Trading views of sludgy pavements for exquisite snow-capped mountains sure seems like the perfect antidote to offset winter city blues. Although the new year might be fresh, the daily grind of life overall has been stale for a while (work from home, eat at home, essentially keep-doing-everything at home)-and spending time in the great outdoors has never seemed more appealing.
So it’s time for a recharge and change of scenery. With COVID-19 cases in NYC still rising and the pandemic appearing to be nowhere near done, we’ve rounded up 12 of the brightest, coziest, lift-your-spirits-up Airbnbs to escape the city with your COVID bubble. Located just a couple of hours away from NYC, these Airbnb destinations are geared towards getting you somewhere else-frankly anywhere else-but inside your tiny walk-up apartment. So cue up the road-trip playlists, grab your snow boots, and let’s goooo already.
Be sure to check each property’s listing for the latest details on their safety protocols and requirements. And as always, please social distance responsibly and mask up.
Marlboro, NY 2 guests, $284 per night Distance from NY: 1 hour, 25 minutes by car This cozy off-the-grid glass dwelling (powered by solar panels) is situated on 30 acres of rolling hills and quite literally lets guests fall asleep while gazing up at the stars. A true escapist retreat (that doesn’t sacrifice luxury), it includes both a modern stainless steel kitchen and firepit with outdoor lounging furniture. The square footage may seem miniscule but it’s the outsized panoramic views that create unforgettable impressions-from spectacular sunsets to vineyards and apple orchards, witness nature at its poetic best. Things to do nearby: Explore nearby downtown Marlboro, in addition to must-visit art destinations Dia: Beacon and Storm King Arts Center.
Tivoli, NY Up to 5 guests, $377 per night Distance from NY: 2 hours by car This gorgeous open plan loft in Hudson Valley embodies all of the coziest design features one would seek for a wintertime getaway-a library of books to enjoy by the wood-burning stove; a set of hanging egg-shaped chairs for a cozy tête-à-tête; a brass-pipe railing in patina supporting the wooden staircase; and an old rustic farm table for family dinners (complete with the rustic kitchen to prepare them). The Barn sits on a four-acre property, has multiple walking paths along the creek, and includes a firepit to enjoy toasty campfires. Things to do nearby: Walk over to The Corner for a Moroccan inspired farm-to-table menu or head to Tivoli General for local beer and cider or provisions for an indoor picnic. Visit the beautiful campus of Bard College to see architecture by Frank Gehry.
Shandaken, NY Up to 6 guests, $524 per night Distance from NY: 2 hours and 10 minutes by car Understated, modern, and architecturally stunning-this 1970s house features a wraparound balcony-style deck, southern exposures, and windows throughout, enthralling guests with gorgeous mountainside views. Choose any bedroom you like, as they all have king-size beds. Prepare expert meals in an open kitchen that includes everything from Shun knives to a professional Bertazzoni range; while the outdoor living area comes with an open fire pit, where guests can also access a charcoal grill. Things to do nearby: Taste the menu of hip eatery Phoenicia Diner and then check out the tap list at Woodstock Brewing or West Kill Brewing. Ski at Belleayre Ski Resort, hike trails at Panther Mountain and Tremper Mountain, and visit the viewing platform of Kaaterskill Falls.
Stamford, CT 2 guests, $327 per night Distance from NY: 1 hour by car When American sculptor Gutzon Borglum was building Mount Rushmore, parts of it were assembled right in his Stamford studio-site of the aptly named Zen House, a 3.5 acre private estate in southern Connecticut. Highlights among the many eye-catching design features include the all-glass exterior facing the lap pool and original stone wall that looks like an entrance to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden. The property is gorgeous and vast, transporting guests to their very own scenic hideaway. Things to do nearby: Hiking, skiing, and horseback riding are on offer nearby, in addition to an array of restaurants like Meli-Melo Creperie, The Inn at Pound Ridge by chef Jean-George, Bartaco.
Germantown, NY 2 guests, $425 per night Distance from NY: 2 hours by car The hamlet of Germantown is home to this magnificently restored, Scandinavian-inspired barn (which previously housed horses). Design details include airy, wood-beamed ceilings complemented by floor-to-ceiling windows; antique-style furnishings include a clawfoot bathtub and Victorian chaise (that practically begs someone to come recline on it); and a bedroom loft with postcard-worthy views. The 14-acre property features open fields, a private pond, gently sloping hills, and walking paths through wooded acreage to explore the grounds. Things to do nearby: Located between Hudson and Rhinebeck, order takeout from local restaurant Gaskins, along with unique antique shops in town.
