Just over the two hour mark from New York City, the North Branch Inn is an unlikely hotspot located in a tiny hamlet of the Western Catskills. Drawing in locals and tourists alike, weekends are especially busy here — whether its for a drink, a bite to eat, or a round of bowling at adjoining Bar Room & Restaurant.

In a town where there’s just one restaurant, special attention has been paid to make sure you never go hungry at North Branch Inn. In each room, a plate of baked goodies await guests, along with a couple glasses to be filled up at the bar with local cider, on the house. In the main building, five guest rooms sit above the restaurant called the Bar Room & Restaurant, where seasonal, hyper-local fare is served.

Before or after dinner, get a round of bowling in at North Branch Inn’s two handset bowling lanes. The combination of the amazing food, inventive drinks, and bowling alley at the Bar Room & Restaurant make one of our top spots for dinner in the whole region. The breakfast spread is impressive too, and included in the price of a room.

What to Do in North Branch, NY: Explore the Delaware Valley Towns, Go on a Hike, Take a Dip in the Delaware River, or Visit the Site of Woodstock

There’s not much going on in North Branch’s Main Street – there’s quite literally no other businesses – but the nearby towns of Callicoon, Narrowsburg, Livingston Manor, and Roscoe are all worth a visit.

Beginning with the closest, Calicoon is a picturesque river town with a few blocks worth of thrift and antique stores that are all worth popping into. While you’re there, don’t miss lunch at Ba & Me, a yummy Vietnamese take-out window that has a few tables on the sidewalk. In Narrowsburg, check out some the great shopping like Maison Bergogne, an antique shop in an old car garage – or One Grand Books, where the stacks are curated with celebs’, artists’ and authros’ “desert island” picks. Afterward, snag a seat on the patio for drinks or a meal at The Heron.

In Livingston Manor, sign up for a farm tour at Apple Pond Farm to hold some adorable baby animals and learn about renewable energy and off-grid living; then stop in for lunch at Main Street Farm or The Arnold House, and have a beer at Catskill Brewery, right in town. Last, check out Roscoe, the fly-fishing capital of the world. This “drinking town with a fishing problem”—or so say the tees at Prohibition Distillery – has no less than 6 hunting and fishing shops, and is also home to Roscoe Beer Company, fantastic Northern Farmhouse Pasta, and countless fishing spots.

For an outdoor adventure – or if you’re just looking for a great photo-op—head to Russell Brook Falls about 25 minutes from North Branch. Once you’ve reached the parking lot, the hard part is already over; the massive waterfall is just .1 miles into the trail. (If you wish to continue, follow the blue markers for a 4.9 mile hike. For more details on the hike, follow the link above.) Another great nearby hike is Jensen’s Ledges, which has a pretty steep ascent over the course of an hour, but the payoff at the top is worth it. It’s the best view of the Delaware River that we know of, plus there’s a waterfall near the top and remains of a rock quarry. If it’s summer, check out Skinner’s Falls for a refreshing swim in the Delaware River. Though it’s a bit of a misnomer — there’s no actual falls—this scenic spot is made up of a series of shallow rapids and huge rocks that form little islands in the water. Visitors can walk out quite far, pick a rock, and sunbathe or perch for a few hours in-between dips. The access trail is through private property, so be prepared with cash for the entrance fee, which is a couple bucks.

Last, this part of the Catskills is also close to Bethel, the site of Woodstock. (No, Woodstock did not take place in Woodstock. In fact, Bethel and Woodstock are nearly 60 miles apart.) Park your car and wander the property at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts to see the field where the magic unfolded, along with the pond where festival-goers swam and bathed. The museum on-site is open from April to January and a must for music lovers.

Where to Eat and Drink Around North Branch, NY: Fine Dining Above a Gas Station, Local Beers in Log Cabin Bars

Sister hotel to North Branch Inn, we love the tavern at Arnold House in nearby Livingston Manor, NY. Photo: Ronald Cadiz Photography

Though breakfasts and at least one dinner should be had at North Branch Inn, there’s a few restaurants and bars in the area it’d be a crime not to mention. (Note: see above for daytrip/lunch pairings!) First, the Arnold House is the sister property to North Branch Inn located 15 minutes away in Livingston Manor. The tavern atmosphere comes alive with a giant wood stove, juke box, and pool table, and the food is solid. Another foodie hotspot in the area is the new location of Henning’s Local. This farm-to-table joint is in the most inconspicuous place possible: above a Mobil gas station. The food is outrageously good, and the location one of the more memorable venues we can think of.

No doubt that if you’re one of our long-time followers, you know that we like to dig up the coolest dive bars everywhere we go, and this guide is no exception. One of our best discoveries as of late is the The Cabin, a bar and restaurant housed in a log cabin on a mountain. Alongside standard pub fare, you can sample local beers from breweries like Catskill Brewery — which aside from being a bar in a log cabin, is reason enough for us to go back again. The only downside is it’s cash only, so come prepared!