Friday, November 19, 2010

Ring In Winter Close To Home 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 make 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 2010-2011 season.

• Another NEW BOMBARDIER GROOMER has been added to the fleet to make for fantastic surface conditions all winter!
• MORE SNOW MAKING (22 more tower-mounted guns to be exact) to make for MORE SNOW on the trails faster! That’s almost 100 guns total!!
• SEVERAL base lodge improvements including a new outdoor covered grill food service area!
• EXPANDED children’s Ski School programs offering NEW "SNOW TIGERS" program featuring advanced level lesson packages for kids ages 4-7 years with a 2-1 student-teacher ratio!
• EXPANDED terrain park we'll be adding to it for a great riding season.

There are two reasons people who love skiing, ski here. The first is that Plattekill is an incredibly family friendly mountain. 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 19-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: For events in the area visit

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Great Western Catskills Offers Lodging Deals and Weekends Packed With Fun.

Every one can use a little incentive to make travel plans and the Great Western Catskills has lots to choose from. From motel stays to getting a third night deep discount, you’re sure to find the right fit for your budget. Combine with great activities like pumpkin picking or corn maze strolling, hiking in the Catskill Park, horseback riding, to mountain biking. Check out our website for more details.

Fall Lodging Discounts Abound
Harmony Hill Lodge and Retreat Center. East Meredith has a special sense of peace and serenity. Book two nights and get a third night free. Excludes holiday weekends. 607-278-6609 or visit
Becky's B&B in Hancock. Enjoy reduced rates during fall foliage season and into winter. 10% off each night and 50% off the third night. For more info call 607-637-5499 or visit Becky's is less than 1/2 mile from fishing access on the East Branch of The Delaware.
Buena Vista in Delhi. During fall foliage season and through the end of the year (12/29/2010), travelers will receive 50% off on a third night. Buena Vista offers newly renovated rooms. Located just a few minutes from golf at the SUNY Delhi course, the West Branch of the Delaware River for fishing, and main street antiquing. Delhi is the center of the county - you'll be close to everything you could want to do. Visit or call 607-746-2135.

Fall Packages To Please As Well
I Like To Hike What kinda hike do ya like? A steep incline up to an amazing view? A lush nature walk full of flora and fauna? A tranquil jaunt around a lake? A trek to a cleansing waterfall? The Catskill Mountains contain a virtual plethora of hiking trails, walks, and excursions and let the staff at The Roxbury Motel prepare a package that suits your taste. The package includes: maps and a planned itinerary for a fantasmagorical hike based on your enthusiasm for exertion; a cool Roxbury tote bag stuffed with a bottle of fine Bordeaux, some trail mix and power bars for extra energy; your choice of picnic fixings – deli sandwiches, cheese variety; complimentary two-day passes to the glimmering Shimmer Spa; and our extremely popular two-hour couples massage. This package offers a 10% discount off of their published room rates when you purchase the whole package! Package price starts at $553 for a two-night, high-season weekend studio room. Even less if you go for midweek! Additional items like a romantic tasting menu dinner for two at the scrumptious Peekamoose Restaurant or bike rentals for the Catskill Scenic Trail or horseback riding at Stone Tavern Farm can be added for an additional cost. Book ONLINE or call 607-326-7200!

Rad Romance at the Roxbury! Whether you are trying to light a fire or rekindle a flame, the Rad Romance package is bound to ignite sparks. How about fine chilled champagne on ice, fresh exotic flowers, and a gourmet cheese platter? Your romance will then soar to a new height with a couples massage during which our therapist will teach you the techniques for giving each others’ bodies whatever they need… To entice your taste buds, you will dine at the area’s most scrumptious eatery, Peekamoose Restaurant, where Chef Devin Mills’ tasting menu is purported to provide aphrodisiac properties. Inquire for rates. Taxes and gratuities not included. This package is offered year round.

