It is no secret that we are obsessed with travel. Be it a trip down to the islands to chill on a beach, hopping the pond to experience some European culture, or a weekend out East, any family time away is cherished. We are all still subject to Covid related travel restrictions, but I was eager for us to take a break from the city. Drives upstate are always part of our winter weekend agenda for a ski trip, but in all our years of family travel, we have never really experienced the Catskills in the middle of summer. It was time to change that. Last week, we packed the car and headed north to the mountains! Coming from the concrete jungle, it was green as far as I could see, with each town is prettier than the next. So, let me tell you about our amazing weekend in Sullivan Catskills.
After 3 hours in the car, our escape kicked off when we pulled into the Antrim Streamside. Talk about a socially distanced escape, Antrim Streamside is a boutique property, on a gated estate in the heart of the Catskills, with private accommodations, spread throughout the grounds. And we are not talking camping style bare bone shacks. These are proper houses! We stayed in the Riverhouse, which could only be accessed by walking across a suspension bridge over Willowemoc Creek. The kids got a kick out of the bridge, but that was nothing compared to the inside the Riverhouse! With a full chef’s kitchen, three bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a fireplace, and two pot belly stoves! There was even a private outdoor fire pit. This place was beyond!
In order to access your accommodations in Antrim Streamside, guests are provided a front gate code to access the property, and numbered keypad at the front door of your house. There’s no front desk staff to wait around for, so the seclusion starts as you arrive. Each house is stocked with complimentary breakfast, including fresh local yogurt, granola, coffee, and fruit! This is key for those travelers coming in later, who do not have the opportunity to pick up food on the way. The grounds offer multiple hiking trails, fly fishing in the creek, and so much more! I’m sure we could have gone the entire weekend without leaving the grounds, but there was so much to see in the area!
After we dropped our bags, it was time for the first item on our agenda- a tour of the Prohibition Distillery. This once firehouse now turned distillery in Roscoe New York makes vodka, gin, whisky, and even a cream bourbon – which btw was amazing. Some may think a distillery tour is an odd outing with kids, but since the vats are so massive and they’re connected to tons of values and pipes, the kids had no shortage of questions about how it all worked. Now, truth told, I’m not a vodka or gin drinker, but I have to say I really enjoyed the tasting, and picked up a few bottles to take home with us. Saying Jason was in his glory is a complete understatement!
In the midst of the current pandemic, Prohibition Distillery started producing hand sanitizer to provide hospitals and front line workers with a much needed supply line to help keep people safe! The owner and staff were extremely proud to add this unexpected new product to their list of offerings!
We closed out the evening with some outdoor dining at The Arnold House, part of a cute little hotel located on Shandelee Mountain. The grounds were plush and massive, and there was even fire pit to make your own s’mores for the best dessert!
We woke up early the next morning, with the intent to explore the grounds, and were surprised to look out the kitchen window to find family of deer in our backyard! The kids tried to sneak out to get a picture of them, but our four legged friends high tailed it back into the woods.
Following a mini hike through the property, we drove into Livingston Manor, and stopped at Brandenburg Bakery. There was a line out the door, which we figured was just the breakfast crowd, but every time we drove by there was a queue of folks on line waiting for some of their java and baked treats. Delish!
There are no shortage of farms in Sullivan County, so I wanted to give these city kids a little flavor of country living. With scones in hand, we drove from Brandenburg Bakery to the Buck Brook Alpaca Farm. This by far was one of the highlights from our weekend and now I want a herd of Alpaca! During our private tour of the grounds, we learned so much about these incredibly sweet animals. We pet and fed them, along with the bunnies, chickens, and roosters. Alpacas are hypoallergenic, so this was a completely different than any other farm visiting experience, where we’ve been overcome by sneezing fits and Jason’s asthma.
Now that the Alpacas were fed, our tummies were grumbling. On the way back to our house, we stopped for lunch at Catskill Provisions Tasting Room, a female-powered producer of hand-crafted artisanal food and spirits, in Callicoon New York, where we enjoyed artisan cocktails and light bites. Again, I’m not a connoisseur of gin, but their honey infused gin cocktail may have sold me on this clear spirit. That and some seared halloumi was a lovely way to roll into this lazy summer afternoon. That and her lovely little shop that included honey face mask, homemade hand sanitizer from her distillery, hand soaps, honey, had me loving (and buying!) it all!
That evening back to the Antrim Streamside, we set off another hike around the property, and lounged alongside the stream. Watching the kids fully immerse themselves in nature is a welcome departure from the same old thing in city living. Gemma caught multiple frogs in our backyard, she begged to take them home with us. (happy to report we did not!)
My kids absolutely love pasta, so Northern Farmhouse Pasta was an easy choice for dinner that evening. We were pleasantly surprised to find homemade ramen on the menu, an absolute favorite of Ryder and Siella. Established in 2011 as a small family owned artisan pasta shop, they craft various dried & fresh pasta, alongside a signature ravioli, using NY organic flour, local cheeses and produce from surrounding farms. Such a cute place!
Our final day in the Catskills was kind of epic – a four hour journey rafting on the Delaware River at Landers, a family owned and operated business founded in 1955. Original owner Bob Lander came to the Upper Delaware as a Boy Scout at Ten Mile River Scout Camp. Today, his son Rick Lander continues in his father’s footsteps, by providing great customer service and a total quality outdoor experience. And let me just say, this rafting experience is for all family members. It’s not the roaring rapids, so the little ones are welcome! We packed a small cooler with some drinks and snacks, but we saw plenty of families pulled off along shore, taking a break and eating a full lunch they brought along. Landers also offers camp sites, kayaking, canoeing, tubing and other fun stuff. The laughing and joking as we paddled was absolutely priceless!
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, but we will definitely be back. I’d love to experience the Antrim during the winter, with the fireplace roaring, as the snowfall blankets the property What a special place, that made for many new family memories! And to think, I was so skeptical about being able to get out of town this summer because of Covid. Was I wrong! With all outdoor dining, contactless check in, mountain air, the yummiest farm to table restaurants and space galore, these city slickers got a glimpse of country living! Big thank you to Sullivan Catskills for an incredible itinerary and accommodations!