You’ve heard of the Peace Train and the Gravy Train, how about the Milk Train? Because the Sullivan Catskills are so close to the New York metro area, for generations the echo of steam whistles reverberated off the mountains as Milk Trains brought fresh dairy from creameries for daily delivery to “The City.”
Today’s health conscious travelers have flipped the journey, making the short drive “upstate” to enjoy dairy, produce and meat fresh from local farms. And, although they can’t board the Mountaineer or Erie Limited for arrival in Livingston Manor or Callicoon, they’re finding easy access to quaint inns, cozy cottages, snug B&Bs, family resorts and a casino. All are part of the Sullivan Catskills’ Catskills Confidence county-wide program of enhanced health and safety measures that complement the area’s natural beauty, traditional warmth, and friendliness.
While you can just sit on the porch and relax, feasting your eyes on the autumn colors, it’s so much more fun to get out and play in the leaves! The drive along the Delaware River, on the Sullivan Catskills western border, is 70 miles of internationally acclaimed gold, red, yellow, and orange. Taking “leaf peeping” to a higher level, the views are even more spectacular from a canoe, kayak, or raft in the middle of the rapids, or getting your exercise on a trail bike. Driving, boating or biking, the river towns along RT 97 offers antiquing, historic sites, socially distant dining, and takeout. Many of those rails have become trails, joining the wide variety of hiking experiences from family-friendly novice strolls to challenging treks and scrambles.
For a truly unique experience, a tour of the Sullivan Catskills Dove Trail is a vibrant outing. Fifty, 7-foot tall Doves commemorating the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival radiate from the festival site and Museum at Bethel Woods. Each features a commissioned, hand painted tribute to the spirit of the ‘60s that changed the way we look at the world. Download the map at Sullivan Catskills.com. Peace, Love and Doves–a groovy way to spend the day with the kids.
And, there’s a trail just for adults, too. On the Good Taste Beverage Trail breweries, distilleries, and wineries present their award-winning beverages in tastings carefully arranged for safe sipping. Try a Two Headed Stout, by the stream where it is reported there is a two-headed trout. Tasters speak highly of Beespoke Gin–grape to glass with pollinator friendly botanicals. Oenofiles find Wood Duck white is delivered direct from the winery via a 100% contactless, curbside, pickup box with a sanitizing station–text your order and do a drive buy.
The days will grow shorter, the air crisper and a few flakes start whispering down on the peaks as a skim of ice forms on the lakes and ponds. It’s a time to destress with a warm blanket around a firepit, enjoy Catskill-icious cuisine, and savor a brandy. Hiking becomes snowshoeing and skiing, dinner and drinks take a bit longer, it’s OK to doze under a down quilt and sleep in the next morning.
As you drift off for the night, don’t be surprised if your dreams include a steam whistle or two–a reminder that the Sullivan Catskills have always been about an attention to health and hospitality that are more important than ever before. Catskills Confidence continues that tradition. For details on all the Sullivan Catskills food, lodging, and activities visit the trip planner at SullivanCatskills.com to book your fall experience now.