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  • lifeunbound21

Catskills, New York

In general, I just love the Catskills. Every time I leave this place I end up spending all my free time on Zilliow looking for property so I can move there, haha.

I grew up taking lots of road trips to the east coast to visit my grandparents as my mom is from New Jersey. I spent my early twenties traveling out there with young kids to visit family and then did three different week long Baptiste Yoga trainings in my thirties in these mountains. There is something about it (maybe because of all that) that feels like home to me. Now in my forties, I got lucky enough to co-host a yoga retreat here with some of my best friends. Here are some take aways from that experience:

Where to stay:

  1. New Paltz - I never actually stayed overnight in this town, but when I look for property, it's here. It is one of the most quaint places I've been. It has really good food, boutiques and book stores, incredible views, it's close to hiking and a short drive/train from New York City.

  1. Minnewaska Lodge - If you want to stay close to the state park, this lodge is not far. The rooms are simple and rustic but the property is quiet and has great views. Its about a 15 minute drive from New Paltz, 10 minutes from the state park and about 25 minutes from Ellenville (where you will find a restaurant and hike mentioned below).

Where to eat:

  1. The Huckleberry - I've visited New Paltz on two different trips and both times I end up here. They have a cozy outdoor eating area that is strung with patio lights and surrounded by large trees. The food is excellent and it's an easy walk to all the great shopping which means you can park your car and do all the things by foot. I love that small town feeling.

  2. Aroma Thyme - This farm to table bistro is not to far away in Ellenville, NY. This area is closer to where we held our retreat and where I will reference some hiking so its worth adding to the list. Again, great outdoor seating (my favorite way to eat), really good food and an incredible bar.

  3. Il Posto Accanto - This one is in the city but I'm dropping here because it's one I don't ever want to forget. I don't know if my first experience here can ever be recreated because it was the perfect blend of - all the time in the world - with the best people, conversations, food and wine. However, I think any meal here would be exceptional. The owner alone stole my heart with her passion for food, people and Italian culture.

What to do:

1. Awosting Falls - This trail and waterfall is located in Minnewaska state park. It's a very easy out and back trail that is suitable for even strollers. The falls are a short distance from the parking lot which make this a nice picnic destination or the start and end to a beautiful hike. Not only did we see a large clothing brand do a shoot at the base of this fall one day, but I've seen it in two unrelated commercials since discovering it. It's that spectacular!

The trail starts at the top then gently winds down to the base and continues along the river and rocky walls. There are a lot of opportunities to sit along the banks, play in the water and hop across the river rocks so plan to take this one nice and slow.

2. Sam's Point Preserve - Sam's point is the highest point of the Shawangunk Ridge in New York and the views up here are spectacular! It only starts there though. Once you climb the stone steps up to the peak, you can continue on this out and back trail and hike through the ice caves which create a short loop at the end. The ice caves are one of the most popular features in the area and are a must see. The cravices fill with ice and snow in the winter and retain some of that ice through the summer. Even if it is all melted, the cave stays cool which makes it a refreshing spot on a hot day.

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