This past weekend I went “upstate” to West Kill, NY to peep leaves and do other upstate shit and it was everything I’ve ever wanted from a fall weekend upstate.
“Upstate” is kind of like a “scene” and it’s fine because I’m totally into a “scene.” But I would say it seems like more of a “scene” now that everyone has escaped from Manhattan/Brooklyn and turned it into Manhattan/Brooklyn 2.0. But that’s okay! It’s Manhattan/Brooklyn with leaf peeping! And hiking! And the possibility that you might see a bear! The possibility is really real, I swear!
And who knows, maybe it’s been like that forever. I only went upstate for the first time 2 years ago.
Anyway, here’s my fall weekend upstate.
I’d like to start with the outfits. I didn’t get a lot of pics but many people I saw had some really great outfits. They ranged from like a “hiking chic” look to a “unnecessary hat” look to a “canoes on my boyfriend cardigan” look and everything in between. I greatly enjoyed outfit-watching.
I did my best to not be a creep so I didn’t get many pictures. But as you may know it’s very hard for me to NOT be a creep so I did get some.
Look at this couple! They were perfect! I mean it’s mostly the guy with his cloud sweater and matching pants and sunglasses, but the gal also gave it her all. They looked awesome when they were standing and walking together. Just reigning over the outdoor dining area at Phoenicia Diner.
Another fun spotting at Phoenicia Diner was this gal in the canoes on her boyfriend cardigan. You may have thought that was a joke when I said it up there but it was REAL. AND IT WAS AMAZING.
I didn’t get pics of any other outfits except my own, but just know that there was plaid and army green and hats and beanies and boots and sweaters and it was all a very cozy fall catalog vibe.
Here I am in my own unnecessary hat.
And again in the unnecessary hat but WITH PLAID.
I think it’s fair to say that the proper outfits are COMPULSORY for a fall weekend upstate.
My pal married into owning a cabin in West Kill and it’s freakin badass.
The cabin is in the middle of nowhere, kind of up a mountain, and that’s exactly where I wanted to be. It is quiet, quiet, QUIET and you don’t have to listen to anyone’s shit. You can’t even hear a car. At this point in the year the bugs are even quiet. And because it takes so long for the sun to come out the birds seem lazy and therefore quieter in the morning. It was peaceful AF.
I JUST WANTED SOME PEACE AND I GOT IT.
Their cabin is really super adorable and cozy. They decorated it like real experts and the record collection is off the chain. When my other friend and I pulled up on Friday night it was around 8pm and all of the lights were on outside and it just looked so perfect and welcoming. I couldn’t get over it.
It was really, REALLY nice to wake up in the morning and sit outside in an Adirondack chair and drink coffee and think about nothing. I really wanted to see a bear but I only saw a bluejay. But it was a lovely bluejay!
The bed I slept in was very comfortable and the house was warm but not TOO warm and I slept with the window open for fresh air. It was really the perfect scenario. I think “fresh air” was my number one wish for this fall weekend upstate.
That’s my airbnb review, you heard it here first.
So the food was a big part of this trip. It always is, for me. Food is very important. Especially recently because there is nothing else to live for and I’ve gained 20lbs. I don’t really know what else to tell you about that. It sucks that none of my favorite clothes fit but it’s also been delicious.
When we first arrived my friend had made us a CHEESE PLATE. It’s like, SHE ALLOWED US TO STAY AT HER HOUSE, and she ALSO made us a cheese plate! Can you believe our luck?!
Ugh it was so good.
After the cheese plate we did some grilling! By “we” I mean “she” did the grilling and I ate it. I don’t know how to grill, are you nuts?
The next morning, my other pal made us eggs for breakfast. Best eggs I ever had. I felt a little bad because she’s a mom and she kinda went all-in on mom mode and was like, “I’ll make us all eggs!” And I was like, “Well I’ll def eat them…and I probably can’t help much because I’d get in the way, so I’ll just sit in this Adirondack chair and drink coffee.” And I felt like a child or a dad, not doing shit. But the eggs were edible and incredible and I don’t regret a thing.
