This week we are “traveling” to upstate New York to the land of mountain resorts of yore in the Catskill Mountains in New York. Fadra Nally from All Things Fadra fills us in on what is different in this region from the times of Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and why it makes a great spot for an outdoor-focused girlfriend getaway with waterfalls, wine, and shopping or a family vacation destination with hiking, kayaking and more.
About Fadra Nally
Fadra is a blogger and podcaster focusing on the lighter side of cars, entertainment, and travel. Her favorite destinations are as close as West Virginia and as far away as Saudi Arabia. You can find her online at AllThingsFadra.com, or on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
Tips for Visiting the Catskills, NY
- The Catskills are located just about two hours north of New York City and cover 700,000 acres over four counties, with the Hudson River creating the eastern border.
- While the Catskills were popular in the 1950s, especially with families in NYC, many of those all-inclusive type of family resorts are no longer there.
- Dirty Dancing was based on a resort called Grossinger’s, which is no longer operating, but it was actually filmed in Virginia and North Carolina.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel episodes in the Catskills were filmed at a family-run resort called Scott’s Family Resort at Oquaga Lake.
- The Catskills are a good four-season destination, with skiing and winter sports in the winter, great hiking year-round, and beautiful fall foliage in October.
- However, some activities and attractions may only be open from May to October.
- There are a lot of breweries, wineries, and distilleries in the Catskill region.
- Kaaterskill Falls is one of the tallest in New York State at 260 feet, which is higher than Niagara Falls. It is approximately a one-mile hike, including a series of stairs, to reach the top and an overlook. Some trail heads may be closed so look online to find alternatives.
- There are many cute towns with great bookstores, restaurants, and boutiques for shopping.
- There are many cabin rentals that you can find on Airbnb that are perfect for a self-contained getaway where you can either cook or bring in take out.
- Mohonk Mountain House near New Paltz is a great hotel to stay at or even visit for brunch and then enjoy the hiking trails on the grounds.
- Catskill, Kingston,and Hudson are all great little towns to set up a home base.
- Fadra stayed in Coxsackie on the water, which has a smaller downtown that is undergoing a revitalization to make it a wedding destination. Coxsackie has a great bottle shop and Chez Figata is a good restaurant to try for dinner.
- If you go further west in the Catskills you will find more resorts and mountains.
- It is a great destination for a girlfriend getaway, romantic getaway, or a family vacation.
- The Kartrite Resort in the Catskills is great for families and has an indoor waterpark.
- Fadra stayed at an Airbnb called Heron’s View.
- Be sure to plan in advance if you are going to rent a cabin or vacation home.
Save this to Pinterest
Full Episode Transcript
[00:00:00.150] – Kim
Where can you find Waterfalls, wine and shopping just a couple of hours from New York City? Stay tuned to find out.
[00:00:18.730] – Announcer
Welcome to Vacation Mavens, a family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim from Stuffed Suitcase and Tamara from We3Travel.
[00:00:33.700] – Kim
So, Tamara, we are in February. And, you know, things are starting to change a bit in the travel sector. I feel like we’ve been in a pretty standard operating procedure. But we recently had some big news come out for people that are planning to fly into the United States, and that is that they are going to require a negative covid test.
[00:00:56.890] – Tamara
Yeah, and I think that’s a big deal. I’m thinking of people that have done some trips like to the Caribbean especially. I’ve been seeing a lot of that or Mexico. And now to think about how you are going to get that test on the way back, otherwise you’re not going to be allowed home. Tt’s something you have to really take into consideration. I think in the past, we’ve thought about testing to leave, but not testing to come back. So definitely a change.
[00:01:23.920] – Kim
Yeah, I think it makes sense. It seems good. I’ll be honest where we’re at with not traveling at all. It seems odd that people are traveling to the Caribbean and Mexico.
[00:01:34.420] – Kim
But I know that some people are choosing to do that and definitely still planning vacations and traveling and stuff. But I think this is definitely going to be an extra layer of logistics that they have to consider. I know you had mentioned some testing might be done at airports or such, but I know I’ve received a couple of press releases from major hotels such as the Palace Resorts, where we had stayed at one Moon Palace in Jamaica.
[00:02:03.400] – Kim
But they are offering free testing to their guests that will help them further. You know, American guests are flying back into the states so that that is one thing that you might consider is checking for hotels that are offering it. I think they know how much they rely on that tourism dollar. And so they’re doing whatever they can to make sure that American tourists keep coming down and visiting.
[00:02:27.030] – Tamara
Yeah, especially because I imagine they could get pricey. I mean, if you think about some of the private testing that is available tends to be 100 dollars or more a person, so that can definitely add to the vacation cost. I was just talking to friends of ours and we were talking about their 25th anniversary in October, and they wanted to do like a four day getaway to the Caribbean. And I was like, here are some things to think about.
[00:02:49.900] – Tamara
And they’re like, do you think that’s still going to be in place? And I have no idea. And that’s the thing is like we don’t know how long. So, maybe people are thinking about a spring break trip, maybe they’re thinking about summer. We just don’t know how long these things are going to be in place. And it’s definitely, for a four day trip, you think about the time it takes you away from your little vacation to have to deal with testing.
[00:03:12.130] – Tamara
And even before you go, like even though testing is more widespread, I know here a lot of the testing that I can get easily and that they encourage us to get regularly now is the rapid test and the rapid test is not going to qualify for what most countries will we will need.
[00:03:27.640] – Tamara
They’ll need a PCR test for coming in, so if I try to get a PCR test, it doesn’t have the same guaranteed turnaround time. And so then that could really mess up your trip. And so then you have to think about, OK, maybe I have to do private testing. Like when we talked to Amber about her trip to Hawaii, she used a company called Vault Health to do private testing before she left.
[00:03:49.570] – Tamara
And so now you might be paying for testing on both sides, plus taking time away from your vacation like I was just thinking about in Mexico when we went to Riviera Maya, it was about an hour from the Cancun airport. And transportation was pretty expensive because we weren’t going to rent a car because we were planning on staying on the resort and then, getting back and forth to the airport. If that’s where you have to do your testing, that that’s going to be time consuming out of your trip.
