Since we live just a few minutes from a sign that welcomes you to the Adirondack Park, that tends to be the direction we head when looking for hikes or mountain adventure. That said, we’ve been itching to explore more of this beautiful state we call home, so we were excited to partner with Visit Catskills on a trip to the mountains south of us. Long story short - we were smitten.
We both agreed it was one of the prettiest drives we’ve been on in the ol’ Wagoneer. I can't count the number of times I must’ve shrieked, “did you see that waterfall?!” as we were winding along the back roads. We can’t wait to come back in the summer and cruise with the windows down, and experience the hikes, swimming holes, and evenings by the fire.
There are hundreds (thousands?!) of different ways you could spend your weekend in the Catskills, so I won’t pretend to be an expert, but read on to find out how we spent one of our favorite weekends this year:
10am | Circle W General Store | Palenville From our driveway in Glens Falls, it’s only about 1.5 hours to the sign that welcomes you to Catskill Park in Palenville, NY. Just before we crossed into the Park, we stopped into Circle W General Store for a big dose of small town charm and a healthy serving of their sour cream coffee cake (which we immediately wished we’d gotten more of!).
10:30am | Kaaterskill Clove | Palenville Just up the road, we made a quick stop at the parking area on the left hand side just past Bastion Falls. There's a beautiful view of Kaaterskill Clove below and it was the perfect place to enjoy our goodies from Circle W.
11:00am | Kaaterskill Falls | Palenville This 260 foot waterfall is a must see if you're in the area, and can be viewed from the top or the bottom of the falls. Since it was a bit chilly and we had a lot more on our agenda, we opted to take in the view from the top, which is a quick 5-10 minute walk to the viewing platform from the parking area at the end of Laurel House Road. Directions and trail info here.
11:45am | Antiquing | Tannersville Otherwise known as the Painted Village in the sky, Tannersville is home to some great antique shops - and you guessed it - they're all painted in lovely pastel hues. Our favorites - Tannersville Antiques and Artisan's Center and The Antique Annex.
1:00pm | Phoenicia Diner | Phoenicia Once we'd worked up an appetite, we cruised 25 minutes south for some milkshakes and the famed all day breakfast at this retro 60's diner. Classic diner food with a view of the Catskill mountains = total win in my book. We both agreed we'd be here every Saturday morning if we were local.
3:00pm | Golden hour drive | Lew Beach I gasped when we rounded a bend and spotted the first of many stunning white houses with green trim lining the Beaverkill Valley floor in the Lew Beach area. Big old farmhouses with wrap around porches, complete with rocking chairs and views of the river spot the landscape. This area was a favorite and I should have known - the second I typed Lew Beach history into Google, the name Rockefeller surfaced.
3:30pm | Livingston Manor Covered Bridge | Livingston Manor We'll always brake for a covered bridge, and this was a beauty - built in 1860!
4:00pm | The Arnold House | Livingston Manor We checked in to The Arnold House, our rustic-chic inn for the weekend, just in time to take in the sunset from the back deck. Once the light faded, we took our seats by the fire in the sunroom until the sound of music from the jukebox lured us downstairs to The Tavern. We bellied up to the bar for dinner and enjoyed the very best butternut squash ravioli (local from Northern Farmhouse Pasta!), and pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. Spoiler alert: we loved it so much we ate here the following night, too! The Arnold House felt like staying at a friend's (11 room) cabin in the woods - it had a friendly, laid back vibe and we loved the vintage details. And did I mention that each guest receives a hand written note upon check-in?! Such a nice touch.
8:00am | Breakfast Included with our stay at The Arnold House was breakfast in their 1960's style dining hall, complete with local yogurt and house-made granola, pumpkin bread, and make your own waffles. It felt a little like summer camp as we pored over The Arnold House's travel guides to plan our day amid the hum of other couples doing the same.
10:00am | Brandenburg Bakery | Livingston Manor There's always room for a second breakfast on vacation, right? We stopped in for a coffee and a pastry on our way out for the day, and left with a box full of cinnamon buns and danish. Whoops!
10:30am | Main Street Farm | Livingston Manor The perfect spot to stop before we got on the road for the day. Filled to the brim with fresh food from local farms, and if we were in the market for a third breakfast, their sandwich and salad menu looked amazing. Definitely a place I could sit and stay a while.
11:00am | Prohibition Distillery | Roscoe We had the best time sampling the spirits and chatting with Robert at Prohibition. It’s always so much fun to meet people with a genuine enthusiasm for a product, and we loved learning about their process from him. A special bonus - their strong commitment to raising funds and awareness for veterans and their families.
Optional Stop | Northern Farmhouse Pasta | Roscoe We wish we'd stopped in to get some of their ravioli to take home after having it at The Arnold House the night before! Lucky for us, they ship :)
1:00pm | Wayside Cider | Andes I've followed along with Wayside on Instagram for a while now, and was so excited to finally visit! It did not disappoint and quite honestly, I didn't want to leave! We enjoyed the best lunch (salad and mac and cheese!), and loved the ciders. We left with two bottles to take home, and with a new favorite spot in the Catskills.
3:00pm | Catskill Brewery | Livingston Manor After trying (and loving) their IPA at The Arnold House the night before, we had to swing by the taproom on our way back to The Arnold to see where it's all made!
5:00pm | Drinks & Dinner We had every intention of making it to The Kaatskeller for some wood fired pizza, but once back at The Arnold House, we couldn't bring ourselves to leave! Drinks by the fire in the sunroom, followed by round two of dinner at The Tavern, and it was just as good as the night before.
7:30am | The Road Home We missed Woodstock on the way down, so we opted for an alternate route home which took us along the winding Peekamoose Road - one of the prettiest stretches of road on the trip.
9:00am | Bread Alone | Woodstock A perfectly charming spot for coffee and breakfast sandwiches (and we also left with a few bags of pastries for our dog sitters...and ourselves :) Don't miss the lemon currant scone!).
Alternate Breakfast | Gracie's Luncheonette | Leeds We had a few recommendations to stop at this retro-modern diner...next time!
Optional Stop | Catskill Animal Sanctuary | Saugerties We visited a few weeks ago and if you're an animal lover like me, this will be your happy place. I had to visit after seeing this video of Reggie, one of the resident pigs, and falling in love. Tom told me I didn't stop smiling the entire time. And, well, neither did he :)
We can't wait to spend more time exploring the Catskills, and I would love to know your favorites for our next trip!