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The Catskills: Fact Sheet

Published: Feb 27, 2014

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Close proximity to New York City, natural beauty and celebrated hospitality make this region one of the nation's premiere vacation retreats. Legendary mountains, serene forests and sparkling lakes and streams surround one-of-a-kind attractions and unique places to stay. Trails along waterfalls, gorges and high peaks in the Catskill Forest Preserve offer breathtaking views. Swim and kayak in cool mountain lakes or fish in some of the world's best trout streams. Go whitewater rafting, take a scenic train ride or follow country roads to antique shops and farm markets.

COUNTIES

Delaware, Greene, Sullivan, Ulster (Northwest)

MAJOR CITIES & TOWNS

Bethel, Callicoon, Catskill, East Durham, East Meredith, Ellenville, Hancock, Hunter, Liberty,  Livingston Manor, Margaretville, Monticello, Mount Tremper, Narrowsburg, Phoenicia, Windham, Woodstock.

CLIMATE

The diverse climate has four distinct seasons. Summers are comfortable and warm, with daytime temperatures averaging in the mid 70s to mid 80s (degrees F) and cooler evenings. The weather is moderately cool and sunny in springtime and autumn, when spectacular fall foliage attracts thousands of visitors. Cold, snowy winters create a wonderland of magnificent scenery in mountain villages, resorts and ski centers.

THREE SURPRISING FACTS

1.  On the grounds of the Emerson Resort & Spa, in Mt. Tremper, visitors can step inside the world's largest kaleidoscope for a mesmerizing experience.

2. This area is known as the birthplace of American fly fishing. Exhibits highlight fishing heritage at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center on Willowemoc Creek, one of the nation's finest trout streams.

3.  Although the 1969 Woodstock Festival was originally planned to be in Woodstock, NY, it was held on a farm in Bethel, NY owned by Max Yasgur, where 500,000 gathered for peace, love and music over three days. 

SPORTS & OUTDOORS

The nearly 300,000-acre Catskill Forest Preserve offers a vast selection of outdoor adventures on both public and private lands with hundreds of lakes, streams and mountain trails. Places to stay include wilderness campsites, cabins and luxury resorts.

Boating and Watersports: Outfitters such as Wild & Scenic River Tours and Kittatinny Canoes & Rafts, in Barryville, and Lander's River Trips, in Narrowsburg, lead canoe, kayak or whitewater rafting trips on the Delaware River. In Phoenicia, Town Tinker Tube Rentals offers great summer adventures tubing on the Esopus Creek. Swimmers enjoy the cool mountain lakes.

Camping: More than 50 beautiful public and private campgrounds are found throughout the region. North-South Lake State Park, the biggest state park and campground in the Catskill Preserve, offers hiking, swimming, fishing and kayaking amid magnificent views.

Fishing: Legendary trout streams for fly-fishing include Willowemoc Creek and the West Branch of the Delaware River. Private outdoor resorts such as the 3,000-acre Eldred Preserve, in Eldred, and the West Branch Angler Resort, in Hancock, cater to fishing and hunting enthusiasts. Lodging and boat rentals are available. The Catskill network of reservoirs is now open for fishing and non-motorized boating.

Hunting: Private preserves and game farms are found throughout the region. State lands are open for hunting during the appropriate seasons. Find license and other information at The Catskills' regional website and http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7844.html.

Golf: Beautiful courses for golfers of all skill levels include the challenging championship course at Blackhead Mountain Lodge & Country Club, in Round Top; the scenic Concord Resort & Golf Club, in Kiamesha Lake; Grossinger Country Club, in Liberty, rated 4.5 stars by Golf Digest; and in Windham, Christman's Windham House resort and Windham Country Club, rated a "must play" by Golf Digest.

Hiking: Hundreds of miles of multi-use trails lead through spectacular landscapes-up mountain paths, around lakes, beside waterfalls and through historic villages. Climbing the 35 Catskill high peaks is a lofty goal for many hikers. The 19-mile Catskill Scenic Trail, with a gentle grade, is ideal for hiking, biking or horseback riding. Trails at Sam's Point Preserve, on 5,000 acres in the Shawangunk Mountains, feature expansive views, waterfalls and ice caves.

