Travel | New Paltz, New York

Monday, October 9, 2017

"Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures..."- Lewis Carroll

New Paltz is a lovely mountain town located in upstate New York and is about 45 minutes away from Woodstock. The town has a main street, lined with restaurants and local stores. It is a very vegan-friendly area with a wide array of cuisines for all preferences. The town is perfect for exploring, and has various hiking trails, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities to enjoy.

In July, Dayv and I spent two nights in New Paltz before a longer vacation in Big Indian, New York. It was a wonderful experience and I hope we have another opportunity to spend more time there in the future.


Commissary! | Commissary! is a vegan cafe located in the heart of New Paltz, New York. The food selection is limited with a chalkboard menu. You order at the counter and get your own water, utensils, and napkins in the back of the establishment. The seating consists of long wood tables with benches. The vibe is very much one of a community gathering and I can imagine Commissary! hosting events, with attendees sitting together and discussing relevant topics. There are also local products, such as jams and spreads, available to purchase, along with a wide variety of vegan cookbooks.

When we arrived, I asked about the gluten-free options. It was a little confusing, since the employee was listing items off the top of her head rather than pointing them out on a menu. However, I ordered the beans + greens and the beet salad. Dayv ordered the mac + cheese casserole. You order via a screen, which automatically prompts you to tip.

We took our seats and waited for our food to be placed on the pickup counter. My food was ready first. The beans + greens were topped with shaved cashew cheese, which created an amazing juxtaposition of the bitter greens and creamy chesse. Although the serving was on the smallish side, it was satisfying and absolutely delicious; I savored every bite. The beet salad was very refreshing with its shaved fennel to create a unique, multidimensional flavor. I love beets, but they need balance in a meal, otherwise they taste like dirt. This salad brought out the flavor perfectly.

Dayv's mac + cheese casserole arrived steaming hot. It was also topped with shaved cashew cheese. The contents looked deceivingly modest and was incredibly filling. Since Dayv is vegetarian, not vegan, he is a very harsh critic of vegan cheese. He was not overly impressed with the casserole, but nearly finished it. However, I have read tons of reviews from individuals raving that this mac + cheese is the best they ever had; I think it comes down to preferences.

Overall, I really enjoyed Commissary! and would visit again to try some of their other gluten-free options. 


Karma Road | Karma Road is a vegan deli located on New Paltz's main street. There are a wide variety of menu items available as well as a deli counter filled with salads, sides, veggie burgers, and even gluten-free pizza. Although the majority of the menu items were gluten-free, I opted for the Kalecado kale salad. Dayv got a the veggie burger. He asked if they could put pickles on it, too, but the employee said they didn't have pickles. The payment was made via a screen, which prompted us to tip.

Karma Road is small and has very limited seating, so it is best to take your food to go. However, we found a small table towards the front of the deli and sat there, even though it still had crumbs on it from the previous guests. Another issue with the deli is that there is no bathroom available for patrons.

Since we arrived at lunch time, the place was packed, including a group of very loud teenage boys sitting/standing directly next to us. Our food took about 10-15 minutes to arrive. Although my salad was delicious, I was a bit disappointed in its size. I was also hoping that it would be topped with cut up avocado, but the avocado is completely mashed to make the dressing. Dayv's veggie burger came on slices of toasted bread, which he preferred. It also included a side of coleslaw, which he did not eat. 

I would definitely go back to Karma Road, but have the food packed up to go. I love the freshly prepared dishes, wide variety of menu items, and super friendly staff. 


Huckleberry | Dayv and I decided to come to this bar/restaurant because we were attracted to its vibe and outdoor seating. Although this establishment serves traditional burgers, they do have a white bean quinoa burger, which Dayv ordered. I ordered two salads as my meal- the summer salad and the hummus and vegetable platter. I really appreciated that all of the vegan and gluten-free items are clearly marked on the menu.

Our food arrived quickly, considering it was a packed Sunday evening. Although my salads were not aesthetically pleasing (which is why I do not have photos to share), they were so delicious. The summer salad included orange segments and was generously topped with lightly toasted walnuts. The hummus and vegetable platter was very simple. It arrived with two types of hummus, traditional chickpea and edamame, in little serving bowls on one side. The other side had a pile of cut up carrots and celery to dip. The chickpea hummus was so flavorful, creamy, and not oily at all (I don't like when hummus is oily). The edamame hummus was a little grainy and lacked flavor. I finished the chickpea, but not the edamame hummus. 

