A Guide to Enjoying the Great Outdoors in Harriman State Park

Weekend Guides|

Did you know: New York’s second largest park is just 30 miles from NYC? Harriman State Park is a haven for hikers, cyclists, and lovers of the outdoors. Known for its 31 lakes, it also features 200+ miles of hiking trails, along streams, woods, and beautiful vistas of the Hudson Valley and NYC. Sound overwhelming? Let us help!

A Guide to Portland, Maine

Destination Guides|

Just over 300 miles from NYC, a trip to Portland, Maine is likely just how you picture it... which is, filled with lighthouses and lobster rolls. This historic sea town marries the old world and the new world — from its cobblestone downtown streets to a bustling dining scene, it's unclear if the region is better known for its classic New England maritime vibes, or its modern, world-class food scene. We say you don't have to choose; it's called Vacationland for a reason, after all. To get here, the drive from NYC to Portland, ME clocks in about five hours. Or hop on a plane: direct flights from offered by JetBlue JFK take just over an hour, and tickets are really reasonably priced. Where to Stay in Portland, Maine: the Francis Hotel & Spa Sun-filled room at the Francis Hotel & Spa in Portland, Maine. The hotel is on the National Park Service’s Registry of Historic Places. All photos by Erin Lindsey/Escape Brooklyn. Blending historical charm and modern amenities, the Francis Hotel & Spa was originally a palatial home for a wealthy family, created by architect Francis Fassett around 1881. Starting in 2015, the current owners (two brothers from Maine) spent two years restoring the Francis after it had been abandoned for over a decade, making sure to preserve original details while adding beautiful new touches. It’s notably on the National Park Service’s Registry of Historic Places; several rooms have incredible details like ornate tiling on floors, original doors, wavy glass windows or beautifully detailed crown moulding. Each of the Francis' fifteen guest rooms are unique with slightly different features — but all feature work by local artisans, from custom-built furniture and lighting fixtures to the art hanging on the walls. (We stayed in the Terrace King, which featured a private deck.) Linens and bedding are soft and comfortable; bathroom products are from Malin + Goetz. A beautiful one-room spa onsite offers treatments like deep tissue and therapeutic massages as well as body wraps and scrubs. Several food and drink themed packages are available to guests, including Tandem Breakfast in Bed or an in-room "brewery crawl" with samplings from Portland's local breweries. Other bonuses include pet-friendly rooms, superb Covid safety measures in place, and a 24/7 text concierge so you can always be in touch for assistance or even local recommendations. Best of all is its location, in the charming Parkside neighborhood, steps away from some of Portlands best shopping, meals, and drinks. Slightly removed from the Old Port and the crush of its (#basic) tourists, you'll love feeling like a local when you can wake up and walk across the street to grab breakfast from Portland's very best coffee shop, Tandem. What to Do in & Around Portland, Maine: Visit Portland's Iconic Lighthouses, or Daytrip Up the Maine Coast Personal favorite: Spring Point Lighthouse in Portland Maine. Portland stands as one of the few working waterfronts left in the United States; wandering ...

A Guide to Saranac Lake, Adirondack Mountains, NY

Weekend Guides|

At six million acres large, the Adirondack Mountains are the largest protected natural area in the lower 48 states. The park is bigger than the Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined — and it’s right in our backyard! Many New Yorkers think the Adirondacks are too far for a weekend; but the park begins just 215 miles from NYC, easily reached in under four hours. (Or catch the daily flight from JFK to SLK!) From there, we’re heading deeper into the park, along the most beautiful stretch of road imaginable through the Adirondacks High Peaks region, the scenic town of Keene, and finally to the village of Saranac Lake. Upon arrival in Saranac Lake, visitors find a historic community that blends outdoor adventure with authentic small-town Adirondack vibes. Its tagline, “decidedly different” rings true: it’s far less touristy than its sister city to the east, Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics and was built up for the massive tourist influx. By comparison, Saranac Lake feels decidedly laid back, preferring community vibes over touristy ones. Throughout the entire Adirondack region — from Lake George to Lake Placid to Saranac Lake — its villages, lakes and mountains converge with waterways, forest trails, and dirt roads to create a nature lover’s paradise. Wondering the best time of the year to visit the Adirondacks? The answer is year round! This Upstate destination offers outdoor attractions in all four seasons. Known best as a winter wonderland, in snowy conditions visitors flock to Whiteface for its signature slopes. But summer offers just as much, if not more, adventure, as the lakes, rivers and ponds thaw and snowmelt transforms the landscapes into lush greenery. Spring through fall, hiking, paddling, and swimming opportunities are as bountiful as the vast landscapes in the Adirondacks. Check out our guides below for the best places to hike and get outdoors – plus where to stay, eat and drink during your stay in Saranac Lake. Where to Stay in Saranac Lake: White Pine Camp The Hermit's Hut at White Pine Camp is tucked away from most of the other cabins. There’s no shortage of lodging in the area, from modern hotels to Airbnbs to glamping, plus a few Adirondack Great Camps. Those unfamiliar with the term Great Camp might be misled by its name — an Adirondack “camp” actually refers to what wealthy people in the early 1900’s used as their summer homes. The luxurious-meets-rustic cabins and cottages give visitors an authentic Adirondack experience that isn't possible with other types of lodging. The finest example in this region is White Pine Camp, located in Paul Smiths NY, with perfectly rustic and cozy lodging overlooking Osgood Pond. Thirteen distinctive cabins and cottages feature soaring roof lines, hand-built Adirondack style furniture, stone fireplaces or wood stoves, and breathtaking views. Trails through the property are perfect for leisurely strolls, while ...