JUST ADDED: To REALLY get those sparks-a-poppin off the flames, we can arrange a horse-and-buggy ride around the village of Roxbury for you. The buggy is a beautifully restored 19th century handsome cab driven by a pair of equally handsome horses. Perfect for popping a special question. Weather permitting. Read more about this and other packages they offer at The Roxbury is the recipient of two 2009 Travelers Choice Awards from and the National Geographic's 2009 Stay List. For more info about the cool village of Roxbury at

City Bumpkins Country Pumpkins: From now until October 30th put fun in your weekend getaway with two nights at the Mountain Brook Inn in Bovina, NY. You’ll be lulled to sleep by the sounds of the babbling brook behind the Inn and awoken each morning with a continental breakfast basket delivered to your front door. When you are ready to go, Gary will send you on your way to your hayride and pumpkin picking excursion at Sunflower Farm right near by. Bring your pumpkins back to the Mountain Brook Inn and carve them right there if you wish! Dinner will be a short drive away at the Andes Hotel. CIA trained Chef O’Neill will prepare a harvest feast for you featuring whatever is locally available at the time of your visit. 2 Nights at the Mountain Brook Inn, continental breakfast basket each morning, pumpkin picking & hayride, harvest feast at the Andes Hotel featuring a seasonal menu, and foliage cruise on the vintage Delaware Ulster Railroad. Couple $355. Family of Four (two adults and two children) $460.

The Miracle of Fall: Two nights and harvest feast at the Andes Hotel featuring a seasonal menu and lots of fall fun at Maple Shade Farm in Delhi, NY. Enjoy the day or an afternoon at Maple Shade Farm to experience the Wilson family’s passion for education, agriculture and plain ole’ farm fun! They will take you on a hayride, pumpkin picking, up Halloween Hill and through the corn maze. Afterwards return to the Andes Hotel for dinner. CIA trained Chef O’Neill will prepare a harvest feast for you featuring whatever is locally available at the time of your visit. From acorn squash to amaranth, beltie beef to blue hubbards and sweet corn to smoked trout, the season’s bounty is Chef O’Neill’s inspiration. Couple $295. Family of Four (two adults and two children) $345. Weekends now until October 30th. 845-676-3980 - Ask for Sally to book this package.

Learn more about the Western Catskills
For more information on great things to do and lodging packages in the Great Western Catskills visit For information on events, visit For a free fishing map or art gallery and antique dealer directory, call 866-775-4425.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall's First in the Great Western Catskills

Labor Day weekend saw tell-tale signs of fall on the mountains with isolated trees turning to their early 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.

Fall is resplendent the entire month of September but really pops into high gear by the last weekend, showing a gorgeous array of scarlet, burgundy and pumpkin mixing in to the mountainside greens. September 25th showcases two great agricultural festivals – Delhi’s Harvest Festival and Margaretville’s Cauliflower Festival. The Catskill Forest Association hosts a firewood management workshop – oh so important now that the Emerald Ash Borer has been found in the eastern slopes of the Park. Then, on Sunday the 26th, Stamford hosts their annual Scarecrow Festival. These events offer a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the agricultural history of our area and to purchase locally made food and crafts.

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. 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.

The first weekend of October, Maple Shade Farm celebrates their Generations Day and shines a light on our agricultural heritage with antique engines and tractors, wagon rides, auction, pie contest and tons of regional apples. October 2nd and 3rd will offer the final series of tours of John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge in Roxbury.

This year Columbus weekend brings the new Taste of the Catskills to Delhi. A joint venture lead by Quarter Moon Café 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. There will be a bocce tournament, beverage and food tastings, farm market, workshops on topics like cheese making, Sunday pig roast and more. For the kids Maple Shade will be hosting their Little Farmers Day with farm animals and carnival games in the main barn. In Walton at the Fairgrounds you’ll find the American Cancer Society’s Fall Harvest Festival going on. If you need a little more adventure on Columbus weekend, the Eastern State Cup Series mountain biking races will be hosted at Plattekill Bike Park in Roxbury. Plattekill offers lift rides for foliage viewing all season.

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

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Roundup of What’s New in the Western Catskills.

