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A Weekend at Getaway House – Western Catskills

Introduction

For this year’s Memorial Day weekend, I decided to book a 2-night stay at Getaway House in Western Catskills. Located about 2.5 hours to the north of NYC, it’s a perfect getaway spot to spend some time in nature and unplug from the noisy and recently, monotonous working life. I personally really enjoyed my time there. If you are looking for a weekend getaway somewhere, definitely check out a Getaway House location near you!

What is Getaway House?

If you are looking for time to unplug and immerse in nature, but without all the difficult aspects that come with the normal camping experience (living in a tent, finding a toilet and hot shower, limited access to lights and electricity, being too cold or too hot…the list goes on), Getaway House is the perfect spot that combines nature with a well thought-out, modern and comfortable cabin. It’s like a posh, cozy and private space with all the amenities you need for a comfortable getaway experience.

On top of it all, Getaway House cabins are known for the signature, large window showing a tranquil, scenic view that you can wake up to each day.

Things to Know Before Booking

As “glamping” has become popular over the last few years and especially during the pandemic, Getaway House has seen a consistent rise in popularity, with now over 20 locations spread out across the country. During our stay this past Memorial Day Weekend, all the cabins in the Western Catskills location were fully booked, so if you are planning on going during a holiday weekend, definitely plan to reserve a few months out in advance.

Check out all of Getaway House’s locations here.

You have the option to book a cabin with a single, queen sized bed that sleeps 2 adults, or one with queen bunks for 4 adults. As the space is quite tight, I personally think cramming 4 adults into a cabin can get a little hectic, although it works if you spend the majority of your time outside.

Each cabin is fully equipped with everything you need for a comfortable stay. The cabins include a comfortable bed, a private toilet (with toilet paper), a shower with hot water (along with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, towels), an outlet for your charger/appliances, heater/AC that you can easily adjust, and miscellaneous things to keep you entertained, like books, a radio, and a deck of cards.

There is also a mini kitchen, equipped with a stovetop, dinnerware, drinkware, a pot, a pan, a kettle, utensils and cookware, knife sets, a mini fridge, paper towels, dish soap, foil, olive oil, salt and pepper…basically all the essentials you need for cooking a proper meal.

In terms of outdoors, the cabin comes with your own campfire pit, a grilling gate, a picnic table, two lounge chairs, and a firestarter kit (for a small fee billed to your card later). While you can cook a meal inside the cabin at the kitchen, I recommend trying out some campfire cooking because that’s the fun part! In the sections below, I will share some of my campfire cooking recipes that I used on my trip.

What to Bring for Your Stay

As the Getaway House cabins have almost everything you need, you won’t need an extensive packing list as compared to doing a normal camping trip. However, here are a few things I found to be really helpful to include in our bags this weekend:

  • A cast iron pan for campfire cooking. This may be a heavy item to carry, but it’s the one essential item that allowed us to easily cook over the campfire
  • An offline map of the area & places you want to visit, which you can download beforehand on Google Maps. This is important because the Getaway locations don’t have wifi and most likely also won’t have any phone signal. While you want to spend time unplugging, make sure you have access to maps to navigate your way around
  • Your own coffee (or tea), if you are a coffee lover. The cabin comes with coffee, but for a small fee. If you can, bring your own coffee and filter. Besides coffee, also consider bringing your own wine or drinks to enjoy!
  • Some ziploc bags or lunch boxes for packing lunch for hikes
  • Hiking essentials such as water bottle, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, and hiking shoes
  • A light jacket as the evenings can get cold outside
  • Other items such as indoor slippers, your own hair dryer, and anything else you need for a comfortable stay

Groceries & Campfire Cooking Recipes

While you are welcome to seek out restaurants near the Getaway House sites, making your own meals is one of the highlights of the glamping experience. Since the kitchen is already fully equipped with everything you need, it’s great to take advantage of that.

