Explore the Hudson Valley

Experience The Hudson Valley

Visit the Catskills

  |   May 2, 2017  |  Comment

From the Kingston Thruway exit, the Catskills beckon like a spectacular painting. Past the turn to Woodstock, Route 28 slims to two lanes and twists past a series of historical markers detailing the watery fates of towns vacated to make way for the Ashokan Reservoir.

The level, paved trail around the reservoir makes a great warmup for the rest of the attractions in this vast, mixed-use state park and forest preserve. The Catskill Interpretive Center in Mt. Tremper can help you craft an epic mountain weekend before you ever leave home—check out the interactive maps and downloadable audio tours available for free on the planning page of the center’s website.

Places to stay range from the quaintest and quietest of tucked-away B&Bs like the Catskill Rose to modern-day Catskills classics like Graham & Co. and the Hotel Dylan; think country weekending reimagined by people who adore creature comforts and abhor pretension.

While you’re in Mt. Tremper, you might want to explore the unique world-within-a-world that is the Emerson Resort and Spa, named for Ralph Waldo Emerson. And be sure to check the calendar for events at the cutting-edge, low-key-but-fabulous Mt. Tremper Center for the Arts.

Past Mt. Tremper you’ll find Phoenicia, an insouciant frontier town with a unique blend of mountain poignancy and multigenerational expat- Manhattan brash brilliance. Madly quirky, it features exquisite retailers and, for dining, a wonderful selection of everything from pub grub to New American, coffee, and craft cocktails. There are unique modes of exploration: Try the adventure of tubing on the Esopus Creek with Town Tinker Tube Rental or wheeling through six miles of back country on a low-friction rail bike. In summer, there are even opera performances at the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice (August 4-7).

From Phoenicia you can venture all the way up into the highlands for the music festival at Belleayre or wander back down to Woodstock through the woods along Route 212, passing the Zen Mountain Monastery along the way. And once in Woodstock, you’ll find one of the most unique hiking opportunities in the Catskills: Overlook Mountain, which is complete with the ruins of an old hotel and a summit with insanely glorious views of the Hudson Valley.

Stay on Route 212 and head east into Saugerties, where Catskills and the Hudson River meet. Here, you’ll find the friendly, chill-yet-opulent Diamond Mills complex bridging a show-stopping waterfall; come for a drink, a meal, or a weekend and explore the sweet, fanciful village packed with antiques, boutiques, art, fun, and food.

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