I was recently invited to attend a tour of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary(Catskill Animal Sanctuary), including a stay at their vegan “Homestead Guesthouse”(Homestead Guesthouse). After accepting their gracious offer, I packed my bags and set out on a scenic drive from my home state of Massachusetts to the Catskills region of upstate New York. The region is known for its hiking trails, skiing, mountains, and rolling hills.
My three and a half hour journey brought me to my destination of Saugerties, New York during the mid-morning hours. When I arrived at the Homestead Guesthouse, it met and even surpassed my expectations! It is quite a pleasant and tranquil setting. The pre-Civil War home was renovated using eco-friendly materials. Guests can choose among several rooms ranging from a suite with living room and kitchen to a smaller room with a queen size bed or double bed. The room given to me was the largest room: The Rambo Room with a king size bed and three large sunny windows. This spacious room had exposed brick walls, wide wooden floors, and beautiful quilts and furnishings. Each room is named after a animal resident from the Sanctuary.
Downstairs in the guesthouse, guests can sit and read in their spacious living room or watch tv.
The large kitchen consists of a cooking area where the chef prepares meals, a lengthy table where guests can eat breakfast, and counter space where one can grab a tea or juice.
After settling in and unpacking my bags, I headed over to the neighboring town of Woodstock, New York. A popular restaurant downtown offers vegan-friendly meal options for breakfast. My breakfast meal at Oriole9(Oriole9 Restaurant) was the Curried Coconut Tofu that included tofu, tomato, oyster mushrooms, spinach, and potato with a side of greens and toast. My beverage was a green tea latte with soymilk. It was a hearty and very tasty meal!
The remainder of my morning was spent strolling around the center of town visiting shops and galleries. Timbuktu(Timbuktu Shop) is an eclectic gift shop that sells some vegan items such as wallets and handbags by Shag, Lavishy, and Queen Bee.
Also in the center of town, visitors can view some gushing waterfalls at the Woodstock Waterfall Park.
I paid a short visit to a pottery shop that showcases several local craftsmen. Vases, dishes, bows, and mugs, as well as carved artistic pieces are found here.
Much to my delight I stumbled upon a cupcake shop and by sheer luck it turns out that they happen to carry a couple of vegan flavors! Peace, Love, & Cupcakes (Peace Love & Cupcakes) was offering a banana cupcake with extra fudgy buttercream frosting that day. I purchased one of the delectable treats. It was absolutely yummy!
Several art galleries are located downtown. I visited a gallery that displayed some unique contemporary art “mini-paintings”.
Interesting signs can be found proudly displayed all over town. Whether its a historic landmark or figure or an event, it will most definitely be recognized by a sign somewhere around town.
A morning of sightseeing gave way to lunch time. I decided to eat my mid-day meal at Garden Cafe(Garden Cafe) in downtown Woodstock. This all-vegan restaurant offers some fabulous menu selections! Their walls are covered with decorative and unique art.
For a mid-day beverage, I selected the Vivacious Violet Smoothie containing vanilla soymilk, chocolate soy ice cream, blueberries, and bananas. They offer a pumpkin coffeecake, as well as a few other vegan desserts.
My entree was the Garden Bowl consisting of cashew vegetable korma, coconut rice, and sauteed greens. I really enjoyed my meal!
After the late afternoon lunch, I went back to the Homestead Guesthouse and took a short walk around the main barn area to check out some of the animals prior to their getting settled in for the night. Since I adore pigs, I stood outside the barn and called out “Here..piggy piggy! Here piggy piggy!”. Much to my joy, four pigs ran out from the barn and came over to greet me! That made my day! I adore pigs!
When I arrived back in the guesthouse, I snacked on a piece of the wonderful chocolate chip coffeecake that the chef had made.
After a short nap, dinner time had arrived. I drove to a vegan-friendly resturant in Saugerties called New World Home Cooking(New World Cooking Restaurant). For dinner, I chose the blue corn crusted seitan cutlets in tomato sauce, black beans, brown rice, yams, and greens. This filling, gourmet meal was delicious. If you seek a night out on the town with music and eclectic gourmet cuisine, then this is your place.
For dessert, I opted for the vegan pear crisp. It was warm and moist and fruity with just the right amount of sweetness.
I went back to my accommodations for the evening and slept really well in my comfortable room.
