Travel, Weekend Unexplored
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Weekend Unexplored: Catskill, NY

Catskill Mountains are located in the southeastern part of New York State. This area includes the ski area at Hunter Mountain and Bellayre Mountain. There are many outdoor activities in the region for any season. I had the opportunity to join some friends for a weekend getaway to see the fall foliage in the middle of October. This is my weekend unexplored in the Catskills.

There are plenty of options for lodging in the Catskills as it is a popular weekend getaway for NYC dwellers. I decided to book an AirBnB for this trip and was able to find one near Phoenicia, NY.  As with most house rentals, the actual rental can be a hit or miss. Luckily our rental was more of a hit than a miss with only the stove giving us a lot of trouble.

My friend and I headed out on a beautiful Friday morning and arrived at the Phoenicia Diner just in time for lunch. There are few good food options in this particular area. The Phoenicia Diner is a “farm to table” diner that is very popular with the locals and visitors. (Click here for the menu.) The food range from average to great depending on the plate. Our favorites were the duck and grits skillet, the meatloaf and the Arnold Benedict skillet. The biggest let down was the service. We were there twice and it was either very slow or our waitress forgot parts of our order.

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Phoenicia Diner

After lunch, we made our way to the hiking trails at McKenley Hollow Trailhead in the Big Indian Forest. It was an easy hike and we spent 2 hours in the forest soaking in the beautiful fall foliage. This particular trail can go on for 5 miles one way. It was fun to immerse ourselves and the dogs with the surrounding nature. The best thing about a Catskills getaway is to be able to cook with friends and entertain ourselves with games since we had no internet or cell service. This is a true country experience and a wonderful way to unplug from our hectic lifestyle.

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The next day, we woke up to a picture perfect fall day with blue sky and mild fall weather. We headed to Hunter Mountain to see the fall foliage and to zip line. Unfortunately this weekend coincided with the annual Oktoberfest and the zip line was sold out for the weekend. We were disappointed but there were still other activities available. We paid $12 each to take the ski lift to top and admired the gorgeous orange, red and yellow colors populating the whole mountain. We also tried out the Jeep tour for $20 each which took us into the mountain on some of the trails. Overall it was a perfect day to check out the peak foliage weekend and to enjoy Oktoberfest. We had a late lunch at nearby Cave Mountain Brewery Company located in a quintessential small town America. The meal was hearty and delicious and I would recommend this place to anyone in the area to check them out.

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Scenic drive in the Catskills

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Oktoberfest at Hunter Mountain

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We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to build a fire in the backyard. As city slickers, this was a lot harder than we thought, especially when we did not have thoroughly dried wood. It was interesting that a simple activity like this can be filled with conversations filled with laughter and occupied us for hours. This is simple living at its best.

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For dinner that night, we visited the Peakamoose restaurant and it was a solid choice for good “farm to table” food. The service was excellent and the food was regionally focused.

As busy young professionals, it is important to take the time away from the hustle of NYC to re-energize ourselves. I highly recommend a weekend in the Catskills to disconnect and spend time with your friends and family. The Catskills is good for all season and with winter approaching, there is no shortage of snow activities for all.

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For more information on the Catskills, click here.

For related articles, visit the TRAVEL page.

Author: Chau Hoang

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