Getting Cozy in the Catskills
|RIVERS RUNNING THROUGH IT: The Catskills in all the autumnal glory near Phonecia in Ulster County (Kim Carson/Digital Vision/Getty)|
Welcome to autumn in the Catskills. The morning air is crisp, and falling leaves tremble in the streets like flittering birds restless for their southern flight. Midday, the sun glitters through the autumn canopy, the perfect execution of nature's rich kaleidoscope. And as the day shifts toward evening, the fragrant orchards that teem with warm, blushing fruit seem to breathe as dusk falls. It's a landscape where couples can immerse themselves in the raw and natural beauty of the mountains until the day's end, when the sun sinks behind the peaks and giddy lovers tuck into a cozy corner of a quiet tavern or bistro. Beside a shimmering fire, they share an aperitif and toast the romantic weekend that their good fortune has brought.
There's no doubt about it: The Catskills are for lovers. Follow us as we distill the region into its active, amorous ingredients.
The friendly folks of Delaware County have every right to wink and wave at out-of-towners looking for long-weekend satisfaction. They live here year-round, after all, and are wonderfully aware of the Old World charm pulsing beneath the county's seams, a place three hours yet a world away from Manhattan. And expect to add a touch of playful competition while you're here; Delaware County is a fisherman's mecca and the birthplace of American fly-fishing (bass fisherman fare pretty well, too)
*At the Innstow (607.326.4759), couples will find all the comforts of home, and then some. Owned by well-known local artist Adam Cohen, the luxurious suites of this B&B, decked out with period furniture, make guests feel like royalty. The piece de resistance is a delightful sleeping porch, where lovebirds can slumber beneath the stars.
*Young, in love, and broke? Beaver Spring Lake Campground (607.278.5293) is the place for couples on a budget. Nestled in the quiet foothills, it's an absolutely romantic way to spend the night. More than 100 RV, tent, and cabin sites are spread across the scenic landscape. Fun comes free of charge with fishing, swimming, and boating right on the premises.
*Even the best-laid weekend plans can easily get sidelined by a couple of candles and a few bottles of the Catskills' finest. At Bass' Hancock House (607.637.7100) in downtown Hancock, there's no shame in spending the entire weekend in your mission-style room. Just promise us you'll tear yourselves away for a bite at one of the hotel's three eateries. And when the folks at home ask how you spent your time in the mountains, just tell em it rained all weekend.
* The top-quality beef, pork, farm-fresh eggs, yogurt, and goat's milk fudge from Stone and Thistle Farm Stand (607.278.5800) offer the ingredients for one heck of a picnic. Of course, that picnic meal might have to wait after you glimpse the prix fixe menu, featuring dishes like grilled smoked ham with sour cherry sauce and chevre ice cream with berry coulis.
* Oysters and chocolate-covered strawberries aren't the only sexy gig in town. At the fully restored Old Schoolhouse Inn & Restaurant (607.363.7814), Seafood Fra Diavolo is the new aphrodisiacshrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams sizzle in a spicy marinara sauce.
* To really sweeten up your romantic weekend, don't neglect an indulgent dessert. The homemade chocolates, cookies, brownies, and scones at Heaven on Main Street (607.832.4474 ) make for the perfect icing on the cake.
Work it Off
*At fifth-generation, family-run Beaverkill Trout Hatchery (845.439.4947), couples can keep what they catch. Bring your own gear and fish the pond together; whether it's brook, brown, rainbow, or golden trout, a memorable dinner and some great fishing stories are sure to follow.
* Open year-round, the Catskill Scenic Trail off State Highway 30 is unbeatable in winter, when ice and snow blanket the 19-mile trail. Spanning cross-country through powdery valleys and silver forests, the gentle path fluctuates only 400 feet from beginning to end. And during the fall months, the autumn canopy typifies upstate arboreal perfection.
*To flirt with a bit more elevation, conquer 3,214-foot Mount Utsayanthathe views from the summit are utterly breathtaking, especially in the fall. And if that whets your desires for more ascents, plan on devoting a few future weekends in pursuit of membership in the Catskill 3500 Club. All you have to do is reach the summits of Catskill peaks over 3,500 feet all 35 of them. Refer to the Catskill Park website for more information. The park also boasts more than 300 marked hiking trails.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication