14 Upstate New York Retreats Perfect for Beating the City Heat

14 Upstate New York Retreats Perfect for Beating the City Heat

From converted barns to modern cabins, each offers a different take on a scenic country escape.

Chock full of history, culture, and natural beauty, vacationing New Yorkers have been flocking to the Hudson Valley and Catskills for decades. By day time, people can enjoy quaint restaurants and atmospheric hikes; by night, calm, starry skies set the mood for fire pit hang outs with s'mores. Easily reached by car, bus, or Metro-North train from NYC, this idyllic region nurtures and impresses in all seasons—summertime swimming holes, fireside winter Scrabble sessions—equally. Below, we share some of the cabins, chalets, and barns found on Airbnb, a mix of rustic and wood-clad and crisp and minimalist, that heighten these laid-back explorations. 

Mountain-View Log Cabin

8 guests / $245 per night

Hang out underneath the vaulted ceiling of this stone-and-timber hideaway situated in the woodlands of Fleischmanns, a tiny village not far from Belleayre Mountain Ski Center. Artful textiles from northern Argentina spruce up the open-plan living and dining area, where walls covered in knotty pine call to mind après-ski festivities. To best appreciate the much-needed silence, take to the sitting-room loft, wraparound deck, or clawfoot bathtub.

Bright, Breezy Barn

5 guests / $336 per night

Beyond its sliding doors, this storybook barn in Gallatin is airy and filled with natural light, courtesy of old, quirky window sashes. Original wood from the vast, open structure—privacy awaits in the reading nook—has been re-imagined and bolstered by throw rugs and glamorous chandeliers. With views onto the pastoral meadow, alfresco grilling feasts around the deck’s hand-made black locust table are bound to become a nightly occurrence.

Chic Riverfront Cabin

6 guests / $354 per night

Poughkeepsie’s joys include Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge connecting the city to Highland on the west bank, as well as a booming craft-beer scene. This contemporary cottage is just the place to settle in to revel in it all. Scandinavian design simplicity juxtaposes more homey touches like plants and a wall shelf filled with colorful games and books. Roomy tables, found both indoors and out, invite plenty of farm-fresh meals upon returning from Wappinger Creek and a stroll through the landscaped gardens.

Summer Camp Days-Reminiscent Barn

6 guests / $356 per night

Alternate between clawfoot tub baths and outdoor shower spritzes at this revamped Tivoli barn. Across its three levels there are such splendid details as a piano, daybed, hanging chairs, and a staircase flaunting a brass pipe railing. Do take the time, though, to wander the surrounding four acres, dotted with a stream, meditation platform, and s’mores-perfect fire pit. Days can easily be jammed with creekside jaunts, picnics on the "no-swimming" pond’s cedar table, and hammock naps. 

Serene Lakeside Cabin

6 guests / $195 per person

In Pawling, close to wineries and the Appalachian Trail, this is a prime place, complete with porch swing, to unwind in between tastings and recreational adventures. Adorned with beams, it oozes a decidedly attractive country charm. A cherry red leather armchair, for instance, meshes brilliantly with a stone wall and a log coffee table, and bench seating and a piano give the old-timey kitchen character.  

Scandinavian Barn with Catskill Views 

4 Guests / $305 per night 

FACE Stockholm founder Gun Nowak is the host of this one-time neglected horse barn dating from the 1900s, and like her cosmetics line, its interior is fresh and simple. In contrast with the striking wood beams, it’s awash in white—buoyed by natural light that pours through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows—and strewn with antiques and elegant furniture including a centerpiece kitchen display table and chaise lounge in the sleeping loft. Germantown’s Main Street is nearby, an urban counterpoint to the barn's 14 acres of open fields that encompass walking paths, a garden, and private swimming pond.

Sleep in a 1940s Cottage

2 guests / $184 per night

This idyllic deep red-and-white cabin and its fitting woodsy yard is as funky as its Woodstock location. Even when warm weather makes the dramatic stone fireplace moot, it adds personality to the living room, which stands out for its cheerful hues and retro armchairs. Artwork and old-school touches, like the original kitchen door’s drop-down window, create visual interest throughout the abode, but little can compete with the mountains, framed through the expansive windows. They keep the outdoors near long after leaving the porch.

