A Road Trip Down Route 28 and the Surrounding Catskills Towns | Branded Content | Delaware County | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

A drive along Route 28 is one of the best ways to enjoy a little bit of everything the Catskill Mountains have to offer. This meandering stretch of byway offers a one-of-a-kind tour through Catskill Park, a state-designated wilderness area that spans 700,000 acres and four counties. Travelers enjoy breathtaking views of soaring mountain peaks, crystalline trout streams, and forever-wild forests, plus a string of charming towns and villages to pop into along the way.

The southernmost leg of Route 28 winds through the towns of Kingston, Woodstock, Olive, and Shandaken in Ulster County before continuing on to Delaware County. Starting in Olive, Route 28 also becomes known as the Catskill Mountain Scenic Byway—a breathtaking 52-mile stretch that winds past the Catskill Park’s highest peaks.

Just a few minutes down the road from Kingston, travelers will discover one the first of many destinations worth a stop. The 11.5-mile-long Ashokan Rail Trail (ART) offers commanding views of the Ashokan Reservoir—supplier of 40 percent of New York City's drinking water—and the Catskill Mountain peaks that surround it. Once part of the booming Ulster and Delaware Railroad, the ART’s three trailheads in West Hurley, Shokan, and Boiceville now provide a haven for runners, cyclists, and cross-country skiers, as well as nature observers and anyone who just enjoys a leisurely stroll.

As Route 28 glides down into Boiceville, majestic Mount Tremper can be seen rising up ahead. Though prefaced by a long, steep ascent to the summit, the climb to the top of Mount Tremper’s fire tower—one six remaining in the Catskills—rewards visitors with 360-degree mountain views.

Upstream from the reservoir, the mighty Esopus Creek begins to bob and weave around Route 28 near Boiceville. Hailed as the birthplace of American fly fishing, anglers will definitely thrill for a stop and there are several convenient roadside access points between Boiceville and Big Indian to cast a reel.

For those looking for relaxed, family-friendly fun, Mount Tremper is also home to the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope at the Emerson Resort & Spa. Standing 60 feet tall and 37.5 feet in diameter, the silo from the Riseley Flats Farm was transformed into a stunning fractal experience by award-winning kaleidoscope artist Charles Karadimos. The Rail Explorers, located in the cozy hamlet of Phoenicia, is another destination beloved by all ages. Travelers can pedal a railbike on the historic Ulster & Delaware Railroad tracks while taking in the beauty of the Esopus and the mountains above.

Located in Pine Hill, Belleayre Beach welcomes visitors with its sandy shore and refreshing waters perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming. Come winter, the nearby Belleayre Ski Resort comes alive with skiing and snowboarding opportunities. The resort offers various slopes suitable for all skill levels, making it an excellent destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Just a few minutes past Pine Hill is the border of Delaware County, and a whole new part of Route 28 to enjoy.

From shops to spas, farm-to-table restaurants to art galleries, large resorts to boutique inns, there’s enough along Route 28 to fill everything from an afternoon drive to a whole week away. For more inspiration about what to enjoy, explore the guide below.

The Poetry Barn

1693 State Route 28A
West Hurley, NY
(845) 280-0430
Poetrybarn.org
The Poetry Barn has the largest poetry collection in the Hudson Valley. Browse 4,000 new and pre-loved books, plus wares and fares by the finest local artists and craftspeople. Outside, the Ashokan Reservoir Spillway and numerous walking trails await. A one-of-a-kind poetry, art, and nature experience.

Catskill Seasons Inn

178 Route 42
Shandaken
(845) 688-2505
Catskillseasonsinn.com
A pet-friendly Catskills weekend retreat! We have 22 rooms, an inground pool, 60 acres of woods, a pub, game room with billiards and vintage video games, local beers, and craft cocktails. We're a recently updated but unpretentious inn located close to everything! Come unwind with us by the firepit!

Phoenicia Farmers Market

Phoeniciafarmersmarket.com
Local farms, artisanal producers, live music, freshly-prepared foods, composting, family-friendly activities, and community outreach opportunities. Sundays, year-round in Shandaken Outdoors at Phoenicia's Parish Field (May–October). Indoors at Pine Hill Community Center (November–April) Visit website for weekly details and vendor information.

