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At NYC’s Rockaways, an escape and a farewell

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At NYC’s Rockaways, an escape and a farewell


To say goodbye to New York, author Chris Dong takes an in a single day trip to the seaside and finds there’s a lot to be taught in part of town he had lengthy solely thought of for day journeys.

Behind a layer of patchy fog, the solar casts a milky glow. It’s simply after daybreak on a brisk, late-spring morning on Rockaway Beach, a Queens neighborhood sitting on a slender stretch of New York City between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Two individuals out for a stroll greet me with a cheerful good day. Clearly, I’m not in Midtown Manhattan anymore, the place after seven years waking up in the identical constructing, my neighbors stay anonymous.

New York Metropolis could also be identified for the anonymity of a crowded road and the spectacle of a towering skyscraper, however this nook of town is an antithesis to these scenes. 

Outlined throughout the bay, the Manhattan skyline stands simply 16 miles to the northwest but feels a world away. When the summer time warmth inevitably arrives, metropolis dwellers flock right here by subway and ferry, determined for a reprieve. 

Dwelling to 130,000 everlasting residents, the Rockaways, encompassing the neighborhoods of Rockaway Seaside, Far Rockaway and 7 others, receives over 5 million beachgoers every year. It’s as if between Memorial Day and Labor Day, New Yorkers like myself lastly bear in mind they’re actually a part of a metropolis on the ocean, dwelling to over 14 miles of public seaside. 

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Scenes from Far Rockaway: the shoreline at sunset, a mother and son play in the ocean waves, shadows on the boardwalk, a sign at 89th street, and patrons at Rockaway Beach Surf Club bar and restaurant
Scenes from the Rockaways: the shoreline at sundown, a mom and son play within the ocean waves, shadows on the boardwalk, an indication at 89th road, and patrons at Rockaway Seaside Surf Membership bar and restaurant © Stefano Giovannini; Getty Pictures

Beating the crowds

I’m right here early within the season, when issues are quieter. As an alternative of dashing to catch the final ferry of the night, I’m spending the evening within the neighborhood. A New Yorker for practically a decade, this in a single day expertise is one in every of my closing farewells earlier than shifting to Los Angeles and breaking a lifelong allegiance to the East Coast. As I make my approach down the boardwalk in direction of 116th Road, a freshly brewed espresso acts as my makeshift hand hotter. Whereas Greenhouse Café, on the bottom flooring of the Rockaway Lodge, is a relative newcomer to the scene, the homeowners will not be. 

The Flatow household has deep roots within the Rockaways with their two outposts of Delicacies by Claudette, named after the matriarch of the household, Claudette Flatow. From filling my caffeine repair with a clean Peruvian drip within the morning to biting into the right eggplant sabich within the afternoon, I make the most of the Flatows’ abilities, one thing they’ve shared with the Rockaways neighborhood since 2012.  

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Brunch at Cuisine by Claudette in Far Rockaway
Brunch at Delicacies by Claudette © Stefano Giovannini

As I’d come to expertise throughout my “staycation” on the peninsula, the folks that reside on Rockaway Seaside are happy with the place they name dwelling. At Claudette’s and elsewhere, that is an everyone-knows-each-other seaside neighborhood the place locals greet one another by title.

Even the recently-opened Rockaway Hotel, a 53-room upscale property steps from each the ferry and the seaside, was the creation of third-generation Rockaway Seaside residents, Terence and Dan Tubridy. Every week, the lodge invitations a rotating array of native Rockaways eating places, corresponding to Whit’s Finish and Pizza D’Amore, for his or her “Dinner and a Band” collection. 

Waking up in the identical metropolis, however in a brand new place

There’s one thing particular about waking up in a brand new neighborhood so in contrast to your individual, whereas nonetheless inside the metropolis limits. As an alternative of worrying concerning the logistics of journey, I felt extra tuned into my environment: the swish of waves hitting sand, the frenzied power of fishermen getting ready for a morning at sea, and the quiet conversations of aged residents on morning walks.

Chris Dong on his hotel room's balcony, Rockaway Hotel
Author Chris Dong on his lodge room’s balcony on the comparatively new Rockaway Lodge © Stefano Giovannini

Earlier than this in a single day escape, I’d come to the realm earlier than, spending most of my time at Riis Park Beach, a queer enclave on the western Rockaway peninsula. From bumping beats to people-watching galore, the daytime vibe there seems like nightlife with sunscreen. It solely took a handful of visits to create a routine: discover a spot on the sand with pals, watch the day disappear, make a fast pit cease for afternoon fish tacos at Tacoway Seaside, catch the ferry again to town. 

