If you live in a city like NYC, you know how important it is to skip town and delve into nature once in awhile. Which is why we venture out to the Catskills at least once a year to check out what’s new and delicious in the beautiful, quaint mountain towns all over the region. We recently took a trip for the TAP NY Beer Festival and did some extra exploring to give you the perfect travel guide for your next adventure.
If you missed out on TAP NY this year, it’s an event you don’t want to miss in 2017. As New York’s largest craft beer and food festival, we tasted some of the best brews we’ve had in awhile. This year’s event brought more than 120 breweries on board along with some delicious eats at the base of Hunter Mountain. A buzz with a view? Sign us up for next year! In the meantime, check out The Manual’s picks for the best places to eat, stay and shop in the Catskills before planning a trip this season.
Mama’s Boy Burgers
If you’re going to eat anywhere in the Catskills, make sure Mama’s Boy Burgers is at the top of your list. When they say their food is farm to table, they actually mean it. Their delicious, humanely-raised Angus beef is sourced from a farm five miles up the road, and we would know because we paid them a visit when we were done with our meal. They have something for everyone from the Big Daddy with two beef patties, blue cheese, bacon, caramelized onions and their special sauce to the Happy Camper, an organic turkey burger with rosemary, crispy kale, Swiss cheese, tomato and herb mayo. Sides like fries and onion rings aren’t to be missed, and make sure to grab a milkshake (26 flavors of custard!) for dessert.
American Glory BBQ
If you get a hankering for classic wood-smoked BBQ while you’re exploring the mountains (and you will), American Glory is at your service with two locations for you to enjoy. They have a huge selection and serve some of the tastiest barbecued meat we’ve had, not to mention great cocktails. Order the pork belly skewers, some sliders and sides so you can sample a whole range of goodness from their pitmaster.
We’ve been seeing the motorcycle-coffee shop popping up in all our favorite cities from Brooklyn to Portland, and Moto is one of them doing it very right. Stop in for a cup of joe and sweet or savory pastries to fuel up for the motorcycle shop in the back. The friendly, knowledgeable staff will help you find the right gear so you can cruise all summer in style and safety.
It doesn’t get fresher than Swoon, as pretty much everything down to the flower arrangements is sourced from upstate New York. The menu changes daily, and you can expect to see dishes like crispy artichokes with ramp aioli, roasted carrot salad, duck liver mousse and housemade pappardelle bolognese, each presentation more thoughtful than the next. Go for Meatless Mondays when they offer a vegetarian prix fixe dinner or Burger Thursday for their take on the all-American favorite.
Maggie’s Krooked Cafe
Maggie’s Krooked Cafe & Juice Bar has been serving locals and tourists alike since opening its doors in 1986, and the diverse menu will always leave you craving more. Serving breakfast and lunch daily, It truly has something for everyone from the carnivores to vegetarians and vegans looking to get a hearty, healthy meal. Think eggs florentine, omelets, burgers (veggie too), expertly prepared tofu and a killer grilled cheese – comfort food at its finest using the best ingredients out there.
Last Chance Antiques & Cheese Cafe
This Tannersville staple is one of those restaurants you could eat at once a month and still not try everything on the menu. But no matter what you order, you must try Last Chance’s French onion soup – it’s truly one of the best we’ve had. You might even catch some live music if you go on the right night. If you can’t sit down for a meal, pop in to grab cheese, candy, jams and other treats to take on the road.
Mansion + Reed Guesthouse
Located in the historic Hudson Valley village of Coxsackie, Mansion + Reed is the place to be if you’re looking for a truly tranquil getaway. The beautiful sleepy town is going through something of a rebuild, so peace and quiet is the name of the game. Cozy up in one of their loft-like rooms, expertly furnished with unique pieces you’ll hope to find on your next antiquing trip. The single rooms have queen beds, a daybed and kitchenette while the two-bedroom Church Street Flat is perfect for a group.
Kaatskill Mountain Club
This ski-in/ski-out resort is perfect for fans of winter sports, but it’s a perfect place to relax and unwind in the summer, too. Settle into a jacuzzi suite, perfect if you’re traveling with family or friends, as the spacious room includes a master queen bedroom and a murphy bed in the living area. A fully-equipped kitchen makes it easy to prepare some of your meals, but we suggest you try the delicious breakfast buffet from Van Winkles restaurant at least once. A full-service spa, big outdoor pool and hot tubs will help you relax and unwind.
Related: A long weekend in the Berkshires
Bones & Stones
This was probably our favorite find when shopping around in the Catskills this year. The owner of Bones & Stones makes some of the most beautiful pieces of taxidermy we’ve ever seen, using things like bones, shells, teeth and feathers. There’s handmade jewelry, knives, and soaps and candles from local artisan Mountain Girl. If you’re looking to support talented local craftsmen, this is the place to do it.
Tannersville Antique & Artisan Center
Take a stroll down Tannersville’s Main Street, and you’ll see the town’s antique center – you can’t miss it). The selection is thoughtfully curated, albeit pricy, with more affordable trinkets located downstairs. A rotating list of exhibitors means you get a solid variety each time you stop in.
Coxsackie Antique Center
If the Tannersville Antique shop is a bit small and expensive for your taste, you’re going to love Coxsackie’s sprawling and affordable alternative. You can find everything here from vintage military patches to 1960s housewares to some of the coolest jewelry we’ve seen anywhere. Call them up if you’re looking for something specific, and the staff will do their best to track it down for you.
Catskill Mountain Country Store
This combination restaurant and general store is the perfect place to grab homemade condiments, jams, fudge and local honey. They have an old school soda fountain if you’re in the mood for things like an egg cream or espresso milkshake. There’s also a big toy section if you need a gift or distractions for the little ones.
This gourmet grocery store is the perfect place to find delicious cheese, charcuterie, fresh product and interesting snacks (we loved the Torres Caviar Potato Chips we found). You can call in a meat or fish order to the butcher and put together the perfect gift basket with local goods. Make sure to stop in before leaving town to take a bite of upstate on the road.
A big thanks to Chevy for letting us test drive the 2016 Malibu, a sleek ride that truly brings a sense of style to the midsize car category. The hybrid engine provides fuel and earth saving technology, and you’ll drive easy knowing it received a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi keeps you connected on the go. The perfect size for an upstate adventure, the Malibu is one you’ll want to consider for your next Catskills excursion.
Photos by Max Schwartz