They say it takes 10 years to be considered a real “New Yorker” and after a little over a decade, I finally felt ready to say goodbye to New York City. I’ll always go back for work and to see friends, but I knew that open spaces and fresh air were exactly what I needed. So a little over a year ago Julia and I headed upstate to Ulster County to look at houses. We ended up falling in love with the last house we saw on our first day of looking and made an offer the next day. We moved early in December and I haven’t looked back since. Ulster County has been such an incredibly welcoming place to live and each season brings something incredible, and another reason to fall in love with this beautiful place.
Located 2 hours north of NYC, Ulster County is home to 20 towns, 3 villages and dozens of tiny hamlets that make up just over 1000 square miles. This area felt like home to me immediately because it reminds me of the diverse landscape I grew up with in Virginia. Ulster County has incredible mountains, lakes (including my favorite Sky Lake), rivers, farm land, wine county, river views and much, much more. From climbing in the Shawangunk Range to hiking in the Mohonk Preserve to kayaking on the Rondout, there are no shortage of ways to get your fix of outdoor life up here. But if you’re like me and enjoy indoor life as much as the outside, I’ve rounded up my favorite places to eat, stay, shop and visit if you’re in the area. In such a huge area it’s impossible to cover everything, but these are the places I personally love and visit on a regular basis now that we call this gorgeous county our home. Thanks so much to everyone who has made us feel so at home here. xo, grace
Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg