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Site of Woodstock, Bethel Woods, New York
Arnaud Muller
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Promenade, historic Kingston, New York
Arnaud Muller
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Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel Woods, New York
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Picturesque high street, Upstate New York
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Catskill Brewery, Livingston Manor, New York
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New York State Museum, Albany, New York
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Bridge across the Upper Delaware River, Narrowsburg
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  • States:
    New York

On my recent visit to the Catskill Mountains in Upstate New York, I was excited to see the fall foliage.

Although an all-season destination, my favourite time of year here is autumn, and watching the colours here change from green to orange, red and yellow, to golden brown, is a spectacle not to be missed. Beyond the pageantry of the fall foliage, though, I also discovered a world of cultural and culinary attractions just waiting to be enjoyed.

Historic Kingston

My first stop was Kingston, located in Ulster County. I started in the downtown Historic District and visited American bistro Ship to Shore to enjoy a leisurely and delicious lunch of cod and chips. This part of town sits at the edge of Rondout Creek, where you’ll also find the Hudson River Maritime Museum. In the dockyard I took a picture with Mathilda, an 1898 steam tug that was undergoing renovation and restoration.

After popping in a few shops and galleries, I headed uptown, which has even more shops and boutiques to browse, under decorative covered walkways. At the junction of Crown and John streets, there are four colonial stone buildings from the early days in Kingston. They are part of the Old Stockade Area, which dates back to 1658, after the Dutch settlers came to the area in 1652. I also checked out the Old Dutch Church and Senate House, which is where the first capital of New York was established.

While walking around Kingston, I noticed some amazing street art, which had been part of a recent citywide art competition. Some pieces even covered the sides of two-story buildings.

Charming streets of Kingston, New York

Historic Kingston, New York
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Arnaud Muller

Bethel Woods and “Woodstock”

Next, I headed southwest to Bethel, where in 1969, half a million people descended for "Three Days of Peace and Music" at a little-known festival called Woodstock. Today, millions of travellers come each year to visit the region. Contrary to what many folks believe, the festival did not take place in the town of Woodstock, which is over an hour’s drive away from Bethel.

After my visit to The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, I headed over to The Catskill Distilling Company, just a few minutes away. The distillery produces gin, vodka and whiskey and offers regular tours and tastings. They also own the building next door, Dancing Cat Saloon, where you can each lunch or dinner, or listen to live music.

To round off my day, I drove a few miles west to the small hamlet of Narrowsburg. As I looked out over the narrowest part of the Delaware River, I was lucky enough to spot two bald eagles swooping through the air in the distance! I’ve only seen these magnificent creatures in captivity before, so it was amazing to watch them in their own natural habitat. 

Taking in an exhibit at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel Woods, New York

Taking in an exhibit at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel Woods, New York
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Arnaud Muller

Unique Mountain Accommodations

For accommodation while in the Catskills, I was spoilt for choice. On this particular evening, I opted for Ecce Bed and Breakfast. Pronounced E-Chay, this is an intimate five bedroomed mountain house, which overlooks the Upper Delaware and boasts magnificent views. Even with the early morning low hanging clouds floating below me, the views are magical. It also boasts a magnificent breakfast to wake up to: made-to-order French toast with fresh strawberries and bananas, and a side of crispy bacon. I was all set to continue with my Upstate New York journey.

If you’re thinking of heading to New York for your next U.S.-bound holiday, be sure to tack on a couple of extra days and head north to explore the beautiful Catskills region.

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