Everyone wants to know what’s new in the mountains each year. We long for a reason to take a back road to a main street that hasn’t been visited in too long a while. Our quirky main streets continually beckon the intrepid business owners and shopkeepers to open their doors. Here is a roundup of the news we’ve heard of all around Delaware County.

Harpersfield is boasting a new horseback trail riding facility – the Circle A Ranch. Just south of that, Stamford gives rise to recreational opportunities indoors and out. Jam’s Indoor Golf lets folks with a hankerin’ practice their swing any time of the year. The Michael Kudish Nature Preserve pays homage to mother nature, featuring guided hikes, workshops, storytelling and more this summer – as well as great wild blueberry picking. Stamford is also home to miles of trails on private land that are open to the public for hiking. Access is easy from the village parking lot. Four different trail segments, many of which are suitable for beginner or novice hikers, make up the trail system. On the other side of Town, Roses Brook Road is host to new antique store Lyon Mountain Blue Barn Antiques.

Roxbury’s big news is that it has it’s own radio station - WROX. This spring saw the opening of a new art gallery – the Martin Lerner Gallery. This fall will see the opening of an expanded Roxbury Motel. Down the road in Margaretville, Harry and the Hippie Chic have moved down the block with their NY Rican meals. Pair this with Mi Lupita now serving prepared food in Fleischmanns and your tastebuds will never be wanting in the Catskills for ethnic flavor. The parking in the village across from Freshtown is finished and makes for a wonderful river walk with sitting benches. Most folks don’t know but this is also the kick off point for hiking with a trail running from the parking area up into the Catskill Park on the Millbrook Trail.

Andes has two new stores this summer – Andes Books and the Catskill Connection at Blink featuring jewelry. Tay Home has expanded with a Tea Bar and has been joined by Living Tree Botanical and their line of hand blended beauty products made with many local ingredients.

The Fisk Barn Antiques has expanded into Delhi and joins the Tractor Supply store at the main crossroads. Cross Roads Café is now serving dinner and soon will have a liquor license. Andes Hotel owners have their second location in Delhi. O’Neills Shire Pub is set to open early summer in the old Vastas’ location. Just down the road in Hamden is a new B&B Moonshadows and Memories in a lovely renovated, main street Victorian.

Franklin Stage Company is on hiatus this summer, but is still hosting smaller productions and music at Chapel Hall. There are new owners at the Beehive so remember to keep Franklin on the map for great food and entertainment. Stone and Thistle Farm in East Meredith has added a B&B suite so folks can stay at the farm and opt into one of their many programs, such as Farmer For a Day, or feast at their four course Saturday dinner at Fable featuring local foods.

Walton’s antique businesses now number 13 and make the main street here the place for great finds. Walton is becoming a destination for antiquing, especially with the Robinson’s Auction in town too. To entertain the shoppers and shop owners, Danny’s Restaurant has expanded with live music on Wednesday nights with their Rock the Lot events. Also stepping up to the live music plate is the Rainbow Lodge with their Rock the Dock on Friday nights. The lovely Stony Creek farm – veggies and livestock sustainably raised – is doing farm tours Saturdays at 11am.

Hancock will be home to a first ever two week long, world class, music festival at the West Branch International Music Festival and Academy. The festival begins July 18 and runs through August 1, 2010, with performances held in the main room of the West Branch Resort’s River Run Restaurant, whose 30 foot vaulted ceilings and hardwood and stone surfaces provide superb acoustics. Orchestral programs will take place at the lovely Hancock Area High School auditorium. Repertoires will include Grieg, Mozart, Sibelius and more.

With so many choices you can spend the entire summer checking them all out for yourself. Information on all these businesses and phone numbers or website links can be found on our website, as well as a new feature - select dining location menus are now available off the website.

Great Western Catskills Tourism
The Great Western Catskills is an easy day trip from Albany or Binghamton and a great weekend getaway or vacation destination only 3 hours from the New York City metro area. To learn more about outdoor resources, equipment rentals, great dining, affordable local lodging, Stay-and-Play Packages and great events going on in the western Catskills, log on to: For free travel literature like our fishing map and antique and art gallery directory can be mailed out to you - call toll-free: (866) 775-4425 or e-mail:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catskills History Takes a Powerful New Leap Forward.

