Nestled in the Catskill Mountains two-and-a-half hours outside of NYC lies Windham, a quaint town where, as the locals have it, the legend of Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle is said to have taken place. With 285 acres spanning 54 ski trails and six terrain parks, Windham’s allure often stems from its winter sports offerings, but the scenic destination rewards those looking for outdoor adventures or leisurely getaways year-round. With equestrian trails, golfing, on- and off-road cycling, nature walks and more, Windham bursts with unexpected happenings. After exploring the bounty the Catskills have to offer, these places to relax, peruse and dine complete a restorative and nature-filled escape.
Eastwind Hotel & Bar
Interweaving Scandinavian influence and modern design into a luxury camping experience, Eastwind Hotel & Bar provides panoramic views of the Catskills from their cozy, reclaimed-wood rooms. Replete with two on-property wood-barrel saunas, private and communal fire-pits and a peaceful walking trail that perimeters the hotel, the Eastwind features a variety of beds structured to embrace different preferences: the A-frame Lushna elevates a true-to-form glamping experience, the free-standing Lushna suite offers a spacious cabin stay and the Writer’s Nook, Hill Houses and King Rooms merge traditional hotel rooms with the Eastwind’s signature aesthetic. At the salon, warm lighting, a rustic fireplace and a full-service cocktail menu (which includes a decadent mulled-wine) is the perfect place to unwind from activities.
A 26-minute drive from Eastwind, Kaaterskil Falls is a short yet stunning hike that rewards travelers with New York’s tallest waterfall at 260 feet. The hike ranges from moderate to strenuous depending on the season. In winter, for instance, slippery and steep ice-climbing make for a thrilling affair that culminates with the stunning fall, frozenly captured mid-cascade. Other times, lush greenery, nooks for cliff jumping and lookouts of the Catskills abound.
Briars & Brambles Books
With a selection of more than 6,000 books, Briars & Brambles is an independent bookstore and local favorite that has much to offer. Featuring the latest in literary fiction and non-fiction, spot-on staff recommendations, spotlights on Catskill-based authors, locally-made stationary and home decor, this bookstore is a joy to peruse—especially for those looking for a compelling read to accompany a cozy fireplace or mountain-side picnic.
The Chicken Run
Comforting American fare and southern specialties await at The Chicken Run, a spacious steakhouse, family restaurant and occasional live-music venue. Their menu is expansive, including a selection of fresh cut steaks, ribeye, T-Bone, NY Strip and Porterhouse (all aged in-house) and their portions are generous.
The Vineyard at Windham
To taste the terroir of the Hudson Valley, the Finger Lakes and New York State overall, head to The Vineyard at Windham where a careful selection of wines, as well as the vineyard’s own productions, champion New York viticulture. Perfectly situated, the venue offers tastings in their chic, modernist tasting room or, if weather allows, on their outdoor patio amidst the picturesque backdrop of the Catskills.
Hero image by Lawrence Braun, courtesy of Eastwind Hotel & Bar