Just a few hours from Manhattan lies a bucolic paradise where you can relax and recharge: the Western Catskills.
Do you ever dream of a place of quiet beauty, where your phone isn’t constantly pinging and there is plentiful cheese? I’m here to tell you this paradise exists, and it’s called the Western Catskills.
What makes the Western Catskills the perfect weekend destination
With burnout still a fact of life in this post-pandemic world, you could use a few days to unwind and reconnect. Great ways to combat burnout include experiencing new things, feeling “awed,” and physical activity. Even a few days of vacation can do a world of wonders for our mental health. Enter the Western Catskills weekend getaway.
What makes it perfect? For starters, it’s only a three-hour drive from Manhattan. Time to catch up on your true crime podcasts. Once you get there, cell service is almost nonexistent. Finally, a reason to not check your email or Twitter feed every ten minutes. Don’t worry, plenty of places have Wi-Fi if you need it. No cell service means you’ll need to have a car to get around (no Ubers) and directions for anywhere you need to go. Luckily, there aren’t many roads and plenty of signs pointing you to towns, so you shouldn’t get lost.
Surround yourself with awe-inspiring landscapes such as mountains, reservoirs, rivers, and farmland. There are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from including hiking, biking, kayaking, and paddling. Agritourism is huge here, with many of the small farms having food stands (a few even offer tours).
Where to stay in the Western Catskills
Save your Marriott points for another trip and stay in one of the many traditional B&Bs such as the Andes Hotel. Enjoy dinner in their tavern and cabaret in their courtyard on Saturday evenings. Or go all in on the agritourism experience and book a stay at the Stony Creek Farmstead. Nestled in their farm are tents with fully equipped kitchens and bucolic views.
To get completely off the grid, stay in one of the cabins at Getaway Western Catskills. Each cabin is appointed with the basics, including a bathroom, kitchen, sink, and small refrigerator. Order a food kit or bring your own supplies. Use the fire ring to grill burgers or roast s’mores. Peace and quiet are encouraged here, including no Wi-Fi, so you can completely disconnect and unwind.
Where to eat in the Western Catskills
Despite its isolation, the Western Catskills are a total foodie destination. Chefs here spotlight fresh ingredients from nearby farms, creating dishes that would look at home in any East Village restaurant.
Behind an old shoe repair storefront on the main drag in Delhi (pronounced dell-HI) lies EIGHTYMAIN, a homemade pasta paradise. If you’re smart (and I know you are), you’ll go for the “I don’t give a f@ck” chef’s tasting. Down the road in Bovina Center is Brushland Eating House. They offer a rotating three-course set menu served family style. Only one seating a night is available (Thursday to Saturday), so book your reservation in advance.
Outside of Andes town center is Catskills Harvest, a combination bar/restaurant/local grocer/cheese shop/jazz bar. Don’t let the variety fool you—this shop is run with love and attention to detail. Sample some locally sourced goods to take home, including coffee, meat, and baked goods. Tip: ask owner Nicole what’s happening while you’re in the area, she’ll fill your itinerary up in no time.
How to spend your time in the Western Catskills
Get a sense of what makes every community in the Western Catskills unique and go on a “hamlet hopping” tour. Each town is small and walkable, with its own unique blend of restaurants, cafes, and shops.
Start in Stamford with a light lunch at Stamford Coffee, then rent a bike from Big Lug Bicycle Outfitters. Take the Catskill Scenic trail via bike a few miles down to Hobart. Here you’ll find an entire town of bookstores, a bibliophile’s dream. Make sure you have a backpack to load up on your finds as you explore each shop. If you aren’t too encumbered, continue your bike travels down the trail and enjoy the incredible scenery.
Next stop: the hamlet of Andes. Say hello to some goats at the Dirty Girl Farm and sample some cider at Wayside Cider. Take a stroll down Main Street, lined with adorable cottages and small country stores. Head out of town for a scenic hike at Palmer Hills, and finish with a night of jazz in the countryside at Catskills Harvest.
As you travel from town to town, keep your eyes open for local farm stands. You’ll find a variety of goods, including produce, eggs, cheese, even maple syrup.
End your long weekend in the town of Delhi. Go for an early morning hike up the Bramley Mountain Trail to take in unforgettable views of the majestic Catskills. Head into town for a flat white and breakfast at Hollow, or lunch if you took your time on the trails. Make your way to Blue Bee Café for some ice cream, making a pit stop or two at one of the eclectic home goods/art places on the same block. Stop by Tay Tea on your way out of town and sample some of the finest teas on the east coast. The Cool Hand Luke blend will blow your mind.
A Perfect Getaway to Combat Burnout
With so much food, nature, and activities to explore, you’ll find yourself relaxed and recharged after a long weekend in the Western Catskills.