Hartley and I spent the Friday morning before Christmas suddenly realizing that we had nowhere to be and no one to see on Christmas Day. Living abroad away from your family and friends (tens of thousands of kms away and a casual $1500~ flight) can be a harsh reality that you don’t really prepare yourself for in New York. People tend to flee as soon as it starts to get cold – to warmer weather, to family interstate, or just anywhere for the sake of it. We haven’t done it before for fear of emptying our entire bank account on a short trip, but we decided that we could’t sit around on the most festive day of the year. You don’t even get a White Christmas here in New York – at best, a rainy, frigid Christmas. There’s no ring to that. You can’t spin a song around that.
We ended up getting the White Christmas that I’ve been lusting about since the dawn of time (aka 1993) – we drove a few hours upstate to the Catskills and booked a last minute stay at Spruceton Inn, an adorable B&B (that’s bed and bar for you guys following along at home…poptarts serve as breakfast here) managed by a friend of mine from my ASTRSK days, Brett. Brett’s life is idyllic and wonderful and outdoorsy – he’s now engaged, is about to live in some sort of cabin in the woods, works at an amazing inn owned by an illustrator and a writer and spends his days hiking and exploring with his fiancee’s pup. If that’s not an ideal life away from the excessive elbow-throwing madness of New York, I don’t know what is. It’s crazy that that kind of lifestyle exists only two hours away, and exists in such complete contrast to mine.
The website describes Spruceton Inn as ‘simple luxury’ – and I could not explain it better in my own terms. Each cabin is connected in one long row, and provides the necessities – a bed, a tiny kitchen (is this a kitchen for ants? It was amazing to me what little equipment and space you need to whip up a meal. We ended up cooking scallops on a bed of smoked gouda grits), a full bathroom and a dining table. It’s right next to Hunter Mountain (known for ski trips) but on the non-ski side, and is a stone’s throw from The Jon Robb Lean-to hike and further up, if you have the stamina, the full Hunter Mountain trail that leads up to a lookout.
Everything looked like it was straight out of a travel glossy, and we paid around $90 for one night – what is that, like 22 hangover bodega sandwiches? Three overpriced New York studio fitness classes? Incredibly affordable in the money cesspool of NY.
The bar attached to the cabins made a mean eggnog (created by the one and only Brett), and had the best selection of reading material I’ve seen this side of my high school library in Yagoona.
I definitely overestimated the difficulty of the hike – it appears that hiking in snow sans any gear or preparation is incredibly difficult and you end up expending 100x more energy just lifting your foot out of the snow. Without any chains or proper footwear, nobody was surprised to find out that I’m not some sort of ice skating duck, and we both nearly fell a couple dozen times. I’m firmly on the warmer weather hiking side of things, but it was a good chance to mix things up.