[00:04:17.830] – Kim
So, yeah, a lot of considerations.
[00:04:20.410] – Tamara
And then I think also there’s things to think about. Obviously, every country has their own rules. And I mean, pretty much most of them are still off limits. But even the ones that are accepting visitors from the U.S., which are a lot of the Caribbean islands and Mexico, Costa Rica. I know I was just following our friend Sarah that talked to us about kind of where the Caribbean was and they’re reopening of the islands to go to. And we talked to her back in the summer. She does a lot of reporting from down there.
[00:04:50.020] – Tamara
So she’s just in Anguilla and it looks like she had to have a PCR test before she left a PCR test when she arrived. And then you’re quarantined in your hotel room until the results of that get back, which are supposed to be within 12 hours.
[00:05:04.690] – Tamara
But then even beyond that, there’s a 14 day quarantine within certain resorts or properties or a restaurant.
[00:05:11.850] – Tamara
So basically they’ve created this little like traveler’s bubble so that if you are a visitor and your negative, but you’re still have a red wristband that you’re in a 14 day quarantine and you can go to certain hotels, certain restaurants, but only on certain days. And then they’re accessible to locals on other days to keep the locals and the visitors, I guess, a little separated. And I mean, it seems to be working. They’ve had no deaths and very few cases.
[00:05:38.650] – Tamara
But, wow, that’s a huge I don’t know I don’t want to say restriction on your vacation because, you know, frankly, just being able to travel at all right now is a huge privilege and so but it’s really it’s not everyone’s like, oh, I want to go on vacation. I wanted to be feel normal. Well, you know, maybe not.
[00:05:57.250] – Kim
Yeah, I think that’s the thing is, it’s I mean, we’re still not looking at what normal is going to be for a while. And I think that’s that’s the big thing. I know. You know, we I do feel lucky that we have such great summers here in the Pacific Northwest and we could say, hey, we can, you know, go explore our own area again. But I think everybody is getting kind of sick of that. I know I’m you know, we love California and I’m typically down there a couple or few times a year. And we I just miss, you know, pool lounging and, you know, sunsets on the beach and all of that, you know, palm tree lifestyle. And so I don’t know. And, you know, Disneyland is still not open. And I don’t think it has any chance of opening for spring break, in my opinion.
[00:06:44.260] – Kim
So what that must be doing to that economy and all those workers, I mean, I can’t even imagine.
[00:06:49.030] – Kim
So it’s kind of a crazy, crazy world still. I mean, I can’t believe we’re coming on one full year of it.
[00:06:55.630] – Tamara
And yeah, I know it’s it’s beyond depressing, but I’m thinking mostly about summer and I just need a change of scenery, like, desperately. And so we’re going to go somewhere. You know, our plan was to go to Greece, which we wanted to do last year, this year. And that may just never happen. So my strategy right now is I’m creating backup plans.
[00:07:22.300] – Tamara
So I’m just booking things that are cancelable and will go where we can go. I mean, I’m not going to book like airfare or whatever, but like I did for Greece, but it is changeable without a fee and it was a good deal. So I don’t know I don’t know what it will happen with that eventually.
[00:07:40.870] – Tamara
And the hard thing is, like everything is contingent on everything else. And that’s what drives me crazy in my life because I am a planner and have a really, really hard time like not knowing what the future holds, not being able to plan for not having anything in my control. So even just talking to Hannah about like her summer plans, like last year, she was going to do this like counselor in training year at the camp that she’s gone to and then do this Israel trip.
[00:08:07.090] – Tamara
And obviously that was canceled and all she did was stay home and take summer optional classes and face time with friends and go for runs with me. And then we did a couple little trips, but it was just not good. And so she was thinking that this year would be something entirely different. But then the camp said, well, we’re just going to kind of push it out a year.
[00:08:30.820] – Tamara
So you have another chance. You know, she’d kind of like given up on that hope that she was going to do that. So now the camp is like, well, you know what, we’re just like adding an extra year to camp. So now you can do it as a rising senior as well. And everything she’s ever heard has been that that’s like the best year of camp. And so she really wants to do it.
[00:08:48.610] – Tamara
But then we were kind of thinking this year she might focus on something a little bit more like a job or like an academic program or internship, something like that. And so it’s like all these things like, is that camp, is it going to move forward? Because if it doesn’t doesn’t should you do this? And here are these other, like, astronomy related things that she wanted to do. But like one by one, those are getting canceled, too.
[00:09:08.830] – Tamara
So they’re off the table. And then we are like, if you do that, then you’d be around here. But if you’re not doing that, then you wouldn’t be around here and maybe you want to do a family trip versus a you know, Glenn and I go on a trip.
[00:09:20.680] – Tamara
And then there’s also like, well, coming back are there’s still going to be quarantines and restrictions in place because like right now, especially with our school, there’s very strong rules about, you know, what’s allowed.
[00:09:30.460] – Tamara
And so it’s like, well, if we did something when you came back from camp, but you need to have time to quarantine or whatever before you would have to start up soccer practice in like mid-August. And we’re also trying to look at colleges like all over the country.
[00:09:46.510] – Tamara
And it’s like, oh, gosh, it’s just there’s so many feel overwhelming. And it just feels overwhelming to get locked in, you know. Yeah. The one thing that I can then like, plan things around.
[00:09:57.220] – Kim
I get it. Yeah.
[00:09:58.840] – Tamara
And unfortunately it’ll be like last year where it will literally be June, you know, like days before something where you finally know what the situation is.
[00:10:07.780] – Kim
Yeah. Who knows. We can hold out hope and just see what’s going to happen the next couple of months. But I think it’s important for us all to just try and like. You said earlier it’s it’s still a very privileged worry and a lot of ways with what’s going on, so long as we keep that in mind that it is a privilege to travel and we all miss it and we will get to it when we can, and we just all support each other and do the best we can to follow rules.
[00:10:33.250] – Kim
I think the rules are there to keep everyone safe on both like visitors and locals. So I think just be following rules and make sure that you’re educated about rules before you make plans. I think that’s the thing to focus on right now, certainly.
