What Are ‘Secret Trips’ And Why Are They Even A Thing? An Investigation

We’re a few weeks shy of the one year anniversary of the world shutting down. New normals include freezing next to a heater while trying to enjoy dinner in the street of Soho, wearing a mask in public (working those sexy eyes), and redefining Netflix and chill with quarantine and social distancing. Jokes aside, we’ve seen loss, struggle, and a whole lotta hope as we do our part to flatten the curve. Trust me, I’d kill right now to be playing games of flip cup with strangers at a dive bar in the Lower East Side, or be so disgustingly close in a crowd at a concert screaming for an encore. But until then, emotions are running high, and it’s a really heavy vibe right nowespecially on social media. What once was a highlight reel where you’d post trips, milestones, and celebrations has now become a place for shaming and judgment. It’s reached the point where people are actually afraid to post what they’re doing during the pandemicso much so that they are opting to live their life off of social media. Hence, the rise of secret trips.

I’ve seen the term “secret trips” used among millennials since COVID-19 hit. It’s a pretty self-explanatory term, but let’s define it anyway: taking a trip of any kind during the pandemic that isn’t shared with friends, family, or posted on social media to avoid judgment for traveling during a pandemic. Travel site Well Traveled Club found that more than 90% of their members were planning a multi-night trip in the height of the pandemic and were not planning to share it online because of fear of being shamed for traveling. 

CDC guidelines state, “Travel can increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.” With that being said, I can see why some people want to keep their travel adventures a secret.

This is the start of our investigation: What are “Secret Trips” and why are they even a thing? Lucky for you, I’m an unofficial social media FBI agent (did I say unofficial?), so I did some digging and interviewed Secret Trip-goers, then spoke to a licensed psychologist and a physician. Here’s what they had to say.

The LA To New York Wanderlust

Nick and his wife Danielle are Los Angeles residents, where, as of December 2020, there were too many bodies for mortuaries and hospitals to handle. The couple have been traveling since the summer. They started small, beginning back in May, when they would escape their quarantine routine and drive two hours to Santa Barbara for the weekend. At the time, Los Angeles was starting to open hiking trails and takeout for restaurants, though the county was not promoting traveling long distances away from home, instead urging residents in a public order, “With this virus, we are safer at home.” 

Nick tells me, “Santa Barbara was truly an escapeit was almost like COVID didn’t exist there and was super relaxed with restrictions.” After spending the entire summer on these drives, the couple decided to fly cross-country to New York City for a few weeks. One hot spot to another, right? Nick and Danielle were living their best Bonnie and Clyde lives, and the fact that what they were doing was not recommended and frowned upon only made it more enticing. 

“Taking the risk and bending the rules is exhilarating sometimes. We were doing this for selfish reasons, and we know that. But on the other side of things, when times are grim, people need a break. Being as safe as possible, but trying to find the little joys where possible,” he tells me. Regarding the decision to keep it on the DL, he explains, “People didn’t need to know what we were up to, this was just for us.”  While sparks were flying for their secret escapades, the couple did take tests before and after traveling (they flew Delta with middle seats blocked), and neither have contracted the virus.  

The CDC notes that while “viruses other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes”, getting on a flight involves spending time inside the airport, in security lines and at the terminal, where social distancing may be difficult, and which can put travelers at risk of exposure to the virus from respiratory droplets and frequently touched surfaces.

And with vaccine rollouts taking place all over the country, people are only feeling more comfortable getting TF out. In the eyes of physicians like Meagan Vermeulen, MD, FAAFP, though, “Dr. Fauci put this into perspective very well during a CNN Town Hall on COVID yesterday when he stated, ‘getting vaccinated is not a free reign to travel.’” Dr. Vermeulen is the founding program director of the Inspira Family Medicine Residency Program at Mullica Hill and assistant professor of Family Medicine at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. 

Dr. Vermeulen believes that Dr. Fauci’s insights are true for a few reasons. “One, it takes about 10-14 days after your second dose to achieve full effectiveness, which is 95-95% reduction in the likelihood that you will become ill from COVID-19. Two, and this is the part that’s tricky, we don’t know how likely someone who is vaccinated is to pass the virus to people who aren’t fully vaccinated or vaccinated at all. There are studies going on right now to compare how much the virus ‘hangs out’ in the noses of people who have been vaccinated versus those who have not been vaccinated; this will help scientists figure out how well the vaccine works,” she explains.

While a trip to Tulum with your group of friends shouldn’t be on the table, a small getaway with your pod (people you live with or have close, exclusive contact with) is your best bet if you’re going to do it. If you have to get away, Dr. Vermeulen says, “Plan a different kind of travel. Rent an Airbnb with an excellent safety/cleaning rating. Spend the budget you would on that trip on an upscale hotel that you would normally go to for one or two nights as a mini-get away. It’s not the big getaway you want, but it’s still luxe and safe.”

The Vermont Cabin In The Woods

Caitlin is a Brooklynite who has been alone in her studio apartment for most of quarantine. With three friends, the group drove six hours north to Stowe, Vermont for a New Year’s skiing adventure for eight nights. 

Unlike most states, Vermont has very strict mandatesincluding being required to show a negative COVID test result whenever asked. “Before arriving in Vermont, we needed to sign a waiver with our Airbnb host stating we agreed to follow state mandates about traveling, which included either a 14-day quarantine before travel or a 7-day quarantine, followed by a negative PCR test in your home state,” Caitlin explains.

With every meal home cooked, packed lunches for the slopes, and precautions more than followed, Caitlin, a regularly active Instagram connoisseur, chose not to share her snowy adventure with her followers. 

I feel like there are too many judgmental eyes out there. In these people’s eyes, there is no right way to live your life during the pandemic unless it fits their mold,” she tells me. “The biggest reason I took this trip was because I needed a mental health break. I needed to get away from work, my tiny apartment, and the stresses of the holidays away from my family. The last thing I wanted was a naysayer sliding into my DMs and lecturing me about how ‘frivolous’ my mental health break was to them.”

I won’t lecture you, but the next time you go on judging someone IRL or on social media, think about context. It’s important, because you know what happens when you assume. Do you know all aspects of someone’s story before jumping to conclusions? And more importantly, maybe take a look in the mirror. Unless you’re sitting pretty at home, which you have literally not left once in the last 11 months, then continue riding on your high horse. 

The Miami Escape

Jake flew down to Miami a couple times during 2020 from New York City to spend time with his brother, making sure to do the proper pre- and post- quarantining and wearing masks at all times. “We avoided crowded places, which was hard, to be honest. Most businesses were mildly busy,” he says. 

Choosing to not share on social media because of potential backlash, Jake surprisingly found a new perspective on his trip. “Not sharing my experience on social media has also made me enjoy the moment and be more present,” he tells me. “I used my phone way less and just truthfully enjoyed my time with my brother. We actually had meaningful conversations throughout our stay and connected on a level we haven’t experienced in a very long time.”

Whether on social media or IRL, he’s not going to let naysayers dictate how he should be living his life. Jake states, “People are sick of being kept from living a ‘normal’ life, so when they see others breaking the ‘mold,’ they’ll retaliate with hate. It’s human nature. We’re all free and entitled to live life however we see fit.” 

The Psychologist Has Thoughts

Dr. Joanna Petrides, a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine who specializes in anxiety and human behavior, tells me, “Using shame to control the behaviors of others is nothing new. When people experience fear or uncertainty, they seek out control and one way to do so is assumed to be shaming someone into changing their mind. Shame has never been an effective behavior change approach.” 

“As we can see from our travelers, if individuals feel what they are doing is right for them, they will find a way to still do it but circumvent the pressure of shame from others. So it’s best to spare the shame and practice active listening to understand where the other person is coming from,” she adds. 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all for quarantining in the pandemic. Someone who lives alone in a small studio apartment is having a vastly different experience than someone who is home with their family of five. And honestly, before you judge, just take an assessment of your past behavior for the past 11 months. You may have dined at a restaurant, met up with friends not in your household, or celebrated the holidays with your family. You probably assured yourself you were being safe, right?

“We tend to use a different ‘yardstick’ when we are assessing our choices versus someone else’s choices. When we make a decision for ourselves we are privy to all the thought and planning that went into the decision,” Dr. Petrides explains. “However, when we look at someone else we don’t have access to their inner thoughts and only use the surface information that is available to us. This leaves a lot of room for speculation and judgment without understanding or compassion. It’s best to hold judgment until you know the full story”. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re posting on social media or not, just please be smart. Don’t go running to a club or jetting off to a festival in Tulum as soon as you get your vaccine. Keep wearing your mask, use hand sanitizer, keep your social interactions limited, and lastlyjust be nice! This last year has been a sink or swim situation for many, (and yes, I’m getting sappy on your asses) but a smile or calling an old friend is more valuable than you know these days.

Images: Ranta Images/Shutterstock

The Betches’ Guide To Napa

Majorly Instagrammable estates, world-class culinary hotspots, a relatively mild year-round climate, luxury spas, and, duh, the wine. Obviously. Napa has it all and is a dream destination that we could never get enough of. Whether you’re traveling for a minimoon, bachelorette party, birthday celebration or just a weekend getaway, Napa is the ideal destination for any occasion and with any combination of travel partners. As obsessed as we are with Napa, it does take a little bit more planning and research than your average domestic weekend trip and isn’t one that we’d recommend doing on a tight budget—although it can be done. Read on for all of our tips, tricks, and recs for pulling off the perfect Napa trip. Cheers!

A NOTE ON COVID-19:

If you do choose to travel right now, it is important to do so as safely and responsibly as possible. A few notes about how Napa in particular is managing the pandemic.

Napa and Sonoma counties have a mask mandate in place, and a mask should be worn in all public areas, except when eating and drinking. This includes when walking outdoors any time that 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. We would suggest continuing to wear your mask when your server comes to your table as well. Wearing a mask primarily protects the other person and it’s important to show your server the same respect and caution that they are showing you.

All restaurants and wineries must operate exclusively outside at this time. This may change your experience slightly. For example, you may not be able to partake in all of the standard tours, such as any cave experiences or barrel tastings, but you will still have a wonderful time! In addition, your host may be less hands-on than normal in terms of walking you through the wine making process, tasting notes, etc. 

From our experience, hotels were thoroughly sanitized and housekeeping services did not take place during a stay to minimize the number of people entering and exiting a room. In addition, efforts are being made at some hotels to allow a few days between guest stays in a particular room. 

Lastly, we are advocates for taking any additional precautions that you can prior to traveling. While we did not have any symptoms, we tested both before and after our trip and quarantined while awaiting results each time. We recognize that we could be asymptomatic carriers. 

Between the compounded effects of both COVID-19 and the recent wildfires, Napa Valley’s businesses need our support more than ever, but please visit as responsibly as you can!

How To Get There

If you live in the Bay Area, Napa is the perfect weekend destination! If not, you’ll most likely be flying to get to Napa. With three local airports, you have a lot of options depending on what your priority is—ease or price. No matter which airport you fly into, though, expect a bit of a drive.

If you’re looking to get as close as possible to wine country, you’ll want to fly directly into Santa Rosa (Sonoma County Airport). Flights here are less frequent, more expensive, and depending on where you choose to stay in wine country, could still require a 20-40 mile drive. One bonus of this airport, though, is that you can check up to a case of wine for free when you’re flying home! Love that.  