Introducing: the Escape Club by Escape Brooklyn


Escape Brooklyn is thrilled to introduce our monthly newsletter: the Escape Club. Each month, subscribers will get access to discounts and giveaways to some of our favorite Upstate hotels, Airbnbs, restaurants, shops and more with loads of discounts and perks, exclusive to our Escape Club members. Looking to buy Upstate? Every month, we interview a Catskills/Hudson Valley real estate professional to share their unique perspective on the market. They’ll leave us with some insightful tips, too. Last, keep up to date with all the exciting new openings, plus the best best events, in Upstate NY. Escape Brooklyn is powered of a tiny team of women freelancers, led by Founder & Creative Director Erin Lindsey. Currently Escape Brooklyn is funded by advertisers, but by charging a small amount monthly to our very large audience, it expands our bandwidth to bring much more content to your fingertips – including discounts, giveaways, and Upstate insider information you won’t find anywhere else. Your financial support is much appreciated, and 1% of our profits go directly to battling climate change. Click Here For More Info, or to Join the Escape Club


Willowemoc Hideaway in Parksville, NY

Recent Stays|

In Parksville, New York, the sun-drenched Willowemoc Hideaway is a fresh take on Catskills cabin with modern amenities, thanks to its recent complete renovation. Sleeping six guests in three comfy bedrooms, this upscale gem is the ideal spot for a family or group, boasting over 3 acres of land, a wraparound deck, fire pit, and a sweet little sunroom that's perfect for your morning coffee or afternoon yoga session. Outside, spend your day in the hammock, exploring Willowemoc State Forest's 40 miles of trails, or try your luck at fly fishing. Loads of cute shops, cafes and breweries in nearby Livingston Manor and Roscoe are just minutes away. High on our list: shopping at Long Weekend, Life Repurposed and Taylor + Ace; stock up on wine at Upstream Wines & Sprits; and the many trails around Frick Pond and the Delaware Wild Forest.

La Maison in Hudson, NY

Recent Stays|

This sunny vacation rental in Hudson, NY offers charm of its original 1800’s schoolhouse, tastefully updated with modern amenities. The sun-filled vacation rental is the perfect spot to take in the season whose views and hilltop location, surrounded by tall trees, gives us serious treehouse vibes. In summer, gather and dine outside to one of multiple decks (including the rooftop) for al fresco dining. In winter, light up the wood stove and have a cozy dinner in the sunroom, surrounded by snowy treetops. Should you ever want to leave, it's 15 minutes into the bustling town of Hudson, NY, and less than 10 to iconic outdoor sculpture museum Art Omi,where guests can peruse the expansive grounds on bicycle. While you're in Hudson, stock up on goodies for the house at grocer Talbott & Arding, and grab some natural wine at Grapefruit Wines. Check out the Escape Brooklyn Guide to Hudson, NY our complete list of recommendations, including our favorite restaurants, shopping, and exploring in this magical part of the Hudson Valley.

Hiatus Haus in Roxbury, NY

Recent Stays|

The spacious, newly renovated Hiatus Haus is privately tucked away on a dead-end road, sleeping up to seven guests. In the morning, cook up a pancake breakfast (mix provided to guests!) to enjoy on the deck, overlooking the mountains — then head out for the day into Roxbury, beginning at the incredible Pakatakan Farmers' Market, before heading for a dip the area’s swimming holes, or exploring its many hikes and other small towns. (Skiiers and winter sport enthusiasts take note: in winter, guests enjoy proximity to Bellayre and Plattekill Mountain, both just 20 minutes from the house!) Alternately, guests may find themselves drawn to stay in place and enjoy the house, whose wall of windows lets the sunshine pour in throughout the day. Late afternoon is the perfect time to head to the yard for a game of bocce ball next to a large stone fire pit; or hang on the deck for an al fresco meal and light up the home’s second fire pit, conveniently located on the deck. 

