Half an hour west of Kingston, out amidst the High Peaks of the Catskills, you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find a shopping mecca beside the pretty country highway. But the Catskills have a way of confounding expectations, this one included. At The Shops at Emerson, located at the Emerson Resort & Spa, you’ll find a shopping experience that’s as warm and welcoming as any old-time Main Street and as fresh as next week. And it all started with the creation of the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope.
“It’s designed to be an experience,” says manager Marci Smith. “We offer a little bit of everything, but it’s not like walking into a big corporate box. It’s more like an old-school downtown, more curated, but still authentic.” Starting with original developer Dean Gitter’s desire to add a Kaleidostore, the Shops—set in a reinvented vintage barn—have blossomed into truly artful retail.
There are fine furnishings and decor, a toy store with a focus on art and education (and the biggest Jellycat plush selection in the Catskills!), and boutiques for men, women, and kids. There are luxuriant bath and body products, and a General Store offering fine, locally crafted foods—maple syrup, honey, teas, jellies, jams, dips, sauces, specialty chocolates—along with kitchenware, gadgets, and linens. There’s the Kaleidostore, where unique and collectible kaleidoscopes offer a whole new look at the world, and Waldo’s: offering Catskills-themed souvenirs and gear, locally themed books, snacks, and sundries. All of it is presented atop hand-laid brick and beneath huge vintage beams, taking the indoor shopping experience to a level the malls you remember never dreamt of reaching.
At The Shops at Emerson, located in the Emerson Resort & Spa, you’ll find a shopping experience that’s as warm and welcoming as any old-time Main Street and as fresh as next week.
Of course, you’re on a resort property—meaning there’s a full-service spa and the classically crafted contemporary cuisine of the Woodnotes Grille just a stone’s throw away, and meaning you are cordially invited to stay the night if you wish. But if you’re seeking special gifts for special folks, or just want some retail therapy with an old-school vibe, the Shops are worth a trip in their own right. “Locals day is every Thursday: Present your state ID/drivers license showing you’re from Ulster, Greene, or Delaware County, and you get 20 percent off,” says Smith. “We’re loved by travelers, but we love to have locals come and enjoy the place—the shopping, the food, the yoga classes, the spa. We welcome everybody.”
Hungry? The Emerson’s Spa Bites offers sandwiches, salads, soups, and bowls; there’s outdoor seating and a full bar, and you can dine in or order up a takeout picnic for your hike. But do allow plenty of time for browsing. Shops like Melina’s Boutique and the Three Ems—a selection of styles for girls 7-14 that’s curated by property owner Emily Fisher’s fashion-forward granddaughters—deserve to be relished. Furnishings and home goods are arrayed in thoughtful vignettes to spark your decor dreams. The Kaleidostore, of course, is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
“We offer a little bit of everything, but it’s like an old-school downtown, more curated, but still authentic.” -
Manager, Marci Smith
So is the Kaleidoshow, an immersive art experience, in what—as far as anyone knows—is the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope. The 60-foot-tall former silo was converted in 1996, designed by award-winning kaleidoscope artist Charles Karadimos. Step in, sit down or lean on the wall, and let yourself be transported into a world of flowing fractals and music; the current multimedia show focuses on flowers, which pair very well with kaleidoscopes indeed (“The Earth Laughs in Flowers” is a new show debuting July 22). You can add the Kaleidoshow to your shopping experience for a mere $5; kids under 12 are free.
At the Shops, you’ll find merchandise at a variety of price points and the Sale Barn, where you can purchase clearance items from all the stores at discounts of up to 50 percent. Customer service is a big priority here: Not sure what you need? They’ll be your personal shoppers, and gift-wrap your finds while you wait. “We take customer feedback to heart and we try to stock our stores with just what you’re looking for,” says Smith. “And we hire people who love what they do. Stop in and check us out—I don’t think there’s anywhere else quite like this.”
the shops at emerson
Emerson Resort & Spa
5340 Route 28
Mount Tremper, NY