weekend guide getaway catskills

Looking for a weekend of R&R, maybe a little adventure thrown in there, too? If you said ‘yes,’ I’d like to welcome you to the Catskills in New York! Now, the Catskills is actually quite huge, so I’ve narrowed it down to the Phoenicia, Hunter, Tannersville and Saugerties area. Ambitious, I know ;).

Coming out of the colder winter months in NYC, we have been itching for some warmer weather to go out and enjoy some nature up in the mountains and really enjoy being ‘al fresco.’ For our latest getaway, we retreated up to the Catskills in NY (about a 3-hour drive from Queens) and, while having no cellular service for a few days initially freaked me out, it was the detox and quality of life that I actually have been in desperate need of for a while now.

This guide includes things on our itinerary for a weekend away, but please feel free to take the spots that intrigue you the most and make your own itinerary! Everyone is different and you may want to do more of one thing than another; the choice is yours! The Catskills are even great for a daytrip, too (we’ve done it! :)). Happy weekend-ing![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

kaaterskill falls

"While we did drive quite a bit, we didn't mind it, really; all of the roads were pretty much scenic all the way. We rolled down our windows, inhaled in deeply and had smiles so big, the break and fresh mountain air revitalized us!"

catskill mountains sign

Where To Stay

The Emerson
Resort & Spa

With so many places to stay in the Catskills, The Emerson is a unique and special find. Named after the famous poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, the resort is committed to delivering what Emerson himself believed in: that nature is part of man and that we must harness its restorative properties. Their walls tell stories through unique, beautiful art, including quotes from Emerson himself. Not only are they inspired by nature, but they are committed to preserving the environment by being a model for future sustainable hotel development.

In our search, we were looking for a place that would offer a relaxing setting, was close to a body of water, had a great view of the mountains and provided amenities that would make our stay that much more comfortable for a truly relaxing weekend away. The Emerson Resort & Spa was so gracious in hosting us and it worked out wonderfully because their location in the Catskills is central enough to enjoy activities nearby but also nestled far enough to make you feel like you’re really on a true escape. The property itself, though, holds so much to discover. Ask the super friendly and very knowledgeable front desk to help you book a beginner’s guide to fishing, how to pitch a tent, where to find a local trail that fits your experience or ask what time the bonfire starts! It is perfect for anyone looking to get away; whether you’re flying solo, coming with a friend, or bringing your family on up, you will be sure to enjoy your time here (shall I mention that even some celebrities have stayed with the resort in the past year?).

Year-round, they offer great savings packages that will be sure to peak many interests– from babymoons, fly fishing, a girl’s getaway to even a mushroom walk! What I love the most about this hotel, beyond their super comfortable rooms, is that they are truly committed to making the property such a valuable experience. They have a shopping village attached where you can get some local Catskills-made goods, like Ginger Tonic (LOVE and perfect for keeping that immune system up and at ’em!), clothing, home décor, gifts for the kids, and much more. Originally, there was a dairy barn silo located on the property and, instead of knocking it down, they turned it into the world’s largest kaleidoscope where you can enter and watch a show. Looking into summer, they are creating seating around the Esopus Creek where a brick oven will be installed and fresh pizza will be made as you watch the sun set. Magical? Yes!

catskill emerson resort and spa

Feel the morning sun kiss your cheeks as it rises while on your balcony.

Enjoy breakfast at the property’s onsite restaurant, Woodnotes.

Comfortable rooms; ours featured an air-jet tub (LOVE!), a swiss rain shower, a king-size bed, and a fireplace to keep you warm.

Emerson Resort & Spa
Emerson Resort & Spa

There is so much more that the resort has to offer (gym, sauna, pool, etc.), but what makes them even more special (in my eyes) is that they encourage you to come in, even if you aren’t an overnight guest, and take advantage of some of their facilities and services! Bring up your laptop and go into their beautiful study and enjoy free wifi while you sip on a cocktail from the Woodnotes Grill. By the way, their bar has master mixologists so ask the bartender to make you something special 😉. Schedule a massage or enjoy a mani-pedi– either way, you will walk into the spa and instantly feel relaxed.

All in all, it was a great experience and can’t recommend it enough!