Groceries

Here’s a suggested grocery list for a 2-night stay for 2 people. This was the actual list I used and we managed to finish almost everything, leaving little waste. I suggest picking these items up at a Walmart or grocery store on your way before arriving at the cabin.

  • Main ingredients for dinners: two thick-cut steaks and a pack of Italian sausages
  • Side ingredients for dinners: a bag of small red potatoes; two zucchinis; a bag of mixed greens (we used fresh baby spinach)
  • Seasonings: a garlic, unsalted butter, some rosemary and some cilantro
  • Breakfast foods: eggs, bacon, or anything you like to eat for breakfast
  • Ingredients for packing lunch sandwiches: croissants or toast, eggs, bacon, an avocado, some lunch meat (such as turkey breast)
  • Snacks for the trip: your favorite snacks and fruits (bananas and apples for the added fiber)
  • Drinks: coffee, wine/beer, water

Campfire Cooking Recipes

Below are my campfire recipes over my 2-night stay. You can also check out Getaway House’s journal for some more inspirations on what to make. They have a great dedicated page for campfire cooking ideas.

Dinner 1: Thick-cut Steak and Butter Potatoes for Two
  • Prepare the ingredients. Peel half of the garlic and cut into small slices. Chop up some fresh rosemary leaves and cilantro.
  • Prepare the thick cut steak of your choice. Season generously with the salt and pepper available in the cabin, and rub with half of the garlic slices and rosemary.
  • While the steak marinates for a bit, take and wash half of the bag of red potatoes. Cut each potato into quarters, eighths or slices based on your preference (I generally find smaller pieces to cook faster). Toss the potatoes in a big bowl with olive oil (also provided at the cabin), salt, pepper, and the remaining garlic and rosemary.
  • Once the above preps are ready, bring everything outside to the picnic table and get the fire going. You can choose to cover the grilling gate with foil (provided at the cabin) if you prefer. Place your cast iron pan over the fire and let it heat up.
  • Once ready, melt a sizeable (up to your preference!) chunk of butter in the cast iron and drop in the potatoes. Let the potatoes sit and stir occasionally until they are golden brown. This part can take 10-15 minutes or longer depending on the size of your potatoes. If the pan gets too dry, you can add a little bit more butter. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Melt another piece of butter in the cast iron, and drop in the two pieces of steak (make sure you remove the excess garlic & rosemary as those burn easily). Cook each side for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and let sit for a few more minutes.
  • Serve the steak with the potatoes and some mixed greens. In our case, we used baby spinach. Sprinkle the cilantro over the potatoes for added flavor. Pop open a wine (a bottle opener is available at the cabin) and enjoy!
Lunch: Crispy Croissant Sandwiches
  • Prepare the croissants by cutting them open from the side. You can also lightly toast the croissants in the pan provided at the cabin.
  • Over the stove top, pan fry eggs and season with some salt and pepper; remove from the pan.
  • Cook bacon until crispy. You can do this over the campfire the night before, or cook in the cabin over the stove top in the morning, just make sure you are careful to not trigger the fire alarm as it cooking bacon is a smokey business.
  • Cut and slice the avocado if you like. Season with some salt and pepper.
  • Assemble the croissant sandwich by adding in the pan fried egg, avocado slices, and crispy bacon bits. You can add anything else you like or have, such as the lunch meat, greens and some cilantro.
  • Wrap the sandwiches up in foil (provided at the cabin) or in your own zip loc bags and bring them along your hiking trips!
Dinner 2: Sweet Italian Sausages with Butter Potatoes & Zucchini
  • Prepare the ingredients. Peel half of the garlic and cut into small slices. Chop up some fresh rosemary leaves and cilantro.
  • Prepare the other half of the red potatoes the same way as the previous dinner – cut each potato into quarters, eighths or slices based on your preference. Toss the potatoes in a big bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the remaining garlic and rosemary.
  • Slice the zucchinis into half inch thick rounds and season with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Bring everything outside along with packaged Italian sausages. Start up the fire and heat up the cast iron.
  • Cook potatoes the same way as before, by melting a chunk of butter in the pan. Drop in the potatoes and let sit and stir occasionally until they are golden brown. Remove from the pan and cover with foil.
  • Melt a little bit of butter in the pan and add in the zucchini slices. Cook and flip until golden brown on each side. Remove from the pan and cover.
  • Remove the sausages from the packaging. Using a knife, score the sausages on both sides. You can toss with some olive oil if you wish. Once ready, cook the sausages in the cast iron, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through. This may take 20 minutes or more, so you can also save time by cooking the sausages first while prepping the other ingredients.
  • Serve the Italian sausages with the potatoes and zucchini. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with some greens. Enjoy!

