Dale Chihuly, Photo: Nitin Mukul

The best day trips outside New York are those that leave you incredulous that such a place exists. And so it goes for LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, N.Y. The 16-acre sculpture grounds (let’s give a hand to these parks and gardens for getting us through the pandemic) is filled with works of famous artists from Willem de Kooning,  Sol LeWitt, Yoko Ono to Ai Weiwei.

Buckminster Fuller, Photo: Nitin Mukul

We were lured there by a scavenger hunt for kids and adults to discover pieces of art hidden throughout the landscape. That exhibit, called Art Foray II, is on through Oct. 20. Created by textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen, the gardens examine the interplay between plants and people in the 21st century. He died last year at 93.

Grace Knowlton, Photo: Nitin Mukul

A visit right now feels as much an excursion as homage to his vision and assembly of a diverse, revolutionary group of artists. “You either find yourself or you get lost,” quipped Matko Tomičić, the executive director of the Reserve. Or in our case, both.  

Admission: You must book timed tickets in advance; they’re $15 for adults and $10 for seniors; kids, students and veterans are free. LongHouse is open Wednesday through Sunday. 

Sol Lewitt, Photo: Nitin Mukul

The traffic to East Hampton is always bad, but we ventured on a Friday morning (budget 2.5 to 3 hours in travel). We walked around downtown East Hampton and ate (overpriced but sufficient sandwiches and muffins) at the Golden Pear Cafe and some fruit we had brought from home. 

Side trip: We stopped in at Rogers Beach (no permit needed after 5 p.m.) in Westhampton on the way back. 

—S. Mitra Kalita

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