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 — taking those breaks from city life give me sense of calm that I need to stay balanced. The Catskill mountains is my favorite area to go to get a massive dose of nature— any time of the year. I intentionally put giant windows in my house so that I can see the woods from just about every room. What can I say? Trees makes me happy.
I’ve been visiting this beautiful part of the state for nearly fifteen years. As a result, I have figured out where to go (and where to not go!) to do a little self-care or beauty maintenance. 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 was designed and renovated with my dear friend and wellness expert, Michele Promaulayko (also a Charlotte’s Book contributor!). So you can rest assured that two wellness, skincare and fitness enthusiasts like us are going to make sure our home caters to wellness. We personally use it all the time so it’s filled with some of our cherished belongings —art, vintage furniture, a beautiful handwoven rug from Morocco, and our favorite personal-care brands, such as Heritage Store skincare and iota nutritional bodycare.
We have also supplied the home with amenities, including meditation pillows, yoga mats and more. It’s a perfect getaway for friends, families or couples. You can’t help but feel zen sitting on the upper balcony, gazing at the mountain view and listening to the sedative sound of the property’s stream.
Bathaholics will also love our gorgeous free-standing 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 Trotwood Restaurant at Glen Falls House and afterward, take a long bath before snagging the best sleep ever.
Day 2: Do a morning hike — something awe-inspiring, like Kaaterskill Falls. Enjoy a microcurrent facial with Maria Vera (book in advance!). When hunger hits, grab a bite to eat at the Circle W market, their sandwiches are epic. 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 and enjoy a few s’mores while you’re at it. You deserve after that rigorous morning hike! Eat a light bite for dinner and do some stretching exercises before taking another evening soak.
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: Drive into Woodstock and hike Overlook Mountain. Afterward, eat at Garden Cafe and then swing by a few vintage stores (faves are Three Turtles Doves and Rock City Vintage). Head to Kingston for another microcurrent session with Maria if you want that transformative reboot I was talking about! But, don’t forget to stop at Sunfrost Farms or Sunflower Market first to pick up some healthy snacks and maybe some lavender rose Honey Mama’s chocolate to nibble on in front of the fire.