Mountain Biking:  Many ski slopes in the Catskills become challenging mountain bike trails off-season. Plattekill Bike Park in Roxbury has more than 60 miles of lift-served bike trails.

Scenic Train Rides: Historic train rides run through some of New York's most striking scenery. The Catskill Mountain Railroad in Phoenicia, and the Delaware & Ulster in Arkville, feature open-air cars and themed trips such as wine tasting and reenactments of train robberies.

Zipline Adventures: Windham Mountain, a popular Catskills ski resort, has a year-round Adventure Park featuring a side-by-side racing zipline.  The New York Zipline Adventure Tour at Hunter Mountain is the longest and highest zipline in North America. Kittatinny Canoes & Rafts in Barryville features a 3,000-foot zipline that overlooks the Delaware River.

Nature Centers: Nature lovers have many choices including the Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area, in Wurtsboro; the Eagle Institute, in Barryville; and Mountain Top Arboretum, in Tannersville.

State Parks: State parks include North-South Lake State Park, popular for camping and swimming; Bear Spring Mountain State Park, with 24 miles of trails for horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing; and Lake Superior State Park, with swimming, boating, fishing and boat rentals. -

Scenic Byways: The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway runs along the river to dramatic vistas and unique attractions such as the Catskill Fly Fishing Center.

Winter Sports: Downhill ski areas include Hunter, Windham, Plattekill, and Villa Roma mountain resorts, as well as ski centers at Belleayre Mountain, Holiday Mountain and Plattekill Mountain. Many ski areas also offer cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. In Tannersville, Mountain Trails XC Ski Center has over 35 marked and groomed trails.

ART, ARCHITECTURE & CULTURE

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts & Museum (Bethel) - Top stars perform in the outdoor amphitheater, on the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. A museum celebrates the fabulous 1960s with multi-media exhibits and special events.

The Forestburgh Playhouse (Forestburgh) - The summer season includes Broadway musicals and comedies. Musical cabarets are held in the adjoining Tavern after evening performances.

Maverick Concerts (Woodstock) - America's oldest summer chamber-music festival, held in a rustic concert hall in the woods, attracts international legends of classical, jazz and folk music.

Thomas Cole National Historic Site (Catskill) - Tour Cedar Grove, the 19th-century home of the founder of the Hudson River School with original paintings on display.

Woodstock/Byrdcliffe Art Colony (Woodstock) - Browse the many shops and galleries on Tinker Street. Tour Byrdcliffe's thriving 100-year-old arts colony, where present-day artists work in Arts & Crafts-era cottages that once housed visitors such as Thomas Mann and Bob Dylan. Events include Maverick Concerts and the Woodstock Film Festival.  

HISTORY

Hanford Mills Museum (East Meredith) - Exhibits and guided tours of the working lumber mill highlight regional history.

Thomas Cole National Historic Site (Catskill) - Tour Cedar Grove, the 19th-century home of the founder of the Hudson River School with original paintings on display.

Zadock Pratt Museum (Prattsville) - Tours of the 19th-century homestead highlight local history.

FOOD & DRINK

Farm-fresh local produce and other culinary products such as artisan cheeses and fresh-baked bread are sold at farm markets and village shops, and served in casual and fine restaurants, throughout the region. The homemade pies at Catskill Mountain Country Store, a market, bakery and restaurant in Windham, were voted best in the region by Hudson Valley magazine.

Guests at Christman's Windham House resort rave about the chef's fine cuisine, breakfasts served with maple syrup produced on the property, and 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.

Hunter Mountain's TAP New York festival in April features specialty foods and microbrews from more than 30 New York craft breweries; in August, the International Celtic Festival highlights the food and music traditions of the Emerald Isles. Every fall, Hunter's Oktoberfest celebrates the abundant harvest in old-world German style.

SHOPPING

Shop for fresh local produce at farmers' markets and roadside stands throughout the region. Country roads lead to charming villages like Franklin, Margaretville, Windham and the historic art colony of Woodstock, with dozens of antique shops, craft studios and galleries. Antique shops, craft studios and farm markets are found amid picturesque countryside on the Catskills Pottery Trail.