Delaware and Ulster Railroad and Hanford Mills Museum have been marketing themselves together for years as a great pair of historical outings to make in the Western Catskills. Their theme – Experience the Power of History by Learning the History of Power – is being transformed into a great new website. A gander through will bring you on a wonderful trip through Delaware County’s industrial and agrarian past, as well as its role as a tourism destination for city dwellers.

The website is a collaboration between the Delaware and Ulster RailRoad, Hanford Mills, the Delaware County Historical Association and the Delaware County tourism efforts led by the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. Kaatskill Life Magazine, whose articles on the region are highly regarded for their depth and detail, put the website team in touch with their writers for reuse of some articles for the initial launch. The archives at DCHA are continually being looked through for new content and the fantastic photographic archives that are found in their collections. The website is not a static experience that will stay the same, but is more like a blog or online magazine as new content will be continually uploaded. The website hosts articles, slideshows, videos and maps. There is a Facebook page titled Power of History that will feature even more photos and articles that may be slightly off topic or add fun background details to the stories. There is even a Twitter feed that will add information on local events with a history bent.

Tourism Director Patty Cullen is pleased to have created a different online experience for visitors and residents to deepen their relationship to the county. “By now we know that folks of all ages do part, if not all, of their travel research online. We are looking to provide lots of content on the website that will be found in search engines and combine that with the social media aspect to really create a stronger relationship to our visitors, generating more overnight and day trips. Our history attracts families, farm foodies, fishing and hunting fans, railroad enthusiasts, vintage baseball fans, folks who love everything historical from timber frame construction to small engines.”

The idea of heritage tourism is an appealing one for Delaware County. Even people who live here don’t really understand the quality of the experience our local historical sites offer. Hanford Mills’ executive director Liz Callahan explains, “The Power of History website offers everyone, even virtual visitors – near and far - a unique opportunity to explore many facets of Delaware County’s rich historical resources. The perspectives and themes found throughout this website create a unique and ever-expanding quilt of ideas and anecdotes that blanket the Northwest Catskills and preserve its unique and colorful culture.”

The tourism office will be looking to put together getaway packages that appeal to this customer, and offering suggestions on DIY (do-it-yourself) excursions, with of course a modern twist. “Imagine waking up at your B and B, after breakfast you get a blanket, picnic basket with lunch, copy of one or two Burroughs books, brochure about his life and a map to all the pertinent sites to visit. You hang out at Woodchuck Lodge, reading Burroughs where Burroughs was inspired. That experience has relevance today.”

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 our attractions, outdoor recreation and great events going on in the Delaware County Catskills, log on to:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cannonsville Reservoir Opens for 2010 Season with New Launch Site

New York State's Great Western Catskills in Delaware County have long been a place for those who know the secrets of its waters. The best fly fishing spots, early season high water kayaking on the rivers, fishing from canoes on the reservoirs. What had been lacking are large bodies of water for recreational use, until last year. What changed was the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's opening up of most of the Cannonsville Reservoir for recreational kayaking, canoeing, sculls, and for small sailboats, like Sunfish. Last year over 400 people went through the process of getting a permit and steam cleaning their boats, and got to paddle on these pristine waters.

Historically, the City's reservoirs have only been open to fishing boats under permit. After much urging from the local communities the City agreed to run a pilot program on the western reservoir, the Cannonsville, which runs from south of Walton west and south towards Deposit and Hancock. This is a three year pilot program running from 2009 to 2011, after which the City will assess the benefits and local impact and determine whether to keep it open or possibly expand it.

Two steps are required to access the Cannonsville. First the boater will need a DEP Access Permit, which you can get online at or at local sports stores. Second is the Recreational Boat Tag, which you get once your boat has been steam cleaned. All craft must be steam cleaned prior to being placed on the water and permits affixed to the boats. The Recreational Boat Tag will last from 1 to 7 days. Full season Boat Tags will be issued by the DEP's Downsville office and will permit owners to leave their boats locked up at launch areas. Trailers are not allowed in the water and there is no camping at these sites.

