The vastness of New York State beckons travelers to choose their own adventure. It is no secret, Upstate New York has a lot to offer and the recently renewed popularity of the Catskills is undeniable. The young and old alike go upstate in search of natural tranquility, lake cabins, fishing, hiking, historical site tours, art fairs, laid-back summer bungalows, Woodstock site concerts, skiing, and who can forget about nostalgia of the Borscht Belt resorts. The state has a history of being enjoyed as a vacation destination since the early 1920s, but it was not until the 1940s when the State Division of Commerce made it a part of their mission to attract even more tourism. The 1939 New York World Fair, held in New York City, took the opportunity to promote upstate with the help of the Barlow Advertising Agency. They suggested visitors to the city take a tour of the Catskills on their way to and from the Fair. Their catch phrase described the Catskills as the “Quaint ‘Land in the Sky’ where Rip Van Winkle used to hunt”. Okay so these are not the same Catskills you enjoy today, but the concept is the same – relax right in your back yard. We did, and not only did it rejuvenate the body and mind, it got our creative juices flowing.
Ready to escape the city? Here is our list of places to consider for your next country getaway.
Pack your bags for this fall/winter adventure! If the mountains call but camping scares you, we highly recommend you try Eastwind’s version of glamping. Windham New York was easily our favorite getaway this summer. Choose to stay in one of Eastwind’s almost-camping stand alone cabins, or opt for a room in the main house. Either way, you will still appreciate the open starry skies, making your own food above a fire, hikes to waterfalls or skiing in the winter, outdoor saunas and a specialty cocktail, or two, at their cozy bar. You get served a complimentary welcome drink upon arrival and they even let you keep the Eastwind cup.
There are no social distancing worries here. The owner and manager communicate through text, making check-in and check-out a breeze. You can have as little or as much contact with others. While we highly recommend going with the flow here (you are still almost-camping after all), the staff goes above and beyond to help you have a relaxing experience.
Eastwind submerges you into a place where you want to unplug from all electronics and just be. What are you waiting for – start communing with nature!
European style couples escape! Mirbeau has three upstate locations, and while we have personally only tried their newest location in Rhinebeck, we have no doubt they are all equally excellent. Mirbeau invokes European style hotels and spas. Our experience was enriched by the hotel’s refined concept. There is nothing else like it in New York. Rhinebeck’s chateau architecture houses a restaurant, bar and a spa. If you find yourself in need of rekindling the spark with your partner, but can’t make it to Europe, this is the place to do it. All rooms come with a fireplace, soaking tub, Eucalyptus shower mist and a sound machine. Whether you’re the breakfast in bed type, or early morning hike type, Rhinebeck is happy to provide.
We chose this place for its European flair and spa. The pool area is easily the jewel of this hotel, and it is never crowded (a must while we fight the pandemic.) For our treatment we chose Monet’s favorite fragrance massage, and afterwards enjoyed quiet moments in the tranquil meditation room.
The elegance of Mirbeau, plus special attention from staff makes this getaway worth the drive. Mirbeau is two hours away from the city. Make sure to stop in Kingston for more sightseeing and shopping. Finding a local beauty shop is always on our travel checklist. Flora Beauty Wellness Apothecary on Kingston’s John Street helped us discover an in-house line, 58Flora. In Rhinebeck we stubbled upon the very fashionable Zephyr boutique. Whatever your mood, these upstate towns are sure to inspire you.
Step into your fantasy! The Roxbury Experience lives up to its name. It is a feast for the eyes with plenty of artistry, history, relaxation, and inspiration. First, you should know The Roxbury has two locations. The original Motel location is right in the downtown area of Roxbury and has its own spa, Stratton Falls is two miles away and is known for its impressive property, with a pool and a waterfall. The mansion and property comes with intriguing history, giving the hotel a mysterious allure. Stratton Falls opened right before the pandemic, and with this in mind we went with the flow and made sure to book our spa/pool time in advance. At Stratton Falls you can book a room in the mansion house or choose one of their themed tower cottages. In case you are worried about missing out, The Roxbury Experience allows you to enjoy both properties. We made sure to book some time at both spas and were not disappointed. Spending time in the spa library almost made us forget about the stress of the last two years.
The owners are very hands-on and make sure you have an excellent time. One cannot talk about The Roxbury Experience without mentioning the interiors. Our first night was spent at the Mill of the Frozen Falls. This room comes with an outdoor porch where you get to relax in rocking chairs. This is where you really get to take in the property while enjoying your morning coffee (complimentary in the main lobby). As a beauty editor I could not help but admire the room’s large and sparkly bathroom vanity. Our second night we were wowed by the craftsmanship of The Brother’s Stratton Room. For our next adventure we aim to stay in one of the Tower Cottages. This place is a must-see in person.
Visiting the Catskills is not always a rustic affair. You can have your country fun in a luxury setting. Resorts World Catskills in Monticello aims to please with spacious rooms, oversized bathrooms and sit down vanity, Molton Brown toiletries, renowned restaurant options, free entertainment and best of all, the Crystal Life Spa. If your partner prefers table games, but you prefer relaxation, Crystal Life Spa is truly an oasis away from the busy casino floor. The spa has its own pool and a full treatment menu. We highly recommend the C’ The Difference Antioxidant Facial and a Deep Sleep Massage.
If you do want to leave the hotel, Monticello is 7 minutes away from the Bethel Woods Arts Center – the original site of Woodstock. For a full review of this hotel and spa read “My Experience at Resorts World Catskills New Crystal Life Spa”.
Escape the hustle and bustle of your job, crowded subways and “been there, done that” brunches. If it is your first time in the Catskills, Scriber’s Lodge is the place to go! While you might be new to upstate NY, this hotel is not. The Instagrammable and redesigned getaway used to be a motor lodge dating back to the 60s. Design firm Studio Tack worked with owner, Marck Chodock, in order to create a getaway that felt authentic to the region and its cool guests from the city.
The 38-room mountain lodge getaway is what you make it. Whether you prefer skiing, antiquing, relaxing by the fire or playing in nature, the upstate region is filled with options. There is so much to do at the hotel that you might not want to leave at all. The staff ensures guests are comfortable and entertained with seasonal events. In fact, an ice skating rink is open for the season and welcomes all – guests and the community. Scriber’s Lodge is 2.5 hours from New York City.
Peace. Love. Stay. While the Woodstock Music Festival of 1969 took place in Bethel Woods (40 miles southwest of Woodstock New York), this upstate town was always known for attracting talent. If you are looking to get inspired and let the music guide you, visit Woodstock and stay at Hotel Dylan. The remodel of this hotel is magazine spread worthy. It feels like a hippie chic home away from home. The modern interiors still feel laid back enough to be cozy. We love the personal touches, such as vinyl record players in every room, hidden speakers and Lather toiletries. The property offers relaxing activities, like pool time, hard cider tasting room, outdoor fire pit, and there are plenty of books at your disposal.
Hotel Dylan has done an impeccable job capturing the spirit of Woodstock. It is no wonder that guests cannot get enough and keep coming back for more. Get cozy and feel the spirit of Woodstock, one of New York’s most famous towns.