Get Out of Manhattan

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Joshua McHugh

Great escapes
Waterfront funk at the Bungalow

From Long Island to New Jersey to upstate New York, the past year has seen a miniboom in sophisticated new retreats opening in the resort communities surrounding New York City. While these escapes are packed during the summer high season, the arrival of autumn means lower prices, temperatures and crowd levels. Need to get out of Manhattan? Here are three of the hinterland's best beds.

Fall brings an explosion of color to the dense forests and backcountry trails of Bedford, a posh village just an hour north of Manhattan that's a favorite with the horsey set. Bedford is also home to such bold namers as Glenn Close, George Soros and Richard Gere, who recently opened the Bedford Post,, with wife Carey Lowell. With its in-house yoga studio and elegant gardens, Gere's B&B is the town's most ambitious stab at a true luxury hideaway. Housed in a 247-year-old building, each of the Post's eight rooms is distinctly designed and includes an oversize tub, a four-poster bed, a working fireplace and romantic views of the surrounding foliage. For dining, guests can choose between the formal Farmhouse and more casual, brunchy Barn, both of which lure local celebs for après-ride refueling.

There are the Hamptons, and then there is East Hampton, and at the heart of that supremely exclusive enclave of class and culture is the Maidstone,, the completely overhauled new incarnation of the historic Maidstone Arms. Originally built in 1740, the 19-room hotel was taken over last year by Swedish hotelier Jenny Ljungberg, whose family owns Stockholm's rock-'n'-roll-cool Lydmar Hotel. Ljundberg has transformed the Maidstone's interiors, replacing dated nautical motifs with a contemporary Nordic-inspired aesthetic, filled with natural light and brightly patterned furnishings. A pair of Swedish and American chefs creates both Scandinavian and Yankee classics, and bikes are available for rides to the nearby beach or to East Hampton's chic boutiques, museums and art galleries. Book one of the trio of airy cottages surrounded by lush gardens.

New Jersey's funky beach town of Long Branch got a whole lot funkier this summer with the arrival of the Bungalow, It's a 24-room hotel with Technicolor public spaces courtesy of hip husband-and-wife interior team Robert and Cortney Novogratz of Sixx Design. Rooms have names like Aloha and Kahuna and are starkly white with cowhide chairs and kitschy flea-market posters. Pool, table football, board games and cocktails are found in the Bungalow Lounge. And while there aren't many amenities in-house, guests can pay a small additional fee to use the restaurants and swimming pool of a private beach club just a short stroll away. Also on the doorstep is Pier Village, a complex of restaurants and boutiques.