I have been in DESPERATE need of an escape from NYC. Don't get me wrong- I love it here. But anyone who's been through an NYC summer knows that things get sticky and smelly VERY quickly... After Friday evening's dance performance and awards show for my amazing students, I was ready to blow off some steam! Joe had requested yesterday off and asked to borrow his boss's car, so we were out the door by 7:30a and on the road towards the illustrious Catskill Mountains! New York has some of the most stunning mountain ranges and parks (I grew up in the Adirondack Mountains). We cruised through the town of Woodstock, NY and headed up Overlook Mountain to the parking area near a Buddhist monastery.
The reviews had described this hike as "moderate" but with a pretty decent and consistent incline. It's a 5 mile roundtrip hike from where we started, and over the 2.5 mile climb we gained 1,400 feet elevation.
Everything was budding and blooming! Are these Mountain Laurels?
The trail was SWARMING with chipmunks! These little guys were EVERYWHERE!
One of the best parts of this hike is getting to explore the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House- a hotel built in 1833 to show visitors that New York had vistas that could compare to those in Europe. It was fully operational until 1923 when it was destroyed by a fire (an earlier fire occurred in 1875). Reconstruction was started, but the Depression put a damper in those plans. Today, the stunning and slightly creepy ruins stand for adventuresome explores (like myself) to enjoy!
A Christmas card photo by the fireplace?
Who needs a stair climber?
After playing around for about 30 mins (and getting devoured by bugs) we continued on to the top of the mountain, where we stopped for a quick refuel and then climbed the slightly sketchy old fire tower.
The views were nothing short of spectacular.
The cliff behind the information cabin was our favorite part of the trip. Gorgeous.
This has obviously been a popular hike for some time! :)
We could have stayed here for HOURS....
Tons of eagles? Hawks? Some sort of large bird... flying around- we counted at least 12 of these guys swooping over the valley!
The trip back down took significantly less time (though it's steep, so it's a little rough on your joints)! Before we knew it we were back to the parking lot and ready to head into Woodstock to get some lunch!
Joe was THRILLED to have some Thai Iced Coffee!
He ordered the Duck Confit Toastie with Cheddar and Baby Spinach. YUM!
I had my usual iced coffee with soy (the coffee here was pretty great) and some yumminess off the Daily Specials board.
Homemade bread, fresh greens and an avocado, manchego and lump crab meat omelette with local eggs. UH-MAZING.
We strolled around Woodstock for a bit before stopping at Stewarts to grab some dessert.
If you've ever lived in upstate NY, you'll know that Stewarts (a gas station/ convenience store) has some of the BEST ICE CREAM ON THE PLANET! I got Crumbs Along the Mohawk (Graham Cracker Ice Cream with a Caramel Swirl and Graham Cracker Crumbs) and Cookie Whirled (Vanilla Ice Cream with Cookies mashed in) in a waffle cone. Joe got Caramel Praline (Caramel Ice Cream with Almonds and a Salted Caramel Swirl) and a scoop of plain chocolate in a waffle cone.
The perfect end to the perfect day.
What was your Saturday like?
Describe your perfect summer day!
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream/ place to get ice cream???
Do you prefer to get sweaty outside or inside?