Catskills

New Yorkers have been escaping to the Catskill Mountains since they became a favourite holiday destination for the city’s Jewish population in the 1920's, attracted to mountains, forests, lakes and gourmet towns that feel a world away from the Big Apple.

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Dutch settlers named this region 100 miles north-west of New York City after the mountain lions that originally inhabited it, and while the wild cats may be long gone, the Catskill Mountains remain a haven for hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and scenic drives.

Catskill Forest Preserve encloses some 300,000 protected acres with hiking trails past meadows, lakes and waterfalls. The Catskill Scenic Trail is a particular highlight along 26 miles of former railroads beside the Delaware River. The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum is the world’s largest such centre, set on 50 acres beside the Willowemoc River.

The Catskills are renowned for farm-to-table cuisine in towns such as Catskill, Windham and Woodstock – from American to French fusion, as well as a range of craft breweries and wineries.

The famous Woodstock Festival was held in Catskill Park in 1969, and the best place to explore the history is Bethel Woods Center for the Arts with a museum dedicated to the 1960's and regular cultural and musical events.

Another artistic highlight of the Catskills is Opus 40, a 6.5-acre stone sculpture inspired by Mayan ruins built into a quarry near Woodstock by sculptor Harvey Fite over 37 years. It’s considered one of the greatest sculptures in North America and testament to one man’s dedication.

Art lovers can also follow the Hudson River School Art trail, visiting locations of famous paintings from Thomas Cole and other 19th century landscape artists. Thomas Cole’s former home Cedar Grove is now a museum in the town of Catskill.

In winter, snow-shoeing and skiing are popular, especially in Windham and Hunter Mountain, the region’s highest peak, known as the snow-making capital of the world.

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Things to do in Catskills

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Ben Line is the Head of Sales at Journeyscape and our sister brand Journey Latin America, having lived abroad and travelled extensively over the years.

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Joshua has been travelling to the USA since childhood, visiting his father and four siblings on the west coast. He is fortunate to have travelled to 42 of the 50 US states, and hopes to complete the set by his next big birthday.

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Dominique caught the North America travel bug when she was in her late teens and has travelled extensively throughout the USA and Canada, particularly drawn to the countries' outstanding natural beauty and wildlife. With over 10 years of product and marketing experience in North America, Dominique’s passion for the destination is infectious.

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Mallika’s love for North America first began when she attended an American boarding school as a teenager. Her mother’s side of the family lived in the USA, so she enjoyed frequent trips across many states.

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