THE TOP 5: Quick Destinations From NYC

I split my time between Eastern Long Island and Queens so I know what it’s like to want to get away for a little while. These are places that pull me out of reality for a bit and are so good I go back again…and again. Anything from a good lunch to a day exploring means that you have taken some time off for yourself and gotten out of the busy city to recharge.

1. Russell’s Ribs (Groton, CT)
You may think I’m out of my mind to mention a BBQ joint all the way in Connecticut. Honestly, this is the best rib joint on the east coast. There is a lot to do nearby but the 2 hour drive is worth it just to get an amazing meal and spend the day driving around. In fact, I have driven there just to get lunch. It’s that worth it.

Website: www.russellsribs.50megs.com

2. Atlantis Marine World (Riverhead, LI)
This is an excellent aquarium in a quaint part of town. A good drive out east and all the city grit seeps out of your pores. It’s a great place to bring the kids…or not. You can get through the whole place quickly but the best parts are the outdoor shows or booking a time to get in a cage in the shark tank. Cute mom and pop joints all around make lunch a hard choice.

Website: www.atlantismarineworld.com

3. Book Revue (Huntington, LI)
A book store you ask? Walk in here and a few days might go by before you get out. Book Revue holds every kind of book imaginable, including a locked case or two of some very old and interesting finds. It is a large place but still has the feel (and smell) of a book store before big chains took over. They have very cool guest speakers come in and there is always an extensive events list. Book Revue is located in the heart of Huntington Village and many shops, restaurants and a movie theater nearby will have you there all day long.

Website: www.bookrevue.com

4. Old Westbury Gardens (Old Westbury, LI)
Not too deep into Long Island you can find the magical Old Westbury Gardens. This is an exquisite old house with acres of beautiful gardens. The grounds are stunning during the summer and a picnic there is something out of a fairy tale. You will probably run into a bride and groom taking pictures under the trees. There are many summer concerts and don’t forget your camera!

Website: www.oldwestburygardens.org

5. The Shack (Centerport, LI)
The Shack is what it sounds like…kinda. It is literally a shack on the side of a busy road with a bar and a handful of picnic tables. What you would not expect out of this little place is the over the top food they produce. It is a seafood heavy place with everything from burgers and lobster rolls to seafood fra diavlo and bisque. By far one of the standouts here is their New England clam chowder. The Shack is seasonal, its opening means summer is starting and it goes by its own rules, closing whenever the weather is lousy. While sitting and eating you rub elbows with everyone from complete families to groups of bikers getting beers. This place is one of a kind and certainly not to be missed.

Website: www.clamsandchaos.com

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