It’s been the inspiration for Hudson River School painters, the home turf of the “Borscht Belt” generation of comedians, and the site of the legendary Woodstock festival. Now, the Catskills are in the midst of a resurgence as a hot vacation destination, especially for New Yorkers. In contrast to the luxury and affluence associated with the Hamptons, the Catskills can provide a more rustic connection with the arts and with nature: it's been nicknamed “The Camp-tons” for the wealth of outdoor activities on offer amid its mountain landscape. Many Catskills resorts cater to a clientele that wants to enjoy the great outdoors without giving up all the comforts of city life. Some people call it “glamping;” it’s like camping, but glamorous. Here are two destinations for quiet escape within reach of the big city.
Eastwind Hotel & Bar in Windham, NY has origins dating back to an earlier chapter of Catskills history: It was used as a bunkhouse for hunters and fly fisherman in the 1920s. That rustic charm was revamped by creative director Julija Stoliarova, whose eye for design led her to a previous career in the fashion industry as a runway model and handbag maker.
Thoughtfully sourced decor combines vintage and contemporary. New furniture from Masaya & Co and a thrifted table and ottomans sit atop reclaimed fir floor planks from the pre-renovation structure. Guest rooms and common spaces are replete with mid-century modern touches that invoke Scandinavian design and recall the original rustic atmosphere of the lodge in a muted color palate with highlights of navy, black, and white. It encapsulates the idea of "lagom," a Swedish word meaning "just the right amount."
Read more: 4 Global Glamping Hotspots
For a more off-the-grid experience, guests can stay in one of three Lushna Cabins. These minimalist A-frame structures are barely 200 square feet, offering little more than a queen-size bed and a birds-eye view of the surrounding hills. But there are luxury amenities, too, such as a private bathroom and sauna and premium-quality bedding.
Gather Greene, in nearby Coxsackie, offers similarly minimalist accommodations with 17 climate-controlled cabins. The space-efficient shelters pack in a king bed and bathroom, plus details like a beverage nook and cutouts for tucking away a book or phone. Each cabin also has an outdoor deck offering views of the 100-acre property, which has roots as a dairy farm.
These off-the-grid offerings are a look at what could be the future of the Catskills: a chance to experience nature’s beauty with just the right amount of modern comfort.