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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S.

Seeing Montreal from Up High

mont royal

Exploring a city and wearing something that can take me from one activity to the next, seamlessly, is always a plus. I took on the challenge of wearing a bodysuit that is newly being deemed as leisurée, athleisure-meets-lingerie, and let it follow me from one adventure to the other as we continued to roam around Montreal. And you know what? It definitely kept up- from café to pool and everything inbetween.

We started with a very simple breakfast near our hotel, Café Parvis, that consisted of a pain au chocolat and decaf coffee with almond milk. I have to say, the cafés here really know how to make almond milk super creamy and delicious.  I’ve also noticed that many of the places we’ve been going to had natural plants as décor- my favorite kind of places! Café Parvis also offers lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends with a very appetizing menu.

After our petit déjeuner, we went off to our first stop: St. Joseph’s Oratory. Story has it that so many miracles (that science couldn’t explain) occurred at this basilica that prior popes deemed it miraculous and finally canonized a priest there as a saint in 2010 for all of his work. Millions of visitors (from all kinds of religious denominations) flock to visit yearly. Also, worth a mention: pilgrimages to this church are common and there is a staircase in the middle that is reserved for those who wish to climb the steps on their knees! After a total of almost 300 steps, you get to the top and there sits Canada’s largest church. It was much more modern than we thought it would have been, but very beautiful, nonetheless.

The view from the top was nice- no big skyscrapers to obstruct your view gave way to seeing miles and miles off into the distance, but I knew we could go higher. So off to Mont Royal we went.

Mont Royal park is filled with hiking trails, spots to plop down and have picnics, and even has a man-made lake (Lac Aux Castors, (or Beaver Lake)) that allows you to enjoy water activities on it or just appreciate it from the side.

I wanted to do a little bit of a fitness activity to burn off that croissant I was too naughty about and had earlier in the morning, so hiking a little ways up we went. Sure I was in a skirt, but when has that ever truly stopped me from living? I also was wearing an unbelievably soft Lively bodysuit that was completely fun to wear and made me feel so powerful as I embodied its message: to empower and remind women to do what they love, no matter what age, race and size and feel beautiful and strong while doing it (obviously something I can get behind!). Lively sees what the media defines as ‘sexy’ and is a total celebration of redefining what sexy means (re: whatever you want it to mean!). 

It’s interesting, what you wear, you start to embody – one of my favorite reasons to love clothing. So as I was hiking up the mountain, I felt the confidence and the determination, realizing how my every step was part of a whole. After about a half-hour or so, we finally made it to the top of Mont Royal!

The view from the top was breathtaking. Seeing cities from up-high is one of my favorites because it’s somewhat humbling to say “wow, I’m just a little person in this big, big beautiful world.” Something else to note: there was a piano at the top that anyone could go up to and play. Montreal places a handful of public pianos around the city so anyone can come up to them and play. I mean, really?! Pulling at my heartstrings here, Montreal. <3.

After climbing up to get great views of the city, we decided to head back to the hotel and indulge in some aquatherapy, a.k.a R&R at the pool. The best part? I used my bodysuit to get in there! Lively’s mission is also to start a new revolution as part of their leisurée collection by blurring the lines between lingerie, active and swim. What I’m wearing just launched as part of their new collection and I have to say it again: it is just so incredibly soft; if it weren’t for the fact that it was wet from the pool, I would have slept in it, too!

xx,
Loren.

Special thanks to Lively for partnering with me on this post; all opinions are my own.

| Skirt: Zara | Sweater: Banana Republic, see similar here | Shoes: Ked’s |
| Bodysuit (Medium): Lively, c/o (USE ‘LOREN’ AT CHECKOUT FOR $10 OFF YOUR ORDER (only valid until Sept. 9th!)) |

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F.

Fear of Flying: My Sudden, Unexpected Truth

End of July 4th week.

I remember that time last year very well.  I was in San Francisco with my husband watching the fireworks near the Golden Gate Bridge after driving up from San Diego and exploring all of what California had to offer.  It was the first time seeing the west coast and, inevitably, falling in love with it.  Before that, in May, we flew to the Bahamas for the weekend.  In February, we decided to spend some time in Boston and, prior to that, we went to México for our honeymoon.  I’ve flown to France numerous amounts of times (I’ve even lived there for a semester in college), traveled to other countries such as England, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Canada (just to name a few).  I took plane rides quite often in my lifetime and felt very fortunate.  I was like a little kid who couldn’t wait to see what was next, was super excited about it all, and day-dreamed about where the next adventure would take me.

Yes, I was quite the travel bug.  I always loved going out to experience new cultures and learn about what makes other countries special and unique (languages, especially, are what intrigue me the most!).

