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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Celebrate Spring in Ulster County

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5. Oddball Day


Many animals freely roam the grounds at Catskill Animal Sanctuary.  

Take a break from being active to explore the best farms, butchers, cheesemakers and wineries in the region. Start out in Gardiner for coffee and freshly baked cider doughnuts ($2.99 for half a dozen) at Wrights Farm, which also sells a wide selection of bedding plants and hanging baskets. From there, meander along Rte. 9W where you can follow signs for the Meet Me in Marlborough Farm Trail, including stops where you can pick your own produce; alternatively, arrange a custom tour in advance with MMiM’s Sheila Mannese (845-616-7824). Be sure to stop at Overlook Farm, where you can purchase early crops like spinach, strawberries, and radishes. Next, make a stop at Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats (closed Sunday and Monday), which only carries meat from animals raised on strictly vegetarian diets on small, sustainable farms within 100 miles of its shop in Kingston. For lunch, check out the new B3 Burger, set in an Empire-era building with twelve-foot aged-copper ceilings and exposed brick walls, where the house specialty is a customized burger (from $8.95) starting with a veggie, beef, or fish patty. Then indulge your sweet tooth with hard-to-find goat-milk fudge ($15 per pound) at Acorn Hill Farmstead (call 845-800-4239 in advance to arrange a visit). Afterward, drive to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary to see previously neglected horses, sheep, cows, and goats freely roaming 110 acres; tours ($10) are offered every half-hour between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. starting in April. Follow that with a flight of wines at the Stoutridge Vineyard or Benmarl Winery on the Shawangunk Wine Trail. Drop your farm finds off at your hotel before winding down with dinner and evening entertainment. The best spot for live music near New Paltz is The Falcon (no cover charge, but donations welcome), an intimate venue that showcases jazz, rock, and blues Thursday–Sunday along with an eclectic range of dishes including pappardelle bolognese (made with pasta from La Bella Pasta in Kingston) and a curry coconut stew ($17) with vegetables from nearby farms.


Published on Mar 29, 2012 as a web exclusive.

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