Images Courtesy of Christian Harder, Moriah Wolfe, West Kill Taproom, Getty Images
Ask locals to draw a geographic line around the Catskills—the mountain range located 120 miles Northwest of New York City—and squabbling will inevitably ensue over which towns deserve inclusion. Now is probably the time to placate them with wine. But generally speaking, the region is said to encompass 700,000 acres of Catskill Park and parts of Sullivan, Delaware, Greene and Ulster counties.
With plentiful mountain water, an abundance of fish and game and neighboring Hudson Valley’s rich agriculture, it’s no wonder that Catskill farm-to-table restaurants, craft breweries, cider houses and distilleries are a destination.
But before you head out and explore this region, there are some important things to keep in mind; the Catskills is sprawling, cell phone service can be spotty, venues’ operating hours are often limited and don’t expect to come across taxis and other rideshare services easily. The good news is, several restaurants and bars listed also have lodging, so the commute to your bed couldn’t be shorter.
To help you drink Catskills-style—while also ensuring a smooth trip—we’ve compiled a list of some of the best spots accessible via Route 28, one of the main thoroughfares through the mountains.
Just over two hours from New York City, the Foxfire Mountain House is everything you hope for in a mountain retreat. This restored 130-year-old house has Moroccan tiled floors, a stone fireplace, sheepskin blankets and antlers on the walls.
Foxfire’s cozy restaurant and bar is stylish yet unpretentious, and the drinks list reflects this. There’s a handful of cocktails, local beers and a cider. But wine is the star here. The concise, two-page list of 40 bottles strikes an elegant balance between European classics and natty favorites. For instance, there’s Bollinger Champagne along with an Oregonian pétillant naturel (pét-nat) from Swick Wines called City Pop. Pair these bottles with the three-course family-style food menu. On this veritable trip around the globe, you’ll find dishes like po’boys, mushroom wontons, coq au cider and pork schnitzel.
You can also take your glass out to the bonfire pit, the lily pond or the glasshouse, an old outbuilding converted into a conservatory.
Note: May–October, Foxfire is open to public dining only on Sunday-Monday. November–April it’s open Friday-Monday.
Open for nearly two decades and founded by Catskills native Devin Mills and his partner, Marybeth, Peekamoose remains a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The decor is cozy, quirky and quintessentially Catskills (think animal heads and tree branch lights strung from massive wooden beams). The food is locally sourced. And parents will sigh with relief to find a kid’s corner located far enough away from other diners.