The Emerson Country Store, set in a restored 19th-century barn on the grounds of the Emerson Resort in Mount Tremper, features unique country shops with high-end apparel, antiques, spa products, gourmet foods and kitchenware, as well as a kaleidoscope shop and the world's largest kaleidoscope.  

UNIQUE LODGING

Hospitality is legendary in The Catskills. Unique places to stay include mountaintop resorts, family dude ranches, and charming inns such as Diamond Mills Hotel in Saugerties, where every room has a waterfall view.

Other unique lodging includes:

  • Beaverkill Valley Inn, in Lew Beach;
  • Blue Hills Farm, in Narrowsburg;
  • ECCE B&B, in Barryville;
  • Emerson Resort & Spa, in Mt. Tremper;
  • Full Moon Resort, in Big Indian;
  • Gavin's Golden Hill Resort, in East Durham;
  • Hanah Mountain Resort & Country Club, in Margaretville;
  • Harmony Hill Lodging & Retreat Center, in East Meredith;
  • Inn at Lake Joseph, in Forestburgh;
  • Kate's Lazy Meadow, in Mt. Tremper;
  • Mountain View Manor, in Glen Spey;
  • Pepacton Cabins, in Downsville;
  • Riedlbauer's Resort, in Round Top;
  • The Roxbury, in Roxbury;
  • Stone Tavern Farm, in Roxbury;
  • The Turquoise Barn, in Bloomville; and
  • Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park at Birchwood Acres, in Woodridge 

OTHER SELECTED ATTRACTIONS 

Apple Pond Farm & Renewable Energy Education Center (Callicoon Center) - Take a walking tour or wagon ride, and learn farm chores like making bread and cheese; make reservations for a farm-style vacation.

Bailiwick Ranch and Discovery Zoo (Catskill) - Visitors can feed and pet exotic and domestic animals or go horseback riding on the scenic mountain trails.

Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area (Wurtsboro) - This wildlife preserve on 3,000 acres of forest, fields and wetlands is popular for hiking, canoeing and bird watching.

Bear Spring Mountain State Park (Walton) - More than 24 miles of trails are suited for horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Launt Pond has a beach and boat rentals.

Belleayre Mountain (Highmount) - Summertime fun at this four-season ski center includes swimming in Pine Hill Lake as well as fishing, kayaking and picnicking. Rent a rowboat or pedal boat and catch spectacular views from the Sky Ride. Events include art and music festivals.

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center (Livingston Manor) - The award-winning museum sits beside Willowemoc Creek, one of the Northeast's finest trout streams; programs highlight river ecology and teach techniques such as fly-tying.

Catskill Mountain Balloon (Freehold) - Hot-air balloon flights float above the countryside.

Catskill Mountain Country Store (Windham) - The homemade pies at this market, bakery and restaurant were voted best by Hudson Valley magazine. The old-fashioned emporium also features walking paths and a small zoo with pigs, goats, turkeys, and miniature horses.

Catskill Mountain Railroad (Phoenicia) - Six-mile roundtrip train rides run through the mountains, along the scenic Esopus Creek.

Delaware & Ulster Railroad (Arkville) - Enjoy the mountain scenery from an open-air car or step back into the Golden Age of railroading with a ride on the Rip Van Winkle Flyer, a refurbished streamliner offering first-class service and dining.

Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (Narrowsburg) - Art exhibits, opera, plays and music.

 Eagle Institute (Barryville) - See Eagles in their natural habitat.

Ft. Delaware (Narrowsburg) - Colonial Fort with exhibits and interactive displays.

Healing Waters Farm (Walton) -The farm features a Carriage Museum, four unique shops and a petting zoo with exotic and domestic animals.

Hunter Mountain/NY Zipline Adventure Tours (Hunter) - Four-season fun at the mountaintop ski resort includes golf, mountain biking, fantastic festivals and NY Zipline Adventure Tours, the longest and highest zipline canopy tour in North America.

Kaaterskill Falls (Haines Falls) - A marked trail leads to the cascading 260-foot, two-tiered waterfall

Kittatinny Canoes and Rafts (Barryville) - Guides lead zipline tours as well as canoe, kayak and whitewater rafting trips on the scenic Upper Delaware River.

