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Minutes from Manhattan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White sand beaches, fresh local produce and seafood, world-class wineries, championship golf courses, trophy fishing, soothing spas and fabulous shopping-Long Island has everything you need for a perfect island getaway! Discover all this and more, just minutes from Manhattan.

 

Each of the Island's regions has its specialties: the North Shore's opulent estates and harborside villages, the South Shore's Belmont Park racetrack and Jones Beach boardwalk and concerts, the North Fork's farmland and vineyards rated one of the world's top ten wine regions, and on the South Fork-Montauk and The Hamptons, called the ultimate summer playground by Conde Nast Traveler.

 

Wherever you travel, you'll encounter breathtaking beaches, nature preserves, unique museums, lighthouses and historic homes-from Walt Whitman's humble cottage to Great Gatsby-style Gold Coast mansions. Catch a ferry on the South Shore to explore Fire Island National Seashore's pristine beaches, high dunes and maritime forests.

 

Follow the North Fork Trail to winery tours, great seafood restaurants and unique attractions like Lavender by the Bay, where you can pick bunches of fragrant lavender, taste lavender honey and shop for sweet-smelling souvenirs.

 

Shopping options range from seaside antique shops and farmstands to Freeport's Nautical Mile and Americana Manhasset's "Miracle Mile" of posh designers, from Armani to Veneta. In Riverhead, find sizzling deals at Tanger Factory Outlet Centers-and then cool down at Splish Splash, voted one of America's Top 15 Waterparks by Budget Travel.

Families love learning together at the Long Island Aquarium and Long Island Children's Museum, housed in a former airplane hangar. Explore the future and the history of aerospace at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Discover seafaring heritage at the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, set in a picturesque village of galleries and boutiques.

 

Indoors on Long Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside and out, Long Island is a four season destination. In winter you'll stay warm with fresh-from-Broadway shows, mall crawls and outlet sprees, indoor family fun centers, fine dining, and enough museums to wear out some serious shoe leather.

Live theater lives all year here at venues like Riverhead's Suffolk Theater and Five Towns College Performing Arts Center. The Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts stages year-round Broadway musicals, classical music and children's theater. Port Jefferson rings in the holidays with Theatre Three's annual production of "A Christmas Carol," followed by comedy clubs and musical fare like this season's Amber Ferrari performing the hits of Janis Joplin.

Hit the motherlode at sprawling Tanger Outlets and 220,000-square-foot Americana Manhasset, where shoppers can get lost without a map. Malls and outlets line the island from the Broadway Mall to Great Neck Plaza. On the prowl for tchotchkes? A Long Island thrift shop crawl is for you. Find that thing you never knew you wanted at Island Thrift in Brentwood, Selden Thrift, and Unique Thrift Stores in Westbury and Levittown.

The cure for cabin fever? Indoor fun centers like Laser Bounce in Levittown with video games and glow-in-the-dark laser tag. Or Jericho's Active Kidz Long Island where a 4,500-square-foot laser tag arena, rock climbing walls and four-story maze keep kids of all sizes busy. Families get hands-on at Riverhead's Long Island Science Center with touchable exhibits on engineering, mathematics, science and technology using Lego models, whisper tubes, two-way mirrors and gravity ramps. Even the ice comes indoors here. Strut your stuff at indoor skating rinks in Bellmore's Newbridge Ice Arena, New Hyde's Iceland, Syosset's Iceworks, and Dix Hills and Cantiague Parks.

Museum lovers won't go hungry. Fine art decorates  Huntington's Heckscher Museum of Art. Free exhibits and art classes draw winter crowds to the Islip Art Museum. The Long Island Museum specializes in American history and Long Island art with its 40,000-item permanent exhibits, including horse-drawn carriages. Or you can catch a bunch of culture in one sweep along Garden City's Museum Row at stops including the Long Island Children's Museum and Cradle of Aviation Museum.

 

Feed your appetite during Hamptons Restaurant Week in March with bargain dining at dozens of upscale East End restaurants, plus special deals at participating wineries, hotels, inns, B&Bs and spas. Winter farmers' markets supply farm-fresh local foods, live entertainment and a chance to socialize. For higher octane tasting, Long Island's annual winterfest, Live on the Vine, offers six weeks of sweet mid-winter music that'll keep you toasty in vineyard tasting rooms, hotels and other venues on the east end. The sounds are all live, presenting talented performers in jazz, blues, soul and country. Long Island's Woodside Orchard offers four delicious hard-cider options when you are in the mood to experience a new taste sensation.