Night Fox A-Frame in Livingston Manor, NY

Recent Stays|

Offering two bedrooms, this design-forward home shares one bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room/dining room area stocked with fun board games. Enjoy meals at the long dining table, or head outside for al fresco dining in the fresh Catskill Mountain air.

Cabin on the River in Narrowsburg, NY

Recent Stays|

This magical riverfront cabin is an oasis of tranquility and mid-century modern design, situated on the banks of the Ten Mile River. Spend summer days cooling off in the river, then move to the streamside dining table for al fresco dinners. At night, a fire pit on the deck is the perfect spot to get cozy – or gather round the fire pit in the front for an expansive view of the stars.  The centerpiece of the outdoor oasis is the creekside wood burning hot tub, giving off serious "spa in the forest" vibes. Load it up on your arrival to get the water warming, then spend the day alternating between creek dips and hot tub sessions.  This sweet getaway sleeps six guests, with games and books for kiddos – and dogs – so bring the whole family! For easy drinks and dinners, location is walkable to Blue Fox Tavern; and just a few minutes into the town of Narrowsburg, with its great shopping, farm-to-table restaurants, river activities, and more. Check the Escape Brooklyn Guide to Narrowsburg for more information on the area.

Shell House Half Dome in Roxbury, NY

Recent Stays|

Built in 1996, the Shell House was created as a prototype for future dome structures, and personal retreat, for architect Seymore Rutkin and his wife. Its design was intended to be a part of the outdoor environment, but protected from it — giving the feeling of an amphitheater in reverse, with a beautiful view of the Catskills as the main attraction. After years of preservation and few renovations, these days, the Shell House is an extraordinary Airbnb and artist retreat, with four bedrooms sleeping ten guests. Stunning communal spaces and unique rooms will make this a stay you won't soon forget: from its 25-foot ceiling living room, with floor to ceiling windows; to its four bedrooms with stunning views of the Catskills; to a pink clad bathroom with a soaking tub, illuminated by the natural light coming in from a porthole.


Q&A: Tinker Street Tavern in Woodstock, NY


Amid a global pandemic, Tinker Street Tavern opened in July 2021. Aesthetes will find the space delightful; not a single opportunity to pay homage to the bar’s musical history was missed. The historic property was once owned by Albert Grossman — who managed Dylan, The Band, Janis Joplin and Todd Rundgren to name a few.

Before & After: Camp Caitlin


Caitlin Cowger, owner of Camp Caitlin, has a piece of advice when it comes to buying your Upstate dream home: “Don’t look for the house of your dreams. Renovate the house of your dreams.”


Shady Pines on Amber Lake, in Livingston Manor, NY

Real Estate|

One hundred miles from NYC, Shady Pines on Amber Lake is pin-drop quiet, located inside Catskill Park. Mixing the best of several styles, this home combines a minimal-scandi and mid-century modern aesthetic with classic Catskills charm.

Two bedroom, one bathroom home | 800 square foot home on 3.09 acres | Private lake frontage on Amber Lake, plus a generous dock | Wood stove, framed by picture window | Steam shower | Sauna infrastructure (needs electrical repair) | Elevated deck & screened in porch | Asking $549,000

Listed by Robin Jones of Catskill Mountain Houses. Open House: Saturday, October 1st, 12 pm-2 pm. 367 Amber Lake Road, Livingston Manor, NY 12776. Please RSVP to robin@catskillmountainhouses.com.

For inquiries or showings contact robin@catskillmountainhouses.com

A petite 800-square-foot footprint creates the perfect framing for expansive windows to soak up the incredible lake and forest views. The living space is anchored by a wood stove sufficient to heat the entire home, though there are also radiators throughout.

The home’s two bedrooms extend conveniently off the living room. Both bedrooms open up into the back screened porch, great for that cool lake breeze during warmer summer months. The bathroom is crisp and tidy, featuring a spa-like steam shower. The bright and airy kitchen covers all the essentials and exercises a superb use of space. The kitchen is an easy step out to the elevated deck, great for dining al fresco with sweeping lake views.

The main house is flanked by a lakefront studio outbuilding on one side and a sauna on the other. The studio was recently insulated and wired for full-time work-from-home use in 2020, including the addition of a 12’x6’ deck. The stunning sauna is in need of some electrical repairs before being back up and running, but then imagine being in the sauna followed by a cold plunge just steps to the lake.

The capstone of the property is the private lake frontage, with a generous dock extending into the lake with plenty of room for sunbathing, reading, cocktails, and tying up the canoe. Amber Lake is a spring-fed, private and non-motorboat lake just minutes to trendy Livingston Manor.

This three acre parcel was originally three lots combined into one, in 2002. As such, this prime lakefront property is possibly subdividable and buildable, offering a variety of opportunities and investment appeal.