Bearsville, NY 2 guests, $195 per night Distance from NY: 2 hours by car Inhaling the aroma of freshly brewed coffee (which the hosts of this guest house graciously offer) as you absorb exquisite mountain views certainly sounds like the perfect wintertime escape. Set in the secluded woods of Mount Guardian, this Hudson Valley cottage features a cozy wood stove, well-stocked kitchen, and offers plenty of serenity (there’s even a hammock). The interiors are homey, tasteful, and offer plenty of respite from the city buzz, and you just may catch a glimpse of the owner’s adorable dog on his daily walk. Things to do nearby: When you want to venture out, the arts community of Woodstock is just a few short miles away, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and artist workshops. Book an appointment in advance for a licensed massage therapist conveniently located next door.
Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY 12 guests, $343 per night Distance from NY: 1 hour by car If the thought of waking up near a waterfall draws out the nature-lover in you, then look no further than this three-story 19th century mountain house located near the riverfront village Cornwall-on-Hudson. Situated on four expansive acres and located right next to the Hudson River, enjoy gorgeous scenic views by day from any of the three comfortable living rooms (or the well stocked kitchen) and at night, while curled up by the firepit (s’mores are highly encouraged). Things to do nearby: Situated on four expansive acres leading directly into the Storm King Mountain Trailhead, there are plenty of activities to enjoy by day (from hiking to snowshoeing). Storm King Adventure Tours and Art Center are also nearby.
Bearsville, NY 2 guests, $254 per night Distance from NY: 2 hours by car Healing energy abounds at this charming mountain cottage, originally owned by a medicine woman in the early 1900s. Thoughtful touches include a dog-friendly teepee in the living room, a collection of vinyl records to play while enjoying the views, and a reusable tote when shopping for provisions in town. Warm up near the wood-burning fireplace while taking in the emerald green forests that surround this modernized home (which comes equipped with a full kitchen). You just might spot a few wildlife visitors drinking from the property’s tiny pond, and if you listen closely… why yes, that is the sound of a babbling brook nearby. Things to do nearby: It’s in a perfect location just outside of Woodstock and a short drive to the mountains or down to Kingston. Grab groceries from Sunflower Market, Cub Market, or Sunfrost Farms.
Granby, CT 4 guests, $110 per night Distance from NY: 2 hours, 15 minutes by car Almost like a fairytale come to life, this (nearly) century-old stone cottage was originally built for a member of Hartford’s high society in the 1930s. Charming touches include a tea and candy bar, a master reading corner to enjoy a selection found tucked away in the home’s bookcase, and a writing desk. This beautifully decorated stone cottage is full of history, with enchanting interiors, which could easily be at home in an English countryside village, including a large stone fireplace and original bath fixtures. Guests also have access to an awning-covered private patio and firepit, perfect for grilling (hot dogs or s’mores, your choice) during cooler mountain nights. Things to do nearby: Try plant-based treats at The Sweet Beet or some hearty winter fare at The Barn Restaurant. Experience the walking trails at Mary Edwards Mountain Property and enjoy gorgeous vista views from Heublien Tower in Talcott Mountain State Park.
Phillipsport, NY 6 guests, $454 per night Distance from NY: 1 hour, 30 minutes by car Initially designed by a Brooklyn-based architect as a family weekend escape, this modern, private cabin sits on 19 secluded, forested acres. This Catskills getaway features an open kitchen with cathedral ceilings and a dining table and shelving fashioned from the wood of an ailing sugar maple tree. Expect days filled with lazy afternoons by the fire, reading in the loft, and watching movies on the theater-style projection screen, as well as exploring local hiking trails. Named for the pond it overlooks, guests may just be fortunate enough to get a peek at a few of their wildlife neighbors-deer, foxes, even owls-during their stay. Things to do nearby: Check out the local craft beer scene at High Voltage Creek Bar or try the organic menu at Aroma Thyme Bistro, upstate New York’s first Certified Green Restaurant. Hike up Bear Hill Preserve or Sam’s Point trailhead in the Hudson Valley.