For the average traveler, you’ll want to fly into SFO (San Francisco International Airport). As one of the busiest airports in the country, you’ll have no problem finding flight options and a great flight deal. Hello, more money for wine tastings! From SFO, you have about a 1 hour drive into Napa. We’d recommend either renting a car or, if you’re celebrating a bachelorette, renting a limo or party bus for the ride. Pro Tip: If you’re landing earlier in the day and choose to rent a car, take the Golden Gate into Sausalito on your way to Napa and stop off for a bite to eat or glass of wine with killer views of SF and the Bay.

Lastly, Oakland is a third option for flying into Napa. Technically, Oakland is a little bit closer to Napa than SFO, but could be more challenging to find flight deals depending on where you’re coming from. We recommend setting flight alerts on Google Flights and Hopper for all three airports (Santa Rosa, San Francisco, and Oakland) and booking whichever comes back as the best value between price, arrival/departure times, and flight route. 

Where To Stay

One of the most common misconceptions when planning a Napa trip is that you want to stay in Napa proper. When most people say they want to go to Napa, they are referring to Napa Valley or the entire wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties. It is a HUGE area, and choosing which town or area to stay in is so important to a successful and enjoyable trip. We’ll break down the options, high-level, below:

Napa – As the biggest town in Napa Valley, Napa is the most lively area that you could stay with restaurants and bars within walking distance of one another, most of the larger hotel chains (Westin, Embassy Suites, Marriott, etc.) and is a pretty centrally located spot for whatever you choose to do in the area. Plus, the Napa River is a pretty cute spot to walk along. 

Yountville to St. Helena – These towns are technically 10 miles apart (about 20 minutes), but for the ease of writing this guide, we’ll group these towns together (along with Oakville, Rutherford, and the other small towns between these two.) In our opinion, these towns are what people typically dream of or imagine when they think of wine country and visiting Napa. Slow-paced, romantic, a vineyard view from your room, etc. These towns are also where all of our favorite wineries and restaurants are located.

Calistoga – Calistoga is often considered the end (or beginning) of Napa Valley and offers a similar wine country feel to Yountville and St. Helena, but in a much quieter and relaxing way. Calistoga would be a perfect area to stay for a honeymoon or anniversary trip. Super charming, secluded, understated, and laidback.

Sonoma – Sonoma is technically in a completely different county, but we think it’s still worth mentioning when planning a Napa trip. Sonoma is, in our opinion, much less commercialized and touristy. Think of it like Napa’s laid-back little sister. Sonoma is an incredible place to visit and actually grows more grapes than Napa, and it’s a stunning area with some of the best Pinots in the world. We ultimately do prefer Napa Valley, but always say that Napa is not a trip to do on a tight budget. Sonoma can be a more affordable option for hotels, restaurants, tastings, and still a very fun place to visit.

There are so many insanely beautiful and luxurious hotels, resorts, and Airbnbs in the area. For the purpose of this guide, we would recommend Silverado Resort. While it’s not in the heart of any of Napa Valley’s towns, its location is central enough to allow you to plan activities in most of the spots around the valley. It’s an expansive and beautiful resort property with multiple pools, two golf courses, a spa, and plentiful restaurant options, all while being a surprisingly affordable option—by Napa standards, that is. For any Real Housewives super fans like us, the OC wives stayed at Silverado on their Napa trip (season 10, episode 3, to be exact). If it’s good enough for Heather Dubrow, it’s more than good enough for us.

How To Get Around

Unless you have a DD in your group (unlikely since you’re in wine country), we’d recommend hiring a driver for your day of wine tasting. Napa Valley is a huge area and the wineries stretch out along a highway, so walking just isn’t an option. Ubers and taxis are harder to come by and because Napa is a place where reservations are definitely required, you won’t want to waste any time between appointments waiting around for an Uber. If you’re traveling with a group, hiring a driver is actually very reasonable. Definitely plan ahead for this and don’t wait to figure it out upon arrival. Drinking and driving just isn’t the move. 

Where To Eat

Our second favorite part of the guide! Napa Valley is a foodie mecca. So much work and research goes into pairing wine and food, so of course, in a world-famous wine region, there is no shortage of good food. Napa Valley is overflowing with some of the best chefs in the world ready to feed you after you’ve drunk your body weight in wine. It does, however, mean that many of the restaurants are at a slightly higher price point than you’re probably used to—we promise, they’re worth it!! 

We recommend doing RH Wine Vault (yes, another of the highly Instagrammable concepts from Restoration Hardware) for pre-dinner drinks or wine tasting and then following up with dinner at Bistro Jeanty. They’re both in the heart of Yountville. RH Wine Vault has an incredibly Instagrammable aesthetic with string lights, outdoor couches, and a backdrop of a vine-covered building. Bistro Jeanty is all things French, and who doesn’t love some steak frites and cocktails with names like La Vie en Rose? You literally can’t go wrong, and they’re currently offering cocktails to go. 

If you’re staying in Napa proper and love sushi, we’d recommend Morimoto in Napa. This will not be cheap, but it’s so worth it if you love sushi. You can sit inside or outside on the river, and the vibe is exactly what you want: very cool and modern. We’d stick with the sashimi and nigiri because the fish quality is so fresh. We’ve never had so much sushi delivered to us at once—a true dream. They also have great cocktails and an amazing wine list. There are a few locations around the world, so it’s not exclusive to Napa, but we still have to recommend it.

If you’re on your honeymoon or truly ready to ball out, The French Laundry is a must. We’ve never had the chance to eat here, but it is often regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world. A multiple course fixed menu with wine pairings for every course and each person has his/her own waiter. What we can only imagine to be a once in a lifetime experience. 

Other wine country favorites include:

The Bistro at Auberge du Soleil – Perfect way to break up your day of wine tasting if you’re in the Rutherford/Yountville area. We could never afford to actually stay here, so lunching is the perfect alternative to get all of the chic French vibes at a fraction of the cost.

Farmstead Restaurant – A farm-to-table concept that somehow blends Southern comfort food with a signature light, fresh California flair. 

Goose & Gander – A St. Helena staple famous for its burger and cocktails, as well as a signature Sunday brunch. Brunch runs from 11am-3pm, though, so it usually cuts into our wine tasting schedule. It’s a great option if brunch is your last plan on your way out of town on Sunday!

Ad Hoc & Addendum – Neighboring restaurants from Thomas Keller. Ad Hoc serves a renowned family style meal that changes daily. Addendum is famed for its legendary upscale fried chicken.

Oxbow Public Market – Centrally located near Napa proper, this is a great stop for groups with a variety of tastes or dietary needs. It’s an easy, casual spot to grab everything from Hog Island oysters to banh mi to pasta—with drinks, of course.

Where To Drink

Napa is all about the wine, so now let’s get to the good stuff! There are so many wineries in Napa Valley that you could visit every weekend for a year and still not hit them all. Here are our favorites to get good wine and a good ambience. 

Del Dotto is one of those wineries that’s a can’t-miss. They have three tasting rooms, which makes it an easy stop no matter where you’re staying, but currently, only the Piazza is open due to COVID. You may recognize it from a recent KUWTK episode—Kylie’s first wine-tasting trip—but we’ve loved it before we were influenced by our favorite family. We highly recommend the barrel tasting (if you’re there during non-COVID times, you’ll actually get to taste from the barrel in their wine cellar). The tasting is $80 for 9 wines and includes a wood-fired pizza and tomato appetizer—a must to avoid getting white girl wasted. 

For a casual lunch stop where you can still wine taste, V Sattui is a must. They offer a number of different types of wine tastings, and their marketplace and deli is full of yummy bites for lunch. Instead of doing a wine tasting here, you could also grab a few bottles from their marketplace and enjoy a picnic lunch. Honestly, the wine here is good (I mean, it’s Napa), but not out of this world. We stop here on every Napa visit though, because the food is good, easy, and convenient, and you don’t have to stop your wine tasting fun.  

We are champagne and sparkling wine lovers, but, regardless, we always recommend the first tasting stop of your day to be for a sparkling tasting flight. We love wine, but 10am still feels a little aggressive to start exploring some bold cabs. Domaine Carneros is our favorite stop for this (you’ll feel like you’re actually in Champagne, France with the incredible tasting room) or Mumm Napa if you’re looking to taste some champagne that’s exclusive to the winery, and not what you’ll find at your local grocery store. For a bougier champagne experience, we recommend Schramsberg. Domaine Chandon is another option for sparkling that is super popular, but if you’re choosing between one or two options, it wouldn’t be our top choice.  

For anyone staying in Sonoma, SIGH. is a must stop when you’re done with wine tastings, but not ready to end your day of drinking. A highly Instagrammable champagne bar. They’re currently set up in Sonoma Square due to COVID and offer a variety of frozen cocktails, their usual champagne offerings, as well as apps.

Other wine country faves:

HALL WinesA must for any cab lovers in particular

Inglenook – Stunning property owned by Francis Ford Coppola

Castello di AmorosaA literal castle

ArtesaStunning, expansive views of Napa

Opus OneLuxurious experience, but with a somewhat more formal, exclusive vibe. Would not recommend this one for a bachelorette party. 

Stag’s Leap – Iconic spot in Napa Valley that some would say put the region on the map in terms of international acclaim and respect. 

Tips & Tricks For Planning A Successful Trip

Plan ahead!! Napa is absolutely a place that requires advanced planning. Make reservations for all the wineries and restaurants that you plan to visit. You may be able to just walk into some of the tasting rooms at the end of your day, but for the actual wineries and acclaimed restaurants, you absolutely need reservations and we’d recommend starting to book at least a month out.

MyMaps will be your best friend. When you first decide to plan a trip to Napa, you will be inundated with opinions and recommendations. There are just so many stellar spots. In the last two years alone, we’ve spent 13 days total in Napa and still feel like we’ve just scratched the surface. As you begin to compile all of your recs, plot them all on a map. See where things seem to naturally group together location-wise and plan each day around that. The towns can take a significant amount of time to travel between and, if you’re on a tight schedule, you will want to minimize your driving time.

Be realistic. We are obsessed with wine tasting and there are certainly some destinations in the country where it’s possible to squeeze six or seven tastings into a day if you’re ambitious. Napa is not one of those places. We wouldn’t recommend more than four tastings in a day. Most wineries open for tastings at 11 (10 if it’s sparkling wine) and most start their last tastings at 3:30 or 4. Plan for each tasting to last 60-90 minutes. 

Budget accordingly! As we’ve mentioned several times, Napa is not a great place to do on a budget. Accommodations can be pricey, there are many world-renowned (aka expensive) restaurants, and the tastings are not cheap. Most of our previous wine tasting experiences were for tastings ranging from $15-30 with the tasting waived with the purchase of one bottle. In Napa, however, the average tasting fee is about $60 with some going well over $100, and the tastings are waived with the purchase of upwards of six bottles or joining a wine club. You can absolutely still visit Napa or Sonoma and find spots for less, but just know that it may not be the full wine country experience that you’ve imagined.

