Image Credit: Courtesy of Urban Cowboy Lodge

A Betchy Guide To Scribner's Lodge And Urban Cowboy Lodge In The Catskills

Living in New York has its peaks and its pits — the peaks being the ever-elusive “endless possibilities” and a bodega with your fave comfort bagel on every street corner, and the pits being… well, pretty much everything else. (I’m kidding but also I’m not.) But your “dream” fashion job can’t always make up for the R train ruining every day of your life. And try as it might, even the best everything bagel with scallion cream cheese can’t always compensate for your rando roommate’s fifth-day dishes stinking up your 6th-floor closet walkup. In those moments, the best solution is to GTFO for a little while. In my experience, a short-and-sweet lil stay in the mountains in upstate New York is all you need to feel ready to walk the 10 blocks back to your apartment after fighting for your life in Trader Joe’s once again. 

Now, it’s important to note that upstate New York is vast with seemingly endless small towns offering opportunities for rest, relaxation, shopping, seasonal activities, and more. But unless you have a car and five-plus hours to sit in it, not all of upstate is a truly “easy” escape. This is why the towns in and around New York’s Catskill Mountains tend to be the average city-dweller’s first options: They’re relatively quick and easy to get to, so your whole weekend isn’t reduced to a long-ass car ride. 

After several years spent living and working in NYC — and thus having spent my fair share of weekends escaping to the Catskills when I can — I’ve learned that most of the upstate mountain towns and their accommodations come with their own unique charm, and the best experience for you really depends on the vibe you’re after. If you have the means to, and you’re itching to throw your credit card down for an upstate New York getaway, consider the below options if the vibe you want boils down to two words: fucking immaculate.

Stay: Scribner’s Catskill Lodge

City: Hunter, NY

Time from NYC: ~2.5 hours by car, ~3 hours by train and taxi

Vibe: “My whole Pinterest is variations of the ‘clean girl aesthetic,’ and I want to cosplay as someone who has a maxed-out 401K and a brokerage account.”

Scribner's Lodge
Image Credit: Courtesy of Scribner's Lodge/Read McKendree

Located just off Main Street in Hunter, NY, the Scribner’s Catskill Lodge property is sprawling and perfectly placed with a breathtaking view of the slopes on Hunter Mountain. (Looking at you, skiers and aprés ski lovers alike, given a pub and a beer hall are waiting for you not far from the bottom of the slopes.) 

My first thought walking into the lobby of Scribner’s Catskill Lodge was “Holy shit, I’m not cool enough to be here,” despite the lodge staff treating me like the opposite. And my second thought was, “OMFG, a dog bowl! This place is pet-friendly! Why didn’t I bring my dog???!!?” After marveling at the sky-high ceilings of the lobby, your eyes are drawn to the lodge’s library, a cozy, central gathering space lined with books and board games and dotted with tables and sofas around an enormous circular fireplace that probably costs more than five of my paychecks. The decor screams (or, uh, whispers) rustic quiet luxury, with stunning wood paneling, local art, and vintage touches that expertly blend the property’s storied history with a cozy, modern, clean design. Put simply, your richest friend’s parents’ lake house could never.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Scribner's Lodge/Read McKendree

The lodge itself boasts 38 guest rooms that sleep between two to four people, as well as suites that can accommodate even more. My girlfriend and I stayed in the Summit King Loft (aptly named considering we both walked in and felt like King Charles if he were younger and hotter) which features an extremely spacious living area, a luxurious bathroom with terra-cotta tiles, and a lofted sleeping area with a plush king bed. The decor is similarly cozy and minimal, complete with in-room fireplaces to keep the warm cabin vibes going and private terraces with views of the mountains and grounds. 

Newly built and only just launched at the top of 2024, the next iteration of Scribner’s Catskill Lodge is The Rounds, a community of 11 luxury and — you guessed it — round cabins nestled on a sprawling plot of land behind the main lodge and backing up against the area’s tranquil, undeveloped forest. While we didn’t stay in The Rounds as they’d yet to launch, we got a sneak peek of the development, and between the luxe finishes and outdoor soaking tubs, let’s just say The Rounds are the perfect size for your next bach trip.  

scribners lodge
Image Credit: Courtesy of Scribner's Lodge/Read McKendree

If you can bear to leave the coziness of your room (best of luck to you), you’ll be glad you did when you taste the most perfect sweet potatoes you’ve ever eaten at Prospect, Scribner’s light and airy bar and restaurant, open for breakfast and dinner, brunch on the weekends, and aprés ski on Saturdays. After breakfast, you can take your pick of the lodge’s activities, from a yoga class at The Studio to a little “glice” skating or a dip in the pool during winter months. If there’s one thing you have to do before leaving, it’s sweat out your bodily fluids and aprés ski libations in the year-round barrel sauna.      

