Bovina and Andes, Catskills NY, Guide (20/52)

Bovina and Andes, Catskills NY, Guide

If you sculpted the most picturesque and quintessential upstate NY scenery imaginable; combined it with the best elements of Brooklyn foodie and design culture; and set it down at the feet of the Catskills, strategically placed an hour’s drive beyond more popular weekend haunts so as to ensure your paradise isn’t overrun with visitors but is still close enough for a weekend jaunt from NYC, you’d still fall short of describing the towns of Bovina and Andes. There is an imperceptible quality that makes this corner of the Delaware Valley so magical. Perhaps it’s the mix of bucolic scenery, strong sense of community, and rural simplicity peppered with occasionally extreme levels of hipsterdom. Whatever it is, it works sublimely. It’s the sort of place we would be reluctant to write about for fear of tipping off others, but with a slew of hagiographic profiles from such august places as the NYT and CNtraveler, it’s fair to say the secret is out. Our weekend here was hands down one of our favorites to date. So round up some friends (or go it alone), rent Julian’s cottage, and feel justifiably smug on a Friday afternoon when your colleagues ask “what are you up to this weekend?” You’re winning at weekend life here.

The digs: Julian’s Cottage

 

Julian’s three bedroom cottage, which dates from the 1850s, is easily the most gorgeously styled Airbnb we’ve ever stayed in. The eccentric jumble of quirky rooms, period features, and modern comforts, harmonize to create a home full of warmth and character. The spectacular vaulted main room, which consists of the most instagrammable open plan country-workshop kitchen you’ve ever laid eyes upon, tumbles into a cosy living room centered around an antique wood-burning stove. It’s the perfect spot to kick back with friends beside the fire and while away the hours drinking, laughing, and playing board games. There’s much to do in these parts, but you’d be forgiven, even envied, for riffing on Julian’s suggestion and opting to stay in all weekend instead, spinning vinyl, thumbing poetry from the house’s extensive library, swigging bottles of Wayside cider, while slow-roasting local pork shoulder and whatever happens to be in season at the local farm stands.

Friday night Pasta Night

About a 3 hour drive from Manhattan, unless you’re one of those lucky people with summer Friday’s able to arrive in time for pizza at Table on Ten, a stop for dinner on route is a great way to break the journey. Northern Farmhouse Pasta in the town of Roscoe is a worthy destination in its own right. Run by garrulous owner, chef, and NYC expat, Bob Eckert, their fresh artisan pasta uses 100% NY wheat and whatever is most in season for their ravioli filings. It’s ridiculously tasty and consequently graces some of the bougiest gourmet food stores between Park Slope and the Hamptons (though Bob will ship it direct to you for free). On Friday and Saturday nights he opens his doors to dinner guests, with a changing menu posted on Facebook the night prior, washed down with whatever you BYOB. From here it’s about a 50 minute drive to Bovina.

Saturday 

10am Brakfast at Table on Ten

Rise languidly and drive over to Bloomville, for breakfast at the much lauded Table on Ten. This café with rooms available to rent upstairs, run by Dutch chef and owner Inez, has achieved something of a cult following for its pizza nights and middle-of-nowhere rustic setting. Inez’s breakfasts are just as worthy. Snag a table in the light drench dining room. Order the red or white shakshuka. Have your dining partner order the deliciously decadent chicken liver sandwich and share. Then gorge yourself on whatever baked goods are fresh that morning (peach pie and ginger snap cookies for us). Wash it all down with locally roasted coffee or PG tips breakfast tea. And remind yourself just how perfect brunch can be when you’re not in an hour long line for twenty-three dollar avocado toast in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

11:30am Exploring Andes, NY

Jump back in the car and drive the short distance to the town of Andes. Wander the quaint high street and poke around whatever shops take your fancy. Hudson Made’s artisanal soaps and shaving products make for great gifts while Clementine stocks a dazzling array of high quality designer vintage threads in an uber-hip setting. Next-door interior design guru and artist Sean Scherer’s Kabinet and Kramer is part antique emporium, part art and curio gallery, and part Instagram-feed-porn. In need of further sustenance? Two Old Tarts should do the trick. And if you’re lucky you might be joined for tea by the ladies of the local Red Hat Society. And no, that joke never even crossed our minds.

