Travel like a local

City & Culture

A Brief Guide to the Catskills

I went to the Catskills in upstate New York in early September and explored some of the local towns and places. Here is a brief guide of some of the places I visited. 

Stay

Milk Barn (Hankins, NY)

A farmhouse surrounded by lush greenery, a horse ranch and a pond, this lot spreads to over an acre. The main home contains amenities like a Turkish bath, sauna, and fireplace which are ideal during the winter months, while the open chef's kitchen is the perfect place to cook up a meal using locally sourced farmer's market produce.

The house also has two detached cottages on the property so that guests can enjoy privacy.

 

North Branch Inn (North Branch, NY)

A collection of converted fire houses and post offices transformed into a charming bed and breakfast complete with Malin + Goetz toiletries, subway tiled walk in showers and soft white sheets. The property has a giant lawn where you can sunbathe during the day and enjoy a bonfire at night. Ample hiking trails around the area make it easy to fit in exercise during your stay. The inn's restaurant serves a great breakfast buffet spread and the dinner menu is worth checking out, followed by a drink sourced from one of the area's local distilleries.

 

Eat

The Arnold House (Livingston Manor, NY)

A rustic vibe reminiscent of a hunter's lodge complete with jukebox and a bar serving Sancerre. Try the summer green asparagus salad with pistachios.

 

Brandenburg Bakery (Livingston Manor, NY)

An artisan bakery in Livingston Manor serving freshly baked sprouted sourdough breads and other confections like paninis, soups and of course, pastries. All made in house from scratch daily. Freshly brewed coffee and dairy from Calkins Creamery in nearby Homestead, Pennsylvania. A great option to grab breakfast or lunch.

 

The Kaatskeller (Livingston Manor, NY)

With menu options like vegan chickpea Cesar salad along side pizzas prepared in a brick oven using local farm to table ingredients, this outdoor restaurant is a great option for dinner during the warmer months. Enjoy patio seating and twinkling lights alongside an extensive cocktail list curated by Apotheke (NYC) and of course draft beer and cider from local breweries.

 

Drink

Prohibition Distillery (Roscoe, NY)

A distillery in Roscoe, NY selling bourbon, gin and vodka- all gluten free (and corn based). You can come for a tasting but will most likely leave with a souvenir because when products are made authentically and in small batches- they taste better for some reason.

 

Catskill Brewery (Livingston Manor, NY)

A famous local brewery where you can sample fleets of 5 beers at a time (the menu usually rotates around 10 options so you may want to order two). Beer is served with popcorn making for a great afternoon pick me up. You can also try the local nitro cold brew coffee which is probably one of the best I ever had.

 

Shop

Nest (Livingston Manor, NY and Narrowsburg, NY)

Carefully curated selection of clothing, jewelry, textiles and home goods. Perfect decor accents to finish an interior space, complete with Moroccan rugs, locally sourced candles and hand carved wooden spoons.

 

Main Street Farm (Livingston Manor, NY)

My favorite find in the Catskills, this gourmet grocer sells locally sourced products all handmade and grown in and around the area. Starting with essential oils and body care, Main Street Farm offers local beer, wine, ice cream and other provisions. You can also purchase produce from local farms depending on what's in season (currently it was apples, tomatoes and plenty of grains like rye, oats and barley). Freshly baked breads, jams, dark chocolate and so much more!

 

The cafe part of the store sells sandwiches (including veggie options like hummus avocado), delicious cold brew, local artisan teas and kombucha on tap (in 8 different flavors).

 

If you are renting a home in the area, this should definitely be your go-to market.

 

Do

The Spa at the Arnold House (Livingston Manor, NY)

The spa menu is limited, but the quality of products used for the services makes it worthwhile. Enjoy an almond honey body scrub or a lavender oil facial, as well as deep tissue massages, reflexology and more. The spa also offers yoga classes in the farmhouse barn.

 

Hiking

There are a number of hikes in the area but the beauty of staying in the mountains is that you can just walk outside your front door and any which way you go, you will find a steep hill to climb. Scenery unfolds with autumnal leaves, deer, birds and the meditative sounds of nearby streams and brooks.