Year-round, the charms of Ulster County’s quirky, artsy Woodstock captivate. But there’s something especially magical about autumn, when nippy nights can be spent gathered around a fire pit — at least if you decide to check in to the Hotel Dylan.
Laid-back fun is found at every turn, from the ping-pong table to the bocce court. Wrap yourself in a cardigan and watch a movie on the outdoor screen, take a yoga class across the street at the 28 West Gym, or simply curl up in the hammock with a book.
Owner Paul Covello, a Woodstock native, was intrigued by the rundown, ’70s-era bi-level building that he constantly passed en route from his New York City pad to his weekend home. “ ‘Wouldn’t it be perfect for a hotel?’ I thought. ‘No one’s doing anything with the property, so maybe I should,’ ” he says.
Furnishings at Woodstock’s Hotel Dylan include a turntable and vinyl LPs, photo posters from the Woodstock ’69 festival, and flower-power and Native American-inspired decorative elements
With a business partner secured, Covello gave the space a top-to-bottom renovation, and the Hotel Dylan was born. “It should be a place where New Yorkers can come up for the weekend, and although they love the city, come Thursday or Friday they’re thinking, ‘How do I get back up there?’ ”
The inviting 11 rooms make that easy. Painted white with pops of vivid blues and yellows, they are whimsical, modern interpretations of the town’s bohemian past. Designed by husband-and-wife team Cortney and Robert Novogratz (of HGTV fame), the rooms feature beds crafted from recycled wood or iron; the walls, emblazoned with arrow patterns, harken back to Woodstock’s Native American roots. Lest we forget the town is steeped in music, rooms are tricked out with turntables, a stash of vinyl, and rock posters from the official photographer of that wee 1969 concert that shares the town’s name.
“We want this to be a place with a funky vibe, where people can listen to great music, have a burger, and sip a microbrew,” says Covello. “We want this to be the place locals recommend.”
Coming soon: a farm-to-table restaurant, a spa, a lobby boutique showcasing locally made products and, naturally, an event space hosting a plethora of musical acts.
Visitors (left) stroll along Tinker Street in the village
Eat & Drink
Mediterranean-inspired Joshua’s Café and Restaurant is a mainstay for bountiful breakfasts of chakchouka (poached eggs, onions, peppers, parsley, tomatoes) and challah bread French toast. As long as the robust Turkish coffee comes your way, you may never leave.
An old farmhouse in the Catskill Mountains is the bucolic setting for Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room in Big Indian, a half hour from Woodstock. With Hudson Valley-made brew in hand, patrons can sit down to from-scratch gnudi studded with pignoli nuts, and butter poached lobster with roasted fingerling potatoes and wax beans. Cucina, tucked inside a rambling yellow farmhouse, flaunts all the coziness of an old-time trattoria. But the pizzas, laden with farm-fresh ingredients like goat cheese, fig-rosemary spread, pear, arugula, and truffle oil, are decidedly modern.
It’s fitting that such a peace-loving town is home to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Through the end of October, come play in the open pastures with chickens, cows, ducks, pigs, goats, rabbits, and sheep that have been rescued from neglect. For entertainment of the indoor variety, warm up at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, and take in a medley of alluring contemporary images.
Fall Foliage Alert
The rocky slopes of Overlook Mountain, bursting with the colors of autumn, offer scenic panoramas of the Hudson River and Ashokan Reservoir. A five-mile hike winds through Echo Lake and the concrete ruins of the old Overlook Mountain House Hotel.
Crisp fall nights were meant for sipping tea. Try the Organic Golden Monkey variety from the Tea Shop of Woodstock.
If you go…
Hotel Dylan, Woodstock