Love Letter

Forget Airbnb. This Is the Best Way to Book Your Dream Home Rental in Upstate NY

by Daniel Schwartz
7 7 Miles to Kingston, Marbletown, New York. All photos courtesy of Red Cottage Inc.

NEW YORK – When it comes to planning a weekend in Upstate New York, there are plenty of sites to scour for places to stay. (Airbnb is just the beginning.) But when it comes to booking a one-of-a-kind house for a special occasion, there’s one site you should check before the rest: Red Cottage Inc., a vacation rental company with a collection of welcoming homes throughout the Catskills and Hudson Valley.

These aren’t your average cabins. Homes range from rustic cottages and fairytale farmhouses to architect-designed hideaways and sprawling estates with serious acreage. Most homes can accommodate between five and seven people, though some are better for couples and others for larger groups and families. Many are totally decked out, with outdoor pools, firepits, hot tubs, fairy lights, fireplaces, gas grills, and gazebos ready for backyard BBQs, dinner parties, and afternoon hangs. This being bucolic New York, some even have streams, fishing ponds, and lakes — with decks, canoes and kayaks, and plenty of camp-y charm.

Brookside Manor. Photos by Daniel Schwartz.

But what sets these rentals apart from the majority on Airbnb — aside from the fact that they are rigorously vetted, ensuring renters won’t get any ugly surprises when they turn up — are the interiors. They're beautiful. Each home has its own style dictated by the owners' design, and these homeowners have impeccable taste. Some spaces look like trendy hotel suites — with swish mid-century modern furnishings, tons of plants and vinyl, and floor-to-ceiling windows — while others impress with design elements typical of the historic homes of the area, like original stone fireplaces, oil paintings on the walls, and loads of vintage furniture.

On a recent weekend in the Catskills, I checked out three Red Cottage properties. Brookside Manor is a family-friendly, four-bedroom, Martha Stewart-esque house with a dreamy master bathroom, a stone fireplace, and a spacious kitchen near Livingston Manor. Hubert House is a cool boho crash pad with dark leather couches, a hot tub, and one hell of a backyard near Jeffersonville. Blue Quill Cabin is a small, light-filled home on the banks of the Neversink River owned and designed by Red Cottage founder and local real estate agent Jennifer Grimes, who, appropriately (and charmingly), lives in her own little red cottage down the road.

Hubert House. Photos by Daniel Schwartz.
Blue Quill Cabin. Photos by Daniel Schwartz.

Though houses come equipped with almost everything a weekender could desire — the only thing missing are groceries, which you should buy before you arrive, especially when checking in around dinner time, as houses tend to be a bit removed from towns — they’re not necessarily the best fit for every occasion. Price-conscious travelers may be better off with a bargain on Airbnb, while couples looking for quaint weekends may find some of these properties a bit excessive. But for groups of friends and families, especially those looking to make use of the extra space for special events, holidays, or get togethers, these houses are some of the finest we've found.

Take a look at a few more great options:


Saugerties, New York

The Barn

Youngsville, New York

Vic at Spring Hill Farm

Kinderhook, New York

7 Miles to Kingston

Marbletown, New York

Heinle Hideout

Swan Lake, New York

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We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.