In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, perched on a ridge of Appalachian bedrock, west of the Hudson River, the two super-natural beauty brands, Captain Blankenship and Meow Meow Tweet, are neighbors. The founders, Jana Blankenship and Tara Pelletier, became fast friends after being introduced by a common retail partner when Meow Meow Tweet relocated to the area. Below they tell us about their favorite spots in the part of the Hudson Valley they call home.
When We Want a Tasty Bite
Commissary is a vegan cafe in New Paltz that has an ever-changing locavore menu and inspired coffee and tea drinks. We often meet up there to talk shop and share a cheese and pickle plate. They also have an incredible zine library and a monthly music show that, as a rule, only features queer, POC and female bands.
Mountain Brauhaus is a traditional and amazingly kitschy German restaurant that sits with a dramatic view of the Shawangunk Ridge and serves local organic produce. They have a killer vegan burger and a typical, but top-notch, menu of charcuterie and drinks.
Westwind Orchard is one of the few organic apple orchards in the area with heaven-sent apples (and also delicious raspberries!). The large orchard is a great place to take the kids to pick fruit and then stay for a summer outdoor movie night. More reasons to fall in love with this place is their brick oven pizza, homemade cider and gift shop full of locally made gems.
When We Want to Shop
Lovefield Vintage on the main retail thoroughfare of Kingston not only has the best picks for clothes but they carry Captain Blankenship too!
We also love The Big Cheese (a quaint country cheese shop in Rosendale) for surprisingly great vintage finds.
For an energetic gift, stop into Tweefontein Crystal Shop and Herb Farm for crystals the size of your fist and tinctures galore.
Sweetpea in Stoneridge also has perfect last minute gifts made by local artisans.
We’re so lucky to live in such close proximity to most of our food. Tara’s favorite farm is Long Season Farm which offers a winter CSA packed with delicate, fresh greens deep into January. The farmers, Erin and Sam, concentrate most of their growing efforts to extend the growing season so that they can offer fresh produce all year round.
Jana loves Old Ford Farm in Gardiner for their Summer CSA, fresh eggs, raw milk, sauerkraut, maple syrup and amazing produce.
We’re both obsessed with the seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library, that produce many heirloom and open-pollinated seeds right on their farm in Accord.
Lastly, but certainly not least, the High Falls Food Co-op is our clubhouse for locally sourced produce, an incredible bulk section (think package-free tofu!) and local gossip.
Our go-to place for a hike and swim is the Peters Kill Trail in the Minnewaska State Park. The hike has dramatic, tectonic rock formations with water pools and falls to soak in. In late June, the trail is fragrant and snowy-looking with blooming mountain laurel as far as the eye can see.
For wildflower fields and giant rocks scramble to the Spring Farm trail in the Mohonk Preserve and the Flat Carriage trails for a run along the ridge.
*Photo of Mohonk Preserve by Michael Dimen.