Woodstock: How a Hippie Village Got Hip

Leave the patchouli at home — there’s more here than counterculture lore.

woodstock new york things to do

A guest room at Foxfire Mountain House. | Photo: Arden Wray

The funny thing about Woodstock is that we all have some sort of relationship with the town, whether we’ve ever been or not. We’ve watched the movies; we’ve listened to the music. (PSA: The actual festival took place on a farm 60 miles away.) But Woodstock isn’t just a sanctuary for artists and freethinkers: Get out on the streets and you’ll find destination restaurants, cool vintage shops and delicious bakeries.

Distance from Philly: 4 hours.

Where to Stay

Foxfire Mountain House is kinda out there. Like, 15 minutes from downtown, at the end of a long road that winds up a mountain where GPS sometimes stops working. Be prepared to disconnect: There are no TVs, and service is spotty. Weekends at the lovely modern-farmhouse-style inn aren’t for staring at your phone, anyway; they’re for hiking, hammock-swinging, and Sunday-night BBQs on the back porch, illuminated by firewood and twinkly lights. From $175 per night.

Where to Eat

Silvia might be one of the most gorgeous restaurants on the planet, but you wouldn’t know it from the modest sign and ash gray exterior. Inside, however, it’s all white marble, velvet banquettes, and pretty plates that show off the kitchen’s eye for design and love of fire and char. The cocktails — get the radish and sage margarita — are artful but not fussy. Tinker Taco Lab is a different but equally enjoyable story. Here, families share plates of barbacoa tacos and pork tamales on outdoor picnic tables.

Places to Shop

You’ll hit your quota of stores selling incense and Grateful Dead tees at some point. When you do, move on to Pacama Handmade, a design studio that specializes in minimalist tables, chairs and cabinetry. For all you glampers out there, Shop Little House sells “supplies for modern pioneers”: durable quilts, pillows, leather-bound flasks and vintage barware.

Worth the Drive

The world’s largest kaleidoscope is — for whatever reason — at Emerson Resort & Spa in nearby Mount Tremper. Go there, play with all the many kinds of kaleidoscopes for sale at the country store, then pay $5 to lie underneath the 56-foot-long behemoth and have an immersive and trippy visual experience — sans drugs.

Published as a part of “Into the Valley” in the September 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.