For many New Yorkers, summers are synonymous with the Hamptons, Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard. These summer standbys all have famous restaurants, massive homes, lovely beaches . . . and the same crowds as New York. But the Northeast is chock-full of underappreciated towns just as suitable for summer respite. This year, test drive an under-the-radar alternative.
The Wildcard: Scarborough, MaineMaine may seem far for a weekend trip but you can actually get there just as quickly as you would get to the Hamptons after sitting in traffic, thanks to the one-hour flight to Portland. No need to travel far from the airport. There are plenty of fantastic vacation towns right near the city of Portland, such as Scarborough, ten miles out of the city, where landscape painter Winslow Homer was inspired to produce much of his best work. His home is now a museum run by the Portland Art Museum, at 5 Winslow Homer Road. Stay at Black Point Inn, at 510 Black Point Road, on the cliffs of Prouts Neck for the best views.
Off to the Races: Saratoga Springs, New YorkSaratoga Springs embodies small town life with its movie set-worthy tree-lined streets. In the summer, take in the horse races at the Saratoga Race Track (at 267 Union Avenue), where locals and visitors flock for races, concerts and other events. New Yorkers descend on the city in August dressed to impress for Travers Stakes, which has been held since 1864—the oldest major thoroughbred race in America. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (108 Avenue of the Pines) is also a major draw, with attractions like the New York City Ballet, which comes for a week each summer. In keeping with the small town vibe, stay at Saratoga Arms, a bed and breakfast with a gracious front porch perfect for sipping iced tea (at 497 Broadway).
Retro Retreat: Saranac Lake, New YorkThe “Great Camps” of the Adirondack Mountains were sprawling compounds of cabins built by America’s wealthiest families beginning in the 1800s. Weekends on Saranac Lake, high in the Adirondacks, offer a quiet refuge in a rustic setting. Dip your toes into the outdoors experience with a visit to The Point (222 Beaverwood Road), the former Adirondack camp of industrialist William Rockefeller. The feel is rustic luxury. And if you start to yearn for civilization, Lake Placid is nearby.
Bucolic Beauty: Rhinebeck, New YorkWhile everyone else is heading south or east to the beach, trying heading upstream to the Hudson River Valley for the quaint village of Rhinebeck. Hiking, biking and kayaking are all popular activities but the region is also a favorite of in-the-know antique hunters. The waterfront Rhinecliff Hotel, at 4 Grinnell Street, has the area’s fanciest digs, while history buffs will want to stay at Beekman Arms, the oldest continuously operated hotel in the U.S., founded in 1766. The rooms at the Beekman, at 6387 Mill Street, are humble but historical—George Washington stayed in Room 21 during the Revolutionary War.