Next up we went to a farm market which will be explored in another section. But when we got there a lady at one of the stands was like, “Free Bread Alone bread!” And since it was free I took some. It ended up being really good! We had it with a cheese plate later that day.
As far as food goes our next stop was Mama’s Boy Burgers in Tannersville. I got a grilled cheese and butternut squash fries. I had never had butternut squash fries but it seems like such a great and obvious idea! Especially for the fall. They had a bit of a sweet seasoning on them, like cinnamon, that paired well with the chipotle mayo dipping sauce I got.
Mama’s Boy ALSO had a TON of ice cream and I was obviously into it.
I got chocolate peanut butter soft serve, their special of the day, with Reese’s Puffs on top. I haven’t had Reese’s Puffs since middle school and it was a happy reunion.
On Saturday night we went to Urban Cowboy, which is a “scene” all its own, and we had Roberta’s pizza. Roberta’s is 200% worth the trip to Bushwick and it was also worth the trip to Big Indian, NY because that shit is INCREDIBLE. We got a Bee Sting, my personal fav because you can never go wrong with sopressata and hot honey, and a White Guy to mix it up a little.
The free Bread Alone bread returned to our collective consciousness back at the cabin when we put together ANOTHER cheese plate with some cheese from the Farmer’s Market. Cheese plates are so important, you guys.
Our original plan involved making ‘smores outside but it was very cold and also a lot of effort to build a fire. So we (by “we” I mean my two pals because I’m terrified of fire) made a nice fire in the woodstove. I think that’s what it’s called. A stove-like box made of metal and you put wood in it.
I was fully committed to the ‘smores because I have a serious problem with sugar addiction so then I made ‘smores in the stove thing.
THEY WERE DELICOUS.
The next morning my mom pal was back with more eggs to serve me again and I am forever grateful.
On the way home we went to Phoenicia Diner and since it’s a diner I had to get a tuna melt and fries. Like come on.
I liked the way this place was set up, you ordered from an Airstream trailer and then sat down and a lady called your name when the food was ready.
I think that maybe pre-COVID there wasn’t any outdoor dining and you probably had to wait in line for a while at this place to get a table at that time of day, 11:30am on a Sunday when everyone is heading home the same way.
But it’s not the case now because people eat their food pretty quick and leave because they’re cold.
SILVER LININGS OR WHATEVER.
It’s fall. It’s the weekend. It’s a fall weekend upstate and you should probably have a few drinks. Okay well, I drank a ton, as I considered this to be a vacation weekend in addition to a fall weekend.
First drink was in the Bronx. I was in the Bronx because I was meeting my friend up there to get on the road as she was coming from Long Island and I was coming from Jersey City. I took the green train (4,5,6) to Mt. Eden station. I have no idea what part of the Bronx that is and still have no idea. My Bronx knowledge is limited.
I exited the subway platform and found the first bar/lounge/whatever I could find. I sat down. I ordered a mango mojito. OMG I could not wait for this mango mojito.
The waiter brought the mojito. I sipped it. IT WAS VERY SALTY. In my mind I thought it was SUPPOSED to be salty for some reason? Sometimes on the street in NYC I see ladies selling mangoes with like, chili powder on them? I think that’s what it is. So I tried my best to think that the mojito was along those lines. I took a few more sips and then the waiter came out and was like, “LOLOL sorry I used salt instead of sugar!” and took it inside.
I was fully ready to drink an entire salty mojito and not even complain because I wanted to be respectful and I need you to know that.
That evening with the cheese plate we had rose and also this delicious beer I only just discovered there in their fridge, Zero Gravity Green State Lager.
The next morning as we prepared for a hike we packed another of these beers at my host pal’s suggestion. “It’s fun to crush a beer after a hike!” (I’m paraphrasing but I did indeed “crush” said beer after the hike).
Saturday afternoon we went to West Kill Brewery and that’s getting its own section so please read on.
