Spare your friends the haul to Vegas with these four unexpected alternatives.
Wine tasting on the North Fork.
The Hudson Valley is the source of a number of award-winning whiskeys, not to mention farm-fresh cuisine that will help to offset your booze intake. From Manhattan, drive two hours to the idyllic Hillrock Estate Distillery (408 Pooles Hill Rd., Ancram, N.Y.; 518-329-1023), where a tour ($20 per person, by reservation only) will take you through the whiskey-making process and then to the tasting room. From there, drive 50 miles south to family-owned Tuthilltown Spirits (14 Gristmill Ln., Gardiner, N.Y.; 845-255-1527), where you can fortify yourselves on grass-fed burgers ($15) at the next-door restaurant, Tuthill House at the Mill (20 Gristmill Ln.; 845-255-4151), before hitting the actual distillery. During a private tour ($15 a person for eight people), you’ll learn the process of spirit-making as you move through the facility, ending up in the tasting room to sample Tuthilltown’s wares. Crash at Mohonk Mountain House (from $291 per person, including meals and activities; mohonk.com), an 1869 castle in the Shawangunk Mountains. In the summer, there’s a lobster bake every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night.
Ohm-ing at a yoga retreat at Kripalu.
Unwinding at a ryokan-style inn in the Berkshires.
Innkeeper Louise Palmer will see after your every need when you check into Berkshires Shirakaba ($700 for two suites that sleep four, and $50 per person after that; accommodates up to eight people; berkshires-shirakaba.com), a tiny hilltop inn located in New Ashford, Massachusetts, and designed and run in the Japanese ryokan style. That means you’ll leave your shoes at the door and don a traditional yukata (cotton kimono), which some guests opt to wear for their entire stay. The property’s 21 secluded acres are yours to wander, and when you’re ready to relax, the ryokan has a small indoor pool, an infrared sauna, and a sundeck. Local yoga instructors and masseuses are on call, and during the summer you can book a massage in the outdoor gazebo. Each morning, you’ll be offered an elaborate made-to-order Japanese breakfast; or opt for a Western version. Most guests choose to eat the six-course Japanese dinner here as well ($130 per person), which lasts two to four hours. The inn doesn’t serve alcohol, but you can BYO anything.
Getting wild in Vegas.
Getting wild on a ranch in Montana.
Author-chef-adventurer Georgia Pellegrini’s weekend-long “Fearless Girls Getaway” retreats ($1,595 per person for three days and two nights; georgiapellegrini.com) take place on her sprawling Montana ranch in the remote town of Belt, where you can partake in a mix of rugged activities (horseback riding, falconry, fly fishing, ATV driving, hiking) and gentler ones (sunset yoga, massages, cooking classes). Elaborate dinners, prepared by Pelligrini, might include seared quail over quinoa with savory huckleberries or pork-and-wild-boar roulade with braised pork belly over apple-kraut and smoked honey. End your days with s’mores and Champagne around a campfire, and then retire to rustic log cabins that offer stunning mountain views and stone fireplaces. The price of the weekend includes all food, lodging, activities, gift bags, and transfers to and from the local airport; unlimited alcohol is an additional $75 per person.
A fancy time in Newport, Rhode Island.
An affordable romp in Providence, Rhode Island.
In contrast to nearby Boston or touristy Newport, Providence is a relatively inexpensive culinary and cultural hub whose proximity to various beaches makes it an ideal spot for Northeastern bachelorettes to convene. The Dean, a new boutique hotel located downtown, offers affordable bunk rooms (from $79 for a bunk that sleeps two; thedeanhotel.com). Larger groups that want to take over the entire fifth floor can do so from $500, which includes four rooms that sleep up to ten. Begin your night with cocktails at the Magdalenae Room, the hotel’s bar, before chowing down on German fare at beer hall Faust. Come nighttime, hit the Boombox, the hotel’s karaoke lounge ($7 per person per hour). The next morning, drive to Narragansett Town Beach, just 33 miles south, stopping for sandwiches at the Picnic Basket (20 Kingstown Rd., Narragansett, R.I.; 401-782-2284), or drive the same distance southeast to pick up snacks at country store Provender Fine Foods (3883 Main Rd., Tiverton, R.I.; 401-624-8084) on your way to Little Compton’s unspoiled South Shore and Goosewing beaches.
From the Summer 2014 New York Wedding Guide