Thursday, January 12, 2012

Winter Festivals Warm Up the Western Catskills

Ice harvesting, ice skating, snowmobiling – and the foods that go with them!! That’s what winter festivals are made of.  Delaware County has two on tap that are sure to please families from the Oneonta and Binghamton areas. First up is the 3rd Annual Winter Festival at the Walton Fairgrounds.  Saturday January 21st from 9am until late afternoon, the fairgrounds are transformed into a winter wonderland!   The event will feature a spectacular ice carving competition, with carvers from the American Culinary Federation and including Delaware County's own SUNY Delhi Ice Carvers competing against one another and Mother Nature. Beautiful forms to local business logos will be carved that day. Competitors will be toting chainsaws, chisels, blowtorches, and other special tools of the trade. Top professional ice carvers will judge the sculptors and crown a champion by day's end.
This one-day, family-oriented festival will also feature a horse-drawn carriage and sleigh exhibition, figure skating demonstration, ice skating, snowmobile races, wood carving competition, and children’s’ winter-related activities. Food vendors will be on-site to make sure everyone has a warm and full belly!
Next up is the Ice Harvest at Hanford Mills Museum on Saturday, February 4 from 10 am – 4 pm. The day provides a hands-on history lesson—and a day of winter fun. Visitors can walk out on the frozen mill pond and help cut blocks of ice using vintage ice saws. The ice will then be hauled by a horse-drawn sled, and packed in a traditional ice house. The ice harvested at the event will be used to make ice cream at the Hanford Mills Independence Day Celebration. 
Demonstrations on ice fishing and tree pruning will be ongoing, and the SUNY Delhi Hospitality’s Ice Team will be on hand to create great ice sculptures on site.  There will be horse-drawn sleigh rides, children’s games and outdoor fire pits to warm up by.  If your belly needs warming, half a dozen local restaurants will be serving hot soups in the old General Store building, or opt for hot apple cider and snacks like fresh roasted peanuts or Junkyard Bakehaus baked goods.  The Hanford House will be open to teach folks how to work the “Iron Maiden” – that’d be how to cook on a woodstove! And the Mill will show films of ice harvests from the 1930’s.
Children 12 and under are free. Adults are $8.50, seniors are $6.50. AAA and other discounts available. Museum members are free, as are residents who live in the following zip codes that neighbor Hanford Mills: (13757, 13739, 13786, 13750, or 13806). Residents are asked to bring identification to receive free admission to Hanford Mills Museum. 
Learn more about the Western Catskills
Delaware County is located conveniently to the NYC / Albany / Rochester / Philadelphia areas for weekend getaway. For more information on travel to the Great Western Catskills visit For a free activity guides, art gallery and antique shop map, fishing map or event calendar, call 866-775-4425.   The Great Western Catskills of Delaware County Facebook page now includes a Photo of the Day section so you can see the weather and beauty of the area – no matter what Mother Nature delivers.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Plattekill Rocks Winter In The Great Western Catskills

 Folks are hoping that this winter season’s snowfall is on par with last year’s amazing records. Many New York area skiers have learned that staying close to home and driving to the Catskills is far better than getting on a plane and heading west.  It’s time to reacquaint skiers with one of the East coasts’ best kept secrets – Plattekill Mountain in the Great Western Catskills.  As long as mother nature provides cold nights, Plattekill skiers will be satisfied with all the snow making that’ll be going on at the mountain. 
Getting to know a ski mountain and making it your favorite, requires a few visits. Do I like the mountain? The lodging options? Can I do other things besides skiing?    Here’s some insight into the family mountain that rocks.  Plattekill is situated in Roxbury, NY tops out at 3,500 feet in elevation making it the highest peek on the western edge of the Catskills capturing all that weather flow off the plains and lake effect storms.  You’ll find 1,100 vertical feet of downhill glory, serviced by three lifts, with the longest trail topping off at 2 miles.  The resort rounds out its offerings with ski school, lodge with three levels with fireplaces, cafeteria, bar, child care, and of course, tubing.  Here’s some new additions for the 2011-2012 season.
*  16 new snow guns pushing it to over 100 guns on the mountain

*  Additional water capacity for longer sustained snowmaking

*  All new "Snowkidding" Childrens Learning Center

*  Widening of the popular Powder Puff Beginner Trail

*  New PLATTY 5-PACK with 5 discounted fully-transferable non-holiday tickets
    $250 adult, $200 jr/sr

*  Expanded base lodge deck

*  Expanded food service offerings with locally grown produce and meats

*  Improved parking facilities
There are two reasons people who love skiing, ski here. The first is that Plattekill is an incredibly family friendly mountain and affordable.  No crowds, relaxed atmosphere and the personal touch make everyone feel at home.  The other reason is that people who love skiing, love skiing on Plattekill’s trails.  They’re challenging for serious skiers, fun for boarders, and there’s plenty of them for all.
Incentive pricing is also available this coming year through Plattekill's Value Club Card - only $59!!  For this great price you get:  (1) FREE ANYTIME Lift Ticket, $10 OFF Weekends*, 50% OFF Fridays*, $5 OFF Holidays.  The Value Club Card can be purchased for adults, juniors, students or seniors and is valid for the individual purchaser only, non-transferable.  Discounts are applicable to full-day ticket price based on age of purchaser.  *Check website for holiday blackout dates.
A number of nearby lodging facilities and private home rentals have partnered with Plattekill Mountain to offer money-saving packages. The most popular offering is the Kids Ski Free option. When visitors stay with a participating lodging facility, children 17 and under will receive one free lift ticket for each paid adult ticket (limit two). For families with more than two kids or with no kids Plattekill has a great new buy one get one BOGO discount. Buy your lift tickets for Saturday and get Sunday’s lift ticket free.  Plus they have increased the Kids Ski Free age to 7 and under.
Signing up for e-blasts from the tourism office at and from Plattekill Mountain will keep you up to date on the great offerings and ski conditions in our area.  The ski area is open Friday-Sunday from 8:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Plattekill will also be open daily during the week between Christmas and New Years as well as in February for the Presidents’ Week holiday.  Saturday nights are especially exciting with snow tubing available from 5-9 p.m and every night during holiday weeks.
If your winter adventure tastes are more leisurely, Delaware County has many fine cross-country skiing and snowshoeing options. The local favorite cross-country or snowshoe route is the 26-mile rail bed known as the Catskill Scenic Trail.  Use of the trail is free. This expanse of flat terrain is maintained during the winter by the snowmobile club members.  Snowshoes can be rented at Plattekill Mountain and cross country skis can be rented in Highmount.  For additional information on the rail trail visit

Great Western Catskills Tourism
The Great Western Catskills is an easy day trip from New York City metro area, Albany, or Binghamton and a great weekend getaway or vacation destination for all. To learn more about outdoor resources, Stay-and-Play Packages or any other activities in the Western Catskills, log on to:  Check out our Facebook page at Great Western Catskills.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Comes First to the Great Western Catskills

Labor Day weekend has tell-tale signs of fall on the mountains with isolated trees turning to their fall burgundy or deep orange colors. Cool evenings and recent rains are setting the stage for a spectacular fall foliage season. In New York State the leaves turn first up in the northern part of the Adirondack State Park, and here on the western slopes of the Catskill Park. Altitudes of 2-3000 feet and cool evenings bring on the Fall foliage season first. As the leaves turn throughout September, hikers, mountain bikers, fly-fishing fans and kayakers get their last outings during the warm days amongst the changing landscape. Farmers markets are jam packed with folks bringing home the harvest. Farm tours, workshops, and more delight locavores.

Fall pops into high gear by the last weekend of September, showing a gorgeous array of scarlet, burgundy and pumpkin mixing in to the mountainside greens. The weekend of September 24th and 25th kicks off the fall celebrations. Delhi’s Harvest Festival on Saturday showcases area crafters and music. Just down the road is a quilting workshop at the historical society. And all weekend long, Plattekill Mountain is hosting their first ever Antique Show. You’ll be able to bid on of the finest things from a bygone era by a variety of dealers. For extra fun you’ll be able to ride the chairlift and enjoy the magnificent Catskill Mountain fall foliage views. And you won’t go hungry - the full cafeteria will be open for faster appetites & a restaurant with a bar for the more refined. And there will be local musicians to entertain guests all weekend.

October is sure to please everyone looking to feast their eyes on the best fall colors – the first two weekends including Columbus weekend are resplendent in orange and gold. This coincides with the annual Lark in the Park – ten days of guided hikes and workshops in and around the Catskill Park, October 1st-10th. Easy hikes, difficult hikes, fire tower treks, kayaking and woodlands workshops will be occurring mid week and on the weekends, hosted by avid outdoors people sharing their skill and passion for the Catskill Mountains. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the Catskill Park is here. There is no main gate to enter through and the Park itself is a collection of public and private lands. Spearheaded by the Catskill Center and the Catskill Mountain Club, this year’s choices range from easy to moderately difficult hikes – many to fire towers in the Park, bike rides, kayak or canoe paddles, and forestry workshops. As more volunteers create great events they’ll appear on the event website: This is a great opportunity to learn more about mother natures playground.

Columbus weekend brings the second annual Taste of the Catskills to Delhi. A joint venture lead by Quarter Moon CafĂ© and hosted on the grounds of Maple Shade Farm – this Columbus weekend event is sure to please adults and kids alike. is the website to find out more. The area’s most talented musicians will provide entertainment all weekend. There will be lots of kid’s activities each day. Children will be able to meet the Dairy Princess and enjoy the 4-H fair. On both days children can visit the pick-a-pumpkin patch, navigate the corn maze, and pet farm animals. There will be live children’s music each day at noon.

Great Western Catskills Tourism
The Great Western Catskills is an easy weekend get-away destination for travelers – just 3 hours from the New York City metro area. To learn about great outdoor resources, Stay-and-Play Packages or camping in the western Catskills, log on to: For free brochures on kayaking, antiquing, public fishing access map and other literature, call toll-free: (866) 775-4425 or e-mail: For a bounty of great events in the area visit