Monthly Archives: January 2013

7 cozy East Coast hideaways for easy weekend escapes


Crazy relatives, dirty slush, biting chill—winter gives you plenty of reasons to want to run away. Luckily for the lazy-spontaneous among us, a weekend escape doesn’t have to be a concerted effort of an ordeal. Burrow in and snuggle up at these cozy lodges, all within a day’s travel from Manhattan. With everything from crackling in-room fireplaces to luxuriously heated floors, these easy getaways will take you worlds away from the city.

No-Frills Victorian
If you have a penchant for florals and paisleys, spring forth into warmer weather at the laid-back Victorian dig of Whistling Swan Inn in Stanhope, NJ. The light-filled rooms are more quaint than loud, appointed with cushy pillowtop beds and Egyptian cotton linens. Wake up to a breakfast from your dreams, whether you crave classics like blueberry pancakes or fancier treats like spinach quiche. The innkeepers are on hand to help create your perfect skiing or antiquing itinerary, but over 150 DVD rentals and homemade cookies by the parlor fireplace will keep any indoor family happy. 1 hour from NYC,

Fairytale Castle
Hudson Valley’s Mohonk Mountain House is a busier resort than other hideaways in this list, but if you have little princes and princesses, this is where they can pretend they’re royalty. Stepping into a Historic Hotels of America-approved kingdom of hearths and medieval-esque towers, romantic families will find historical delight in the old-fashioned soda fountain as well as present-day wonders in the blooming greenhouse. In the winter, don’t miss the on-site skating pavilion, afternoon tea and cookies, the outdoor heated mineral pool, and the sports program with a country club vibe. Under 2 hours from NYC,

mohonk-mountain-east-coast-getaways-winterNew England Fab
Don’t judge Rooster Tail Inn in Warren, CT by its plain white exterior. The walls actually hide a woodsy and understated New England splendor with all the modern amens. When you’re not lounging in leather armchairs or decompressing in the steam room, generously sized sleigh beds in Suites 1, 3, and 5—one in sleek wood and the others in classy upholstery—promise a restoring slumber. And if you have a love affair with hotel bathrooms, the heated floors and rain showers in most suites will render you head over heels. Just don’t let the kids get too carried away with the bidet. 2 hours from NYC,

All-Inclusive All-Star
If itinerary planning and budget calculation are your worst travel enemies, Woodlock Pines Resort in Hawley, PA is your travel soulmate. “Escape” here means an endless flurry of effortless entertainment—pick your poison from the likes of family soccer challenges, game show spin-offs, and karaoke parties, then simply show up and have fun. Accommodation floorplans are widely varied, but families will find ample space and rustic surrounds in the more recently appointed suites and guest homes. And though the crowds at the bustling main lodge trend younger, the 40,000-square-foot spa is a perfectly tranquil respite for a parents-only time-out. 2.5 hours from NYC,

Hot Chocolate Haven
Indulge in all the magic of Hersheypark away from the crowds at The Hotel Hershey, a quieter, upscale sister to the ever-popular Hershey Lodge. The historic property creates a world of Moorish charm in the form of soaring archways and sleek mosaic tiles to cradle all the free chocolate Kisses and cocoa-inspired products that the young (and young at heart) love. Standard rooms are an instant beige-swathed tranquilizer—but splurging on both lower level rooms in a six-bedroom cottage grants private access to a delightful Great Room lounge with tapered cathedral ceilings and a crackling fireplace. 3 hours from NYC,

Barefoot Luxury
Following a $20 million refresh, The Weekapaug Inn proves that beachside towns aren’t just for balmy seasons. In the winter, snowy owls, harlequin ducks, and soaring shorebirds enchant the waters surrounding this 19th-century lodge in Weekapaug, RI. Budding scientists can consult the resident naturalist for viewing tips or join him for a night amongst the stars using the inn’s own telescope. Enjoy the season’s best tastes at the farm-to-table dining room, then retire to residence-style suites graced with luxe textiles from local artisans, wraparound panoramas, and roaring gas fireplaces. Under 2.5 hours from NYC,

Retro Chic
For families with more contemporary aesthetics, The Porches Inn in North Adams, MA is comprised of updated but still inviting former millworker homes. Soft light brightens the retro striped walls, and patterned rugs add just the right touch of whimsy. In the Two-Level Suite, parents and children can enjoy a little solitude under one big roof—or snuggle fireside in the Extended Suite for quality bonding time. Beyond the rooms, a fire pit and heated outdoor pool warm kids who get their thrills from the chill, but the cheery yellow breakfast and living rooms will have everyone thinking of lush meadows—what winter cold? A pet-friendly Historic Hotels of America member. 4 hours from NYC,

porches-inn-east-coast-getaways-winterIdyllic Inn
Nothing says rustic charm like coming in from the winter cold to be greeted by a warm plate of freshly baked cookies. Welcome to the Maguire House in Ashburnham, MA, where you can wrap yourself in handmade quilts, down comforters, and spa bathrobes—which children seem to enjoy as much as adults. Fresh flowers, gourmet chocolates, and Crabtree & Evelyn products are all attractive perks, but what truly make the homey experience are beyond-attentive innkeepers Paul and Terry. Terry’s homemade pastries and granola are all the rave, and our own Deputy Editor was especially touched by the carrot cake she baked for her birthday one winter. Under 4.5 hours from NYC,