Emerson Resort & Spa, Chandelier
Emerson Resort & Spa
Emerson Resort & Spa

Where To Eat

Quality over quantity; while the restaurant scene may not be as plentiful as back in a big, metropolitan city like NYC, the food is so delicious, you could totally go back and eat at the same restaurants again and again if you wanted to! Below you will find some of our picks:

Tavern 214: Farm-to-Table with American Fare. They are open late which makes it convenient if you’re out exploring and need to freshen up before dinner. Try their famous mac & cheeses or pesto chicken sandwich!

Woodnotes Grille: The restaurant is beautiful and spacious, with a warm feeling for breakfast and special lights that make you feel like you’re dining under the stars at night. Attached to the Emerson Resort & Spa, the food is made with locally-sourced ingredients and has an outdoor patio for seating, overlooking the Espous Creek.

Mama’s Boy Catskills: While we didn’t get a chance to eat here, I heard that Mama’s Boy Burgers was labeled as ‘the Shake Shack of the Catskills.’ They also have Mama’s Boy Pizza! And ice cream. My husband’s inner child rejoices :D.

Phoenicia Diner: This diner was built out in Long Island, New York, picked up, and placed in the middle of route 28- nifty, right? We’ve been coming here for years and recently it’s gained quite the popularity. I always, always, always get their tortilla soup as it’s the best I’ve ever had. Expect a wait time for seating, but they have a cute little bar attached that allows you to sip while you wait :).

Phoenicia Diner
Phoenicia Diner
Phoenicia Diner
Phoenicia Diner

Sweet Sue’s: As you may know, my husband is quite the food critic. But, for the first time in french toast history, I heard him say “there is just no way to improve this, it’s perfect, absolutely perfect.” He, my friends, was referring to their pecan crusted french toast. I loved their goat cheese omelette and Sue’s got quite the variety of pancakes to offer. Get here early as crowds can start to gather. Bon appétit!

Phoenicia NY
sweet sue's
sweet sue's

Maggie’s Krooked Café: First off, let me start by saying that Maggie is so fun and has a personality that is so contagious! We had the pleasure of meeting her and learning that she is originally from Brooklyn (Brooklyn in the house!). She is very passionate about her craft and you can tell with your first bite! The love she pours into her food and making people feel welcome is wonderful to see. It’s in the cute “Dr. Seuss-like” town of Tannersville. I had the best veggie burger with curried potatoes ever and Massimo, my husband, had her grits that he just couldn’t get enough of! The café is also unique that the floor is uneven, giving it its name and charm!! Try her baked goods – they all looked amazing.

tannersville new york catskills krooked cafe
tannersville new york catskills krooked cafe
tannersville new york catskills krooked cafe
tannersville new york catskills krooked cafe

What To Do

Nature:
Kaaterskills Falls: Allow 2 hours for this scenic hike. Parking is at an overlook and you’ll need to (safely) walk on the side of the road to get to the start of the hike, but it is absolutely beautiful. It starts out steep with some rock climbing, but then it gets pretty flat. The waterfall is the tallest in NY state and as you approach it, I hope it leaves you in a moment of awe and bliss as it did for me; truly humbling.

kaaterskill falls
kaaterskill falls new york
kaaterskill falls new york

Kaaterskills Falls Viewing Platform: Alternatively, if you don’t feel like hiking, you can drive to the top, park your car, take a 5-10 minute walk (follow the signs!) and you will reach the beautiful Kaaterskill Falls overlook that not only shows you the waterfall from above, but also gives you a beautiful view of the mountains.

North/South Lakes: I am so happy that the lovely staff at the Emerson recommended this to us! It was quite the beautiful experience to walk alongside the lakes and just sit and be thankful for life! Rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboat and enjoy the beauty abound.

A little Fun:
The Town Tinker Tubes: Love tubes and a little bit of rapids (a.k.a. seeking a little adventure)? Then set sail on your tube as you go down the Esopus Creek, enjoying yourself getting bounced around a bit for a fun water adventure sure to bring you tons of laughter (at least, it would for me!). FYI: This isn’t your regular lazy river ride. Open in the summer!

