5 Weekend Getaways Near NYC

New York is an awesome place to live, but sometimes you want to escape the crowds. Luckily, there are five amazing destinations less than 2 1/2 hours from the city, so you can treat yourself to a weekend getaway…

1. Fire Island (Long Island).
The magical thing about Fire Island is that no cars are allowed, so you walk or bike everywhere, and the whole place feels like summer camp. We stayed with friends last summer in the teeny town of Fair Harbor, which looks like a postcard with its red firehouse, pizza parlor, grocery store, beach and playground. You rent houses–most come with outdoor showers!–and spend the days relaxing at the beaches and having lobster rolls for lunch. Don’t worry about having to schlep your stuff to the beach: Everyone, even burly men, pulls Radio Flyer red wagons filled with groceries, beach chairs and kids. Another charming bonus? To hop between the towns, you take a water taxi. Just call the phone number, and the boat comes racing to the dock to scoop you up. What a timeless, wonderful place.
(How to get there: Take a one-hour train ride from Penn Station to Bay Shore, then take the ferry to Fire Island.)

2. Saugerties (Hudson Valley).
The Hudson Valley is peppered with quaint small towns, such as Rhinebeck, Woodstock and Hudson, but my favorite is the little town of Saugerties. You can rent one of the lovely homes in town (on or–check out this place), or reserve one of the two rooms in the Saugerties Lighthouse. I also LOVE the Villa at Saugerties, which is currently closed, but hopefully will re-open again soon. You can go antiquing, pick your own fruits and vegetables, go sailing, walk out to the Saugerties lighthouse (it’s beautiful, and you can sit on the deck and dip your feet in the water), go hiking, tour estates and mansions, and watch an airplane show and fly in an open-cockpit bi-plane in nearby Rhinebeck (we did this for Alex’s birthday once! It was awesome!). For dinner, try the seasonal food at Miss Lucy’s Kitchen in Saugerties (they also have two rooms for rent upstairs).
(How to get there: Rent a car and drive 2.5 hours to Saugerties. You’ll want a car for exploring.)

3. Spring Lake (New Jersey).
Spring Lake is a charming town with Victorian houses, between a glistening lake and the salty ocean. Stay at Ashling Cottage B&B and enjoy homemade muffins and eggs while reading the newspaper or playing Scrabble on their wrap-around porch. Then ride the (free) bikes down the boardwalk and swim in the big ocean waves. For dinner, walk to Main Street for chicken sandwiches and ice-cream sundaes. The town still has enough Jersey-Shore to keep it entertaining: The last time we went we saw girls on the beach in high heels and a tattooed dude with a pet parrot!
(How to get there: Take the 2-hour train ride from Penn Station to Spring Lake, then walk a few blocks from the station to the B&B. You don’t need to rent a car.)

4. North Fork (Long Island).
The North Fork is #1 on my list of places I’d love to visit; I’ve never been. After seeing Jenna’s vacation photos, I’ve been daydreaming about picking lavender and peaches, canoeing down rivers, building sandcastles on the beach, visiting wineries and eating farm-to-table meals. Have any of you ever been? It looks like an American version of Provence! Three nice hotels are The Greenporter, Red Barn B&B and The North Fork Table & Inn, although most visitors seem to rent houses. (More info here and here.)
(How to get there: Rent a car and drive 2.5 hours to the North Fork of Long Island. If you don’t think you’ll need a car for exploring, you can take the train or bus to Greenport.)

5. Miami!!!
A weekend getaway to Miami is more adventurous (and obviously splurgier) than staying local, but it’s surprisingly easy to get down there and offers a mind-blowing escape in the wintertime. Fly from NYC to Miami (3.5 hours), and stay at The Standard hotel in South Beach. It’s one of the most relaxing hotels ever–with lush gardens, ping pong tables, fire pits and a hot tub with a waterfall. The enormous infinity pool is as warm as a bathtub, and slowly slants down as you wade deeper into it, facing Biscayne Bay, until you feel surrounded by water and sky. At the hotel restaurant, try the Greek salad with tofu or the fish sandwich with spicy fries. Bonus: The hotel offers fluffy white robes, so you can spend your weekend in a robe, swimsuit and flip flops–no need to pack much else! The hotel often has off-season or three-night deals, so you can find rooms for a steal. (FYI, no kids under 14 are allowed, so it’s best for a romantic getaway.)
(How to get there: Fly direct from NYC to Miami. You won’t need a car, and parking at the hotel is expensive anyway. Just take a taxi from the airport to the hotel (about $30-$40) and happily stay put! If you want to venture into South Beach, you can walk, take a taxi or borrow the hotel’s tandem bike for a wobbly ride.)

