Sunday, March 23, 2008

Getaway Weekend: Catskills

Deciding to take a weekend trip is easy. Deciding on what kind of trip you and your travel companion want to take is another. And then, choosing the perfect location for your trip.... well, that’s usually the hardest part. J and I were facing this issue Easter weekend, when we cam up with the perfect plan.

After moving to NYC almost 4 years ago, I realized how little of the East Coast I've climbed up, driven by, bussed past or barreled down. Some of my favorite getaways in California were to local state parks and beaches. The redwood trees in Northern California provided the perfect canopy for a car camping trip and the bonfires out at Bolinas Beach allowed for daylong retreats that felt like a full week of relaxation. So, when I checked out the map for a good Easter retreat in NYC city the first thing that caught my eye was the state parks.

I've always wanted to visit the Adirondacks, which I've driven by a number of times on my trips up north for leaf peeping and similar adventures. But, understanding that a 5-hour drive was not in the cards for me last Easter weekend, I looked a bit further down on the map and found the Catskills Park. It looked like a large enough section of green on the one-dimensional map to satisfy my outdoor craving. And it appeared to have plenty of hiking and skiing options for the adventurer at heart. So, the Catskills it was...

We headed up Friday night, and including a 1-hour detour where we cursed the Garden State Parkway up-down-and-sideways for not providing ample on-ramps we made it to the Catskills Lodge in Windham by midnight. The lodge, which I choose based on their basic, but sweet Website, the kind voice of the woman who called me to confirm my reservation and the stellar Trip Advisor traveler reviews. Although our room was fairly small, it proved just large enough for us to get dressed in the morning and fall into bed at night, which is pretty much all we used it for. The ground floor was fairly nice, with a fireplace, pull down projector screen, large dinning table and but wouldn't have made much of an impression if the brothers hadn’t been there.

Three brothers run the Catskills Lodge and welcome their guests with such kindness and generosity it really feels like home. During our stay, over Easter weekend, we dyed eyes during the Lodge’s regularly evening happy hour and finished off 3 litters of wine with our group of 12 while chatting about our day. At night, we leisurely headed over to the recommended restaurants in neighboring towns like Woodstock and Jackson and dined on fancy fare like grilled cheese and turkey dinners.

Saturday was really the highlight of the trip. J and I are always out, which usually institutes some form of wandering the streets of Harlem, LES, West Village or lately Park Slope. But, as city-mice (my mom's term) we don't get much time to triumphantly dash up a mountain or slide down a slippery bed on a mission to find a waterfall. So, Saturday we set out to hike a mountain, walk completely around a lake we couldn’t see the other side of and embrace nature. Thanks to the chilly weather we ended up sliding up a frozen path to the base of a frozen waterfall, skidding around a frozen lake and almost falling through the thin ice, and downing cold beer to cool down the frost burn that had taken over most of my face. It was such a perfect reminder of why J and I are so happy together, no matter how icy the path gets.

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