Bear Creek: Who doesn’t like a little innocent game of mini golf once in awhile? If you’re looking for something with more movement, this place also offers horseback riding and other activities!

The Scenic Train Ride by Catskill Mountain Railroad is open year-round on select weekends (check the schedule!) and offers you the opportunity to ride in an open-air car (or you can go inside if you choose). We have done this train ride in the fall amongst the foliage and it was absolutely beautiful (bring a sweater, though).

catskills mountains

Unique rides for spring, summer, fall & winter! Bring your camera!

scenic train ride catskills

Taking it Easy:
The Spa at the Emerson: The moment you walk in you feel instantly calm. Sip on mint water while you get your nails done or book a massage that will melt your stress away!

Catskills Yoga House: Take a moment to focus on yourself, your body, your breath. Your inner light will thank you.

phoenicia homes catskills
vintage shopping catskills new york
antiques shopping castkills new york

Shopping + Additional Notes:

  • Antique shop in Phoenicia or Tannersville.
  • Brewery to open this summer!
  • Check the events calendar for some neat weekends up ahead like the Cupcake Festival & BBQ Fest!
  • On your way back down, make sure to drive by the town of Saugerties and check out all the cute houses- I couldn’t get enough!
what to do in catskills
Saugerties Beautiful Home Catskills

xx,
signalorenii

Saugerties Catskills Visit Catskills Homes

Special thanks to the Emerson Resort & Spa for hosting me! All opinions are my own.
Please feel free to leave your questions/comments below!

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Brooklyn native, Latina, and founder of Enlightened by Bravery, an adventure/travel and wellness blog that focuses on drawing inspiration from adventures around the world back into your life // iPhoneographer // Francophile

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B.

Beaufort: Small City, Big History, Lots of Beauty

I like pushing the envelope. It’s just what my curiosity does to me. It’s a curse, perhaps at times, but when it comes to travel, however, I find it as a true blessing. It was no surprise, then, when planning my trip to Georgia that I wanted to squeeze in a day-trip to South Carolina. Now, I knew my days were tight, so I made sure to make this destination worth it. Cue in Beaufort, SC, a little city that opened my heart and mind through its history.

As a NYC resident, I wanted to explore more of a southern coastal city (can you blame me?)  and so when I saw Beaufort featured in the New York Times (and then after I booked my trip saw it featured in Southern Living and Vogue,) well, you know I just had to check what this city was all about.With a population of about 13,000 (and it being the second-oldest city in South Carolina), I must say, I felt pretty close to everyone I encountered and felt the history instantaneously upon my arrival.

I partnered with the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce to plan my trip and when I asked:
“What’s the best way to see the city?”
“Via a walking tour,” is what they non-hesitantly replied.

So, my husband and I got in the car, waved ‘bye’ to Savannah for the day and headed up north about 1.5 hours.

When we arrived to the visitor’s center in Beaufort, we were happily greeted and given recommendations of where to eat and what to check out. Never be shy about asking locals – they are the best source of information!

We started our day with lunch at Plums. Real talk: I have been having SO much delicious butter (and shrimp!) down south that I opted for a refreshing chicken salad – oh, and some oysters on the side, of course to change things up a little bit and give my body a bit of a break. As we entered the restaurant, we requested outdoor seating and were escorted to the back, right by the Waterfront Park, a wonderful spot for people-watching and seeing boats pass you by. Interestingly enough, every couple of minutes during our conversation, we’d have to stop talking because we had fighter jets fly over us; turns out, we were right near Parris Island, a Marine Corps Air Station. How cool, because you never see those jets flying around in NYC!

After lunch, we went on our walking tour of Beaufort where I walked amongst some of the most beautiful Antebellum houses I have ever seen, built on what used to be plantation fields and learned that they were used during the war. Today, many of the homes are residential and used for films! There were so many movie references while on the tour, I wish I was a big movie person to understand; but it was okay, I understood the history and, honestly, just walking along the streets filled with oak trees, Spanish moss, birds chirping, carriage steps and imaging myself back in the 1700s was just incredible.

