As a native clam-digger (born on Carroll Street), I realize that City Island’s salty, rough-hewn charms aren’t for everyone, but if you know where to look, it can be a little patch of New England in the Bronx. A prime time to discover this is Fleet Weekend, when hundreds of antiques dealers, artists, and storytellers gather for a spring street fair. Stay at Le Refuge Inn; with a first-rate chef, Sunday-morning chamber music, and an unimpeded view of the water, it’s the best (okay, the only) place to stay. Daytrippers can come in with the fishermen early Saturday and feed on “Man Overboard” omelets at the Diner or stacks of unparalleled pancakes at Laura’s. In the afternoon, charter a sail aboard a triple-masted schooner, or explore the art galleries on the avenue. There’s no dearth of dinner choices, but I like Rhodes, Artie’s, and Johnny’s Reef. After sunset, sit in the tree-canopied garden at the Black Whale and devour a sundae, and you’ll find that you’ve been transported to a balmy, bucolic, and remarkable place—only 30 minutes from midtown.
DETAILS Le Refuge (718-885-2478; rooms start at $96); City Island Diner (718-885-0362); Rhodes (718-885-1538; entrées, $9.95 to $32.95); Artie’s (718-885-9885; entrées, $12 to $29.95); Johnny’s Reef (718-885-2090; entrées, $10 to $15); City Island Chamber of Commerce (718-885-9100).