For the 2010 season the NYC DEP has opened a ninth launch site at Roods Creek, on the southern side of the reservoir. This provides a second launch site for sailboats. Roods Creek joins the eight original launch sites at Mormon Hollow, Dry Brook, Speedwell, Patterson, Apex, Fish Brook Beers Brook, and Dryden Brook.

Boat Cleaning

Five boat cleaning businesses will be in operation in the towns surrounding the reservoir, in Downsville, Deposit, Trout Creek and Walton, and are detailed on the free brochure on detailing the new pilot program. The cleaning process will take about 20 minutes per boat, so make sure you give yourself enough time if you have a few boats. These vendors can issue a temporary pass and get their watercraft steam cleaned. When you visit these locations, please remember to support these local vendors and purchase your supplies from them. For those wishing to obtain a full season pass, steam cleaning services will be provided by the DEP Downsville Operation's office located on NYS Route 30. Call 607-363-7009 to schedule an appointment.

Boat Rentals

Here are a few options for renting boats, though you'll still need to have the boat steam cleaned. Als Sport Store in Downsville will be renting out canoes and kayaks. Call them at 607-326-3500 or visit Catskill Outfitters in Walton will be renting kayaks and canoes. Call them at 607-865-8827 or visit Border Water Outfitters in Hancock will be renting canoes and they can be reached at 607-637-4296 or at Old Town Kayaks in Halcottsville will have both kayaks and canoes available. Call them at 607-326-4266 or visit their website at Catskill Outback Adventures has kayaks and canoes to rent out to the public, complete with car top accessories for transporting the boat. Call them for more info at 845-254-9888 or visit their website at

Access is from sunrise to sunset and will run from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus weekend. The Delaware County tourism office is providing a brochure outlining all the information you need to know on the rules and regulations for the Cannonsville. You can receive a copy by calling 866-775-4425 and leaving your name and address or by emailing your request to You can download the brochure on the tourism website

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 about other great outdoor resources, Stay-and-Play Packages, camping in the western Catskills, and great events in our towns and villages, log on to: For a free travel literature including the brochure on the Cannonsville Reservoir, public fishing access map, antique trails, and other literature, call toll-free: (866) 775-4425 or e-mail:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Whether They’re Horsing Around or Being Footloose, for Kids Going to Camp, Summer Rocks In the Great Western Catskills

New York State’s Great Western Catskills in Delaware County have long been a playground for the young, a place where memories are made, and a place to come back to and share with your own kids. With summer in sight, it’s time for families to make plans for summer camp sign-ups for the kids. What could be better than your kids learning great outdoor skills and romping through the fields and woods of the Western Catskills.

Summer Camp choices
Horsin’ around is something kids are usually expert at. Now they can learn how to do it for real! Stone Tavern Farm in Roxbury offers many choices for horseback riding enthusiasts amidst 400 scenic acres. The farm offers half-day, all-day and overnight horse camp for nine weeks every summer. Each camp is one week long and there are also specialty camps on the weekends. “In addition to the camp we offer trail rides by the hour, multiple hours or overnight. The most popular trail is the picnic trail ride where you and your guest trail for an hour before coming to your private lunch down by the stream,” commented owner Danielle Burrows. For additional information, please visit: or call (607) 326-3600.

If your child is more of the dramatic type, our mountains have great offerings that will put them right in the middle of a scene from the Sound of Music. The Festival of the Performing Arts at French Woods the camp covers theatre, circus, dance and music in its programming, rounded out with sports like tennis, basketball, golf, waterfront games, horseback riding and more. Sessions run from just under three weeks to just under three months. For more information visit

For the 24th year, the West Kortright Centre in East Meredith is sponsoring children's theater workshops, accommodating a range of ages and interest levels. The workshops, which focus on Shakespeare, music and general theater education, have drawn young theater enthusiasts from a wide range of nearby towns. For a program schedule, please visit: or phone: (607) 278-5454.

