Obvious statement: The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything. Throughout 2020, as we all worked together to flatten the curve, we were forced to reimagine and revise how we conduct our daily lives. Shopping, exercise, dinner, socializing, dating, holidays — no ritual, routine, or mundane task went untouched.

For many of us, the most challenging and dramatic shift has been how and where we work. A recent Gallup survey found that since the onset of the pandemic, 33% of U.S. workers have shifted to working remotely all the time, while another 25% now work remotely sometimes. A year ago it was inconceivable to think that a full third of the country’s workforce would be working from home, but here we are—chained to our laptops, conducting meetings via Zoom and, for some of us, managing restless children as they adjust to virtual classrooms.

To call these adjustments “challenging” is an understatement, but for many of us, there is a significant silver lining to working remotely: The ability to perform our jobs from anywhere with a sturdy Wi-Fi connection, which means there’s nothing stopping us from packing up the car, leaving the city and heading upstate on a random Tuesday morning.

Tired of your desk and need a change of scenery, but can’t afford to take time off? In the before times, you’d have to wait until the weekend to even think about getting out of the house. Now, it’s possible to leave on a whim without missing a beat at work. Here are four reasons why Ulster County is the ideal place for a remote workcation.

Plenty of Co-Work Space

Co-work spaces have been growing in popularity for years, and they’ve become especially useful for certain kinds of remote workers during the pandemic. With co-work spaces, you get all the perks of an office environment — the desk, the breakroom, the fast Wi-Fi, the psychological structure — while maintaining the freedom, independence and self-pacing that comes with working remotely.

For those who need to get out of the city but are apprehensive about relying on spotty hotel Wi-Fi for that important client Zoom call, renting a co-work space could be the perfect solution, and Ulster County has a handful of them, all of which are abiding by stringent Covid health protocols to assure the safety of its members.

Barnfox Kingston sits on the top floor of the historic Clermont Building in Uptown Kingston and boasts 4,000 square feet of dedicated desks, private meeting rooms, a lounge and bar area, and fiber-optic internet. A few blocks over, CoWork Kingston occupies a massive industrial venue with a range of private spaces and meeting rooms, including private phone booths for Zoom calls, plus amenities such as coffee and chocolate.

Also in Kingston, Seven21 Media Center recently opened a co-work space, dubbed Co@seven21, that provides 24/7 access and mail service for its private virtual offices. From the outside, One Epic Place in Downtown New Paltz looks like a cozy, historic bed-and-breakfast. Inside, co-workers find affordable shared workspaces and private offices, along with a fully equipped kitchen, private lockers and a high-tech copier/printer/scanner.

Abundant Lodging Options

Ulster County is home to lodges, hotels, inns and B&Bs too numerous to list here, but you can rest assured that whatever you’re seeking and whatever your budget, you’ll likely find a room that fits your needs.

Looking for a secluded mountain inn surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Hudson Valley? Ulster County has dozens. Hoping for a historic hotel with convenient access to shops and restaurants? We’ve got you covered. Prefer an isolated cabin in the Catskills? No problem.

The Rejuvenating Power of Nature

If you’re looking to escape the crowds, concrete and claustrophobia of the city, Ulster County will be a (literal) breath of fresh air. Nestled in the heart of the Mid-Hudson Valley where the New York Catskills meet the western shores of the Hudson River, the region is known for its rolling hills, wide open spaces, breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor adventure.

Here, you can use your lunch break to take a jaunt around the magnificent Ashokan Rail Trail or spend the weekend scaling the Shawangunk Ridge or fly-fishing Esopus Creek. Charge your laptop and work from the shore of the Hudson River, or do your morning meditation in the forests of the Catskills. The natural beauty here is endless and intoxicating. You won’t want to leave.

Cosmopolitan Sophistication Without City Trappings

City-dwellers who cherish the cultural experiences that come with urban living will be thrilled to discover a hotbed of art, dining and shopping in Ulster County. Art lovers, history buffs and foodies alike will find something to love, from the the eternal funk of Woodstock and the historic architecture of Kingston (New York’s first capital) to the art galleries, boutique shops, and world-class dining (now with abundant curbside pick-up and delivery options) found across the county. Culture vultures will feel right at home while working remotely in Ulster County.

Ready to get out of the city and take full advantage of this new remote-work paradigm? Start planning your trip now. Just remember, we’re still combating this pandemic, and we all need to continue to work together and follow the advice of health experts, regardless of where we’re working. Wear a mask; practice social distancing; and double-check the hours, availability and Covid protocols of businesses, parks and co-work spaces. Be well, and we’ll see you soon!