If there’s a signature American travel experience, it’s the road trip. Kerouac hit the highway for spiritual enlightenment. Blues fans take to the road in search of every juke joint Robert Johnson set foot in. Gastronomes travel the country’s byways to find the perfect barbecued ribs. Here, we’ve outlined the ultimate driving itinerary for New York art lovers. Up the Hudson Valley, into the Catskills, and north to the Berkshires, a quartet of contemporary museums has taken over abandoned farms and former factories, forming a sort of countryside Chelsea gallery loop. Try this three-day itinerary.
Stop one is the Storm King Art Center, a former Hudson Valley farm turned postwar sculpture park an hour north of the GWB. On 500 acres of rolling green fields, oversize metal works by Richard Serra and Mark di Suvero stand side by side with pieces by emerging sculptors like Chakaia Booker (currently showing edgy works crafted from recycled tires). For dinner, try the dining room at the Thayer Hotel in West Point, specializing in regional dishes like Long Island duck with rum coconut sauce. At night, stay at Bear Mountain’s eponymous inn (845-786-2731; from $89), a rustic collection of lodges overlooking Lake Hessian.
On day two, cross the Bear Mountain Bridge to Dia:Beacon, the one-time Nabisco factory refashioned into a 240,000-square-foot museum, where works by contemporary artists from Andy Warhol to Louise Bourgeois are on permanent display in huge, loftlike galleries. Three of Richard Serra’s Torqued Ellipses are among the most popular works, as is Bruce Nauman’s basement-level video installation. When you’re done ogling, head northeast about 90 minutes to Canaan, New York, and check into the Inn at Silver Maple Farm (518-781-3600; from $90), a bed-and-breakfast with home-baked cookies and Wi-Fi. The Blue Plate, a diner-cum-bistro in nearby Chatham, is a local favorite for dinner. Try the grilled shrimp with tequila–Key-lime butter sauce.
After breakfast at Silver Maple (lemon-ricotta pancakes are the specialty), visit nearby Art Omi, featuring more than 80 large-scale abstract sculptures from artists like Donald Lipski and Beverly Pepper. Free mountain bikes are available, if you care to off-road through the 100 acres of ponds, meadows, and wooded trails. Through the end of October, catch “Public Notice: Painting in the Sculpture Park,” six painted billboards by New York artists. Next, pick up gourmet sandwiches at the Old Chatham Country Store and head for Mass MoCA, an hour away. The museum converted 26 factory buildings to 125,000 square feet of cavernous galleries in 1999. Shows rotate every few months and feature mostly young artists. The current exhibit, “The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere,” examines activist art. On your last night, try the sleek New American restaurant Eleven, then stay at Porches (413-664-0400; from $160), a stylish hotel in renovated factory workers’ houses across the street from MoCA.
Lisa Selin Davis
DEAL OF THE WEEK
If you still haven’t sated your Lost in Translation–inspired Tokyo yen, maybe this will move you to buy a ticket: Rosewood’s chic Hotel Seiyo Ginza, considered one of the best in the city, is offering its superior-level rooms for $290 (that’s 35 percent off) through September 20. Call 888-767-3966.
IF YOU’RE GOING TO …
Grace Leo-Andrieu, the design diva behind such stylish hotels as Paris’s Hotel Montalembert and the Cotton House on Mustique, has turned her creative eye toward Lisbon, where the 55-room Bairro Alto opens this fall. A bright lemon-yellow exterior hints at the vibrant details inside—raspberry walls, glossy marble bathrooms, and a lively Portuguese restaurant (glahotels.com; from $290).Miami
Ian Schrager and Andre Balazs are in for (more) swank competition: Conrad Hotels just opened a flashy, skyscraping property in the financial district (conradhotels.com; from $279); and in the works for fall are South Beach’s Setai Hotel (setai.com; from $900), from the folks behind the Aman resorts, and Rosewood’s cushy Acqualina, opening just north of Miami Beach (rosewoodhotels.com; from $325).
Gregory Henderson doesn’t sit still. He’s bounced from Broadway to Wall Street to … Roxbury—a little town northwest of Woodstock—where this month Henderson opens the Roxbury, a very groovy, very retro “boutique motel” (no, that’s not a typo). Rooms at the former welfare house are sort of Austin Powers meets The Brady Bunch—but in a good way (607-326-7200, catskillvacationlodging.com; from $65).
As part of NYU’s new WorldClass program, launching in October, foodies can tool around northern Italy with Lidia Bastianich as their guide. Or, let an NYU professor show you the sights of Prague or Vienna. Six-day trips are limited to groups of twenty (212-992-3201; from $4,200).