Here's to a fall well-spent in New York's beautiful backyard.
NEW YORK – It's that time of year again when we leave behind our shorts and summer Fridays and resume our regular commutes and routines. But do not fear daylight savings: There are hikes to take, harvests to help with, and fireplaces to huddle around. With an ever-growing array of affordable design hotels just a few hours drive from downstate, it's easy to escape to nature and take full advantage of fall without breaking the bank. At least at these cute and cozy spots.
Atmosphere: A charming, carefully curated, twelve-key boutique located on the cusp of Saratoga's historic race course where days are just as easily spent listening to vinyl at the small lobby bar as they are watching horses gallop by from the comfort of an elegant, sunny, family-friendly guest room window.
Perks: There's coffee from Maquina Roasters in the lobby should you decide to take one of the hotel's Linus bikes into town. It's a seven-minute ride, though no one will fault you for wanting to stay in bed all day.
Atmosphere: Live like a 19th-century patrician on holiday in one of four meticulously refurbished inns situated on the banks of Lake Cayuga. You can't go wrong between the Federal-style Aurora Inn, the Italianate limestone E.B. Morgan House, the contemporary Rowland House, and the ornate Wallcourt Hall — all are furnished with custom fabrics, worldly antiques, and art from local philanthropist Pleasant Rowland's personal collection.
Perks: Start the day with a body treatment or painting class, kayak on the lake, tour the area's many cideries and wineries, and end with a romantic sunset dinner at Aurora Inn Dining Room overlooking the water.
Atmosphere: The eclectic 38-room mountain lodge stays true to the region's carefree bohemian vibe while also introducing a fresh and modern look to the area. Dark wood floors are layered with patterned rugs; furniture and decor come from design studios and . The restaurant, , overlooks the mountains via floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor deck with fire pits.
Perks: An on-site adventure concierge provides guests with day trip ideas throughout the Catkills and Hudson Valley, like mountain climbing, forest hiking, and exploring cute and quirky area towns like Kingston, Saugerties, and Rhinebeck.
Location: Stone Ridge
Atmosphere: Super attentive staff oversees a no-expenses-spared vacation home for New Yorkers in need of a break. The 18th-century Dutch Colonial mansion is luxe but not louche, high-end but not stuffy, foodie-focused but not myopic when it comes to guest desires. And there are myriad activities and paths to rest and relaxation.
Perks: Starting the day with yoga, ending at a campfire by the lake, picking apples in the orchard next door, dining at an incredible farm-to-fork restaurant, and taking a dip in the 55-foot swimming pool circa 1923 are just a few of the highlights.
Read more on Popupla: A Romantic Hudson Valley Retreat for all Seasons
Location: North Branch
Atmosphere: An intimate bed and breakfast with fourteen spacious rooms spread across three charmingly refurbished properties — a main inn with a parlor, a hand-carved wooden bar, and a 35-seat seasonal restaurant; a library house with a cozy seating area, books and wooden stove and all; and a post office house, formerly an actual post office, with another beautiful common space where you can sit back, relax, and take in the stillness of the Catskills.
Perks: Bring your dog. Knock down some pins at the vintage bowling alley. Plan a fishing, hiking, foraging, kayaking, or farming adventure with help from the hotel staff. Or, for a special treat, head to sister property The Debruce for a multi-course culinary experience you'll be talking about long after you leave.
Read more on Popupla: A Two-Hotel Hideaway in New York's Catskill Mountains