Well, yesterday was certainly a rough welcome home. Missing summer pretty badly? Don’t have a friend with a car or a sweet beach house? No worries, here are some cheap(ish) and easy places you don’t need a car to get to. Get there before the leaves start to fall for some end to summer debauchery. Whether you want to flesh out the gambler in your creative writing project, take sweet pictures at a crumbling castle or just lie out on the beach, we’ve got you covered. Remember, as the boss of summer, John Mellencamp, said, “It can’t last forever.”
Sad Gambling Weekend: Atlantic City
If we’re talking about holding onto the illusion of summer, why not take the bus to the Tri-State area’s most elaborate phantasmagoria? If you take the Academy bus up from Port Authority, you can get a sweet deal for slot play credit with most of the casinos there. The bus takes about three hours and will surely be filled with characters perfect for that screenplay you’re writing. We found rooms for $114 for two nights at the Red Carpet Inn & Suites Atlantic City and two double bed rooms at the Annex at the Chelsea for $198 (surprisingly, swankier than a hotel called the Red Carpet. Remember: Names are not to be trusted within the AC limits).
Romantic Weekend: Spring Lake
Awww, sweet. Despite being away from each other, you and your boyfriend/girlfriend managed to stay together through the summer? Why don’t you go ahead and take all of your reactivated loveydoveyness and sexual frustration DTS (Down The Shore) and stay at a nice B&B? You can take NJ transit to the Spring Lake Railroad Station and walk to the Ashling Cottage Bed & Breakfast. They have rooms from $200. You’ll be a block from the beach and half a block to the lake.
Nature With a Twist: Storm King Art Center
The Storm King Art Center is just an hour away. Check out its collection of over 100 sculptures from luminaries like Alexander Calder and David Smith set against rollicking 500 acres. Bus package tickets are $45.00 and they go Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday through Nov. 27. You can even rent a bicycle! It’s kind of like an upstate Governor’s Island (it is actually responsible for the Mark di Suvero sculptures at Gov’s Island), but with a mountain backdrop. And if this whole “art trip” is, indeed, your thing, be sure to check out the Dia:Beacon as well.
Boozy Sunburning: Shelter Island
Wanna just disappear for a little while with all your frendz? Take the LIRR out to Greenport (about four hours) and then hitch a ride on the ferry out to Shelter Island. The train is $18.25 each way if you go off-peak, and save money by buying the ticket at the station. If you’re really missing The Standard come nighttime , swing by Sunset Beach- Andre Balzas’ boutique beach hotel. You’ll get off season deals at The Pridwin, $70 a night if you book a cottage for four people. Or you can rent a house , this one goes for $200-350 a night but you can have up to six people. Be warned: The Island is not huge. Bring a bike if you have one and ride over to the Mashomack Preserve.
Instagram Perfection: Bannerman Castle
Bannerman Castle is located on Pollepol Island off the Hudson River. Only the ruins remain of what was once the Francis Bannerman’s (world’s largest arms dealer) personal fortress. I imagine this guy as a 19th century Bowser. His house was on another part of the island. The castle housed his surplus live ammo shells and other weapons. You can take the Metro-North train from Grand Central Station to Beacon and then walk to Beacon’s Landing from there. You can get there with a couple of different touring companies, which recommend making a reservation before you go. Storm King Adventures offers kayaking tours for $60. An actual tour of the castle (hardhat included, not kidding) will set you back $120. If you don’t want to pony up that much to see Bowser’s Castle, the MTA does a getaway package for $48.50 that includes train fare and a tour.