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Sweetening the Big Apple

Picture this. You're settled in an weather-worn wooden chaise, indulging yourself with the latest novel and a glass of Pinot Noir. Behind you stands a century old beach house. To your right is a thickly scented cedar grove. In front of you, tiny waves lap the side of a six foot dingy tethered to an old wooden dock.

You see movement out of the corner of your eye and catch a glimpse of an oriole disappearing into the cedar trees. You glance out at the shore to see short-billed dowitches scurrying for supper. You look to your left, and the person you adore smiles back at you with rosy cheeks from wine bliss.

Ahhhh?New York.I work under the assumption that there is a little New York in us all. Some love the city.

I enjoy NYC in short burst, but my main reason for heading to New York has little to do with Time Square. I am a nature loving, novel reading, wine drinking, bird watching soul. Since my favorite Little Italy restaurant and my solace in the North Shore of Long Island are only a few hours from each other, this holiday makes for a perfect weeklong vacation blend.

Travel Suggestions: If you can, fly into New York on Jet Blue (www.jetblue.com).

Not only do they have great prices, they have TV, making it the only airline that make this part of the journey fun. Last time I flew into New York, I was disappointed when I had to deplane and miss the Conan O'Brian monologue.Grab a cab for your hotel. Shuttles are cheaper if you travel alone, but if you are a pair the cab is faster and an important part of your New York experience. Because the city is so well connected with transportation, pick your hotel based on budget. If you have the extra cash stay in Midtown Manhattan.

If you want to conserve, stay in any good hotel on the west side of Central Park for a combination of good rates and good neighborhoods.Sure, you can pre-buy tickets for nearly everything you need before your trip, but what is the fun in that? Your first day in New York, make the rounds. Buy a metro card for the subway. It's a bargain.

If you want to do more sightseeing, buy tickets for the Red Bus. If you don't have a particular Broadway show in mind, stand in line in the center of Time Square for some great bargains. Last time there we saw Urine Town for $35 each.Once you have done the NYC thing, pick up your rental car and head east on Long Island. You'll take the whole day to travel 120 miles, because once you are out of the city you will want to stop at every vegetable stand and winery, as well as do some "lunch and shop" in South Hampton. As much fun as this sounds, try to arrive at your beach house before nightfall, because it does get a little dark out there once the sun sets.

Save the rest of the week for romance and easy-going day trips to historical port towns and astoundingly serene state parks. Or, just open another bottle of wine, sit in your weather-worn lounge, and watch an egret gracefully fly by.Copyright 2005, Odyssey Vacation. All rights reserved.

.Gloriana Hunter, an avid traveler, owns Odyssey Vacation (http://www.

OdysseyVacation.com), a national full-service travel agency. Online booking is available at http://www.vacation.mtravel.

com, or contact Gloriana at ghunter@OdysseyVacation.com or toll free at 877.457.9297 for personalized travel service.

By: Gloriana Hunter

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