Catskills Weekend Getaway: Rosendale!
Need a little mountain air and a mini-adventure? Maybe you could use a slice coconut cake, the musty-fun pairing of fine cheese and vintage clothes, and perhaps a new dream-catcher? Friends, you can get from NYC to Rosendale in under 2 hours, and you don't even need a car.
The Trailways bus is totally comfortable, affordable (round-trip tickets cost $49), equipped with electrical outlets for every seat, offers free WiFi, and departs Port Authority every 30 to 60 minutes. Sure, the Port Authority bus terminal is dark and depressing, but it's worth it for the coconut cake you're going to eat as soon as you get into town.
Note: In the warmer months, it's probably a 15-minute walk from the bus stop to Main Street. If it's cold, you'll want to call a car (or friend) to pick you up.
First stop: Rosendale Cafe!
My friend Laura Stevenson, a musician who left Brooklyn to live upstate, recommended this crave-worthy vegan cake, layered with creamy frosting and topped with powdered sugar and toasted coconut. The cafe has a full vegetarian menu, serves beer and wine, and feels like the sort of place where you could hang out all day. But we had more exploring to do.
Next stop: The Big Cheese!
Does this vintage sweater smell musty or is it just the cheese? Is this cheese too funky, or am I just smelling those used fur-lined boots? Welcome to The Big Cheese, a fine foods grocer that is also a thrift shop! Rev yourself up with a deep, dark, smokey-spicy cup of Fogbuster coffee and start shopping.
Seriously, guys, where else on earth can you buy a wheel of Nettle Meadow triple crème and a sick pair of cowboy boots? You must come to Rosendale for this.
Next stop: The People's Cauldron!
On first glance, this place looks like a used bookstore with some gaming tables, but turn a corner and suddenly you're entranced by the tiny bottles of potions that line the shelves. Higher Self Elixirs, for example, are made in Woodstock by soaking crystals under beneficial sun and moon cycles. According to their website, "Each formula is lovingly sung to, chanted over, and Reikied to further harmonize all of its healing and transformative properties."
They also carry The Hudson Standard's bitters and shrubs, dream-catchers, teas, and basically all the dry goods you'd ever need to cast a magic spell.
The Hand Made Red Hawk Local Tea looked like something you'd find in the lair of a really bad-ass witch. I almost bought some, but then worried that somehow my bags would end up getting searched in Port Authority on my way home and I wouldn't know how to explain it. Somebody pass me the anti-anxiety potion, please!
Next stop: Soiled Doves!
My friend Meg picked up a chunky pink and purple sweater at Soiled Doves and said, "I like this but I don't really need this."
The owner quickly piped in, "Oh, I don't sell anything anyone needs!"
Truth in advertising. Love this place. Also worth noting, a "soiled dove" is another word for prostitute that was used in the Wild West.
Rosendale's Main Street is lined with bright-colored buildings, like the lavender and candy pink home to K-Lee's Beauty Bar.
I wanted to stay at the 1850 House Inn and Tavern, but it was booked solid during my visit. If you're planning on making an overnight trip, I'd recommend reserving a room a couple of weeks in advance. The inn is right on Main Street, in walking distance of all the other places I've mentioned here.
There's a lot to love about Rosendale, and if you're traveling by car, take a drive from here to Rough Cut Brewing Co. in Kerhonkson, a homey and welcoming brew pub serving up easy-drinkin' beers, great burgers, and killer nachos.