Woodstock Chalet Weekend!

Relaxed chalet style: Built by Wendy jacket, cable knit sweater made by my mom, Mavi jeas, Swedish Hasbeens boots, vintage Coach purse (and unfortunately long hair!)

Imagine a place, not far from every day life, where you can let down your guard and truly be yourself. Imagine a place where you can dwell in a liminal space where you can give into your whims and be cocooned in warmth, friendship and peace. This place exists, on the map as well as in the imagination, in a tradition my friends and I have come to call “Chalet Weekend.”

View from my bedroom window

The place is a rental chalet that sleeps twelve in the storied town of Woodstock, New York. Woodstock has been a place of escape and a home to artists and counter cultural visionaries for over 100 years. The chalet on Happy Cat Lane is quirky in layout, with lots of impractical architectural details and exposed wood. Most importantly there is a fireplace and two huge, seductively soft couches, an open kitchen and comfortable beds. It’s on a quiet dirt road not far from the artist’s colony Byrdcliffe, which itself offers another kind of retreat from the world.

Wood fire, Bloody Mary, happiness

Hah hah.

Morgane makes cookies from locally made cookie dough, an easy dessert!

These pancakes I am making are somehow really funny (and I get to show off my Petit Bateau shirt, bien sur)

Two birthday girls means two birthday cakes (made by moi)! Tres leches with caramel whipped cream and coconut and lemon cake infused with Rosemary with Rosehip and Lavender frosting.

I used to hate on upstate New York, but now I’ve completely fallen under the spell of its gauzy light and rural charm. After the hectic grind of city life it feels a little bit like cheating to escape to the quiet woods for a few days. For me there is nothing better to combat the winter blues than a fire, cooking huge meals, celebrating birthdays and getting so absorbed in my friends and the present moment everything else just falls away.

Where do you go to escape the daily grind?

Hudson River, by Saugerties

Saugerties Lighthouse

Kayaks at the Saugerties Lighthouse

For the practicalities: you can find plenty of amazing homes for rent upstate (or anywhere) on Home Away, Air BNB, or VRBO (which is connected to Home Away). The cheapest car rentals in New York City tend to be from All Car Rent-a- Car and there is also the affordable and convenient Adirondack Trailways bus. My three stops in Woodstock always are: Sunflower Natural Foods Market, Bread Alone bakery (amazing organic bagels, pastries, bread, sandwiches and coffee), and Woodstock Meats, a butcher shop with artisanal meats and cheeses and chalet essentials like firewood.

Chalet weekend crew! (sans K.)

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Winter Weekend Getaway

Growing up in Maine I looked forward to winter. I couldn’t wait for the pond to freeze to skating, the first snow that was enough to go skiing, and days inside baking and drinking hot chocolate. While my enthusiasm for winter has faded a little, mostly because it just seems to drag on a few months too long, I’m not a winter hater. However, every year I feel like I have to come up with new strategies to make the winter enjoyable, and go a little faster. When M. suggested a group getaway with some research and advice from friends we found the perfect solution: a weekend rental chalet in Woodstock, New York complete with a hot tub. Sold.

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Walking up the snowy Overlook trail

After a month exchanging a flurry of emails a group of 14 of us had planned a menu and a spate of activities. The best part of going out of town in the winter is that you don’t have to do anything. And we didn’t. The Woodstock chalet was an invitation to step out of our daily routine immerse ourselves in the secret world of the weekend. A curated selection of bad movies opened the weekend, followed by board  and classic NES games, cooking, hot tub soaking, and a walk up a mountain that some took all the way and others just enough to soak in the snow, quiet, and wind in the trees.

Chalet

Chalet Interior

It’s been a little hard to come back, because the weekend seems to be its own world with its own rhythms. But I think a tradition has been started and I’m already looking forward to next winter! There’s more pictures on Flickr.

Stew, Bloody Mary, Banana Grams!

Chalet Life: Homemade stew, bloody mary, Banana Grams

Winter Footwear

Trial run of Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for Melissa spakly galoshes