Stay: Urban Cowboy Lodge

City: Big Indian, NY

Time from NYC: ~2.5 hours by car

Vibe: “I want to spend the day in a big-ole bathtub, and also, I spent way too much money on fancy cowboy boots I’ve worn twice and I need a place to wear them again.”

Image Credit: Urban Cowboy

Before visiting, I didn’t really know what to expect from a place called Urban Cowboy Lodge. (Free bolo ties? A 24/7 rodeo? Beyoncé performing “Texas Hold ‘Em” live???) Sadly, there’s no Beyoncé residency, but UC makes up for it and then some with pure charm, friendly staff, and enough Instagrammable moments to last you a year. Sitting right in the heart of the Catskills, the lodge boasts ample grounds with a variety of accommodations, each with more character and attention to detail than the next.

Our stay started in the main lodge, where the first sight you see is the lodge bar bookended by two floor-to-ceiling trees, whose branches twist and turn onto the ceiling; it’s like the adult treehouse you never had but always wanted, fully stocked with all the liquor you could ever want. The lobby opens to a great common room, where inviting leather couches, rustic decor, and a truly baffling amount of Pendleton print (just wait) surround a magnificent stone fireplace.

Urban_Cowboy_Catskills_June_2020_Interiors_LowRes-12 (1)
Image Credit: Urban Cowboy

If you can believe it, better things await you outside of the lodge’s main floor, like, IDK, some of the most memorable accommodations you’ve ever experienced? On the property, there are five buildings housing guest rooms, all of which cater to the girlies out there who want to slip into a gorgeous, deep, clawfoot tub filled with scalding hot water and try to forget the crushing weight of being alive as the first layer of your skin burns off. The Alpine and Walden buildings feature individual guest rooms, with each room of the former offering an indoor clawfoot soaking tub and rooms of the latter offering private decks with outdoor Japanese cedar soaking tubs (as well as pet-friendly rooms). The Cabin and The Chalet are sprawling standalone suites, offering a prime combo of luxury, privacy, and coziness. Finally, The Lodge spans the entire second floor of the main building, with six bedrooms (including a penthouse honeymoon suite), a private deck, a spacious common area, a wet bar, and an unforgettable view of the surrounding mountains. 

Image Credit: Urban Cowboy

I’d be remiss not to specifically call out the stunning designs of each accommodation on the property, which look as though the founder of Pendleton himself threw up on them, and I mean that in the best possible way. (No, really, I’m obsessed with them, and you will be, too.) Each room is uniquely designed and curated with thoughtful touches that speak to the history of the location. You’ll notice a bevy of different wallpaper designs (and willow branches, depending on the room) trailing up the walls and ceilings of each room, comfortably immersing you in the rustic environment and transporting you to a different time — one without cell service, mind you. (Calm down, the WiFi’s great.)   

We stayed in The Cabin, a 600-square-foot, open concept suite with what I can only describe as a king-sized cloud nine for sleeping on. (Oh, did I mention this suite sleeps three, as there’s a twin-sized bunk lofted above the main bed? Perfect for third-wheeling with your fave couple!!!) Spread out under the wood-paneled, vaulted ceilings and chandelier, there’s a table and chairs for eating and working, a comfy leather couch for lounging, a cast iron stove to keep you warm on cold nights, and a hammered copper clawfoot tub. After peeling myself out of the warmth of the bed, my girlfriend and I took a bottle of wine onto our private patio and found ourselves so relaxed, our wine completely disappeared. So weird!!

Image Credit: Urban Cowboy

When you’re finished exploring the grounds — there’s an old-fashioned swimming hole in the Esopus Creek on the grounds, excellent for a dip in the warmer months, or a cold plunge in the winter if you’re a masochist — do not pass up a reservation at Public House for dinner. And definitely do not pass up at nightcap downstairs at The Parlor bar, where I could only watch in awe as my girlfriend won bingo and immediately crushed two tequila shots. If this is how urban cowboys live, then sign me up for the fucking rodeo.

Katie Corvino
Katie Corvino
Katie Corvino (she/her) is the VP of Editorial at Betches. She first gained recognition after wearing a thong on her head at Coachella in the name of fashion. She's also known very well in the medical space as her therapist's favorite patient. If you are reading this, Leslie, she is fine. Her crippling anxiety is gone. She is cured and totally OK.