Escaping Brooklyn Becomes a Business

Story and photos by Erin Lindsey and Denny Brownell

Erin Lindsey and her husband, Denny Brownell, run the Escape Brooklyn blog. They are experts about getting out of NYC and into adventures with friends. Visit their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to learn more.

Wanderlust leads couple to start a travel blog and run a motel.

Every Friday morning, my husband and I pack up our car and leave our home in New York City until Monday night. The destination is always different. Our travel blog, Escape Brooklyn, documents our weekly travels, highlighting all the wonderful places and people we find along the way. Over the past year, we’ve traveled all over New York State, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Nicaragua and Cuba. But recently our weekends have been taking us to Roscoe, New York, the birthplace of American fly-fishing — and where we’ve just bought an old motel.

Backing up a bit, we made our first trip to upstate New York in September 2012. We spent two days in Hudson before renting a vintage trailer near Bethel Woods, which hosted the famous Woodstock festival of 1969. The next year, we returned to the Catskill Mountains to visit a hip new hotel called the Graham & Co. for an anniversary. Two months later, we took another series of road trips upstate within a couple weeks of each other; our destinations were Hudson (again) and Ithaca. It was a photo on Instagram of the massive Taughannock Falls in Ithaca that spurred someone to comment that we should start a travel website. It was a total lightbulb moment. The very next day, we started shooting with our blog in mind and a week later, we owned the domain

It’s now been four years of traveling upstate and three years since we launched our website. Turns out, our hobby of traveling, writing, and photography complimented each other quite well, and the website has taken on a life of its own. After years of moonlighting as a blogger and working full-time jobs for big corporations, we’ve both managed to quit those jobs and now travel full time.

Last summer, we got married upstate and people began to ask almost constantly when and if we would “Escape Brooklyn” for good, but for us, it just wasn’t in the cards — not yet. We were having way too much fun exploring on our long weekends, and then sharing it with our friends and followers every week when we returned home. Visiting different hotels or rental properties, trying new restaurants, meeting new friends and doing different hikes every weekend isn’t a gig you give up. That is — until now.

Erin wanders in the woods.

After a few years of what seemed like nonstop travel, we’re uprooting our comfortable life in Brooklyn to start a project that’s just as exciting. As the designers of a motel, we’re taking inspiration from all the places we’ve visited and combining our favorite details into one space. The Red Rose’s lodge-like structure was hand-built in the 1930s as a dancehall, then renovated and added to in the 1950s as a motel. The location is on a beautiful, winding road that runs alongside the Beaverkill River, the birthplace of American fly-fishing. A small bar, lounge and kitchen are ripe for a restaurant where locals and visitors alike can gather.

Who could’ve guessed that a single anniversary trip would’ve sparked a passion that resulted in several years of nonstop travel, and ultimately, opening our own hotel? Not us! It just goes to show how crazy life can be — and that if you pursue your passion like we did, unexpected doors can open.

We hope you come see us in Roscoe!

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