Which of these places would you want to visit most? Which suits your personality best? What other places have you been to around NYC? Alex is always saying we should go to the Delaware Water Gap! I would LOVE to hear your getaway recommendations!

P.S. The complete Cup of Jo Guide to New York City

(Top image layout by HipHipGinGin for Cup of Jo. Hotel/lighthouse photos courtesy of the hotels and lighthouse; photo of me in Spring Lake by Alex; North Fork photos by Jenna Park and the New York Times; Fire Island photos by Leigh/Marvelous Kiddo)

  1. Lucy says...

    What was recommendation #3? Thank you! Xx

  2. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this post Aplikasi Android. Thanks a lot for sharing here..I hope you will come up with more and more similar articles..

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  4. I live and New Jersey and I wish my husband buy me a home in NY. and my home in NJ will be rented House Rent NJ

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  8. I know this post is a year old, but I live in Delaware, and the Delaware water gap (which is actually in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as I’m sure you’re aware) is lovely! My fellow and I camp there in the summer with friends. It’s true that there’s not a whole lot to do there, but what more do you really need than some great people, some cocktails, and hot dogs on a stick? Definitely wait until it gets warm, and think about going rafting or canoeing…several places nearby offer it for cheap. Also check out the local towns; there are a lot of super quirky and rustic stores to wander around.

  9. homemade muffins and eggs while reading the newspaper or playing Scrabble on their wrap-around porch. Then ride the (free) bikes down the boardwalk and swim in the big ocean waves. For dinner, walk to Main Street for chicken sandwiches and ice-cream sundaes. Tax Preparation NJ

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  11. Montauk on the off season. You can stay at the historical Montauk Manor for half the price and get to know all the locals.

    Also, if you haven’t been to The Roxbury Motel, make sure that you go. It’s a bit of a trek but one of my favorite spots in the world- don’t forget to try Cha Cha BBQ while you’re there, it’s amazing!

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  13. i saved this post because i knew i wanted to check out some of these places.

    finally did! absolutley LOVED ashling cottage at spring lake!! thank you so much for the recommendation!

  14. There’s no reason for us to let a weekend pass by without enjoying nature’s gift. What’s great about this is that it’s not too far from the city, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to reach the place, if you want a quick break on the weekends. Saugerties looks particularly interesting. It feels like you’ve gone back in time because of the antique house you can see there.

  15. my family and i go to fire island every 4th of july
    its sooooo much fun! they even have a red wagon parade for the kids. its must for the fourth you will feel like your on a mini vaca

  16. Just going to NYC would be nice enough, but all of these places sound great. :)

  17. I used to live in Rhinebeck so I would say Saugerties , I love this area of New York state

  18. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

  19. I grew up in Mystic, CT… an absolutely great getaway from the city, especially in the summer. There are a million things to do, but it still has that small-town quietness, if that’s what you’re looking for, so long as you’re there in the early spring, winter, or fall. If you plan a trip, I have a million recommendations for you if needed! I live in Madrid now, but my parents are still there and I can’t wait to go back to visit. Enjoy :)


  20. The perfect getaways, next time I visit your
    NYC i will try one of these destinations. I’m still dreaming of parrot cay which you blogged about last year. Meanwhile living in Sydney we are also blessed with picturesque waterways, vineyards, and snow fields just a stone throw from the city.

  21. So happy Saugerties made your list! The lighthouse there is just lovely! They also have a garlic festival in September (we’ve always been away that weekens, but sounds amazing!)

