"A good life is a collection of happy moments." I recently came across this quote and it could not have resonated more with me than it did last weekend, which was chock-full of happy moments. Mostly because of this little gem I got to call home for two days nestled in the Western Catskills, The North Branch Inn (and my boyfriend of course).
We took the 2-hour scenic drive up from Manhattan and I quickly found myself enchanted with the quaint farm towns we were passing through before arriving in North Branch, a tiny town where time has seemed to stand still. In a good way.
Walking through the front door of the inn felt like walking into my childhood home. The innkeeper Tess was there to warmly greet us with open arms, offering to take our bags and get us comfortable in the restaurant & bar room for some fresh breakfast that was being served.
She even had sweet Valentine's Day treats perfectly packaged for all of the guests checking in over the weekend (which were handmade cookies and chocolates!) included with information on activities and local places to check out.
The North Branch Inn prides itself on supporting local by sourcing all of their food and even alcohol and wine from New York State and people they know personally. This made for a light and delicious help yourself breakfast spread consisting of local hard-boiled eggs, fresh greens, fruits and some of the best bread and jam I have ever had.
Don't you just love the strung lights in the dining area?
One of the biggest things we were drawn to was the in-house bowling alley dating back to the 1920's set in the back of the inn. There are two set-your-own pins bowling lanes complete with movie theater chairs and projection screen on the side so you can relax and catch an old film after bowling a few rounds.
Upon arrival we bowled a few frames before checking into our room, which was one of five in the Main House built in 1898.
After a quick nap, we popped open the complimentary bottle of local spiked apple cider left in the room for us before wandering across the street to the newly opened Library House.
The Library House just opened in January, has four large rooms and consists of a common sitting area complete with a wood burning stove (which I fell in love with and MUST HAVE when I purchase a home), puzzles, books and cozy blankets for some warmth.
Perhaps the thing I loved most when it came to the design and feel of these rooms was the perfect mix of old and new. The original architectural elements of the homes' rich past seemed to almost be untouched or just lightly restored. These historic details paired with the more modern wall colors, luxurious amenities and mid-century furniture created a stunningly timeless yet contemporary vibe.
Not to mention that afternoon sun coming through the large windows.... adding the most perfect light and warmth. We could have stayed in there forever reading, playing backgammon and keeping the fire going.
Although we found ourselves enduring one of the coldest weekends of the year with below zero temps, we managed to bundle up and explore the neighboring towns; discovering local antique shops, covered bridges, breweries and our favorite, the Prohibition Distillery.
Located in historic Roscoe, New York, the Prohibition Distillery is set in a 1929 fire station and former VFW hall where they produce award-winning vodka, gin and whiskey. We stopped in their tasting room and we were able to get a private tour of the distillery from the owner himself. We tasted each one and ended up taking home 5 bottles! (for family and friends of course)
You can see the passion they put into the product, down to the detail of the bottles which are pieces of art in themselves. The glass bottles are etched with a poppy on the back as a nod to World War I and is a powerful image worn on the lapel throughout the world as a symbol of remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime. You can find it on every bottle as a toast to the memory of fallen friends. So much history and meaning behind everything they do here. This place is definitely worth the trip.
Sometimes I like to imagine owning my own little cottage in the country, a place to escape from all of the hustle & bustle of NYC on weekends, but for now, it's places like the North Branch Inn and the Prohibition Distillery that make me so grateful and happy for this beautiful country we live in.
I hope you get out and explore areas near you that you may not even know exist. And if you find yourself in the Catskills, be sure to stop in and say hi to Tess and grab a glass of New York wine at the North Branch Inn, you won't be disappointed.