This fresh air destination offers endless outdoor adventures, legendary events and festivals, cultural legacy and old-world charm. Trip planning sites: greatnortherncatskills.com and visitthecatskills.com.
Getting there: The area is reached in under an hour from Albany, N.Y. American Airlines offers rates from $100 one-way on travel through May 25 (14-day advance). It’s a 2-plus hour drive from New York City. Delta Air Lines offers round-trip rates to LaGuardia from $156, based on select daily flights and a 21-day advance purchase.
Stay: The 1893 Catskill Lodge, a Queen Anne Victorian home, lies less than 3 miles from Windham Village, nicknamed the “Gem of the Catskills.” The bed and breakfast sits atop a hill on 5 acres of gardens with scenic mountain views. Rates from $99 include a full home-cooked breakfast using local and organic produce. Windham Mountain is a 6-minute drive away, and it’s 15 minutes to Hunter Mountain. 350 N.Y. 296, Windham, N.Y. 518-261-7150, catskilllodge.com.
Eat: Pop into the Catskill Mountain Country Store for all-day breakfast or lunch. All menu items $10.99 or less. The adjacent shop sells homemade jams, jellies, pies and breads. On-site is a Looking Zoo with barnyard animals. 5510 N.Y. 23, Windham, N.Y. 518-734-3387, catskillmtncountrystore.com.
Experience: Take a stroll down Huguenot Street in the heart of New Paltz. This National Historic Landmark District encompasses 30 17th-18th century buildings across 10 acres, including a burial ground dating to the first settlers, seven historic stone houses, a reconstructed 1717 Huguenot church, and archaeological sites (huguenotstreet.org). Minnewaska State Park Preserve (22,275-acres) offers stunning vistas, more than 50 miles of uncrowded trails and numerous waterfalls. Many of the scenic trails and historic carriageways wind their way around Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting — both known for the exceptional water clarity and aquamarine color; $10 parking. 5281 Route 44-55, Kerhonkson, N.Y. 845-255-0752, parks.ny.gov/parks/127.
Stay: The Barlow is a 16-room European-style boutique hotel housed in a 1907 art deco building. The hotel offers special rates for local restaurants, shops and attractions. Other amenities include a garden patio with seating for guests, and an art-filled lobby with a fireplace. Rates from $155. 542 Warren St., Hudson, N.Y. 518-828-2100, thebarlowhotel.com.
Eat: Locally sourced produce and meats get a Vietnamese twist at Food Studio Hudson, with long wooden communal tables. Entrees $15-$28. 610 Warren St., Hudson, N.Y. 518-828-3459, hudsonfoodstudio.com.
Experience: Take in the views along the Hudson River Valley and the Catskill Mountains aboard the Spirit on Hudson and Little Spirit. Highlights of the 90-minute cruise include Olana Castle, the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, the Hudson-Athens lighthouse, and an abundance of wildlife. Beverages and snacks available to purchase. $22-$27. 72 Water St., Hudson, N.Y. 518-348-8993, hhudsoncruises.com.
Stay: Rustic yet luxurious, Deer Mountain Inn offers Catskills charm on 168 wooded acres outside Tannersville, the “painted village in the sky” (named so for the vibrantly colored Main Street buildings). Find turn-of-the-century touches in guest rooms priced from $250, including a farmhouse breakfast. On site is a 60-seat restaurant, bar, outdoor decks with a fireplace and miles of trails. Kaaterskill Falls, the highest two-tier waterfall in New York, is a 15-minute drive from the inn. 790 County Road 25, Tannersville, N.Y. 518-589-6268, deermountaininn.com.
Eat: Ladoria Ristorante serves modern Italian cuisine and special four- or five-course chef’s tastings (varying prix fixe), $11-$30. After dining, take in a classic Catskills nightclub show. 6302 Main St., Scenic Route 23A, Tannersville, N.Y. 518-589-5060, villavosilla.com.
Experience: Soar through the air on the longest (4.6 miles) and highest (nearly 600 feet) zip line canopy tour in North America. The course offers tamer and family-friendly zips and canopy tours (from $19). The Mid-Mountain Tour ($69) winds through a forest and above streams and waterfalls on six zip lines and four suspension bridges. The SkyRider Tour ($129) is the ultimate zip ride, starting at the summit of Hunter Mountain. 7740 Main St., Hunter, N.Y. 518-263-4388, ziplinenewyork.com.
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Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.