[00:10:46.450] – Tamara
And I think also, if you are considering doing one of those like Caribbean, Mexico, whatever trips, it seems like Canada is on the verge of telling people like if you go out of the country, you may not be able to come back in. So it’s like, who knows? That could happen here as well.
[00:11:01.570] – Tamara
Like right now there’s bans on travel for people that are not U.S. citizens. But there’s a lot of considerations to travel right now.
[00:11:13.360] – Kim
Well, I mean, the Tokyo Olympics have completely been scrapped, which is just so sad and hard on that country. And I’m sure. So it’s it’s affected so much of, you know, I mean, it’s not like they can’t delay it another year like they did. So it’s very sad for all those situation.
[00:11:33.010] – Tamara
[00:11:34.000] – Kim
Well, we are going to try and not focus on the sad and we are going to talk about a New York state escape. So for many people, depending on, like you’ve said, travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, it is a possible escape because it sounds like it’s a lot of small towns, kind of keep to yourself, go outdoors, hike destination. So we are going to be talking about the Catskills.
[00:11:58.930] – Tamara
Yes. Let’s let’s go to the Land of Dirty Dancing, right?
[00:12:02.080] – Kim
[00:12:12.650] – Tamara
Today, we’re here with Fadra Nally. Fadra is a blogger and podcast author who focuses on the lighter side of cars, entertainment and travel, her favorite destinations are as close as West Virginia and as far away as Saudi Arabia. So welcome, Fadra.
[00:12:26.660] – Fadra
Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to talk to you today about a location that’s pretty close to where I am, but I’ve actually only been a few times.
[00:12:35.450] – Tamara
We’re going to talk about the Catskill Mountains, but some of our listeners may have only heard of the Catskills for movies like Dirty Dancing or I think The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, they spend some time in the Catskills. But can you explain to our listeners, like, where are the Catskill Mountains and what are some of the towns in their area if you’re going to look it up on a map?
[00:12:53.000] – Fadra
Well, I’ll tell you, before I went last time, last November, for the first time, I only knew that I knew it from Dirty Dancing. And that was pretty much it. And, you know, it’s it was kind of well known back in the 50s. It was a big sort of like a summer location for wealthy, usually Jewish families from New York City. They would head out to the Catskills and it’s it’s considered upstate New York.
[00:13:16.520] – Fadra
It is west of the Hudson River. And it actually encompasses it’s about 700,000 acres and takes up four different counties. So it’s a pretty large region. It’s kind of in southeast New York state. So it’s a very big area. It’s a mountainous area. It’s actually part of the Appalachian Mountains. So there’s there’s a lot to see and do there. And it’s kind of funny that you mentioned the entertainment aspect, because I do cover entertainment as well as travel.
[00:13:45.680] – Fadra
And so it was kind of fun just to read a little bit more about it. And just a quick side note on Dirty Dancing. So the resort in that film is called Kellerman’s, and it was inspired by a resort called Grossinger’s, which is it’s now gone. It’s long gone, actually. So they actually shot that movie in Virginia and North Carolina.
[00:14:07.850] – Fadra
So they didn’t even shoot it in the Catskills. But Mrs. Maisel, they did actually shoot there. There’s a place called Scott’s Family Resort at Oquaga Lake, and it’s a family run hotel. I haven’t been to the one in the Catskills. I’ve been to similar type hotels where it’s sort of like an all inclusive, rustic, family friendly family activity type place. And that one, they actually chose to film it there because that’s remained largely unchanged since the 50s.
[00:14:35.060] – Tamara
Yeah, it was funny. You talk about the 50s because I think my husband would get upset because growing up he always went to the Catskills and it was not in the 50s.
[00:14:43.280] – Tamara
But I always call him old, so. Yeah, but but he was definitely one of the New York Jewish families that always went to the Catskills. They went to the Concord, was like the big resort then. And he tells me about like some of the comedians that came in. And so, like the whole Mrs. Maisel thing, like definitely ties into that. But it’s really funny because one of the first times we went skiing together, his only experience skiing was at the Concord, which I guess is like just a small little hill that you would take like a tow rope up.
[00:15:10.310] – Tamara
And so when we were going up the lift, I think it was in Mount Snow in Vermont, he was like, how high are we going? Like, how long is this lift? And I was like, I don’t know. I’ll take about like 10, 15 minutes. He’s like, What? And then I was like, well, how long is it going to take to get down? I’m like, I don’t know, like half an hour or so.
[00:15:27.590] – Tamara
And he was just like so shocked because it was, you know, his experience was, you know, very much going to the Concord in the winter and skiing there. But skiing was more like, you know, that most five minutes down the hill.
[00:15:39.390] – Fadra
So his idea of skiing sounds more like my idea of. So that’s good to know. If I want to go skiing, I’m going to go to the Catskills.
[00:15:47.160] – Tamara
Yeah, I think there are some some tougher hills or mountains, I should say now. But anyway, it’s funny because he definitely always talked about his experience in the Catskills.
[00:15:57.530] – Kim
That’s funny. So speaking of winter and seasons, you had mentioned that you went in November, which would have been the fall. So it’s it seems like maybe it’s a seasonal destination. Do you know anything about some of the things that you can do around the different seasons and maybe the best time you think for people to visit?
[00:16:14.480] – Fadra
Well, you know, the great thing about the Catskills are that it’s really a four season area. So I think it just depends on what you like to do.
[00:16:23.150] – Fadra
So I am not a skier, as you might have inferred from like those small little hills. I actually grew up doing some ski trips to Pennsylvania, which are also, you know, nice little hills, and I can handle that. So I’m not a big winter sports fan. They do have skiing there. So if that’s something that you like to do, that is something that you can do in the Catskills. But the other three seasons are where you’re really going to be able to take advantage of a lot of the outdoor activities.
[00:16:49.370] – Fadra
So, for example, I love to kayak and we actually stayed at a place right on the Hudson River. So you do have access to the river and you do have access to the mountains. So depending on what you like to do, we stayed right by the river, which would be great for warmer weather activities. And then, of course, all the mountain activities are, you know, just a short drive away.
[00:17:09.590] – Fadra
But I found November was just a bit too chilly for any activities on the river, and when you get into fall in an area like New York and in the mountains, you know, it’s kind of hit or miss. You’re going to have some warmer days and then you’re going to have some really cold days. So I was actually content to just sit on the shore of the river. And for people that don’t know, the Hudson River is a major waterway for cargo ships.
