Autumn in the Catskill region offers about as picturesque an escape from the city as possible. With cool, often frost-tinged nights, yet warm, sun dappled days, the weather is ideal for taking in the kaleidoscopic spectacle of changing leaves. As a photographer, I couldn’t resist the chance to capture some peak color and headed out of Brooklyn for a couple of days in Delaware County.
Foregoing full on camping, I stayed at Mystic Lodge, a beautiful, secluded Airbnb property located off of a dirt road just outside Bovina Center. On 5-acres of land, owners Lisa & Chris have built an evolving boutique property providing a beautiful view of—and integration with—the land. Their Blue Jay Tipi, currently available to rent via Airbnb, sits in a clearing cut from the grasses and wildflowers that fill the surrounding valley.
Even with seasonal temperature drops, the tipi offers an impressive not-quite-roughing-it level of comfort. With a 16-foot diameter, there’s space for a queen-sized mattress—heavy with locally-produced wool blankets—and ample room to stand, even for my 6-foot-4 frame. The tipi is outfitted with throw carpets, dreamcatchers, small wooden tables, candles and books by noted shaman Carlos Castaneda, all fitting for the spot’s chill, spiritual vibe. And—even better for when the sun drops behind the nearby hills—the tipi houses a cast iron wood burning stove. A stack of split, dry firewood is provided for each guest, and Chris leaves a perfectly constructed pile of kindling staged and ready to light at the touch of a match. There’s also an outdoor fire pit, winged by a pair of Adirondack chairs, which provides a perfect vantage point for star gazing.
A short walk away is a private, composting outhouse with washing station, and there’s an outdoor shower with hot water, making for quite a luxurious experience even on chilly mornings. If you want to take the pampering up a notch, for a small extra fee, Lisa & Chris will fire up their wood-heated cedar hot tub. Advance notice is recommended as it takes about 6 hours to heat, but it’s well worth it for the opportunity to soak while watching steam rise into the darkening sky.
At the moment, Lisa & Chris have nearly finished construction of a second, larger tipi—“The Mothership”—which will offer additional space for larger parties while still providing each guest with an impressive amount of peace & quiet.
Guests are encouraged to wander the property, exploring native apple trees, a small, yet swimmable pond or relax in the sun while lulled by the water flowing along Coulter Brook. The Escape Brooklyn crew previously featured an excellent write up of Bovina and the surrounding area with tips on the excellent options for sights, happenings and food & drink options. In between meals likely the best option is to explore the area—by foot, bike, car, motorcycle, horse—getting lost on the rolling roads, where rounding each corner seems to provide an even more spectacular vista.
While Mystic Lodge’s prime visiting period is late-spring through autumn, the tipis are available to rent year round. So adventuresome explorers can mark the space as a true four season escape.