Destination Inspiration: Woodstock, New York, US
With a free-spirited heritage and easy access to New York City and the surrounding Catskill Mountains, the town of Woodstock in upstate New York is a great destination for a memorable mini-break, scenic hikes and high-vibe dining. Peace out.
21 September, 2020
Woodstock, New York, US
Utter the name of this Ulster County town and it conjures images of hippy types dancing and singing to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Held in 1969, when the US was preoccupied with the Vietnam War and civil-rights protests, Woodstock festival had a huge impact not only on the music industry but ideas around the freedom of expression too.
The "three days of peace and music" actually took place about an hour and a half's drive away in Bethel, but that hasn't stopped Woodstock town from becoming the beacon of eclecticism and free spirits it is today. Just two hours' north of New York City, its streets are lined with local-owned restaurants and cafés, boutiques and small galleries. It's also the starting point for one of the best hiking routes in the Catskills.
A perfect day in Woodstock looks something like this: wake early, throw on your hiking boots and trek across Overlook Mountain - at the summit, you'll gawp at breathtaking views and happen upon an eerie, abandoned hotel. Grab lunch at Garden Café and walk the town's streets - specifically, Tinker Street - to browse the shops. Come evening, check out one of the many live music events. We suggest checking the calendar at Levon Helm Studios.
Where to stay
The Woodstock Way Hotel is perfect for those who want to tap into the town's counter-culture energy without forgoing modern amenities. Choose a room, suite or cabin, all of which are within earshot of the nearby waterfall.
Where to go for dinner
SILVIA. A recent opening, this restaurant centres its cooking around a wood-fired grill and locally sourced ingredients. Couple this with its cosy al fresco set-up, and you've got the perfect upstate dinner experience. Book ahead.
And for a drink…
Set in a restored barn, Early Terrible Wine Bar captures the essence of Woodstock. It also serves tapas, so if you've bagged a cool spot here and don't want to lose your spot to get dinner, you're set for the night.
Most likely to bump into…
It has been remarked that most of the people you run into here don't realise that the 1969 concert happened more than 50 years ago. Expect to bump into friendly hippies eager to reminisce about their youth.
When to go
It's best to travel here during the summer months. In the warmer temperatures, you can take advantage of the hiking, swimming in nearby watering holes such as Fawn's Leap, along with live outdoor music.
Essentials to pack
As you'll spend most of your time outdoors, bring along your favourite sunnies - we like this retro pair by FreshForPandas.
How to get there
We recommend renting a car to make the most of Woodstock's surrounding nature. If this isn't an option, take an Amtrak train from Penn Station, NYC to Rhinecliff - from there it's a 25-minute taxi ride.