Explore the Hudson Valley

Experience The Hudson Valley

Catskill

  |   September 1, 2020  |  Comment

Pictured above: Thomas Cole House site and the Hudson River. Photo by Devin Pickering.

Where the Hudson River meets the Catskill Park, you’ll find the charming village that shares its name with Rip Van Winkle’s famed mountain range. And like a lot of towns on the Hudson, a visitor to Catskill in the latter years of the 20th century could have been forgiven for thinking that Catskill was taking a cat nap. 

No more. River towns have been rediscovered for their glorious unforced assets, and Catskill is no exception, but it’s surely exceptional. The waterfront is Dutchman’s Landing Park, a gorgeous setting for a takeout meal with a great playground, and in most seasons the happy home of a free outdoor concert series. And that’s just the start of what keeps Catskill purring.

You can see it on the members’ page of CREATE (Council for Resources to Enrich the Arts, Technology and Education): dozens upon dozens of artists in every medium call this place home. You can see it in the energetic beginnings of the Lumberyard Center for Film and Performing Arts and the Bridge Street Theater; there won’t be a dry eye in the house when these folks can get together again. 

This is where the Hudson River School of paintings was founded by Thomas Cole. You can wander the grounds of his home and see the landscapes he immortalized along the Hudson River Art Trail

Back down in the village, you can wander retail stores that are practically galleries in themselves: the Village Common Mercantile, currently supporting LGBTQ and BIPOC rights with the proceeds from its artist collection of unique plant-based, essential-oil-infused candles; Mahalo Gift Shop, full of handblown glass, gardens in a bag, and more. Swamp Angel Antiques is a must-explore. Spike’s Record Rack is a mecca for lovers of old-school vinyl and Magpie Bookshop is a required stop for used book lovers.

Happy shoppers in Catskill now have their own outpost of Kaaterskill Farm Natural Storehouse, replete with gorgeous organic produce, healthy edibles of all descriptions from meats to snacks, vitamins, supplements, homeopathic remedies, natural body care, pet food, and coffee. They’ll even fix you a vegan meal to take down to Dutchman’s Landing. 

Of course, artists and good eats go hand in hand everywhere, and the only hard part about finding a great meal in Catskill is choosing. You can feast on New American and Polish fare at the New York Restaurant, even if you’re vegan or gluten-averse. There’s yummy Italian at Pomodoro’s, fine Chinese at Chopstick, and Thai treats at Wasana’s. Then there’s the Mexican and Latin fare at La Casa Latina. Creekside offers classic American fare on their patio alongside Catskill Creek. 

The Ambrosia Diner and J&J’s BBQ are classics of their kinds. And if you wish to delve deeper into comfort food (art people love comfort) there are 394 Main (Mediterranean), New Century (Chinese), New Long River (Chinese), Garden Gate (American), and the Mermaid Cafe.

This part of Greene County is also growing an amazing brewing scene: Check out Crossroads Brewing, Subversive Malting and Brewing, and Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company. The latest addition to Catskill’s craft beverage scene is Left Bank Ciders, whose charming basement tap room is open on weekends. 

But perhaps the best thing about Catskill is the vibe: warm, quirky, and river-village gritty in the best way. Come find out why so many think it’s absolutely the cat’s meow.

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