By Holly Habeck

As someone who’s lived in New York for her entire life, it’s quite shocking to me that I’ve never made a trip up to the Catskill Mountains until now. Located just a few hours outside the city, it makes for an incredibly convenient weekend getaway. Not to mention, there’s an overwhelming number of things to do in the Catskills, including an ongoing list of Insta-worthy brunch spots, scenic trails, eclectic shopping destinations, and more.

Holly Habeck in the Catskills

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Ulster County for the weekend, and I have to say that I could not have been more impressed. In fact, I’m totally planning to go back for my bachelorette party as of right now. Our little weekend trip was jam packed and flew by, but here are a few of the highlights that I absolutely recommend in planning your own Hudson Valley retreat:

Book a Spa Treatment at the Emerson Resort & Spa

Woman holding Catskill Mountain News and a cup of coffee

We didn’t have time to enjoy the spa services at the Emerson Resort & Spa, but I am so doing this when I go back! We spent our Friday night checking out this Ulster County resort, and it was a total dream. I love that there’s a delicious restaurant located conveniently inside the hotel (perfect, since we arrived later that evening after a 4.5 hour drive), but I was already pretty much sold as soon as I saw the jacuzzi in our bathroom…Seriously, y’all need to spend some time here and take advantage of the resort lifestyle if you can. They even offer fitness classes which, combined with the spa treatments, are making this resort a top choice for me in deciding where to host my bachelorette party next year!

Explore the Kingston Waterfront

If you’re in the Hudson Valley, you of course have to get down to the waterfront at some point! Downtown Kingstonis immensely charming, and it’s a great shopping district. You’ll find lots of fascinating and well-kept antique shops along with a wide variety of clothing boutiques and restaurants. There’s plenty of ways to enjoy the water too, with options for kayak rentals, Hudson River cruises, and sailing. When I’m in the area again, I also want to check out the Hudson River Maritime Museum and the Trolley Museum of New York. There’s just so much to explore! You’ll want to put so many things on your list of things to do in the Catskills that you’ll probably end up planning a trip back pretty quick

Visit Brunette Wine Bar

Glass of wine at Brunette Wine Bar in Kingston, NY

Brunette Wine Bar was easily one of my favorite places we discovered in Kingston, NY. It’s cozy and very much my aesthetic, which is always great — haha! I tried a really interesting orange wine while we were there and also indulged in a cheese plate (no surprise there though, right?). Such a great place to sit down, relax, and try something new!

Take it Easy at The Graham & Co.

Graham and Co Hotel in Ulster County, NY

For our second night in Ulster County, we stayed at boutique hotel The Graham & Co. Though I usually consider myself more of a “luxury” traveler, I grew to love the minimalist vibe of this hotel more than I ever could have imagined. “The Den”, the common lounge for hotel guests, was a great hangout spot at night to get some work done. My only regret is that it wasn’t warmer outside at night, as this place has a wonderful bonfire pit and swimming pool! I’d definitely recommend staying here if you’re looking to decompress and just take a step back from social media for the weekend.

Say Hello to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary

Sheep at Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Ulster County, NY

One thing I wanted to make sure we got to do while in the Catskill Mountains was take a trip to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary. I’m so happy that we did, because we got to meet some really amazing creatures. This was a great place to learn more about the humane treatment of animals and also just have fun getting to know some of the special animals this farm is home to.

Visit Woodstock, NY

Holly Habeck in Woodstock, NY

One of my favorite things to do in the Catskills/Ulster County was visit the town of Woodstock, NY. I loved it so much that I’m actually writing a whole blog post on the town and overall experience there. Make sure you check that out when it goes live, and know that it is something you definitely need to consider if you’re going to be in the Catskills for the weekend!