Perfect First Time Itinerary

Friday, Day 1 

If you land in the morning/afternoon, drive over the Golden Gate + stop for lunch in Sausalito on your way to wine country. 

If you land in the late afternoon/evening, head straight to RH Wine Vault for a tasting

Dinner at Bistro Jeanty

Cocktails to go + check into The Silverado Resort (or your accommodation of choice)

Saturday, Day 2

Breakfast at Bouchon Bakery (Expect a line here, but it’s worth it! You can easily take your food to go, so waiting to order is the longest part here).

Champagne Tasting at Mumm Napa (If you want to get in as many tastings as possible, book your tasting as soon as they open!)

Tasting at HALL Wines (You’ll have to skip this one if your champagne tasting starts any later than 10AM)

Lunch + Tasting at V Sattui

Tasting at Piazza Del Dotto

After changing and freshening up, grab pre-dinner cocktails at Sky & Vine Rooftop. If you’re running late, be sure to stop here after dinner!

Dinner at Morimoto 

Sunday, Day 3 – Option A if you’re heading home on Sunday/just doing a weekend trip!

Brunch – Napa is famous for their Sunday brunches. We’d recommend: Goose & Gander, Brix, or Auberge du Soleil depending on which is closest to where you’re staying! 

Champagne Tasting at Domaine Carneros

Late lunch in Sausalito if you didn’t get the chance to stop on your way into town

Fly Home

Sunday, Day 3 – Option B if you have an extra day to spend in Napa Valley! 

With an extra day in Napa, you’ll have time to explore Calistoga, an area many people miss on their trips!

Brunch at Sam’s Social Club

Champagne Tasting at Schramsberg

Tasting at Castello di Amorosa

Late lunch from Oakville Grocery on your way out of Calistoga – Easy to go sandwiches, apps, etc. 

Pool time at Silverado Resort (Napa has pleasant, sunny weather most of the year)

(Tasting at Stags’ Leap Winery if you’d rather do another tasting or are visiting in a cooler time of year!)

Dinner and drinks at Ad Hoc

Monday, Optional Day 4

Late breakfast at Grace’s Table

Drive back to San Francisco and fly home

If you have a late flight, this would be the perfect day for the spa!

Images: Michael Warwick / Shutterstock; Giphy (2)

What It’s Really Like To Travel Right Now

Traveling during a global pandemic is a sensitive and very hot topic right now. Full disclosure: I travel for a living, so it’s part of my job to take to the roads and skies as much as possible, despite the pandemic. As someone who has recovered from COVID-19 and has recently started traveling again, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of travel in 2020.

There are some really great improvements to travel this year, and there are some not-so-great behaviors out there. For the most realistic picture of 2020 travel, I want to share all aspects with you so you can make an informed decision about whether traveling right now is right for you. Make sure you also check out the CDC’s recommendations for travel before you go, which include tips like checking your destination’s COVID cases and travel requirements or restrictions.

Travel Improvements

Travel precautions have improved A LOT over the course of the pandemic, and airlines and hotels are doing everything in their power to keep travelers safe. One upside is that even the worst travelers are mandated to adhere to certain safety guidelines on planes, trains, and hotels.

Everyone is trying to figure out what’s acceptable during these times, but getting on a plane isn’t the pandemic red flag that many think it is. In fact, a recent study by United Airlines in partnership with the Department of Defense indicates an airplane is the safest indoor public space. It also details why the risk of exposure while onboard (even on a full flight) is almost non-existent. However, the CDC notes that spending time in airport terminals and security lines can put you into close contact with other people and contaminated surfaces, which can introduce risk. 

Masks have been mandated by most governments and large industries, so thats non-negotiable when you board a plane or enter a hotel, and theres no arguing about it with the staff on hand—don’t even try, Karen. 

 

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10 Tips For Staying Safe While Flying During the Pandemic: No matter your reason for travel, flying can be scary these days These 5 tips will help you stay as safe as possible on your journey. If you don’t want to be traveling now, that’s okay! But, you can travel responsibly IF you take proper precautions & use common courtesy 📍Be sure to save this post for your upcoming journey 1) Wear a mask! This seems simple but there’s more to it. Get N95 masks. These are the best masks for protecting YOU. Most masks are generally to protect other people from you, but an N95 will be your best chance to protect you from others 2) Avoid Eating on plane. Additionally, you will want to eat and drink prior to leaving your house, put your mask on and it’s best if you DO NOT break the seal while onboard. If you have to take a sip of water, know you are breaking the seal around your mask and be careful not to touch your face 3) Wear a face shield. Face shields add an extra layer of protection, and also will cover forehead and eyes. They also prevent you from touching your face 4) Wipe your seat, and entire area prior sitting down with disinfectant wipes. @lysol has just been confirmed to kill Coronavirus, so use those if possible. Additionally, you can tag @passengershaming in your seat wiping and may even get a re-share. 5) Stay away from people in boarding area and walking through the airport. 6) Wash your hands like your life depends on it, because it does. 30 seconds! 7) Instead of Uber, use a black car service like @blacklane to get to/from the airport. Blacklane is taking extra cleanliness precautions to ensure safety of customers 8) Keep checking the seating chart to make sure you are socially distancing your seat if your flight isn’t full Perhaps that means giving up your first class upgrade for an empty economy like @mommypoints recently did, or flying an airline like @delta which is operating at 60% 9) Shower in hot water as soon as you get home & put your contaminated mask and clothes in a garbage bag or straight into laundry 10) Pick a hotel that is taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of their travelers. Look at last vid of @conradnydowntown

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Major hotel brands like Marriott and Hilton have each come out with their own new safety standards that include PPE for employees, and new sanitization procedures for hotel rooms. I have recently stayed at both the Conrad New York Downtown and the JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa. Both properties are going above and beyond to make COVID-conscious travelers like myself feel safe and protected. These include measures such as extra sanitizing, mask requirements, and even waiting 24-48 hours to turn rooms over between guests, so that the cleaning staff is less likely to be exposed to germs.

 

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Social distancing at its finest. 🧍🏻‍♀️. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .🧍🏻‍♀️ Did you know that Cancun was certified as a safe destination by the World Travel and Tourism Council? Basically the WTTC will give a Safe Travels stamp of approval to certain destinations where new safety measures and global protocols have been so adopted to help protect travelers. Life was good in Cancun at the @jwcancun — I was able to let myself almost forget about the stress of the pandemic for a little while because it was SO safe there! Some of the measures they took to protect me were utilizing a car service that is also following guideline, where you have a temp check, and your hands, shoes, and luggage sanitized before getting in, plus the obvious a mask! Additionally, all staff wears masks, masks are encouraged to be worn by all guests, but will be mandatory beginning in August whenever inside. Also, hotels are maxing our at 30% capacity, which means there’s plenty of room to stay away from other guests and social distant at the resort! More details to come on TrustedTravelGirl.com soon! What would make you feel safe while traveling? #jwmarriottcancun #jwcancun ——— #seaturtle #seaturtles #cancun #mexico #rivieramaya #tulum #visitmexico #mariottcancun #prettylittletrips #cancunmexico #southoftheborder

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Some destinations are being recognized by the World Trade and Tourism Council for their commitment to keeping travelers safe and healthy. The Phillippines just became the 100th destination to receive the Safe Travels Stamp” of approval from the WTTC. Other safe” destinations include Aruba, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Indonesia, and parts of Mexico. Destinations are even limiting the number of guests allowed in a hotel. When I was in Cancun, the state of Quintana Roo was limiting properties to a maximum of 30% occupancy.

Travel Drawbacks

 

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😳Why the hell did I wear this? Because you can travel without being part of the problem and while protecting yourself, and I want to make a point. Today, I am traveling through TWO of the most infected states in the United States of America COVID. But, I’m on a mission to share with you what exactly international travel looks like right now. I’m working closely with my destination to learn everything they are doing to keep guests and staff safe… and it sounds like it’s nearly fool-proof. So why didn’t I dress this way on my last flight? My last trip was a nearly empty 3 class (Flagship First, Business and Economy) flight with a business class seat, and no one next to me. Also, I was leaving a city and state (New York) with almost no COVID cases. But, here… my own city (Los Angeles) tested for nearly 4300 new cases on Tuesday alone. The city of LA— Not the entire state. That’s MASSIVE. And don’t even get me started on Texas (DFW). I want to show you that you CAN travel (if you need to or want to). You can travel and be safe, and you can travel and not be part of the problem. I don’t go to grocery stores, I wash my groceries, I have only seen 1 friend in semi close proximity since March 5th. I am careful. So if I’m going to expose myself, it’s going to be for travel— not for a party, or a trip to the grocery store, or anywhere else. It’s all about limiting contact as much as possible. You can be home and be more of a problem than someone who travels safely. But, a traveler travels. It’s essential to my sanity and my career. The other reason I’m wearing my space suit is my Antibodies… I feel safe having SOME low level antibodies left, but I just had A LOT of testing done and they are slowly going away. Although, long term immunity is looking likely in T-Cells, we just don’t know! Better safe than sorry, and better a trip to Mexico than a trip to the grocery store! It’s all about being RESPONSIBLE. See you in the skies soon… because travel always comes back! —— #backtotravel #traveltheworld #wearetravelgirls #girlovetravel #glt #traveldeeper #indtravel #prettylittletrips #beautifulplaces #travelisback #traveldeeper #travelstories #hazmatsuit

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As with anything, though, there will always be a loud minority who can ruin it for the rest of us. Ive seen some pretty bad behavior during my recent travels. Unfortunately, we live in a world with a lot of entitled people who care more about their “personal liberties” than the safety of others. Guidelines are just obstacles to them, and they dont give a sh*t about endangering your health or making things difficult for those who have to enforce the rules. 

Even when rules are in place, there are people who will look for the loophole. For instance, you are allowed to remove your mask while eating or drinking, so Ive seen people nurse the same drink over a period of several hours in airport lounges and on planes. Some will take a sip whenever someone approaches them; others don’t even bother to pretend. You can bet I’ve sent in a few submissions of these maskless jerks to @PassengerShaming.

In some areas, those entitled people are actually a majority, and certain states and cities have refused to put mask mandates in place. As of today, 34 U.S. states require masks in public. You can bet I wont be promoting or visiting the other 16 states that dont care about the health and well-being of their residents or visitors. In my opinion, it is a necessary burden of traveling to do the research on destinations and support those that are taking this pandemic seriously.

The Future of Travel

The sad truth is, the travel industry is forever changed. Weve seen huge downturns before with 9/11 and the 2008 recession, so its not hopeless—travel always comes back. But there are businesses that survived those downturns that wont survive this pandemic. Landmark hotels like the Hilton Times Square and the W New York Downtown are closing for good. Closures like this mean fewer options for travelers. We will have fewer hotels to choose from, fewer airline routes, and fewer destinations open to Americans than ever before.

Also, a U.S. passport used to be a golden ticket to nearly any destination, but thats no longer the case, as were not managing this crisis as well as other countries. In fact, we are only welcomed into approximately a dozen countries at the moment, which would have been unthinkable before this year.

On the bright side, cleanliness will never be taken for granted again. Passengers wont settle for crusty airplane seats or dirty lavatories ever again. Fastidious cleaning procedures are here to stay, and thats a new normal” we can all embrace. 