The property is surrounded by forest and river, numerous fishing spots, swimming holes and hiking trails. It’s the perfect base camp for all outdoor adventures, while being just minutes from foodie markets, restaurants, breweries, wine shops, home goods and fashion forward shops, even a pilates studio. Just two hours from the city, this location is ideal as a weekend getaway, co-primary home or full time residence. Under 10 minutes to both Livingston Manor and Roscoe. Check out this Conde Nast Traveler article as well as this Escape Brooklyn

A 1904 Church in Phoenicia, NY

Real Estate|

Right in the heart of Phoenicia, New York – on Main Street – this unique and historic property awaits a visionary to turn it into something magical. A charming 1904 church, and accompanying four bedroom home, was one of the first churches built in Phoenicia and is perfectly sited: walkable to all the delicious restaurants, adorable shops, beautiful trails and fishing creeks right in town.

Home: 4 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms | 1386 sq. ft. | original wood floors | enclosed porch | wide staircase

Church:  2 half bathrooms | 2150 sq. ft. | Stunning stained glass windows | cathedral ceilings | finished walkout basement

Asking $650,000. Listed by Briana Cermak of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties. For inquiries or showings, contact bcermak@bhhshudsonvalley.com

Stroll down Main Street, Phoenicia, past all the quaint shops filled with unique housewares, antiques, and local, handmade products, past restaurants who have filled the air with their aromatic creations – and you’ll approach the most charming village church, and accompanying home, ready for the next owners to create something amazing. The home flows effortlessly from living room, to dining room, to kitchen and offers plenty of living space on the main level. Four sizable bedrooms and a bathroom share the upstairs. A hidden courtyard separates church and house, creating an ideal backdrop for the most enchanting summer dinners al fresco.

The church was built as the first Baptist church in Phoenicia between 1904 and 1906, 50 years after Main Street was constructed. Phoenicia remains relatively unchanged since they initially broke ground and was one of the first towns in the Catskills to receive a spotlight from the New York Times who wrote in 1879, “many thousands of people will come [to the Catskills] annually to escape the heat of the pent-up cities, and spend some of their hard-earned money in gaining renewed strength and vigor of body and mind.”

The church now serves as a blank canvas for a myriad of ideas offering the open floor upstairs; below, an additional, substantially sized finished basement with tons of light, a kitchenette and two half bathrooms.

Covered Bridge Cabin in Livingston Manor, NY

Real Estate|

One hundred miles from NYC, this classic log cabin sits amongst old-growth forests on a quiet historic road in Livingston Manor, NY. Covered Bridge Cabin sits just off the road that leads to one of the few covered bridges in Livingston Manor.

Two bedroom, one bathroom home | 616 square foot home on .53 acres | Cathedral ceiling | Wood burning stove | 3-season outbuilding | Access to fishing | Asking 295,000

Listed by Jill Borenstein and Robin Jones of Catskill Mountain Houses. Open House: Saturday, September 24th, 12 pm-2 pm. 15 Conklin Hill Rd, Livingston Manor NY 12758. Please RSVP to  jill@catskillmountainhouses.com

For inquiries or showings contact jill@catskillmountainhouses.com or robin@catskillmountainhouses.com

From the elevated covered porch, walk inside to the open kitchen and living area that fills up with warm afternoon light and has southern yellow pine flooring laid throughout the room. The kitchen includes custom solid wood hickory cabinets and granite tile countertops.

The living area is anchored by a Federal wood-burning stove that keeps the entire house toasty or turn on the electric baseboard heat for that extra feeling of comfort. Steps away, both bedrooms have vaulted ceilings for an airy, spacious feel, and the full bathroom is situated between the bedrooms and kitchen.

The super tidy and dry, full unfinished walkout basement is easy to access for storage, utilities, and as a workshop or garden prep area.

Though insulated and heated, this is a 3-season home with the potential for year-round living.

Step into the light-filled 12 x 16 upgraded outbuilding that includes insulated interior pine walls and sits just behind the main house. Perfect for guests that want a Catskills glamping experience. Use it for an office, studio, living space or sleeping area.

A charming stone wall lends dimension to the property, hand built by the owners using stone from the property. Hang around the fire pit on a chilly evening or relax in the hammock in the morning sun.

The property is surrounded by forest and river, numerous fishing spots, swimming holes and hiking trails. It’s the perfect base camp for all outdoor adventures, while being just minutes from foodie markets, restaurants, breweries, wine shops, trendy home goods, fashion-forward shops, and even a pilates studio. Just two hours from the city, this location is ideal as a weekend getaway, co-primary home or full time residence. Just 10 minutes to Livingston Manor. Check out this Conde Nast Traveler article and this Escape Brooklyn article to get excited about the area, and also this website to get inspired by the neighboring Willowemoc.

The home has been impeccably maintained with no known issues but is being sold “as is” with no representations for ease of sale.


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