Ask anyone from another region of the country and they’ll tell you that New York and New York City are synonymous. Yet, those of us who live here know the truth. New York State runs the gamut, from world-class sandy beaches to snow-covered mountains. And the best part? They are all just a drive away.
The spring weather ushers in a roster of festivals that punctuate our weekends until deep into the fall. Pack up the car and head to the Catskills this month, where nature’s raw beauty and a variety of events and festivities await.
For starters, bring the family (and your appetite) to Villa Roma in Callicoon on May 10, as the Catskills region welcomes Foodstock, its largest indoor food festival. Local farmers and culinary artisans bring their freshest crops and most delectable dishes to this food smorgasbord extravaganza, where you’ll be introduced to local delicacies and enticed with bountiful samples.
From there, stop off for a sticky bun and fill your mug with a soy latte from Two Old Tarts and head east toward Leeds, NY where you can attend the East Durham Irish Festival on May 24 and 25. You’ll find bands straight from Ireland on three music pavilions. While you’re step dancing and sampling the fresh local brews, take some time to sample the restaurants emerging on the dining scene.
For an outrageous brunch or top-notch dinner, check out The Crimson Sparrow in nearby Hudson, NY. With entrees like frittata made from a rotating menu of farm fresh eggs and local produce and cinnamon-swirl French Toast, you will be in good hands in this rustic enclave. Or try the chef’s tasting menu, where you’ll be treated to delicacies like foie gras with hazelnut and chocolate on an English muffin, Rhode Island squid stuffed with lamb on a bed of white beans and piri piri, or gnocchi with a pesto sauce and caviar. For a nominal price, you can choose the wine pairings.
For a truly captivating experience, stay for a night or three at the Hudson Merchant House, where Roy and Shelby (the house dog) will welcome you with open arms. This clean and tastefully decorated boutique bed and breakfast inn located in Hudson was constructed in the 1700s and has been beautifully renovated to ensure a charming and cozy stay. In the morning, Roy will whip you up his signature breakfast specialties, like a fresh frittata with a homemade pastry.
Toyota’s Rav 4 is the car that will get you there, suggests Peter Zorzy of Atlantic Toyota of NY Auto Giant. Rugged like a truck, but with the driving ease of a sedan, the Rav 4 is easy on road trips. And more importantly, fun! With ample storage for your luggage and any antique finds you might stumble across in the picturesque main streets that line the Catskills, head to Atlantic Toyota in Amityville.