Its not all doom and gloom in the travel industry. While urban destinations like Chicago and New York have suffered greatly, other destinations are booming. Mountain resort towns like Aspen, Park City, and Jackson Hole are seeing record numbers of tourists escaping the restrictions of urban environments for fresh air and outdoor adventure. Hotels, restaurants, and tours are booming with summer visitors, and many people are already planning their annual ski trips.

 

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The contrast between the pretty blue water and white snow in Bend, Oregon is so stunning! ——— ——— #exploregon #wearetravelgirls letsgoeverywhere #tlpicks #travelbreak #travelstoke #lonelyplanet #dametraveler #wonderful_places #traveldeeper #dailyescape

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So, this isnt the end of the travel industry, but a definite shift for everyone. By traveling safely and responsibly, we can show our support for the three-trillion-dollar industry that so many families rely on. Getting COVID tests and donning PPE is a bit of extra work, but it beats watching our favorite places slide into bankruptcy.

If you’re about to travel, hopefully you have a greater understanding of what to expect when you catch your next flight. If you’re not ready, that’s okay too; we’re all figuring this year out as we go.

Image: averie woodward / Unsplash; trustedtravelgirl / Instagram

5 Fun & COVID-Safe Weekend Getaways From NYC

If you, like me, have had to cancel vacation upon vacation this year, you’re probably feeling pretty damn defeated. Half the fun of booking a vacation is having something to look forward to, and I think we can all agree we could all use something fun on the horizon considering the light(bulb) at the end of the tunnel needs to be replaced. Just because we’re essentially banned from leaving the country, and more than half the states in the U.S. require a 14-day quarantine upon coming home, doesn’t mean all hope of traveling is dead—you just have to get a little more creative and embrace road tripping. If the New York tri-state area is your point of origin, here are a few places for socially distant travel this summer and fall.

Provincetown/Cape Cod, Massachusetts

 

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This spot is at the top of the list because Provincetown has got to be the safest town I’ve seen in response to COVID. Upon entering, you’ll notice signs enforcing a mask mandate are posted all over. Unlike other places, where people are only wearing masks to enter a public place, *cough, Florida*, masks are required when you’re walking anywhere around town. And if you do happen to forget your mask, there are locals who walk around handing them out. Each restaurant took spacing out tables and adding dividers very seriously, in both their indoor and outdoor seating.

Coming from NYC, the drive out to Provincetown is a long one, or as locals kept telling us, it’s at the end of the world. Stopping in other areas of Cape Cod on the way helps to break it up, and there are so many different places to go. We stopped for lunch at Chatham Bars Inn to eat facing the beach, a place I have dubbed the Gurney’s of Cape Cod, but way more chill. The food was delicious and the view was unbeatable. If you’re vegan or not, ice cream spot Izzy is another must on your way out. The little stand is right next to the trampoline park that has been there for over 60 years. Beachcomber in Wellfleet was another highly recommended spot, but I didn’t have a chance to experience it for myself.

Provincetown itself is an extremely walkable town, and we didn’t need to take a car anywhere once we arrived. All the action can be found on Commercial Street, a vibrant and easily walkable strip that serves as the town’s main street where you’ll find tons of stores, restaurants, and hotels. Restaurants highlights are Strangers & Saints, The Canteen, Aqua Bar, Spindler’s, and The Red Inn. And you definitely need to check out the pool at Boatslip Beach Club, Provincetown’s most famous LGBTQ destination for over 50 years and home to the iconic tea dance, aka wild happy hour every day at four. Because of the pandemic, this is indefinitely postponed, but it was still a great place to spend the day.

Where to stay: I couldn’t recommend Eben House enough—it was a two-minute walk to town and felt very homey since each room is in its individual building as opposed to a hotel. This bed-and-breakfast is on Bradford Street, so we were close to the action on Commercial Street, but also got a good night’s sleep. The grounds have great communal spaces, like a porch with a hammock and a nautical-themed saltwater pool area.

Boston, Massachusetts

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Boston wasn’t at the top of my travel list, but when road trips became the only option, I figured there was no better time to go. Coming from NY, we were exempt from any travel restrictions, so keep this in mind since your ability to travel here is dependent on where you’re coming from. Massachusetts seems like it would be really far away, but it’s actually not a terrible drive from NYC at three and a half hours (without traffic). As with most things these days, we went to Boston will few expectations, and were completely blown away by the city and the food.

If you’re a fan of Mexican food, you can’t miss eating at Lolita Fort Point. This was the restaurant highlight of our trip and the first time we ate indoors since February, which was a little surreal, but all safety measures were taken with tables being six feet apart and surrounded by plastic barriers. With Boston being surrounded by water, you can guarantee that any seafood restaurant is going to be amazing, but our favorites included B&G Oysters and Pier 6. We also had brunch at The Beehive, which is usually famous for its lively Sunday brunch with live music and bottomless drinks. Unfortunately due to COVID, that wasn’t the case this time, but the outdoor brunch tasted just as good. Rooftop drinks at Lookout Rooftop and Bar at the Envoy Hotel and Rooftop @ Revere at the Revere Hotel Boston Common are also a must. Other restaurants that were on our list that we didn’t make it to were Legal Harborside, ReelHouse, Coppa, Barcelona Wine Bar, and Tia’s.

Where to stay: We obviously had to bring our quarantine pup with us because we don’t leave home without him (I don’t know who has worse separation anxiety, us or him). Finding a dog-friendly hotel is always the first thing we look for, which is how we found The Whitney Hotel Boston, a new boutique hotel in Beacon Hill. The hotel was within walking distance from everything we wanted to see in the city—Charles River Esplanade, a ton of restaurants, Boston Public Garden, and of course, shopping on Newbury Street. The hotel adhered to all sanitation rules and even went as far as to create their own 5-point program to keep both staff and guests at ease.

Asbury Park, New Jersey

 

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Asbury Park is a trip you never knew you needed to take this summer. It takes less than an hour and a half to get there, which is something you can’t say for most trips outside of NYC. You’ll immediately feel that laid-back, beach-town vibe as soon as you get off the highway. It’s a great place to people-watch since the area attracts all different types of personalities. There are tons of different restaurants, all with surprisingly delicious food and drinks. Some of our favorite spots include Taka for sushi, Asbury Ale House Sports Bar & Grille, Barrio Costero (order the Jalisco is Burning cocktail), Toast for brunch, Porta, happy hour at The Wonder Bar (aka dog happy hour), and Watermark for drinks. Reservations are highly recommended for everywhere you want to go as things book up really quick, walk-ins are limited, and capacities are lowered because of social distancing. 

Where to stay: Recently opened back up at the end of June, and the town’s first new hotel to open in more than 50 years, The Asbury Hotel epitomizes the area with its pet-friendly, funky, laid back, rock-n-roll vibe. Like most hotels, what is open and not open at the hotel has been dictated by COVID, but that isn’t stopping anyone from enjoying their huge pool space, doing yoga, watching a movie on the roof, or grabbing drinks at the Salvation rooftop bar. Social distancing rules are strictly enforced, masks are required in all areas of the hotel (minus your room, obv), and floor markers are all over the main lobby area so no one accidentally bumps into you. Cleaning service is also suspended during your stay, but a deep clean is given in-between guests, so yes, this does mean you need to make your own bed when you wake up. There are 100 guest rooms in a bunch of different sizes, from queen and king rooms to family rooms and suites, to bunk bedrooms that can sleep up to eight people (although right now, rooms are limited to two people). The most convenient part of the hotel is that it’s walking distance from the boardwalk and main strip of outdoor restaurants, coming in clutch as the Uber prices are beyond surging out there. 

Woodstock, New York

 

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You only have to drive two hours north of the city to feel like you’ve traveled back in time. If you have any idea of what Woodstock is in your mind, you’re probably right. This quaint town has a chill, outdoorsy, hippie vibe oozing out of it everywhere you go. Dinner at Silvia is a must, especially with their expanded, socially distanced outdoor dining. Make a reservation in advance, because this place will book up quickly. Unlike most travel destinations you can really just wander the town without a strict plan in mind since everything is very central. Local food spots to keep in mind are Cucina, Bread Alone, and The Mud Club. Bars to check out include A & P Bar, Early Terrible, and Tinker Bar. And if you’re in the mood to shop, pop into stores like Candlestock and Castaways.

Other destinations worth hitting up that are a driving distance from town are the famous Phoenicia Diner, Kaaterskill falls, El Paso Winery, North-South Lake campground, and Big Deep. It’s also worth stopping in New Paltz on the way home just to walk around the town. We would def recommend a trip to Woodstock, especially during the summer, but highly advise going any day between Thursday-Sunday since a significant amount of restaurants, bars, and smaller food shops were closed either on Tuesday, Wednesday, or both.

Where to stay: Technically speaking, Woodstock Way Hotel is a hotel, but it doesn’t feel like one at all. There are 13 spaces on the property, running from different types of suites to full-out authentic cabins. Some rooms are pet-friendly, but not all, so make sure to look into that ahead of time. In the time of COVID, all sanitary and social distancing measures were taken, including being able to virtually check-in through email using a lockbox outside of your cabin. Wearing a mask is strictly enforced if you choose to enter The Tannery lobby or get a coffee from the outside window. Mask wearing wasn’t only strictly enforced at the hotel, but rightfully so in the town as well.

You couldn’t get a better location if you tried, considering the hotel is literally in the center of the town. Bars, restaurants, and shopping are all minutes away, plus if you need your car, your room comes with its own designated parking spot.

Avalon, New Jersey

 

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As someone who grew up going to the beaches on Long Island, I had no idea Avalon existed until my husband, who’s from Philly, took me here when we first started dating. I quickly became obsessed with it, with the number one reason being that the town is a firm believer in the no-shower happy hour. Pre-COVID, our favorite spot in the area was Whitebrier Restaurant, where there is essentially a day rager going on, but you can also order bomb sushi at an outdoor table—really, the best of both worlds. Now we would still recommend going there, but just for dining at an outdoor table (still get the sushi). Restaurants you can’t miss out on are Polpo (BYOB, amazing food and lots of outdoor seating), Water Star Grille (at The Reeds at Shelter Haven), The Diving Horse, Summer Salt at Isabel’s (open Friday-Sunday), Cafe Loren (open every day but Monday), and Avalon Brew Pub – Restaurant & Microbrewery in the Icona Avalon hotel.

Where to stay: If you can find enough people to rent a house, that is def the most fun option, especially if you can get a spot on the water. There are only a few hotels and they aren’t super conveniently located to any of the bars or restaurants (you’ll have to take a ~10-minute Uber).

If you’re opting for a hotel, we suggest the Icona Avalon, since their room rates are the most reasonable and they have great onsite restaurants including the aforementioned Avalon Brew Pub, Shimmers Bistro, and The Sandbar Village Beach Bar & Lounge (equipped with fire pits). Other hotels in the area are The Reeds at Shelter Haven and the recently reopened Windrift Hotel Resort.

Images: Tasty Trips / Shutterstock; betchestravel, iconaavalon / Instagram

The Betches’ Guide To Hudson Valley

Hudson Valley is hot right now. The trendy upstate playground has been drawing city dwellers (along with the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers) for years, but given the current sitch, it’s even more popular these days. Good thing restaurants have reopened and local developers have been going after fixer-uppers with hotel potential, like Chip and Joanna Gaines with a vengeance.

