If you're living in the tri-state area and need some cool spots to escape to on a winter's weekend, then drive two hours north along the Hudson Valley and spend time in Saugerties, NY and Kingston, NY - get to know the local businesses, meet the owners, and see what these great towns can offer you!
Photo: Diamond Mills Hotel and Tavern
WHERE TO STAY:
Diamond Mills Hotel: This beautifully designed cottage inspired boutique hotel will make you feel right at home especially because of their great staff and down to earth attitude. The best part about this hotel is your room balcony, which walks out to a waterfall right below...let your eyes follow the flowing river downstream surrounded by snowy trees. In the winter time, this view is even more majestic because of the pockets of snow and ice resting on the river; it looks like you are living on top of a glacier. Also a must, unleash your early bird side and catch the sunrise! It comes up above the mountain directly across from you. Sunrise time for January was between 7:15 am and 7:30 am. So...not too early. The best part of this whole stay is the constant sound of the waterfalls crashing below.
Photo: Kingston, NY
WHERE TO SHOP:
Just 20 minutes north of Saugerties, head to the town of Kingston and scope out this cute little town for their art shops and boutiques.
WHERE TO EAT:
Being that Kingston is a coastal town, we opted in for seafood. We stopped at the Mariner Restaurant, which is located in the downtown area by the river. We were early enough and grabbed a seat by the fireplace. I opted for the New England Clam Chowder (very good and super filling) and enjoyed a Cappuccino too, which was excellent!
Photos: Kingston Wine & Co.
WHERE TO BUY WINE:
Within Kingston, the one place that caught my eye the most was Kingston Wine Co. owned by Michael and Theresa Drapkin. Their modern meets gentleman-like style was my ideal aesthetic and definitely not like other wine stores. You can really appreciate their brand identity and unique logo, which I found out is attributed to the wife's talent - she is a graphics design artist. As you walk into this cute neighborhood shop, your attention goes directly in the direction of the chalkboard wall with a map of France and Italy, and just to the right of it, a beautiful hanging American Flag. The owner was totally cool about taking photos - and so I did! I could not pass this up because the way the light brightened up the room made it for the perfect shot. Also, of course, we were there to shop wine (secret - I like to pick wine based on the wine bottle and label design). Don't be shy, just ask Michael your questions and take home some wine for your next party.
Photos: Hudson Valley Distillery
WHERE TO SIP:
40 minutes north of Saugerties is a place called Germantown. Stop in the Tousey Winery, where you get a $5 tasting of their 6 Tousey wines (which includes a taste of their dessert wine made from local honey and currants). On the weekend, this is open until 5 pm. However, just across the street is Hudson Valley Distillery, where you can take a tour of their distillery and then finish the night at the Grove, their quaint little bar. Also, ask to say hello to the owners, Thomas Yozzo and Chris Moyer, they are awesome and hard working entrepreneurs. And, if you're like me and always looking for business advice, ask them to share their thoughts! They have a ton of wisdom to share, oh, and they're hilarious too. Good people.
WHERE TO TAKE PHOTOS:
Catch the sunset down a winding road. Simply lower the brightness on your camera to really bring out the colors of the setting sun.
WHERE TO CHILL:
Just drive. The mountains, tall rocks, and water frozen on the rocks is something you need to see, especially for a New Yorker. It takes you away from everything else for those few moments. There's more to life than our cellphones!