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SPEND THE WINTER UPSTATE : THE BEST WELLNESS IN THE CATSKILLS
The perfect itinerary. Steam rooms, microcurrent facials, hot tubbing, vintage clothing finds.
I love New York City. I really do. But I wouldn't love it without being able to “go upstate.” You may have heard of The Catskills or The Hudson Valley (two different areas of New York state that are often conflated). I sometimes spend weeks at a time upstate getting my wellness game on. Hiking, microcurrent, steam showers, hot tubs, massages, peace and quiet, it all makes me happy.
I’ve been visiting this beautiful part of the state for nearly 20 years now. As a result, I have figured out where to go (and where to not go!) to do a little self-care or beauty maintenance. This past year I finished my wellness oriented ranch and I have been getting amazing groups of women booking it for upstate wellness stays.
Below are my carefully vetted recommendations for a blissful wellness weekend — or, week! — in upstate New York.
Maria Vera Skincare
I can’t say enough good things about Maria, an incredible esthetician. I have been seeing her for over ten years for facials— specifically, microcurrent facials. Since the toning effects of microcurrent are cumulative, I sometimes book what I affectionately call a “microcurrent reboot,” by scheduling three sessions in a five-day period. Trust me, you come out looking like you turned the clock back at least five years. Her expanded location is now home to Biologique Recherche products, plus some of the most skilled microcurrent technicians out there. (I almost didn’t want to write about Maria Vera for fear of not being able to get an appointment, but the secret is too good to keep to myself!)
While I almost always choose to get a microcurrent facial, Maria’s spa provides a host of other treatments as well. If you are unsure, simply book a consultation. Plus, her treatment rooms are gorgeously designed.
I’ve been renovating houses as a side gig since 2008. And for the first time, I am putting one of my properties on the Airbnb market. The home houses a custom built aromatherapy steam shower that accommodates 4 people, an outdoor shower, a hot tub, workout equipment, and it’s also filled with all of my favorite personal-care brands, such as Heritage Store skincare, Sex & Good, and Iota.
It’s a perfect getaway for friends, families or couples. You can’t help but feel zen here. Even the guest bathroom has a giant wetroom with massive soaking tub.
The Omega Institute for Holisitic Studies is a world-renowned non-profit organization located in Rhinebeck. It offers multi-day workshops on a multitude of topics — yoga, grief-healing, tarot card reading, environmental studies and much more. If you can’t make it upstate, they even do online courses. Book a girls’ weekend right now for the Kundalini yoga workshop this summer. You can stay on or off campus.
Hiking Trails and More Hiking Trails
The Catskill mountains have countless amazing hiking trails. Nothing kicks your ass and burns the winter weight gain like some serious hiking. In the winter I feel pretty meh, thanks to he dark days, lack of steps and too many glasses of wine. When those winter blues hit, the cure for me is to spend three or four days upstate hiking. A few of my favorite trails are Woodstock’s Overlook Mountain and the Ashokan Rail Trail — they are great moderately intensive workouts. My advice: wake up early, do a guided meditation and then head over to Overlook for a solid two-hour hike.
My go-to local yoga teacher is Linda Winnick, owner of Shakti yoga. While I love going to her studio, I tend to book privates with her — there is something so special about a late afternoon yoga session looking out at the trees.
The Perfect (Extra) Long Weekend Itinerary
Day 1: Check in to my Airbnb, relax for a bit and then do a late-day yoga session with Linda. Grab dinner at Syvlia Woodstock ( less than 5 minute drive away) and afterward, take a long bath before snagging the best sleep ever.
Day 2: Do a morning hike — something awe-inspiring, like Overlook Mountain (also only a 5 minute drive from the Ranch). Enjoy a microcurrent facial with Maria Vera (book in advance!). When hunger hits, grab a bite to eat at the Sunfrost market. Pick up some local groceries, then head back to the house and make a fire in the original restored fireplace. Or make one outside in the fire pit. Eat a light bite for dinner and do some stretching exercises before taking another evening soak or better yet, take an evening steam.
Day 3: Drive to Hudson and hit up some of the incredible antique stores. I like to park at the far end of Main Street and walk the whole stretch to clock some steps. Grab a coffee and lunch at one of the charming restaurants.
Day 4: Go shopping in Woodstock town. I absolutely love Three Turtles Doves. I find so many items there from jewelry to great clothing finds. Afterward, eat at Garden Cafe. Also swing by Rock City Vintage and The Red Foxx. The Red Foxx has an amazingly cool and chic lingerie and loungewear selection all at reasonable prices. If you have time, head to Kingston for another microcurrent session with Maria if you want that transformative reboot I was talking about!