Delaware County is also home to 4-H Camp Shankitunk in Delhi, a co-educational summer camp for children between the ages of 8-16. Campers live eight to a cabin for a week, with one or two counselors. Campers choose four of nearly 30 classes in which to participate in daily, and all campers bring home souvenirs. Information: (607) 865-6531 or log on to:

Classic camp experiences can be found at Camp Hilltop in Hancock gives children the chance “to feel comfortable and excel in a non-competitive, structured and nurturing environment.” This co-ed private residential summer camp is for children ages 6-16 and sessions range from two to eight weeks. For more information, please call (607) 637-5201 or visit:

Frost Valley YMCA’s summer camp, just over the border in Ulster County, unites traditional camping with innovative programs, focusing on building and maintaining healthy lifestyles and reflects the interests and needs of a dynamic camp community. Campers participate in activities designed to build trust, teamwork and mutual understanding. There are four two-week sessions and one weeklong session for boys and girls ages 7-16. For additional information, call (845) 985-2291, ext. 301 or 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: For free travel literature, call toll-free: (866) 775-4425 or e-mail: For timely events in the area visit

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Get Hooked On Fishing In The Great Western Catskills

New York State's trout season opens April 1 and for a growing number of fishermen, the lure of the Great Western Catskills makes Delaware County the place to be for this rite of spring.

Natural area trout streams, which eventually flow to the Delaware River, provide freestone stream fishing. These rivers combine with the Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs to total 11,000 acres of water habitat. Constant reservoir releases of cool, clear waters have enhanced the West Branch and East Branch to create unique tailwater fishing. Optimal year-round trout conditions ensure the serious angler and the adventurous visitor the most challenging and demanding fly-fishing in the Northeast.

The Beaverkill, the East and West Branches of the Delaware River, the Willowemoc and the Bushkill are among the renowned trout waters that flow through Delaware County. The "Birthplace of Fly Fishing" has been popular among anglers for more than a century and each year Catskill rivers and streams attract new legions of fishermen.

While fishing in the region is great in every season (including ice fishing in winter!) the thrill of early season angling is unsurpassed. The sights, sounds, smells and of course the hatches of April and May converge to make Catskill Mountain fishing an unforgettable experience.

The easiest way to gather information about fishing in the Great Western Catskills is to contact the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, which offers a full-color fishing guide/map with public access points. The fishing guide may be ordered free of charge by contacting the Delaware County Tourism office at 866-775-4425, or by e-mail: Website visitors are welcome to sign up for e-mail updates at

For those in search of "trophy trout" the Pepacton and Cannonsville reservoirs present great spots to "land the big one." Fishermen on these waters will want to pack a camera, too. When their respective seasons open, trophy brown trout, smallmouth bass and pickerel, are among the species that challenge sporting enthusiasts on these waters. Fishing the reservoirs just got easier. The New York City DEP, which oversees these waters, has made it easy to get fishing permits for the reservoirs by placing it online. Go to and search for watershed recreation. Regular DEC fishing permits are easy to get at almost any local sports stores.

Seasoned fishermen recognize that the way to "live large" while seeking the big one is to rent a private cabin with all the comforts of home - and great fishing just minutes away.

From Downsville down to Hancock and Deposit, camping, affordable motels, and cabin rentals abound. Fish beneath the historic covered bridge in Downsville where lodging options range from on river Pepacton Cabins (, the classy Yellow House B&B (, or the always affordable Downsville Motel ( - a favorites among anglers. The conveniently located Al's Sports Store in Downsville ( supplies everything an angler needs - from gear to a private river guide. When fishing time is over, the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant ( is a great place to dine and spin some fishing yarns.

For fishermen visiting the Hancock area (where the East and West Branches of the Delaware River converge), a full service resort such as the West Branch Angler ( is a great place to stay. The resort comes complete with a restaurant, an Orvis store, and knowledgeable river guides on staff. Bass Cabins ( is nearby too and let’s you (or the spouse) combine fishing with a love of golf at their French Woods Golf Course. Hancock boasts a fine new hotel, great motels and B&B’s both in and outside the village. After an exhilarating day on the water, anglers will enjoy telling fishing tales at the new Bluestone Grill ( This casual eatery serves lunch and dinner, topped off by a popular list of homemade desserts.

