Oh no. Labor Day weekend is ten days away and you haven't made any plans yet. Funny how summer slips through your fingers. Like sand in that castle you never got around to building.
The bad news: We called tons of places and most are already booked. The good news: We found availabilities in great places. Just don't procrastinate: Last-minute Labor Day ideas have a shelf life.
The destinations are all an easy drive, train, or ferry from a big city. (No planes: We wanted a no-labor weekend.) There's nothing in here for California or the South. You guys don't have hideous East Coast and Midwest winters.
Jared Coffin House, Nantucket, MA
The Wauwinet, Nantucket, MA
Vibe: New England beach prep. Jared Coffin House - 1800s antique-filled house in town. Wauwinet - lovely, fancy inn straddling the bay and the ocean.
What to do: Build that damn sandcastle. Spot global heads of state.
Rates: Jared Coffin, four rooms left from $425/night. Wauwinet, four rooms left from $850/night.
Getting there: Six hours by car from NYC, three hours from Boston.
Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY
Vibe: A grand Victorian castle for the whole family.
What to do: Paddle and swim on the lake, hike Mohonk Mountain, toast s'mores in a the campfire.
Rates: From $270/person/night. Get ten percent off if you stay two nights and fifteen percent if you stay three. Rate includes all meals and most activities.
Getting there: Two hours from NYC.
Sheppard Mansion, Hanover, PA
Vibe: Old Americana.
What to do: Potter around historic Gettysburg.
Rates: $135/night for Ayres Suite (so pretty!) or Curtis Room.
Getting there: One hour from Baltimore, two hours from Washington, DC; two and a half hours from Philadelphia.
Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark, Lake Geneva, WI
Vibe: Active family fun.
What to do: Rides, waterfalls, golf, horseback riding, and — good God — a 50,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor aquatic wonderland.
Rates: From $289 for a one-bedroom suite.
Getting there: 90 minutes from Chicago.
Ruschmeyer's, Montauk, NY
Vibe: Like you're on the set of a J. Crew photo shoot.
What to do: Paddleboard on Montauk Pond. Eat fancy clam pizzas. Bike to the beach. Attack FATHOM's Hamptons Guide.
Rates: From $475/night with a three-night minimum (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).
Getting there: Three hours from NYC.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, RI
Vibe: My other oceanfront mansion is in the shop.
What to do: Pretend the Golden Age never ended. Read Edith Wharton on the beach.
Rates: No rooms until Sunday, when they start at $629/night.
Getting there: 90 minutes from Boston; four hours from NYC.
Stay Home, New Yorkers
Vibe: When everyone else is fleeing the city, here's your chance to have it all to yourself. An extra day means you can do the things you never get around to on a regular weekend.
What to do: Check into Dream Downtown, the new Meatpacking Hotel, and make a final effort at a tan by the pool. Walk the new end of the High Line and rollerskate in the sunset. And check out the last weekend of the awesome outdoor Brooklyn dance party, Mister Sunday. In full disclosure, it's run by Justin Carter, who happens to be married to FATHOM's Jeralyn Gerba.
Rates: Dream Hotel, from $305/night.
Getting there: Just follow the appropriate subway.
By the way, I only made my plans last night. We're all in this together.