Woodstock, NY: A Brief Guide
Posted on May 5, 2013 by ButtermilkAdmin
Nationally-renowned Woodstock, NY is located about 45 minutes Northwest of us in the Catskill region, making it close enough for a day trip from us, and far away enough to ensure you’ll spend an entire day in Woodstock (which you can easily do, and then some). Let’s get one thing straight off the bat, however: the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 did not take place remotely close to the town of Woodstock, instead being held about 60 miles to the southwest in Bethel, NY. However, Woodstock ’94 took place in Saugerties, located very close to Woodstock, the town, and Woodstock ’99 took place even farther away from the original, close to Rome, NY, about 200 miles away.
However, don’t let that bit of misleading information detract you from visiting the gorgeous, inspiring Catskills small town! The arts and culinary scene in Woodstock is unrivaled in the area, as are outdoor areas for hiking and scenic drives.
The village, where most of the shops and restaurants you would want to visit are located, is at the location of where three roads intersect: Tinker St, Mill Hill Rd. (which is a continuation of Rt. 212, or Tinker St.) and Rock City Rd. Route 212, which runs through the heart of Woodstock, is easily accessed from the Saugerties exit of Interstate 87.
Upon entering town you can sense that the communal, free love, counterculture spirit is still alive and well in Woodstock, which conjoins with an air of urban sophistication. A regular sight in town, especially on a warm, spring day like the ones we have been experiencing recently, is a hippie sitting under a cherry blossom tree and playing a bongo drum in the Village Green, the small park located right in the heart of town, sitting next to a sophisticated, young entrepreneur, hard at work on a laptop, sipping soup from the Bread Alone bakery, a Hudson Valley staple bakery and café. It is an interesting, one-of-a-kind mix of the old and the new, with the laid-back, chilled out vibes of the hippie generation, situated right next to the smarts and savviness of a newer, hard-working generation. As a result, you get the best of both worlds, as there is a sense of sophistication, with a mix of inner peace, tranquility, and natural beauty located throughout the town.
Some shops worth visiting during your trip here include the Woodstock Trading Post, an upscale clothing boutique with personality to spare; Modern Mythology, a trippy, hippie peek into the town’s counterculture sensibilities; Candlestock, a candle gift store specializing in unique, handmade candles; Mirabai, specializing in New Age gifts and services; Timbuktu, which features an eclectic mix of home gifts; The Byrdcliffe Shop, a space where local artists exhibit and sell their works; and Loominus, one of the best places in the area to pick up carefully crafted, handmade scarves, jackets, and more.
The food offered in town is among some of the best you’ll find in the area, as well. As previously mentioned, Bread Alone Bakery and Café is located in town, which remains a popular destination for locals and out-of-towners alike, renowned for their amazing, fresh breads and pastries. Additionally Oriole 9, known for their catering expertise, provides stripped down, artisanal fare for breakfast and lunch, focusing on fresh, local ingredients. Finally, the Catskill Mountain Pizza Company is something of a hidden gem in the town. Most walk by assuming it’s a dime-a-dozen pizza parlor, but don’t be fooled – this restaurant is at the same time affordable, and surprisingly artisanal. The specials change daily, usually offering some sort of seafood such as steamed mussels or sustainably farmed salmon, along with a surprisingly robust wine and craft beer list. And, oh, the pizza is fantastic, too! If you’re looking for something quick, cheap, and amazingly delicious, you should definitely check out this restaurant.
On the finer end of the dining scale, you’ll find Cucina, located a little outside of the heart of town. Cucina, as you may expect, offers a fresh, Italian-skewed take on New American cuisine, with a selection of homemade pizzas and antipastos, while their Entrée selection focuses on classic American-style dishes. My favorite restaurant in town, the Bear Café, is less of a café and more of a wonderful, rustic, woodsy dining experience. The restaurant has large floor-to-ceiling glass windows, overlooking the brooks and lush vegetation around the restaurant, while the restaurant itself is housed within a log cabin-style building. The food, service, and overall experience is top-notch – this is a restaurant you certainly will not want to miss.
So, there you have a primer on visiting Woodstock, NY, a mix of both the young and old, the classic and modern. Enjoy a trip there soon!