I grew up next door to an Irish Catholic cop from upstate New York. When Jay and I knew we’d be venturing to the northeast for the first time, we asked him for his recommendations. This stoic guy got a big grin on his face, and rattled off an incredible list of stops. At the end he said, “But really the best part about New York is all the small towns. Most of them have a brewery, so when you get somewhere new, just find the brewery and you’ll find yourself downtown with great food.”
On the first day of our month long stay on the Retrograss Farm, we followed our marching orders and looked up the closest brewery. It worked like a charm. Just ten minutes down the state highway, we found ourselves winding through idyllic pastoral scenes, across train tracks, and into the heart of Chatham, New York. Main Street was lined with brightly painted brick buildings framed with ornate moldings. The string of businesses were bookended on one side with a stately clock tower and on the other with Chatham Brewing.
Chatham Brewing, like the rest of the town, was in the full swing of fall. Warm chili, rich mac ‘n’ cheese, and autumn cider and beer made for a delicious lunch. Just outside the propped open doors, the town circle was decorated with pumpkins. After lunch, we strolled up and down Main Street. On the other side of the street, we discovered decadent pastries at a little shop called Our Daily Bread. In addition to their normal flour-based baked good, the shop also offered a variety of gluten-free goodies created with rice, buckwheat, and other whole grains. During our many trips to the cafe, we ordered the chocolate flourless cake, the focaccia, and blondie brownies again and again.
Chatham would breathe in and out each week with folks coming upstate from New York City on the weekends and returning during the week. The week we arrived was also the annual Film Columbia Festival, and the movie theatre was a revolving door of activity for a full week.
Undoubtedly the most impactful place in Chatham for me was Supersoul Yoga. I saw the store front after our first meal at Chatham Brewing and was back the next morning to sign up for a month-long membership. This yoga studio quickly became the cornerstone of my time in New York. Each day I would drive into town for one of the many classes in their calming, lavender-scented studio.
The most inspiring part of this studio is its community. It has an incredible collection of instructors, each with their own markedly distinct style. From Rosy’s beautiful music to Melissa’s breathing techniques, from Zoe’s precise guidance to Rachel’s contagious enthusiasm and warmth, its no wonder that Supersoul has attracted an equally incredible group of yoga students. From my first class to my last, I was greeted by everyone on nearby mats. The chatter before each class was heart-warming tribute to the community and connection this studio has cultivated. Each day, as I would drive back to our Airbnb, I was immensely grateful Chatham was just down the road. It allowed us to disappear for a month on a beautiful farm surrounded by goats and roosters and pigs while still feeling tethered to an incredible community. A fully-nomadic lifestyle may mean regularly shifting homes, but we expect Chatham will call us back for another stay in the not-too-distant future.