Saturday evening at Urban Cowboy, scene of a scene, I of course had a cocktail but I forget what was in it. The bar it was served from was very intricate and beautitful and I felt not worthy of it.
Last memorable drink was the adult milkshake I got a Phoenicia Diner. OMG it was so incredibly good. It was called Sugar Shake Shack and I don’t know what was in it so you’ll have to go there to find out.
the farm market.
Saturday morning was rainy but we still felt drawn to the Lexington Farmers’ Market. It was the last one of the season! It couldn’t be missed! I’m not even being sarcastic, my friend did have to stock their freezer for the winter with $100 worth of meat. It was an impressive undertaking.
As I mentioned we got the free bread here.
I also got some Xmas gifts DO NOT TELL. But I may have gotten them from Arc Ceramics and all of their stuff was really beautiful so it was hard to choose! They also had a sale on a bunch of stuff so that made it easier. To choose.
There were a number of farms there and I got some cheese and chapstick from Heather Ridge Farm.
Mushrooms are proven freaks and creep me out but if you DO like mushrooms they had many different kinds available as seen below. I think if you like them this is a pretty cool situation so I’ll let you have that for now.
We got some coffee cake here too but it wasn’t our favorite. We’re sorry.
Great farmers’ market overall. Keep up the good work. I guess not until next year when you open again. Keep it up either way.
We hiked to Kaaterskill Falls and holy hell this hike was insane. “A hike” is a defining component of a fall weekend upstate and of upstate life in general. Everyone be hiking.
At first we tried to park right by the top of the falls and there was a line of cars waiting for other cars to leave the lot and a guy down the street charging $20 to park at his house. This really rubbed me the wrong way, the $20 guy.
Either way there was no way in hell we wanted any part of waiting for hours or paying $20 so we found a different (free) parking lot and entrance at the Kaaterskill Rail Trail.
The hike started tame enough as it was simply along on old rail trail. Hence the name, the Kaaterskill Rail Trail. It was flat and simple but there were a lot of roots/old railroad woods and I kept tripping. Eventually I got my shit together and luckily I did because WTF THIS TRAIL GOES TO THE TOP OF A WATERFALL THAT IS HUGE.
As with most waterfalls you can hear Kaaterskill Falls before you see it.
Once you can kind of see it through the trees, there appears before you a viewing platform that at this point in history you must wait in line to stand on. We joined the line and waited.
During this wait I left the line to walk on the edge under the platform and get a look at the falls from there. I easily could have fallen to my death. This place is terrifying.
During the wait we came across an informational sign and it said there used to be a hotel at the top of the waterfall. WHAT KIND OF INSANE IDEA IS THAT?! It’s not there anymore but allegedly some of the foundation remains. The idea that there was a hotel here chills me to the bone.
What was even MORE chilling was the fact that once we got our chance for a photo op on the platform, and timed ourselves for the 45 seconds that we thought were acceptable according to an unspoken social contract, we headed up a small hill where you could JUST WALK OUT TO THE TOP OF THE WATERFALL. You could walk down some rocks, and you could STAND RIGHT ON THE EDGE.
WHY WAS THIS ALLOWED?!
The whole time I was feeling weird and like I was tempting fate but I was also really enjoying the leaf peeping from this height so I went along with it. There were a TON of people, most of them the youth, inching ever closer to the edge for the perfect photo. I attempted to talk myself out of feeling weird and tell myself that it had to be fine, since we were allowed to be here and it wasn’t restricted in any way.
Turns out we were NOT allowed to be there and on the way out we climbed over a little part of a fence surrounding the area that had been knocked down. OMG ILLEGAL AND DANGEROUS TOP OF WATERFALL ACTIVITY. Before the hike we had discussed how people have died there (omg watch the drone vids at that link, terrifying). And I was like, “Psh how do people even die there?” BUT I GUESS THIS IS HOW PEOPLE EVEN DIE THERE.
I CRUSHED my packed beer very soon after.
Speaking of beer, West Kill Brewing is amazing and deserves its own section.