    We live in nearby Kingston and love the Hudson Valley, Boitson’s and Ship to Shore are some of our favorite Kingston restaurants (in case you are in the area ;) )

  22. Ellie says...

    I grew up in the city, so I’m pretty familiar with the surrounding area. The North Fork is nice, but I prefer the beaches on the South Fork. East Hampton is a great town. Also, Shelter Island is lovely. Westerly, RI is another great beach spot, so is Long Beach Island (NJ) and Cape May, which also has a great beach and lovely Victorian homes. For upstate I really like Rhinebeck and New Paltz. A bit further away is Maine which IMO is the BEST summer destination. We stay with family near Belfast, a lovely coastal town and Acadia National Park is a must see. I also recommend the Adirondacks, so many lakes up there with inexpensive rental homes. :)

  23. Kate W says...


    You would also love Tiverton and Little Compton, RI and South Dartmouth, MA. Each about 3 hrs from NYC.

  24. Mohonk Mountain House is also a great spot that’s close-ish to the city (2 hours away). I used to go with my family a lot when growing up in NYC.

    It’s cozy & warm in the winter and green & inspiring in the summer (and great in the fall and spring, too).

    And New Paltz is a funky little college town. I always like swinging through.

  25. Ana says...

    i really hope you work out the image credit things on your post about the travel shoes.

  26. What beautiful getaways. I wish Chicago had similar retreats in the area to escape the crowds!

    Happy Friday!

  27. Michelle says...

    oh these all look absolutely wonderful… I’m headed to St. John in February and have been going crazy looking for a cute bikini that is pretty and functional…My boyfriend is huge into the water sports..and Im getting there…but I can’t seem to find a swimsuit that stays on instead falling off when jumping into the water/snorkeling…any ideas of a good brand/store to check out?!?!?!?!

    ps.amagansett is definitely a sweet place as well…

  28. The north fork is an amazing place to be. We live out here in Greenport and love it. I blog on with lots of fun info about the northfork and other nonsensical things :)

    You should totally visit! – Danielle

  29. I live on the north fork as well in the lovely town of Greenport. We love it here. I have a blog where I post my favorite spots and picts from out here and other nonsense. You should totally come visit!! – Danielle

  30. Curious to hear a recommendation for a baby friendly beach hotel in Miami
    Beach? Any suggestions? I’m hoping to take my husband later this winter for his birthday and the standard is out because our then 6 month old will be with us. Thanks!

  31. What a beautiful pictures, Joanna! I so often read your stories and they make me whish to come to NY one day. I travelled a lot in Europe, everyting is so close. I live in Zeeland, in the south of the Netherlands. In 40 minutes we are in Antwerp, Belgium, and in 4 hours we are… in Paris.
    I think almost everyone is dreaming sometimes of other places!
    Thanks for bringing be in one other world, New York!

  32. I love this post because sometimes you just NEED to get out of the city and there are just so many amazing places to visit. I have always wanted to visit Fire Island since I came over to New York from South Africa. Perhaps we’ll try make it over there this Summer.

  33. Since dreaming is for free…I’ll dream from my corner of the world. Have a great weekend, all!

  34. I would even just like to visit NYC one day!

  35. This is off topic but, could you make a tutorial with Caroline for the messy braid she wore on the Cardigan’s catalog? :) This braid is everywhere this year and God knows I can really do my hair using Caroline’s tutorials, after all these years doing pony tails with no feminine touch in it! And my girlfriends go crazy jealous about my hair when I do her buns :) And when I don’t have much time, I just go to my hairdresser and show him one of the tutorials and ask for an easy going look, they really can do it!
    Should I tell more?! The messy braid, oh please :D

  36. i’ve rented in the North Fork for 6 summers now and adore it.

    In Greenport, my favorite restaurants are Frisky Oyster, Noah’s and Salamanders for fried chicken (informal). The North Fork Table & Inn now has a food truck (though i didn’t get to try it).

    There’s a great carousel and a fantastic bakery, Sacred Sweets across the street. On Monday nights in the summer there are local band concerts by the carousel and the community comes out with their lawn chairs to listen and dance.

    It’s also a quick ferry ride to Shelter ride which is another treat.

    And of course, visit Briemere Farms for their famous pies. I love the blueberry cream.

    Oh, and enjoy the wineries. They are everywhere.

    Gosh, I miss summer.

  37. My family and I spend most of the summer on the North Fork (in a small town called Cutchogue) with relatives that live there… it’s such an incredible place! It really reminds me of an Anne of Green Gables movie. There are also loads of wineries and farmers’ markets, and it’s only about 2 hours from the city. You should definitely visit there this summer!

