Long weekends out of NYC: Finger Lakes and more

Explore one of the many vineyards in Finger Explore one of the many vineyards in Finger Lakes Wine Country. Photo Credit: Stu Gallagher Photographer

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Turn your weekend into a long one this summer and take a three-day trip to one of these destinations. Great wine, food, waterside views and more await.

FINGER LAKES

New York’s wine country is just a few hours away.

What to do: Wine is a major draw of the Finger Lakes, which stretches across New York State from Syracuse to Rochester. Finger Lakes Wine Country (Fingerlakeswinecountry.com) boasts nearly 100 wineries, as well as breweries and distilleries, surrounding the Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga and Canandaigua lakes. Beyond wine, take to the water with Paddle the Palisades (Stktours.com), which tours the Chemung River. Visitors can also rent bikes, Jet Skis and pontoon boats from Keuka Watersports (Keukawatersports.com) and further explore the region.

Where to eat: Blue Pointe Grill at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel (16 N. Franklin St., 607-535-6116, Watkinsglenharborhotel.com) overlooks the beautiful Seneca Lake and has an extensive wine list. Waterfront Restaurant (12664 West Lake Rd., 607-868-4848, Waterfrontkeuka.com) is a long-running, family-friendly spot in Keuka Lake.

Where to stay: For upscale accommodations in the heart of Finger Lakes Wine Country, get a room with a view at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The Raddison Hotel Corning (125 Denison Pkwy. E., 607-962-5000, Radisson.com) is also ideally located for exploring historic Corning and its vineyards.

Getting there: About five hours by car.

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Summer pick: Taste all the region as to offer at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival ($35-$45, July 11-13, flwinefest.com), the largest showcase of New York State wines.
 
ALEXANDRIA

Slow things down in this quaint Virginia town on the Potomac.

What to do: Alexandria is a stone’s throw from the nation’s capital, across the scenic Potomac River, but offers a more relaxed vacation setting. Take the Metro or a water taxi from Old Town, Alexandria, to the National Mall for a day of sightseeing. Then spend the rest of your trip perusing this historic town’s quaint shops on King Street, picking up produce in Market Square and exploring 900 acres of dedicated open space, including waterfront parks, public gardens and the nearly 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail.

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Where to eat: Discover locally owned and off-the-beaten-path restaurants on the Old Town Alexandria Food Tour ($60, Thurs-Sun. between 1 and 4:20 p.m., Dcmetrofoodtours.com). Then cap the evening at PX Lounge (728 King St., 703-299-8384, Eamonnsdublinchipper.com), a speakeasy-style lounge serving handcrafted cocktails.

Where to stay: The Lorien Hotel & Spa (1600 King St., 877-956-7436, Lorienhotelandspa.com) and the Alexandria Hotel Monaco (480 King St., 800-368-5047, Monaco-alexandria.com) are both luxury boutique Kimpton properties in the heart of Old Town.

Getting there: About four hours by car, train or bus.

Summer pick: Pack a picnic and blanket and head to the free Thursday Evening Concert Series (June 5-26, running every Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. at 121 N. Fairfax St., 703-549-2997, visitalexandriava.com/events), in celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The series is held on the lawn of the Carlyle House in Old Town.
 

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BLOCK ISLAND

Go off the coast of Rhode Island for the sand, shops and seafood.

What to do: The 17 miles of pristine beaches is the main attraction on this 3-by-7-mile island, and they’re all free and open to the public. But if you don’t want to be a beach bum your entire stay, the island also boasts more than 50 stores and specialty shops and numerous art galleries. For exercise, there are plenty of options, including biking, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching and sailing.

Where to eat: Check out Eli’s (456 Chapel St., 401-466-5230, Elisblockisland.com) for Asian-inspired comfort food or the ocean view Harbor Grill (41 Water ST., 401-466-2828, Harborgrillbi.com) for fresh local seafood, burgers and pasta dishes.
Where to stay: Opt for a spacious room with a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean at the 1661 Inn and Hotel Manisses (5 Spring St., 800-626-4773, Blockislandresorts.com).

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Getting there: Making it to the island is half the adventure. Perhaps the easiest route by car is to make the three-hour drive to Narragansett, Rhode Island, and then board the Block Island Ferry (Blockislandferry.com), for the 55-minute ride to the island. Reservations required for passengers with cars.

Summer pick: Block Island Restaurant Week (June 16-22, www.blockislandchamber.com/restaurant-week) will feature three-course prix-fixe dinners for $21-$29 at more than 17 local restaurants.

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