This story originally featured on Travelandleisure.com.
Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Manhattan, The DeBruce, a cuisine-driven inn tucked inside the western Catskill Mountains, offers the kind of escape life in the fast lane occasionally requires.
The voyage to The DeBruce will swing you through Sullivan County, a breath of fresh air all its own. Sweeping country landscapes, mom and pop shops, and picturesque downtowns blossom like wildflowers along rustic roads, painting a picture of simpler times.
What makes The DeBruce such a special place is the seamless way it blends rustic charm with luxury and its ability to evoke an experience for its guests. Each night includes a multi-course dinner, each morning a thoughtful breakfast. And the views ensure you'll never forget to be in awe of your natural surroundings.
It All Starts in the Dining Room
The most stunning place on the property is undeniably the dining room. It’s also the focal point of the operation. The panoramic windows that plaster the walls come alive with a dramatic mountainous backdrop. The DeBruce forages from its own property and sources from top local farms to create dishes that are both artistic and flavorful. This element of bringing the region to life while gazing upon its landscape is symbiotic and creates a unique synergy between plate, aesthetic, and story.
The ever-evolving seasonal menu is the brainchild of chef Aksel Theilkuhl and his small, tight-knit band of chefs, foragers, and local producers. A two-night stay includes a steakhouse-style meal as well as a nine-course menu which rides the lines of traditional and experimental. Breakfast served a la carte with coffee and fresh juice serves up the same artisanal spirit found at the core of The DeBruce’s workings.
Following the conclusion of your meal, make your way to the downstairs bar which evokes an energy meant for passionate conversation. Continue your regional culinary immersion and order a Catskill Provisions Honey Whiskey on the rocks. Its natural sweetness and super smooth notes create a proper after-dinner drink. As you sink into conversation and find your glass emptying, you’ll understand why it's an essential part of the experience.
Getting to Know the Catskills
The DeBruce gets its heart and soul from Sullivan County native Sims Foster and his wife Kristen. The pair also own several hotels and restaurant properties in the region under Foster Supply Hospitality, and their charming presence can often be found around the property.
Foster comes with years of experience under elite hospitality brands in New York City, but his genuine passion for this region will spark a love for the area in even the newest of visitors. His properties, of which The DeBruce is the crown jewel, are doing something far more important than creating vacations, they’re preserving a way of life. The DeBruce is a place that removes the stresses of daily life, replacing them with something timeless and increasingly rare: moments.
A Historic Region Brimming With Adventure
Sullivan County was once one a premier vacation destination in the Tri-State Area. The swift and scenic car trek from downstate was a practical getaway, especially in a time before traveling by air was accessible and affordable. When that changed in the '80s and '90s, things took a turn for the worse.
“They just stopped coming,” a local once mentioned to me, her memories lingering on the county’s fading golden days. “Our tourism industry was nothing short of booming… but once people realized that they could fly, things up here started slowing down.”
Recently though, the region has enjoyed quite a resurgence among openings of boutique hotels, distilleries, breweries, and restaurants. If you find yourself seeking an adventure, these experiences won’t let you down.
Catch a show at the historic Forestburgh Playhouse
Kayak the Delaware River with Lander’s River Trips
Hang out with alpacas at Buck Brook Alpacas Farm
Grab savory pastries at a new-age German bakery, Brandenburg Bakery
Eat caramelized onion mac and cheese at The Heron
Tour a revolutionary mushroom farm, Agrarian Feast
Grab a bowl of homemade pasta at Northern Farmhouse Pasta (hours may vary)