The Great Escape: Stress Relieving Spots around New Paltz

It’s 2019 and our cultural climate has forced everyone into either having an anxiety disorder or thinking they have anxiety. It seems like everyone is living on edge, and who can blame us? Between school shootings, an ever-changing workforce and things like dating apps, it’s only natural that an entire generation is doing things like getting addicted to nicotine on purpose. 

But put that Juul down (or throw it out, preferably) and fear not! Though you may or may not doubt your decision to attend SUNY New Paltz now and then, one thing is for sure, and that is that you’ve found yourself in a quaint ass little town. 

Being stuck in New Paltz, New York for months on end can feel suffocating. It’s essentially a one road town, and if you’re coming from somewhere within close proximity to a major metropolitan area like myself, the fact that the nearest Target is half an hour away may cause you to panic at times. 

The good thing about New Paltz, though, is the sheer amount of places to straight up zen out, both in town and on campus. Their versatility is unmatched; some you could go to with friends on a particularly stressful day, some you can use as a hideaway when you’re having a meltdown… there’s something for everybody. 

Cocoon on Main Street 

This is, by far, my favorite place in New Paltz. You have definitely passed it before, maybe even glanced inside, but probably didn’t venture in. Huge mistake. Cocoon is an actual haven. 

The contents of this little shop are hard to describe, but I usually sum it up with “knickknacks.” I don’t know why, and I’m not sure if it’s just a “me” thing, but literally as soon as I walk into the store all of my worries are gone. The brick walls, combined with the meticulous layout, and the fact that everything I pick up makes me feel like that scene in “Lady Bird” when Marion gives her husband that pillow and says “it just makes me laugh,” make Cocoon one of my favorite spots in town. 

Inquiring Minds Bookstore

I’m not an intellectual. I really don’t read books. I wish I did, but I’m convinced that somewhere between early high school and now, my brain forgot how to read. 

Still, I am a huge fan of Inquiring Minds. It’s nestled in a side street just off Main Street, and has that really picturesque bookstore storefront. Inside, Inquiring Minds has the selection of a Barnes and Noble with the feel of a small town shop. I feel like their prices might be a little high, but literally who cares. You don’t even have to buy anything (though if you spend more than five minutes wandering the aisles, odds are you will). 

New Paltz Cinema 

This is a bold statement, but I’m pretty sure I am one of the most supportive patrons of New Paltz Cinema. Though my attendance at the theater has gone down since Moviepass went under (in flames), I still make an effort to go at least once a month.

Going to see a movie anywhere is a great trick to calm yourself down, but doing so at New Paltz Cinema, where tickets are $8 ($6 on Tuesdays!) and popcorn and soda is fairly cheap, feels extra fulfilling. 

The Lobby of the SUB Multipurpose Room 

This is a niche one, but hear me out. In the lobby right outside of the multipurpose room there are these two walls that are basically all window. At the point they converge, pull over one of those goofy orange chairs and PLANT yourself. 

Especially on a sunny day, I really appreciate the view. Like, it’s not much; it’s fully just the gunk and the parking lot of the SUB. But it’s peaceful. You can catch me there at least once a week.