Just as New Yorkers flock to the Hamptons in the summer, Manhattan creatives come to Hudson Valley to hibernate in the fall and winter. And considering most of the land surrounding this grouping of idyllic towns and hamlets is either covered by water or trees, it’s quite ideal for social distancing and keeping your six-feet-apart stance. 

Whether you’re getting away for the weekend with your besties or bae, or planning a solo trip because that’s the kind of self-sufficient traveler you are, Hudson Valley has it all. And we’ve rounded up the best places to stay and things to do while you’re there. Read on for our top recs and Insta-worthy locales.

Where Is Hudson Valley?

Hudson Valley is in New York, duh. (Hudson River, anyone?) Hudson Valley is technically comprised of a bunch of different waterfront cities and towns, as well as rural farmlands and forests, so you can easily get your glamping on here or post up in an old Victorian-house-turned bougie hotel. HV stretches as far as the capital Albany in the north, toward Yonkers and Westchester County bordering NYC in the south. For trip planning purposes, some of the best spots to check out in Hudson Valley are Hudson, New Paltz, Beacon, Kingston, Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Gardiner, Tarrytown, and Sleepy Hollow. (Yes, Sleepy Hollow is a real place with charmingly spooky vibes. But that’s a given.)

How Far Is Hudson Valley From New York City?

Hudson Valley is much closer to New York City, than, say, the Hamptons, which is why New Yorkers are trading in The Big Apple for apple picking in the sticks. Depending on where you’re heading, you can be there in as little as 30 to 40 minutes, or a few hours. From NYC to Hudson, NY it’s roughly 107 miles. 

How To Get To Hudson Valley

Road trip, obvi! The scenic route is much preferred, especially if you’re traveling from non-NYC places (and if you don’t want to sit near strangers for social distance reasons). With that said, Metro-North and Amtrak are options if you don’t have your own wheels or don’t want to drive. Just mask up at Grand Central Station or Penn Station, grab a seat six feet away, and chill for two hours until you get to Hudson, or wherever you’re going. Note: Metro-North service ends at Poughkeepsie, with Amtrak’s Empire Corridor trains continuing north to and beyond Albany.

How To Get Around Hudson Valley 

If you’re a Hudson Valley newbie, you might assume everywhere within the area is relatively close. On the contrary, it’s much more spread out and Ubers and cabs are somewhat nonexistent—or super f*cking expensive. So, with that in mind, pick an area and stick to it instead of trying to do the most in a weekend. Or plan ahead and hire a driver, because drinking and driving isn’t cute. We’ve also curated these thoughtful itineraries below based on geographical whereabouts and you’re welcome for that. 

Things To Do In Hudson, NY

 

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Happy Labor Day friends. #ThisOldHudson

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Historic Hudson is clearly the HBIC of Hudson Valley. Not only does Hudson proper bear the namesake of the upstate hotspot, but it has one of the longest main streets, packed to the gills with cute shops, hotels, and restaurants, plus antique stores and art galleries. As for activities, when you’re not playing House Hunters: Hudson Valley or bopping from one mid-century furniture store to the next, try one of these delights:

Stop by Opus 40 in Saugerties on the drive up to Hudson. You’ve probably seen snaps of the outdoor sculpture park on your ‘gram, and it’s high time you go.

Let your inner wino loose at happy hour at Sonder Hudson on Warren St.

Be one with nature (the Catskills is right next door and prime hiking territory).

Get blitzed on a craft brewery tour with stops at Hudson Valley Brewery, Hudson Brewing Company, Yard Owl Craft Brewery, Suarez Family Brewery, and Two Way Brewing Company (you can also ferry to breweries if you don’t want to drink and drive to farther ones #smart).

Antique your ass off. The downtown stores can be pricey, but drive to nearby Coxsackie Antique Center for the good finds and then you can lunch at Reds, a locals-loved fish fry joint.

Hit up The Quiet Botanist on Warren St. for dry botanicals and apothecary elixirs. 

 

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Forever in bloom 🌾 at the beautiful The Quiet Botanist on Warren St. #ThisOldHudson

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Where To Stay In Hudson, NY

We live for The Maker, the newest boutique hotel that opened this past summer. With the trendiest digs in HV (think: a Georgian mansion filled with fringed lamps, jewel-tone interiors, lots of sumptuous velvet couches, and ‘20s vibes), rooms don’t come cheap. Peak season fall/winter rates range from $350-1,200 a night on weekends, but #YOLO. There’s an all-day Euro-inspired café, a restaurant housed in a glass conservatory, and a speakeasy-style lounge tucked away in a 19th century restored carriage house. Then there are the rooms. 11 swanky suites and rooms designed with a boho sensibility are themed after The Artist, The Architect, The Writer, The Gardener, and other creatives you can bump into around Hudson.

 

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Cheers to the weekend! Our lounge will be open until midnight tonight, stop by and stay a while. Photo by @joethommas

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Outside The Maker, hang a right down Warren, then a left toward the train station and you’ll run into Wm. Farmer and Sons. This modern-meets-vintage hotel and bar room also has 11 dreamy rooms (most with clawfoot tubs you’ll never want to get out of) and thoughtful extras that really make a betch feel at home. I mean, look at these details?!

 

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The bright and cozy sitting area in our Anne Marie suite is perfect for kicking your feet up with a glass of wine or beer from the mini bar, challenging your travel companion in a game of gin rummy or just chilling out in front of the tube. Whatever your pleasure, relax, stay, enjoy the moment.

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Their restaurant is tops for cozy, dimly-lit vibes and a damn good menu, with signatures ranging from SNAIL LASAGNA and roasted broccoli parm, to cast-iron caraflex cabbage with foie gras if you’re about that foraged life. And let’s not forget the gorg farm-to-glass cocktails. 

For a more affordable alternative, check into The Wick, Hudson, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel. It’s nice, clean, pet-friendly, directly across from the train station, and right around the corner from Warren Street. Rates start at $180 a night.

Where To Eat In Hudson, NY

Aside from the aforementioned haunts, these restaurants and bars are also noteworthy in town: The Cascades for deli favorites, Swoon Kitchenbar for brasserie fare, Backbar for Malaysian cuisine, Grazin’ Diner for burgers, Hudson Food Studio for killer Vietnamese cuisine, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis and pop-up Feugo 69 for Pan-Latin nibbles and plenty of quirky flair, and the Tavern at Rivertown Lodge for brunch or dinner in a revamped 1920s movie theater. And bar-bookshop The Spotty Dog!  

 

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What a day to be in Hudson.

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Things To Do In New Paltz, NY

The adorable village of New Paltz sits in between the Gunks (Shawangunk Mountains) and Catskill Mountains, 90 miles north of NYC. New Paltz and Hudson couldn’t be more different however, and are about 40 minutes from one another. While Hudson is a postcard-perfect movie set stand-in, New Paltz is a more remote college town compared to “Upstate’s Downtown”.

There’s still a main drag dotted with the usual suspects—bars, restaurants, novelty stores, and artsy randoms—but this Ulster County enclave is also smack dab in the middle of protected nature preserves. As for other ways to pass your time, we’ve got you covered.

 

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🎃Happy Halloween! Don’t forget about our Outdoor Orchard Trick-or-Treat event today — we will have candy stations for kids, a spiked festive cocktail, and a $150 gift card raffle for anyone who is dressed in costume. We will be open until 7pm, hope to see you! ⁠ .⁠ 📸: @diannnnneee⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ #twinstarorchards #halloween #trickortreat #pumpkin #spooky #costume #fall #pumpkins #scary #boo #autumn #halloweenfun #halloweentime #photooftheday #cider #hardcider #drycider #hudsonvalley #cidertime #farmstand #tastethisnext #local #newyork #hudsonvalleyeats #upstateny #hudsonvalleyevents #getwithtipsy #hudsonvalleydogs #poughkeepsieny #upstate

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New Paltz is a PSL-sipping, plaid-wearing, apple-picking basic bitch’s wet dream. And even though there are breweries and wineries galore, educate yourself and go to a phenom cidery, k? Brooklyn Cider House set up production here for good reason, and their growing grounds (Twin Star Orchards) should be your first stop when you’re ~thirsty~. Wood-fired pies, mouthwatering burgers, and hard ciders that will blow your mind await. P.S. backdrops include cute ponds and vines for one-foot-forward Insta opps.

Nestled in the heart of the Gunks is Mohonk Preserve, New York’s largest nonprofit nature preserve. Surrounding the historic Mohonk Mountain House, a Victorian “Castle of New Paltz” that dates back to 1869, you can explore the Preserve’s 8,000 acres of mountain cliffs, forests, fields, and streams from one of five local trailheads. According to mohonkpreserve.org, a day-use pass is $15 for hikers and $20 for bikers, climbers, and horseback riders (if you plan on getting your gallop on by bringing your own horse). There’s also cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

Stroll the impressive lineup of 17th-century abodes, churches, and archaeological sites that line Historic Huguenot Street, where the area’s first French settlers moved in.

Head to Robibero Family Vineyards to sample the local grapes, or take a short drive over to Gardiner’s Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery for an outside tasting by reservation.

Stock up on artisan kitchenwares at Blue Cashew.

 

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Cheers to Friday! 🥂🍂⁣ ⁣ Thank you for sharing these gorg photos of your visit @jmargaretbeauty!!

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Where To Stay In And Around New Paltz, NY

Bougies and people that like to stay put can live their best life at Mohonk Mountain House. Whether you’re traveling with your boo or your (small) crew, their grand estate rooms with terraces overlooking the peaks and valleys are unparalleled in the area. Plus there’s an epic spa and we could all use a little more self-care these days. Even though rates start in the $500-700+ range, you’ll be relieved to know it’s all-inclusive style with three daily meals and unlimited activities. And I’m not talking free cards in the lounge. Try your hand at tomahawk throwing, lace up some skates over at the Skating Pavilion, become a disc golf pro, go rock scrambling through the Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze, and do all the sporty things during a round of croquet, bocce, or shuffleboard.

 

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Fall is better in the mountains 🍂🏰🍁 📷: @sonoyy . . . #mohonkmountainhouse #mohonk #happyplace #getoutside#greatoutdoors #fallfoliage #fallcolors #fall #biking #nightphotography #aerialphotography #naturephotography #getaway #weekendgetaway #boating #running #familyvacation #rockclimbing #mountaintop #mountainresort #resort #autumn #mountainbiking #archery #romanticgetaway #hudsonvalley #upstateny #upstatenewyork #historichotelsofamerica #historiclandmark

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Hasbrouck House: I could wax poetic for days about how awesome this undiscovered gem in Stone Ridge is. For starters, it’s a restored 18th-century Dutch Colonial mansion that’s downright dreamy—and right outside New Paltz. 25 well-appointed rooms with modern bathrooms are spread out across the main building, Stable House, Carriage House, and three-bedroom private cottage. For $250+ a night, you can expect all the bells and whistles that come with proper Hudson Valley habitats, but you won’t blow your entire paycheck staying here. There’s free parking on the premises along with doughnuts and cider in the morning, as well as complimentary passes to Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk Preserve, and there’s also plenty of forest bathing opps around their 50 acres and private lake. When you get hungry, pop into the onsite bar and restaurant, Butterfield, or be on the lookout for the Baba Vegan Food Truck that swings by once a week to satisfy plant-based cravings. A basement billiards room, hot air balloon bedecked lounge with board games, and Aesop amenities round out their list of additional perks. 

