Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Feeling the heat in the concrete jungle? It's time pack your bags, rent a car, and head for those green, green hills.
The Catskills may conjure up Mrs. Maisel-like summer camps for New Yorkers needing to get out - and understandably so - it's the perfect distance for you to relax, unwind, and forget about your city life for the weekend.
The Catskills is a huge region with all the hikes and towns pretty spread out. That said the drives are really nice, so sit back and enjoy the ride
Be aware of the parking (or really, no parking) signs. We parked for a hike where many cars had parked thinking it was safe, but found ourselves back at our car with a big ticket
Summertime is busy with New Yorkers fleeing, so many of the highly-rated hotels book up quite early - that said we haven't had too much trouble with a last minute booking
Itinerary - Find a chill hotel, pick a few hikes that fit your interests/activity level, and enjoy some good food and relaxation!
Now for the real details!
Where to stay?
We didn't stay here because it was booked, but the place we've really wanted to go to given our affinity for tiny homes is this amazing Tiny House Resort (South Cairo). We can't wait to go there soon
If you want some hipster vibes, Graham & Co (in Phoenicia) is a renovated motel that is filled with insta-ready details and a great pool
If you're down to head a little further north, Windham has a great B&B called Albergo Allegria - yummy breakfast and nicely set up grounds
In Tannersville, we stayed at The Mountain Brook. Cozy place, dog-friendly, great fire pits, and they even make little s'mores packets for you to use at night!
I've never been there but my friend absolutely loves Scribner's Lodge in Hunter
Aside from that, there are dozens of other hotels. Damsel in Dior highlighted a bunch of ones that look to be quite cool and would be worth a try
What to do?
Aligned with many of our other getaways - the name of the game is hiking. And if you're super ambitious, we learned about the Catskills 3500 Club (35 peaks that are above 3500 feet) while we were there - never too late to start?! Some hikes we chose to do:
Katerskills Falls - this seems to be the most popular, though it was sadly closed when we went. We'll definitely be checking it out next time!
Artist Rock, Sunset Rock to Newman's Ledge - this was a great moderate hike at 4.6 miles with some very nice vistas and decent elevation. Was quite scenic all the way through
Overlook Mountain - another popular spot, so much so you might have some difficulty parking. That said we went later in the day to avoid traffic. This was a pretty meh hike up on a generic fire road, but awarded you with a gorgeous panoramic view at the top
If you want to go for a harder one and check off 3 of the 35 peaks at once than the Blackhead, Black Dome and Thomas Cole mountain hike is a great one for that! (Lazy tip: If you have two cars you can make it a one way instead of having to double back). Alternatively, if you'd prefer to conquer 1 of the 35 peaks, Windham Mountain is also quite a nice trek.
Rainbow Falls Trail was a nice moderate trail that is a bit closer to the city in the Minnewaska State Reserve, which seems to have lots of hikes for all different levels, including a very popular Gertrude's Nose - though we haven't done that one yet.
Where to eat / drink?
Definitely check out Woodstock - it's filled with lots of breakfast spots, lunch joints (we tried out Tinker Taco Lab), nice dinner (like Silvia, definitely try to get a spot there if you can), or to just grab a drink (Early Terrible has a great lawn and general vibe)
If you find yourself in Windham, you should check out Ze Windham Wine Bar an adorable wine bar touted as a top 25 in the US. Or spend some time chilling at The Vineyard at Windham, great service and easy daytime vibes.
While not the best reviews, sitting out on the patio at sunset at Hunter Mountain Brewery was quite enjoyable
On your drive up you'll likely get hungry. We made a fun stop at the Brooklyn Cider House in New Paltz - including yummy pizza and good beer
Likewise, on the way back we made another lovely stop at a family winery called Robibero - a great way to wind down before you come back to reality
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the Phoenicia Diner - beloved by all and an equally long line to match. Though if you're a breakfast fan, it is likely worth wait
Would you recommend to your friend / family? Definitely! There really is something for everyone and so many different towns to check out. So much so, I'm sure our post only covered a small bit of what there is to do up there
Would you return? Yes,
we've been there 3 times and are counting on some more in the near future
Favorites to speak of:
Lodging: Haven't been there yet, but plan to line up the Tiny House Resort for our next trip
Activity: All hiking, all day. That said, if you aren't a big hiking fan there are lots of easy to moderate hikes that make it very doable for everyone
Eating/Drinking: SILVIA in Woodstock was absolutely delicious. We would go back just for the mushroom pate, but also to try many tings on the menu we hadn't gotten to yet.