Erica, one of the managers at the Homestead, prepared delicious “Perfect Pancakes” for my breakfast. Drizzled with maple syrup and soy butter, they were accompanied by coconut banana strawberry vegan yogurt, fresh orange juice, and hot green tea. It was a lovely and absolutely scrumptious meal!
After breakfast, I was given a tour of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary by Kathy, the Founder and Director. She is the author of two books on farm animal issues. The Center raises public awareness of animal suffering and is one of The USA’s top refuges for rescued farm animals. For an individual $40 membership, members may tour the animal sanctuary and includes eligibility to reserve a room at the Homestead guesthouse at the particular room’s advertised rate. The CAS staff is kind and helpful and can answer your questions about an individual animal resident.
We met up at the solar-panel heated main barn by the sanctuary entrance. It is common for the sheep, goats, chickens, and even pigs to walk right on over to you in the parking lot or along the fields. Many of the animals including several pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens stay in the heated barn overnight.
As Kathy and I started to chat about the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, a herd of sheep came frolicking by! They were playing and chasing each other, just as children do! Kathy knew them all by name. She then proceeded to tell me how farm animals that are rescued from slaughterhouse trucks or taken from hoarders end up here. It is very obvious from her words and emotions that she cares deeply about each and every sentient being that lives at the Sanctuary! Kathy has written a couple of books about animals that have lived at the sanctuary. CAS also offers events to educate people about the cruelty and suffering that farm animals have endured prior to being rescued.
She then told me that I could hold one of the roosters! Emmett is a gorgeous colorful rooster that made me feel at ease when I held him.
We walked down to a spot where several pigs were enjoying their morning play time. The pigs have plenty of space to wander around the grounds. Kathy sat down in the grassy field and called out to a couple of the pigs. They came rushing over to her and she cuddled and stroked them.
My heart was filled with emotion, as Kathy told me the story of the horses that we next encountered. They had been badly abused and injured. Their eyes were removed to alleviate the severe pain and suffering. The horses seem content at the animal sanctuary and can maneuver around the field easily enough it appeared. It was heart-warming to see how gentle they were as I stroked their manes. The loving environment at CAS (Catskill Animal Sanctuary) provides a haven for these horses to feel safe and loved.
Next on our agenda was a tour inside of the main barn. It was there that I met a group of goats enjoying their morning breakfast of hay, straight from a wheelbarrow. Again, these sentient beings were gentle and allowed me to pat them on the back as well.
Within the attached barn I met a large pig named Moses. Since it was a rather cold morning, he was still resting under a pile of hay to keep warm. I was thrilled to be able to sit in the hay beside him and stroke his face! What a precious piggy!
As we headed back outside, we found Sister Mary Francis, a smaller pot bellied pig. I got the opportunity to take a photo with this adorable piggy also! She enjoyed frolicking around on the spacious grounds seeking food and fresh air. Moses and Sister Mary are so gentle and sweet. Meeting them really made my day!
Among the 300 animal residents at CAS, there are many ducks and chickens. Muscovy ducks are a unique breed with bright red beaks. They resemble turkeys.
The expansive grounds include several barns to house the animals in chilly weather, several large grassy fields for the animals to run and play, and a pond for the ducks. A forested and mountainous background provides a soothing and scenic environment for both the animals and visitors.
After my tour, I wandered about on my own for a while to spend more time with the animals. Before heading back home to Massachusetts, I went back to the neighboring town of Woodstock for my mid-day meal. Taco Juan’s offers several vegan options. Much of their Mexican menu options can be made vegan. For my lunch, I opted for the Taco Bowl containing tofu, black beans, Mexican rice, guacamole, salsa, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions. Tortilla chips encircled the entree. The meal was really flavorful! My beverage was a cinnamon hot apple cider. It was quite flavorful as well.
My weekend at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary and the Homestead Guesthouse was delightful! It touched my heart when I met the good-natured and precious animals there. All of them were so sweet and adorable. I enjoyed the tour given by Kathy. Knowing that someone truly cares about the animal’s plight and is doing good work for the cause was re-assuring for me to hear! The vegan-friendly Homestead Guesthouse provided a great accommodations experience with its comfy rooms and delicious vegan breakfast! The art galleries, picturesque vistas, and vegan-friendly shops and restaurants in the Catskill Mountains region also made my stay a pleasant one. I encourage any compassionate vegan to visit the Catskill Animal Sanctuary to meet the charming animals and to enjoy an overnight stay at the spacious and comfortable Homestead Guesthouse!
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