One of my absolute favorite rabbit holes to fall down is the great wide world of weekend getaway travel. I've spent countless hours scrolling through feeds of idyllic cottages surrounded by birch trees, beach side escapes, spa vacations in the mountains, and the ever popular "traipsing through a vineyard" posts. I've fantasized about picking up and just taking off for a weekend à la Vogue Magazine for as long as I can remember. Not a a care in the world, floppy hat and perfectly curated outfits in tow. Here's the thing though- floppy hats make me look like an absolute jerk. Perfectly curated outfits take me days to plan. (Have we discussed that I'm an over planner?). Also, let's just real talk for a second: the entire idea of picking up and "taking off for the weekend" is a huge function of privilege. If you live in a city the cost of renting a car, tolls, staying overnight, meals, and even the aforementioned winery tour fee all add up really quickly. Don't even get me started on boarding dogs.
A few weeks ago, instead of falling down yet another rabbit hole of jealousy coupled with "how can people afford this?!" thoughts, I decided to plan a weekend trip. Something special for Ian's birthday which would allow us to explore upstate New York but in a way that wouldn't break the bank.
- First, I chose a weekend that wasn't super popular. Ian's birthday, usually the first weekend of April, is still fairly chilly in New York so most people aren't raging to get out of the city.
- Found a hotel that wasn't on the beaten path. (The Hamptons are out of the question and also not the only place to go outside of NYC. Don't let Vogue and Harper's feed you lies.) I knew I wanted to stay on the water in the Hudson River Valley but the city of Hudson, NY can get quite pricey so, my search focused on the surrounding small towns.
- Found a nearby winery with an affordable tasting/entrance fee. We were driving, one stop for wine would be enough.
- Picked one meal to splurge. Husband's birthday dinner, naturally.
- Limited our adventure to one night. Why? Boarding the dogs for an entire weekend is incredibly expensive ($300!). Also, the absolute last thing I want to do after work on a Friday is drive for three hours. Kicking things off after a good night's sleep and leaving the work week completely behind felt far more luxurious. Saturday morning through early Sunday evening is the perfect amount of time to getaway and get back.
I'm not sure if we got lucky or discovered a diamond in the rough, but last weekend felt like something out of a movie. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful or relaxing experience. The Stewart House is a small, intimate hotel located right on the Hudson River in the small town of Athens, NY. We pulled up after exploring a local winery and were greeted by the warmest, kindest staff. They truly went above and beyond. I'm not just saying that because they did a good job. I've never stayed anywhere where the manager insisted, several times, that we take our time checking out. "Seriously, ignore the check out time. Lounge, enjoy!". Believe me when I say we took full advantage, especially after we saw our room.
Every detail, every piece of furniture, even the paint accents make The Stewart House feel like stepping into an alternate universe where life is actually filtered through Instagram. I could write a book about how the decor is straight out of Design Sponge meets Vanity Fair mixed with Dwell fantasy but I'd rather just show you. Some photos from the weekend are below, I've been taking them in all week and already planning our return trip.
Directly below our room, just two flights down these copper patina and turquoise stairs, is The Stewart House restaurant. We celebrated Ian's birthday with steak, squash + sage ravioli, and the sweetest tiramisu with a birthday candle. I even took my (sixth... oops) glass of Prosecco back to the room with me after our waitress topped it off and insisted I couldn't just leave it! Woman after my own heart.
I'll wrap up this love poem to our weekend away by saying that it's totally plausible to take a break from the city without spending a fortune. (Also, floppy hats are overrated.) This post wasn't sponsored at all so a little planning and figuring out ways around what's dictated as the right approach by magazines and most travel blogs is the way to go. Figure out what you like, what you can afford, and make it work for you. In my case, it's eating coffee cake in a giant white tub on the banks of the Hudson River the same week as I wrote out a rent check. Huzzah!