  38. The North Fork is the BEST! I grew up going to the Hamptons every summer and did not even know this magical place existed right on the other side. It really does feel like you’re in another country – its so quaint and everyone is really friendly. There are some awesome restaurants (a Mano, Luce Hawkens)and contrary to many opinions, some really great wine too!

  39. My grandparents were born and raised in Saugerties. They became the black sheep of their families by being the first to move out of the state of New York. They’re both buried in Kingston, which is a 10-15 minute drive from the town.

  40. Did you know that Saugerties is actually Jimmy Fallon’s hometown? True story … my high school used to play his high school in sports :)

  41. Delaware Water Gap is super pretty, but unless you are outdoorsy there isn’t much to do. Here is a good weekend trip in that area: Stay at the Nassau Inn in Princeton NJ and spend a day seeing the college and the town and going on a canoe ride on lake carnegee. At night you can drink at Triumph or take Toby to the best ice cream ever at bent spoon. Then the next day you can drive down and see Washinton’s crossing and the nature stuff and then have a late lunch and go shopping in New Hope and Lambertville, which are two towns side by side that have a lot of really cute little stores. Then you can go back to the crossing or explore other little towns in the area like Hopewell, which has an awesome playground.

  42. Another short(ish) break idea – Montreal is a quick flight away. Why not come north and practice your french! We have great food and it’s a very pretty city.

  43. That is so eerie that you posted this today as I’ve been researching quickie trips outside of NYC today! These are great suggestions and I’m definitely bookmarking this post. At least once a year my boyfriend and I try a different B & B within a 3-hour drive of NYC. My favorite was last year–we went to Amish country in Pennsylvania. Now THAT’S a departure from city life!

  44. Miami. In a heartbeat. With two toddlers and a newborn I may now dream of a Miami getaway….

    We loved Dingman’s Campground in the Delaware Water Gap.

  45. we were in the north fork this fall, but jenna’s shots have me itching to go back this summer!

  46. I don’t know if you are the camping sort, but the Delaware Water Gap is very popular for camping. We haven’t been there yet but we go camping near Woodstock all the time. Great trip.

  47. Susan says...

    An oldie but goodie is a favorite: Woodstock. Good music, good food.

  48. I grew up in the Hudson Valley and there is plenty to do! Poughkeepsie is worth a trip for the Walkway over the Hudson , the Culinary Institue of America, Vassar College (beautiful architecture!) and all the mansions that span the riverfront.

    Also, in Rhinebeck definitely catch a flick at Upstate Films.

    I’m currently living in Philadelphia (which is also a great getaway!) but love heading North to the HV.

  49. My husband & I stayed at the Red Barn B&B a few years ago. Great place, highly recommend it (the breakfasts are *amazing*). We went to a wedding at Martha Clara Vineyards & it was lovely, so I would suggest stopping by there if you ever make it out to the North Fork.

  50. It’s a little bit farther than two hours, but a getaway to the fingerlakes is amazing also. There are literally HUNDREDS of amazing wineries, loads of B&Bs, the gorgeous fingerlakes, and TONS of hiking trails throughout all the gorges. I lived in Ithaca for four years for college and then a few years later I lived nearby in the Trumansburg (Whoopi Goldberg owns a house in this small town outside Ithaca) for two years while I worked out there. It is a beautiful place that I would recommend any time of year, but especially in the summer. If you ever want more specific suggestions let me know because I have a lot and I am getting irrationally excited just writing this comment!

  51. I stayed at The Standard Hotel- Miami Beach in 2007 while traveling for work. It is definitely as fabulous as Joanna describes. Sadly, I was there alone, but I did spend two glorious days laying by the pool, ordering room service, and watching Project Runway marathons in my room until 3am. Typing this as a now stay-at-home mother of two that actually sounds like my idea of heaven :) I would love to go back with my husband. Ah, a girl can dream…

  52. Fun! Saugerties, the North Fork, and Fire Island sound right up my alley. The hop to Miami sounds like what it is to fly from SF or LA to Los Cabos, Mexico…from SF you’d be there in about three hours, which I understand makes it a pretty popular getaway on the West Coast. :)

  53. Hannah says...

    I love that you recommend the Hudson Valley! I grew up in Red Hook (my parents still live there) and the area certainly has a lot to offer! My favorite spot in Red Hook/Rhinebeck is Poet’s Walk, its an absolutely MUST.