 

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Hang in there friends! We’ll be saving this seat just for you!💕 . . . . . 📷@lavina.s #hasbrouckhouse #hasbrouckhouseny #stoneridgenewyork #catskillshotel #catskillshotels #hudsonvalleyhotel #boutiquehotel #luxuryhotel #escapebrooklyn #escapebkln #andnorth #upstateandchill #romantichotel #hudsonvalley #upstatehotel #cntraveler

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Where To Eat In New Paltz, Stone Ridge & Woodstock, NY

Spend the day at Arrowood Farm Brewery, where you can sip craft ales and cocktails by fire pits while munching on Bavarian pretzels and tostadas. 

In downtown New Paltz, we like Main Street Bistro, Bacchus, Clemson Bros., A Tavola Trattoria, Main Course Marketplace, Huckleberry, and IPho for banging noodle soups, bánh mì, and vermicelli.

Go into a fried chicken coma at Kitchenette Chicken Shack in High Falls—and good luck not trying to go back 20 times during your trip.

For breakfast or lunch in Stone Ridge, hit The Roost or Hash.

For one of the best dinners of your life in Hudson Valley, make a res at Butterfield at Hasbrouck House, where everything is local AF from the farm-grown veggies and cultured butter, to the house-made bread, trout, duck, and venison dishes.

For other dinner options in Woodstock and Saugerties, there’s Phoenicia Diner’s sister spot Dixon’s Roadside BBQ, Silvia, and The Red Onion.

 

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This is what we call early sweater weather, when the days are full of sunshine and the evenings are getting cozy. ⠀ Come hang with us this weekend ☀️🍂 ⠀ WEEKEND HOURS Saturday 12-10 Sunday 11:30-8 ⠀ Cheers! ⠀ #hudsonvalleyhappenings #fall #catskills #accordny #hudsonvalley #upstateny #hygge #farmbrewery #drinklocal #eatlocal #beer #craftbeerlover

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Things To Do In Tarrytown & Sleepy Hollow, NY

Stroll the Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park at Tarrytown, which comprises 31+ miles along the shoreline from Tarrytown up. 

Visit The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. From now through Nov 22nd, see 7,000 pumpkins light up fall nights in Croton-on-Hudson.

Get your spook on (and relive 4th grade English class) learning about the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Headless Horseman on a walking tour of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. P.S., Washington Irving is obviously buried here. 

Tour the gardens at Lyndhurst. Hudson Valley has been home to some of the most powerful families of New York over the years, and Lyndhurst (AKA the Jay Gould Estate) is serious goals. As one of the most impressive Gothic Revival marvels like, ever, you have to see this thing in person—and obviously take photos. Even the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is moving to Lyndhurst in June 2021 because it’s that major. While inside tours are closed for the season, you can still purchase a Daily Grounds Pass to wander around and contemplate what life must be like for the 1%.

Also worth mentioning is another one of Tarrytown’s most famous homes: Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate. It’s currently closed due to the pandemic, but boy, will it be a beauty to see when it reopens in the new year.

Where To Stay In Tarrytown, NY

If you’re looking for a low-key weekend or a workcation just minutes from Manhattan, check into Tarrytown House Estate, where complimentary WiFi and desks make WFH totally doable—especially when you can sneak drinks by the lawn fire pits in between Zooms. This Westchester County staple has been artfully restored and now boasts several modern rooms in the King Mansion, plus 26 acres of sprawling land fit for hiking, biking, and other outdoorsy things. They’re also pet-friendly and will arm your furry friend with a BarkBox upon arrival. Take a Sleepy Hollow kayak tour through the Hudson River, pick seasonal fruit at Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, do dinner at Goosefeather, and let your inner athlete loose during badminton, bocce, and croquet.

 

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Live like royalty in one of our King Mansion rooms 👑

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Where To Eat In Tarrytown And Sleepy Hollow, NY

Make a res at Chef Dale Talde’s Goosefeather for crazy good Chinese barbecue and dim sum under strings of backyard lights. If you’re looking for vegan-friendly options, check out Sweet Grass Grill. Waterfront tavern RiverMarket is great for a biodynamic wine list and thoughtfully curated market. There’s also The Twisted Oak for Italian-American signatures, Pik Nik BBQ for smoked meats, Bistro 12 for Mediterranean fare, and Hudson Farmer & the Fish for sweeping views and seasonal staples.

 

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Anytime is a good time for pizza 🍕 Come and get one of our wood fire pizzas designed to your liking. With toppings ranging from baby arugula to even jumbo shrimp 🍤 and much more! * * * * * #pizza #woodfiredpizza #tarrytown #restaurant #yummy #delicious #swag #cool #pretty #foodporn #appealing #drinks #cocktails #togo #takeout #delivery #ubereatsdelivery #doordash #goodtimes #drinks #slurp #bar #liquor #thirsty #instagood #wow #drinkup #photooftheday #greattime #instadaily

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More Places We Love In Hudson Valley

Cedar Lakes Estate in Port Jervis, NY: Escape to the heart of Hudson Valley where your personal pine cottage is waiting. Cedar Lakes is now booking three- and four-night stays through winter. All meals, a selection of beverages (boozy and non), and use of the property are included in the $125 per person, per night resort fee. You’ll also be treated to the following comped activities: Monday night football in their Treehouse (!), morning farmer’s markets stocked with fresh produce, Friday night trivia, and Saturday fall fests with campy pastimes (think canoeing, tennis, fishing, basketball, field games, and more). Did we mention there are Bob Ross-inspired paint nights? (BYO wig!)

 

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GOOD NEWS! We are now offering shorter stays beginning October 5 🍂⁣ ⁣ Come enjoy 3-night stays, either Monday-Thursday or Thursday-Sunday in our Sleepy Pine Cottages or Garden Suites beginning October 5.* (All other cottages continue to require a 6-night stay.)⁣ ⁣ Interested in the Farmhouse? Enter FALLFARMHOUSE for 20% off from now until November 22 🎃⁣ ⁣ *All accommodations are Monday-Sunday for Thanksgiving week

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Crabtree’s Kittle House Restaurant & Inn in Chappaqua, NY: Crabtree is another beyond-cute inn made for a romantic getaway with your main. Nestled in a hamlet in Westchester County, it has charm for days and maybe a few ghosts, since it was built in 1790 and served as a former roadhouse during the Prohibition era. Famous for hosting late-night ragers before becoming a private girls’ school and then a restaurant and inn, it has quite the collection of stories within its walls (along with an award-winning wine cellar in the basement). The restaurant’s ever-changing, locally-sourced menu also makes this landmark a one-stop shop for old-world accommodations and fine dining. 

 

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Treat Dad to a special Father’s Day this Sunday! Choose from our brunch and dinner options on premise and takeout ➡️ www.crabtreeskittlehouse.com/dining #fathersday #dad #garden #outside #socialdistancing #brunch #dinner #takeout #togo #curbside #family #together #special #hudsonvalley #westchester

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Image: Mohonk Rd, New Paltz. Jueun Song / Unsplash 

How To Plan A Couples’ Weekend Getaway To The Hamptons That Isn’t Boring

If you happened to tie the knot before or during the pandemic and have put the honeymoon on pause until flying feels safe again, sneaking in an end-of-summer or early fall escape is still plausible—and probably much-needed.

Enter the Hamptons: an easily-accessible destination if you happen to reside in the tri-state area—or even parts of New England—and don’t mind a drive or a scenic ferry route.

With an expansive backyard that checks all the vacation-worthy boxes (sun, surf, and sand), heading out east is always a good idea in our book. Responsible, socially distant practices and policies also make the Hamptons feel not only doable these days, but welcoming. 

Below are our picks for where to stay, dine, and explore after your weekender bag is packed and you’re ready to go.

Where To Stay

Amangansett’s newest residence, The Roundtree, is beyond dreamy, and ideal for getting away in style. The 15-room, pet-friendly boutique hotel just opened last month, so you know it’s clean, disinfected on the regular, and COVID-compliant. There are even cell phone sanitizing stations in your personal quarters. Now, how’s that for safety precautions?

You can choose between deluxe rooms, suites, and cottages in centuries-old refurbished digs that all come with Frette linens, Matouk towels, and Grown Alchemist bath products. The Roundtree is basically our #1 pick for romance, intimacy, and luxury, all wrapped up in one. And when you book four or more nights, they’ll set you up with a chef for a fall harvest dinner experience for two on the property.

 

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“A stay at The Roundtree means you’ll get to know your neighbors, since there’s so few of you. Perhaps you’re just drinking rose, or, since The Roundtree allows pets, your dog will inevitably run up to greet another on its rolling green grounds. Then you’ll start chatting (six feet apart, of course), and soon enough, you’re waving to them at breakfast or giving them a nod as you both dive into yet another Zoom call. Everything is so laid back, so friendly, that it adds to the atmosphere.” – @ejtay @voguemagazine Consider one of our stand-alone cottages or rooms for weekly and monthly rentals this fall for a socially distanced #workfromvacation experience #theroundtreeamagansett #theroundtreehotel #theroundtree

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Smack dab in the middle of Montauk is the notoriously laid-back “End of the World” Surf Lodge. Kitschy balcony hammocks and a fleet of loaner bikes are part of the perks when it comes to staying here, as is close proximity to the beach—making it a coveted hangout for eating, sleeping, surfing, and repeating. Standard rooms (plus junior and master suites) are boho, yet minimalistic. Their famous outdoor concert series is on pause given the pandemic, but the restaurant remains open with six-feet-apart al fresco seating.

 

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aaaand we’re back! Starting today we’re officially open to hotel guests (only!)—with a new set of safety protocols in place. In the face of all this uncertainty we hope to bring you some sense of comfort and familiarity, and create the escape we all need right now. Rooms are still available for the July 4th weekend and we have take-away dining starting Friday for our neighbors, so let’s finally get this summer started! … Protocols include: -Employees wear masks at all times -Employees are tested weekly -Contactless sanitizing stations -Both in-house cleaning and professional commercial cleaning -Encouraging staff to social-distance outside of work -Immediate response and transparency to a positive test

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One of the sweetest stays in the Hamptons can be found at Baron’s Cove in the quaint whaling village of Sag Harbor. Ideal for a lover’s retreat, the year-round sophisticated refuge boasts 67 rooms, many with gated terraces tailored to sitting outside for sunset cocktails. Its upstairs restaurant is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The spacious pool and surrounding gardens serve as the perfect adult playground, so it’s no wonder Billy Joel, Truman Capote, and Jackson Pollock have all checked in over the years. Pro tip: book in the fall and winter to save on rates.

 

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“This slice of Americana gets even sweeter come fall.” Read more about why Baron’s Cove is the perfect getaway this fall and winter at @marieclairemag Link in bio.