[00:17:32.850] – Fadra
And so, it’s kind of fun just sitting out there. In fact, our first night there, I looked out the window.
[00:17:38.610] – Fadra
I’m like, oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. And my friends were like, what’s wrong? What’s wrong? I said, there’s a giant ship on the river.
[00:17:47.730] – Fadra
So it was totally unexpected to see them go up and down. So that was kind of fun. But, you know, fall and spring are great for hiking, as is summer.
[00:17:55.270] – Fadra
I mean, you could do anything in the summer, but fall, fall or spring. It was perfect for us to do some brisk hiking. And then, like I said, if if you don’t mind snow and you like skiing, there are opportunities in the winter as well. So, you know, it really just depends on what you like to do. But I would definitely consider it a four season area.
[00:18:13.560] – Kim
Is it really like tree heavy snow would fall be have a lot of fall colors like you hear so much about in the Northeast, or is it a little too far north for that?
[00:18:22.680] – Fadra
No, I think it depends. Again, it depends on where you go. Keep in mind that the Catskill region is huge and it goes all the way from the Hudson River, pretty far west. So if you start driving up, I think you’re talking about maybe elevation wise, it is it you don’t get a lot of trees. No, it was actually most of the leaves were gone by the time we went. We went mid to late November.
[00:18:44.220] – Fadra
So, you know, of course, the further north you go, the earlier the foliage season is. But no, the area is definitely popular for fall foliage and they definitely encourage that. In fact, it’s still a big area for New York City people, even though it’s a couple hours away, you’ll get a lot of the leaf peepers in the fall. So, yeah, it’s a beautiful area for that.
[00:19:05.050] – Tamara
Yeah, I was thinking I was in the Finger Lakes in September, like late September of this year. And so they are not too different in terms of how high up they are. So feel like October would probably be prime leaf season.
[00:19:24.690] – Tamara
And I definitely think that the Catskills have a lot of agritourism because when I was there for a family reunion, this was, oh, gosh, maybe 15 years ago almost. We went in the summer and there were like a lot of farms to visit. So I imagine in the fall that could be really, you know, an excellent time to like do all the pumpkin patches and stuff like that.
[00:19:49.200] – Kim
I’m betting if it’s near the it has a lot of trees and it’s near the river, it’s probably really good for birdwatching. Not that I’m into that, but I’m thinking spring time would probably be really popular.
[00:19:58.230] – Fadra
I actually love bird watching, but I can’t say it was something that occurred to me because along the river. So if you’re going to stay along the river, you’re probably going to stay in a town which is going to be a little bit more developed.
[00:20:10.740] – Kim
OK, but it’s more I’m picturing like Pacific Northwest Rivers, but that’s more like when I lived in Kansas. It’s like the Missouri River, like transport river type.
[00:20:19.020] – Fadra
[00:20:20.680] – Tamara
Okay. Yeah. When you were talking about kayaking, I’m like, wow, the Hudson, that’s that’s huge. And I’m not quite sure I’d want to kayak on that.
[00:20:27.900] – Fadra
You know, it’s kind of funny because my husband grew up a little further south, but right along the Hudson River and he used to tell me stories of how they would jet ski all the time on the Hudson River. And you just you don’t really grasp it until you’re there. And you see, OK, it’s a pretty big it’s a pretty wide river. And then you see these massive ships going up. And I came home and I said, you were jet skiing on that river with these giant cargo ships.
[00:20:52.260] – Fadra
And he said, yeah, we used to you know, they would go behind the ships and catch the wake of the ships and jump them. And, you know, I was like, we are different people. He also did black diamond skiing trails. So, you know, he’s more of a thrill seeker.
[00:21:06.540] – Fadra
I’m more of a I’m going to sit over here with my glass of wine and just, you know, take a look at the the world going by.
[00:21:12.090] – Fadra
But, yeah, I would I would definitely do some kayaking. I’d probably be more inclined to keep it, you know, close to the shore. And there are rules on the river. So, you know, they do have buoys, so you don’t go out past a certain place and there are shipping lanes. So it’s not like you can just cut straight across.
[00:21:28.890] – Kim
So, yeah, funny when you said that, it reminds me, I don’t know if either of you are. Well I know not on TikTok, but I’m, I like TikTok sometimes and there’s a thing and it’s like, the best relationships always have one really boring person and one really crazy person because the it works. It’s the only it’s the only way that matches up.
[00:21:49.110] – Fadra
Did you just call me boring?
[00:21:50.670] – Fadra
Yeah, I’m, I’m with you. Compared to my look compared to my husband. I like different types. You know, I might try and exotic fish.
[00:22:01.530] – Fadra
You know, you live you live large. He’s done everything jump out of airplanes. Motorcycles that I’m like, let’s stay in a nice luxury hotel.
[00:22:17.900] – Tamara
I’m just thinking, I think that we’re both the boring ones, which leaves Hannah to be the wild one.
[00:22:23.900] – Tamara
But, yeah, so we talked about kayaking and, you know, maybe some hiking, things like that. Are there any other, like activities? Are there attractions that you should see in the Catskills?
[00:22:33.890] – Fadra
So, you know, keep in mind that I went in November and we are, you know, in the midst of this thing called a pandemic. So, you know, I didn’t get to explore everything that I wanted to see because, you know, there are reduced hours and reduced availability. And also there are some things that are open seasonally. So I would say, you know, the biggest activities are probably open from May to October. So keep that in mind.
[00:22:58.790] – Fadra
I was there in November. But with that said, I think the biggest things that I would recommend are waterfalls and wineries. And even if you’re not into wineries, they have a lot of distilleries that are pretty well known. They have a lot of breweries. And so we didn’t actually get a chance to hit any of those. But there are some you know, there are a couple really well-known distilleries that we were looking to get to. But waterfalls, of course, are, you know, available.
[00:23:24.830] – Fadra
That’s that’s a four season thing as well. I don’t know that I would go in the winter, but it was a nice brisk hike to do the waterfalls. And, of course, you know, you have the mountains, you have the water. So you’re going to get a lot of waterfalls. One of the places that we went that I absolutely loved, it’s called Catskill Falls. And keep in mind that this area was founded by the Dutch.
