Sweet, quirky Catskill is just far enough off the beaten path to give you a wonderful sense of discovery, but easy enough to reach via the thruway or an Amtrak to nearby Hudson and a quick ride across the bridge. The Catskill Creek rolls through town and pours into the Hudson River here. This was once an important port, and echoes of that time remain in the lovely Victorian architecture.
The village is walkable and filled with intrigue, from the Dutchman’s Landing riverfront park with its Thursday night live music series to various maker spaces, shops, and studios that showcase and support the work of local artisans.
You’ll be immersed in the beauty that inspired Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole; don’t miss a visit to his home and studio, Cedar Grove. And you’ll be enveloped in the enchantment that inspired Washington Irving to write his resonant fable about Rip Van Winkle wandering into the forest and falling asleep for 20 years.
Wander up to the Kaaterskill Falls and feel the rhythm of the crashing water working the kinks out of your soul, or take a walk or paddle in the RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary, the largest forested tidal swamp on the Hudson. Follow it up with a stroll through the shops in town, where you’ll find gloriously original and handmade items of all sorts. Finish with a fine locally made beer and a bite to eat. There’s no finer place in the region to spend a beautiful summer day.
BETH ALFELD AT COLDWELL BANKER VILLAGE GREEN REALTY
Catskill has experienced a surging wave of good art, food, and creative retail over the past several years. But unlike some Hudson Valley towns with great Main Streets, it’s still a comparatively affordable place to buy property, a state of affairs that may not last a whole lot longer.
Now is a good time to secure a Catskill spot, whether you’re looking for a full-time home, a weekend haven, or a wise investment. Beth Alfeld at Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty is an expert on the market and the local scene, someone who will listen well and help you discover the gem of your dreams. 518-965-8851;
A TANGLED THREAD offers a stunning, eclectic array of internationally and locally made fabrics, clothing, home goods, decor, jewelry, pillows, purses, and more. You’ll be delighted by the look and feel of Tunisian towels and French designer cottons, by the creative spirit and vision on display. A flowing scarf soft as a whisper, the perfect toy for a favorite child.... A Tangled Thread is a mecca for lovers of fine retail therapy. 347 Main Street, 518-303-4638, facebook.com/pg/atangledthreadincatskill.
THE RODNEY SHOP is the place to immerse yourself in the colorful, whimsical, kind-hearted world of Musho Rodney Alan Greenblat. An artist since age 3, Rodney is a visionary designer who’s created characters like PaRappa the Rapper and Thunder Bunny, beloved in Japan. Step into his shop and discover plush toys, books, vintage swag, paintings, sculptures, and ceramics unlike anything you have ever seen before. 362 Main Street, therodneyshop.com
THE VILLAGE COMMON is what happens when two people with shopkeeping in their blood join forces to create something entirely new. Their original, 100-percent-natural, plant-based line of scents—handcrafted in small batches and available in candles, home sprays, and fragrances—are made to soothe, refresh, and invigorate; each comes with an original poem. Their lovingly curated mercantile selection is equally inspired and a treat for the senses. 404-406 Main Street,
SALEM’S MOON: MAGICK AND MORE offers hand-blended apothecary items and incenses made from fine natural ingredients. Their oils, shea butter, vibrational sprays, Wyscan candles, and wands are made with healing intention and a deeply educated craft. Salem’s Moon regularly hosts diviners and discussion sessions from an eclectic range of Magickal traditions; stop in for a chat. 408 Main Street; 518-943-MOON (6666); salemsmoonny.com.
Eat & Drink
394 MAIN MEDITERRANEAN BISTRO Offering house-cured meats, freshly baked bread and pastry, small plates, fine wine, and splendid coffee. Owner Gil Bagnell brings global perspective and high-end proficiency to running a wonderful neighborhood eatery in the village, with savory results. The Mediterranean Bistro also hosts 394Spoken, an evening of open mic music and poetry on the fourth Monday of each month, and serves a $5 Starving Artist Dinner to go with it. 394 Main Street, 518-947-4774, 394mainstreet.com.
CREEKSIDE RESTAURANT AND MARINA Come by land, come by boat, but by all means do come to the Creekside Restaurant and Marina for beautifully interpreted classic American cuisine and a warm, relaxed welcome by the waterside. A mile up the Catskill Creek from the Hudson, this hidden gem is an oasis where you can dine outdoors on seafood or steak and a salad and pair it with some good house vino or a local ale. 160 West Main Street; 518-943-6522; creeksidecatskill.com.
CROSSROADS BREWING features two locations, a main brewery in nearby Athens and the Catskill Taproom, located on the bank of the creek in what was once a print shop. They’ll sell you award-winning beer by the glass, or a growler or sixpack to take home. The Catskill location features on-site food trucks, and you’re welcome to bring your own eats; the Athens Brewpub houses the brewery itself and a kitchen serving locavore goodies. 201 Water Street, Catskill, 518-444-8277; 21 Second Street, Athens, 518-945-2337; crossroadsbrewingco.com.
RIP VAN WINKLE BREWINGLovers of craft brew will also find award-winning offerings at Rip Van Winkle Brewing. The folks behind Rip Van Winkle had been operating the beloved Catskill Italian restaurant Angela’s for three decades when they decided to stretch their wings and start brewing beer. They’ve got seven varieties on tap and have won a host of awards. And there’s a Sunday brunch menu with four kinds of pancakes, three kinds of waffles, and five kinds of omelets and skillets, and Italian fare ranging from pizza and garlic knots to zuppa de pesce and baked cod stuffed with crabmeat. 4545 Route 32; 518-678-9275; ripvanwinklebrewery.com.