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Great Winter Getaway Ideas: The Catskills

Published: Jan 23, 2014

Cool outdoor thrills, family fun, relaxing retreats and warm hospitality!

Winter is a magical season in the Catskills!  An easy drive from New York City leads to a wonderland of snow-covered mountains, family-friendly resorts, and old-fashioned train rides. Follow country roads to charming villages dotted with antique shops, art galleries, craft studios and innovative restaurants.

Ski areas feature varied terrain-from beginner trails to black diamonds.  Along with skiing and snowboarding, there's snowtubing and sky-high ziplines. Step off the slopes, and it's a short trip to cozy inns and mountaintop luxury.

This scenic route follows a loop from, and back towards, the New York State Thruway.

A. Woodstock

It's a peaceful beginning at the KTD Monastery. Painted by a Tibetan artist-in-residence, the shrine replicates an authentic Tibetan monastery. Tibetan prayer flags lead up the winding mountain road to retreats and courses on Tibetan culture, meditation and yoga.  

The award-winning River Rock Health Spa, providing natural wellness treatments in a tranquil mountain setting, is another lovely place to relax-and a habitat for deer, hawks and other wildlife.  

Check out the friendly shops, studios and restaurants on Tinker Street and browse the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum (WAAM) showing work by area artists in its spacious galleries.  

B. Mt. Tremper

Come to sing or listen. The Emerson's restaurant features open mike nights on Tuesdays. The resort invites relaxation in its luxury suites, family-friendly lodge and four-star spa open to day visitors as well as overnight guests. Adjacent shops include a collection of hand-crafted kaleidoscopes. You can step inside the world's largest! 

Weekend meditation programs and retreats at Zen Mountain Monastery include classes from calligraphy to Qi Gong. 

Get into the spirit of the season aboard the Catskill Mountain Railroad's Holiday Trains, running on weekends in December. Decorated with lights and ornaments, the trains traverse magical winter landscapes.   

C. Tannersville

Bring your tools and carve an ice sculpture at the Tannersville Ice Sculpting Festival, or just check out the glistening artwork all around you.   

D. Hunter

Hunter's new six-passenger ski lift, the Kaatskill Flyer, gets you to the top fast. A stay at the slopeside Kaatskill Mountain Club features amenities like a spa and heated indoor-outdoor pool. The whole family can zip year-round on Hunter Mountain's New York Zipline, the longest and highest in North America. Canopy tours run from tame to wild! 

In April, Hunter's TAP New York Festival features specialty foods and microbrews from more than 80 craft breweries.  

E. Windham

There's big news at Windham Mountain:  a Kids Snowmobile Park!  Imagine how cool your children will feel driving Windham's new fleet of 120cc Arctic Cat snowmobiles around an oval track at the Adventure Park.  

Along with skiing and snowboarding, Windham also features the Windham Mountain Adventure Park with ten lanes of exhilarating snowtubing, a large ice-skating rink, and a comfy lodge. Grab a hot cocoa in Sliders Café before lacing up your skates!  

Taste made-from-scratch pies at Catskill Mountain Country Store & Restaurant, voted best by Hudson Valley magazine. The emporium features local crafts, gourmet foods and baked goods, as well as a small zoo with pigs, goats, turkeys, and miniature horses. It's a deliciously affordable stop. The owner-chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America.  

Guests at historic Christman's Windham House resort rave about breakfast served with maple syrup produced on the property. Even the tap water-crystal-clear mountain spring water from Christman's own springs. Tours of the syrup house are available in March; the delicious syrup is sold year-round. 

F. East Meredith

Events at the Hanford Mills Museum include February's Ice Harvest Festival. Recreating the region's coolest tradition, visitors can help cut blocks of ice from the frozen pond with vintage ice saws and watch a horsedrawn sled haul it to an ice house. Kids' activities, horsedrawn sleigh rides, a hot soup buffet, craft vendors and bonfires add to the old-fashioned fun!

G. Roxbury

Choose from skiing, boarding, snowtubing and snowshoeing at Plattekill Mountain. Enjoy big mountain terrain, 38 trails and top notch conditions in a friendly, family-oriented, atmosphere. There's a big Torchlight Parade on New Year's Eve!   

The Roxbury's themed rooms are so cool and elegant they rate high on National Geographic's Stay List. After a soak at the Shimmer Spa, spend the night in a whimsical space. The entire town of Roxbury is on the National Historic Register.  

H. Highmount

This season's events at Belleayre Mountain include the Mountain Cup Race, Winter Festival Week, and the WKNY Challenge Race. Slopes offer every level of challenge, from family fun to extreme skiing at this model for the ski industry-with state-of-the-art Cat-access skiing and boarding, new terrain parks, and extensive glades. 

I. Neversink

Along with signature wellness treatments, fitness classes and healthy spa cuisine, activities on New Age Health Spa's 280 pristine acres include cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Miles of groomed nature trails and a glass-enclosed indoor pool overlook magnificent scenery.   

J. Callicoon

Whatever the weather, there's lots to do at Villa Roma Resort, from ice-skating to skiing and boarding on two slopes with chairlift and snowmaking, to swimming, bocce and shuffleboard in the indoor sports complex. Enjoy entertainment on-site and dining options from gourmet to an in-house Starbucks.  

K. White Lake

In February, head  ??? to the 29th annual King of the Ice fishing competition on frozen White Lake. Prize-winning categories include trout, pickerel, perch, crappies and walleye. Sponsored by the Sullivan County Conservation Club.

L. Monticello

Just southeast, the Monticello Casino & Raceway features over 1,000 slot machines, year-round harness racing and several restaurants. 

For more ideas and information, see The Catskills Regional Tourism Website.  

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