Enter the honest truth.  That trip to California (July 2013) was the last time I got on a plane.  One week after coming back home to NYC, I had my giant panic attack.  I no longer wanted to leave.  I didn’t want to go anywhere far.  I wanted to stay home.  I became afraid.  And just like that, in an instant, I had a fear of flying.  How could it be that someone who loved the smell of airports, the rush of taking off, the excitement of some turbulence, and the eagerness to land and explore new territory was now so afraid of flying?

In November of last year, for my milestone birthday, I wanted to travel but was so afraid.  For my one-year wedding anniversary I wanted to get away, but terror struck again.  And, sadly, a few days after my birthday, my grandfather passed away…in another country (may he rest in peace).

When we heard the news that evening, everyone in my family gathered together, purchased plane tickets, and boarded a plane to the Caribbean the next day.  Everyone left.  That is, everyone but me.  I loved my grandfather so much and wanted to see him one last time, but I just couldn’t get on a plane.  I was afraid of panicking, not having enough oxygen, fearing another terrible attack, and passing out.  If I was all the way up in the air and needed medical assistance, it would take a while to land and seek help.  It was better for me to stay grounded and have an ambulance take me to the nearest hospital ASAP (if I needed it).  I debated with myself: “Loren, you can do this, it’s your grandfather, just suck it up” or “Loren, you are not ready yet, you don’t know how to control your anxiety, you will just make things worse.”  In the end, I didn’t end up going.  And until this day it brings me to tears to think about how something like a fear can stop me from very important moments in life.  Another one on my list: my cousin is currently pregnant and is expecting her first baby girl down in Florida.  I want to go visit her so bad, but I am afraid of getting on that plane.  And while I would want to beat myself up, I don’t.  Because it’s OK to listen to your body and your mind.  It’s about knowing that balance between knowing what you want to do and what you have to do.  And for me, I had to stay.  I had to continue on my slow moving road to recovery.

There have also been so many times that I have randomly broken down and just cried.  I cry because I want to feel my toes in the sand.  I want to go zip lining in Costa Rica.  I want to go on a Safari in South Africa. I want to travel to New Orleans and eat amazing food.  I want to be with family when they need me the most.  I want to be present at very important moments, be it sad or happy.  But I’m being held back.  By my own self.

I know that the fear of flying is common. In fact, there’s a great percentage of Americans that cannot deal with it.  But, it was once something I loved to do.  I’ve always had a passion for it.  And it’s something I want to continue doing.  I know not many people may care for it, and that’s OK.  It’s not for everyone.  But, if it’s causing me to breakdown and cry, then it’s saying something.  Something BIG, something LOUD, and something CLEAR.  It’s something I love to do.  And I still love it.  From afar.

I made that trip to Washington, D.C. last month and broke down in the car sobbing because it was a big step for me.  This big panic attack last summer made me afraid to travel.  Afraid to leave NYC.  Even afraid to leave my apartment.  But because this is something so important to me, I am determined to work on getting back to where I was mentally in the past.  No, I will get there and be even better.  I think my next step may be an even longer car ride (more than 4 hours).  Maybe go to Canada.  I’ve always wanted to visit Montréal.  And then, maybe I’ll continue to build courage and allow myself to finally fly.  It’s all about baby steps, right?

FYI, I’ve been told that there are pills I can take while on a plane to calm myself down or knock myself straight to sleep.  Personally, I don’t want that because I feel like it’s a temporary relief for something that will always remain alive until you confront it.  I’m on a journey to be brave.  I am on a journey to confront myself, find myself, and love myself. My true self.  Naturally.

I can’t believe that I look at planes like someone back in the 1600’s would; how does that heavy thing fly?  Where are the aliens?  It may be funny to hear, but it’s such a truth.  And it’s such a sudden truth because I would have never imagined myself to be like this.  But, I think it’s all about educating yourself.  Asking questions and finding out the answers.  If you do, there is no room for speculation.  You will not stress out about it.  All will be understandable.  I’m getting there, slowly but surely.  I have to stop crying about wanting to fly and just work on my confidence, and maybe, one day, I’ll fly again.  I’m determined.

oneday

When I look up at the skies, I compare myself back to last summer. I do feel stronger than I was back then, but I know I’m not ready.  Not just yet.  But, when the day comes that I do fly (which I will definitely share on here, and obviously continue sharing my journey to get back on it), I know I will cry.  But they will be happy tears.  Ah, I am excited for that day.  But for now, I know what I have to do.  I have to wait.  Before I take it to the skies and fly, I have to take it by ground.  Isn’t it funny, though, how something happens all of a sudden?  Never would I have imagined this; however, I do believe that everything happens for a reason.

I used to be the little travel bug that could.  I’m currently the little travel bug that can’t.  But know that, one day, I’m the little travel bug that will.

Loren.

ps: If you have any tips or advice on how you successfully travel via air, I would love to hear them!  Please share in the comment box below :).

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