Archive for the ‘Accommodations’ Category

From Brooklyn to the Spruceton Inn

1 Casey and the Motel

Our readers love stories of New Yorkers who manage to reinvent themselves as Upstaters. So here’s an inspiring tale: one artist couple decides to make the move, buys a derelict motel once owned by a relative of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and chronicles their reinvention of the place on their websites and in illustrations. That couple is Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg, and we’ve interviewed them about how they’ve come to realize their dream. Look for the Spruceton Inn: A Catskills Bed and Bar to open this summer. Photos of the gorgeous property and more answers to our pressing questions after the jump.

How long have you and your husband lived in the city? Where? What do you guys do?

CS: I was born and raised in Brooklyn but have bounced around the globe quite a bit since then. Steven, who is originally from D.C., and I met while we were studying abroad in Morocco then lived everywhere from Beijing to San Francisco to literally Timbuktu. We even wrote a book about it which Steven illustrated called To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True StoryWe landed back in Park Slope, Brooklyn in 2011 for about three years where we continued our freelance shenanigans in illustration (him), graphic design (him and me), and writing (him and me). We moved upstate in December.

13 Schwarzeneggers-Sunshine-Valley-House

Tell us how you came to buy the Schwarzenegger’s Sunshine Valley House. Were you looking for a place upstate?

During my years as a freelancer I came to want something more. Something stable that I could build from scratch and call my own. I love to travel and by both nature and nurture I’m an interior design fan. (My mother is a fabulous interior designer.) For years I’ve harbored fantasies of buying an old, traditional courtyard house in Morocco and rehabbing it into a guesthouse. One night in Brooklyn, I started to lay out detailed plans for what that would entail and I thought, “This would be so much more feasible in America”. It was my light bulb moment! I spent the next year and half researching, working at a hotel, and developing a business plan.

Though I considered several different locations, I ultimately decided that I wanted to create a place that my friends and I would want to (and be able to afford to!) go. While living in Brooklyn, Steven and I had been escaping to the Catskills to explore and unplug even in the dead of winter. So this summer, when I was ready to start location hunting in earnest, we came up here first.

A meeting with a realtor in West Kill led us to a meandering drive on our own through Spruceton Valley. We spotted a motel strip behind an old farmhouse and stopped dead in our tracks. There was no “For Sale” sign but it was exactly what we were looking for. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Accommodations, upstate new york

By: lisa | 23 January 2014 12:00 PM | 3 Comments

Holiday Hotel Deals in Ulster County


This list of deals on accommodations in Ulster County, from high-end in Saugerties to family-friendly in Kerhonkson, came in over the transom last week. Diamond Mills, Mohonk Mountain House, Pine Grove Ranch and Family Resort and Emerson Resort and Spa are all offering incentives to stay, ski, shop, dine and otherwise entangle yourself in Ulster County delights, including over New Year’s. After the jump, details on the deals at each spot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Accommodations, Ulster County

By: lisa | 4 December 2013 01:00 PM | No Comments

Kutsher’s As Yoga Retreat

Photo by bg5000/Flickr

Photo by bg5000/Flickr

We’ve long hoped for revival for the former grand destinations of the Catskills. Many of those resorts are gone or in ruins, but Kutsher’s has hobbled along, helped in part by its temporary siting of the All Tomorrow’s Parties music fest, and with the chic restaurant in downtown Manhattan of the same name, in which a bowl of matzoh ball soup will cost many people more than an hour’s pay. It was, until recently, known as the last surviving Jewish resort in the Catskills.

Well, now it will do more than hobble. It may even thrive. The Times Herald-Record reports that Veria Lifestyle has purchased the property to create “a $90 million Nature Cure Lifestyle Management Center,” adding, “The healthy living resort will feature ‘yoga sciences,’ ‘ayurvedic medical treatment,’ ‘biodynamic restaurants,’ golf, tennis and ‘a wide range of health-driven activities.’”

Here’s the part we find a bit sad, even if Kutsher’s architecture is not the best example of the grand hotel era: “Veria’s management has said it hopes to start demolition very soon with the opening expected next spring.” So much for revival. It’s gonna be a tear-down folks. While we are very happy for economic development in the Catskills, we also dream of reinventing the resorts and bungalow colonies, not necessarily demolishing them to create something new, no matter how pure its offerings and intentions. Are we just too starry eyed and nostalgic, or is there a missed opportunity?

Category: Accommodations, Catskills

By: lisa | 2 December 2013 02:00 PM | 1 Comment

The Canadian Version of Bungalow Colonies


While Jewish bungalow colonies are unique to upstate New York, it turns out the concept — humble, seasonal cottages in natural surroundings with a communal feel — has been realized elsewhere. A recent trip by Upstaters (cheating on upstate — we admit it) to the wilds of Ontario introduced us to the “Cottage Resort.” There are hundreds of them, so many and so far flung (those are some big ole provinces they got up there) that choosing one is a daunting task. We left it up to fate (less than two hours away and with a vacancy).

The review: heaven. Playground, beach, pool, companions for the kids, fire pits, giant rocks on which to scurry, boats, and more. Most of these places have “housekeeping cottages” in which you bring your own linens and food; everything else is supplied. There are a few options for such cottage escapes upstate, but not many. Why so few, people?

Category: Accommodations, Top Stories, upstate new york

By: lisa | 5 September 2013 03:00 PM | 2 Comments