Life After Brooklyn: The best things to do in the Hudson Valley


We interviewed former New Yorkers about their lives upstate, and we also asked them to share their favorite spots, so you can enjoy them next time you visit–or when you relocate, too.

Glasses at the Suarez Family Brewery. Photo; Suarez Family Brewery via Instagram

Glasses at the Suarez Family Brewery. Photo; Suarez Family Brewery via Instagram

Sarah Suarez

1. Suarez Family Brewery in Livingston: Nick’s brother Dan and his wife Taylor opened their brewery in the summer of 2016. They have a tasting room where we love to hang out on our days off—Dan even decided to open the tasting room on Wednesdays for Nick.

2. Montgomery Place Orchards: This is my favorite farm stand and one of our purveyors for the restaurant. They are a family run farm with the most perfect selection. They grow a huge variety of heirloom apples, as well as oodles of other fruit and vegetables. When I stop by for my weekly visits from June-November I always end up eating something on the way home, whether it’s a whole pint of black caps or a couple warm apple cider donuts.

3. Saugerties Lighthouse: I love coming here with my dog Scout. There is a nice walk from the parking lot that takes you through a beautiful marshy area and then out to the lighthouse on the Hudson. You can bring a picnic or wade in the water. We actually did a special event with some friends at the lighthouse last fall and took a sailboat ride there, then had dinner at dusk. It was pretty magical.

4. Bonfiglio & Bread: We use their bread for the restaurant and are friends with the owners Gaby & Rachel. Their café is our favorite place to stop for breakfast or lunch on the weekends. They also often do pop-op dinners and events with the hotel across the street, Rivertown Lodge.

5. Sawkill Farm in Red Hook is owned by two of the first friends we made when we moved upstate, Kallie and Michael Robertson. We met at a pie contest, if you can believe it. Anyway, they raise chickens, lamb, and cows and sell the meat as well as other added value products like pelts, wool, tallow soap and broth in their farm store. We love shopping there, or sending visiting friends with kids to see the animals.

Arrowood Farms is a farm to beer experience.

Arrowood Farms is a farm to beer experience.

Megan Brenn-White

1. Westwind Orchard: This place looks even better than what you’d imagine two stylish Italians would do with a centuries-old farm–plus, you can sit outside and eat insanely good pizza from their wood-fired stove with a glass of their own cider. When the Italian grandmas are visiting, you even find their cakes and doughnuts in the adorable farm store.

2. Arrowood Farms Nearly across the street from Westwind is this amazing little hops farm plus brewery where you can immerse yourself in the farm-to-glass experience. They have a big bluestone patio and picnic tables in the hops fields themselves to drink a beer and eat their deviled duck eggs or a cheese and meat platter. Plus, they have a whole ecosystem of things to visit from the apiaries and the pigs to the ducks and wildflower meadow.

3. Swimming Holes: I don’t want to give away any of the local secrets online but ask anyone up here and they’ll tell you plenty of places where you can bring your suit and your non-slip water shoes. There are swimming holes all over the place where you can take a dip in a creek, totally surrounded by natural beauty.

4. Rough Cut Brewing Co.: Just a few minutes from major hiking and climbing at Mohonk Preserve and the Minnewaska State Park, Rough Cut’s Oscar burgers are some of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten–bacon, cheese, local meat, and a secret sauce. Yum. Plus, they brew all their own beers.

5. Lake Minnewaska: This “sky lake” is an easy loop hike that has nearly non-stop Instagram-able views. You’ll see the Catskills on one side, the Hudson Valley on the other, and the lake itself is surrounded by beautiful white cliffs.

Sauguerties Lighthouse got two votes from our upstate crew--seems like a must-visit. Photo: Alecia Eberhardt-Smith via Instagram

Sauguerties Lighthouse got two votes from our upstate crew–seems like a must-visit. Photo: Alecia Eberhardt-Smith via Instagram

Alecia and Tom Eberhardt-Smith

1. Saugerties Lighthouse: This place is some amazing secret gem—I almost don’t want to include it here because I don’t want it to get crowded! First, you walk a trail from the road down to the river. The lighthouse is right at the meeting of the Hudson River and the Esopus Creek. The lighthouse is pretty cool (it’s actually a B&B you can sleep at!) but the COOLEST part is that there’s a totally public lounge/deck space that’s perfect for picnicking, reading, etc. It’s dog friendly, you can swim if you dare (the Hudson isn’t known for being exactly CLEAN), and it’s so beautiful it belongs in Kinfolk. Seriously.

2. Little Deep: A super chill swimming hole/trail. There are many swimming holes in the Catskills and Hudson Valley, but a lot of them are very crowded in the summer (like the Blue Hole in Peekamoose). Little Deep is big enough for everyone to have a little space, there’s tons of great swimming spots both right off the road and deeper into the woods, and there are trails to hike if you feel like it’s getting to close for comfort.

3. Giant Ledge: This hike, about 45 minutes from Kingston, is the perfect hike for people who don’t hike all that often. It’s only about 1.5 miles, though it does get steep and rocky at some points, and it has an amazing payoff–a superb view of the Catskill Mountain Range. If you’re brave you can even do primitive camping up at the top and see the best sunrise of your life.

4. Phoenicia Diner: We’re diner people (obviously) and this is a great one. It’s got a good balance of locally sourced food and diner classics, the staff and owner are extremely wonderful, and it’s on the way in and out of the Catskills (perfect for post-hike hunger). The coffee is good too. It gets really crowded on weekends in the summer, so go on a weekday or go early in the morning before the weekenders get up.

5. Stockade Kingston: This bar in uptown Kingston that has amazing cocktails—many made with locally produced spirits. It’s where we go when we want to feel ~fancy~. The drinks here definitely rival anything served in Brooklyn and the staff is nicer—what more could you want?

Yes, this qualifies as a favorite place. Photo: Casey Scieszka

Yes, this qualifies as a favorite place. Photo: Casey Scieszka

Casey Scieszka

1. Diamond Notch Falls: It’s a little waterfall just three-quarters of a mile down the Hunter Mountain trail near our house. We live in the middle of the Catskills Park and so we head out into the woods every day. This waterfall is just so dang sweet, and it’s beautiful every season whether it’s icy or surrounded by lush ferns.

2. Brushland Eating House: “Farm to table” is an overused phrase these days, but Sohail and Sara are really doing it– sourcing from farms right down the road, even growing ingredients in their literal backyard! My favorite thing about the restaurant though is that you can tell they’re having fun.

3. The Golden Notebook: The thing I miss about NYC even more than Chinese delivery and pedicures is being able to walk to a bookstore! So every time we’re in Woodstock I have to stop by and pick up an armful.

4. West Kill Brewing: Our neighbors are opening a brewery, literally right next door, and I could not be more excited! They’re going to specialize in funky saisons and all kinds of farmhouse-style goodness. I can’t wait!

5. Our own backyard: Can I list this? Haha! Because it’s truly one of my favorite places out here. We’re in a big sunny meadow surrounded by mountains on three sides. I love grilling in our garden, reading in the hammock, dipping in the creek, and having a bonfire late into the night with friends. Of course these are things available to our Spruceton Inn guests as well!

2 Responses

  1. Betty -

    These places all sound super…Are any of them or others close enough for a day trip from NYC by train and a short hike? Would love to leave the car in park once in a while. Swimming holes or kayak rentals especially!

    • Alecia Eberhardt-Smith -

      Hey Betty! Anything in Kingston is pretty accessible without a car via the Adirondack Trailways bus!


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