5 hideaways that aren’t the Hamptons
By Annie Fitzsimmons, Special to CNN
(CNN) — “It is much easier to score a tough restaurant reservation in New York City in the summer. If you want to snag a table at places like Eleven Madison Park, Torrisi or Brooklyn Fare, summer is the best time to try because many New Yorkers empty out of the sweltering city to avoid feeling like a roast chicken on the subway platforms.
City dwellers zoom out on the Long Island Expressway to the Hamptons, the summer playground for the wealthy and those who wish they were. Though the Hamptons are spectacular for a lifestyle that matches the city’s sophistication, there are countless other getaways in New York state that offer unparalleled beauty, charming bed and breakfasts, beautiful farms, rivers and restaurants.
Some of the state’s most beautiful areas, like the Hudson River Valley, are just two hours from the city. Within four to five hours are enchanting regions like the Adirondacks, the Finger Lakes and Saratoga and a chance to live the small-town life for a weekend.
For a slower pace, reasonably priced meals and spectacular vistas only found in New York, here are five options to consider for your next vacation.
On the North Fork of Long Island is the charming, historic village of Greenport. Just a ferry ride from Shelter Island and the rest of the Hamptons, Greenport feels like a quaint seaside oasis, untouched by any power scene. Shacking up here for a weekend is completely relaxing and a great central point for exploring the area’s many wineries, fresh produce and seafood.
Settled in 1682, Greenport has lived through eras as a whaling and fish-processing town and is now seeing an oyster reboot. The North Fork Oyster Company has experienced great success in its Stirling Square location since opening a year ago with Farouk Ahmad and his wife, Sana, at the helm. Most of the wines served at the restaurant are from the surrounding vineyards, like McCall, Lenz and Pellegrini.
For oysters with a water view, award-winning clam chowder and classic fried seafood, Claudio’s Clam Bar has a celebratory feel for no apparent reason except that life is good in the North Fork. Nearby is the Frisky Oyster, which serves the must-have Oysters Friskafella, with spinach, melted parmesan cheese and garlic aioli on top.