Walk the shopping street on Day 1 (preferably this is a weekend), ending up at the Stonington Lighthouse Museum, where you can climb into the cupola and see a gorgeous view of Long Island from the other side. Then sit for a while just watching the water at DuBois beach, just at the end of the road. Connecticut's last large commercial fishing fleet is close by, too, so if you start your walk before noon, you can watch the guys unload scallops, flounder, skate, and lobster.

2. Have dinner, and maybe breakfast too, at Noah's. The freshest and best prepared fish you'll ever, ever eat. Ask the server for a recommendation, they won't steer you wrong. This small restaurant is a local favorite, so do make reservations. If Mott is at the bar, say hi for me.

3. For nightlife, you'll need to go out of town. You can head either to Westerly, Rhode Island, 10 minutes away, and have drinks at the UpRiver Cafe, which has great bartenders and atmosphere. Or you can go see a classic film at the Revival House, and have dessert and coffee drinks while you do so, if you like.

OR you can head back into Mystic, and go to the tavern in theDaniel Packer Inne. On Saturday, they won't have live music, but on a weeknight, they will. Monday night is the best for the Old-Time jam session, IMHO. There are loads of other bars of varying quality, but DPI is the best. If you end up having a dinner in Mystic, the DPI's tavern menu is the single best food value in town. Great quality, low prices.

For booze-free wholesome pleasure in Mystic, you can grab ice cream at Drawbridge Ice Cream.

On Day 2, if the weather's nice, I recommend heading back toward Westerly early in the day for a walk on Napatree beach at Watch Hill. It's a one-mile long barrier beach, gorgeous, with some old deserted forts at the end. Great beachcombing, (and one of the few west-facing beaches on the East Coast if you're ever there at sunset. But nice any time). Watch Hill features some boutiquey shops and a couple of good places to grab lunch.

Then in the afternoon, head back the other way to Mystic again and go to Mystic Seaport. The Aquarium is overrated - same deal as every other aquarium, though the belugas are cool -- but the Seaport is underrated. Go to the squad demonstrations of setting sail and raising anchor, and try to get to a sea music/chantey performance. You won't be sorry. Worth the price of admission, and not just because I used to work there. In fact, if you email me, I'll send you a couple free passes.

And finally, on your way either in or out, make sure you stop at the Book Barn in NIantic, right off I-95. Well, OK, 2 miles off, but worth it. It's a rambling farm with 4 or 5 outbuildings all full of old, wonderful, reasonably priced secondhand books. Cats and goats wander around freely.

I only moved away from the area a year ago. Mystic is well known, but its environs are undiscovered gems. By no means do I mean to run NJ down -- I am a Jersey girl, and what people are saying is absolutely right. The entire New Jersey shore is beautiful and worth a visit, as are the western mountains. So do go there too. But Stonington/Westerly/Mystic makes one great weekend, with the bonus that you will soak up a lot of New England vibe and really feel like you were away away.
posted by Miko at 7:32 PM on April 22, 2005 [6 favorites]

Great one, Miko. I'm going to save this for when I come back to visit.
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:56 PM on April 22, 2005

Rhinebeck, NY. The lighthouse is in the river, but magnificent. Lots of good food choices, hippies, B&Bs. Amtrak goes to Rhinecliff, but you'd need a bike from there to really see the area.
posted by xo at 11:06 PM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

Lots of good stuff here. I am definitely bookmarking this thread for future reference.
posted by caddis at 5:10 AM on April 23, 2005

Response by poster: Wow,

Nothing better than planning a trip and discovering many other trips you have to take. Y'all did excellent and the Jersey Shore is definitely on my list now but I think Miko nailed it with what we want for this trip.

Miko, if I could nominate you for best answer of the day I would in a second, exactly the type of info I was hoping to get. You definitely might be seeing an email from me in your box about the Seaport. Many many thanks.
posted by lips at 8:54 AM on April 23, 2005

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