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Where To Eat

If you happen to be near Bridgehampton, our go-to romantic dinner for two is always at the Topping Rose House. The uber-chic Jean-Georges restaurant is a must for celebs, socialites, and diners who want a meal in a swanky setting. It’s also one of the few premiere spots that’s open year-round for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails. As far as the menu goes, the black truffle and Fontina cheese pizza is a must, as are the roasted Maine lobster, seared black sea bass, and crispy salmon sushi. 

 

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Dinner plans anyone? #toppingrosehouse #jeangeorges #longislandrestaurants #hamptonstyle

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Down the road in Bridgehampton is the quaint Bridgehampton Inn & Restaurant, with an idyllic backyard and locally sourced menu that changes from season to season. On Fridays, there’s live music, and Kyle, their esteemed wizard behind the bar, will be more than eager to whip up a bespoke aperitif of your choosing. The family-run establishment also owns the Loaves & Fishes Food Store next door, so be sure to stop in for newlywed must-haves for the home—or to update your registry. 

 

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We are proud to host responsible social distancing. Facial covering masks are required when moving about the premises! Enjoy your evening….. Please arrive with your mask on. #compliance #masks #distancing #outdoordining #sanitize #safe

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More staples in Montauk include roadside seafood shack The Clam Bar for lobster rolls and fried whole belly clams, plus a smorgasbord of other seafood favorites under a cascade of yellow umbrellas. It’s only open for lunch, and highly addictive after you go the first time. 

 

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Perfect Clam Bar weekend. This beautiful 📸 by @newyorkfoodbabes #lobsterroll #joinusforbreakfast #theclambar

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Navy Beach is another spot for good vibes and good times, with picnic tables nestled in the sand and a stay-all-day mentality that makes it hard to leave—and harder to not order more wine. (They have one of the largest selections of rosé in the Hamptons.) Food highlights include the buttermilk fried chicken, jumbo lump crab cake and, obviously, the navy burger. Their sunset views are legendary, and their 200-foot private beach is prime real estate for honeymoon happenings (aka Instagrams).

 

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Stay Safe! Wear your masks, wash your hands, and socially distance! And while your at it, take in the view 😍

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Get a taste of Manhattan in Montauk at Scarpetta at Gurney’s Montauk Hotel & Spa, which is not only on the beach, but set under a cascade of twinkling lights for the ultimate ambiance. You’ll undoubtedly order the classic Italian pastas for the table, but don’t overlook the fresh crudi, the black cod, or the Wagyu strip. Then there’s Showfish at Gurney’s Star Island, with an ingredient-driven menu of veggie-forward dishes as well as crazy good land and sea options.

 

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Scarpetta Newport will be reopening tonight and tomorrow from 5:30pm – 10:00pm for both outdoor and limited indoor seating, ordering for takeout and in-room dining for guests of the resort. This service will resume again on Thursday, June 11th – Sunday, June 14th. Scarpetta @gurneysnewport will continue to evaluate the situation and focus on long-term planning for its reopening. Wishing our Newport employees, guests and community a safe and strong reopening 🤎

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Duryea’s may sound like a laid-back lobster deck with a view, but it’s more like St. Barths or St. Tropez when you arrive to the chic AF destination. Here, the rosé is always flowing, and the plateau de fruits de mer are on point. They’re renowned for their lobster Cobb salad and crudité platters, but it’s the cushy banquettes, overhead fishnet canopy, and effortlessly cool attitude that makes us fall in love with this Montauk mainstay again and again. 

 

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🙌 and just like that- the weekend is upon us! It’s time to put on your white and drink all the pink 😉 . . . . . 📸: @roxyfoodiechronicles #duryeaslobsterdeck #montauk #duryeas #summer #mdw

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If you’ve never been to Tutto il Giorno, make a reservation now. So f*cking pretty, it’s exactly where you want to toast to your nuptials over shared plates of Mediterranean fare. Designed (and owned) by Donna Karan and her daughter, Gabby Karan De Felice, it’s the epitome of backyard garden goals. And they have outposts in both Sag Harbor and Southampton, so you’ll have ample opportunities to visit, depending on where you’re staying.

 

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The family table. Tutto Sag Harbor. Tutto il Giorno. Tutto family. @urbanzen #uzxtutto

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Main Street Tavern is a new spot that just opened this summer, from the team behind Highway Restaurant & Bar in East Hampton. Already gaining a considerable amount of buzz, MST is the tasty newbie on the block with delicious food and charm to boot. They’re currently only offering dinner through takeout or in their outdoor socially distanced beer garden, but definitely order the crispy shrimp, fish and chips, and baked clams.

 

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Cooking up a very tasty opening… Join us THIS Thursday at 5pm! #mainstreettavern

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Other strong contenders for breakfast, lunch, and dinner include: Cowfish (Hampton Bays), Nick & Toni’s (East Hampton), Coche Comedor (by the team behind Nick & Toni’s, La Fondita, and Towline BBQ), The Backyard at Sole East (Montauk), Wölffer Kitchen (Amagansett), Le Bilboquet (Sag Harbor), Greek gem Elaia Estiatorio (Bridgehampton), and il Buco at Mostrador Marram

 

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Breakfast is served. @chefjsmillie @marrammontauk 📷: @giadapaoloni

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What To Do (Socially Distanced)

Yes, the beaches are open—as are almost all restaurants and shops in the various towns—but, obviously, wear your mask and lay your towel, chair, etc. away from others to do your part. For more information on beach permits and parking, check out this handy guide.

 

SoulCycle 

Spinning to the beat may be paused at most indoor studios around the world still, but, naturally, the Hamptons takes it outdoors. Grab a bike for SoulOutside at any of the the Southampton, Bridgehampton, Water Mill, and Montauk locations, but be sure to book early.

Wölffer Estate Drive-Thru

Chances are you’ve seen the socially distant drive-through rosé cart on the ‘gram, because it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever. Pull up, select your pink or bubbly of choice (along with whites, reds, and ciders), then be on your way, contact-free. Should you desire more of a vineyard-type experience, the Estate and Wine Stand are currently offering tasting reservations (with food) six feet apart. 

The drive-thru can be found at the Wölffer Estate Wine Stand in Sagaponack, New York. It’s open daily from 11am to 7pm.

 

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Happy Friday! Need a restock on your favorite Wölffer products for your virtual happy hour? Our drive-thru is open 11am-6pm daily 💕 . . . . . . #wolfferestatevineyard #wolffer #wolfferestatewine #wine #spirits #cider #eastend #hamptons #amagansett #sagharbor #montauk #nyc #localeats #localbusiness #familybusiness #sustainable #sustainablefarming #sustainability #estatewines #localwines #roselocal #rosé #drivethru

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Bike Around Town

Most hotels provide complimentary wheels to scoot around the Hamptons in the summer, and you can be as spread out as you want when riding. Should you be in a house or Airbnb, here are a few more places to rent from:

  1. Khanh Sports
  2. Amagansett Beach & Bicycle
  3. Dan’s Bike Rental
  4. Sag Harbor Cycle Company
  5. Rotations Bicycle Center

Plan A Clambake On The Beach

Hampton Clambake will bring the beach party to you, with a fully organized and delicious clambake on the South and North forks. 

Take Advantage of NYC-Turned-Hamptons Pop-Up Restaurants

This summer, New York City notables such as Marea, Carbone, Kissaki and the aforementioned il Buco have traveled out East to bring the people what they want: platters of spicy rigatoni to go. Some of these pop-ups come with a hefty price tag (like Marea’s dinner for four for $450), but you get to enjoy a Michelin-starred meal in the comfort of your own home. Plus, it’s a serious spread. Think: marinated olives, lobster and burrata, panzanella salad, steak with salsa verde, summer squash, sautéed greens, seasonal pie, and a bottle of Hampton Water Rosé.

 

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Weekend Menu: Solved ✅ Order our Seafood boil by Thursday at 5pm and you could be eating this spread on the 4th. Available for delivery in The Hamptons or pick-up/delivery in NYC. Also comes with a bottle of @hamptonwater Rosé! Link in bio to order! 🐟🦐🦞🦀🇺🇸

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Image: Hamish Duncan / Unsplash; theroundtreeamagansett, thesurflodge, baronscove, toppingrosehouse, bridgehamptoninnandrestaurant, theclambar, navybeachmontauk, scarpettarestaurants, duryeaslobsterdeck, tuttoilgiorno, themainstreettavern, monstradormarram, wolfferwine, mareanyc / Instagram

The Betches’ Guide To Provincetown

We may be living through a pandemic, but we’re still feeling the urge to travel (safely). After canceling trips that had been planned pre-pandemic, booking new trips we assured ourselves would be “totally fine” by the time they came around, and then having to cancel those, too, we’ve all come to accept that the pandemic has changed the travel game in 2020. Luckily, there are plenty of local places to safely explore that will give you just as much fun and relaxation as traveling abroad to somewhere dreamy, like St. Tropez. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit—but to be honest, I did get a genuine feeling of being a world away when I traveled to Provincetown, a seaside town on Cape Cod.

There’s always something happening in Provincetown (which often goes by the nickname “P-Town”), even during a COVID-19 summer. If you Google “Provincetown”, you’ll instantly find all the historic info about it, like how it’s home to where the Mayflower landed in 1620. But what really makes this coastal town feel different from the rest is its free spirit and high energy. It’s a top LGBTQ+ destination, a haven for artists of all kinds, and it’s f*cking fun. Storefronts down the main street are decorated with signs that solidify the town’s strong message of love and acceptance. Commercial Street is a vibrant and easily walkable strip that serves as the town’s main street where you’ll find tons of stores, restaurants, and hotels.

One of the greatest benefits of traveling to P-Town during the pandemic is its mandatory safety measures. Social distancing is practiced at every establishment, with tables six feet apart at all restaurants and stores only permitting specified capacities. And mask enforcement is no joke here. You can’t walk around Commercial Street without a mask on. There are signs deeming it a “mandatory mask zone”.

It might sound like walking around a summer town with a mask on is a drag, but TBH, it really made me feel safe and put my mind at ease. And FYI, as of August 4, 2020, Massachusetts requires out-of-state travelers to quarantine for 14 days or show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, excluding New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Hawaii.

How To Get There

Except for Hawaii, all exempt states whose travelers can visit Provincetown without quarantining are a manageable distance away by car. We drove from New York and clocked in a five-and-a-half-hour road trip there, but it was an enjoyable drive with almost no traffic. If you want to ball out, you can also get there by boat. If you don’t have a casual private yacht at your disposal, you can hop on a Boston Harbor Cruise (which leaves out of Boston, duh). The ride is 90 minutes each way, and round-trip tickets cost $94. 

Pro tip: If you’re driving to P-Town, you *must* make a pit stop in Northwest Harwich to grab ice cream at a glorious place called Sweet Izzy. It’s pretty much on your way there and only 50 minutes outside of P-Town. It’s a full vegan ice cream shop, and all of its products are made in-house with only organic ingredients. We loved it so much we stopped once on the way there, and once on the way home (calories don’t count on vacation, right?). It’s also located directly next to a trampoline park, a local staple that’s been around for over 60 years. Definitely pay them a visit too (tickets cost $8 for 10 minutes), but remember to jump first and enjoy your ice cream second.

