Whether you’re a diehard New York City-er or visiting for a week and pondering day-trip options, there’s nothing like cruising out of the city, windows down, music blasting, hitting the open road headed toward greener pastures. Just a short drive away, upstate New York is the ultimate escape. Only a few hours separate this bucolic region from the city’s electric intensity, but it feels a world apart with a pace of life that barely clocks in at languid.
And no one is more dedicated to the upstate life than And North, a two-year-old curated guide to the best of the region that treats back-road farm stands with as much reverence as hot new wine bars. If only we could see everything in the world through their eyes. The site was founded by photographer Emma Tuccillo as a way to connect NYC creatives with those regions north that constantly inspire and excite her. “A drive down a dirt road can lead to amazing farms, conversations with interesting people, or an incredible meal,” she says.
Time seems to slows down and opportunities reveal themselves left and right.
As Tuccillo will be the first to say, there seems to be an inexhaustible number of amazing new businesses opening upstate, whether it’s a farm-to-table restaurant, wood shop, or pitch-perfect general store. So we asked her to share five getaways from New York City you can easily pull off in a weekend.
”Hudson is one of those cities that’s unlike any other with its exceptional architecture, fine antique stores, and vibrant community. For a handsome night’s stay, we recommend Rivertown Lodge, a 27-room boutique hotel set in a 1920s movie house. The hotel is simple and modern with hints of rustic early-American decor. After laying down your things in your cozy room, walk downstairs through the screened-in porch to the hotel bar for a whiskey.”
Insider itinerary: “Whenever we visit, we make sure to stop into 2 Note Botanical Perfumery, a small-batch perfumery that also sells an incredible assortment of bath and body products; Red Chair for their beautiful collection of french antiques; and Hawkins, NY, for their modern tableware, furniture, and accessories. Mostly, we like to wander the side streets and alleyways to peer at the homes, some restored, others covered in the stunning patina of time.”
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“The historic 1869 Saugerties Lighthouse is by far one of our favorite places in all of upstate New York. The stunning stone structure is now a bed-and-breakfast, preserved by the Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy, with common areas that are accessible to the public. Walk the half-mile trail surrounded by willow trees, tidal pools, and patches of wildflowers until the path opens up to present the river and the incredible lighthouse.”
Insider itinerary: “We recommend enjoying a picnic on the lighthouse’s deck, where we like to snack on local goods and watch the sailboats passing by. In the warmer months, we’re always eager to run into the blue river dotted with green lily pads. Looking out on the Hudson while floating in the warm water is one of those summer moments we look forward to all year.”
“Whenever we travel to Kingston, we make sure to visit Brunette. This barber-shop-turned-wine-bar is where you’ll find longtime upstate weekenders, Jamie and Tracy Kennard, pouring natural wine and serving unique bar snacks from behind their elegant marble bartop. Originally the capital of New York State, Kingston has a rich history as well as a strong community of creatives and new businesses.”
Insider itinerary: “The Rondout District, where Brunette is located, has some of our favorite shops in all of upstate. Stop into Hops Petunia for wild floral arrangements and to Clove and Creek, a locally focused mercantile with a curated collection of goods for the home, body, and spirit right next door. If you’re going to stay the night, we recommend Church Des Artistes, a converted church that is now a stunning bed-and-breakfast. Enter through the flower-filled stone courtyard and step into the inn where you’ll find vintage-lace-covered beds, stained-glass windows, and the most welcoming hosts.”
“For a truly memorable summer night in the Catskills, we love to visit the Greenville Drive-In, a newly opened drive-in that originally dates back to 1959. Showing classics like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Blazing Saddles, the drive-in combines the nostalgia of the 1950s with modern design and locally sourced snacks and cocktails. We love to arrive as the sun is setting to outfit the back of our pick-up truck with blankets and pillows and stock up on local hot dogs with Hudson-made sauerkraut.”
Insider itinerary: “If you’d like to make a weekend out of it, stay at the glamorous Dewitt Oak Hill, a beautiful boutique bed-and-breakfast set on the banks of the Catskill Creek. Dating back to 1865, owners Diane Ormrod and Dorothée Walliser spent all of last year restoring the building and filling it with antiques from their business French & Scouser, nearly all of which are for sale.”
“We will gladly take the 2.5-hour drive upstate just to eat at Gaskins, a lively restaurant in Germantown with a seasonally changing menu of classic American dishes where ingredients from nearby farms shine. Although it has been open for just over a year, Gaskins has quickly become one of the Hudson Valley’s preferred meeting spots to feast, celebrate, or simply drop by for a friendly drink.”
Insider itinerary: “In the summer, we love to sit on the porch overlooking Luddite, a beautiful new antique store, and dine on burrata with garlic scape pesto, house-made cavatelli, and sugar snap peas.”