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Monday, September 14, 2015

Camping the Catskills

I think I have mentioned before that Josh and I both love camping.  I guess I more prefer it if I have a shower close by and a good air mattress but those are pretty much my only requirements.  It seems like we don't get to go out as much has we would like so we were both excited when Josh got an entire weekend off at the end of August.  We were torn about where to go because we had been out to the Poconos and the Adirondacks and loved them both, but in the end we settled on some where we hadn't been, the Catskills, about 100 miles north of us.  It is a huge 700,000 acre park that is part of Appalachian Mountains. We kinda headed out with no real plan (which is really strange and scary for us over planners) and figured we would go kind of up to the top to see if there were less people and less touristy-ness.  

The first thing we came across was Orange County Choppers.  You may remember there show that was on the Discovery Channel for years.  I happened to have to pee so we thought we would stop and check it out.  The building is massive and really cool, just kind of in the middle of nowhere.  I guess watching the show I always assumed it was in the middle of a much busier urban area.  

The Spiderman chopper.


The 9/11 Memorial chopper.

And one of my favorites, the Christmas chopper.

There is a huge game room, a bowling alley and a bar restaurant right inside and the shop is in the back.  We never saw any of the stars though.

After another hour or so of driving we arrived a Phoenicia, NY.  A quaint little town in the northern Catskills probably most famous for their river tubing.  It was here that we decided we would probably stay for the night, if we could find a campground.

First things first, we stopped at the Sportsman Alamo Cantina for some lunch.  We weren't sure about the place but OMG the sandwiches.

After lunch, the hunt was on for a camping spot.  We were driving around when I spotted what looked to be a tiny little campsite called the phoenicia Black Bear Campground.  We pulled in not sure what to expect and were greeted by George the owner who was super laid back and helpful.  He said someone in a water front site along the Esopus River had just cancelled and we could have that site if we liked it, and we did.

The view from the road of our site, you can't even see it!

The view from our site.

A cute stump by our site.

We got our site all set up and decided to go check out some hiking trails.  Keep in mind it was super hot, but I was a trooper haha.  We climbed for about 30 minutes passed some really cool rocky out crops and beautiful forest.  We saw a couple chipmunks but no rattlesnakes or black bears that I was hoping to spot.  

The view from the top was totally worth my sweatiness!  You can see Phoenicia down below.  

We stopped at the bottom to swing on some swings.  I, of course, got motion sick about 3 minutes in.

This gorgeous little church was also at the bottom.

After we got back to our spot, we decided to start getting the fire built.  As we were sitting enjoying it, a large hawk came from out of nowhere and snatched a huge fish right from the river in front of us.  It is hard to see and we forgot the good camera but it was really cool.  It actually sat in the middle of the river for about 2 hours eating most of the fish because it was too heavy for him to carry home.

Josh building the fire.

It was an absolutely perfect evening, and also happened to be a super moon that night.  It was so nice to see the dark sky haha.  We hit the hay pretty early, and luckily I was really tired and our neighbors that were pretty much stacked on us were really quiet.  Well drunk early and passed out early is probably a better description.  I slept like a baby.

A cool foggy morning awaited us and it felt so nice to not be scorching right away.  Pretty sweet view right?

Our hawk fisherman friend came back to hang out and he brought a friend (friend not pictured).

I tried to take a panoramic of the view from our site and the fallen tree in front created a pretty cool, trippy picture.

I made an awesome foil wrapped breakfast on the fire (how did I not take a picture of this??) and we cleaned up and were on our way.  Just down the road was a pond that was dead calm and the reflection of the mountain and trees on it was breathtaking.  Of course it never looks as good in pictures!

And we broke out the selfie stick.  

A little further down the road we found a mini golf.  Anyone who knows me knows I am pretty much a mini golf addict and all-star (okay the all star part is questionable).  Regardless we had to play.  This was also the largest and oat beautiful course I think I have ever played on.  There were rivers, waterfalls, bridges and all sorts of very difficult holes surrounded by a farm in the rolling hills.  We ended up tying the game.  Boo.

We thought that we would stop in at Woodstock (yes home of the actual Woodstock) for some lunch and to check out the town.  We actually learned that Woodstock was supposed to be held in the town but at the last minute got shut down and was moved about 30 minutes away to Bethel, NY to a farmer's field.  The town still is filled with hippies that stuck around after though and it is super laid back and a has a very hippy, fun vibe.

This flower was as large as my head.

Some buskers on the main street.

An art installation of guitars around the whole town all painted up differently.

We were in a hippy town so I went vegetarian for lunch.  One of my favorite meals, a Falafal pita. mmmmm.

We randomly stumbled upon this little oasis in the heart of town.  I think it must be a resort because we couldn't get down to the bottom but it beautiful!

Cool little vintage thrift store.  The people were so friendly here it was refreshing!

We also found Woodstock Cupcakes.  I have talked about this place in a previous blog, but I have to mention it again.  These are the Food Network's best cupcakes in the US and best cookie in the US, the "Hippy Chipper"  We tried cupcakes and the Hippy Chipper and OMG, they are not lying!

There are these "On This Site Stood" signs all over too.  I liked this one the best.

We came across the weekly free market and needed to have a look around.

We got some fresh fruit but also found a guy that has a van filled with thousands of Postcards.  He even had some from Saskatchewan and one of Josh's town in Maine.

I also finally found some places to get cheesy Woodstock pictures taken! 

We headed home after a great weekend in nature back to big city life.  I realize every time we go somewhere like this how much I miss quiet and the outdoors!  Hopefully we can make one more trip before winter hits for some more R&R.


  1. I am extremely jealous that you have a selfie stick. I need one but Jason refuses lol
    Also the campsite looked amazing, glad you had a good time! When you guys get here we will have to go mini golfing!!

    1. Haha my mom got me my selfie stick! Not going to lie it has come in handy a couple times, especially with all the touring around by myself that I do! And I'm always up for mini golfing!

  2. This post rocks!!! I love camping and the Catskills look beautiful. The food, yes please!!!!