 

Summer Pleasures in NYC and Long Island

Summer is the time to take it easy and enjoy simple pleasures like a walk in a garden or a day at the beach. Add the excitement of the greatest city in the world, and you've got one very cool getaway. Within minutes of New York City's entertainment and cultural treasures, discover Long Island's quaint villages, white sand beaches, rustic vineyards, and roadside stands selling fresh local produce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose the activities that suit your style and schedule. You could spend a few hours or an entire day at each one.

 

Day One

Staten Island Botanical Garden
Take a scenic (free) ride from Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry, named one of the 7 Most Beautiful Ferry Rides in the US by Budget Travel. It will lead you to one of New York City's most unique gardens, on the grounds of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Catch sweet scented breezes as you walk amid evergreen mazes, waterfalls and butterflies in more than 20 themed gardens, from classical to exotic. Take a moment to relax and contemplate your journey in the Chinese Scholar's Garden with reflecting ponds and tranquil courtyards.

New York Yankees or New York Mets
If you're a sports fan, catching a game at the ballpark is classic summer fun. Reserve your tickets ahead of time, and root for either of the home teams in their brand new stadiums. You can learn about the team's rich legacy on a Yankee Stadium tour that includes the Yankees Museum, Monument Park and the dugout.

Central Park Summerstage
Take in a concert, dance, play or opera under the stars, during this free performing arts festival that runs throughout the summer. Before the show you can visit the zoo, take a trolley tour, or have a meal at the Boathouse Restaurant. Reserve a table on the deck, where you can watch the swans, rowboats, and occasional gondola drift by.

Day Two

Jones Beach State Park
Explore Long Island's most famous park, with miles of ocean beach for swimming, surf fishing and bird watching. Go golfing at the 18-hole pitch and putt course or check out local wildlife at the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center. In the evening, you can catch a concert at the Jones Beach Theater for live music on the bay.

The Hamptons
Here's another option. Conde Nast Traveler called this part of Long Island the ultimate summer playground. Every year, Coopers Beach in Southampton and Main Beach at East Hampton make Dr. Beach's famous list of the Top 10 in America. Besides swimming, fishing and occasional movie star sightings, you'll find upscale shops and galleries, seaside bike trails, and world-class wineries in the Hamptons. Restaurants and inns range from casual to posh.

 

Day Three

Channing Daughters Winery
This small Southampton winery is famous for its quality artisanal wines. Grapes from unique Long Island vineyards go into their acclaimed whites. Stop by for an informal tasting. If you have time, keep in mind other Long Island wineries. The region has over 60 vineyards.

Sag Harbor Whaling Museum
Learn about local history as you walk through exhibits housed in a 19th-century mansion. The village of Sag Harbor used to be a bustling port town where whalers of all nationalities converged. Take a stroll up Main Street and peruse its old-time storefronts and antique shops.

Day Four

Hither Hills State Park
You can see the unique "walking dunes" of Napeague Harbor on the eastern boundary of this park. The white sand beach here is perfect for a picnic and swimming. If you want to extend your stay, consider camping. Right on the ocean, the campground was recently named one of the Top 100 in the nation by ReserveAmerica. Be sure to make a reservation; it is also one of the most popular.

Deep Hollow Ranch
In Montauk, visit a 350-year-old working cattle ranch known as the birthplace of the American cowboy. Saddle up for a trail ride on the beach, with a real cowboy as your guide. Or take a horse-drawn wagon tour through scenic pastures, past cattle herds, and up to a sweeping hilltop view of Montauk's cliffs.

Montauk Point Lighthouse
At Montauk Point State Park, take in the view from the lighthouse commissioned by George Washington in 1792. You can learn more about local history in the museum at the keeper's house. On the easternmost tip of Long Island, about 130 miles from Manhattan, this area is one of the best places in the world for surf fishing. Check out park events like fishing tournaments, hike the nature trails, or simply relax and watch the seals on the rocks offshore.