Kitchn’s Bite-Sized Guide to Upstate New York

updated Dec 17, 2019
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(Image credit: Tara Donne)

For many, travel brings to mind far-flung destinations from Tokyo to Timbuktu, but at Kitchn, we’re of the opinion that travel is about more than these once-in-a-lifetime trips. Travel is a day trip to wine country, a drive to the antiques fair a few towns over, or even an exploration of a different neighborhood in your very own city. Travel, for us, is about the everyday explorations that broaden our horizons — and, of course, provide opportunities to taste new and delicious foods.

With this guiding principle in mind, we’re thrilled to bring you Kitchn’s Bite-Sized Guides, our take on the practical and accessible destination guide for the cook and food-lover.

The first trip we’d like to take with you is to upstate New York — specifically the Hudson River Valley and the Catskills. About two hours from New York by train or car, this area is the perfect weekend jaunt for New Yorkers and accessible enough to be a day trip for visitors to the city.

(Image credit: Tara Donne)

A Classic Vacation Destination, Renewed

Once a popular vacation destination for Americans, the Catskills is experiencing a real resurgence as of late: towns revitalized; hotels and motels restored to their former glory; and new restaurants, bars, and shops opening near daily, it seems. This is thanks largely to artists and artisans who have flocked to the region, attracted to the landscape, like-minded people, and room to build and grow.

That group of newcomers includes food writer Sarah Copeland, who

writes eloquently about how she fell in love with the area

Getting There & Staying There

The Catskills is easily accessible by car from New York (2 1/2 hours), Boston (3 hours), and Philadelphia (3 1/2 hours). Amtrak has direct service to Rhinecliff and Hudson. The nearest airport is Albany.

The area offers stylish and affordable hotels, motels, and inns, but the best value is a vacation rental. AirBnB, VRBO, and HomeAway are good starting points; for a more local option, try Red Cottage. Here are three rental homes we love.

What’s a Bite-Sized Guide?

These guides are intended to be just that: bite-sized. The travel space is crammed with a dizzying array of opportunities, reviews, and opinions. Our goal is to make the process of discovering a new place easier and more relaxing. Travel is about the experience and the fun you have, not just finding the absolute best restaurant or photo moment.

In our bite-sized guides we’ll introduce you to some of our favorite destinations and explain why we love them, give you a half-day walking tour to help you begin your journey, and share our favorite goodies to bring back home with you.

Bite-sized travel for your time, your life.

But a town isn’t just about restaurants or the sights; we believe that the people make the place — and they’re also the ones who know the area best. We visit cooks in their homes and ask them to share what they love about their kitchens and their town.

If you can’t make it to the Catskills, don’t worry: Armchair travel is travel, too! We’re sharing a few of our favorite recipes from the road that we hope will transport you to the region, including something classic, something with a bit of a twist, and something boozy.

After that, it’s up to you. And we hope you’ll share what you discover!

(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)
(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)
(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)