Today on The Tig we’re traveling up the Hudson River from the bustling streets of New York City to the picturesque countryside of the Catskills. A favorite haunt for weekenders and year-round residents alike, this area of rolling hills and quaint villages provides the perfect getaway for people like Amanda Blakley, founder of the family-centered travel site The Adventures of Atticus, to relax and unwind. Come with us as Amanda guides us through some of the most charming spots this region has to offer!
The bounty and beauty of this region is undisputed. Whether you refer to it as the “Catskills,” or the more general “Upstate,” the area itself evokes a special passion and collective pride amongst it’s inhabitants and the city folk who flock here every weekend. Growing in popularity since it’s humble beginnings as an artist and musician’s retreat throughout the mid 20th century, it is now a veritable hive of creative activity. It is densely packed with notable destinations from boutique hotels to farm-to-table restaurants, artisanal products, breweries, distilleries and local makers. For this Insider’s Guide, we’ll focus on Ulster County, my very favorite of the 4 regions in the greater Catskills. Let’s go!
Phoenicia Diner – The creative folks behind this gem maintained the charm of the original highway truck stop while successfully adding a gourmet Brooklyn edge.
Twin Peaks Donuts – This is a must-stop for piping hot coffee and fresh (yes, they’re made-to-order) donuts hot out of the deep fryer.
Provisions Deli – Local fare, made on-site with pasture-raised meats and seasonal produce. Their homemade focaccia is always a home run!
Mamas Boy Burgers – Their menu of burgers is plentiful, but if you’re in the mood for an alternative to the Big Daddy (double patty), be sure to try the Happy Camper – organic turkey with rosemary crispy kale, Swiss cheese and a tomato herb mayo, and we promise you’ll leave, well…a happy camper!
Bear Cafe – A beloved local haunt, and one of the very first artisanal and local-driven restaurants in the region. Sitting on the edge of a pretty little stream, the best seats in the house are waterside (in the summer) or fireside (for cold winter nights). Tig Tidbit: It was started in 1971 by music industry vet, Albert Grossman, manager to Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Band and others!
Cucina – Dinner here is always a trip highlight. In the summer, opt for a quintessential front porch table with breathtaking views of the gorgeous sunset. As the sun dips below the mountains, enjoy local fare prepared by an anything-but-local chef.
Peekamoose – Part lodge, part creekside restaurant, part highway diner, Peekamoose is a fun and delicious local institution. With some friendly looking taxidermy adorning the walls and a menu heavy on local brews and comfort food, you’ll feel right at home. Tig Tip: End the night at the fire pit for help-yourself s’mores.
Brios Pizzeria – A casual, local vibe. Come for the cold pints and sesame-crust pizza.
Brunette Wine Bar – An elegant little boîte serving small plates big on flavor and a perfectly curated wine list.
Butterfield at the Hasbrouck House – A new addition to the Hudson Valley dining scene, it’s name inspired by the settlers who were surrounded by lands so rich they compared them to butter. Humble, delicious local fare paired with craft cocktails.
Graham & Co – A gem of a property, the proprietors have successfully created lodging and a community all at once. The little details really set this former motel-turned-hipster-haven apart. From the vintage VHS revival films projected in the garage for evenings in, to military issue wool blankets for cool nights, fire side chats (s’more ingredients available on request), help-yourself-hot fair trade coffee daily, a beautiful pool deck, and the most perfect soundtrack playing the whole time, this spot will to ease even the most weary weekenders into relaxation and revery.
Tipi Hideaway – While the Hudson Valley is certainly a four season destination, this little gem is recommended specifically for the summer. But be sure to book your dates early as this little teepee books up quickly.
ÖR Gallery and Tavern – A unique space (former auto garage) in the middle of town offering stiff drinks and sustenance by Talbott & Arding. Gallery walls are full of photographs by artist and co-founder Jennifer Tzar’s work while the shop is stocked with leather goods and a curated selection of handmade statement pieces produced by Adam Loomis, partner.
Outdated Café – Full of curiosities and (damn fine) coffee & cakes, this retro cafe has something for everyone.
Kingston – Explore this funky little town full of history, beautiful pre- and post-Revolutionary buildings, quaint boutiques & cafés. Don’t miss a wander along Wall Street and Fair Street. On Saturdays during season, be sure to spend some time at the Smorgasburgh – a weekly market at the historic Hutton Brickyards overlooking the Hudson River.
Town Tinker Tubing – For warmer days lazing down the Esopus Creek and braving the rapids.
Overlook Mountain – Take in all the views and a buddhist temple on this epic hike.
Belleayre Conservatory – Visit in all four seasons. The beach beckons during summer months, as does the Belleayre music festival. Fall is the perfect time to watch the vibrant leaves, but be sure to hit the mountain and the slopes for winter powder – downhill, cross-country or snow shoeing.
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