At the beginning of September, the Hamptons resounds with the clatter of designer deck chairs going into storage, shutters being hauled down and the collective groan of Manhattan’s chattering classes returning to the city. A cavalcade of overstuffed SUVs filters back through bridge and tunnel trailing Kate Spade beach bags and pedigree pooch accoutrements. Such unseemly seasonal migration isn’t undertaken by the classiest second-home savants, however. The place to be, especially as fall comes around, is upstate New York.
Like the Hamptons, New York’s Catskill Mountains and neighbouring Hudson River Valley are around two hours’ drive from Manhattan. And like the Hamptons, this part of upstate New York has an impressive celebrity caché, except luminaries flocking to this region tend to be of the calibre mentioned in the arts section of the New Yorker, rather than caught in indiscreet poses by the National Enquirer. “De Niro, Liv Tyler, Bowie: they’re like part of the wildlife,” says Kate Pierson, member of the new-wave pop act the B-52s and owner of a new motel near the Catskill’s town of Woodstock. “But this area has always been a retreat for musicians and arty urbanites, so celebrities are pretty much left to themselves.”