[00:23:45.380] – Fadra
So you’ll get that skill like Fishkill and Peekskill and which I think I think that I think Kill actually refers to River. I think that’s what I think that’s what it means. So it’s a Dutch word. But Catskill Falls is a it’s one of the largest the highest waterfalls in New York State. It’s 260 feet tall.
[00:24:05.000] – Fadra
So it’s actually higher than Niagara Falls. It’s the tallest cascading waterfall in New York State. And it’s really popular. And we went and it was it’s about a one mile hike to get to the base of the waterfalls. And then you can actually go up a series of stairs to take you to the top of the waterfall. And it’s a it’s a beautiful overlook. It’s a nice hike. And, you know, the only thing to keep in mind, again, during the pandemic, if you look online, it’ll say the falls are closed.
[00:24:38.180] – Fadra
And what that means is some of the trailheads are closed. So you have to be a little bit more strategic about, you know, where you park and how you access it. But Catskill Falls was really amazing. And if you’re not a super outdoorsy person, if you just wanted like a nice relaxing getaway, there are all kinds of cute little towns with shopping and eating.
[00:24:59.300] – Fadra
And again, you know, availability during this time is really going to vary by towns. But we found great bookstores and cute little coffee shops and restaurants and just like boutique shops, unique artsy shops. And one of the things that that I like to do when I travel is I like to stimulate the local economy and I like to try and find things that I couldn’t find other, you know, in other places. So I do a lot of boutique shopping.
[00:25:26.150] – Fadra
And so, yeah, they had some really unique stuff there. So I definitely recommend the shopping as well. It’s great.
[00:25:32.310] – Kim
It sounds like a kind of the type of place that you’d pick a nice hotel and maybe get a spa treatment and enjoy a lazy breakfast and then stroll around and maybe do a hike or two. And that’s the kind of vacation I’m dreaming of right now as a kind of nice for a girlfriend getaway.
[00:25:47.630] – Tamara
Yeah, exactly. A romantic getaway. I think you definitely sold both of us on the waterfalls and wine.
[00:25:52.100] – Kim
Yeah, exactly. Tamara and I, those are it’s like we’re sold. We’re in.
[00:25:56.330] – Fadra
And actually that’s why I went in November. So last year was a big birthday for me. And I had decided going into the year that this is going to be my year to travel. And as you know, the world had other plans. And so two of my friends actually said, let’s do just a local getaway. You know, it’s drivable for all of us. And so we it was three girlfriends and we stayed in a little Airbnb, beautiful Airbnb on the water with three bedrooms.
[00:26:26.870] – Fadra
And it was just, you know, it was a perfect getaway for us. And, you know, the thing is right now that you can go out, but you can also, you know, get some takeout and have a girls night in and just be away from home.
[00:26:39.020] – Tamara
And it was really, really nice. Yeah, well, I share that big birthday with you, and I was also planning a year of travel, so I’m going to make up for it. We are definitely eventually I kept saying we’re going to do in twenty, twenty one. I’m like, uh, maybe the latter half of 2021.
[00:26:55.970] – Fadra
So yeah. Still holding out hope.
[00:26:58.550] – Kim
So is there any, special area, you know you’ve, you’ve just been the one time. But I know with your research and probably what you plan, what about any favorite areas to stay because you said it’s a huge region, so. What would you like, what towns or areas do you think are the the winning winning spots? So, you know, I’ve actually been up that way, you know, quite a few times because my I have family that lives up in Fishkill, New York, which is a little further south of the Catskills, and it’s on the east side of the Hudson River.
[00:27:29.620] – Fadra
So my husband and I go up there almost every year and we do a lot of day trips. And so I’ve done things like hiking and biking and brunching at Mohonk Mountain House. I don’t know if you’re familiar with.
[00:27:41.260] – Tamara
Oh, yeah, I’ve wanted to stay there.
[00:27:42.850] – Fadra
Yeah, it’s beautiful in New Paltz, New York.
[00:27:45.160] – Fadra
So that’s a place where normally you can only go there if you are a guest. But, you know, fun little secret. If you make a brunch reservation, then you could spend the whole day there. You know, they’ll let you in as long as you have brunch reservations or something. And so they have some great trails that go all the way around the lake. So I’ve done that.
[00:28:04.960] – Fadra
But this time I stayed further north in a town called. If you were to read it, it looks like it’s Cock Sakey, which is a horrible name, but they pronounce it Cook Soki. .
[00:28:19.270] – Fadra
I thought it was really just the perfect location. It’s not too far from Albany. It’s a really easy drive. I live, you know, close to Baltimore and drove up there and it was actually a really, really easy drive. I thought it was a good location and it was kind of a good place where we could go to the east side of the river if we wanted to visit. Some towns over there like Hudson is a really cute town there.
[00:28:45.370] – Fadra
If we wanted to go as far south to a town called Kingston, we went there or if we wanted to stay closer, you know, there there is actually a town called Catskill. And then, of course, the town we stayed in Cocksackie and just in the little downtown area, there’s not there’s not a ton there.
[00:29:03.040] – Fadra
They’re actually doing a lot of revitalization there. They have some investors coming in. And, you know, I think they’re going to kind of try and make it a wedding destination. But there were some great restaurants we ate at this place called Chez Figata, and they were open for business. There was a great bottle shop, which we call them wine stores. But I guess up there it’s a bottle shop and really great wines and just some small little little shops that we were able to walk to from where we were staying.
[00:29:31.540] – Fadra
So I actually really love staying there and I wouldn’t mind staying there again, but I would love to explore the areas further west. So the Catskills go much further west, a little bit deeper into the mountains, and that’s where you’re going to find the resorts and the ski areas and so on.
[00:29:49.450] – Tamara
And what about Woodstock, Woodstock’s part of the Catskills, isn’t it? Or is that further South?
[00:29:53.350] – Fadra
It is. Well, it’s further south, but it’s very close to New Paltz. So, you know, Woodstock, as in the Woodstock is right up there, which was actually just a big, you know, farming area, big farm where they had it.
