Discovered in 1609 by Henry Hudson, the region offers 400 years of marvelous history and is cherished for its rich artistic legacy, diverse cultural heritage, and iconic place in literature and folklore. As the region developed, the Great Northern Catskills quickly became an established vacation destination for wealthy New Yorkers. Eager to escape the oppressive city heat and enjoy the fresh mountain air, people flocked to the legendary "mountain houses." Perched on scenic bluffs, tucked away high in the mountains, the Catskills hotels flourished. The Great Northern Catskills continues to attract artists, painters, and writers in addition to families and friends, eager to experience many activities and attractions. The region's scenic vistas and unique blend of mountains, rivers, and valleys offer great opportunities for a variety of lifestyles and interests. Here you can spend a day skiing or riding, hiking, biking, birding, or boating. Golf on nine different courses, kayak, fish, or swim. There are water parks, winter adventure parks for tubing and ice skating, and fairs and festivals throughout the year. You can go to a zoo, ride a zipline, and visit a raptor center or an elk farm. Tour the historic Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, follow the Hudson River Art Trail, hike to iconic Kaaterskill Falls, or explore a number of unique museums.