By Cassandra Oliveras

If you’re anything like me, Memorial Day weekend sends you running in the opposite direction of the throngs heading to the shore for their first sunburn of the year. You can easily make this Memorial Day one to remember, on any budget. Check out these off-beat options if you’re looking for quality time and peace this holiday weekend (sunburn optional).

Relaxation at New Age Health Spa in the Catskills. Photo by Celin Cerbo

Meditation Retreat
Spending the weekend in pursuit of inner peace can make for an enlightening challenge. Yoga retreats are fantastic for keeping your body and spirit engaged as you enjoy time away from the city life. Check out New Age Health Spa, nestled in the Catskill Mountain region of NY, a full service spa retreat that offers daily yoga and meditation sessions along with a host of fitness, dance and nutrition programming. For details about New Age Health Spa, visit

Houseboat Rental on the Erie Canal
Be the captain of your own ship as you cruise down the Erie Canal amidst the picturesque Finger Lakes region of Central New York. The canal boats accommodate four to six people depending on the model you select, and are not much more difficult to operate than a car (note that a valid driver’s license is required). Temperatures in this region average 72 for the high and 53 low for this time of year. Pet friendly boats are available by request, and fishing is permitted with a license. Weekend rentals start at $1,575. For reservations call 888-454-8825 or visit

The lobby of the Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun
The Mohegan Sun, with all its dining, entertainment and gaming glory, is situated along the Thames River in scenic southeastern Connecticut, within easy access of New York. The property is 15 minutes from nearby museums, antique shops and the famous Mystic waterfront. This option is a win-win whether you choose to make it a girl’s weekend or getaway with your significant other. While he’s laying down chips at the casino, you can high-tail it for the Elemis Spa at Mohegan Sun, which boasts a complete menu of stress relieving treatments for face, detox, and massage treatments inspired by exotic rituals and ceremonies. Say hello to summer with the Ceremony of the Sacred Sun treatment of Exotic Lime and Ginger Salt Glow with Total Glow Self Tanning Treatment and Well-Being Massage. The casino is accessible from NYC by bus, train and ferry. More information at

This cultural treasure trove on the banks of the Hudson River houses a renowned permanent collection of contemporary art from the 1960′s to present. Be prepared to feel as though you’ve landed in an urban dreamscape after your hour and 20 minute train ride from NYC. Perhaps most notable part of the site is the structure itself, which is a former Nabisco factory built of brick, steel, concrete and glass. Sprawling skylights create an ideal environment for experiencing the art in natural light. Come here to find fresh perspectives and unparalleled peace..General admission is $10, and it’s accessible from NYC by Metro-North Railroad or bus. For more, visit

Originally published April 2010
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