Wow, if you’re looking for a quality getaway in the Catskills for some R&R yet interesting activities to do during the day, I found the perfect spot. And to make your escape even sweeter, you can bring fido …and your kids too 🙂
Emerson Resort & Spa
We recently spent an overnight at Emerson Resort & Spa. We’ve been traveling so much lately I have to admit I’ve gotten my fix of amusement and water parks. I was excited to get out of NYC and into the gorgeous catskills. And the fact that I could bring Bertha, my beloved pug with us, was making my getaway look even better. We packed up the car and two hours later pulled into a stunning property that I fell in love with immediately.
This resort is surrounded by the Catskill Mountains with the Esopus Creek running along the back of the property. The property is divided into two sections, a contemporary Inn and an Adirondack-style Lodge. You can pick your preference upon booking your reservation. Both are 5 star quality.
This boutique resort is unique in so many ways, the one that takes the cake though is it’s home to the World’s largest kaleidoscope. Now this may sound silly, but one step into this giant piece of art you’re guaranteed to leave a changed person…or at least more educated about kaleidoscopes. I personally left with three. There are several boutique shops in this area of the resort, all curated with items you didn’t know you needed until now. I was so impressed with the assortment of toys to clothing to local honey I left with a few bags full of treasures. In addition to a unique and elegant shopping experience, Emerson is home to an award-winning spa, which allows use of their steam and sauna facilities to all guests.
After exploring the hotel we ventured outside and found the creek, which is more like a river running through the back of the property. We played around there a bit, enjoying the fresh air and the sound of running water, then headed to the pool. The pool was nice, it isn’t an exceptional pool, but it’s pretty standard with a shallow end and deep end. No diving board or life guard. Pool towels and lounge chairs are provided. They have a nice games field next to the pool where they offer corn hole, volleyball, bonfires and horseshoes. Beside this area was a very nice, clean dog run where you can let your dogs run off leash. We didn’t spend too much time here as we heard about their fishing program so decided to see what was really in their pond.
Their kids fishing program is called Wishin’ I was Fishin’ – this class teaches kids how to fish. They can catch and release at the on-site pond. The kit includes a tackle box and a camp chair. For older kids (ages eight years and up), an off-site fly fishing experience can be coordinated with the concierge.
We had a ball catching fish. In about 1.5 hours we caught SEVEN! They were all tiny sun fish, but it was still a blast. Several of the grounds keepers drove by in golf carts asking if we caught any of the big mamas yet, so rumor has it there are some big ones in there.
Emerson Resort & Spa Tips:
- Bike rentals are available on site at the hotel, there are many trails to enjoy and a town close enough to cycle to.
- Cross country skiing and snow shoeing are available in the winter on the resort grounds, equipment is for rent on site.
- I highly recommend fishing the stocked pond. It was so much fun and my daughter hasn’t stopped talking about it!
- If interested in hiking check out Kaaterskill Falls, Huckleberry Point and Overlook Mountain.
- This property must be spectacular in the fall during the changing of the leaves.
- There is no elevator so if you require wheels, be sure to ask for a ground floor room.
- Cell service is very spotty at the hotel.
- When you call to book a reservation be sure to ask about any promotions, they almost always offer discounted rates.
That evening we headed to the nearest town, Phoenicia, about 5 minutes away. This town is so charming it was actually voted within the top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America according to Budget Travel in 2011. We had dinner and walked the couple of streets that make up the town. We took in the smell of wildflowers mixed with campfires and quickly understood why it made the cool list. There are several hiking trails in Phoenicia, cute local restaurants, ice cream shops and lots of camping options along the water. We will return to pitch a tent here for sure.
- Phoenicia Diner is a landmark restaurant, check it our if you can.
- In town there is an adorable ice cream shop complete w/ kid sized picnic tables and toys.
- This town looks like a great place to camp.
The following morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the Emerson Inn then headed to Woodstock, NY – the most famous small town in America, where the 1969 music festival famously didn’t take place! I somehow forgot this piece of trivia over the years but was happy to rehear the story of how the festival was relocated over 60 miles away to a dairy farm in Bethel, New York. The venue was changed after all the marketing efforts were complete so Woodstock stuck.
This town is so charming to visit for an afternoon. The streets are lined with unique shops, galleries, dining and many outdoor activities. Everything feels handmade and there is a vibe of artistry at every corner.
- My favorite street is Tinker Street to get your fix of tie-dye and arts and crafts.
- There are a lot of outdoor hikes with great overlooks and even waterfalls near this area.
- Yum Yum restaurant is awesome and even has a menu for dogs!
- You can easily spend a whole day walking around this town.