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food and travel

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Spruceton Inn

When you reach six months of living in New York, the importance of escaping this city suddenly becomes clear. While many people have family or friends in the Hamptons, a house out in the countryside, or some connection to a nearby state, we really don't. We knew nobody in the city when we moved here, so befriending people who don't live just next door has not been a high priority. However, running away from the Big Apple on a regular basis has become a necessity.

So, with no ties to anywhere besides our Boerum Hill home, we're free to explore wherever we like, as long as it can be done in a weekend (time is not on our side). Last summer we headed out to Mattituck, during our first winter we spent a cold weekend in Hudson, every June we go for a run round Shelter Island, we skied and ate waffles in Vermont, and a couple of weeks ago, we retreated to the phone signal-free Catskills.

If you're in need of a NYC detox, aren't scared to temporarily lose connection with the outside world, and love sitting round a campfire, you need to book a trip to Spruceton Inn. Set five miles down a seven mile dead-end road, this ten-room 'motel' is simple, grounding, and, well, perfect. On a wet spring weekend, leafy green trees line the road, the lights glowing in the bar welcome you in after the three hour drive up from the city, and lying in bed listening to the rain sputter on the roof, the stream flow outside, and literally nothing else, is like walking into the biggest, warmest hug.

We spent our evenings cooking simple suppers on the stove in our kitchenette (sadly it was too wet to grill), hiding from the rain, celebrating with Champagne, reading, and wrapping up to head to the campfire to make s'mores. Because you can't spend a weekend in the American countryside and not make s'mores.

Mornings began slowly. Café Grumpy coffee and sprinkle-topped pop tarts can be found in Room One (the bar/reception/breakfast room/shop/chill out zone, where you'll find yourself spending a lot of time). Extra coffee should be taken back to your room to accompany your second breakfast of fresh eggs from the nearby farm and whatever else you bought with you (we recommend a Bien Cuit loaf). And then it's time to get outside.

Both Casey and Stephen, the owners of the inn (and the people whose lives I'd like to steal) will provide you with all the hiking tips, local information, and old Spruceton stories. By the time you've hiked up to the fire tower, you've probably already planned your future Catskills life. And you'll be ready to celebrate these plans with a glass of local cider and some freshly popped corn when you get back down.

Saying goodbye to Spruceton is hard. Despite the rain, the cold, and the lack of grilling, a weekend in this Catskills is peaceful, refreshing, and impossible not to love. If we return in the summer for more grilling and campfire time, I'm pretty sure I'll never leave.

Spruceton Inn, 2080 Spruceton Rd, West Kill, NY 12492.

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