The Catskill Mountains: Culture and History in New York State

4:54 pm  |  08.11.2021

The region of the Catskill Mountains is conveniently close to New York City and inspires by quaint, historic small towns, nostalgic charm, and a wide range of leisure activities.


Although the Catskill Mountains are a year-round travel destination, many visitors look forward to autumn, when the overwhelming mountain landscape turns into an intensely orange, red, and yellow shining sea of leaves. The unique natural spectacle of Indian Summer is by no means all that the region has to offer: The culture and cuisine of the Catskill Mountains are not to be despised either.

Culinary Highlights

The Brandenburg Bakery

The Brandenburg Bakery in the sleepy village of Livingston Manor ensures a successful start. The displays of German pastries, cakes, fresh bread, and rolls that are just taken out of the oven are sure to make your mouth water. A few doors down the Main Street Farm Market & Café has delicious sandwiches. The ideal complement is a beer from the nearby Catskill Brewery – the microbrewery in Livingston Manor has long since got around among the locals.

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The History You Can Touch

The Catskill Mountains farm

The Catskill Mountains are famous for their quaint historic small towns. First and foremost is Kingston in Ulster County, which was declared the first capital of the state of New York in 1777. Kingston’s multifaceted legacy can be seen in the architecture – from the Dutch settlement in the 17th and 18th centuries over the years as a commercial center in the 19th century to the rise and fall of industry in the 20th century. On your tour, you will come across Victorian houses, small shops, cafes, and galleries again and again. Another highlight of the region is the “farm-to-table” kitchen. You can get a particularly good impression of this in the American bistro Ship to Shore in the historic town center. Tip: order fish and chips with fresh cod for lunch.

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The Old Dutch Church

From here it is only a few steps to Rondout Creek and the Hudson River Maritime Museum with the steam tug Mathilda from 1898. After a stroll through the shops and galleries, there are numerous other shops and boutiques in the covered passages in the northern part of town to discover. At the intersection of Crown Street and John Street, four stone buildings from the colonial era have been preserved. They are remnants of the old Kingston Stockade District, which was founded in 1658 by Dutch settlers who settled here in 1652. The Old Dutch Church and the Senate House, which housed the first seat of government in New York, can also be seen in this area.

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Local Culture

Bethel, located in the southwest, is known to music lovers from all over the world. In 1969, half a million visitors came here to celebrate a gigantic festival under the motto “Three Days of Peace and Music”. The Woodstock name is legendary to this day. Contrary to a widespread misconception, the festival did not take place in the somewhat larger town of Woodstock, which is over an hour’s drive from Bethel.

The Catskill Distilling Company is just minutes away and is well worth a visit. The distillery produces gin, vodka, and whiskey, and also offers tours and tastings. In the neighboring building, the Dancing Cat Saloon, lunch, and dinner are served, and live music is played.


A few kilometers to the west, on the narrowest section of the Delaware River, is the small hamlet of Narrowsburg. With a little luck, you might even spot a bald eagle from the shore.

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Mountain Accommodations

The range of accommodation in the Catskill Mountains will meet every need. The cozy little B&B Ecce with five guest rooms is located on a hill above the Upper Delaware River. Breakfast is no less sensational than the view: French toast prepared to order with fresh strawberries and bananas and crispy bacon as a side dish.

If you would like to stay a little more unusual, you should stay at the Roxbury Motel. All rooms are furnished in the style of various TV series or films and the design ranges from eccentric to funky. The “Archaeologist’s Digs” private cottage with three bedrooms is decorated according to motifs from the “Indiana Jones” films. In addition to a lavishly furnished suite called “Amadeus‘ Bride ”, there are also suites that are based on“ Breakfast at Tiffany’s ”or the TV series“ Bechanting Jeannie ”from the 1960s. The Public Restaurant is right across the street and is happy to welcome you to a delicious meal.

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At the Inn at Lake Joseph, you can take a rowboat and watch the sunset behind the horizon on the lake of the same name. The suites with a whirlpool bath and cozy fireplace promise perfect relaxation after an eventful day.

On a vacation in the Catskill Mountains in the state of New York, you combine warm hospitality and first-class gastronomy with fantastic accommodations and countless outdoor offers – all of this in front of a beautiful natural backdrop.

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