Pine Hill Community Center

287 Main Street
Pine Hill, NY
(845) 254-5469
Pinehillcommunitycenter.org
The Pine Hill Community Center is a home-grown gathering place for wellness programs, music, art classes, and meeting new friends. Check out our amazing thrift store, artisans market, and pottery studio. It's a great place to connect with a wide range of communities– via Zoom and in person.

Phoenicia Belle BnB

73 Main Street
Phoenicia, NY
(845) 688-7226
Phoeniciabelle.com
Situated in the heart of the Catskill Park in the picturesque Village of Phoenicia, the Phoenicia Belle is a newly restored, historical Victorian House. Enjoy the exquisite comfort of our rooms, each uniquely decorated and styled with walking access to restaurants, stores, fishing and hiking trails.

Morton Memorial Library

22 Elm Street
Pine Hill, NY
(845) 254-4222
Pinehilllibrary.org
You'll find more than just books waiting inside Pine Hill's historic library. Discover fishing rods, snowshoes, a sewing machine, and community! Join us for the upcoming First Library of the Watershed (FLOW) program, a partnership with the Catskill Watershed Corporation to create the preeminent destination for resources on the Catskill-Delaware Watershed.

Foxfire Mountain House

72 Andrew Lane
Mt. Tremper, NY
(845) 688-2500
Foxfiremountainhouse.com

With a name that's beautifully lyrical, Foxfire Mountain House offers an equally idyllic dining experience that's open to local foodies as well as its overnight guests.

Celebrating its seventh year, Foxfire's 140-year-old inn sits on 10.5 acres of woods and meadows. It's a popular event venue, hosting multi-day wedding retreats every weekend from May through October. But the local draw is the Foxfire Mountain House Bar Room & Restaurant: Enjoy $6 beer and wine and $10 appetizers from 4 to 5pm on Sundays and Mondays, followed by à la carte dinner from 5pm. Friday and Saturday dinner service will resume in November.

Hospitality is the main focus at Foxfire, according to Director of Operations Chris Sikora. So after enjoying starters like salmon crudo "tacos" and venison tartare, and mains such as NY strip steak or Roasted Poulet Rouge (chicken-fried morels in a chanterelle puree), you're invited to take your cocktail out to Foxfire's glass house to stargaze, or stroll to the lily pond for a frog-and-cricket serenade.

Of course, you could choose to simply catch a breeze on the Moroccan-tiled open-air veranda, or sit by the riverstone fireplace in the lounge listening to "The Foxfire Sound"—a house-curated vinyl that's also available on Spotify.

Located directly across from The Emerson Resort & Spa, Foxfire Mountain House is closer than you think, and is a perfect choice for fine dining combined with a relaxing ambiance.

Maeve's Place

5569 Route 28
Phoenicia, NY
(845) 688-0299
Maevesplace.com

The inspiration for Maeve's Place is founder Iva Walsh's daughter. After Maeve, who has Down Syndrome, graduated from high school, Iva decided to open a coffee shop where Maeve and others with intellectual and developmental disabilities could learn valuable work and social skills.

Originally opened in the Pine Hill Arms, Maeve's Place moved to a larger home in Phoenicia Plaza in 2020. On offer is a full menu of coffee and espresso drinks—from the mega-popular nitro cold brew to inventive lattes and icy frappes—and a robust, rotating menu of made-to-order breakfast and lunch items.

Start your day with a bagel with lox, pearl sugar waffles with nutella, or eggs benedict. Pop in at lunch to enjoy lighter fare like the acai bowl, ahi tuna salad, or falafel bowl, or go full-on indulgent with the mac and cheese or short rib banh mi. You'll also find an ethereal array of sweets in the bakery case from the shop's Culinary Institute-trained pastry chef, and on Fridays and Sundays, Maeve is at the smoothie station whipping up the freshest blends.

With cozy indoor seating and a sunny outdoor deck, there's ample room to stay a while and savor your favorite coffee or a tasty meal with friends and family. And don't forget to browse the gourmet items sourced from local Catskills and imported European purveyors. Pre-made picnic baskets, Maeve's Place private label pickles, preserves, vinegars, and oils, and Maeve's Pretty Face, a selection of handcrafted skincare products developed by Maeve, make great gifts.

