Dec 2, 2021
5 min read
A Photographer's Guide to the Catskills
Less than three hours from New York City, the Catskills is a quick getaway for those in need of some respite in nature. For those of you who haven’t been (yet), think mountains swathed in forests and teeming with wildlife, with incredible hikes and views from all angles.
Someone who’s a master of getting the best angle is photographerErnesto Roman
. Creative Director ofDeer Mountain Inn
, and East Coast Editor ofA Hotel Life
, he lives and breathes the panoramic outdoor lifestyle. Here are his top tips.
If you didn’t already live there, where would you love to stay in the Catskills?
Your Catskills getaway dream come true. A classic, turn-of-the-century construction, offering a rustic dining experience with wood-burning fireplaces, a cozy entertainment lounge that is private for inn guests, and hundreds of acres to explore the outdoors.
A fun glamping experience with a great restaurant – but, they only run in the summer.
There are amazing, unique private properties around the Catskills, that you may only get through Airbnb. One of them is Mystic Lodge, located in a dairy farm in Bovina, which offers you a secluded teepee experience – perfect to disconnect and be one with nature.
Favorite places to eat in the Catskills? What do we order?
Get the Great Red Ruben (with Pastrami for the meat lovers), The Niobe Wrap (for the veggies), or the Avocado toast (for the sriracha lovers). But really, look out for their daily specials!
They offer daily specials like $1 oysters, and happy hour on Tuesdays. Usually, I go for the chicken or the bibimbap.
Prospect at Scribners, in Hunter
They are open daily for breakfast (not dinner), so get the pancakes! Extra tip: If you’re visiting during the week, check before you go, as most places are closed Monday to Wednesday.
Where would you go to eat for a special occasion?
Gaskins, in Germantown
Wood-fired oven dishes and locally sourced ingredients, with a small-town vibe.
Deer Mountain Inn, in Tannersville
Go for the seasonal (Michelin-star) chef’s tasting menu, small bites (get the fried chicken) and craft cocktails. You can sit next to a log fireplace, or at a table with mountain views.
Brushland Eating House, in Bovina
This is a great place to reward yourself with a nice dinner after a countryside drive. I love their iron cast dishes and pastas.
We’ve lost our luggage. Where would you suggest we get a new wardrobe?
Warren Street, in Hudson
You will find everything and anything on Warren Street, from thrift stores to ateliers.
A favorite of mine, this exquisite boutique has a hand-picked selection of brands including accessories, publications, writing goods and the best incense I’ve ever smelt.
What are your favorite bars around town?
The Tavern at Rivertown Lodge, in Hudson
Ask about their organic wines selection, it’s great.
The Maker Hotel, in Hudson
A new addition to the list for me. It’s the kind of place you could go for some absinthe or brandy – you’ll find an elaborated cocktail list, too.
Brunette Wine Bar, in Kingston
I always feel the vibe is ‘sparkling rose’.
West Kill Brewery, in West Kill
Beers are seasonal and they rotate, so there’s always something new to try. I’m really into the Kaaterskills IPA right now.
Best place for a morning coffee in the Catskills?
We have an entire afternoon free, and are looking to do some damage to our credit card. Where should we go?
- Clove & Creek, in Kingston.
- The Village Common, in Catskill.
- The Antique Warehouse, in Hudson.
- Black Creek Mercantile,in Kingston.
- Maison Bergogne,in Narrowsburg.
- Tannersville Antiques, in Tannersville.
Where can we get our dose of culture in the Catskills (ideally without crowds of tourists)?
We’re looking to party, like a local. Where should we go?
- The Half Moon, in Hudson: for karaoke, live music, and dance parties.
- Glen Falls House, in Glen Falls: a tavern, with DJs and pool parties.
We’d love to see some live music. Where to?
- The Pines, in Mount Tremper.
- BSP Kingston, in Kingston.
- The Beverly, in Kingston.
- Levon HelmStudios, in Woodstock.
- Club Helsinski, in Hudson.
Favorite secret spot to get some alone time?
The Leanto atDeer Mountain Inn
, for one of the best views of the Catskill Mountains. It’s a 15-minute hike from the Inn and is my favorite place to bring a book, get some fresh air, meditate, and catch sunsets.
Tips and tricks for getting around the Catskills?
You can get away with taking Amtrak from NYC to Hudson and relying on Uber/Lyft or just walking around. Other than that, you definitely need a car, no way around it! Add a good 20 minutes to anywhere you go in the summer, as traffic doubles up everywhere, especially the queues at the gas stations!
Parking atKaaterskills Falls
gets super crowded during the weekends, so go as early as possible. If you park on the sides of the road, you’ll probably end up with a parking ticket.
Where are the cool crowd hanging out in the Catskills, if we’re single or solo traveling?
This is a tough one. Being single upstate ain’t no joke. As a rule of thumb, just hit the bars.
In terms of people watching, follow the crowds, head out to the big festivals or gatherings such asField and Supply
, theBasilica Soundscape
(summer only) or all the pool parties.
And if we are coupled up, what is the best date spot that will actually have a table?
at Hasbrouck House.
Where should we go for a nature walk (if not a full-on hike)?
Work your way up from the bottom. You can also explore the trails on top of the falls for an easier hike and check out the viewing platform. There are numerous trails to explore.
Follow their founder and naturist extraordinaire Laura Silverman on a nature walk, foraging class or forest bathing experience.
Where would you go with your sketch pad or journal?
A 500-acre outdoor museum and sculpture park. If you haven’t been yet, you’ll be inspired.
The most impressive view of the Catskills.
Where do we go to work out in the Catskills?
The great outdoors! There are plenty of lakes, hiking and mountain bike trails to go around. You will also find a lot of yoga studios. Winters are long in the mountains, so if you’re not a skier/snowboarder, you’ll be looking for your classic gym chain (YMCA, Planet Fitness, etc), just to jump on a treadmill.
Where do we go to treat ourselves to a spa or massage?
Anything else we should know?
Hiway Drive-In or Drive in 32 (both open seasonally)
For an old-school drive-in movie theater experience. Watch a film under the stars!
A vibrant and colorful Caribbean-style restaurant. It’s a women-powered and community-oriented business with occasional art installations and performances. The fried fish dish and sweet plantains sides make me feel right at home.
This is an electronic music sanctuary. Probably my favorite, most unexpected Catskills find. A beautiful main street storefront in a tranquil town.
This place in Phoenicia makes me feel like a kid again!
And, don’t forget to come up in the fall, the foliage is spectacular.
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