Things to Do in the Catskills

We had about a day and a half to explore the Catskills. Here are several places you can visit while in the area:

Russell Brook Falls, Mud Pond and Trout Pond Loop

Located about 20 minutes south, Russell Brook Falls is a scenic spot in the area. You can choose to drive to it and take a short hike to see it, or take the longer Mud Pond/Trout Pond Trail, which is a 7 mile-long loop that takes you through the scenic woods. This is a very tranquil and quiet hike, as you are unlikely to encounter a ton of people in the area.

Eastern Catskills

Because this is our first time in the area, we decided to make the trip out to Eastern Catskills to see some of the popular sites. It’s about a one hour drive from the Western Catskills Getaway site, and here are some great spots to check out:

Kaaterskill Falls

Known as the crown jewel of the Catskills, this is the highest cascading waterfall in New York State. There is an easy 10 minute walk to an overlook where you can get a quick view of the waterfall, then a steep, rocky descent to the lower falls (about a 1.5 mile round trip hike), which I highly recommend. It allows you to get really up close to the waterfall and breathe in its sheer magnitude. Because it’s a popular destination, on busy days, definitely be prepared to wait in line to get a parking spot, or try to go early to beat the crowds.

North-South Lake

North-South Lake is the biggest and most popular state campground in the Catskill Forest Preserve. It costs $10 for a day-use pass per vehicle, and it comes with plenty of parking/bathrooms, scenic spots, and access to hiking trails. I recommend two great trails you can take: the southern one is a short trail to Catskill Mountain House, which brings you a gorgeous, sweeping view of the landscape, and after which you can continue a slightly strenuous hike up to Boulder Rock; altogether it takes about 1 to 2 hours. The northern trail one is a longer and steeper trail that leads you to Artist’s Rock, Sunset Rock and Newman’s Ledge, which rewards you with beautiful views at every turn, and takes about 3 hours or longer.

Meadows Golf Center and All American BBQ

Located in the quaint village of Margaretville, or about 25 minutes to the east of Getaway House, this is a fun spot we stumbled upon. It’s a family-run golf course that comes with 9 holes, a driving range, and a mini golf course. We had fun spending a quick hour here to practice our swings at the driving range, and a bucket of balls costed about $6 with free clubs you can easily borrow.

Buck Brook Alpacas

Located about 30 minutes to the south, Buck Brook is a family-run Alpaca farm located in the scenic peaks of Sullivan County. The farm offers really fun tours where you get to meet the lovely alpacas, feed them apples and take them on a walk. It’s also home to a lot of other fun animals, ranging from some cool chickens to bunnies to pigs to cats to a peacock. There is also a lovely store where you can shop for handmade alpaca products.

If you plan on visiting, be sure to reserve a tour in advance on their website!

Conclusion

Getaway House is definitely a nice and relaxing experience, where you can steep in nature but also unplug in comfort. It’s great for a long weekend, and you can spend the time exploring hiking trails or simply hanging out at the cabin. Read a good book, cook a delicious meal, stare at the stars, spend some time with your loved one – do whatever brings you joy. If you choose to go to a Getaway House location, I hope you enjoy your stay!

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