[00:30:06.400] – Fadra
So you’ll find that there’s pretty, how shall I say, crunchy towns up that way.
[00:30:13.270] – Tamara
Yeah, those are fun. Like you said, though, bookstore’s like unique boutiques like I love that kind of things.
[00:30:20.710] – Tamara
I again I keep going back to like maybe more girlfriend getaway a romantic getaway. But at the same time like I know that we’ve done family things there and there are definitely I feel like there’s like amusement park.
[00:30:32.410] – Tamara
I’m trying to think of like all the things my nieces and nephews did when we were on that family reunion quite a few years ago.
[00:30:39.760] – Fadra
Well, let me just say that right now, especially to the moms out there, we’re pretty much home with everybody almost all the time. And it’s OK to take a little time for yourself and do do a girlfriend getaway. I know it’s easy to think like, well, if we’re spending the time or the money, we should do a family trip. But it’s really worthwhile to just kind of refresh and recharge and take that back home to your family.
[00:31:09.310] – Tamara
Yeah, I think especially this should be a year where there should be less guilt about that because we’re like, oh, I never see them. We’re so busy. I’m like, no, you’ve seen them.
[00:31:18.910] – Fadra
So we need to spend more time as a family. No, we don’t.
[00:31:24.880] – Kim
I have to say, I was, you know, really thankful that we never, you know, embrace the RV or tiny home lifestyle, you know? But then I was thinking of our friend Brianna, who runs Crazy family adventure, and they’ve been living in their RV with her, you know, kids for six years now or something. And I’m like, I guess this pandemic’s really not that different for them.
[00:31:48.280] – Fadra
So my friend Andrea Updyke, I don’t know if you know Andrea, they recently bought an RV. By the way, RVs are hard to come by right now because because because of the pandemic, everyone’s like, let’s get on the road. So they bought an RV and they actually just did a trip out to the Grand Canyon from North Carolina. And it was a three week trip and I said, how was it, and she said, actually, you know, it’s great, we had a wonderful trip, we all got along really well.
[00:32:15.450] – Fadra
But it’s funny because when she’s home and I think when you’re away with your family, it’s a little bit different. So she says when we’re home, a lot of times they’ll plug the RV in on their driveway. And she uses that as her little like oasis away from her family.
[00:32:30.630] – Kim
It’s like her, she shed. I think it’s funny.
[00:32:37.050] – Tamara
So, you know, we were talking about that its kind of good for the girlfriend getaway, a romantic getaway. I remember when Glenn and I were dating, when we lived in New York and we went up to the Catskills, we stayed to someplace I wish I could remember.
[00:32:48.570] – Tamara
It was like a B&B, but we stayed in like a loft in the barn and it was on a pond that was supposed to be like, I don’t know where they filmed on Golden Pond or something like that. And I remember like rowing in a rowboat was so romantic.
[00:33:03.150] – Tamara
But there are you know, there are still some family resorts up there. Do you have any that, you know, kind of heard of or know about? I think the one that I’ve that comes to mind for me is Kartrite, which has like the water park inside, kind of like a great wolf kind of thing.
[00:33:19.170] – Tamara
But are there some more of those kind of the traditional like what used to be Catskill family resorts?
[00:33:24.870] – Fadra
There are there are about 25 different mountain resort.
[00:33:29.760] – Fadra
So if you’re looking for a mountain resort in particular, they all have a little bit of a different focus. So some are that family oriented, all inclusive, where it’s, you know, three meals a day or whatever it is. And they have all the family activities and everything is right there. Others are casino resorts and some are ski resorts. So I think it really just depends on what you’re looking for.
[00:33:53.620] – Kim
It’s good to know that there’s probably a lot of options out there.
[00:33:56.230] – Kim
I seem to recall I recently wrote a post and I was referencing like some All-Inclusive in the United States, and I seem to recall one that’s there. And I can’t think of which one now, but I know it was in that upstate New York area and it’s probably in that region, I’m guessing. And it’s one of the all inclusive that kind of attracts families.
[00:34:13.360] – Fadra
Yeah. And when you when you mention all inclusive, I mean, here’s the thing. Depending on the resort, I’ve stayed at a couple in the U.S., not up in the Catskills. And, you know, the one thing I want people to keep in mind is you’re probably not going to get the all all inclusive experience at, say, like in the Caribbean. So it’s it’s a little bit different. Some that are more old fashioned and more family oriented.
[00:34:37.200] – Fadra
To me, they feel more like summer camp for families. Right. And then others, I’ve been to some I’ve been to some in the Poconos, and that’s more like a cruise ship on land. So it’s still not quite that Caribbean feel. But I think it’s important to kind of reset your expectations for what an all inclusive is if you’re doing something within the U.S..
[00:34:58.290] – Tamara
That’s true. Very true. It’s definitely not a yeah. Not the same. You know, bring me my drink by the poolside.
[00:35:04.820] – Fadra
[00:35:06.870] – Kim
It’s more of just like a meal package included. Yes, exactly.
[00:35:10.380] – Fadra
So it’s also a good area for camping. And by camping, I mean tent camping. We talked about RV camping. I got to be honest, for years I wanted that to be my thing. It’s not my thing. In fact, I mentioned my friend when she got an RV and it was just very exciting. And I mentioned it to my husband. I said, what would you think about this? And he looks at me and he goes, No.
[00:35:32.850] – Fadra
And I said, Really? He’s like, Do you really think that’s us? We’re more like luxury hotel kind of people, which makes me sound sort of snobby. It doesn’t have to be a luxury hotel, but I like places like you said, like something that’s a little bit unique, like staying in a loft in a barn or something that’s just that feels really clean and modern and comfortable. So we actually rented the first time ever that I stayed in an Airbnb and I absolutely loved it.
[00:36:00.570] – Fadra
And I’m really worried now because I don’t know if all experiences are that good. So we stayed at a place called Heron’s View, which is right on the Hudson River in Cocksackie. And like I said, it was an older home. They completely renovated it. So it still had character, but it was modern and clean and I just loved it. So I definitely recommend that.