2:30pm Afternoon hike on the Palmer Hill Trail

Just outside of town, the 2mile lower loop of the Palmer Hill Trail is an excellent choice for an afternoon walk in the country whatever the weather. The well maintained path affords excellent vistas of the many Catskill peaks that flank the area as it meanders through meadows and woodland crisscrossed by old dry stone walls that leave a distinctly British impression.

4:00pm Wayside Cider

Drive back into Andes and pull into the recently opened Tap Room at Wayside Cider. Wayside, launched by Alex Wilson and Irene Hussey in 2014, has quickly established itself as one of the best cideries in a State undergoing something of a craft cider revolution. The renovated barn houses an impeccably stylized bar room. Designed by Kabinet and Kramer the sleek yet rustic space, its walls festooned with antiques and newspaper clippings, harks back to a 19th Century British inn. Slink into the booth beside the open hearth, sample the range of ciders from sweet to dry, and nosh on some seasonal delights from the kitchen. Reluctantly you’ll eventually muster the energy needed to return to the cottage, just don’t forget to take some bottles with you when you go.

8:30pm Dinner at The Brushland Eating House

When Brooklyn meets Catskills, good things seem to follow. And so it is with The Brushland Eating House. It’s fair to say that Brushland put Bovina on the map for foodies, and just about everyone else who has discovered this place off the back of the plaudits won by the restaurant in recent years. Every bit a destination restaurant – with rooms upstairs as well – the entire hyper-local farm to table menu is just begging to be shared with friends. We’ve known people to drive here from NYC just for dinner.  But you’re smarter than that and so will have a 3 minute walk back down Bovina’s “high street” to the cottage. Get the fire roaring, spin those records, drink that cider, and cavort into the wee hours.

Sunday

9am Breakfast Sandwhiches at Russells General Store

 Rise early and blast off any of last night’s dustiness as you stroll down to Russells General Store. An old school country mercantile come cafe, proprietor Beatriz is turning out what many have claimed to be the best breakfast sandwich in America. It’s a bold claim, but one you’ll find no scope to quibble with. Stay a while and read the Sunday papers. Breakfast, coffee, and a batch of fresh baked brownies that you should load up on for your hike later, will set you back less than $10 a head. Oh the joys of being outside of NYC!

10:30am Mid morning hike on the Shavertown Trail

Assuming you’re not going to stick around in Julian’s cottage all day, half an hour out of Bovina, driving back towards NYC, will bring you to the Shavertown Trail above the Pepacton Reservoir. Park up at the lot by the bridge and walk a few minutes back down Country Rt 1 to reach the trailhead which climbs up into the hills from beside the road. This short (2.5mile) loop has one of the most favorable view to effort ratios in all the Catksills. You’ll climb 520 feet in the first mile, but you’ll be rewarded with eye-popping vistas of the reservoir cradled between the mountains. Turn around at the tranquil pond, or continue further up the hill to make it a 5mile loop if you’re feeling spritely.

1:30pm Afternoon hike to Giant’s Ledge

As you’re in the neighborhood, another 45minutes down the road will bring you to one of New York’s most popular hikes: Giant’s Ledge in the heart of Big Indian Wilderness. It’s about 3miles out and back, but you’ll ascend 1000ft during the mile and a half climb. The payoff? A series of ledges overhanging woodland that smothers, like a blanket, the hills that tumble into the horizon. If you’re a leaf peeper, peak foliage here will forever be your happy place. 2.5 hours should be enough time to soak it all in and utterly drain your camera battery. Or if you’re really hardcore – we dare you – continue all the way up Panther Mountain to make it a 7mile hike and bag yourself one of the highest peaks in the Catskills.

 4:30pm Refuel at the Phoenicia Diner and the Gardiner Liquid Mercantile

Half an hour from Giant’s ledge, along your route home, sits The Phoenicia Diner, perhaps the most instagrammed restaurant in upstate NY. It’s quite the Brooklyn brunch scene on weekend mornings, but nip in before last orders at 5pm on a Sunday and your golden. Given all the hype, we were skeptical, but the food knocks it out the park. An alternative option, an hour closer to NYC, The Gardiner Liquid Mercantile, is our favorite spot for a cocktail, dinner, or just to pick up some local spirits to bring home. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Why does Monday always come too soon?

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