Your Guide to Visiting the Historic and Legendary Sullivan Catskills

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Chatwal Lodge © Photo by Allen Kennedy

New York’s Sullivan Catskills is long on fun, so put it on your shortlist of summer getaways. You can explore the lush countryside (on foot, wheels, or water), kick back in luxury accommodations, sip on craft beverages, and indulge in inventive cuisine.

Once home to hundreds of summer resorts, this legendary vacationland is a two-hour drive from Manhattan. Today, contemporary full-service resorts, charming inns, and a multi-million-dollar arts center at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair make the Sullivan Catskills the country escape of choice for city-dwellers to unwind and recharge.

Rove through the stunning landscape for outdoor adventure and end each expedition with a good meal. The food and beverage here are ever-expanding and inventive. The Yarra in Roscoe is a four-bedroom inn named after a river in Melbourne, Australia and inspired by the owners’ travel experiences. The food is a nod to the eclectic Melbourne food scene.

Upward Brewing © Courtesy of Sullivan Catskills
sullivan catskills
The Heron © Courtesy of Sullivan Catskills

The Bashakill Wildlife Management Area near Wurtsboro is home to the largest freshwater wetlands in southeastern New York. Recreational opportunities include 15 miles of flat hiking trails along the historic D&H Canal towpath. Along the way, stop at Bashakill Vineyards (part of the Good Taste Beverage Trail) for a taste of their small-batch wines and a full menu of tapas, charcuterie boards, and tacos. In town, visit Canal Towne Emporium, a delightful family-owned business since 1869 featuring a collection of fine-crafted gifts, country foods and home décor.

In Hurleyville, walk or bike the rail trail. Known locally as “The Milk Train Trail,” the nearly two miles of smooth-surface, ADA-compliant, multi-use trail extends in each direction from the center of the hamlet totaling 3.5 miles. While you’re there, swing by the Pickled Owl or the Tango Café for a bite or see a movie at the Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre. The little river town of Barryville grew up around the D&H canal. Once visited by JFK, Bette Davis, and Paul Newman, Barryville is experiencing a resurgence. Take the historic walking tour, and don’t miss the Barryville General Store and the Saturday Farmers’ Market.

Beer lovers, head to Livingston Manor to visit the two craft breweries. Upward Brewing sits at the base of a 120-acre preserve called Beer Mountain. Work up a sweat on the 1.5-mile hike before you try the Opiate Sun. In a gold-certified LEED building, Catskill Brewery uses sustainable practices and organic ingredients to craft Night Shine and a handful of other flavorful brews. Other not-to-be-missed Good Taste Beverage Trail venues include Roscoe Beer Company, Shrewd Fox Brewery, Callicoon Brewing, Catskill Provisions, Seminary Hill Cidery, Do Good Spirits, Rock Valley Spirits, Russian Mule, Stickett Inn Cider, and Forthright Cyder and Mead.

Photo © Courtesy of Sullivan Catskills

The Tusten Mountain Trail near the river town of Narrowsburg is a moderately challenging 2.9-mile loop trail. The trail features a few rough spots, and there is some elevation gain with a few steeper spots. It’s a great three-season hike, and your four-legged friends will like it too, but they must be leashed. Afterward, mosey downtown and bring your appetite. Water sports on the Delaware River are wildly popular. Lander’s River Trips, Kittatinny Canoes, Indian Head Canoes, and others cater to individuals and groups and offer rafting, kayaking, tubing, canoeing, and camping.

The crystal-clear waters here are perfect for fly-fishing, and the area is known as the birthplace of American fly-fishing. Lake bait fishing opportunities are many, too. Families love Kartrite Resort and Indoor Waterpark, where it’s always 84 degrees. Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center has a wide selection of outdoor pools and water features kids and families love. One of the most unique and fun experiences is visiting the Sullivan Catskills Dove Trail, a collection of 60 hand-painted dove sculptures perched in villages, towns, and outside local businesses. The trail commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair.

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has a full slate of concerts in August, including The Beach Boys, Santana with Earth Wind and Fire, Brandi Carlile, and Phil Lesh and the Midnight Ramble Band, among others. Located at the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, the center features an outdoor music pavilion with a seating and lawn capacity of 16,000. The Museum at Bethel Woods is dedicated to the ‘60s and the Woodstock festival.

Photo © Courtesy of Sullivan Catskills

There’s so much to explore it’s worth spending the weekend—or longer. Book a room at the newly opened Chatwal Lodge. Located on the historic Chapin Estate grounds on the shores of the massive Toronto Reservoir, this elevated escape features 11 exclusive guest rooms with a refined rustic ambiance with barn beams, carved wood bed frames, and stone fireplaces. Indulge in a wellness stay at Yo1 Health Resort.

Or stay at Resorts World Catskills, where you can play the slots or table games. There’s also a spa and a host of dining options, including celebrity chef Scott Conant’s Cellaio. Other noteworthy accommodations with restaurant options include The Eldred Preserve, Callicoon Hills, and Kenoza Hall, which recently opened ten luxury bungalows and features an activity-concierge director, better known in these parts as “tummlers”—a nod to the bungalow colony resorts of the Golden Age of the Catskills.

Vacation rentals are all the rage and range from glamping tents to domes to country cottages with firepits and fireplaces. If you like to sleep under the stars, there’s a wide selection of campgrounds to choose from, too.

Visit SullivanCatskills.com to book your experience.

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There are so many things to do in our Sullivan Catskills, you’ll choose us over and over again for your vacation destination. Every colorful season here will remind you of what it feels like to be a kid again.

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