Put new line on your fishing rod, get your bike tuned and dust off your hiking boots. We're on our way to the Route 28 Corridor of the Catskills in New York state.
The Rt. 28 Corridor encompasses the area from about Phoenicia to Margaretville, with Belleayre Mountain in the Catskill Forest Preserve smack in the center of it all. Come during any season, but it's especially nice in summer -- and it's away from the city heat!
As the weather warms, there's lots of good fishing along Rt. 28. The Esopus Creek near Phoenicia is full of trout for both the fly fisher and spincaster. We hooked some feisty rainbows from its cool depths. The Esopus headwaters flow from the Ashokan Reservoir, which also has good bass fishing. Chichester Creek is nearby, and dry fly fishing is tops when the hatch is right.
Another option is the Pepacton Reservoir. It offers anglers smallmouth bass and trout fishing. Here, visitors also might see bald eagles and deer.
Also, during the warmest months on the Esopus Creek, you can trade in your fishing rod for an inner tube. Float tubers easily outnumber the anglers in the creek. Businesses such as Town Tinker in Phoenicia will set up guests with everything they'll need for a leisurely float down the creek.
If that sounds a little too tame, try rappelling at Sundance Rappel Tower also in Phoenicia. The only time they close is during thunderstorms. They take climbers of all ability on their 65-foot-high tower course.
The Delaware River: Dip A Line
The East Branch of the Delaware River also provides a place to dip a line and spend some quiet time. Near Belleayre Mountain, the Delaware passes through the town of Halcottsville.
An interesting place to stay if you're an angler or just bringing your family to the Catskills for a nice weekend is Susan's Pleasant Pheasant Farm Bed & Breakfast. The B&B is right on the river and has its own fishing pool, called Lake Wawaka. But that's only part of the B&B's allure. Goats and, of course, pheasants are raised on the 80-acre property, and youngsters can help with the milking and hunt for pheasant eggs. Pleasant Pheasant also is a great place for a family outing. Kids can fish right from shore. We savored the poached pheasant eggs at breakfast along with goat cheese, and homemade jams and muffins.
Work off some of that food at the old swimming hole at Pine Hill Lake. The lake is used for snowmaking at Belleayre Mountain during the winter months. It's also a place to try and catch the stocked fish.
Another nice B&B in nearby Fleischmanns is called River Run. If you hate to leave your pet at home, bring it along to River Run. The hosts encourage guests to bring their favorite pet. A sign at the front door announces, "Wipe your feet and paws, please."
As you may have guessed, there are no big name hotels along the corridor, just lots of nice lodges. All have their own unique flavor such as Vald'Isere in Big Indian, featuring French cuisine or Mountain Gate Lodge in Oliverea, which offers authentic Indian fare.
Biking and hiking are other ways to see the sights. Trail maps for the forest preserve land are available at Belleayre Mountain and some local outdoor stores.
Another nearby ski area, Plattekill, is open to mountain biking on weekends from Memorial Day through Thanksgiving (unless snow comes early.) Many of the trails are cross-country ski trails, which takes in the entire ridge surrounding the natural bowl in which Ski Plattekill sits. There are wide and gentle sloping novice trails as well as steeper and narrower trails for the intermediate rider. And also extreme downhill, single-track trails are available for the expert. Guided tours and instruction are available. Bikes can be rented and the ski lift also is open to view the Catskill region.
If golf is your game try the Hanah Country Resort and Country Club in Margaretville. It's one of the most scenic courses you'll play with many holes overlooking the valley below. Beside golf, the resort also offers a spa with steam rooms and saunas, tennis and a pool. There are lots of package deals for golf and rooms.
For something a little different, there's the Wilderness Sporting Clay Club in Arkville. It has 16 shooting stations, which simulate actual hunting conditions. Sometimes called, "Golf With a Gun," each station has "hunters" shooting at clay targets that either roll along the ground like rabbits, squirrels or foxes, or are flung into the air to imitate ducks, teal or geese. If you've never shot sporting clay, you're in for a real treat. There's also lodging on the premises for all seasons.
If craft, antique and food festivals are your thing, the Route 28 Corridor has lots, especially in the fall. Margaretville, Fleischmanns, Phoenicia, Belleayre and other local towns offer them. Or find lots of crafts under one roof at the Catskill Offering in Margaretville.
If you just want to relax with some good music, take in one of the seven concerts at Belleayre Mountain during the summer months.
So do it all, or do nothing. It's your choice along the Route 28 Corridor.
Making The Trip
The RT. 28 Corridor runs through the heart of the Catskill Mountains of New York. To get there, take the New York Thruway and get off at the Kingston Exit, about 1-1/2-hours north of New York City.
Who To Contact
Mountain Gate Lodge, Oliverea: 914-254-6000/800-733-0344
River Run B&B, Fleischmanns: 845-254-4884
Susan's Pleasant Pheasant Farm B&B: Halcottsville, 607-326-4266, 800-696-3781
Val d'Isere, Big Indian: 845-254-4646
Belleayre Mountain, Highmount: 845-254-5600
Wilderness Sporting Clay Club, Arkville: 914-586-2766
Sundance Rappel Tower: 845-688-5640
Town Tinker Tubes, Phoenicia: 845-688-5553