Where To Stay

Provincetown is a compact, small town, so here’s an easy rule of thumb for finding a hotel: if you want to stay on the main strip of town (which could be loud), look for hotels on or right off of Commercial Street. This street is adjacent to the water, so many establishments have water views or are waterfront hotels. If you want to be somewhere with a little less noise, but a short walking distance away from town, look for hotels on Bradford Street.

We opted for Eben House, a bed-and-breakfast on Bradford Street, so we were close to the action but also got a quiet night’s sleep. The grounds have great communal spaces, like a porch with an Insta-worthy hammock and a nautical-themed saltwater pool area. It’s also a 60-second walk to town, making it super convenient.

Other options are Pilgrim House, a “centrally-located, year-round” luxury hotel that is also home to The Landing Bistro and Bar; there’s also Salt House Inn, a fully renovated bed-and-breakfast located right in the center of town known for its signature house-made rustic breakfast. 

Pro tip: Upon booking your reservations, ask your hotel what safety measures are in place. It’s nice to get away, but what good is a vacation without peace of mind?

How To Get Around

One of the many things that make P-town so great is that everything is pretty much walkable. The furthest distance we ever walked during our stay was 12 minutes, and it was a fun stroll through town. Having said that, if you need a taxi or Uber for any reason, they’re available.

Where To Eat

No matter where you choose to eat, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a fun and safe experience in Provincetown. Restaurants and cafes cater to all cuisines, but given that it’s a coastal town, you can’t miss out on the fresh seafood. 

Our favorite restaurant was Strangers and Saints, an innovative eatery in the art gallery area of town. The cocktails are top-notch, and each dish was better than the next. There are even three different outdoor areas to choose from upon making a reservation. We picked the front patio (which we loved), but the herb garden and back patio looked equally impressive.

You won’t be able to miss The Patio when walking through town. The outdoor deck is decorated with huge blue-striped umbrellas and string lights. The vibes are better than the food here, but it’s worth a visit, although it’s on the expensive side. Reservations are required with a credit card, and there’s a table limit of one hour and 45 minutes. 

The historic Red Inn restaurant is “all about old-world charm and new-world pleasure”. It’s the town’s classiest place to eat and has a raw bar and cocktail happy hour from 2:30pm to 5:00pm daily. 

For true P-town beach vibes, you need to hit up Canteen for drinks and lobster rolls. This beach shack is filled with tables painted with seafood puns like “Oh My Cod” and serves excellent pre-mixed cocktails and quick bites. There’s also access to the beach, making for a great photo backdrop after a few cocktails. 

Pro tip: Since social distancing is practiced everywhere, reservations are a necessity during dinner hours. Aim to make your dinner reservations as late as possible, since most things shut down by 11 pm. Because you can’t go out to bars during this time, a late reservation will allow you to enjoy your day to the fullest and give you a table to enjoy cocktails later in the evening over dinner. Be sure to call ahead and ask if there’s a time limit for your table reservation. 

What To Do

It was crowded during our weekday stay in town, but given it was the week of Carnival (P-town’s biggest celebration of the year), we heard it was actually pretty empty compared to a normal year. Since the parade was canceled, this was to be expected, but there were still people out and about. No matter when you choose to visit, manage your expectations knowing that you won’t get a 100% genuine experience in any town you travel to during COVID (for obvious reasons). I personally thought we wouldn’t be allowed out of our houses until 2021, so I’m just grateful to be able to travel at all, even locally.

Enjoy a day poolside and let your rainbow flag fly at the Boatslip waterfront resort. Their bread and butter is their famous “tea dance” happy hour, but it’s unfortunately canceled for the 2020 season due to COVID safety restrictions. There’s a $12 cover charge that gets you a lounge chair and towel (cash only), and be sure to get there early as it’s first come, first served. They’re famous for their Planter’s Punch cocktails, and after getting lit from just two of them, I can certainly see why.

There’s an abundance of ice cream shops and candy stores in town. ScottCakes, Provincetown Fudge Factory, Cabot’s Candy Factory, and Ptown Scoop are some of the best spots to indulge.

Rent bikes from Provincetown Bike Rentals and put in that cardio work on one of the many bike trails throughout the area. Given that it’s a coastal town at the cape’s tip, the beach options are endless. Pack a beach bag, and don’t forget the SPF.

Weed is legal in the glorious state of Massachusetts. All you need to score some goodies is a valid ID showing you’re over 18 years old. The lines can seem long at the town’s only dispensary, Curaleaf, but they move pretty fast. Also, make sure you have cash or a debit card on you, because they don’t accept credit cards.

Itinerary
Day 1

☆ Make an ice cream pitstop at Sweet Izzy

☆ Check into hotel

☆ Explore Provincetown

☆ Pre-dinner drinks at The Canteen (Note: they do not take reservations, but you should be fine without them)

☆ Sunset dinner at The Patio (the reservation table limit is 1 hour 45 minutes and a credit card is required for reservations)

Day 2

☆ Spend the day lounging poolside at The Boatslip

          ☆ $12 cover charge with lounge chair and towel (cash only)

          ☆ Come early (first come, first served. No reservations)

          ☆ Open 10am-4pm

☆ Pre-dinner drinks at Aquabar

☆ 9pm dinner reservation at Strangers & Saints

Day 3

☆ Check out of hotel

☆ Grab coffee and treats to-go at the famous Provincetown Portuguese Bakery

☆ GTFO of P-Town and head home

Images: Joana Mascioli; James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

7 Ways To Make Your Labor Day Getaway As Safe As Possible

Summer is slipping away before our very eyes, and we’re left wondering if it was ever here at all. It’s safe to say summer 2020 has not gone as planned considering Americans basically can’t leave the country, masks have replaced bikinis as the season’s must-have item, and the most exciting thing to happen in August was Michelle Obama giving us this year’s mantra: “It is what it is.”

Luckily, there’s still one last opportunity for a blowout this season: Labor Day weekend. And by blowout, we mean maybe drinking too much alcohol and getting too much sun with a couple of friends from your bubble. LDW is the perfect time to enjoy the beach or the mountains and celebrate that we’ve made it through eight months of this dumpster fire that is 2020. There are plenty of viable options from road trips to staycations, or even your regular park hangs. If your European vacation was canceled this summer, don’t worry, you can still find overpriced hotels and cheap wine in America.

Here’s how you can plan a Labor Day weekend vacation that isn’t lame, but also keeps your stress levels at bay, and is as safe as possible—because no one needs a repeat of Memorial Day weekend and its resulting COVID hot spots.

People Suck, Just Avoid Them

 

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raise your hand if you’ve spent your entire summer in your backyard // credit/permission @emgrebs

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Honestly, being antisocial is my preferred vibe even without a pandemic, so I’m here to tell you to avoid crowded vacation spots that are sure to be packed with people. Nothing spoils a good tequila buzz like screaming children or a million people in your vicinity germing it up, anyway. On the upside, Labor Day tends to be the less busy long weekend of the summer compared to Memorial Day. Still, that doesn’t mean you should flock to a packed vacation spot or high-risk social gathering (*side eyes those huge parties in the Hamptons where nobody is distancing*). Instead, opt for lesser-known destinations with a small group, and be sure to plan outdoor activities. Think wine tastings, picnics, or just drinking bottomless rosé by a private pool.

Do Your Research. What, Like It’s Hard?

Look up the number of cases, quarantine restrictions, and mask requirements for that state, and stay up to date on the CDC’s travel guidelines. Google now has a handy feature that allows you to type in any destination at google.com/travel, and to find key details including the percentage of available hotel rooms and flights operating the route, plus travel advisory info and cases. Don’t take a chance and just show up somewhere like a bunch of uninvited frat bros who heard there was a party with girls and a keg—the information is out there, so use it.

Find Accommodations That Are Actually Accommodating

Choosing an accommodation that has implemented meaningful precautions is key. It’s not March anymore—hotels and resorts have had six months to figure out how to accommodate social distancing, and thankfully, many are doing it well. Do your research to find places that have gone beyond sending out an email regarding these ~unprecedented times~ and are going the extra mile to keep guests safe. From private pantries and grocery delivery to personal plunge pools, an in-room bar, and distanced activities, it’s not difficult to find a hotel that will keep you entertained while isolated.

Another way to stay safe is to book an Airbnb that has contactless check-in and good ratings for cleanliness. With so many options like Airbnb Plus for luxury stays or homes set up for long-term getaways, you can find your perfect escape from the city. Also, a word to the wise: the farther away your accommodation is from other people, the louder you can blast “WAP” and learn the dance for your latest TikTok.

Shut Up And Drive

 

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when you hear somewhere outside the US is actually letting Americans in. JK we’re too scared to leave the country

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We get it, you have a million miles from flying for work and you couldn’t possibly survive without TSA PreCheck. Well, it’s basically useless now because just like those international flights, we’re grounded. The solution? Drive rather than fly this Labor Day weekend, as you have much more control over your environment in a car. If you rent a vehicle, be sure to sanitize the inside and try to make as few stops as possible. Who knew 2020 would be the year of the road trip and that we’d see a serious surge in the RV business? Pre-COVID, we definitely thought RVs were reserved for suburban families in the midwest making their annual trip to Mount Rushmore, but booking an RV can actually be cute and worthy of your Instagram grid, not to mention a safer option than flying.

Pack The New Essentials

 

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Ugh what we wouldn’t give to be last minute packing before a holiday weekend 😭

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You know, the germophobe kit that would make you a weird Howie Mandel wannabe a year ago that is now the standard? Regardless of where you’re heading for the long weekend, be sure to come prepared. Pack a coronavirus safety bag with masks, sanitizer, and wipes so that you can clean your travel area or any surfaces upon arrival. “Wallet. Phone. Keys. Mask. Wipes. Purell.” The leave-the-house-checklist has got a lot longer this year.

Treat Yo’Self With The Money You’ve Saved

Splurge on something you might not usually buy with the money you’ve saved from not leaving your house and keeping travel domestic this summer. This could be something special at home, like a night in with a catered dinner, a massage therapist that comes to your backyard or balcony (if restrictions allow), a private tour, or delivery from a nice restaurant that’s normally only dine-in. These options all work for your staycation at home, too. After dealing with listening to your significant other’s work voice since March, it’s time to treat yourself.

Listen To Michelle: It Is What It Is

Remember when we all thought lockdown would be done by May? Lol, now we’ve nearly hit all four seasons in isolation and collectively binged at least three reality shows. Turns out avoiding touching your face wasn’t the ticket to flattening the curve. Regardless, we’ve found a way to (somewhat) enjoy summer, even if it meant wine tasting locally rather than in Tuscany. The vineyard pics look pretty much the same regardless of the continent, so does it even matter?

Before summer is gone, say a little toast to the fleeting season and its unexpected events. From getting out of quarantining with a boy you had no business moving in with to spending countless hours contacting airlines for credits in lieu of your canceled honeymoon, it has really been a rollercoaster. So plan a Labor Day vacay that’s distanced, has lots of White Claws on ice, avoids everyone but particularly anti-maskers, and maybe even for a few days takes your mind off of all the adult Trump children’s dead eyes that streamed live at you last week. You deserve it!

Images: Taylor Rooney / Unsplash; @betchestravel / Instagram