As I get up on Sunday morning and emerge into the quiet fog, I stroll previous the dunes, watching surfers take their positions alongside the coast, keen to search out that magic carpet trip to shore. A Delta jet, seconds after takeoff from JFK’s Runway 22, soars low over ninetieth Road.

To see this place earlier than the daytrippers arrive feels, even only for these few hours, as if I reside right here. 

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Surfing waves of Far Rockaway Beach in June; Far Rockaway Beach Queens, New York
Surfers collect at Rockaway Seaside all through the summer time © Alamy

Experiencing a spot as an area 

Within the Rockaways, the deep roots of neighborhood lengthen past pleasant hellos and early morning surf periods. 

For dinner, my pals and I eat at Whit’s Finish, an Italian restaurant that in only a few years has change into one thing of a Rockaways establishment. It’s the kind of place that might additionally go for a jazz membership, speakeasy, sports activities bar and burlesque venue – multi function. 

The handwritten menu options dishes just like the “fucking good burger” and “fast ass ceviche.” Everybody appears to know one another. An inebriated common dances beside the bar whereas the waitress grabs a chair, sits at our desk and reads out the specials.

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LEFT: Rockaway Hotel's rooftop bar; RIGHT: Chris Dong and friends share oysters at Rockaway Hotel's restaurant, Margie's
LEFT: Rockaway Lodge’s rooftop bar; RIGHT: Chris Dong and pals collect on the Rockaway Lodge’s restaurant, Margie’s © Stefano Giovannini

A goodbye to a spot that I’ve referred to as dwelling

Earlier than returning to Manhattan, I am going for a closing journey down the boardwalk. This time, it’s by bike. Again in Midtown, I’ve to gingerly weave by traffic-filled streets, dodging drivers who assume they personal the highway.

However right here, on the boardwalk, I bike with a way of abandon. I don’t thoughts that my seaside cruiser’s seat is about practically a foot too low for me. As an alternative of pungent automotive exhaust, there’s an invigorating, stiff sea breeze. And as an alternative of a exact give attention to the trail forward, I repair my gaze above as one more airplane passes.

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Chris Dong and friend cycle along the boardwalk in Far Rockaway
Rockaway Seaside is a superb place for carefree biking excursions © Stefano Giovannini

Simply once I really feel myself vanishing into the sort of half-dream state caused by seaside cities, I’m reminded that this place continues to be very a lot New York Metropolis. To my left, the A practice – the identical one which stops at Penn Station within the coronary heart of Midtown – rumbles previous on elevated tracks. Piercing by the fixed name and response of seagulls, I hear the acquainted screech of an MTA bus braking.

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A surfer walks out into the ocean at Rockaway Beach
Although a part of New York Metropolis, the seashores of the Rocakways can really feel a world other than the thrill of Manhattan © Andrew Burton / Alamy

After an overcast weekend, the primary full rays of solar peek out from behind the clouds. Heat, gentle and infinite blue sky are a few of the the reason why I had determined to relocate to Los Angeles. I had come right here, partly, to say goodbye. And right here was New York reminding me of simply how magic it’s, when that sunshine cuts by days of grey skies. 

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This charming city on Lake Como is the place Italians go to flee the summer time crowds

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This charming city on Lake Como is the place Italians go to flee the summer time crowds


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Louise Thomas

Lake Como has lengthy been a preferred getaway for holidaymakers looking for a chic lakeside retreat, with the cities of Bellagio and Como attracting tens, if not tons of, of 1000’s of tourists a yr.

Its enchantment is in no way new. Lake Como was one of many main luxurious European hotspots of the Sixties, offering a haven for Hollywood stars and rich households eager to flee the town. Winston Churchill got here right here to color after the conflict and Verdi was impressed to jot down La Traviata on these very banks.

Right this moment, signs of luxury abound – personal boats dot a lake surrounded by waterfront mansions, and there’s a Ferrari round each nook. The wealthy and well-known flock to the lake each summer time, with the likes of George and Amal Clooney, Tom Cruise, Madonna, and Sylvester Stallone all having fun with the shores of Como. Lake Como has a wealthy status, and the crowds and infrequently exorbitant costs replicate that.