Emerson Resort & Spa

5340 Route 28
Mt. Tremper
(845) 688-2828
Emersonresort.com

Surrounded by the splendor of the Catskill Mountains, the Emerson Resort & Spa is a hidden treasure located a mere two hours from Manhattan. Overlooking the Esopus Creek and one of the region's most magnificent peaks, Mount Tremper, the Emerson provides a memorable yet affordable respite from the demands of the outside world.
The resort brings the Catskills inside with stunning views, open spaces, and an earthy color palate. Featuring spacious accommodations in the contemporary Inn and Adirondack-style Lodge, Emerson guests also enjoy a nature-inspired Spa, The Shops at Emerson, and the World's Largest Kaleidoscope. Seasonal activities are plentiful and include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and biking. Urban pursuits are satisfied by exploring the nearby towns of Woodstock, Phoenicia, and Saugerties.

On property guided nature walks and nature-themed workshops reflect a deep connection and appreciation for the history and stewardship of the Catskills. Dining options include the Emerson's signature restaurant, Woodnotes Grille, and Spa Bites. Both restaurants feature locally sourced foods, craft cocktails, and outdoor seating with stunning views of rushing waters. No need for an overnight reservation–the Emerson is a welcoming stop for travelers exploring Route 28, the famed Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. Come in for shopping, a bite to eat or a charge for your electric vehicle. Dogs are welcome and will enjoy a run in the Emerson Dog Park, a 60-foot wide by 100-foot long dedicated fenced-in haven for your furry best friend.

Menla and Dewa Spa

375 Pantherkill Road
Phoenicia, NY
Menla.org
Named for the Tibetan Medicine Buddha, Menla was founded in 2002 to present and preserve the healing arts and sciences of Tibet's ancient Buddhist culture in conjunction with related contemporary disciplines. In the cheerful Tibetan aesthetic created here, visitors are immersed in the peaceful, vitalizing nature of the surrounding Catskill Mountain forest preserve.

In-person and online retreats led by Menla's expert faculty are designed to deliver authentic teachings on spirituality and wellness on subjects ranging from inner science to meditation, wellness, yoga, and more. The facilities include one of the largest conference spaces in the region with a capacity of up to 150 people, in addition to a world-class destination spa, yoga studio, meditation sanctuary, swimming pool, fitness room, organic gardens, sweat lodge and fire pits, and mountain hiking trails for forest bathing.

Dewa, Menla's on-site spa, is 8,000+ square feet of bliss. Feel tension slowly fade away with a Swedish, hot stone, and shiatsu massage or specialized treatment, such as Tibetan herbal baths, oxygen therapy, detox program, sound healing, Shiatsu, and Ayurvedic Shirodhara. Our signature Tibetan KuNye massage, rarely found in the US, restores balance with a warm oil press and techniques like cupping, tapping, and hot stones. Savor the invigorating sensations of the steam rooms, and Finnish and far-infrared saunas. Choose from group packages, signature packages that include lunch or dinner, day passes, or design your own experience.

The Graham & Co.

80 Route 214
Phoenicia, NY
(845) 688-7871
Thegrahamandco.com
Right off Route 28, in the small hamlet of Phoenicia, you will find The Graham & Co, a 20-room hotel, inspired by the heritage of the Catskills. The Graham & Co is a modern take on the classic weekend getaway. With unpretentious but thoughtful details, we offer over 3 acres of activities including a swimming pool, hammocks to lounge in, a badminton court, multiple fire pits, picnic areas, bikes to explore on and plenty of places to relax. Close to hiking, biking, fishing, and skiing, The Graham & Co is the perfect place to stay through all four seasons. #ThisIsTheCatsills

Norsdale Phoenicia

6300 Route 28
Phoenicia, NY
(201) 724-3912
Norsdale.com

Have you ever imagined renting your own motel, or planning a reunion/retreat? Perhaps you just need a reason to escape the hustle of the city? Check out The Norsdale, a unique private 4-unit motel with a three-level contemporary country home on a private ten-acre lot at the base of a mountain. Totaling 9 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, the property comfortably accommodates 18 guests. The "motel" consists of mono-chromatic colored rooms, known as CMYK, which pays homage to the printing industry. Each room is equipped with a king-sized bed, a full bath, a large flat screen TV, and a Nespresso machine. Pick your favorite color and let the fun begin!

