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Four volumes of SUITCASE Magazine, with a new issue delivered to your door each quarter
While The Hamptons are the obvious choice for a weekend escape from New York consisting of rosé, shopping sprees and McMansions, another hot upstate destination is luring us away from the siren call of Montauk. The Catskills, a mountain range by the Hudson River, is becoming a hideout for NYC artists and influencers seeking respite from the concrete jungle. A more year-round destination than its Long Island cousin, forget Surf Lodge for now and prepare for lakeside s’mores, pottery-making classes and après-ski depending on the season.
A Scandi-inspired lodge, Scribner’s is minimalism, cosiness and all-around hygge. There are fireplaces in virtually every corner (and outside), making it easy to warm up after a full day on the slopes or touring the surrounding villages on foot. The sleek yet comfy rooms are also much more modern than those at many of the slightly more rustic stays nearby. We love this hotel as a home base for an active weekend away, whether your preference is skiing or hiking to mountaintop lakes.
Located in the town of Bovina, it’s only fitting that Field & Stone is set up in two former dairy farmhouses so picturesque they are quite literally nestled into rolling hills. This boutique retreat combines aesthetically pleasing tones of beige and cream with little nooks to curl up in with a good book. This homey space is a dream for a group getaway, as the upper and lower farmhouses combined can house up to 14 people.
The Graham has mega summer camp vibes – and we are into it. With a swimming pool full of inflatables, outdoor film screenings, bunk beds (as well as queens), rental bikes and bonfires, everything about it makes you feel like a teenager again. Soak up those carefree Americana vibes all weekend long – and make sure to pick up an on-brand tote bag on your way back into the real world.
Hasbrouck House is like a combination of The Secret Garden and Around the World in 80 Days, recreated and neatly packaged into a smart boutique hotel. Marrying quirkiness and sophistication, the decor ranges from hot-air balloon-printed wallpaper to navy panelling. Oozing old-world charm, this is the type of place where a G&T in the club room is a prelude (and prerequisite) to dinner in the hotel restaurant, Butterfield. Room wise, book the stable or carriage house to maximise on the surrounding leafy gardens in the summer months and outdoor s’mores come wintertime.
The Woodhouse Lodge does rustic chic to the max, and it does it very well. In addition to contemporary-cool touches like Turkish towels and house bath-salt blends, it manages to maintain an old-school Catskills atmosphere. Posters advertising snowmobile races from 1977 and stacks of logs by the fireplace are perfectly nostalgic additions. This is a stay we’d recommend checking out with a couple of friends for a fun weekend away from the city.
Cucina is a thing of upstate dreams. Located in a restored farmhouse, grab a spot at the 24-seat communal table for when you’re feeling boisterous, where, unlike the communal tables at Le Pain Quotidien in the city, you’ll actually chat to your neighbours. Otherwise, snag a private table by the fireplace or out on the porch as the nights start to get warmer. The menu is a slightly breezier take on your classic NYC Italian – we recommend the goat’s cheese, pear and arugula pizza with fig-rosemary spread and truffle oil. Top it off with a bottle of red and a salted-caramel sundae for the table and this will likely be one of the highlights of your trip.
If you’re renting a cabin with a crew, this is where you’ll want to come to stock up on freshly caught trout, ripe tomatoes and local cheese for a proper farm-to-table experience. Before filling your basket with everything from craft Catskills brews to wood-fired garlic fettuccine, pop in to Main Street Farm’s café section for hearty lentil soups and sandwiches on sprouted-seed bread.
If you’re looking to surround yourself with parents who wouldn’t dare feed their children store-bought granola, you’ve come to the right place. Garden Café is one of many vegan options in the area, but in our opinion it’s the best. The team serves up creative veggie-based meals, such as peppercorn-crusted tofu, polenta with avocado mousse and truffle salt and red-bean, sweet-potato rice burgers. The space is decked out with vintage furniture and a local crowd of yogis and artists.
Peekamoose is a Catskills go-to. Serving up local classics like rainbow trout and honey-glazed beets, it always hits the mark when you’re looking for an easy, nutritious meal after spending the day working up an appetite. The restaurant also rocks that slightly hippie vibe the area is renowned for. Once you’ve polished off your food, head outside to roast marshmallows under the stars.
While this is definitely a quick stop rather than a place for a lengthy affair, the varied offerings make it worth a visit. We recommend stopping by to grab a coffee and treats for on the road prior to driving back down to the city. The doughnuts are exquisite, drizzled in caramel sauce and covered in sauteed apple slivers or topped with a halo of toasted coconut. They are also made to order – watch them fry it up fresh before you choose your toppings.
If you’re looking to treat yourself after several days of hiking, skiing and yoga head for a chic dinner out at Silvia. The space, with a wide terrace and an open kitchen, is lovely, and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. The roasted beet and carrot tart, trumpet-mushroom plate and duck-fat confit all put an innovative twist on seasonal specialities. Ordering the citrus olive-oil cake goes without saying.
The birthplace of the seed-heavy bread loaf you’ll find lining the shelves of Whole Foods in Manhattan, Bread Alone is a favourite among arty locals (and a much-welcomed Starbucks alternative for looking to crank out a few hours of work). Set up shop in an adorable little cabin, wake up early and pop by to stock up on cranberry-pecan loaf, brioche and twice-baked almond croissants for your group breakfast.
A trip to the Catskills simply wouldn’t be complete without the requisite yoga classes (we reckon most people here take two a day). This studio offers everything from pilates to restorative vinyasa, so those who are addicted to their boutique workout classes won’t have to go without. The lack of lorries beeping in the background makes the experience all the more relaxing.
An artists’ colony for those who have escaped New York, Woodstock is a playground for natural inspiration. To fully immerse yourself in the town’s arty vibes, sign up for a class at the Woodstock School of Art, which offers everything from life drawing and printmaking to sculpture and pastel practice. It’s an airy space with bright windows overlooking the surrounding forest, and the location’s serenity and remoteness will allow your imagination to run wild on the page (or pottery wheel).
If simple yoga classes aren’t enough, Sivananda, a stunning Catskills ashram, offers longer-term programmes including teacher training and certificate courses for those who consider themselves true yogis. Experiential courses are also available, including a detox programme and Ayurvedic nutrition and vegetarian cooking classes.
A multi-arts centre in Livingston Manor, CAS is your go-to on a rainy day when you can’t go hiking. Featuring both well-known and emerging local artists, the Society has multiple rotating exhibitions on at all times and showcases impressive collections of contemporary art. For those who are fully embracing the artistic experience on their Catskills romp, there is also a clay studio, teaching studio and an art library to explore.
If you’re spending a wintery long weekend in the Catskills, Hunter Mountain is one of the best ski resorts within close driving distance of New York City. Known as the “snowmaking capital of the world,” Hunter is one of the few ski destinations in the northeast where you can avoid scraping down sheets of ice for the majority of your day. The base lodge, Kaaterskill Mountain Club, has a full-service spa for those who are less inclined towards the cold but have a crew of ski bums on their hands.
Hiking, hiking, hiking. Known for its lush green mountains riven by burbling streams, hidden waterfalls and myriad autumnal colours that transform into a snow globe come winter, it’s a place best explored on foot and, ideally, viewed at high altitude. While Mount Tremper is a great pick because it’s walkable year-round, North Point is also a good choice for beautiful views on a tight schedule, and the 620 stone steps that lead to the Kaaterskill Falls are well worth the incline.
You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.
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