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 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. 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