The first thing you should know about Woodstock is that it is not where the 1969 Woodstock Festival took place. That happened about 90 minutes away in Bethel Woods. But music history buffs and hippies at heart will still love this destination in New York’s Hudson Valley, which has everything you could want in a weekend getaway: nature to explore, delicious restaurants to eat at, cute shops and plenty of local quirks.
Take a walk around town and you’re sure to spy locals strolling in and out of organic cafes and art galleries in tie-dye garb or standing in the town’s center holding signs that protest the war. In stark contrast, you’ll also find upscale, gourmet restaurants and contemporary shops that lure Manhattanites craving a break from New York City’s crowds.
I’m not sure how I originally stumbled across Hotel Dylan. But once I saw a picture of the Woodstock property’s hippie-chic rooms, I was sold, and the wheels of my mind were already turning and plotting a weekend getaway in the Catskills.
You see, I have a serious inner struggle when it comes to decor. On one end, my style is very bohemian: pillows on the floor, prints everywhere and beaded tapestries hanging on the walls. My apartment currently resembles a cross between a Moroccan riad and a Guatemalan basket weaving cooperative. On the other end, I also have a strong affinity for chic, minimalist Scandinavian design. This might make zero sense, but to me, Hotel Dylan capture both ends of the spectrum with its modern interpretation of boho-chic.
When one thinks Europe, cities like Paris, London and Rome immediately come to mind. While those are certainly beautiful and worthy travel destinations, they also tend to be expensive and crowded with tourists – not ideal for short trips where you don’t have hours to be spent standing in line.
Now of course I’m not saying you shouldn’t visit Paris – hello, it’s Paris! But these under-the-radar European cities will charm your pants off while allowing you to experience life like a local, learn something you didn’t know before and maybe even save some money.
As we pulled into a nondescript hotel parking lot in the suburbs of New York, I thought we had merely made a wrong turn and were pulling over to reroute. But then my friend and dinner companion exclaimed “We’re here!” enthusiastically. I wasn’t quite so excited. Dinner in a hotel’s lobby? In the suburbs? Not to sound like a total snob but… I live in New York City. I don’t do places like this. *Turns up nose.*
Little did I know that the restaurant inside the Marriott in Tarrytown was about to turn my preconceptions upside down. Cooper’s Mill is a farm-to-table restaurant specializing in classic American comfort food made with local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Inspired by Tarrytown’s rich agricultural history, the name was taken from a flour mill that opened in Tarrytown in 1886 and used to produce more than 300 barrels of flour a day.
The pain in my arms and shoulders the next morning tipped me off to the fact that a couple hours spent at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville, Massachusetts was quite the workout. I had wanted to try the indoor rock climbing gym in Brooklyn forever, and I had no idea that they also had a location just outside of Boston. A cold and rainy Sunday afternoon provided the perfect opportunity to use an online deal for Brooklyn Boulders, so I signed up for a class.
While the ropes courses seemed like fun, I decided to dip my toes into the world of climbing by signing up for the more affordable Learn to Boulder class. With the deal, it was only $20 (normally $45) including shoe rentals.