Winter Retreats to Start a New Year in New York’s Sullivan Catskills

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Holiday Mountain Ski and Fun Park © Ersler Dmitry | New Year Travel 

The beginning of every new year is a chance to focus on self-care. A visit to New York’s Sullivan Catskills may be the salve you need.

This legendary vacation destination, just a 90-minute drive from New York City, has long been a haven for well-being and boasts wellness resorts, fitness centers, yoga and pilates studios, massage therapists, and naturalists.

The newest entrant into the wellness space is Hemlock Neversink, a project of Foster Supply Hospitality (Kenoza Hall, The DeBruce, and The Arnold House). Hemlock Neversink sits on a 230-acre property formerly known as the New Age Health Spa. The reimagined 33-room facility beckons guests to experience Catskills restoration with an all-inclusive experience that includes access to 12 treatment rooms, a meadow-view gym, an indoor pool, hot tubs, saunas, a steam room, a sun deck, and a relaxation room.

There are outdoor tennis courts and a goat sanctuary on the property to connect and engage with the animals. Outdoor trails are plentiful, and creative crafts and workshops promise rejuvenation and self-discovery. Mindful, healthy eating is at the core of Hemlock’s restaurant, Bittersweet. Says co-founder Kirsten Foster, “Our vision of wellness isn’t about achieving perfection. It’s about achieving happiness, having fun, and feeling restored.”

A 20-minute drive from Hemlock Neversink is YO1 Longevity & Health Resort in Monticello. Using traditional Ayurvedic treatments, this 131-room facility focuses on restoring health and balance through an authentic Indian perspective. There are other options for health and wellness in the Sullivan Catskills—pamper yourself at Crystal Life Spa at Resorts World Catskills or the Hemlock Spa at Kenoza Hall, or find well-being at The Chi Hive Studio in Narrowsburg, Mountaindale Yoga & Wellness, The Yoga Space, or Somewhere in Time Retreat.

Winter here can be more than restorative. It can be downright exhilarating. Holiday Mountain Ski and Fun Park— now under new ownership of the Taylor family, long-time skiers, and local business owners—is reopening this season with six trails, two chairlifts, an all-new learning center, and 12 lanes of snow tubing. Long-term plans include 17 ski and snowboarding trails and a mountain of family adventure in every season.

new year travel
Ice Fishing © Courtesy of Sullivan Catskills

When the lakes and ponds freeze over, ice fishing is a popular pastime here. New to the sport? Dress in moisture-wicking layers, a warm jacket, and insulated pants. You’ll need an ice auger to drill holes and tip-ups to drop your fishing line in the water. Most importantly, make sure the ice is at least four inches thick. Don’t miss the Ice Fishing Derby at the Arnold House or the King of the Ice contest on White Lake in February.

Snowshoeing is a great way to get your heart rate pumping, and Trailkeeper.org can help find trails suitable to your fitness level. Another popular pastime is eagle-watching on the shores of the Upper Delaware River. Up to 200 eagles winter here. The Sullivan Catskills Dove Trail is worth a tour in winter.

The trail honors the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair held in Bethel and features 68+ hand-painted dove sculptures. During your tour, you can make stops in our quaint downtowns and at our craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, and cideries on the award-winning Good Taste Beverage Trail. There’s always Catskill-icious food. Some have live music, and one includes a trek up picturesque Beer Mountain.

Whether it’s winter recess for the kids or you need a cure for cabin fever, consider a visit to Kartrite Resort and Indoor
Waterpark, where it’s always a balmy 84 degrees inside. The water rides and waterslides are just pure fun. There’s also arcades, 3D gaming, and virtual reality. There are 324 suites and eight dining options. Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center—with a fine selection of rooms and suites—features an indoor pool, game room, sports complex, bowling alley, bounce houses, and racquetball.

Or try downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. There are nearly a dozen dining options and cocktail lounges. Roscoe Mountain House (formerly Tennanah Lake Golf and Tennis Club) is planning a bevy of winter activities, including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Check their website, RoscoeMountainClub.com, for updates.

Interested in a romantic couple’s winter escape? Consider a boutique inn. Many are located near the hip towns of Narrowsburg, Callicoon, Livingston Manor, Roscoe, and Mountaindale, including Kenoza Hall, The Boarding House at Seminary Hill Cidery, The Stickett Inn, Chatwal Lodge, and Callicoon Hills.

Kartrite Waterpark © Steve Serge
Hemlock Neversink © Lawrence Braun

By early March, when your thoughts turn to purple crocuses and yellow daffodils pushing up through the frozen ground, think about a spring trip to the Sullivan Catskills. That’s when foodies will descend here first for Restaurant Week with pre-fixe lunches and dinners at local restaurants from April 8-21. Then for Catskill Cuisine – May 10-12 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and other Sullivan Catskills locations. The three-day affair will feature celebrity, nationally acclaimed, regionally renowned chefs and vendors for demonstrations, tastings, book signings, a marketplace, and more.

Plan to spend the weekend or take advantage of a discounted mid-week visit. For details on a cozy winter getaway, visit SullivanCatskills.com

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Our peaceful, legendary vacationland is just 90 minutes from new york city and is full of simple country pleasures. Bring your family and friends.

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