NYC Guide: Four relaxing mini-getaways

Living in New York can be great. But sometimes the garbage trucks are too loud, the streets feel too crowded, and the mice are too in-your-living-room. Meaning: You need to get out. So, here are four easy escapes from the city that feel a world away…

1. Storm King Art Center. An hour north of New York City, Storm King’s fifty-acre landscape features more than 100 sculptures, including waves of grass, a giant spider and binoculars that show you the “past” and “future.” Beautiful all year: Spring flowers, summer picnics, fall foliage and (if you’re brave) winter hikes.

2. InSpa World. This Korean Water Spa is in Queens, New York City, but you can make an amazing daytrip out of it: A five-story, 60,000-square-foot Korean water spa, with plunge pools, saunas, an ice room, massage chairs, a designated sleeping area, and a pool on the roof. The New York Times calls it an “aquarium for humans,” but let’s let the photos do the talking. :) (Kids are welcome, too.)

3. Blue Hill Stone Barns. You can pet Berkshire hogs, collect eggs, buy rhubarb jam, and walk among turkeys at this charming farm, forty minutes north of the city–but the real draw is the restaurant by famed chef Dan Barber, featuring fresh, slow food, much of it right off the farm. The tasting menus have five or eight courses (your choice), and instead of a menu, guests are presented with a list of over a hundred ingredients, based on what’s freshest that day. Do you love crazy meats? Are you a cheese addict? Are you vegan? They’ll create a mind-blowing meal for you, not matter what. And in the winter, sip hot cocoa by a roaring fireplace. An awesome place for a (very) special occasion. (Here’s the farm website and restaurant website.) P.S. Their annual Harvest Fest is tomorrow!

4. Governor’s Island. Although technically part of New York City (and only half a mile from Manhattan), Governor’s Island feels a million miles away. A free ferry takes you there in the summer, and you can rent bikes, eat ice cream, laze around on the grass and go kayaking (for free). And if you’re in a dancing mood, Governor’s Island hosts the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party.

What do you think? Any other recommendations? xoxo

(Top image layout by HipHipGinGin for Cup of Jo. Photos by Laura Ratliff, Ulterior Epicure, Sweet Fine Day, DelishThe New York Times and the places themselves.)

  1. It would be so fun to go on a daytrip in any of these places! In a city as busy as New York, there are locations where you can experience serenity and pampering. The Storm King Art Center seems like a fun place to visit! The ducks look like they’re very happy to just stroll around there. Sigh! I wish I can visit one of these places someday.

  2. Annie says...

    i know this is late, but if you are an architecture fan you should definitely take the train from grand central to new canaan, ct and take a tour of philip johnson’s property (including his famous glass house)! it’s only about an hour train ride away and his art collection is amazing.

  3. Thank you so much for this guide! I just bookmarked it! Good to know there’s so much to do around NYC on a budget!

  4. I have really enjoyed your NYC guide Joanna! It came at the perfect time because my finace and I will be making our very first trip to New York at the end of this week – we have printed out all your suggestions! Keep a look-out for the tourists with the Cup of Jo printouts! :)

  5. The Cloisters
    Wave Hill
    Piedmont & Nyack in New Jersey
    Orchard Farm in Princeton for pumpkins!

  6. How have I never heard of the spa in Queens before?!! That looks amazing! Must go. Thanks for this list. I love (and require!) getting out of the city on the weekends. I would also add and recommend getting out to the Catskills. We go to a little towns like Palenville and Saugerties every few months and the flea markets/ antique stores are unbelievably good and unimaginably inexpensive!

  7. They have a Korean spa in New York?! I lived in Korea a couple of years ago and LOVED the spas…I’m always sad they don’t have one near where I live. This gives me more reason to visit your fair city!

  8. Yay, Governors Island!!! My neighbor used to be stationed there back in the day when he was in the military. He’s in his seventies now, so I’m guessing that was about 50 years ago or so. I went there for the Jazz Age Lawn Party this past June, and I’d love to go back and spend the afternoon just riding a bike.