Dayv's veggie burger was a bit too spicy for his tastebuds. Luckily, his meal came with a large portion of hand cut fries, housemade ketchup, and rosemary parmesan + roasted garlic mayo. Dayv's a sucker for dips and raved about this part of his meal.

Although the vegan and gluten-free options are very limited, I genuinely loved my salads and would go back. I loved that our food was prepared quickly and everything tasted very fresh. I also appreciated how attentive our server was and that she refilled my club soda about 10 times. The private outdoor seating is also very inviting and lovely.



Minnewaska State Park | New Paltz is packed to the brim with outdoor hiking and biking trails. We opted for Minnewaska State Park because it was about 15 minutes away from our lodge and only cost $10, which is the price per vehicle to park. There are several different trails to choose from, depending on your preference. Originally, we were planning on completing the seven mile loop around the lake, but eventually decided to head back after reaching the water's edge.

The hike itself is really lovely and challenging, as there was one very large incline along with other smaller ones. There was no signage, which made it very difficult to know how far we had gone and had far we'd have to go to reach the lake. We did have a map that the parking lot attendant had given us, but it was extremely basic and not helpful at all. Luckily, Dayv wore his FitBit, which helped gage our distance.

Once we conquered the huge incline and made it to the lake, we decided to head back rather than continue on with the loop around the lake. It was getting hot and the three miles up to the lake was more challenging and took longer than anticipated. Luckily, the way back down was a lot easier. 

Our overall trek was about six miles and satisfied my desire to go hiking during our trip. We make two animal friends along the way. The duck at the lake, who was not afraid of us at all, and a rattlesnake that was on the trail on our way back. We didn't get too close, though.

Since New Paltz has so many places to hike, I think I would opt for another location next time. The lack of signage was very frustrating. Additionally, the area we walked was not particularly scenic compared to others in the area.


Minnewaska Lodge | Dayv chose this lodge when planning our vacation because of its positive reviews on Yelp and the amenities included in the stay. We were originally planning on staying at a Bed and Breakfast, but were turned off by the thought of sharing a bathroom. We also were planning on going out to eat for lunch and dinner, and did not think it was necessary to eat a gourmet breakfast in the morning. The location of Minnewaska Lodge was also perfect, as it is only about 10-15 minutes away from New Paltz's main street.

When we pulled up to the location, we were blown away by the gorgeous surroundings. The driveway is a bit hidden and steep, but leads directly up to the lodge. There is a very small parking lot next to the entrance, which is perfect when unloading and loading your car. A little way further down the driveway, closer to the street, is a much larger parking lot. The main entrance is open concept with a front desk, cozy seating, and a little snack station with fresh baked goods, a pitcher filled with the daily beverage, and ziplock bags filled with s'more ingredients. Behind the main entryway is a dining room, which is also the location of the continental breakfast. It is furnished with tables, chairs, couches, and armchairs. The dining area also has a coffee and tea station, which is open all day. The back wall contains doors that open onto a deck, which also has seating. The sprawling back yard has chairs, two small fire pits, and is lined with trees. Our room was very clean and contained a king sized bed, small desk and chair, and an arm chair. The bathroom had a bathtub and was also very clean.

I love fire pits and was eager to go down after 8pm, when the woman at the front desk said they were lit. When we got down there, the one fire pit had a small group sitting around it. We sat at the other one, which had a ton of empty alcohol containers around the ledge. We waited for about 15 minutes and then went inside at 8:15 when the fire pits were still unlit.

The continental breakfast had a variety of cereals, baked goods, and breads. There was also a fruit salad, which had cheese cubes in the center of it, as well as pieces of fruit. Luckily, I brought Larabars and ate one with an apple every morning. Oddly enough, they did not have bananas. I did not have any of the fruit salad as it was contaminated with cheese.

My favorite aspects of Minnewaska Lodge were its picturesque location, mountain house aesthetic, super nice staff, and very clean rooms, bathrooms, and eating areas. I was disappointed that the fire pit was not lit at the time specified and the fact that the one we were sitting around was littered with alcohol containers. The continental breakfast was not very vegan friendly, and I was bummed no bananas were available and the fruit salad had cheese cubes in it. However, Dayv enjoyed the bagels, fruit, juice, and muffins.

I would definitely go back to Minnewaska Lodge and highly recommend it.



  1. Your trip sounds like a wonderful adventure! The pictures of the lake are beautiful!


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