[00:36:23.610] – Fadra
But again, I hate to keep referring to the P word, but in the time of the pandemic, these kind of things actually book up because a lot of people who maybe would have, you know, done their European vacation or gone on a cruise, they’re not they’re looking for these smaller, family oriented, more accessible type vacations. So these things actually fill up fairly quickly. In fact, the place where we stayed, Heron’s view, I think for the entire month of August, it was rented by three working women out of New York City that just wanted to get out of the city.
[00:36:59.460] – Fadra
And so it wasn’t really a vacation. It was just a place for them to stay while they were working. So you’ll find a lot more of those kinds of things. So I definitely recommend planning in advance for whatever it is. That you want to do?
[00:37:10.920] – Tamara
Yeah, and we had that when we went to the Adirondacks over the summer and I definitely think it’s going to continue. I think people are already looking at some of that this year, even if it’s their backup plan.
[00:37:22.580] – Tamara
You know, like if other things can’t happen, at least they have something. So the better properties, like you said, like the ones that have those unique characteristics or the views or the you know, they’re lakeside like that type of thing, if you’re looking for that. I agree. They definitely book it up early. Those I think it’s going to continue to be a very popular way to travel throughout 2021.
[00:37:44.600] – Fadra
I think so, too. And, you know, I want to mention that because a lot of people feel like they can’t travel.
[00:37:51.470] – Fadra
And, you know, of course you have to pay attention to state requirements and state restrictions and your personal level of comfort as well. But, you know, because we all work in the travel industry, you know, I want to make sure that people know that you can travel, you can travel safely. You know, it just depends on where you’re going and how you’re choosing to travel. I think we went out to eat maybe once, maybe twice.
[00:38:15.440] – Fadra
But we we did takeout and we brought it back. You know, we all made sure that we were safe before we traveled together. We brought takeout back. We brought board games with us. You know, we went to the bottle shop and got bottles of wine. And it was really about spending time with each other in a different destination. So you can do it. I don’t think that you have to put off travel. You just have to figure out more creative ways to do it.
[00:38:39.530] – Kim
Yeah, that’s what we’re starting to see. I mean, these these towns and tourist districts, I mean, as travel writers, we’re seeing what they how they’ve been impacted. And I don’t know if many of them can go through another summer or even spring into summer facing this.
[00:38:56.030] – Kim
So I think it is smart for us to figure out where our level is and make sure, of course, that you’re following any rules and restrictions, but then do what works best for your family and help try and support the local economy. I love that you talk about buying from the local shops. And, you know, we’ve been trying to do that locally, just eating at our local restaurants and getting order out instead of, you know, visiting as many chains and little things like that.
[00:39:21.290] – Kim
So I think there are ways that if you’re comfortable and you’re following the rules and restrictions Tamara do you know, does New York State have any current travel restrictions?
[00:39:31.400] – Tamara
They do. They have had for quite a while. So definitely check their website. They had some quarantine restrictions. There’s a form that you need to fill out. Yeah. So definitely before you go, make sure you understand what the restrictions are. The good side is that I don’t know what your experience was, Fadra, but I know when we were in the Adirondacks, it’s like because New York has taken things very seriously, we saw a lot of compliance, you know, like we didn’t have many issues.
[00:39:59.420] – Tamara
It was it felt like a pretty safe place to go, you know, so that I really appreciate it.
[00:40:06.610] – Fadra
I mean, I felt comfortable. But it’s one of those things where if you’re walking around town, you’re having a mask on. Whether you’re inside or outside, you just you wear the mask. And when even when we went hiking, there were people that wore masks. We chose not to wear them outside. But you make sure if if that’s how someone feels comfortable, you give them a wide berth when you pass them on the trail, right?
Yeah, definitely. We we would usually have something that we would like pull up if you’re passing someone. But I definitely appreciated the people that didn’t have it and they made sure they stepped far off the trail and that was good.
[00:40:43.670] – Kim
So do you have any final tips that you’d like to share for, you know, if someone’s thinking of planning a trip to the Catskills?
[00:40:50.840] – Fadra
Well, just to kind of recap some of the things we talked about, I’d say planning it in advance, you know, make sure there’s availability for where you might want to stay, especially right now. Make sure you know what’s open, whether it’s something that’s closed for seasonal reasons or it’s closed because of, you know, pandemic reasons, because you don’t want to get your heart set on something. You’d be like, oh, well, we can’t do that now and then.
[00:41:13.610] – Fadra
You know, you don’t know. You don’t know what to do. I also want to mention that just because it’s outside doesn’t mean it’s easily accessible. This is true, honestly, throughout the country, there are some trailheads that are closed primarily to reduce the number of people, you know, a lot of the national parks, which drives me a little crazy that, you know, some of the parking lots are closed and the shops are closed and some of the attractions are closed.
[00:41:39.230] – Fadra
But more importantly, the bathrooms are closed. That’s the only thing that bothers me.
[00:41:44.690] – Fadra
But they do that because they want to kind of discourage, you know, large crowds of people gathering together. The other thing, and I sort of hinted at this is be prepared for any kind of weather. Even in the summer, it can get very chilly in the mountains. So we were staying right on the water and it it was actually nice during the day and then it would drop down at night. But, you know, a lot of places are used to having you know, we had a fire pit, we had an outdoor heater.
[00:42:10.760] – Fadra
So but we definitely brought layers as well.
[00:42:14.340] – Tamara
Yeah, very good point. I mean, even in the summer when you’re in the mountains, it gets colder. Well, speaking of layers of question that we ask, all of our guest is, what do you wear when you travel? Do you have any favorite brands or gear?
[00:42:29.400] – Fadra
Well, for me, it changes by season. So, for example, in the summer, I love fit flops and I wear them pretty much everywhere I go.
[00:42:39.000] – Fadra
If I’m hiking, I’m more of a I wear new balance hiking shoes. If if I’m hiking, I don’t do hiking boots, I do hiking shoes. But in the summer I do flip flops. This winter I’ve been wearing a lot of toms and I don’t mean the little canvas toms. Toms makes some nice, they’re kind of like sneaker ankle boots and I love them and I also have some wool clogs from earthier. Can you tell that footwear is important to me.