Nevertheless, Lake Como isn’t simply made up of high-end tourist-filled hotspots. Alongside the 30-mile-long lake, you could find culturally historic cities resembling Lecco, Sorico, Menaggio, and Domaso that present a respite from the oppressive crowds. In any case, a part of the magic of escaping to a lakeside city or mountainous refuge is to get in contact with nature, not be jostled by the hordes making an attempt to get the proper lakefront picture.

Como winds for 30 miles through Lecco, Sorico and Menaggio
Como winds for 30 miles by means of Lecco, Sorico and Menaggio (Getty Photographs/iStockphoto)

Simply south of Varenna lies the city of Lecco, beloved by Italians in search of a Lake Como getaway. The city itself feels small and the centre is walkable – you may get from the practice station to the ferry terminal in simply 10 minutes on foot.

That’s to not say that there isn’t a wealth of retailers, bakeries, and eating places that you could dive into. You’ll discover massive title European shops like H&M, Calzedonia, and Carrefour supermarkets blended in with native impartial clothes and bookshops. The shortage of touristy stands is obvious. Not like Bellagio, you received’t discover stalls promoting fridge magnets and trinkets on each nook.

There are additionally the everyday Italian piazzas, resembling Piazza Garibaldi, the place you possibly can take pleasure in an espresso with a pastry whereas listening to a busker play. Afterwards, wander alongside the lakefront promenade with its well-maintained cycle lanes and rows of flowers with a beneficiant scoop of gelato from Capo Horn Gelateria Artigianale. For the primary eating places and bars like Bottega del Maiale, L’EK Bistrot, and Cardamomo Persian Palace Lecco, head to Piazza Septembre the place you’ll discover alfresco eating areas and common stay music simply a few streets again from the lakefront.

Learn extra on Italy travel:

A brief wander to the lakefront is rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the encompassing mountains, resembling Monte Rosa, Monviso, and Adamello, and you may typically discover households and {couples} sitting on the shoreline having fun with a picnic because the solar goes down.

Every part right here strikes slightly slower. You’ll be able to simply whereas away hours with a beneficiant glass of Sforzato di Valtellina or Franciacorta and people-watch in the primary sq. of Palazzo delle Paure. For panoramas of the lake and mountains, take a passeggiata to the Lungolago di Lecco viewpoint with its medieval ruins.

Whereas there may be far more selection by way of lodging in Bellagio and Como, together with extra chain lodges and massive manufacturers, when you’re in search of reasonably priced luxurious, there are many good choices in Lecco such because the Lodge Griso and Lodge Villa Cipresi.

The area surrounding Lecco is full of hiking trails, cycling routes and other opportunities for outdoor activities
The realm surrounding Lecco is filled with mountaineering trails, biking routes and different alternatives for outside actions (Rebecca Crowe)

The lake and the encompassing mountains are glorious for hiking and climbing, with the Nibbio crag that’s well-liked with climbers inside a half hour’s drive. Close by trails embody the intimidating Magnodeno Mountain, Monte Barro and the tranquil Sentiero delle Pozze (or Path of the Swimming pools) the place you possibly can take a dip in pure swimming pools all alongside the route.

A  hike to Piani d’Erna or Monte Resegone is a good way to construct up an urge for food for scrumptious, and reasonably priced, native fare resembling pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese, creamy polenta dishes, and unctuous risotto.

The place to remain

Lecco Hostel & Rooms

For an reasonably priced Lake Como expertise, Lecco Hostel and Rooms provides shiny, trendy widespread areas and a mixture of comfortable personal rooms and dorm beds, only a kilometre from the primary practice station. The hostel additionally advantages from an exquisite backyard, a spacious shared lounge, co-working areas, and an onsite restaurant.

Casa al Lago

Lots of the high locations to remain in Lecco are vacation properties and residence leases. Casa al Lago has the most effective places on the town, proper on the lakefront. This small however stunning one-bedroom residence has a balcony that appears straight out throughout Lake Como, instantly reverse the ferry terminal in the course of city.

HLL Lodge Lungolago Lecco

If you wish to keep proper by the gorgeous Lungolago di Lecco viewpoint, contemplate reserving a keep at HLL Hotel Lungolago Lecco. With the favored Tabula Rosa restaurant being connected to the lodge, a location simply steps from the lakefront promenade, and beautiful balcony views, it’s undoubtedly the most effective locations to remain in Lecco.

Easy methods to get there

Essentially the most handy route includes flying into Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) or Milan Bergamo Airport (BGY). British Airways, ITA, easyJet, and Ryanair fly from throughout the UK with a flight time of slightly below two hours.

