Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours. More, and you waste your vacation. Less, and you’re still near home. Hence our series, The Four-Hour Rule, dedicated to revealing the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home.
This month, we head to New Haven, a town with a rich colonial history (and pizza history) as well as a swanky new hotel that’s worth the visit alone.
The freshly opened Blake Hotel is a 108-room boutique hotel nestled near Yale University. It’s luxurious, but also extended stay — two things you rarely hear side-by-side. Each room has its own kitchenette as well as a comfy living space artfully designed by HVS Design and Alexander Waterhouse Interiors. More than just a tourist destination, The Blake is also a bustling gathering place for locals. There’s plenty of northeastern charm (velvet, leather, mahogany and jewel tones), but the atmosphere feels distinctly modern and cosmopolitan. Good for resting one’s head for a weekend or, should you need, an entire week.
You need not go far for good eats, as The Blake’s on-site Hamilton Park and rooftop bar and lounge are helmed by Michelin-starred chef Matt Lambert. With a high concentration on sourcing locally, the fare is hearty and comforting. Start with seared scallops, then treat yourself to the 60-day dry-aged 32-oz. ribeye and some hand-rolled pasta. You deserve it. But if you’re up for stepping out, there are some major gems not to be missed. The Ordinary is New Haven’s oldest tavern (dating back to 1659) and still peddles fine swill today. Eslewhere in the historic category, Pepe’s coal-fired pizza has been in the game since 1925. They’re definitely doing something right. A stop off at Arethusa, a local dairy serving award-winning cheese and ice cream, will serve you right, and for drinks, try Anchor Spa, a previously a famed dive bar that recently got a fancy upgrade — it’s still a perfect place to saddle up for a late-night dram.
No surprise that a New Haven visit is going to be bleeding with the arts. The Blake just kicked off a weekly jazz brunch series that goes down every Sunday. Start the weekend with their Friday Dinner and Jazz series for a double dose of brass. Within shooting distance, audiophiles will want to check Toad’s Place calendar in advance — a mecca of rock and hip-hop, the venue has Talib Kweli tickets for June on sale now. For the more hifalutin, there’s the landmark Shubert Theater with rotating off-Broadway hits. And the whole journey really wouldn’t be complete without a stroll to Atticus, a local favorite bookstore serving up big, fat sammies since 1975.
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