Landers River Trips (Narrowsburg) - Guides lead canoeing, kayaking, tubing and whitewater rafting trips on the Upper Delaware River, as well as camping, eagle watching, and fishing trips. 

M.J. Quill Irish Cultural & Sports Center (East Durham) - Exhibits and programs celebrate Irish American history and culture.

Monticello Casino and Raceway (Monticello) - Guest enjoy over 1,000 gaming machines, live harness racing and simulcasting, entertainment and fine dining.

Mountain Wings (Ellenville) - At Ellenville Mountain, called the Hang Gliding Capital of the Northeast, first-time and experienced gliders enjoy hang-gliding, paragliding and ultra-lighting.

North-South Lake State Park (Haines Falls) - The biggest and most popular state park and campground in the Catskill Forest Preserve features historic sites, nature programs, fishing, hiking and magnificent views. Rowboat, kayak, canoe and paddle boat rentals are available.

Plattekill Mountain Resort (Roxbury) - This family-oriented resort features 35 ski trails and a snowtubing park in winter, and chairlift rides and a mountain bike park, spring through fall.

Town Tinker Tube Rentals (Phoenicia) - Enjoy great adventures tubing on the Esopus Creek.

Wild and Scenic River Tours (Barryville) - Guides lead canoe, kayak and whitewater rafting trips on the scenic Upper Delaware River.

Windham Mountain (Windham) - Four-season fun at the mountaintop ski resort includes golf, mountain biking, and zipline tours at Windham Mountain Adventure Park.

Zoom Flume Water Park (East Durham) - Kids of all ages love the waterslides, tube rides, and a lagoon with a giant waterfall and other interactive features.

MAJOR ANNUAL EVENTS

  • Bavarian Fest at Windham Mountain (February)
  • Presidents' Weekend Celebration at Hunter Mountain (February)
  • Women's Studio Workshop Chili Bowl Fiesta in Rosendale (February)
  • Irish I Was Skiing/Riding Festival at Windham Mountain (March)
  • Maple Weekend (March)
  • TAP New York Beer Fest at Hunter Mountain (April)
  • East Durham Irish Festival (May)
  • Jeep Jamboree (May)
  • Hunter Mountain Jam Fest (May-June)
  • Windham World Cup Biking Festival (June)
  • Rally NY (Various weekends in June, August, October, and April)
  • Belleayre Music Festival (July-September)
  • Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival at Oak Hill (July)
  • Jefferson Chamber Music Festival (July)
  • Rosendale Street Festival (July)
  • Hunter Mountain Brats & Brews Festival (August)
  • International Celtic Festival at Hunter Mountain (August)
  • Shandelee Music Festival (August)
  • Margaretville Cauliflower Festival (September)
  • Harvest Festival Bethel Woods (Sept & Oct)
  • Hunter Mountain Oktoberfest (September-October)
  • Harvest Festival Bethel Woods (Sept & Oct)
  • Jeffersonville Holiday Festivities (November-December)
  • Festival of Trees at Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center (December) 

CONVENTION CENTERS

Blackhead Mountain Lodge & Country Club, in Round Top Diamond Mills Hotel, Tavern & Conference Center, in Saugerties: world-class cuisine and luxury accommodations in 32 guest rooms and suites. Villa Roma Resort & Conference Center

TRANSPORTATION

Land:

1-2 hours from NYC

7 hours from Niagara

4-5 hours from Montreal

Air:

Air Service from NYC; accessible from Route I-87 (NYS Thruway) and Route 17 (I-86)

FURTHER INFORMATION

For more ideas and information, visit iloveny.com or The Catskills' regional website: http://www.visitthecatskills.com

CONTACT:

Melanie Klausner
M. SILVER - A Division of Finn Partners
(212)-754-6500, ext. 243
Melanie.Klausner@finnpartners.com

Eric Scheffel
Empire State Development
(518) 292-5274
escheffel@esd.ny.gov

Roberta Lockwood
Sullivan County Visitors Association
1-800-882-2287
rbl@scva.net

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