Road Trip: Delaware Valley

Erin and Denny began pioneering through the region back in 2012. After just a few road trips they bought an old Jeep Cherokee and launched the blog Escape Brooklyn to inspire fellow urban dwellers to head north. Who better than Erin to guide you on a road trip through her favorite local spots. From accommodations in a renovated barn to a jaunt through the fly-fishing capital of America, get ready to fall in love with upstate.

Every Friday morning, my husband and I pack up our car and leave the city until Monday night. The destination is always different. Our travel blog, Escape Brooklyn, documents these weekly journeys, highlighting all the wonderful places and people we find along the way. Recently, our weekends have been taking us to the western Catskills, where we’ve just bought an old motel that we’ll be renovating for the rest of the year. But that’s another story…ROADTRIP DENNY WITH MAP 2

Denny and I made our first trip upstate in September of 2012. We spent two days in Hudson, then rented a vintage trailer in Narrowsburg through “vacation rentals” on Craigslist (remember that?). We returned to the Catskills in July 2013 to check out the newly opened Graham & Co., hiked our butts off and reveled in the “hickster” vibe of the Phoenicia Diner. Two months later, another couple of road trips took us to Hudson and Ithaca. Seeing a photo of Taughannock Falls in Ithaca spurred a friend to comment that we should start a travel website. So the very next week, we did.

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What follows isn’t a photo journey of one road trip, but of many. We began our 2016 summer travel season at MILK BARN in Hankins, a 3-bedroom converted barn with two tiny guesthouses. Since then, a series of road trips to Callicoon, Bovina, Roxbury and North Branch have followed, each one as memorable as the last. That’s not to say that a single road trip doesn’t deliver.

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For this Escape Brooklyn road trip, begin by leaving the city on the Palisades Parkway to Route 17, through Harriman State Park, and over to the western end of the Catskill Mountains—our favorite part of the region. If you’re traveling with friends, you’ll definitely want to book MILK BARN. The beautifully renovated barn sleeps up to 10; it has a sauna, swimming pond, lovely grounds and charming design details from its last renovation in the 1970s.

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Solo travelers and couples should stay at the North Branch Inn, which features hand-set bowling and houses our favorite restaurant in the region, the Bar Room. From North Branch or Hankins, make a jaunt over to Callicoon for a day of antiquing, rounded out with lunch at Bà & Me, a Vietnamese take-out spot. Spend the rest of the afternoon at Skinner’s Falls, a series of tiny waterfalls and rapids on the Delaware River ideal for a refreshing dip.

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Your next stop will be the bucolic hamlet of Bovina. On your way, you’ll pass through Roscoe, the birthplace of American fly-fishing. From Roscoe, take Route 206 along the Peptacon Reservoir, taking time to get that perfect Instagram shot at one of the several overlooks on this twisting country road. Consider a stop in Andes for antiquing at Kabinett + Kammer, adding to your wardrobe at Clementine Vintage Clothing and picking up a snack at the Andes General Store.

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For something more substantial, the Andes Hotel has delicious food and a nice patio for people watching. Once you reach Bovina, settle into your Airbnb of choice. Our three favorites include the FosterBuilt Inn, four unique country-style rooms in an 1850s house right on Main Street; Above Brushland, spacious suites directly above the town’s “it” restaurant (which also happens to be the only restaurant in town); and camping on the beautiful property at Green Shepherd Farm. Breakfast at Russel’s General Store is a must, as is a stop at Burnett Farms’ farm stand.

A half-hour away is Bellfire Farm, where you can round out your road trip with a stay in the teepee or one of the rooms in their farmhouse. A short jaunt into town and you can pop into Roxbury General to pick up Catskills-made art, chocolate or a piece of jewelry as a souvenir. And, if you’re traveling on the weekend, don’t miss Table on Ten’s wood-fired pizza night. Their tranquil backyard is the perfect spot to unwind after a day spent exploring.

Road Trip Highlights

1. A favorite part of summer is the bounty available at all the farm stands. We snagged this giant, beautifully imperfect heirloom tomato last summer at Burnett Farms’ farm stand in Bovina, NY.

2. When we started Escape Brooklyn, we didn’t have a car. Instead, we used Metro North whenever possible and also rented cars. When we realized how much we were spending on rental cars, we decided to splurge for a car of our own. We bought a 2000 Jeep Cherokee on eBay and, since then, have taken 1,0000 selfies just like this one.

3. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been drawn to chickens. Something about them is just so goofy. When we move to the Catskills permanently, we’ll figure out a way to keep our own. This one is from Burnett Farms. Owner Steve Burnett gave us a tour there last summer and we shot the whole experience.

4. It’s no secret that we love old stuff. Aside from our travel website, Denny and I sell vintage and antiques. This gorgeous specimen was parked outside of the Heron in Narrowsburg, one of Sullivan County’s best restaurants.

5. There’s no doubt that a big part of the charm of shopping at Maison Bergogne in Narrowsburg is Juliette, the owner. As a fellow collector and seller of vintage, I admire both her collection of treasures and how it’s all put together. Next year, the shop will be replaced by Fish & Bicycle, a bar, café and small grocery. We can’t wait to see how it unfolds!

6. No arguing here: The best restaurant (and only restaurant) in Bovina is Brushland Eating House. Fresh ingredients from local farmers combined with chef Sohail Zandi’s wild culinary imagination makes this little hamlet one of the hippest destinations in the Catskills.

7. We finally made it to Bà & Me in Callicoon! Fresh Vietnamese fare is served from a takeout window. The highlight on a summer day is the  vegan bowl washed down with an icy and sweet Vietnamese coffee. Diners can eat in front of an antique shop that they shouldn’t pass up afterward.

8. We were so excited when our friends Sims and Kristin Foster opened the North Branch Inn earlier this year. They brought their best chef, Erik Hill, from their sister hotel/restaurant, The Arnold House, in Livingston Manor. Hand-set bowling, incredible dining and the best staff ever make this tiny town a gem in the rough.

9. The best part of what we do is always exploring new towns and cities. I can’t believe it took us so long to discover Callicoon—and now that we have, we’re hooked! The shopping on Main Street trumps all the other Catskill towns, with tons of vintage and antique stores that are reasonably priced. It’s not completely overrun with tourists and I hope it stays that way.

Credits

Founded by creative couple Erin Lindsey and Denny Brownell, Escape Brooklyn is a curated travel guide offering daytrips, weekends and worthy destinations from beyond New York City.

www.escapebrooklyn.com | instagram: @escapebklyn