  54. Anonymous says...

    reads like my personal list – almost a bit spooky:
    1. I was in a summer house share for 5 years in Kismet
    2. rented a house in Saugerties for 2 weeks when my daughter was 5 weeks old
    3. stayed with a friend in Spring lake the year before
    4. got married in Shelter Island (family stayed at the Greenporter)
    5. got engaged at the Raleigh in Miami (also designed some graphics for The Standard)

    no wonder i love your blog Jo!

  55. I love your “green” trip to Fire Island, sounds relaxing and environmentally friendly.
    I Adore your friend Jenna’s girls’ dresses… simply too much cuteness. I can’t take it!
    ~ Stacy

  56. Tia D says...

    If you’re looking to get out of New York State – I would highly suggest Mystic, Connecticut as a weekend getaway destination. As a locale I am a bit biased – but its got a great location (you could take Amtrak right into town – or rent a car and the drive should only be 2 hours – :) ). The seaside village has a downtown area filled with quirky shops, incredible restaurants, family-orientated destinations such as Mystic Seaport (a leading maritime museum which is open air – historical fun and lots of interesting sites) and Mystic Aquarium (the man who found Titanic, Bob Ballard actually has an office here – great exhibits and touch tanks for all ages!) and a short drive from picturesque Vineyards and beaches. There are several inn’s located right in downtown Mystic or more traditional hotels all within a mile radius of most of the action. Can’t beat it.

  57. I wish I could see NYC someday… at present I send kisses from distatnt Poland ! :-))) COJ make my day !

  58. Yay, Spring Lake! I have family there, so I visit every chance I get (was just there for New Year’s). One of the best times to visit is the first weekend in March for their St. Patrick’s Day parade. Spring Lake is nicknamed “the Irish Riviera,” so their parade is huge and fun!

  59. Great piece, thanks!
    Have you ever been to Mohonk Mt. House in New Paltz, NY? Amazing old hotel with a lake, hiking and spa… Rooms are rustic, but some have wood burning fireplaces. And I can’t forget the afternoon tea and cookies on one of the many rocking chairs on the huge porch. One of our favorite anniversary getaways…we’ve even taken the kids for a hiking day trip…now they want to stay! :-)

  60. Megan says...

    O Jen, you beat me to it!

  61. Jane says...

    Sometimes I forget how big the US is! A three and a half hour flight takes me to another country! (NZ to Australia.)
    Amazing though that you have such beautiful spots so close to NYC.

  62. hahaha! i had to smile and laugh when i saw Miami on your list because I live there. (Born and raised – that’s right i am a native!) I have been to The Standard, its great! I have not actually stayed at the hotel, but my friend treated to me a spa session and manicure there…and it was looovely. I have been in that pool/waterfall, it was so relaxing. They also have Turkish Baths there (aka hamams). Plus I agree- the food is yummy! Another bonus is that I have heard that Tara Stiles sometimes does her yoga retreats there!
    Yay, Miami! Thanks for mentioning my homeland :) If u ever find your way here, sent me a msg and i’d be glad to give u recommendations!

  63. Megan says...

    Lambertville, NJ / New Hope, PA is a good day trip in the summer. About a 1.5-2 hour drive. The towns are split by the Delaware River, with a bridge in between. Shops, restaurants, bars, breweries, etc. Lots with outdoors seating for some great people watching!

  64. I HIGHLY recommend Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. It’s were I got married and I try to go back once a year. Absolutely perfect any time of year (and most rooms have a working fireplace – perfect for winter romance!).

  65. If you’re looking for towns on the Delaware, it doesn’t get better than Lambertville, NJ/New Hope, PA. Adorable and artsy with lots of antiques and great restaurants.

  66. We spent a weekend in Greenport/North Fork last December, and it was wonderful at that time of year. Maybe a bit more dead in Jan./Feb. (though there is ice skating then!), but the North Fork is very nearly a 4-season destination.

