Summer Road Trip – The Catskills and New York City

by PhillyMama

Abby was a great sport on our 1000+ mile road trip!

Steve, Abby, and I took a family road trip last week while Zoe was away at Space Camp.  Along the way, we hit Hanover, PA; Gettysburg, PA; Charlottesville, VA; and Hershey, PA.  After visiting a bunch of cute towns, we decided to head out into the countryside and kick back to relax.  Our choice?  Roxbury, New York, a tiny outpost in New York State’s Catskills Mountains.

In part, we decided on Roxbury because it’s close to the country’s highest zipline tour, and Abby loves ziplining (more on that in a minute).  But there are any number of towns in that general area – the big draw for Roxbury was really this totally cool renovated motel, The (you guessed it) Roxbury.

The Roxbury Motel

“Motel” is really a misnomer here.  Yes, you can drive right up to your room, but after that, the comparisons fall apart.  That’s in part because the Roxbury, which recently completed a new wing and spa addition, marries the vintage nostalgia of roadside motels with contemporary, design-centric style. In contrast to the typical inns and hotels along the charming scenic byways common to the area, The Roxbury is anything but charming.  It is high-style, hip, and edgy; it is witty, elegant, and fun.  Its crisp white architecture is strongly accented with generous dashes of lime green, and its rooms are inspired by films and television of the 1960s and ‘70s – from Charlie’s Angels to The Jetsons.

The living room in our "Genie's Bottle" suite

Our room made us giggle from the minute we walked in; decorated in an I Dream of Jeannie theme, it sparkled with pink and gold everywhere we looked.  The window treatments were constructed to look like crowns, the kitchen sported genie slipper salt and pepper shakers, and the giant bathroom had a deep, round tub and pink sparkly tiles.  The family room was full of shiny satin pillows, and each of the two bedrooms had beds topped with chiffon netting.  Abby wasn’t sure at first whether she should take it seriously; when we explained that this was kitsch in its highest form, though, she got as big a kick out of it as we did.

The "Genie's Bottle" suite bathroom

This tub was, well, magical!

It was a good thing our room was such a cozy cave; the weather just would not cooperate.  Flash flood warnings kept scrolling across the TV screen, and the rain seemed to come down harder every hour.  Although we were looking forward to a canopy tour with New York Zipline Adventures and an afternoon hike, we ended up settling down on the snazzy loveseats in our suite in the provided micro-chenille robes, cuddling, and watching Deadliest Catch for hours (nothing like a show about crabbing in the Bering Sea to make you grateful for a rainy day in a hotel suite in the Catskills).  Yes, we would have liked to sit on the wide lawn by the river and try out the firepit, but we didn’t really miss it.  In fact, I’m pretty much convinced that every family vacation should have a rain day, when everyone just has to hang out together,  do some serious bonding, and watch some movie you’ve seen a million times (in our case, The Princess Bride).

After 48 hours of watching the rain come down, we knew we had to head home.  Still, we had to make a couple more stops along the way.

We’d heard so much about Brooks Barbecue, just down the road in Oneonta, that we had to take a detour to give their barbecued chicken a try.  It was good, yes, but even better than the food?  The awesome décor – check out these photos of the vintage signs that still draw visitors in.

Heading home through New York City, Abby was getting restless.  Yes, she’d been a great sport through twenty hours of driving over the course of the week, but she was still bummed about missing the ziplining (we’re heading back to the Catskills to do that soon, I promise!).  Of course, it was still raining, so that seriously limited our leg-stretching options:  no Central Park stroll for us.

The cool, kick back seats at our lane at Lucky Strike

Lucky for us, we ended up at Lucky Strike (Hah!  Good pun!), a Midtown upscale bowling alley with comfy couches, silly graphics on the score screens, and a full-fledged bar and appetizer menu.

Abby creamed us at bowling.

Thanks only in part to the gutter bumpers she got to use, Abby creamed us, breaking 100 in each of two games (I came really close in one . . .).  She then slept the whole way home in the Prius.

A week on the road, 1038 miles, twenty hours in a Prius with a ten year-old.  Sounds like a nightmare to some, I’m sure.  But the adventure of exploring a radius of about five hours from our Philadelphia home was perfect for the three of us.  We saw everything from a Civil War battlefield to an I Dream of Jeannie lair; we spent at least ten hours singing show tunes; and we figured out that having a great family vacation doesn’t mean you have to get on a jet plane and fly to parts unknown.  Will we do it again?   Well, maybe next year  . . .

Lisa McElroy is a law professor and freelance writer. She lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband, her two tween daughters, and her three dogs.
PhillyMama
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jacqui MacNeill (Escents Aromatherapy Essential Oils) July 19, 2011 at

What an amazing place to stay! Very different from the places people usually stay. A great inspiration! Must have been a wonderful bonding experience with your family. Thanks for sharing!

2 Caroline July 26, 2011 at

love your article, my daughter wants to stay at the genie room. Thanks for sharing

3 Stephanie July 27, 2011 at

You guys were traveling through my neck of the woods…I live in Hanover and work in Gettysburg, but I love Hershey most of all…next time you must stop in for a visit at the Chocolate Spa at the Hotel Hershey. I stayed at the Roxbury Motel in the Austin Powers suite about five years ago and am jonesin’ to go back to see the new rooms…

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