Woodstock, New York
Study soft focus in the deep Catskills.
Hours From New York: 2.5
TYPE OF VACATION: Art
There’s no chance that legendary Japanese photographer Eikoh Hosoe could teach his two-day workshop, “Nude Study in Open Air,” in Central Park without racking up some public-lewdness tickets. So Hosoe has wisely chosen to host his first workshop in years as part of the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s (845-679-9957) 30th anniversary. He’ll hand-pick the fifteen students he’ll be working with, but if you don't make the cut there are plenty of other prestigious instructors making their way to the Hudson Valley this summer, including Mary Ellen Mark teaching “The World Observed” August 4 and 5 (she usually takes her class to a county fair), and the country’s leading environmental photographer, Robert Glenn Ketchum, who plans to take his class on field trips through the Catskill Mountains July 14 and 15. The center hosts one or two workshops per weekend. Most offer intense 10 a.m.–to–5 p.m. instruction both days with no more than fifteen students per class. There are classes on old-fashioned salt- and silver-printing techniques, photojournalism, and even Photoshop (see the schedule at cpw.org/WPW/wpw2007.html; registration begins April 25, and classes fill up quickly). Most classes use high-grade digital cameras (they’ll provide one if you don’t have one) so the instructors can give instant feedback. Stay at the Woodstock Inn on the Millstream (845-679-8211; from $119), a restored motel from the forties just steps from the center, or half an hour away at the Inn at Stone Ridge (from $195; 845-687-0736), an eighteenth-century stone mansion set on 40 acres of gardens. At night, shop, visit galleries, and eat at the Bear Café (845-679-5555), where locals swear by the fresh fish. Practice your new skills on the sweeping grounds of nearby estates like Olana, the Persian-fortress-style home of Frederic Edwin Church.
See the country’s coolest new museum for yourself.
Hours From New York: 3.5
TYPE OF VACATION: Art
Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s new Institute of Contemporary Art (617-478-3100) has been mobbed since its opening in December, wowing architects, art critics, and locals alike with its vertiginous views, lenticular glass walls, and cutting-edge program. This June, a major survey of Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s psychologically probing photographs gives New Yorkers good incentive to join the crowd. Several hotels offer packages; Kimpton’s Nine Zero Hotel (617-772-5800) in nearby downtown Boston has the most contemporary design behind its stodgy redbrick façade. Its rates, starting at $479 per night for a double, include two VIP tickets and a one-hour in-room massage. The year-old Westin Boston Waterfront (617-532-4600) is a short walk from the museum and has packages from $239. Try the high-tech LTK Bar and Lounge (617-330-7430) for dinner, where you can dock your iPod at the table. Take in a music, dance, or experimental-film performance at the ICA’s bi-level theater with a full glass wall overlooking the bay.
Great Wolf Lodge
Plunge into whirling depths, then have some ice cream.
Hours From New York: 2
TYPE OF VACATION: Family
Mega–water parks are Midwest things. But last year we got one that’s sort of close by: Great Wolf Lodge (570-688-9899), a $92 million, 78,000-acre, 380,000-gallon marvel of indoor water-park wizardry that’s in sleepy Scotrun, a kitsch Pocono Mountains town about a 90-minute drive from the George Washington Bridge. Highlights: the 727-foot high Hydro Plunge roller coaster, and the Coyote Canyon, a human-size bowl that flushes you around and around and around, followed by a dizzying 40-foot drop. To access the water park, you need to spend the night; rooms start at $184.