When people hear “Woodstock,” New York, they typically conjure up images of the historic music festival, huge open fields, Jimi Hendrix shredding his guitar and hippies. Lots of hippies. And some people, much to their disappointment, get all the way to Woodstock before realizing that the infamous music festival, famously, did not take place in Woodstock. (Just to set the record straight, it actually took place 43 miles west in Bethel.)
Even so, that hasn’t stopped Woodstock from becoming a music and artist haven for locals, weekenders and tourists alike. It's quite possibly the most famous small town in the world. The best part? For New Yorkers, it’s just outta town — clocking in just a little below 2.5 hours from New York City. So whether you’re an NYC local, or someone planning a trip to the Big Apple, consider taking a weekend trip north of the city to see the beauty of New York State.
Woodstock has come a long way since its history of utopian art communes in the foothills of the mountains. Now, one could easily spend an afternoon just popping into all the boutiques, art galleries and restaurants that line Tinker Street, the town's main drag. Some favourite shops of ours are Woodstock General, Pacama Handmade and Anatolia ... but we could go on and on.
Aside from all of the great shopping, there's also great food. Thanks to the neighbouring Hudson Valley, fresh local food is easy to come by. Shindig, our favourite restaurant in town, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner using ingredients from more than 10 local farms. Cucina, specializing in Italian goodness, is our go-to spot for celebratory dinners. For something a little more casual at dinnertime, try out newly-opened Tinker Taco Lab. Last, weather permitting, the Garden Cafe has great vegetarian fare, with a beautiful little backyard to boot!
Plan on making a weekend of it? Great, though you're not the only one! Hotels here fill up fast during high season (May through October), but luckily there are new hotels and rental homes popping up every day. For a traditional but unique hotel experience, begin your search at the Hotel Dylan, where bonfire-side chats with other guests are half the fun. If you'd prefer more privacy, Woodstock Way has lovely rustic-chic cabin rentals where we recently spent three days of bliss. Our cozy cottage had large windows, a wood-fired stove and a patio overlooking a creek where we enjoyed our morning coffees.
We all know the saying, "When in Rome," and Woodstock is no different. It would be a shame to go to Woodstock and not partake in the art and music culture. If you're planning a visit, make sure to check a local calendar for music and art listings! Aside from great music venues Levon Helm Studios and Bearsville Theater, there's almost always a music show happening somewhere in town. On a recent Thursday night, we caught musicians Matt Heckler and Norm Wennet performing together at Catskill Mountain Pizza. Despite their 40-year age difference, they played the fiddle, acoustic guitar, violin and banjo together in perfect harmony. Super groovy.