Things to do in Upstate New York

New York City is full of excitement, fun and possibility. But after 5 days exploring every corner of the city I was ready to venture out of town to see a different and calmer part of the state. Following the Hudson River we drove for a couple of hours and discovered the small towns of Hudson, Kingston and Beacon. Each neighbourhood was filled with charming shops, design-centric hotels and delicious culinary destinations. Here’s a few of the hidden gems we fell in love with, but I’m sure there is much, much more to discover and enjoy.

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To Stay

Scribner’s Catskill Lodge – Scribner’s is an effortlessly hip boutique hotel, located just outside Catskills and surrounded by impressive mountains. Each of the 38 guest rooms is unique, decorated in a simple but stylish way, with white walls and charming retro details.

Getaway House – Getaway House offers a rare opportunity to escape everyday life. Cosy cabins are found in the depths of the Catskills countryside. The natural materials of the handcrafted houses blend perfectly with the beautiful woods, and there are plenty of windows to let in maximum light from the outside world. Turn off all electronics and relish the calm, natural wonderland that surrounds you.

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To Eat 

Brunette – I instantly fell in love with this special little wine bar in Kingston. Owners Jamie and Tracy Kennard transformed this former barber shop into a sophisticated venue with white washed walls, a marble bar and elegant ornaments and artwork. The menu features a selection of carefully chosen natural wines and tasty plates of food.

Phoenicia Diner – If you are looking for the classic American diner experience Phoenicia is the place for you! The old school diner has been beautifully updated and maintained and serves comfort food with a modern twist. Order the Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich and a freshly squeezed juice.

Gaskins – This atmospheric eatery is always full of lively locals and hungry tourists. Gaskins was set up by husband and wife team Nick and Sarah Suarez, in Germantown after they fell in love with the area. The food showcases the best ingredients from nearby farms. Look out for their special taco and pizza nights.

Rivertown Lodge – Formerly a 1920s movie theatre and later converted into a motel in 1958, the stylish 27-room Rivertown hotel on Warren Street is also popular for their great food and drink offering. We visited the bar for strong and creative cocktails, but the carefully curated wine list also looked great.

Bartlett House – This historic building (c. 1870) was originally a railroad hotel, restored in 2016 to house a kitchen, bakery, and cafe. Bartlett House is now a serious brunch destination worth travelling for. The dining room is homely and inviting and the baked goods are truly exceptional… don’t miss the twice cooked Pistachio croissant.

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To Shop

Hops Petunia – In Kingston you’ll find a few lovely shops on Broadway. Hops Petunia is owned and run by Kelli, a floral designer with a creative eye. In the beautiful whimsical shop you can find flowers and garden accessories, handmade pottery and fragrances.

Clove & Creek – I wanted everything in Clove & Creek. This immaculately designed shop stocks a lovely range of gifts and objects for the home and outdoor living. They also serve very good Parlor Coffee.

Kingston Wine Co. – Friendly service and unique wines makes Kingston Wine Co. the obvious choice for picking up wine in Kingston. Owners Michael and Theresa Drapkin are passionate about the best organic and natural wines and will make sure you walk away with something special and delicious.

Otto’s Market – Otto’s Market has been a part of the Germantown community since 1927 and is currently run by four friends from Columbia County. In the vintage-chic store you’ll find abundant produce from the Hudson Valley and a variety of local products.

Hawkins New York – An aesthetically pleasing lifestyle store in Hudson, Hawkins was founded in 2013 by designers Nicholas Blaine + Paul Denoly, and together they produce they own line of homeware products which sell in store alongside other desirable brands from all over the world. I particularly like their candles inspired by travel destinations like Jaipur, Marfa and Aix-en-Provence.

Minna – This pretty shop was founded by Sara Berks. Minna works with artisans in Mexico, Guatemala and Uruguay to produce ethically made home textiles with a contemporary edge. The homeware is characterful and beautifully made, I also loved the beauty products made by small company, Berlin Skin.

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To Do

Dia: Beacon – When we drove into the small town of Beacon I never expected to find Dia, an epic gallery and arts foundation housed in a former Nabisco box-printing facility. The collection focusses on displaying work from the 1960s to present day, including work by artists Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois and Michael Heizer.

Kaaterskill Falls – Kaaterskill Falls is a two-stage waterfall on Spruce Creek in the eastern Catskill Mountains with two cascades totalling 260 feet (79 m) in height, making it one of the highest waterfalls in New York. It is a magical sight and well worth visiting while in the area.

North / South Lakes – These lakes provide a wonderful backdrop for long walks. The scenery is extraordinary and the lakes are mesmerising.

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