    Oh, and if anyone goes to the Jazz Age Lawn Party – I highly recommend packing a picnic lunch. That’s what we did, and it was the best decision we made that day. The line to buy food was a 1 to 1 1/2 hour wait!!

  9. I always like to go to the Noguchi Museum in Queens. There’s a nice quiet garden area for relaxing.

  10. have fun at the harvest fest! Man, I have wanted to go to Blue Hill for YEARS – it’s seriously been on my list of “to-eat” places for about 5 years now. Sigh. one day…

  11. I’ve been dying to go to Storm King. We have Laumeier Sculpture Park here in St. Louis and it is such a world-class gem. I’ve only been to NYC once, but my next trip will include a side trip to Storm King. Art outdoors makes me so happy.

  12. My goodness…I could vacation for weeks in NY with your wonderful guide to go by! So much to see, do, eat, & drink!

    P.S. That Spa looks Amazing (maybe I’ll just spend weeks there)!

  13. My favorite day trip (or quick overnight trip) from the city is to Rhinebeck, NY. It is the cutest town with a great farmers market, fun shops, and delicious restaurants (Terrapin is my favorite). It makes you feel like you are a world away from NYC!

  14. How fun!!! I am from Oregon so this is a tad far away, but it makes me super excited for the surprise getaway my boyfriend is taking me on in Oregon this weekend. His only hint when I tried to figure out where it was is that “it’s in Oregon”. haha!

  15. Anonymous says...

    These places look like such fun. i would totally love to visit them all.

  16. The Jazz Age Lawn party is so rad. I had always seen pictures of it, but since I live in PA, always thought I’d never go. Then this summer, my friend Brandon and I traveled all the way up to go! It was sooo much fun and I can’t wait to go back next year. I took a ton of pictures of the event, check them out if you’d like!

  17. thanks for that joanna! the spa sounds awesome and i’ve already read about the jazz age lawn party and would love to go there one day, too. :)

  18. Anonymous says...

    Joanna, I’m from western Canada…not the fun part (Vancouver), but the rather drab and northerly part (Edmonton). I’ve traveled lots, even lived in France for a year, but never really had much of a desire to see new York. Your guides show a city I’d love to visit!!! Especially those restaurants, they look fantastic! Thanks :)

  19. That spa looks so relaxing! I’ve always wanted to go to Governor’s Island for the jazz party!! :)

  20. This is the post I’ve been waiting for! Fall day trips, here I come!

  21. LOVE

  22. I love InSpa World –the best is to go in the winter when it’s snowing and sit outside in the hot Hinoki Bath that smells of pine. Heaven! I really have to get out to Governors Island one of these days too. Thanks for these lovely little guides, Joanna.

  23. beacon sounds AMAZING. i can’t believe it’s only an hour away!!!

  24. Beacon! Home of the art gallery DIA on the Hudson, the Hudson Valley’s best burger at Poppy’s, a ton of antique shops, art galleries, mom&pop stores (my favorite is Play – a toystore that is full of funny toys, trinkets and books) a glassblower, and the new RoundHouse at Beacon Falls (which currently has a simple outdoor patio with AMAZING food and really different, creative drinks. Soon it’ll be a full restaurant, hotel and spa!). Can you tell I’m a Beacon advocate? I love that little city. And it’s only an hour train ride from the city :)

  25. OMG, THAT SPA!

    p.s. I have LOVED your NYC guide, Joanna. Thanks so much. xo.

  26. This looks like a super swimming pool-


  27. So perfect! I’m going to be in NYC for thxgiving, so thank you!

  28. i wish we had this list when we lived there. nyc is really hard with a new family…. we had to quit entirely and take a year out in stockholm! x

  29. Great suggestions, Joanna! I love that picture of the geese all in a row. Farm animals are the cutest.

  30. Your NYC guides have been great, Joanna! I can hardly wait to visit – I’ll be down in November for a friend’s wedding.

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  32. get me a seat on that ferry!

  33. all these getaway spots look so relaxing and enjoyable. wish i lived in new york to experience them!
    esp. that korean water spa… ooo lala.

  34. w-o-w. i want to go to blue hill, like, yesterday.

  35. Unbelievable that there is all of that within such a short distance of NYC, great photos.