Phoenicia Diner

5681 Route 28,
Phoenicia, NY
(845) 688-9957
Phoeniciadiner.com
Built in 1962 and moved to the Catskills in the early 80s, the Phoenicia Diner has a long history of serving customers who are drawn to the Catskills' natural beauty. The prior owners nurtured the diner and its customers for nearly 30 years. Current owner, Mike Cioffi, continues that tradition by offering residents, weekenders, and visitors fresh food sourced from Catskills and Hudson Valley farms when available. The menu is carefully crafted to offer traditional diner favorites, sometimes with a modern twist, using seasonal and local fresh ingredients. Open Thursdays through Tuesdays from 8am-6pm.

Pine Hill Arms Hotel & Restaurant

288 Main Street
Pine Hill, NY
(845) 254-4012
Pinehillarms.com
The Pine Hill Arms, a well-kept secret, just off route 28, in the hamlet of Pine Hill, NY, was established in the 1880's and is still running strong. It is known locally for the best burgers, iconic fried chicken, half liters of Pilsner Urquell, and rotating local taps. Amidst the comforting glow of the wood stove and warm wooden tones from the adorning restaurant walls, one is transported out of the NYC grind to a slower mountain pace. Experience après ski cocktails and Czech style Gulaš in the winter. Sit on the back deck with frosty mugs of locally brewed beer, while enjoying a Panzanella salad after a hike in the summer.

Fabulous Furniture

3930 Route 28
Boiceville NY
(845) 750-3035
Fabulousfurnitureon28.com
Celebrating 50 years in business, crafting fabulous live-edge, freeform tables; metal sculptures; and custom cars. All wood is local–the sawing, milling, and drying is done in-house. Sculptures are made from found objects and 50's car parts. The sculpture garden is open 24 hours a day. Showroom open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am-6pm.

Hawk + Hive

61 Main Street Andes, NY
Hawkandhive.com
Hawk + Hive is a small but beautifully formed gallery in the Catskills on Route 28, showing artwork by emerging and established artists. Exhibitions are staged every six weeks throughout the year and the gallery has earned a reputation for attracting high caliber artists from the region and further afield.

Brunel Park Sculpture Garden

Route 28 & DeSilva Road
Brunelpark.org
A community learning center and National Wildlife Federation certified sanctuary on the NY Path Through History. Drive or take the free UCAT Z Bus to Boiceville. Self-guided tours by donation daily 1-5pm, plus special events. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

1053 Gallery

1053 Main Street
Fleischmanns, NY
(845) 254-3461
1053gallery.com
1053 Gallery joined the burgeoning upstate contemporary art scene in 2021 after a two-year total renovation of the historic building at 1053 Main Street in Fleischmanns. The goal of founders and local residents Mark and Maritza Birman was to drive purposeful growth in the Catskills with a gallery that invited both the community's engagement and international appeal.

Directed by writer and herbalist Lindsay Comstock, the gallery represents the multidisciplinary work of emerging and mid-career artists and is helping to redefine the role of an art gallery in a rural region. In addition to regular exhibitions, the open, airy space also hosts live musical performances and special events.

On view from August 11 through September 24 will be a solo show by Gary Gissler, an artist and psychoanalyst who splits his time between New York City and the Catskill Mountains. In the manner of classic collage techniques, Gissler carefully cuts and glues thousands of bits of linen to panels, which he embeds with fragments of language cut from classic texts such as The Interpretation of Dreams, Moby Dick, Through the Looking Glass, Finnegan's Wake, and Grimms' Fairy Tales. The intimate and complex works are a meditative and deeply considered analysis of the basis for how one finds meaning in the world through the essentiality of language and its capacity for creating meaning.

Gissler's work is represented in both private and public collections, including the RISD Museum and the Neuberger Museum, and he has been awarded a Pollock Krasner Grant and a Chinati Foundation Artist Residency. 

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