The drive from New York to the Catskills Mountains is a beautifully scenic journey. It takes under three hours non-stop but it is well worth stopping at the smaller towns. I also recommend driving on the highways and not the interstate. This is what I did and the road took me through some beautiful forests and towns on the way to Phoenicia.
I drove on the I-87 until the junction with Highway 6. From here I carried on the narrower country roads, which are slower but far more scenic.
I decided to drive almost non-stop so I can walk in the forests near Phoenicia. The Catskills are an amazing mountain range and the autumn brings out the most beautiful colours in the forests (watch the video below to see it for yourself).
Unfortunately I didn’t listen to the old guy from the Panera store in Connecticut and drove faster than the speed limit. There was a slow git in front of me and I decided to overtake at a comfortable speed.
The next thing I realized was that a police car was chasing me down the highway with the sirens on. I slowed down and looked at the policeman, sort of asking if he was after me. He told me to get off the road.
I pulled over to the side of the road and waited for him to come to the door.
“I stopped you because you were doing 85mph in a 55mph zone…” said the policeman.
“I am sorry but I think it was closer to 70,” said I…
He took my drivers license and the car documents and went back to his car. A few minutes later he came back, picked off a few leaves from my windscreen, checked the tyres and told me I could be on my way. What a nice guy! I honestly don’t understand why everyone is going on about police brutality and racism. I’ve never had a bad experience with police in the US.
The Best Pizza in the Catskills
Soon after the encounter with the police I arrived in Phoenicia. The Catskill Mountaineer website provides a lot of useful data and maps, which is what I used to plan my trip. After the walk I went back to Phoenicia to have lunch. Phoenicia is a small town but it is crammed with good restaurants.
I picked the Sportsman Alamo Cantina as it was the busiest of them all. They have a wood burner oven to bake their own, freshly made pizzas! I had their specialty, the chicken and broccoli pizza – it was delicious!
I left Phoenicia around 3pm and it was still sunny but by the time I arrived in Ithaca it got dark. Ithaca is famous for its gorges and waterfalls and many tourists stop here due to its proximity to the Niagara Falls. It also happens to be a busy student town at the intersection of six major roads.
According to the American Institute of Economic Research Ithaca is the best destination for students in the US. It was certainly a very nice place and brought back many memories of my time as a student in the US. Ithaca is home to both Cornell University and Ithaca College and is full of rich kids.
Unfortunately I couldn’t take any good photographs so I have downloaded the below images from the internet. The map on the right shows where the best waterfalls are.
The Econo Lodge in Canandaigua
By this time I accumulated enough points to book a night for free at a Choice Hotel. I had an app so I set the radius to 60 miles and found the Canandaigua Econo Lodge at 6,000 points.
It was probably the best Econo Lodges I’ve stayed in with two large flat screen TVs and a separate living room. Since it was pouring outside and I had a Subway already I just stayed inside watching TV.
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