Take some time away from the city to explore the Finnish countryside. Kick start your morning with coffee ($2.80), a lihapiirakka meat pie ($3.50), and possu doughnuts ($2.80) at Toripojat Café, on the south harbor, before walking to the tourist office near the market square to find brochures about lakeside community Tuusula. Reach Tuusula by train from the central railway station; take the H commuter train to Järvenpää ($8.30 each way; 30 minutes). Book a bike ahead of time from Chebici rental shop (+358 0(9) 286 559), and they’ll have it waiting at the station when you arrive ($23 per day, helmet included). Head first to Ainola ($10), a verdant estate surrounding a log villa that was once home to composer Jean Sibelius and his family. Tour the art-filled wooden interiors and the lush gardens filled with birch, spruce, and lily of the valley. Work up your appetite by biking on to Krapihovi ($54 to $55.70; noon and 2 p.m. seatings on weekends), known for its buffet lunches of rustic Finnish food served in five bright rooms of a farmhouse. Then it’s on to Halosenniemi ($7.80), a gorgeous timber mansion that doubled as painter Pekka Halonen’s studio and family home, with high ceilings, red pine wooden floors, and stellar lake views. Next, head outside to rent a boat ($10.60 for first hour, $7 every additional hour) for a scenic row on the lake. Afterward, get back on the bike and head to Fjällbo Park for a rest at this peaceful spot with an old-fashioned pavilion on the lake’s edge. Hop back on the train to Helsinki and wrap up your night with a dinner of honest Finnish fare at Sea Horse, a thirties former sailors’ hangout. Drink Finnish lager ($8) and dine on crispy Baltic herrings fried in butter next to a mound of mashed potato ($21), a dish that apparently had Dizzy Gillespie licking his plate clean.
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Published on Jun 29, 2011 as a web exclusive.