  67. I LOVE the Spring Lake shout out! We live ten minutes from there and we are so happy about it. If you go visit drive ten minutes north to Asbury Park, you won’t be sorry.

  68. oh those little but perfect getaways make me wanna live in NYC even more badly!
    love the brilliant pictures you put with your tips.

    if you’re interested – i’m hosting pretty rad giveaway!
    xx //

  69. I LOVE this! After reading about Hudson Valley and seeing that the open-pit plane rides start on our anniversary, I HAVE to go now. My husbands grandpa flew an open pit- bi-plane in the war. Something my husband is very proud of.
    Thank you so much for the best idea for an anniversary gift, EVER.

  70. Book-and-marked! What a great list and such perfect timing. Just when i was thinking “I need to getaway…”

  71. I’m from the North Fork of LI, but currently live and go to school in Manhattan. But I love the weekends and breaks between school when I go home to see my parents and sister and we go on adventures to wineries and bring a picnic, or berry and vegetable picking.

    I love that I have these two amazing places at my finger tips and only about 2 hours from each other!

    You definitely need to visit!

  72. How refreshing! I need some time off.

  73. Fire Island! Great post! Am book marking it for future reference and getaways. We are a mere 6 hrs to NYC, so these are perfect.

  74. I’m headed to Miami this weekend – hope you have a chance to getaway soon!

  75. Way to go on the Spring Lake recommendation! I’ve been going for years and it’s such a lovely getaway. #1 go-to (besides the gorgeous and remarkably clean beach) is Hoffmann’s–incredible ice cream that’s homemade. Go for the peach, it’s a signature.

  76. we went to the adirondacks last summer. gorgeous!

  77. Anonymous says...

    Come down to DC, you guys! It’s not as crowded in the winter as the summer months. Although you’ll miss out on cherry blossoms if you come before March/April, you get free museums that aren’t packed and a slightly warmer climate than NYC.

  78. I’m so excited to be moving back the city this coming summer, I’m even more excited about venturing out to this towns!

  79. i like the cloisters in upper bronx too. a quick day trip. so serene. also montauk point. sooo beautiful.

  80. You guys are so spoilt with the amazing (and varied) landscapes and climates you have so close to NYC! Here in the UK you couldn’t plan a sunshine break ANYWHERE in 3.5 hours – you’re just never guaranteed good weather. 3.5 hours to miami… *dreams* I’ve heard the beach at fire island is lovely, too. SPOILT! ;p


  81. Oh man, this makes me wish I lived on the east coast right now. The West Coast is beautiful but it is a little hard to find a lot of quick get-aways that are not camping. Not that there is any thing wrong with camping, I personally love to backpack but it is nice to have a change sometimes. Especially when you are a student. :)

  82. kd, how genius!!

    molly, for winter getaways, i’m actually writing a piece for Conde Nast Traveler about 6 winter getaways near new york — i’ll definitely let you know when it’s up!! meanwhile, you can look up hotels in rhinebeck (in the hudson valley) with fireplaces–some look really nice and cozy, and the town would be fun for exploring in the winter. you might also look up B&Bs in new haven, connecticut; it’s a fun town, and you could spend the weekend eating amazing pizza, seeing movies, walking around and even cross-country skiing nearby. xoxo

  83. I’ve spent every summer on the North Fork since I was six years old, and it is my favorite place on earth. I’d also squeeze in a visit to Croteaux, an adorable French-inspired winery in Southold, and dinner at Noah’s, the best restaurant in Greenport.

  84. All of these places sound lovely but seem like spring/summer desitations. Do you have any suggestions for places to go during the winter? I find NYC pretty dismal during the first few months of the year and would love to hear of mini vacation we could take around NYC to liven things up.

  85. My husband & I rented a Mini Cooper and went out to the North Fork of LI for a day trip one weekend – it was super fun and relaxing! We visited some vineyards, bought a bunch of wine & farmstand fruit, took a little nap on the beach, and then just drove back to Brooklyn. I highly recommend it. :)

  86. that is AWESOME, olivia!!!! omg, i’m going to email you if we can come this summer, i would love to hear your husband play! :)

  87. I live on the North Fork of LI–my husband plays music in the vineyards there all summer–you all should come out one time–totally kid friendly and so much fun!

  88. i wish i lived in nyc! so lovely :)