For some of us, the idea of a summer vacation is a fantastical memory from childhood where we languished leisurely sometimes for two full weeks at a time, escaping our crowded cities for new destinations and experiences. Nowadays, summer vacation may seem a far cry from demanding jobs and lack of PTO, but the same cultural rejuvenation can be yours—if only for a day.
Whether by bus, train or if you want to get fancy and rent a car, a daycation could be just what you need this summer to get that vacation glow. Head east to the end of Long Island and explore Jackson Pollock’s studio (complete with stray paint drips from the artist’s hand), or take in the permanent collection at the Parrish Art Museum. You can also journey to Beacon to explore the ruins of Bannerman’s Castle, and the Minimalist collection of Dia Beacon—the largest natural-light museum in the state.
Jack Shainman’s The School is an airy alternative for art viewing to his Chelsea galleries in Kinderhook, New York, as is Olana, painter Frederic Edwin Church’s former be-stenciled abode. The glamour of the Golden Age of New York can still be felt at Kykuit, the palatial escape of the Rockefeller family. Or, if you’re too lazy to leave the boroughs, take the ferry to Snug Harbor in Staten Island for an art and architectural-filled escape on the cheap.
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Pollock Krasner House
830 Springs-Fireplace Road, East Hampton
Jackson Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner moved from Manhattan to this historic farm house abode in East Hampton in 1945, where Pollock continued to paint. Now a museum, the floorboards, bearing signature drips from Pollock’s art-making, have been carefully preserved so visitors can transport themselves to a day in the late artist’s studio.
Parrish Art Museum
279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill
Founded in 1897, the museum moved to the gorgeous new Herzog & de Meuron-designed building in 2012. The giant barn-style building houses an impressive collection of works from the 19th century to the present, with highlights that include Elizabeth Peyton, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Chuck Close.
Image via Blues Guy from NY
Pollepel Island, New York
The Gilded Age castle is visible if you’re paying attention whilst traveling on Metro North, but the palatial structure was never used as a home. Built by Francis Bannerman to house the surplus of his arms dealership in 1901, the castle has been victim to explosions (from the obvious live weaponry on-site) and fire, but is now open for public tours, picnics and other family fun.
3 Beekman Street, Beacon
Not far from Bannerman Castle is the epic Dia Beacon Museum, an enormous day-light exhibition space set in an old Nabisco box-printing factory. The museum houses the foundation’s collection of works from the 1960s to present day, heavy on the Minimalism. If that era isn’t your thing, think of the museum as one giant art work itself, and you’re guaranteed to appreciate its grandeur.
Jack Shainman, The School
25 Broad Street, Kinderhook
Gallerist Jack Shainman bought up an idyllic old school in upstate New York to transform into an arty outpost escape from the regular gallery scene in New York. Open only on Saturdays, the space kicked off with an exhibition and programming by Nick Cave last summer, and welcomes the beautiful work of El Anatsui this year.
5720 State Route 9G, Hudson
Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church’s palatial Hudson Valley home is an odd architectural mix of Moorish, Victorian and Persian styles, and is uniquely meticulously stenciled inside and out. The inside looks much like it did when Church lived there, as does the 250 acres of gorgeous landscape, designed by the artist himself.
Photo by Bryan Haeffele via HudsonValley.org
381 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow
The grandiose mansion built in 1913 was inhabited by four generations of New York royalty, the Rockefeller family. Today, you can tour their ridiculously fancy digs, gardens, and see pieces of their art collection which of course includes Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. There is also a “Coach Barn” packed with the Rockefellers’ collection of vintage automobiles.
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island
It’s true, Staten Island is technically part of New York City, but venturing there on the ferry makes it feel like a day trip–especially to the Shangri-la that is Snug Harbor. There is pretty much something for everyone there: a traditional Japanese garden, contemporary art, horticulture, performing arts and music, educational farming, all amid the idyllic grounds of a former 19th century home for sailors.