Chalet with Scandinavian Vibes

2 guests / $375 per night

Hygge is indeed a year-round mood at this secluded yet fashionable cabin on the Shawangunk Mountains in Cragsmoor. An icy palette and concrete floors are warmed by the wood-paneled cathedral ceilings, as well as tactile rugs and pillows, and such pieces as a live-edge coffee table, an earthy soaring ladder with blankets draped over its rungs, and a rocking chair. Large windows, framed in light wood, amplify mountain views that are best relished out back, by the fire pit. 

Saltbox Cabin with Midcentury Flair

4 guests / $327 per night

With a record playing in the background, gaze at bluestone boulders from the couch, then revive with a coffee made in the marble counter-topped galley kitchen at this post and beam saltbox cabin in Bearsville. It embraces an open-plan, loft-living layout, but contemplative moments abound—at the writing nook, on the glassed-in porch or sprawling deck, and in the beds enveloped by canvas "walls." Reward visits to Cooper Lake and the Mink Hollow hiking trail with a snooze on the central hammock, a Noguchi light fixture above.

Comfy Mountain Cabin 

2 Guests / $345 per night 

Transplanted designers from NYC, the hosts have clearly put a lot of thought into furnishing this Kerhonkson cabin with features such as a snug eating and working nook, a floating bed concealed behind a curtain, a commodious glass-enclosed shower, and an upholstered front-porch swing. Its most remarkable attribute, however, is that it overlooks Mombaccus Mountain, best viewed from the umbrella-shaded deck past the sliding glass doors or the sofa in the shadow of the fuss-free propane fireplace. 

Cabin by the Creek

2 Guests / $185 per night

Given its location directly on Esopus Creek, much time at this Phoenicia cabin will surely be devoted to the outdoors, whether on the Adirondack chairs by the fire pit, gorging on grilled goods at the picnic table, or sipping tea on the bedroom deck. The muted interior is just as tranquil. Read on the rocking chair or listen to the Crosley record player. If traveling with friends in tow is the wish, see if the neighboring cabin, with a lovely smattering of tiles in the kitchen, is available as well. Meditative sounds of rushing water fill them both. 

Sleep in a Container Cabin

2 guests / $200 per night

For an unconventional immersion into nature, look no further than this compact 20-foot shipping container-turned cabin in Saugerties. Set against a backdrop of mountains, it’s designed to engage with the outdoors, what with the hammock, nostalgic horseshoe pit, and yoga platform. There’s only a sofa bed, a cooler instead of a full-on fridge, and a foot pump to generate water in the slate sink, but a writing desk, record player, Swedish wood-burning stove, and pine-paneled bathroom—albeit housed in a separate building 40 feet away—all give it a luxe sheen. Guests seeking more space should scope out the 40-foot sibling container on the opposite side of the property.   

Eye-Catching A-frame Cabin

6 guests / $281 per night

Brooklyn-based designers are the hosts behind this beautifully preserved 1968 A-frame cabin on six acres of unspoiled land in Milan, a short drive from Red Hook and Rhinebeck. Stocked with vintage Danish furniture and objects sourced from the owners’ travels, it has an alluring midcentury spirit melding wood, a stone-surround fireplace, and floor-to-ceiling windows with large swaths of sky blue and sunny yellow fixtures and furnishings. There is a picnic table for patio lunches and a fire pit that elevates evening aperitifs, but the home is at its dreamiest come morning, when sun streams into the loft bedroom. 

Spacious Kid-Friendly Chalet

6 guests / $250 per night

Minutes from the Windham Mountain resort (currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic), this wood-shrouded Maplecrest cabin has all the welcome trappings of a relaxing, rural weekend sanctuary: a grill for carefree barbecues, a front-porch swing, a quartet of Adirondack chairs gathered around a barrel table, and bunk beds that conjure childhood campgrounds. There’s also a brand-new kitchen with gleaming tiles to whip up meals that can be served in the dining room, accentuated by a pouf and black-and-white patterned seating. 



Get the Dwell Travel Newsletter

Start exploring far-flung design destinations, the newest boutique hotels, and well-designed bars and restaurants perfect for the modern jetsetter.