I was looking for a quick getaway between jobs, nothing terribly expensive by means of actually getting there and physically being there. My friend Natalia, who photographed this and that post, told me over a year ago about this little motel in the Catskills: über peaceful with a strikingly “cool” charm. I can’t tell you how many times I told myself I needed to go, so I finally booked it a week in advance to set it in stone. A quick 3 hour direct bus ride upstate to Phoenicia and just around the corner from the stop is The Graham & Co., where a 3 night stay surrounded by lush nature was all I need to refuel for my next chapter.
Enter the gravel driveway and past the first several units to a garage where the lobby or office is. It’s f*cking… awesome. To the left, a boutique display of products including tees that say “CATSKILLS VS. HAMPTONS” (which I got that passersby in the city exclaim, So which one is it? everytime I wear it, catching me a little off-gaurd — Catskills! I yell back), scented candles, sunglasses, throws, totes, lotions, bandanas, and other little accessories. To the right is a little coffee stand with classic board games beneath it where you can play right in the garage on picnic tables or just outside where the ninjas are (I’ll get to that in a second).
Straight ahead at check-in is a bar complete with 3 stools and more branding eye candy so incredibly well curated. As soon as I got my keys, they offered me a free Budweiser and/or water (nice touch, guys) and I was heading down the way to room no. 2.
Above: wearing a Chan Luu triple wrap bracelet (similar styles here) holding one of the water cups in the room, stamped with the motel’s logo.
To get around town comprised of a +303 population, the motel offers single-speed bikes, or “ninjas” as they’d call them to get around town. Take at your own free will and don’t worry about locking them up when you’re out and about, “Everyone knows they’re ours,” they say.
So what’s there to do? The motel has a lovely pool sans lifeguard to take a dip in the natural artesian spring water or sunbathe on the pool loungers sourced from the 80’s. On weekends (which was completely booked up), they throw a bonfire right off the pool area on an open lawn behind their bunk house. They don’t have their liquor license just yet, but a 6-pack or bottle of wine is easily accessible down Route 28 to take back with you and enjoy crackling. I’ve even heard they’ll do outdoor movies — all in all, many reasons to make this stay the first of many. Within town is Sportsman’s (Mexican food and for watching sports — women’s bowling and college arm wrestling included); Sweet Sue’s for some delicious, yet rather large pancakes (do the half order and get a few sides); Tavern 214, the motel’s neighbor and probably the most fancy place in town; and a little coffee shop/lunch spot called Mama’s Boy. There’s a few other things to do within town, but most places are closed there during the week, so definitely bet on the weekend if you do plan on making it up there.
Above: Me riding on a ninja in Y-3 kicks I picked up at a local flea, AllSaints tee (similar) and shorts, Grover sweater, and my Canon Rebel. Below: Wearing a new swimwear favorite, Deus ex Machina board shorts, by the motel’s pool on a vacant Thursday early afternoon.
Among the more fun and active things to do about town are hiking and tubing, and if you step outside of the immediate town, Peekamoose is bound to be tasty and make sure you hit the very well branded Phoenicia Diner.
As the weekend drew nearer and the rooms became more occupied, I spotted a couple staying in the room a few doors down with this bike (similar here). Fell in love with the color combination — what do you think?
Above: my Giles & Brother railroad spike bracelet complete with my first name dangling from a hook and pulley used as decoration right outside my room.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll recognize these four pictures I took while I was out there. Top right: the lobby/office; top left: another shot of me in my Deus ex Machina board shorts; bottom left: exploring the lost railway; and bottom right: breakfast at the famous Phoenicia Diner.
… and don’t be afraid to wander. It’s a safe town, everyone is so nice and it’s pretty hard to get lost with the minimal roads (albeit I have yet to hike the mountains); you never know what surprises you’ll come across just around the bend.
Photography by Yours Truly (Mix of iPhone 5S & Canon Rebel T4i)…
… so, follow me on Instagram!