On a snowy Friday afternoon in March, we check into Scribner's Catskill Lodge, at the foot of the white slopes of Hunter Mountain Resort in Upstate New York, for what promises to be the coziest weekend ever. The vast brick-paved lobby smells of fresh pine and cozy fireplaces—as it turns out, it's Scribner's signature scent, which can be purchased in candle form on site—a rich olfactory blend of nostalgia and complete relaxation. And yes, I bought the candle.
The women-only weekend, organized by Parachute and Madewell, promises a veritable feast of meals and activities: yarn weaving, meditation, s'mores roasting by the firepit, even cake decorating. In complete honesty, I have never tried any of these (I don't even eat cake, really).
Once checked in, all clad in our Madewell mountain resort–chic outfits and already feeling the stresses of city life dissipating, we walk down to Prospect, the lodge's restaurant, for a wine tasting happy hour. There are a few familiar faces and a lot of new ones, with one common thread: Everyone is young, smart, creative, and successful. Upon glancing at the people in the restaurant beyond our immediate group, I realize this is a common theme at Scribner's—as if the fulcrum of Brooklyn creatives have all descended on the Catskills for the weekend.
Scribner's is not your average upstate lodge featuring a hodgepodge of design styles. Entirely refurbished by creators of cool Studio Tack a few years back, it boasts oversize Noguchi lanterns, Borge Møgensen Hunter chairs, and assorted Pendleton blankets. The Parachute percale sheets are crisp and soft, the bespoke bath products are all-natural, and the wood-burning stoves are remote-controlled.
The bar's cocktail list is plentiful, with seasonal concoctions called Burn't Maple Old-Fashioned (nocino, burnt maple, nutmeg, bourbon), Beyond the Pines (a delicious blend of lapsang, scotch, ginger, honey, and lemon), and True North (akvavit, Applejack, poblano, reposado tequila). The library lounge's shelves are stocked with old novels, Cards Against Humanity, and (to the delight of nerdier types like me) Settlers of Catan.
The lodge's underground grotto (a hallmark of the '60s iteration of the lodge, then called Scribner's Hollow Motor Lodge) has been filled in and replaced with a room that hosts a range of local experiences: yoga classes, yarn weaving, meditation. Every inch of the space has been meticulously updated, yet the lodge feels deeply rooted in its '60s upstate New York origin.
I, for one, feel as though I've landed in a much cooler version of my family's country house in Canada (built in the same era), with my new, adopted New York family. For young creatives in Manhattan who can't afford a second residence and are too busy to get away every single weekend, this is the next best thing.
That Friday night, which each sip of natural wine or bite of hearty farm-to-table fare, our city stresses slowly melt away. The evening is punctuated with a live performance by local artist Eleanor Friedberger and, for the night owls in the group, a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity and red wine by the circular fireplace.
The rest of the weekend is peppered with similarly authentic (i.e., offline) activities. Despite the widespread free Wi-Fi, my relaxed mind has switched to better, more productive activities far away from the blue rays of my iPhone: yarn weaving, cake decorating, meditation, even sledding and snowshoeing. For an instant, I feel I've earned my Brooklyn hipster badge of honor. I also feel like time has slowed down—and time spent offline is turning me into a better, more present human.
If Scribner's is so popular among Manhattanites—prices skyrocket on busy long weekends—it's because the team there has tapped into our collective need for more present experiences and time enjoyed away from our phones. Everything at the lodge is set up to have better things to do than check your inbox for the 50th time. There are s'mores waiting to be roasted, a pool table ready to be used, craft cocktails ready to be imbibed—not to mention a menu of local experiences filling their calendar on weekends.
One does not need to fly to a digital detox in the middle of a jungle to disconnect—Scribner's will produce the same effect without ever having to lock your phone away. Yarn weaving has the same effect on the brain as adult coloring books—but with far more tangible results. Cake decorating is oddly meditative. Mark my words: After a few hours spent reading by the circular fireplace, hiking in the nearby woods, or sipping on a cocktail, you'll feel renewed. You may even want to take up permanent residence at the lodge—or at the very least return often.
Time to Get Away
Ed. note: This trip was paid for by Parachute and Madewell. All opinions are the editor's own.