[00:43:05.400] – Fadra
I like to be comfortable. And I also did a little shopping in Kingston, New York, which is a little bit south of Catskill, and I bought a shirt from a boutique. Between us, it’s the most expensive shirt I’ve ever bought, but I love it. It’s from a brand called Faherty. It’s hard to say f h e r t y. And I’ve heard that it’s my new favorite shirt. It’s just like it looks like it’s a gray wool shirt, but it’s just a button up shirt with just the right fit, the right stretch.
[00:43:34.110] – Fadra
And so like that’s my go to shirt.
[00:43:36.150] – Tamara
Now that’s what I love about boutique shopping, though. It’s I mean, I rarely do it here because I can’t afford it on a regular basis. But it’s just so nice to have something that’s unique and like you said, that has like that special fit.
[00:43:50.130] – Tamara
And you’re going to remember going to remember where you got it. Going to remember the time that you had it with your girlfriends and all of that.
[00:43:54.870] – Fadra
So every time I put it on, I text my friends and say I’m wearing my special shirt today and I know exactly what I’m talking about. That’s awesome.
[00:44:02.820] – Kim
Well, thank you so much for all these awesome tips. And why don’t you let our listeners know where they can find you online? Sure.
[00:44:09.390] – Fadra
Well, I have a blog called All Things Fadra, and you can find it at all things Phaedra dot com. It’s spelled FADRA and I also produce a lot of videos. So I do have I do have quite a few travel videos on my YouTube channel and that’s YouTube.com/allthingsfadra and I’m a sometime podcast store where I talk about TV in movies and you can find all the info on that at StingerUniverse.com.
[00:44:36.510] – Tamara
And I’ve gotten a lot of tips from you guys on things to watch, so I enjoy listening.
[00:44:42.480] – Fadra
Pandemic is a perfect time to really dig into entertainment.
[00:44:46.200] – Kim
Can you believe how long ago Tiger King was like four years ago? That was still. That was it.
[00:45:12.690] – Kim
Yes, but Fadra, you have to make time for Bridgton, OK?
[00:45:16.500] – Fadra
Not with my son around though.
[00:45:18.180] – Kim
No, definitely not. Well, you know, if you’re into entertainment, you can’t pass that by.
[00:45:26.790] – Tamara
I kind of thought I was a teen drama kind of thing. And then I started watching. I’m like, oh, OK.
[00:45:33.150] – Fadra
Isn’t it sort of like a period teen drama, though?
[00:45:35.580] – Tamara
Well, yeah, yeah it’s yeah. It’s like what the eighteen hundreds supposed to be.
[00:45:40.350] – Kim
Well I mean it’s just back to like when I mean I think the problem is the fact that girls used to be married off when they turned 17 and 18 like you come into your first season and you better get married then are you going to be on the shelf, you know, type mentality, then you’ll be an old old maid or.
[00:45:56.100] – Fadra
Yeah, well, we just got a new elliptical so I need something to motivate me and get my heart rate up so that if I don’t work nights.
[00:46:06.360] – Tamara
So have you ever watched Reign?
[00:46:09.540] – Kim
No, I haven’t is it ok? I need to watch that one.
[00:46:12.030] – Tamara
If you liked Bridgton then you will definitely like that.
[00:46:15.750] – Kim
I’ve been thinking I need to watch that, but I want to watch Queen’s Gambit first and I just started. I haven’t watched it yet and I was debating because I was trying to start watching the office, which Paul really liked the office years ago, like when it was out and I never really got into it with him, but a couple of times I would see some episodes. And so I thought I should go back and start it like season one and watch it. Yeah, but then I was just like I loaded it and I watched the pilot last night. I was like, there’s like nine seasons and they’re twenty some episodes per season. I mean, it’s a lot.
[00:46:48.210] – Tamara
We’ve watched all of those with Hannah like a few years ago we went through it. But I will say like I love the office. But the things that Michael did that were cringeworthy then are like a hundred times more cringeworth now. And you’re like, how did they ever put that on the air? You know?
[00:47:06.060] – Kim
I watched the first one. I’m like, oh my goodness, this is sort of hard to watch.
[00:47:09.640] – Fadra
Pretty sure I worked for Michael Scott, so. I think we’ve seen every single episode about 17 times, so we’re well versed in the office.
[00:47:22.480] – Tamara
What I want is just a compilation of all of the practical jokes that Jim plays on Dwight like that would just make me laugh, like I would roll over, you know, just like watching an hour straight of all of those.
[00:47:35.920] – Fadra
You know what? Let me just give one plug for a little show you guys should watch. Speaking of the office, it’s a show on Netflix called We Are the Champions. If you haven’t watched it, it’s I think like a six or seven is running through my head. Yeah, it’s like a six or seven episode docu series by Rainn Wilson, who played Dwight on the office. And, you know, I’m mentioning it because it goes to all different parts of the world and and the country so we can kind of tie it back to travel a little bit.
[00:48:03.820] – Fadra
And it’s really about unique competitions. It’s like there’s one and I think it’s England, a cheese rolling competition where they roll a wheel of cheese down a very steep hill in this small town. And it’s a big competition for who can get to the bottom and catch the cheese first. There’s another one about the frog jumping competition in Calberas County, California. So it’s just a really fun show. And, you know, even the kids would like it.
Great recommendation. Well, thanks so much, Fadra, for spending time with us. And yeah, we look forward to hopefully chatting with you again soon and maybe eventually we’ll see each other again on a vacation or somewhere..
[00:48:49.360] – Kim
Well, as always, thanks for listening. And we have something exciting if you go to on Instagram, if you go to Stuffed Suitcase or We3Travel, go to one of our Instagram pages and check out our post.
[00:49:01.390] – Kim
We are actually doing a giveaway with a lot of amazing books that will help you at least be inspired. If you are thinking of planning a vacation, it’ll help you get some things figured out and started on your vacation planning. So go to our Instagram and check that out.
[00:49:17.620] – Tamara
Yep. And stay tuned, because next week we’re going to be talking about tips for saving for travel. And I think this is a big one because as we’ve talked about before, like budget is certainly an issue. And I think we’re going to be trying to share as many tips as we can in the next few episodes and from different people about ways to save on travel and for travel. We’ll chat with you again in two weeks.