LuvTrip Romantic Getaways

Romantic Getaways in the Catskills

by Rachel Vine

The Northeastern United States has no shortage of romantic mountain hideaways ideal for couples looking to save. The Catskill Mountains, made famous in the legend of Rip Van Winkle and his prolonged nap, offer outdoor fun just a short drive away from New York City. Catskill is Dutch for “cat’s creek”, paying homage to early inhabitants of the area, and while today’s residents consist of age-old locals, former city dwellers seeking respite, and artists looking for inspiration, the land’s history and nature attract one and all, from avid fishermen to novice anthropologists.

The four counties of Ulster, Greene, Delaware, and Sullivan make up the region, and exploring the quaint and scenic towns each has to offer is part of the fun. Winding roads take you through forests and hamlets, and it seems that around every bend there is a beautiful view awaiting you. Below are some ideas to help you and your beloved make the most of Catskill romantic getaway.

Long considered the artistic heart of the region, Woodstock, New York (namesake of the famous concert, which happened about 50 miles away), is home to galleries, gift stores, and a film festival that draws in talent from all over the country. Bob Dylan made Woodstock his home during his heyday, and couples can find inspiration in the town’s quiet streets and mom-and-pop shops. Schroon Lake, just off I-87, offers shops, churches, and pristine lakes stocked for fishing – a perfect small-town getaway for couples.

For wine enthusiasts, spend a day vineyard-hopping along the Shawangunk Wine Trail. Named for the local mountains, the trail leads you along to ten different family-owned wineries, each with their own unique wines.

In the town of Hurley in Ulster County, the Hurley Heritage Society maintains a colonial museum. The town’s Main Street boasts a large number of stone houses, some dating back as far as 1680.

Hiking is a year-round activity, and there are plenty of trails to choose from. Some of the most challenging trails are found in the hamlet of Big Indian, NY. Giant Ledge Trail, a two-hour hike, rewards its guests with one of the most stunning vistas in the area. Continue on, up Slide Mountain, and the view of over 70 area peaks is sure to mesmerize. In Delaware County, the Catskill Scenic Trail has 19 miles of scenery at a very gentle grade – perfect for lovers’ strolls. The Catskill Mountain Club, with its area trail maps, is a great resource for pre-hike planning.

What would mountains be without skiing? Windham Mountain attracts skiers and snowboarders from all over the Tri-State area. Beginners and experts can test their skills on 46 trails and freestyle terrain. Their website offers links to dozens of lodging possibilities – from inns and bed-and-breakfasts to private condos and homes. Belleayre Mountain, off of State Route 28, has 47 trails and eight lifts – enough to appease the hungriest of skiers.

The Catskills has no lack of places to stay, and the variety is enough to suit the hearts of the most discerning of couples. The recently renovated Roxbury Hotel and Spa has been attracting g couples with its in-house spa services and ultra-modern rooms. Kate Pierson of The B-52’s plays host at Kate’s Lazy Meadow, a nine-acre getaway in Mt. Tremper. Cabins and Airstream trailers have been completely refurnished in a groovy, fun, high-kitsch 50’s style. Nearby, the Emerson Resort and Spa offers complete spa services, dining, and shopping, all in a quaint, underdeveloped region of the Catskills.

Cuomo’s Cove in Windham is a quiet residence with hot tubs, saunas, and barbecues available for use. What the suites lack in décor is more than made up for with the lodging’s hospitality and bargain rates. They also offer ski deals for nearby Windham Mountain. One of the most luxurious places to stay in the area is Scribner Hollow Lodge, located in the town of Hunter, near Hunter Mountain. They offer custom decorated suites, private balconies, and in-room fireplaces, as well as saunas, Jacuzzis, and both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.

The best deals in the Catskill Mountains are found just before ski season begins. Late November to early December, after the foliage has fallen and before the snows move in, is a perfect time to visit. Cottages and resorts are rarely full, and often prices are lower than they are in the middle of summer or winter. However, the Catskills attract a crowd year-round, due to its proximity to New York City, and reservations are a must. Plan to use or rent a car to get there – local airports include JFK and LaGuardia in New York City or Newark in New Jersey, and from there, the region is about 90-130 miles away. You can also take Trailways bus service, which departs from a number of different locales. To plan your trip, be sure to visit the official tourism site for the region. The site has a thorough list of activities and things to do for each of the four counties, and offers various travel packages based on season.

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