After a 45-minute practice from Malpensa to Milan, or a 17-minute bus from Bergamo airport to Bergamo, you possibly can take a direct practice to Lecco. From both Bergamo or Milan, this takes 40 minutes, with 58 trains a day from Milan and round 29 from Bergamo.

Getting round

For journeys across the lake, there are 29 trains a day between Varenna and Lecco in addition to 4-6 ferries per day between Lecco and Bellagio (relying on the day).

The city’s practice station has direct and frequent traces into Varenna simply north of the city, and into Bergamo and Milan, which are perfect for day journeys or for heading out to the airport. Prepare tickets to Milan price simply 5 euros every manner and you may be within the centre of the town inside an hour.

Learn extra on why you should pick North Macedonia for a lakeside break

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Savannah vs Charleston: which Southern metropolis is greatest?

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Savannah vs Charleston: which Southern metropolis is greatest?


It is arduous to search out two extra stunning cities within the USA than Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina.

The proximity – roughly two hours aside by automobile – and related historic character of those standard Southern gems have led to many comparisons, however when you’ve solely received restricted time, how do you select which one to go to? In a pleasant spirit of competitors, we requested two journey writers to make the case for the place they love essentially the most. Let’s examine how the 2 cities stack up.

Pastel-colored houses and palm trees on a street on a sunny day
Charleston is filled with Southern allure. Martina Birnbaum / Getty Photos

Sorry Savannah, Charleston is holier than thou

A local of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jesse Scott has visited Charleston dozens of occasions by the many years. He has written extensively on town in addition to the state of South Carolina for Lonely Planet.

Charleston has been a daily household vacation spot for this East Coast lifer since I used to be a time, and now, at 38 years outdated, my spouse and I return, typically with buddies in tow, at each doable second. Certain, the origins of its “Holy Metropolis” moniker are ingrained in its steeple-loaded skyline, however greater than 350 years into its existence, it’s true heaven on each cultural stage.

In a nod to Savannah’s baseball team, selecting the Georgia metropolis over Charleston could be, effectively, bananas. Enjoyable truth: Charleston’s RiverDogs are co-owned by native/icon/common man of awesomeness, Invoice Murray, who’s the staff’s – look ahead to it – Director of Enjoyable. Constructing on Murray’s title, Charleston is fuuuuuuuuuun (9 extra Us worthy than Savannah). It is a true faculty city finished proper: townies and vacationers mesh fantastically with the inhabitants of College of Charleston for a nonstop, Southern-charmed buzz. The unending panorama of rooftop bars, a mixture of historic and modern inns, cobblestone streets, palmettos and posh boutiques solely full the vibe. It is best on show through the SEWE wildlife festival the place, amongst different issues, the DockDogs Competitors entails lovely sporting canine leaping and flying by the air so far as they’ll, earlier than splashing down into swimming pools beneath.

Cars parked on a street with historic architecture in downtown Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is a university city with nonstop Southern allure. f11photo / Shutterstock

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Savannah is loaded with seen historical past. However perceive that Charleston is a metropolis of so many firsts and bests, which make it that rather more particular. At Fort Sumter looming off its coast have been the primary photographs of the Civil Battle. On the location of the Country Club of Charleston, the nation’s first golf membership was born. It is a blast to walk and bike over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, which is the longest cable-stayed bridge within the nation.

And, one way or the other, someway, now we have made it this far with out addressing Charleston’s OMG-worthy culinary scene. Holy Metropolis is broadly considered “the meals capital of the South.” That is the birthplace of sherry-dashed, cream-alicious she-crab soup in addition to Planters Punch, a rum-loaded, pineapple-y concoction that all the time turns a frown the wrong way up. Georgia could declare to be the Peach State, however, ahem, South Carolina is definitely a much bigger producer. Be it downing a peach bellini (or three) at Carmella’s Café and Dessert Bar or a bourbon-doused peach cobbler at Poogan’s Porch, it is all the time a peach (actually).

The variety of Charleston’s foodie scene is actually hanging. On the snag-and-go gamut, the oft-long queue at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit on King St for a scorching, handmade morsel is all the time price it. In relation to elaborate eating, spots like Honeysuckle Rose are serving up Michelin star-worthy, eight-course tasting menus with wine pairings on the bottom stage of a comfy home on town’s westside. And, whereas we’re at it, the truth that Charleston does not have a Michelin Information of its personal by this level is a borderline atrocity.

