It's hard to imagine that from the center of New York's Time Square, among the bright lights and tourists, you're a short train ride away from white sand, surfing, and quietude. If you're looking to get out of the big city – whether that metropolis is New York, Boston, LA, or Houston – look offshore. Islands like South Manitou and Madeline have been passed over and left alone – making them the perfect, close-to-home refuge for city-dwellers. Here are the top island getaways that are a hop from civilization.
Before the Pilgrims climbed aboard the Speedwell, English settlers were already fishing the waters off Cuttyhunk Island just south of Cape Cod. The small island was attractive because of its protected mooring area, sandy beaches, and strategic position near the mainland at the north of Vineyard Sound. Today, the island is a summer destination for the in-the-know and the wealthy, who bike between old farms and the colonial village near where the ferry arrives on the island. Part of Gosnold, the town is home to roughly 50 people who buckle up against the harsh winter winds. Come summer, hundred spend their weekends here bathing in the sun and the calm surf and wearing the sort of swimwear that would have raised eyebrows back in the seventeenth century.
More information: Pedestrian ferries leave frequently from New Bedford. The Cuttyhunk Fishing Club is the best place to stay in town. Just be sure to book rooms in advance, the place is very popular with Boston Brahmins.
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