Windham, NY Up to 10 guests, $1,714 per night Distance from NY: 2 hours, 20 minutes by car Lest we forget, we’re right in the middle of ski season. What better way to break free of the daily drudgery than a luxury mountainside condo where skis can literally take you everywhere you need to go? This three-bedroom property features all the highbrow amenities (indoor fireplace, Sonos sound system, onsite washer/dryer) and comes with a fully equipped kitchen-perfect for enjoying a long, relaxing lunch in between ski sessions. In the evening, relax those well-worn muscles in the heated pool or one of the two hot tubs. Things to do nearby: Head to Adventure Park for snowtubing and hot cocoa, enjoy local craft beers at Tavern 23, or relax with a massage in the Alpine Spa. Visit nearby Bastion Falls which features one of the area’s most popular hiking trails.
New Fairfield, CT Up to 4 guests, $189 per night Distance from NY: 1 hour, 20 minutes by car Nestled behind Squantz Pond State Park and across from Candlewood Lake, this recently renovated 1940s lake cabin may just be the perfect seclusion getaway. A fully stocked kitchen (that includes breakfast and baking essentials) offers everything you need to enjoy the space-be it under blankets on the couch watching movies or relaxing on the patio, coffee cup in hand. With plenty of scenic views and nearby trails, the only real question to answer is which direction you want to look. On that note, star-gazing is available both (fire)pit-side and (hot)tub-side. Things to do nearby: Visit the nearby town of Kent for a nature trek in the Kent Falls State Park, then stop by Kent Falls Brewing for a barnside beer-pick. Check out the family-owned While Silo Farm & Winery and Deer Pond Farm Sanctuary (operated by the Connecticut Audubon Society) in Sherman, another town nearby.Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.
Swathi Reddy is a Louisiana-born, NYC-based freelance writer and marketer. Formerly a Food & Wine staffer for over a decade, she can’t think of anything better to do in life than talking about food while eating food. Except maybe discussing cocktails (or wine).
Walk around any local neighbourhood throughout the five boroughs, and through empty storefronts, it’s clear that small businesses in NYC have been hit hard since the start of the pandemic.
This year for Small Business Saturday, not only can you show your support by popping in to your favourite shop, but by also making purchases online. Here are just a few brands to spend your money on this holiday season.
This coffee roastery focused on inclusivity and sustainable practices has locations in the East Village, Chelsea, and Fort Greene, in addition to a training center in Long Island City. For the holidays, stay caffeinated with Coffee Project New York‘s special Around the World in 12 Days gift set featuring 12 global beans and tasting notes for each.
This online packaged food brand started by ‘Yemisi Awosan when she was homesick for Nigerian flavours during college offers West African goods made with farm-to-table ingredients. From soups and stews to fufu and sauces, Egunsi Foods also has vegan items.
This cozy coffee shop highlights products from coffee roasters in the Black community. In addition to sandwiches, coffee beans, tea, and more, I Like It Black‘s space also offers a great view of Harlem’s historic 125th Street thoroughfare.
This Harlem institution from Alvin Lee Smalls has been a NYC destination for rugelach since 1965. For sharing during the holidays, at Lee Lee’s Baked Goods, the popular Jewish treat that translates to “little twist” in Yiddish is available in a 12, 24, and 36 set, in addition to a special 26-piece gift tin.
Harlem Make My Cake Bakery is run by several generations of the Smith family with recipes passed down from their matriarch, Josephine Smith aka “Ma Smith.” From cakes and cookies and pies and pastries, order flavours ranging from double chocolate delight cupcakes, coconut pecan cookies, cinnamon rolls, and black & white cake. There’s also an Upper West Side location in addition to the Harlem storefront.
As longtime Harlem residents, the husband-and-wife team behind Sugar Hill Creamery opened their popular shop in 2017 to be a place for the neighbourhood to grab a seat and enjoy artisanal ice cream made from scratch. In addition to offering an array of flavours like the Chairperson of the Board (blueberry cheesecake) and Nunu’s Peach Cobbler (peach with cobbler crumbler), they also regularly host community based programs throughout the year meant to empower the Black experience while facilitating connection and storytelling. In addition to a location in Hamilton Heights and Time Out Market in Dumbo, products are also available for nationwide shipping.
Upper East Side Schaller and Weber is an Upper East Side butcher shop that’s been offering German-style sausages and Northern European speciality foods for more than 80 years. If a single order of pate or charcuterie isn’t going to cut it this year, choose from an array of gift packs like the Christmas Gift Box with an array of items ranging from truffle brat to olive oil crackers.
Virtual Spoken Flames is a candle company founded by Shavaun Christian and each candle is hand-poured and made with a natural coconut wax blend. Choose from selections like Sea Sea Me made with salt, melon, musk, and chamomile, and the LOL featuring notes of mango, lavender, and fresh linen.