Past all of its multisensory bliss, it actually is the individuals of Charleston which might be the glue of a visit to town. You are positive to get somewhat twang, historical past, allure and persona in any interplay you pursue. The trendy Charleston is various, has a inventive edge and is infectious to locals and guests alike – Southern metropolis perfection.

A sidewalk lined with old-fashiond lampposts is sheltered by Spanish moss drooping from the trees above
Savannah has laid-back vibes and character at each flip. joe daniel value / Getty Photos

Savannah has the artsy edge on Charleston

Caroline Eubanks is a journey author from Atlanta, Georgia, and the writer of This Is My South: The Important Journey Information to the Southern States. She could have lived in Charleston for a time, however Savannah is her most popular getaway.

Regardless of residing in Charleston in my twenties, today, I want the artsy neighborhoods, classic purchasing and funky cocktail bars of the Hostess Metropolis. My first visit was a few years in the past, and regardless that I nonetheless discover one thing new to do every journey, each time I’m going, I be sure to sip and snack by the Forsyth Park Farmers Market and eat as a lot recent seafood as doable on Tybee Island. 

Whereas each Charleston and Savannah are coastal locales, they’ve loads of variations that set them aside. Savannah is extra laid-back. Charleston’s King St is now crammed with nationwide chain outlets, however Savannah’s Broughton St continues to be largely native. You possibly can choose up crystals from Mystic Apothecary earlier than making a customized scent on the Story Fragrance Library. Wander the Paris Market and discover one thing particular from Levy Jewelers, which has been domestically owned since 1900. 

Charleston has a well-earned repute for its culinary scene, however Savannah has equally unimaginable eating places. James Beard award-winning chef Mashama Bailey’s the Grey is only one of them, situated within the metropolis’s former Greyhound bus depot. Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room has earned the America’s Classics title, and Elizabeth on thirty seventh was acknowledged for its excellent service. There are numerous extra that have not been honored with the large awards however deserve reward, like my favorites, Crystal Beer Parlor, Sea Wolf and the Black Rabbit

Savannah additionally pays homage to its heritage, particularly the historical past of the Gullah-Geechee communities which have inhabited the Sea Islands for generations. The Pin Point Heritage Museum is ready within the former warehouse of a neighborhood shrimp and oyster firm and options displays on the language, foodways and historical past of Gullah-Geechee individuals.  

Town has a long-running connection to the humanities and is dwelling to the Savannah Faculty of Artwork and Design, one of many nation’s main arts establishments. The school has its personal wonderful museum and the two-building Telfair Museums, with its well-known Chicken Woman statue from the duvet of the bestselling e book set in Savannah, Midnight within the Backyard of Good and Evil

Lights from buildings reflected in the Savannah River at dusk
River St, alongside the Savannah River, comes alive within the evenings. Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

The neighborhoods are its greatest asset, the place you possibly can go to the cool native spots. The historic district is clearly the preferred because it contains the big-name museums and eating places, plus the open container district on River St, one thing that Charleston does not have. Colourful Starland District has a document store, pinball arcade, a Texas-themed bar, and Starland Yard, an open-air meals corridor made up of transformed transport containers. Within the Victorian District, you possibly can watch glass blowers in motion, eat at Betty Bombers, a diner inside an American Legion, and admire town’s most stunning properties.

I additionally love that you could spend a weekend in Savannah with out breaking the financial institution, one thing I can not do in Charleston. Most motels there begin at $200, however Savannah has the fashionable however cheap motel vibes on the Thunderbird Inn and the scenic campground at Skidaway Island State Park. Staying in Midtown, on Tybee Island, and throughout the harbor can even save money.

Like Charleston, Savannah is often explored on foot, however the metropolis has a well-connected bus system, together with two routes that loop across the historic district and a ferry to Hutchinson Island. For those who’re touring by automobile, you may have to concentrate to the one-way streets, however I can normally discover road parking and am not spending a fortune on a parking deck, one thing I am unable to say in Charleston. 

I nonetheless maintain Charleston near my coronary heart, however in the case of town that most closely fits my persona, today, it is received to be Savannah. 

This text was first printed Could 23, 2019 and up to date Jul 22, 2024.

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Most airways besides one are recovering from the CrowdStrike tech outage. The feds have observed – ABC Information

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Most airways besides one are recovering from the CrowdStrike tech outage. The feds have observed – ABC Information

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