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Weekend Getaways

How to Plan a Romantic Weekend Getaway in the Catskills

Just two hours by car from Manhattan, the Catskills have long been a romantic retreat for couples fleeing the chaos of New York City, where a weekend in quiet towns and the great outdoors allow you to reconnect to nature—and to one another. In the “Brooklyn of the north” (so-called for its hipster vibes), urbanites can satisfy their inner adventurer on hiking trails and downhill ski slopes while relaxation-minded couples can indulge in hearty, locally sourced meals and get a light (or serious) buzz at a local distillery, brewery, or hard-cider producers.

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EAT

Wm. Farmer and Sons, Hudson

As one of the longest-standing restaurants (and guesthouses) in Hudson, Wm. Farmer and Sons has become part of the fabric of the Hudson Valley. This historic mainstay is where both locals and visitors come for a top-notch American meal in a sleek, contemporary barroom and restaurant. Husband-and-wife owners chef Kirby Farmer and Kristan Keck focus on sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers for their classic, hearty dishes like smoked Berkshire pork shank, dry-aged beef tataki, and cast-iron burgers.

American Glory BBQ, Hudson and Tannersville

Whether you choose to visit the flagship restaurant in Hudson or the secondary location in Tannersville, diners at American Glory can expect wood-smoked barbecue and classic American comfort foods. Menu standouts include the St. Louis-style ribs, smoked chicken wings with Catskill mountain maple syrup and chipotle sauce, Panko-covered mac and cheese balls, and buttermilk-brined fried chicken with rosemary biscuit waffles. The plates may not be date-night cute, but the live music on weekends creates a fun vibe. Arrive early to get prime seating at the bar, where you’ll want to sit and sip on local craft microbrews, ciders, and classic libations (made with fresh local herbs, fruits, and handmade syrups and shrugs) by an in-house mixologist.

Mama’s Boy Burgers, Tannersville

Locally-grown, grass-fed Angus beef burgers are the focus of the menu at this colorful 1950s-style mom and pop shop. All of the meat is sourced from nearby JJF Farms, so you can expect the freshest ingredients, whether you opt to build your own burger or order one of the menu’s clever concoctions such as the “El Niño”—a two-beef patty topped with jack cheese, pico de gallo, chipotle mayo, guacamole, and jalapeño bacon. If red meat isn’t your thing, there’s also a falafel burger and organic turkey patty plus old-school shakes and floats.

RELATED: 9 Best Restaurants in the Catskills and Hudson Valley

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2

SLEEP

North Branch Inn, North Branch

Time seems to stand still at this 14-room hotel in its namesake town, which dates back to 1851. The inn itself is composed of three buildings—the main structure plus the town's former library and, as of this past winter, post office. Each room is distinctly situated, but all are outfitted with cozy duvets, Malin & Goetz amenities, and Sferra towels and robes. Downstairs, grab a bite at the Bar Room & Restaurant (where the menu changes weekly depending on ingredient availability), watch a movie at the on-site theater, or challenge one another to a game of bowling at the vintage two-lane alley.

Scribner’s Catskills Lodge, Hunter

Since opening in 2016, Scribner’s has become the lodge of choice for both design aficionados and adventure seekers. The 38 guest rooms are like a Brooklynite couple’s fever dream—all dark maple floors, vintage rugs, custom-built furniture, and angular whitewashed walls. By day, there are more than 20 acres of mountainside to explore, plus alpine skiing on adjacent Hunter Mountain during winter. At night, sit down for a locally sourced meal at Prospect—the on-site restaurant where Chef Joseph Buenconsejo turns out unique dishes like Thumbelina carrots with lentils, sheep’s milk yogurt, charred avocado, and sweet potato—followed by a s’mores sesh at the cozy outdoor fireplace.

Collective Hudson Valley, a Retreat at Liberty Farms, Ghent

Glamping has been traditionally reserved for dude ranches of the American West, but Collective Retreats recently brought the concept to the Northeast with this Hudson Valley outpost. The retreat is set on Liberty Farms, a working organic farm and equestrian center located near the town of Hudson. Couples sleep beneath the canvas in safari-style tents decked out with king-size beds, a wood-burning stove, full-service bathrooms, and private decks with Adirondack chairs. The retreat is as private or communal as you make it, so feel free to share a family-style, locally sourced meal with your new friends sleeping one tent over.

