Two Days In Woodstock, NY

Even as much as we love it, and as hard as it is for some of us to admit, sometimes the city can just get to us—the endless pavement, our daily subterranean commute, the crowds, the smells…

We all know, a change of pace, even if only a temporary one, is good for us every now and then. And here in New York, we’re lucky. We need not venture far from our urban habitat to escape to someplace different, where—beach or country—we  feel as if we’re worlds away.

It’s mid-summer and I got the itch. So last weekend I made a trip. It was not aboard the Jitney, to the beach like seemingly every other New Yorker, but instead north, just over a hundred miles from Manhattan, to Ulster county’s mid-Hudson Valley, to the cozy town of Woodstock. Yes Woodstock. I know what you’re thinking. Woodstock, where the music festival was. Contrary to popular belief, that festival back in 1969 didn’t actually take place in the town of Woodstock, but rather, in a town called Bethel, 43 miles away. Even so, Woodstock—a thriving artists’ colony since the early 1900s—remains adorned with tokens of the era: peace signs, painted guitars, tie-dye…

…and graffitied cars.

Despite Woodstock’s small-town charm, I don’t know that two days is enough to see and do everything, but it’s certainly enough for that change of pace I mentioned. At least it worked for me. So if you’re planning to head up in that direction, or if you’re still weighing your options, here’s a recap of my two days in Woodstock—perhaps a little guide…or if the latter, maybe something to help guide your decision.

My mom and dad were up visiting from Florida, and as they already know the city well enough, suggested we take a little adventure. So they were my sidekicks for the weekend. We started late in the day on Friday, and as anyone who’s ever tried leaving Manhattan past three o’clock on the eve of a weekend knows, moving in that traffic is (not that I’ve ever tried, but…) probably very much like trying to run a marathon in shackles. That is, getting anywhere fast is pretty much impossible. So, by the time we arrived in Woodstock it was dark. And by dark, I mean pitch-black, because in Woodstock there are barely any street lights. So I’m behind the wheel, driving along in this town I don’t know, on narrow and winding roads, I can hardly see, and the three of us are starving. So with our rooms at the  B&B secured, we decided to go straight to dinner. We called the first of three places I jotted down as options prior to getting in the car, and as luck would have it, because it was already after nine (and we were in the boonies), the first place we called said they’d wait for us. Great. So we took a turn off of 375 and after passing it at least three times, finally arrived at our destination—a rustic lodge, tucked in the woods, decorated in colored twinkle lights:  Café at Havana Club and Grille at the Woodstock Lodge. Like old friends, they waved us in and told us we could “sit anywhere”… (which is always what you want to hear, right?) Well it turns out, much to our delight, despite there being only four patrons besides us, and a dark, “lodge-y”, no-frills feel, dinner was anything but—and instead, a sophisticated menu of Cuban-Italian fare that was, simply delicious. Back in the woods, yes…back-woods, not so much.

Then, it was on to our B&B—The Woodstock Inn on the Millstream. Unfortunately for us, it was a place, again, tucked in the back roads, in the middle of the woods, and not the easiest place to find in the dead of night, even with GPS “Tommy” Tom Tom leading the way. We did eventually make it and by morning were well aware of where we’d landed.  As one local I spoke with put it, it’s the nicest of the B&B’s in town.

Located along the millstream, on three acres of lush green (or red and orange I’m supposing, come fall), the property includes three buildings with smaller rooms or larger rooms, each with a charming country feel, minus the cabbage rose comforters and dusty, cat-themed knick-knacks. Just beyond the welcome sign, in the lobby-sunroom, a hearty-yet-healthy breakfast awaited us, and outside, the lawn was set with Adirondack chairs and hammocks for an afternoon under the trees, along the millstream. The innkeeper is fittingly down-to-earth, which made the stay an even more pleasant one. We gave it an A+ all around. Definitely a nice place to call home for a weekend.

Saturday was hot and felt like a perfect day for a farmers’ market. Before I was even finished with my breakfast, I was dreaming of fresh fruits and veggies and cheese and bread, and all that good stuff. So, since Woodstock’s farmers’ market wasn’t open, we got in the car and headed to neighboring Kingston, (Ulster’s county seat), 11 miles southeast, to their market on Wall Street. Local vendors and craftspeople set up shop under tents to sell their goods, from produce, home-baked breads, artisanal cheese and local wines to handcrafted jewelry and pottery and homemade soaps. So we bought…and we went home and indulged.

After lunch, it was time to unwind in the lawn. While my dad napped, my mom and I relaxed in a couple of chairs by the millstream, picking our heads up from our books on occasion, to watch the brave few that decided to take a dip. Looked like fun yes, but it appeared that the water might have been a little too chilly for my blood!

For dinner, it was back into town to Violette Restaurant Wine Bar, housed in a cozy farmhouse just along Route 212. Inside, sunflower yellow walls set a cheerful backdrop to a beautiful dinner. Again, it was the perfect combination of lovely food, that was as tasteful as it was simple, friendly staff and a warm, welcoming surrounding.

We were finished with dinner by nine, which turned out to be just in time for us to head to the other side of town to Upstate Films, the one-screen indie movie house on Tinker Street, to see “To Rome With Love.” The evening was great. Fun movie, great place—every seat in the house full; and best, that quaint, small-town theatre feel you don’t get much of these days.

On Sunday morning, on the advice of our waitress friend at Friday night’s Woodstock Lodge, we headed to 11 o’clock mass at St. John’s Church, just up the road on Holly Hills Drive. Church is church is church, one may think, right? Well, after mass at St. John’s, I would beg to differ. Some are just a little extra special…and this is one of them. After an a cappella “God Bless America,” in honor of the 4th of July, the pastor, Father George said mass. And it was exactly what to me, church is supposed to be… an hour of peace, a little bit of prayer, a message to walk away with and maybe even some new friends in the end.

After mass, it was a walk around town; a stroll down Tinker Street to check out some of the shops.

At Mirabai, we found ‘calm’… with spiritual books and gifts…

…at Candlestock, it was…yup…candles galore…

kitchen and home goods at Gilded Carriage

…bread and pastries at Bread Alone;

Organic fruits and flowers at Sunfrost Farms

and a little bit of everything at the flea market.

And there was plenty of art along the way—as much out of doors as in.

On my list for next time, are the galleries, the playhouseyoga and maybe a hike or two; all the things I didn’t get to do this time around. I’ve pinned this list to my fridge, because there definitely will be a next time…

…and hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.

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2 thoughts on “Two Days In Woodstock, NY

  1. […] Woodstock… A two-hour drive and perfect weekend getaway. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Tagged Woodstock NY […]

  2. Wonderful piece! Great photos! Thanks Andrea!

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