Life in New York City is Go, Go, Go: people are rushing, deadlines are looming, noise pollution is everywhere. Unsurprisingly, New Yorkers love their weekends and the chance to relax and get away from it all. Actual unplugging is very difficult though: not only are we tethered to our various devices, but there is also the constant expectation of contact. Last year, a friend and I took our kids glamping at Stony Creek Farmstead where there is no cell signal, and wifi doesn’t reach the tents. We loved it so much that we decided to do it again this year and brought more friends (and our husbands) along for the adventure!
Stony Creek Farmstead is a working farm and glamping retreat owned and operated by Kate Marsigliano and family. The property is nestled deep in the Catskill Mountains, about 3 hours north of New York City and cell signal is lost a good 5-10 minutes before reaching the farm. Rolling up to the big red farmhouse, the air is crisp and clean; surrounded by nature, you park your car and walk over the bridge, past the cows and chickens to your tent in the woods. Stony Creek Farmstead has 6 identical army-sized canvas tents, each with a dining table that seats 6, a fully stocked kitchen with cold running water, two “bedrooms” (one has a queen bed the other a bunk) plus a double bed tucked into a “cupboard” (kids’ fave sleepover spot), and a flush toilet. No showers in the tents, but a shower house with warm water is onsite. You can cook on the indoor wood stove or outside on the hibachi grill. Unfortunately I was still traumatized by the wood stove last year (it took a solid hour to boil water for tea) so this time I brought a propane camping stove from home! Less time spent cooking = more time having fun IMO, but that’s just me; others prepared beautiful meals on their wood stoves/grills and enjoyed the experience. Meals are not included in the stay, but breakfast baskets or veggie baskets can be pre-ordered, and the farm store is stocked with their own fresh produce, eggs, milk, meat, homemade soup, quiche, pies etc., so you won’t go hungry. Kate makes the most delicious bread every morning, and Saturday is pizza night. The farm is also set up with a chicken coop where guests can collect freshly laid eggs in the morning.
Stony Creek Farmstead’s motto “let your kids run free range” basically sums up our weekend experience. Our group of five families arrived on a Friday evening, and the kids were so excited by their newfound freedom they didn’t get to sleep until after dusk (smores at the firepit and the promise of sleepovers with friends didn’t help!). There was lots of running around between tents in pajamas, using flashlights/headlamps and pretending to be ninjas and spies. We had 9 kids between us and the eldest were 7 years old. It was magical.
Saturday morning we collected warm eggs from the chicken coop and sang songs/danced to help the chickens along with their work. On the morning farm tour the kids traipsed through fields, fed lambs, saw the cows and pigs and caught a frog in a butterfly net. They also attempted to catch butterflies and had many, many adventures up the “Amazon river” (the creek that runs through the property). We had family fun time in the tent, did lots of hiking and played at the playground near the herb garden.
Saturday night was pizza night, where we made our our pizzas on the outdoor brick oven, roasted more marshmallows, had more sleepovers and saw a gorgeous sunset followed by a view of Venus in the night sky. Not only is there no wifi in the tents, there is no electricity either so at night we read by lantern light, chatted and went to bed early. It was a nice way to reconnect while in nature.
Sunday we somberly packed up, said goodbye to the animals, farmer Kate and our friends. Time flies when you are having fun, and it was sad to leave but we’ve already made plans to come back again. Until next year!
If You Go/Good to know:
- bring rainboots/water shoes for the creek
- bring extra blankets and warm slippers for the tent if you are staying over when the night temps fall below 60 F
- bring lanterns, flashlights or headlamps. It gets really dark!
- bring antihistamines if you suffer from seasonal allergies…you essentially live outdoors for 3 days
- mishaps happen: even off-grid in the Catskills, the owners have a landline and the nearest emergency room is only an 8 minute drive away (everyone is fine!)
- bring cash or a check to pay for items purchased at the farm store and for pizza night.