Classic Wonderland
For many city dwellers, the ethereal Whiteface Lodge is the very manifestation of their most romantic winter retreat dreams. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World hospitality group, this lakeside chalet embodies the best of cabin chic, boasting units of exposed wood beams, granite hearths, and cast-iron fireplaces. Soak in Adirondack views from expansive picture windows from just about every room, whether your family is bonding in the intimate KANU Lounge or the heated indoor pool. And while Lake Placid skiing beckons, you’ll have no want of entertainment right onsite, thanks to a surround-sound theater, bowling alley, game room, and skating rink. Under 6 hours from NYC,

Active Relief
De-stress by getting active? Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont cradles skiers in a haven of ice skating, indoor swimming, tubing, ziplining, and entertainment galore. Popular they may be in powdery seasons, you can still claim a cozy corner of these gargantuan grounds for yourself. One-bedroom Poolside condos in the Village West area offer tasteful pale wood finishes for smaller families, while any of the North Hill area’s two- and three-bedrooms encompass year-round decks for admiring the snow. Under 7 hours from NYC,

Super Staycation
If you’d rather not chart a road trip of any great distance, find a peaceful staycation at New York’s own Lafayette House. Behind the unassuming doors of this unmarked 1840s townhouse lives a stylish pied-a-terre, strewn with grand antiques and shelves of books and magazines. A weekend here is not about an ultra-luxe stay but about imagining that you lead a different life—one in which your Victorian family spends its days reading by velvet-draped windows and sipping tea by the ensuite fireplace. Rooms are also decked out in sparkling chandeliers stocked with C.O. Bigelow potions and selectively equipped with kitchenettes. In Noho of NYC,


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The single most important thing I’ve learned in 25 years of life.

Today, I’m seeing a ton of Thought Catalog links and “Things I Know At Age XX” stories on Facebook. So, just two weeks after my birthday, I suddenly feel inspired to share the single most important thing I’ve learned after 25 years of life: sleep earlier and sleep more.


This isn’t a secret to success (or grown-up life) by any stretch of imagination, but, like all good advice, it’s easier said than done. I feel like I can claim to have finally “learned” this lesson because I’ve been sleeping before midnight consistently for the first time ever.

The results are fabulous. Going to bed earlier naturally means that I squeeze in more sleep. Platitudes about how wonderful mornings are aside, I love that I can actually have breakfast. I can even catch up on a little news while I have my breakfast. I’m no longer rifling through my closet, dashing around the apartment, and generally making a huge, harried mess to get out the door ten minutes after I roll out of bed. (The ability to do this is both a blessing and a curse.) I’m so much more productive at work–and so I’ve been going home at a godly hour. I even have time to write a brand-new blog post, not to mention bake three dozen madeleines, in the middle of the freaking week.

In other words, for the first time in three years, I finally feel like I’m getting my life back.

Considering it’s only been a few weeks, I’d like to think that blogging and baking are only the beginning of it. All those things the say you’re supposed to do from time to time? Like thinking about your hopes and dreams and what you want out of life? Smelling the roses? Painting the town red? I’m learning to get the time and energy for all that. By sleeping more.

Is it hyperbolic to claim everything in a healthy lifestyle and frame of mind stems from sleep? Maybe. But I still feel obligated to share a few things I’ve picked up about sleeping better–but I’ll keep it short, because I’ve lost count of how many articles I’ve read and then promptly ignored about sleep hygiene.

  1. Don’t work, read, or watch TV in bed. There’s a reason they all say that. Admittedly, I was doing this up till two weeks ago–until I went home to Taipei, where my parents don’t have WiFi and where my internet cable was all of three feet long on the other side of my room from my desk. Whatever gets you there, right?
  2. Invest in an eye mask. If you’re light-sensitive.
  3. Invest in ear plugs. If you’re noise-sensitive. See why sleeping is a problem for me?
  4. Invest in noise-cancelling earphones and Relax Melodies. If you have loud neighbors who like to stomp around and plop things (instead of place them) on the floor at all hours of the night. The app has soothing instrumentals that help drown out the sounds without being too distracting. Thanks for sharing, Mary!
  5. Avoid looking at the time at all costs. If I fall asleep in 20 minutes, I can still get 8 hours of sleep. If I fall asleep now, I can still get 7 hours. OK, if I fall asleep now…

Don’t let the bed bugs bite.

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