There seems to be no end of $100,000 summer shacks to rent in Montauk. But when six figures is more realistic as a target salary than as a 12-weekend spree, it can feel like the only way to get out of New York for more than a day is in the back of a hearse. Still, there are non-fatal alternatives to Eastern Long Island, and most of them are actually better, unless you like sitting in traffic, in which case may we introduce you to Bridgehampton in mid-July.
And how much does this more modest weekend cost? Say you go somewhere bucolic, near the city, where food and entertainment aren't prohibitively expensive. In other words, the Hudson Valley. We'll set the date in midsummer, on the weekend of Friday, July 12th. The place: Hudson, New York.
Transportation: Easy there -- you're going to the Hudson Valley, not the Outback. All you need is a compact car, which you can pick up in Hoboken (a jaunt on the PATH train) for about half the cost of a Manhattan pickup. At $85/day, your transportation total is $170.
Gas: This needs a bit of fudging. You'll probably use a tank and a half for the weekend, so say $100, tops.
Hotel: These are expensive. If Loot had its way, you would sleep in the back of your rental car and spend the savings on champagne. But that's a bit of a jump from The 1770 House. Let's factor in housing.
You want to have a fun weekend, not a precious one, so B&Bs are tricky -- you don't want to feel like you're a guest at an elderly aunt's, but since you're staying in the Hudson Valley a little rustic charm is to be expected. We recommend the Front Street Guest House, with rooms starting at $139/night. Just quaint enough that it's nice, not creepy. Total: $311 with taxes and fees.
Food: Hudson has great restaurants, and with a couple of exceptions they won't zing you with New York prices. There's Truck Pizza, which is as good as any pie you'll get in NYC. You and your companion can go there Friday night (total: $30) and have ice cream at LICK (total: $8). For the remaining breakfast, lunch, dinner and subsequent breakfast, let's be generous and budget $25/person/meal. Your total food costs come to $238.
What to do: You're surrounded by forests and rivers. You'll figure it out.
Total cost: $819 for two nights and three days. Let's call it $827 in case you go insane and buy a second ice cream.
It's not nothing. But compared to one-twelfth of that Montauk rental, it kind of is.
James Tarmy reports on arts and culture for Bloomberg Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News.