Even the most die-hard Harlemites will admit to occasionally craving the fresh air and slower pace of a weekend away from Harlem, NY.
Luckily, Upstate New York offers plenty of laid-back, easy-to-get-to destinations, from the picturesque towns of Hudson River Valley to the majestic forests of the Adirondack Mountains. None, however, are more popular—or more thriving—than the Catskills, where a mere two-hour-and-a-half drive from Harlem, NY lands you among farm stands, antique shops, and charming country inns nestled amongst rolling peaks and forested waterfall trails.
Here, a look at some of the best places to eat, shop, and play for the ultimate Catskills day trip and where to sleep, should you decide to extend your stay.
8:00 a.m. Start the morning off right with a hike through Overlook Mountain Wild Forest. If the 2.4 mile trek straight uphill doesn’t take your breath away, the picturesque views from the 3,150 foot peak certainly will. On the way back down, be sure to explore the ruins of the never-finished Overlook Mountain House hotel. With its arched doorways, abandoned corridors, and vine-covered walls, it makes for a beautiful—albeit haunting—photo op. 335 Meads Mountain Road, Woodstock, NY 12498
11:45 a.m. After working up an appetite, grab a post-hike brunch at Miss Lucy’s Kitchen—the quintessential Upstate restaurant. Tucked into a storefront off the main drag in Saugerties, the dining room features a mishmash of old farm tables and wooden chairs, while vintage aprons and antique kitchenware decorate the exposed-brick walls. But thanks to locavore ingredients and a thoughtful menu of lovingly prepared American classics (challah french toast with apple compote; house-made cheddar biscuits), the experience is anything but mundane. 90 Partition Street, Saugerties, NY 12477
1:15 p.m. Pop next door for some professional-level old world shopping at Green, the three-floor antique home goods shop. The thoughtfully-curated selection features everything from mid-century tulip chairs and reclaimed wood farm tables to vintage textiles and framed oil paintings. If big ticket items aren’t on your shopping list, the store offers plenty of art books and small decorative objects too. 90 Partition Street, Saugerties, NY 12477
2:00 p.m. Put on some comfy shoes, because reaching the 19th-century historic Saugerties Lighthouse landmark is half the fun: stroll the meandering, half-mile nature trail through tall grasses and lush woods along the banks of the Hudson River to a short boardwalk where the stunning red brick light house suddenly comes into view. Schedule a tour to see the still-operational tower, or, if the mood strikes, book an overnight stay—this is one of the only lighthouses in the U.S. which also houses a B&B. 168 Lighthouse Drive, Saugerties, NY 12477
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3:00 p.m. Though the area boasts no shortage of farm stands, family-owned Story Farms in Catskill (yes, there is a specific town called “Catskill” within “the Catskills”) is certainly one of the best. Stock up on a seasonal selection of everything from berries, to sweet corn, to donut peaches, to tomatoes. And be sure to check out the refrigerated section for smoked local trout, cheeses, eggs, and anything else you may need for an impromptu picnic. 4640 Route 32, Catskill, NY 12414
4:00 p.m. Time for a snack; head over to Shindig, a cute-as-a-button Woodstock cafe where locals and visitors alike linger over hearty, farm-to-table fare. Nab a table by the window, order one of the many local hard ciders to go with the towering house-made burgers, then sit back and watch the endless parade of tourists in tie-dyed t-shirts stroll by. 1 Tinker St, Woodstock, NY 12498
5:00 p.m. A trip to the country wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a farm. At 12-year-old Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, visitors can log some serious time with a host of rescued animals, from chickens and pigs to goats and cows. Besides offering regular weekend tours — which include feeding baby goats and petting cows—the Sanctuary also has on-site vegan cafe and hosts seasonal events like hayrides and pumpkin carving. 2 Rescue Road, High Falls, NY 12440
7:00 p.m. The trip from Woodstock to Stone Ridge is well worth the drive thanks to Butterfield, the gorgeous new restaurant at the just-opened Hasbrouck House. With its rich charcoal-grey walls, wide-paned windows, marble dining tables and tufted leather banquets, the aesthetic is the perfect complement to the rest of the hotel’s refined country inn vibe. But what makes Butterfield really stand out is executive chef Shawn Burnette’s (formerly of New York’s Breslin and Charleston’s Husk) ever-changing menu of elegant, Southern-tinged fare. 3805 Main Street, Stone Ridge, NY 12484
10:00 p.m. Settle in for the evening at Foxfire Mountain House, with its inviting décor of rustic bohemia mixed with laid-back minimalism. Opened just last year, the recently-renovated 100-year-old inn—and the backdrop for our fashion shoot—features 11 guest rooms, a sprawling veranda, white-washed walls, Moroccan-tiled floors, and a smattering of locally-procured antiques and artwork throughout. It’s located in the teeny-tiny hamlet of Mt. Trempler, surrounded by 10 acres which you can explore come morning—if you can manage to pull yourself away from the roaring stone fireplace in the cozy main lounge. 72 Andrew Lane, Mt. Tremper, NY 12457