According to the handy fall foliage tracker map put together by the folks over at I Love NY, leaf peeping opportunities will reach their peak in the Catskills this week, just in time for the long holiday weekend.
Here at Catskill Eats HQ, we’re 100 percent in favor of the idea that the best views are found by stepping into some sturdy shoes and putting one foot in front of the other uphill for a few hours. But sometimes, you want a little nosh that’s a notch above a picnic, or perhaps a cocktail, while you enjoy the scenery. If so, here are a few spots to sample before the leaves hit the ground. Have a fave that’s not on this list? Drop us a line and we’ll be happy to share it.
Spruceton Inn: The weekends-only bar at this West Kill inn keeps it simple: beer, wine and cider, usually accompanied by a selection of small bites. Hours are Friday and Saturday noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 7 p.m. It’s a plastic-cup kind of place, set up in a room of the inn called “Conan’s Corner,” a moniker left over from the days that the property was run by the Schwarzenegger family. There are hammocks and a bonfire pit on site, supplies for s’mores on hand and a wide-open sky offering plenty of mountain views and good star-watching after dark. (See samples on the inn’s Instagram feed.) In a recent Q & A with website The Working Pair, married proprietors Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg spelled out their vision for Spruceton, which they launched in July 2014. Scieszka offered up what might be the quote of the year about making a new life in the Catskills: “Out here, it’s so much easier to march to the beat of your own drum when you just can’t hear anyone else’s fucking drum.”
Hunter Mountain Brewery: While it’s easy to imagine this six-month-old restaurant jammed elbow-to-elbow on weekend nights during ski season, right now it’s still a bit of an undiscovered oasis on Route 23A between Hunter and Tannersville. The on-site brewing operation hasn’t kicked into action yet, but the bar taps dispense a variety of craft brews from the Catskills and beyond. The Moscow Mule cocktail is particularly well-executed, and fresh seafood trucked up from Hunt’s Point often appears on the specials menu. The fireplace lounge is a cozy hang-out spot, and the dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows face the ski slopes, which will be leafless and snow-covered before you know it but right now are ablaze in fall glory.
Captain’s Inn at Point Lookout: Along Route 23 in Greene County, just east of Windham, this landmark formerly known as the Victorian Rose Restaurant and Point Lookout Mountain Inn reopened this summer under new ownership. It offers a more formal menu and one of the widest vistas in the Catskills, showcasing mountain peaks and valleys in five states. There’s also a lovely old-fashioned bar and a fireplace lounge area. Reservations are recommended, especially if you want a window table. For more on Captain’s Inn, see our recent story.
Golf Course Clubhouses: Wide expanses of greens make way for open mountain views at many of the Catskills’ golf ranges. Hanah Mountain Resort and Country Club just north of Margaretville in Delaware County sports both a restaurant and a bar with nice vistas; check out the happy hour specials we featured recently for cheap eats. Mulligan’s Pub at Windham Country Club also offers great specials on pub fare and westward-facing views there make for good sunset-watching as well.