Also I just realized I can embed Instagram posts and I may have overdosed on it. For example look at this brewery cat! I saw him there but he was working so I didn’t want to bother him. But he’s truly a beautiful beast.
Omg wait, HE has an Instagram I MUST follow him.
West Kill Brewery is seemingly in the middle of the woods, like everything upstate. The brewery building is up on a hill and in front of it is a clearing. People park in the clearing BUT ALSO since it is COVID time everyone was kind of hanging out outside lounging around on the hill/clearing. It was great! They had a food tent too but we already ate.
Additionally they had some really fun merch that was IRRESISTIBLE. We all got beer coozies and two of us got a really cute long sleeve shirt that I wore constantly for the following 2 days.
As far as the beer, it was good! I’m going to go ahead and admit that for me beer is beer. Like, it’s fine. I got this Buck Fever lager pictured above and below. I’ve been a strictly Pilsner drinker lately but the Pilsner ran out. WERE THEY MESSING WITH ME?! Maybe. But the lager was fine and I really liked the art on the can. All of the cans had good art!
It was a super cool place to hang out. There were a ton of dogs and even some small children on the run. We couldn’t figure out who they belonged to but also we didn’t really care. Let ’em run, I guess. Some were even climbing trees! I don’t know, it was kind of weird. Not the brewery’s fault though.
They had an outdoor fire pit that was VERY NICE to sit next to and we all really enjoyed smelling like fire the rest of the day. Not sarcasm, WE LOVED IT. You could also see into a kind of valley and PEEP THEM LEAVES.
I wanted to stay longer but we had things to do.
the night time.
After the brewery we headed back to the cabin to change into night time outfits.
I was probably the only one concerned about a “night time outfit” but my friends kindly indulged me and that’s why they’re my friends.
After a glass or two of rose at home, we headed over to Urban Cowboy.
Urban Cowboy is the kind of place that I’m surprised they even let me in. It’s just so lovely and beautifully decorated and perfect. How does a place look this great?! I don’t know how they do it.
But like, look at this bar. WITH TREES GROWING NEXT TO IT. THE BEAUTY IS MIND BLOWING. I CANNOT.
We got some delish cocktails and went out and sat by the fire. My one pal is pregnant though and asked about a mocktail and was met with some…I don’t want to say disdain but it wasn’t the most encouraging response. Maybe I’m just used to the mocktail scene in Jersey City because they love making some mocktails, even with CBD! I don’t know if pregnant people can consume CBD but it’d be a lot cooler if they did. I was momentarily annoyed by the bartender’s seeming mocktail aversion/disregard but now I forget what even happened. I hope she got the mocktail. Maybe she got a lemonade or something? Unfortunately I forget because I was too busy looking at this taxidermy bear with a hat on that I really regret not getting a picture of.
Outside by the fire we lounged and drank drinks and it was lovely and quiet. Until some random guy started talking to us. I think he had also been drinking some drinks, likely a considerable amount of drinks as he was also on vacation so like why not. I don’t remember what he said but I do remember that we were like <eye roll>. Eventually he and his gf headed off to dinner and we were left with another odd couple. I actually think they were probably fine I just don’t like strangers.
We headed inside to get some Roberta’s pizza before it closed for the night and it was INCREDIBLE. I haven’t had Roberta’s for a while! It hasn’t really been feasible to travel to Bushwick, and the Mad Sq Eats food event outside my work where I usually get it has also not been happening this year. BECAUSE COVID. So it was great to really relish and enjoy a Bee Sting. Because it is everything I love about the world of pizza.
They also had a ton of merch at this place and I lost my mind and got this bracelet.
So that’s it! That’s the trip! Although the trip was the time of my life it took me days to write this blog post so good riddance. I don’t know why my brain doesn’t work anymore. I blame COVID for that too.
Do you ever enjoy a fall weekend upstate? Do you even like to go upstate? Where do you go? Where do you stay? What do you like most about it? What do you like least about it?
K see ya there on the scene.