See All Hotels in the Catskills
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Images courtesy of Wayside Cider/Nat Chitwood

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DRINK

Catskill Brewery, Livingston Manor

The on-tap offerings at this microbrewery aren’t just locally made—they’re sustainably handcrafted using only Catskill mountain water and all-natural ingredients. (They call it “Honest Hardworking Beer” thanks to the sustainable production in a LEED-certified brewery.) If your twosome consists of a novice drinker and a beer snob, there's good news: you’ll both be impressed by seasonal brews like the easy-drinking, refreshingly hoppy “American Baby” Catskill pilsner, the medium-bodied stout, and the open-fermented, small-batch “Wood-Ferm Ale Blend.”

Prohibition Distillery, Roscoe

The Catskills are all about leisurely days, so plan to while away an afternoon at this boutique distillery in Roscoe that pays homage to Prohibition-era spirits. At the tasting room, couples can book a guided tour of craft-distilled spirits such as the corn-made, charcoal-filtered Bootlegger 21 New York Vodka. During warmer months, hang out at the outdoor Bootlegger’s Alley Bar, where dog-toting locals come for next-gen cocktails like the Catskill Manhattan (made with Bootlegger 21 New York Bourbon Whiskey, sweet vermouth, and aromatic bitters) or the Roscoe 75 (Bootlegger 21 NY Gin, orange blossom honey syrup, lemon juice, and sparkling wine).

Wayside Cider, Andes

You could go apple-picking in the Catskills, but wouldn’t you rather enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor? At Wayside Cider, couples can hang out in the tap room—outfitted with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, Bavarian beer hall tables, and fire pits—to taste small­-batch hard cider. The process favors wild and cultivated regional apples, which are picked and pressed into an intense, high-acid juice that’s singular to the region’s climate.

RELATED: 8 of New England's Top Craft Breweries

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SEE + DO

Hunter Mountain, Hunter

This alpine resort is the Catskills’ premier year-round adventure outpost, with a summit elevation of 3,200 feet. Race each other on 240 skiable acres of challenging downhill slopes, or take a leisurely run on intermediate terrain among the five new trails of Hunter North, a forthcoming addition this winter season that also includes a high-speed six-person chairlift. If you visit during the summer, there are just as many outdoor adventures to enjoy together: go off-roading in a 4x4, speed down the mountain by zip-line, or hike the four-mile trail from the summit to Hunter Mountain Fire Tower, which, at 4,040 feet, is the highest fire tower in New York State.

Greenville Drive-in Outdoor Cinema, Greenville

There are few better ways to embrace the Catskill’s throwback vibes and slow pace of life than a visit to this family-owned drive-in movie theater. In operation since the 1950s, Greenville Drive-in screens classic and contemporary films in a wide, open field with the mountains looming in the distance. Cozy up in your car with drinks from the on-site beer garden and snacks from the small stand, which sells excellent popcorn along with bites from local producers.

The Hudson River School Art Trail

With wildflower-covered rolling hillsides and verdant, tree-lined forests, the landscapes of the Catskills are undeniably romantic. The region's beauty was made famous by artists of the Hudson River School, America's first major art movement, dating from 1825 to 1875. Couples can metaphorically step inside the paintings of famous American landscape artists—including Hudson River School founder Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Sanford Gifford, Jasper Cropsey, and Asher B. Durand—by hiking a three-mile trail of the real-life locations that influenced these American legends. Though there are countless areas to explore, you’ll find that many of the views remain remarkably unchanged since the 19th century.

Beaverkill Angler Fly Fishing, Roscoe

Fishing may not seem overtly romantic, but wading in calm, cool waters or floating down a river (not to mention learning a new skill together) can be a surprisingly peaceful and thoughtful way to spend time with your significant other. The Catskills are uniquely positioned within the Upper Delaware River system, offering prime trout fly fishing on the Main Stem and the West and East branches from late spring to late fall. Both newcomers to the sport and seasoned anglers will find a full- or half-day excursion on the Delaware River, Beaverkill River, or Willowemoc Creek worthwhile, especially if you’ve got fly fishing expert Evan F. Lavery of Beaverkill Angler showing you the ropes.

RELATED: The Most Scenic Hiking Trails in the U.S.

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