Where to Stay
The five-room Phoenicia Belle (73 Main St.; 845/688-7226; phoeniciabelle.com; doubles from $105) is a Victorian B&B in Catskill Park. Opt for the lower rate (from $90) without breakfast. Instead, go to Alyce & Roger's Fruit Stand on Route 28 (Mt. Tremper; 845/688-2114) for cider doughnuts.
Sue Taylor's favorite trail is Panther Mountain, off Route 28, 10 miles west of town. "The area around the mountain is a ring-shaped valley formed by an ancient meteor impact. From the top, there are Thomas Cole-worthy vistas as far as you can see."—clark mitchell
Art Pilgrimage to Massachusetts's Pioneer Valley
This 1,100-square-mile patchwork of farms, orchards, and rolling hills has lured free- spirited artists and literati for decades. But for the past several years, the valley towns of Amherst and Northampton have played second fiddle to the Berkshires' boisterous cultural scene. Now, however, a bevy of art spaces and exhibitions is springing up all over the region, bringing an indoor landscape that rivals the great outdoors.
What to Do
Art aficionados won't want to skip the new Museums10 (smuseums10.org)— a collective of 10 of the area's top art institutions. Among the best is the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Lower Lake Rd., South Hadley; 413/538-2245) with 10 galleries dedicated to Asian, Renaissance, and contemporary art. The Smith College Museum of Art (Elm St. at Bedford Terrace, Northampton; 413/585-2760; smith.edu/artmuseum) has a permanent collection of 19th- and 20th-century paintings—Degas, Monet, Cézanne, and Picasso—and is housed in a new four-story space.
Where to Eat
Order the apple-cinnamon pancakes in the sunlit dining room at Sylvester's (111 Pleasant St., Northampton; 413/586-5343; sylvestersrestaurant.com; breakfast for two $15). For Gallic classics like wine-braised rabbit with parsnips, go to Chez Albert (27 South Pleasant St., Amherst; 413/253-3811; chezalbert.net; dinner for two $80).
Where to Stay
At the colonial Lord Jeffery Inn (30 Boltwood Ave., Amherst; 800/742-0358; lordjefferyinn.com; doubles from $119), you'll find a stone fireplace surrounded by blazer-clad Amherst alums sipping single-malt scotch. The patio overlooks the village green and serves mulled cider from nearby organic farms. Rooms in the Wing section have private balconies.
"Every fall, I drive to the top of Mount Sugarloaf [entrance off Rte. 116, South Deerfield]. There's an incredible vista of the Connecticut River snaking through the valley, which I love to paint," local artist Linda Post says. To see her work, visit the R. Michelson Gallery (132 Main St., Northampton; 413/586-3964; rmichelson.com).—Jessica Merrill
Indian Summer in Provincetown, Massachusetts
In fall, the throngs of tourists die down and locals emerge to reclaim the tranquillity of small-town Cape Cod life. As year-round resident and marine biologist Dennis Minsky puts it: "The whale watches stop, but the whales are still here." Indeed, the view from P'Town in autumn is nothing so much as an endless, lilac-colored expanse of sky and sea. And with the warm temperatures comes a chance to find an empty stretch of sand you can have all to yourself.
What to Do
If you're looking to get your feet wet, rent a sailboat, powerboat, or kayak at Flyer's Boat Rental (131A Commercial St.; 508/487-0898; flyersrentals.com) and explore the peninsula's coast. Later, walk the mile-long Beech Forest Trail (access from Race Point Rd.), which winds through fragile sand dunes. Bring your bike for the 5.2-mile loop between Herring Cove and Race Point beaches (parking and access at either beach).