For those visiting the Deposit area and the lower edge of the Cannonsville Reservoir, lodging options include the Deposit Motel, the new Eagle Valley Cabins ( or private home rentals, such as Dream Catcher Lodge ( with one mile of river front access.

But landing trophy fish is only part of the experience. The Catskill Mountains have a special appeal that makes "just being here" a large part of the attraction - catching fish is a special bonus.

To learn more about fishing in the western Catskills and the Upper Delaware River region, or finding the right campground or lodging host to stay with, log on to: Call toll-free: 866 775-4425 or e-mail:

When it's time to fish, visit the Great Western Catskills of Delaware County and "Let the magic of our mountains move you."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

NYC May Have the High Line, but the West Kaats Have the Snow Line

For folks who like walking uninterrupted above the crowds on New York City’s Highline – they should check out the Catskill Mountains uncrowded trails, ski slopes, and main streets for real winter relaxation. The Western side of the Catskills is the first mountain range east of the Rockies that accommodates a snowline at 1800 feet above sea level. Winter weather systems that move through leave a clearly delineated line on the mountain tops where there snow precipitation really cranks it up a notch. Understanding that most folks in the metro area don’t think snow if it’s not in front of them, the Great Western Catskills Facebook page now includes a Photo of the Day section so you can remember just what the white stuff looks like and be inspired to plan a visit.

It's a ski region without the crowds and a secret many second homeowners from downstate want to keep a secret. The local ski mountain is in Roxbury at Plattekill, and it's vibe is akin to the TV show Cheers - it's a place where everybody knows your name. New to the mountain this year is a boatload of infrastructure improvements. Plattekill has added 29 snow guns, 7,000 feet of buried snowmaking pipe, 1,000 feet of heavy electric wire (and nine electric stations) to power 2 new fan guns, a grooming machine, and new rental equipment.

Plattekill maintains its charm as a challenging mountain that is incredibly family friendly. Double black diamond runs thrill expert skiers. The ski school offers great instruction, a bunny hill and two side trails for easier runs. Plattekill is open Friday-Sunday from 8:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Plattekill will be open for ten days straight for school break starting with the Presidents’ Weekend holiday. Saturday nights are especially exciting with snow tubing available in two sessions, from 5-7 and 7-9 p.m. Holiday week will have additional tubing nights as well. Check the conditions live with their mountain cam at

A number of nearby lodging facilities have partnered with Plattekill Mountain to offer money-saving packages. The most popular offering is one of their two BOGO (Buy One Get One) options. 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). Adults without children can save big too. Buy a full day lift ticket for Saturday and get Sunday’s lift ticket free. The mountain boasts a great family cafeteria, upstairs lounge bar, child care center, fireplaces throughout and sunning benches on the deck.

If your winter adventure tastes are more leisurely, Delaware County has many fine cross-country skiing and snowshoeing options. The ideal cross-country or snowshoe route is the 26-mile rail bed known as the Catskill Scenic Trail running between Roxbury and Bloomville. Use of the trail is free. This expanse of flat terrain is maintained during the winter by the snowmobile club members who also take care of more than 300 miles of additional trails in the county. For additional information on the rail trail, visit To learn more about the snowmobiling opportunities, explore the website for the Central Catskill Trail Association at All this activity is in Roxbury which boasts the award winning boutique motel, cool dining options, a performing arts center and beautiful historic park. To find out all about Roxbury visit

When it comes to lodging options, the Great Western Catskills features accommodations that include everything from cool and hip inns, charming bed and breakfasts, affordable and accommodating motels to private rental homes and cabins. If your idea of winter romance includes a crackling fireplace, a number of accommodations can offer such an amenity. For winter lodging packages visit the getaways section of the area’s travel website at:

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 art gallery and antique shop map, Cannonsville boating brochure, fishing map or event calendar, call 866-775-4425.