Reporting Jay Lloyd
Legends have been created around the “Buddy Getaway” and male bonding. But the latter has nothing to do with it. It’s mostly about just recapturing those youthful days of bachelorhood. You know–being silly. It’s also about creating new memories, so you don’t have to keep telling the same old stories about adventures past. So where to go? Try these ideas. – Jay Lloyd
THE FISHING GETAWAY
Lewes, DE 19958
When Hemingway gathered his buddies for a guy’s day-out, it was often aboard his classic “Pinar” for the camaraderie of big game fishing. Tuna and soaring Marlin were the quest. Now, add shark to the list on a 22-hour deep sea adventure out of Fisherman’s Wharf in Lewes, Delaware. Three-hundred-fifty dollars a head may seem a bit salty, but think of the tab if, like Hemingway, you had to buy the boat! Here, you just charter and walk away. You can also cruise out on less ambitious day trips for $75 each on a head boat, or charter a smaller private boat, complete with a captain and mate (at $895 for up to 8 people). Catch fish, swap yarns and maybe even bond, too.
To check out the potential catch, the boats and prices, motor over here.
THE SAILING GETAWAY
Gratitude Yachting Center
Rock Hall, MD 21661
For over 30 years, my own buddy trio would spend the better part of a June week sailing the Chesapeake. Until boat ownership became part of our lives, we chartered. Here, you need some experience in handling a cruising yacht, because it’s your responsibility from the time you leave the charter dock till you return days later. Two firms that provided our charter boats have a long history, Haven Charters and Gratitude Yachting Center. The best bets are a three-day weekend or a five-day midweek charter that puts you in round-trip range of great ports like Annapolis, Baltimore and St. Michaels. Five days will give you two ports and stretch to Oxford, Maryland. If you prefer the seclusion of anchoring in a pristine creek or cove, you’ll find an endless number of them where you can explore, fish, crab, swim and just relax. It’s surprisingly reasonable–less than a house rental at the shore. A 32-foot sailboat that sleeps four is under $1,300 for a three-day weekend, or between $1,050 and $1,350 for five days, midweek.
THE GOLF GETAWAY
Liberty Mountain Resort
78 Country Club Trail
Carroll Valley, PA 17320
The expanse of a mountain golf course and the days-end bending of an elbow at a golf-infused lounge provide the key ingredients for a buddy getaway. Since Liberty Mountain Ski Area took over next-door neighbor Carroll Valley Golf Club, the best of both worlds has made this Gettysburg area spot the “go-to” golf getaway destination. Flowing creeks, a mountain backdrop and an unhurried atmosphere add something special to the 18 holes of soul-satisfying challenge. The ski lodge and golf club offer rooms and restaurants with mountain views and modern accommodations, as well as a pool and fitness room. As for the food, one of the best Rock Cornish Hen dinners I’ve ever had was consumed at the Fireside dining room here, which is also the setting for a buddy-friendly after golf bar. Golf packages include a round each day, lodging, breakfast, dinner, taxes and tips. In prime season, a three-day package starts at $371 a person.
THE CASINO CAPER
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
1280 Route 315
Wilkes Barre, PA 18702
The rush of the craps table, the concentration of blackjack and the clickety-clack of a roulette wheel in motion are the lure of a buddy casino getaway. But there’s more – much more. I’ve picked the Pocono Downs because it’s close, yet far enough from home to feel like a road trip. Besides, when you tire of the cacophony of slots, there’s the live action of harness racing at the on-site track.
The Wilkes-Barre area is also rich in restaurants, bars and accommodations. I prefer a stay at the Woodlands Inn, just down the road from the casino. The resort offers free shuttle service to Pocono Downs and has its own restaurants and clubs that take the hassle out of driving, parking and picking places to eat and drink.
THE BUDDY PUB CRAWL
The Irish Pubs of New York City
Without exaggeration, there may be more Irish pubs in the Big Apple than there are in Cork. So, if a pub crawl is what you and your buddies are seeking–and you’re not ready to spring for a fling to Dublin–New York is your ticket. It’s close and there’s no need to drive since New York is all about public transportation and cabs (even ferries if you want to sample the offerings of Brooklyn).
When native New Yorkers talk about New York, it’s always Manhattan. While Irish pubs bloom across the lower half of the island, the largest concentration is on the west side of Midtown. My own top spot is McGee’s at 55th and 8th Avenue. It’s a good starting place, where some never leave. There’s international football on the telly, Irish stew and pot pie on the plate, and Guinness and Smithwicks in the mug. It’s Irish right down to the brogue. Our bartender on the last visit was working her way through theatrical auditions and a crack at nearby Broadway.
Next stop is the bustling St. Andrews. It’s really rooted in Scotland, but it has that true Celtic flare. The place is bursting at the seams from 5 to 8 p.m.—a great place to make new friends and for buddies to tip a pint. You can find a comprehensive list of New York Irish pubs here.
THE BASEBALL BLAST
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Baltimore, MD 21201
A buddy road trip and baseball, the perfect combination. It’s hard to find a more perfect spot than Baltimore’s Camden Yards. Within three hours of home, Oriole Park is located in the heart of the city, surrounded by great pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels. The park itself is ideal for watching baseball and has a unique array of restaurants and watering holes. For Phillie fans, a three-day troop to Baltimore from June 8th to 10th lands you there in time for a rare Phillies-Orioles series, and the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel offers an Orioles package that includes lodging, a pair of game tickets and drinks at the ball park. Another great overnight stop is the Inner Harbor Marriott.
One of my own buddy trips last year was a combination of Chesapeake sailing and Orioles baseball. We sailed four hours from Rock Hall across the bay to the Inner Harbor, docked at the Inner Harbor Marina for an overnight stay, walked to the stadium then caught an Orioles game, some fireworks and the famous Maryland crab cakes.
There are a lot of tips for enjoying a guys’ getaway, but I’m not your father and you’d ignore them anyway!