Friends, look at the following photos and imagine yourself hearing horseshoes and standing in front of these beautiful homes while feeling the slight breeze on your cheek.  We walked around the city for about two to three hours. All worth it. So in love:

After our super informative tour, shopping was obviously next on the list. I sometimes wish I had a cute little beach home that I could decorate à la plage. But, who says that daydreaming is a bad thing?  Even if it’s to go inside and imagine the décor I’d put into my beach home, I have a wonderful time just strolling around, touching every piece of glass, opening up and flipping the pages of freshly printed coffee table books, and sniffing every candle my nose can handle.  At this point, my husband was outside sitting on a bench waiting for me as he turned to his phone and flipped through who-knows-what. Either way, I stayed inside the store and kept exploring. Scout Southern Market was such a great find! They have such wonderful things inside that are one-of-a-kind and I poo-poo on myself for not buying the beautiful blue & white porcelain dish I kept going back to!  Lucky for me, they deliver.  I’ll be adding that to my to-do list ;).

As we know, shopping works up an appetite (yes, yes it does, ladies ;)) and I was craving something sweet. I recalled the gelato sign we passed by earlier in the day and headed back to Common Ground Marketplace Café where I indulged in a wonderful lemon sorbet. As a lactose-intolerant soul, I highly appreciate when places that carry gelato also carry sorbet. It was the perfect treat after walking around for hours under the sun.

After our little snack, we sat by the Waterfront Park on its swings for a while and enjoyed the beautiful waterside view. We made our way through some more cute shops and pondered about how great our day was, how much we learned and which restaurant would be our last stop for dinner (we love to eat, don’t judge ;)).

We ended up crossing over a little bridge and (per a local’s strong recommendation- I mentioned I loved locals, ya?) headed on over to the Dockside Restaurant for dinner. I KNOW.  I know.  I said I wasn’t going to have any more shrimp. But… it was strongly recommended… and how could I not? ;).

As we finished up our dinner, we packed ourselves back into the car and headed back down to Georgia. Our day in Beaufort was as beautiful as its homes, its nature, its water, its friendly people and, most of all, its rooted history (for the history buffs, check more out here). In a city that I knew nothing about, I walked out knowing so much and banked the trip in my memory, so happy I fed my curious mind.

xx,
Loren.


Outfit

Dress: Revolve | Shoes: Nine West | Watch: Fossil | Sunglasses: Shein

2.

2018: Goodbye NYC, Hello New Zealand!

…and I don’t mean it just as a vacation. Family & friends, it is with great excitement and joy that we share with you all that we are leaving everything we know about NYC behind and heading off on an adventure abroad for the year!

We are moving to New Zealand!!

There have been so many factors that played into our decision: one of them was attending a Tony Robbins seminar (that post coming next!), another was experiencing the beautiful culture in Denmark last summer (gosh, I love that bicycle life), and another was that, frankly, I have been left feeling a little uninspired by NYC lately. Nothing against the concrete jungle, but maybe that’s my problem: too much concrete.

I don’t know if I ever shared this, but there were two times in my life that I literally sobbed on the plane as we took off: once was when I wheeled up from France after studying abroad there (oh, the tears!), and second was when we left Denmark (how could I live without all the pastries and that bike life?!). I started noticing a pattern and it drew up a concern for me: why was I crying so hard? And what was it about those countries that made me want to stay forever?

In my efforts to understand myself, it was clear that those other places (and travel in general), always filled a void of unpredictability, new adventures and new customs/cultures. When I landed, it was like a game of strategy in which you must survive, learn the rules and get excited about all the different things happening around you. I know NYC is a giant melting pot, but having been born and raised here, it all has just started to feel and become a little, well, predictable. I already know we are all celebrating the fourth of July no matter what state in the country I am in. And while I love traveling around the country (the USA is beautiful), I am seeking something more.

It occured to me that in order for me to continue to grow, continue to be inspired and continue to love deeper, I need to get out. NYC, USA, it’s not you, it’s me; we need a break. You will always be my home, but I feel that distance will make the heart grow fonder. You give such great opportunities that I have yet to be thankful for. The opportunities are endless and you can be whoever you want to be; yet, I’m not grabbing anything by the horns.

So why New Zealand? Well, why the heck not?!

xx,