Finding Space

Hello everybody, welcome to our new Finding Space series, a monthly chat with the relocated Locals of the Catskills about what it’s really like to make the move. Today HUTS had the pleasure of getting the lowdown from Andrea Lanzetti, owner of Bodies and Plants pilates studio in Livingston Manor and now a full-time resident of the Western Catskills. Let’s dive in!

“So, How did you discover the Catskills?” 

“I started losing inspiration living in the city and constantly found myself looking for ways to escape and explore new areas. I’ve always had a strong connection to nature but knew I wanted to live in the city for my career. I grew up on the beach in NJ and initially moved to NYC to pursue my career in dance. After spending years living and working in NYC I no longer found creative inspiration being there. The inspiration I was looking for was now found in nature. My husband and I began taking weekend trips up to the Catskills and we instantly fell in love with it. We found ourselves dreaming of what our lives could be like living in a small town and integrating into its community.”

“What were your steps to moving here Full-Time? How did you settle on your property/house?”

“There was never really a question of whether or not we would live here full time. We knew that if we bought a house, that would be where we lived. It was out of the question for us to pay rent in Brooklyn and pay a mortgage on a house upstate. We were both mentally checked out of the city at this point and were ready for a new life adventure. We explored a lot of different areas in the Catskill region initially and after months of searching eventually settled on Sullivan County. We found an amazing realtor, Robin Jones from Country House Realty, who made the same transition we were looking to make a few years back and she truly guided us. We ended up settling on a house that needed some work but sat on an incredible piece of property. I loved (and still do) the idea of building a studio and creative residency space on our property which was a huge deciding factor in choosing a property with a lot of acreage. “

“You own a wonderful business in Livingston Manor called Bodies and Plants; a pilates studio. Was the idea of owning your own studio a big factor in your decision to move here Full-time?”

“100%. I worked for a long time at a studio in Brooklyn and the owner was incredible and became a good friend, but I was ready to move on and build a place of my own. The idea of opening a studio in the city was not appealing to me at all. Again, I found creative inspiration in nature and knew that’s where I would do my best work. I love plant life and nature so much that I call my studio Bodies and Plants and fill it with indoor plants to create a jungle-like atmosphere. “

“How has your experience been opening a business in the Catskills, albeit during a global pandemic? Are Locals receptive?”

“My experience opening a studio in the Catskills has been like no other I’m sure. We opened our doors 3 weeks before the pandemic forced the country to shut down and quarantine. Despite all of that, business has been really great. Back in March, we immediately jumped into offering virtual classes and private sessions and that sustained us for a few months. Since reopening, we have been very busy and I’m super grateful for that. Before we shut down, I had several locals coming to classes which made me so happy because I never wanted my studio to be a place only for weekenders. During the pandemic, I worked with Sullivan 180 a bit to offer free access to virtual movement classes for the community and am looking forward to teaching a group class to the Livingston Manor school faculty this month. Everyone needs some self care after this year. “

“What were some of the unexpected highlights and challenges that you encountered in your transition?”

“I count my blessings every day that I made the transition when I did back in 2018. The housing market is out of control right now and I don’t know that I would have been able to find a place within my budget, not to mention the added stress of the bidding wars that are happening right now. The biggest challenge for me was certainly the adjustment of living more simply in such a quiet area. I struggled mentally my first winter up here. Wondering if I made a mistake. I didn’t realize how accustomed I became to noise and being around tons of people every day. There is something about the energy that the city brought that just kept me going. But at the same time, this external energy was the thing I wanted to run away from. This lifestyle is way different than what I’m used to but it’s one I had been craving for a long while. I know this is a more sustainable lifestyle for my husband and I in the long run. I am grateful to have found an extremely supportive community up here, something that I always struggled to find in the city. “

“What were some things you may have done differently?”

“I don’t know that I would have done anything differently, but I do think I would have tried to be more patient. There was a point when I literally was ready to buy anything just because I wanted to get out of the city and start a new way of life but I realize now that wasn’t the best way to approach this huge life transition. “

“What is your favorite part of living in the Catskills now Full-time?”

“My favorite part of living here full time is running my studio. It brings me so much joy to see my vision come to life and to share my love of movement with this community. I’ve watched friendships between clients evolve and I’ve seen the effects of what a movement practice can do for individuals and that’s truly all I could hope for. I look forward to seeing how it will continue to grow in this community. “

“Thanks so much for talking with us today about your experience. The HUTS team is looking forward to taking a class at your beautiful studio!” 

So some takeaways to keep in mind: 

  • Don’t Rush: Find what feels right for yourself, the winter usually weeds out the less serious buyers so have patience
  • Don’t Be Afraid of a little Elbow Grease: If you’re not finding exactly what you envisioned, choose an area and a piece of land and make it yourself. 
  • Full-time vs Part-time: A second home isn’t always an option for everyone, but don’t be scared to pack your bags and fully commit to the Catskills, they’ll welcome you with open arms! 

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